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Recap / Futurama S 2 E 4 "Xmas Story"

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In the first Xmas episode of the series, depression hits Fry when he realizes that the future changed a lot of 20th century Christmas customs, and this is his first Xmas without his loved ones. He makes his complaints heard, which leaves Leela in tears due to the fact that she's never celebrated Xmas with her family. Desperate to make up for what he did, Fry searches for the perfect Xmas present for her, but must hurry before a robotic, homicidal Santa Claus finds him, cuts his head off and stuffs his neck full of toys from his sack of horror.


Tropes present:

  • Christmas Episode: Xmas Episode. Fry gets depressed because old Christmas traditions changed too much and he misses his family. Leela is depressed because she never had a family. The crew celebrates Xmas together , which means they must hide from evil murderous robot Santa. They are all brought closer by their shared fear and the fact they survived Santa's rampage.
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  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Inverted and then Subverted. Bender tries to get rid of evil Santa by encouraging everyone to stop believing in him to invoke Cessation of Existence, only for Santa to prove that belief is not required.
    Bender: Yeah? Well I don't believe in Santa Claus. Come on, everybody. If you don't believe in him, he can't hurt you. (Robot Santa hits Bender with his toy sack) Oh, God, the pain!
  • Contrived Coincidence: Leela and Fry are saved from Santa's TOW missile when the parrot Fry bought earlier flies into the way.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Fry's plan to get some mercy from Santa.
    Fry: Please let us live! We'll put out milk and cookies for you!
    Santa: You dare bribe Santa?! I'm gonna shove coal so far up your stocking you'll be coughing up diamonds!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Robot Santa rewards everyone on the Naughty list (no matter how slight the infraction) with a gruesome death.
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  • Easy Road to Hell: Something went wrong with Santa Claus's programming when he was built, which led to his standards being set too high, putting everyone except Dr. Zoidberg on the naughty list.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even the Ax-Crazy Bad Santa thinks Bender trying to pass the buck onto an orphan is abhorrent.
    Robot Santa: My God, Bender! Framing an orphan? That's so naughty I'll have to add it to my list right now.
  • Fan Disservice: This episode starts a running gag of the ancient Professor and fat Hermes getting naked or dressed in skimpy clothes for little to no reason, aside from proving the future's left behind such primitive concepts as "modesty".
    "Ah, brisk."
  • Future Imperfect: Global warming was not solved, but nuclear winter cancelled it out. Palm trees have replaced pine trees, and poodles are extinct.
  • "Gift of the Magi" Plot: Parodied. Zoidberg gave combs to Amy, who sold her hair to buy combs for Hermes, who sold his hair to buy combs for Zoidberg. Zoidberg thanks him, saying this will go great with his new hair—then removes his hat to reveal Hermes' and Amy's hair.
  • Groin Attack: While skiing, Leela uses a verbal command to have a grove of trees retract into the snow. Fry decides to test whether they can stand up again while skiing through them. Cue Groin Attack.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The parrot Fry originally got for Leela stops Santa's missile from hitting them. Probably inadvertently, but it still counts.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Robot Santa gives Dr. Zoidberg a pogo stick. Once Santa slips into self-destruct mode, Zoidberg uses the pogo stick to hop up to cut a wire, electrocuting and disabiling Santa long enough to force him into the chimney.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Farnsworth: You should be ashamed of yourself, Fry. You'd have to be blind not to notice Leela's a cyclops.
    (zoom out to reveal Hermes)
    Hermes: Fry's over there, mon.
    Farnsworth: Oh? (adjusts glasses)
  • I Shall Return: Despite being beaten, Santa promises he'll come back.
    Robot Santa: I'll be back, back when you least expect it... NEXT XMAS!
  • Incompetence, Inc.: The Professor mentions the Friendly Robot Company were the ones who made Robot Santa. What relation, if any, they have to Mom's Friendly Robot Company is unclear, but they've got the same success rate.
  • Language Drift: Although the show uses Eternal English, this episode establishes that in the 31st Century, Christmas is refered to as Xmas, and "ask" is now spelled "aks".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Bender is told he's going off course, and ignores the man telling him so. He promptly skies off a cliff.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: Fry falls off a clocktower and hangs on for dear life. In an update of the old cliche, the clock is digital and Fry is hanging on to the actual LCD display, losing his hold as the digits change.
  • Lonely Together: The episode that coined the term. Fry misses his family and Leela never even had a family. Their friendship deepens as they realize they can share these feelings.
    Leela: It's okay. You're lonely and I'm lonely. But together, we're lonely together.
  • Mood-Swinger: When Santa corners the rest of the crew:
    Robot Santa (Threateningly): You've all been very naughty VERY naughty indeed! (Cheerfully) Except for you, Dr. Zoidberg this is for you. (Hands Zoidberg a pogo stick)
  • Obstacle Ski Course: The professor has some mad skiing skills... when he's asleep. He wakes up confused, wearing an Olympic gold medal.
  • Pet the Dog: The only one on Santa's nice list was Dr. Zoidberg, who was awarded with a pogo stick.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Peanuts, when Bender crashes into the kids skating on a frozen pond.
    • Bongo from Life in Hell is among the animals Fry considers buying Leela.
    • The clocktower scene spoofs Safety Last!.
    • The gift trio of Hermes, Zoidberg, and Amy is a direct reference to The Gift of the Magi.
  • Ski-Resort Episode: The beginning of the episode happens in a ski resort. Fry is delighted to see some snow and he's glad global warming never happened (actually it did, but nuclear winter evened it out). They all ski or enjoy other winter sports. Fry gets injured by some artificial pine trees.
  • Song Parody: At the end of the episode, of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"; a variation in that, in-universe, this may be the actual version of this song in the 31st century, but from a meta-standpoint, it's this.
    Amy: He knows when you are sleeping,
    Farnsworth: He knows when you're on the can,
    Leela: He'll hunt you down and blast your ass from here to Pakistan!
    Zoidberg: Oh,
    Hermes: You better not breathe, you better not move,
    Bender: You're better off dead, I'm telling you, dude,
    Fry: Santa Claus is gunning you down!
    Everyone: Yayyyyyyy!
  • Stock Clock Hand Hang: Parodied. Fry ends up hanging from a number on a giant digital clock. He's fine until the time changes.
  • Under the Mistletoe: Fry and Leela almost had a kiss under the mistletoe, until Robot Santa interfered.
    Robot Santa: Your mistletoe is no match for my T.O.W. missile!
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Sure, Santa's evil now, but was his original design really that creepy?
  • Villain Has a Point: While obviously taking the punishment too far, and there's obvious hypocrisy considering his actions are worse than anybody else', when Santa brings up a reason for somebody being on his naughty list, it's perfectly valid, pointing out how Fry and Leela never did anything nice for Zoidberg, Bender's actions speak for themselves, and he tries to weasel out of it by framing an orphan.
  • You Mean "Xmas": The Trope Namer. When Fry mentions Christmas, the others correct him by telling him it's now Xmas; he must be using an archaic term.


Video Example(s):


Fry versus Parrot

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Example of:

Main / StockClockHandHang

Media sources:

Main / StockClockHandHang