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Recap / Futurama S 1 E 9 "Hell Is Other Robots"

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Condemned by the Space Pope

After a Beastie Boys concert, an old friend of Bender's introduces him to "jacking on" with electricity. Bender quickly becomes addicted, but his secret is exposed after he is welded to the Planet Express ship during a delivery through a lightning storm in space. Looking for a better way, Bender finds religion, which turns his life around but he gets to the point where his friends find the new change too extreme, prompting Fry and Leela to lead him back to his sinful ways. It doesn't take long, but Bender soon discovers that his new religion has an Easy Road to Hell after he is kidnapped by the Robot Devil.


Tropes present:

  • Abandoned Area: Robot Hell is situated inside of an old, abandoned amusement park called "Reckless Ted's Funland." Fry remembers the place from his pre-freezing days, claiming to Leela (and Nibbler) that the park was forced to shut down after a bunch of people (somehow) contracted salmonella from the park's log flume ride.
  • Abstract Scale: While at the Beastie Boys concert, Leela uses her wrist device to measure the performance.
    Leela: Impressive! They're laying down mad rhymes with an 80% success rate.
    Bender: I believe that qualifies as "ill", at least from a technical standpoint.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Bender stands before Sparky's Den and turns to see the neon sign of the church, he proclaims "Maybe there's another way". Cut to him hooking onto the neon sign's power source.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: At the end of the episode, Fry and Leela get Bender back, and he vows to be neither too good nor too evil again—he'll just be himself. When Leela asks if he can't just be slightly less evil than that, Bender asks if she can survive a seven-hundred-foot fall.
    Fry: Good old Bender.
  • Beelzebub: Leela derisively calls the Robot Devil "Beelzebot".
  • Circles of Hell: The Devil's musical number sees him narrate the various tortures Bender will go through in the robotic, Inferno-esque "levels" of Hell. Circles include those for smoking, gambling, and digital piracy.
  • Cutting the Knot: When it's Leela's turn to play the golden fiddle, she ultimately uses it to beat up the Robot Devil so she, Fry, and Bender can escape Robot Hell.
  • Defensive "What?": Bender, charred and blackened, and with his legs melted into a puddle by the electrical storm he flew the ship into in search of a bigger high, gives one of these when Leela, Farnsworth, and Hermes all glare at him after Amy chisels him off the hull.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: One of Bender's sins mentioned in the "Robot Hell" song was selling bootleg tapes.
    Robot Devil: (singing) Selling bootleg tapes is wrong, musicians need that income to survive!
    Beastie Boys: (singing) Hey, Bender, gonna make some noise with your hard drive scratched by the Beastie Boys! (Ad-Rock scratches Bender's hard drive) That's whatcha, whatcha, whatcha get on Level Five!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Leela finds Bender in the bathroom and asks, "Bender, are you jacking on in there?", in reference to drug addiction and/or masturbation (jacking off in the latter case).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • The Robot Devil looms over Fry, Leela and Bender in this episode whereas in all future appearances they're the same height.
    • While this is the first episode that establishes Hermes' contempt for Zoidberg, the latter reacts angrily to first being accused of stealing electricity, and then having his saltwater cooler taken away on cost-cutting grounds. In later episodes, Zoidberg's depicted as being so pathetic that he'd probably have been flattered that Hermes even remembered he exists.
  • Easy Road to Hell: The religion Bender joins will tolerate absolutely no sin. Do it once, and it's off to Robot Hell. It might have more to do with Bender outright tearing off their symbol and hocking it into the trash, as it starts sending out the signal to send him to hell after that, but not when he actually sinned.
  • Evil Laugh: Bender after turning the backburners of the shuttle so it would steer them it straight into the electric field.
  • Eviler than Thou: Bender tries to invoke this on himself, but the Robot Devil merely responds, "We've checked around, there really aren't."
  • Fantastic Drug: Electricity is this for robots. Bender getting hooked on it is the Lead In.
  • Faux Horrific: "They're tormenting me with up-tempo singing and dancing!"
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Robot Hell is full of fire and devil-looking robots that torture robots for vices like drinking and gambling.
  • Five-Aces Cheater: When Bender attempts to cheat at Poker, The Robot Devil reveals that Bender was pulling out five aces.
  • For the Evulz: The Robot Devil threatens to kill Fry for no real reason if he wins the fiddle contest.
  • Genre Savvy: Bender realizes the Robot Devil is going to launch into a musical number, and sighs with resignation.
  • Hellevator: There's also a slide.
  • Hollywood Density: A lampshade gets hung on this when Fry and Leela are going to have a fiddle contest with the Robot Devil where the prizes are Bender's soul and a solid gold fiddle. When Fry (of all people) asks "Wouldn't a solid gold fiddle weigh hundreds of pounds and sound crummy?" the Robot Devil admits that it's mostly for show, then (being a robot) takes it and plays a complicated piece on it. When Bender flies to escape with Fry and Leela, he suggests dropping the gold fiddle if they want to get away faster.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: There's actually a literal example seen at one point. Hookerbot 5000, who apparently has a heart of solid gold.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Upon "jacking on" for the first time, Fender warns Bender to not get hooked on electricity. Bender says that he doesn't have an addictive personality, but after smoking and drinking some alcohol, he goes back to "jacking on".
  • Ironic Hell: During the "Robot Hell" song, Bender is put through different ironic punishments for the various sins he'd committed. For example:
    Robot Devil: (singing) Cigars are evil/you won't miss them./We'll find ways to simulate that smell./What a sorry fella,/rolled up and smoked like a Panatella,/here on Level One of Robot Hell!
  • Joisey: Fry isn't surprised to find out that there is a Hell and that it's in New Jersey.
  • Lampshade Hanging: See Hollywood Density above.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Robot Devil comes after Bender when he's successfully seducing a group of young and na├»ve fembots.
  • The Last Straw: As Leela puts it, the rest of Planet Express were willing to put up with Bender's other vices, but his electricity addiction nearly got Fry and Leela killed.
  • Literary Allusion Title: "Hell is other people" is a famous quote by Jean-Paul Sartre.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The crew when they see just how good the Robot Devil is with the fiddle.
    Bender: Well, we're boned.
  • Mushroom Samba: When Bender first tries jacking on with electricity.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Bender, when he tries jacking on from a church sign.
  • Never My Fault: "Ah, don't blame me, blame my upbringing!"
  • Noodle Incident: After Bender announces that he's found religion, Fry asks if it's another scam to get free yarmulkes.
  • Overly Long Hug: Bender, who has undergone a personality reversal after a religious conversion, hugs Fry for way too long, making him very uncomfortable.
  • Physical Hell: For robots anyway.
    Leela: Who would've thought hell would actually exist... and that it would be in New Jersey?
    Fry: Actually...
  • Planet of Hats: The crew deliver a package to Sicily 8, the mob planet.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: From Leela: "Time for the drum solo."
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The Robot Devil when Leela hits him with the solid gold fiddle. Several times.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a reference to the Jean-Paul Sartre play Huis Clos (No Exit), which contains the line "Hell is other people".
    • After Bender has found religion, he returns to his friends at the workplace while singing "Oh What a Beautiful Mornin'".
    • One scene has Bender decorate the Planet Express with a fish that says "Robot", a parody of the Ichthys symbol known as the "Jesus fish".
    • The theme park ride that lies above Robot Hell is called "The Inferno," the title for the canticle of The Divine Comedy dealing with Hell.
    • The fiddle contest with the Robot Devil and the solid gold fiddle is a reference to the Charlie Daniels Band song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
    • Among the graffiti at the abandoned amusement park is a heart with H.S. + M.B. written in it.
  • Status Quo Is God: Bender starts jacking on and gets worse until he hits rock-bottom. He finds religion and it makes him a better (but creepier) person. He decides to screw the religion and becomes even more of a sinner than he was before. His experience in Robot Hell eventually leads him to adopt his original, slightly jerkish personality, retaining no particular lesson from the events.
  • Stealing from the Hotel: Fry infers that Bender did not leave the hotel room on his own terms because the ashtray was still there.
  • Stealth Pun: The symbol of Robotology is a resistor, as in "resist temptation".
  • Take a Third Option: The robot devil challenges Leela to a fiddle competition. If the devil wins, he gets to kill Fry. If Leela wins, Bender gets to leave robot hell. Leela decides to forget playing the thing, and instead uses her fiddle to beat the robot devil over the head repeatedly, knocking him out.
  • Take That!: Atlantic City, where the crew trick Bender into going to so as to get him sinning again, is depicted as a terrible place. Not only that, but apparently New Jersey is where (Robot) Hell is located.
    • A hellish amusement park in NJ that tortures and injures the people who show up? If you're a Gen-Xer from the tri-state area, you're probably thinking of Action Park, aka Class Action Park, aka Traction Park.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: More like "Singing Is a Free Action". While Leela and Fry are still on a long slide trip during the "Robot Hell" song, he complains that he doesn't feel well, but she replies that they both have to rescue Bender because they were the ones who "tempted him to sin" in the first place. Fry has doubts and tries making excuses such as "Maybe [Bender] likes it here in hell" and "Maybe he's back at the motel." She reassures him not to be scared and that either she or Fry may be spared. It then ends in a Lampshade Hanging:
    Leela: [sings] So just sit back and enjoy the ride!
    Fry: My ass has blisters from the slide!
  • Tempting Fate: Bender mocks the electric storm in space, telling the Universe to do its worst. It hits him with electricity so strong it melts his legs and feet into slag — not that Bender minded.
  • That Man Is Dead: Bender tells Leela at the restaurant that the old Bender is gone.
  • Title Drop: Seen on a pamphlet given to Bender by the Robot Devil.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Fry and Leela. Bender turns his life around from an addicting habit that nearly got himself and his friends killed and even stopped his other bad habits such as stealing and slacking off at work. The only problems caused by his new ways are that he becomes over-friendly at times. For this, Bender becomes an object of scorn for his co-workers, who then try to pressure him into leaving his religion. Even when he pleads with them to leave him alone and states he's found inner peace, they merely scoff and ridicule him further.
  • Villain Song: The "Robot Hell" song by the Robot Devil.
  • We Want Our Jerk Back!: The crew, particularly Fry and Leela, with Bender once he finds religion.
  • Your Mom: Bender after insulting the Preacherbot.
    Fry: Who was that guy?
    Bender: Your mama! Now shut up and drag me to work!

 
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Robot Hell

The Robot Devil lets Bender know just what kinds of agonizing and ironic punishments he'll be enduring in Robot Hell.

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