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Recap / Futurama S 2 E 5 Why Must I Be A Crustacean In Love

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From the network that brought you "The Simpsons"

Zoidberg is acting very strange—murderously so, in fact. It transpires that it's time for his people to mate, so the Planet Express crew take him to his homeworld, Decapod 10. But the doctor isn't a hit with the ladies, so Fry decides to help, which leads to other problems.


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Edna ends up falling for Fry when she discovers that he was the one teaching Zoidberg to act more romantic. Fry couldn't be more horrified.
  • An Alien Named "Bob": Zoidberg's crush is a lobster-like alien like him, but her name is Edna. Also, a hermit crab-like alien named Vinny briefly features. Though, Zoidberg's first name was later revealed to be John, so Earthican names seem to be pretty normal for their species.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Zoidberg cuts off Fry's arm while Fry is making a speech about how they're friends. Then Zoidberg cuts off the wrong one trying to fix it.
  • Assurance Backfire: After Zoidberg's display fails to attract a mate, Leela tries to cheer him up by telling him he didn't smell as bad as the other Decapodian males.
    Zoidberg: You're right! My stink gland is weak! SMELL! (He forces her face into his armpit and she struggles and gags.)
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: A running gag in the episode is the fact that Decapodian beauty standards are different from human ones: for instance, smelling bad or carrying parasites are considered attractive traits.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Fry gets excited at the prospect of "an orgy of invertebrate sex" at the Decapodian homeworld. Well, just the sex part. Until Edna is infatuated with him...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Fry stays fairly calm and controlled while he was fighting with Zoidberg to the death. But when Zoidberg cuts his arm off, he screams "You BASTARD!!! I'll kill you! YOU BASTARD!". Shock-based adrenaline kicks in, and he begins to beat Zoidberg with his severed limb.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Zoidberg fails to mate with Edna, and it's implied that he'll never have another opportunity to find a mate. However, if Zoidberg had mated with Edna, he would have died afterwards.
    Bender: What's with the flying jerks?
    Zoidberg: They come to feast after the frenzy. Once my species passes on its genes, it dies. [He points to the sea which is littered with the corpses of Decapodians being eaten by seagulls.]
    Fry: You mean you have to choose between a life without sex and a gruesome death?
    Zoidberg: Yes...
    Fry: Tough call.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Fry's severed arm does bleed very slightly when Zoidberg cuts it off, but nowhere near as much as it would in real life.
  • Bowdlerization: On Channel 4 in the UK, the part where Fry gets his arm cut off after his speech about how he can't kill Zoidberg because of their friendship is cut to remove the shot of the dismembered arm on the ground and Fry yelling, "YOU BASTARD! I'LL KILL YOU!"
  • Butt-Monkey: Bender sums Zoidberg up as "the lobster equivalent of Fry!" He might be right.
  • Characterisation Click Moment: Most of the jokes around Zoidberg in previous episodes had revolved around his lack of understanding of human anatomy or culture. This episode is the one that firmly establishes him as a penniless, socially inept loser, which remains his main character trait for the rest of the show.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Zoidberg ultimately fails to win Edna's heart despite his efforts, as she mates with the Decapod King while Zoidberg and Fry were fighting. However, this actually saves Zoidberg's life as he would have died had he gone through with it.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Zoidberg kills and eats his old school bully.
    Zoidberg: Who’s the tough guy now, Vinnie?
  • Duel to the Death: Zoidberg challenges Fry to Claw-Plach after catching him with Edna.
  • Eloquent in My Native Tongue: When one of Zoidberg's friends says his name as a pattern of squawks and clicks, Fry wonders if it was Decapodian speech for 'Zoidberg', causing Zoidberg's friend to run off, crying.
    Zoidberg: You didn't have to call attention to his speech impediment.
  • Eyelash Fluttering: Amy sees an attractive-looking man in a sauna box and coyly bats her eyelids at him asking if there's room for two. He says no, and exits the box only to reveal he's so fat he takes up the entire box himself. Amy shudders in disgust.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Subverted completely by Fry, who tries running for his life when the odds turn against him.
    Leela: Come on, Fry! Die with dignity!
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Fry gives a stirring speech about his and Zoidberg's friendship and how he refuses to fight his friend. Said friend wasn't paying attention; Zoidberg cuts off Fry's arm while he's distracted, provoking Fry into a violent rage.
  • Fanservice:
    • Fry accidentally going into the women's steam room, where Leela and Amy are relaxing naked. Amy moves the hand covering her chest, but just enough to keep it still covered (according to the DVD commentary, the writers used this scene as a bargaining chip for the FOX censors when they wanted to get away with something that the censors would immediately decline, telling them "You let us get away with this. Why can't you do the same with this scene?").
      Fry: Coed steam rooms! I love the future!
      Leela: Uh, Fry, you're in the women's steam room.
      Fry: (relaxing) Ahhh... Futuristic.
      Amy: (aside to Leela) Psst! Look what life was like before genetic engineering.
      Leela: Those poor 20th-century women.
      (Fry swings his legs closed)
    • Edna in lingerie.
  • Foreshadowing: The Decapod King said that he would embrace a life of celibacy to uphold Decapod's crazy traditions (namely Claw-Plach). This should've been a hint that Decapodians die after mating.
  • Gladiator Games: Claw-Plach. A fight to the death over matters of honor (and also whether or not abbreviations count in Scrabble. "They don't!").
  • Gone Horribly Right: Fry tries to get Zoidberg together with Edna by teaching them both about love, a concept unknown in Decapodian culture. Unfortunately, Edna instead ends up becoming attracted to Fry, and Zoidberg in turn becomes insanely jealous and challenges Fry to a Claw-Plach battle to the death.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Fry starts beating Zoidberg with his recently severed arm.
  • Groin Attack: Subverted. Zoidberg says he'll claw Fry in the gonads, while pointing at his neck. Fry urges that nobody correct him.
  • Homage: Fry Plays Cyrano for Dr. Zoidberg. Of course here Fry is not so fortunate when the lady decides that she wants him instead — she's a hideous Starfish Alien — so the plot shifts gears and we're suddenly watching "Amok Time".
  • How Is That Even Possible?:
    Amy: Bender, your beer belly is so big your door won't close. And that doesn't even make sense.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One:
    Leela: No offense, Fry, but you've become a fat sack of crap.
    Fry: Sack?!
  • I'll Kill You!: Fry to Zoidberg after Zoidberg cuts off one of his arms.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Fry states he won't question the Decapodians' customs, only to immediately mock them:
    Fry: My fellow fish monsters. Far be it from me to question your stupid civilization or its dumb customs, but is squeezing each other's brains out with a giant nutcracker really going to solve anything?
  • Inherently Attractive Profession: Zoidberg has his eye on a Decapodian named Edna, but she's not interested. Leela tries to convince her by telling her that "he's a doctor. A doctor, honey!"
  • Insult Backfire: A Running Gag:
    Fry: Start with a compliment. Tell her she looks thin.
    Dr. Zoidberg: You seem malnourished. Are you suffering from internal parasites?
    Edna: (pleased) Why, yes. Thanks for noticing.

    Edna: Teach me to love, you squishy poet from beyond the stars.
    Fry: (horrified) I'm flattered, really. If I was gonna do it with a big freaky mud bug, you'd be way up the list.
    Edna: (aroused) Hush, you romantic fool. Engage your mandibles and kiss me.
  • Is There a Doctor in the House?: Said by a gym instructor when Zoidberg's rampage causes several pregnant women to break their water.
    Zoidberg: (Gonk face) I'm a doctor!
    (More women give birth)
  • It's All About Me: Bender, as per usual.
    Bender: Fry, I've never asked you for anything before but, if it's not too much trouble, when it comes to the ninth round just let him win.
    Fry: But it's a fight to the death!
  • Literal-Minded: When Fry tells Zoidberg "the love meister is going to take you under his wing", Zoidberg responds "What? Now there's a bird involved?".
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Downplayed. Fry is pissed when Zoidberg cuts off his arm but doesn't act like he's in pain - it may be the adrenaline/shock combination.
  • Maternity Crisis: Triggered multiple times when a rampaging Zoidberg interrupts a prenatal aquarobics class.
  • Mating Season Mayhem: The main plot of the episode is kicked off when Zoidberg began to experience the symptoms relating to the time of his kind's mating season.
  • Mistaken for Flirting: Zoidberg is trying to hook up with Edna, leading Fry to feed Zoidberg pick-up lines. Leela later tells Edna about the situation, leading Edna to try to seduce Fry.
  • Mood Whiplash: Fry is in the middle of a moving speech about The Power of Friendship when Zoidberg cuts off his arm and an enraged Fry starts trying to beat him to death with it.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • Fry's duel with Zoidberg: if he wins, he loses one of his close friends and will be forced to mate with Edna, but if he loses, he'll die.
      Dr. Zoidberg: (murderously angry) Fry. I challenge you to clawplach.
      Fry: English, please?
      Dr. Zoidberg: A fight to the death.
      Edna: And if you survive, we'll make sweet love.
      Fry: (Beat, then screams)
    • As Fry points out, Zoidberg's mating situation means the latter has to choose between a life without sex or dying a gruesome death. "Tough call" indeed.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Decapodian women have breasts, but lay eggs and do not take care of their young. Edna is even the page image.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: Fry's girl-wooing tactics are pretty amateur-hour stuff, consisting of things like "compliment the girl regularly," "pretend to listen when she's talking," and "don't ask for sex until at least the third date." But to a member of a species with no concept of love for any reason besides mating, he's The Casanova.
  • Not What It Looks Like: This happens to Fry, when Edna comes on to him as Zoidberg stops by her apartment. Unfortunately, Edna claims it is.
  • Off with His Head!: At the very end of the episode, this happens to Fry due to Zoidberg's... "help".
  • The One That Got Away: Fry's demonstration while giving love advice to Zoidberg causes Leela to recall the behavior of her dates (and her most recent ex-boyfriend), and she subsequently runs away in tears.
    Fry: [takes Leela's hand] All you have to do is look her in the eyes and say [faking tears of joy] I've never been so happy.
    Leela: [scoff]s Ugh, if a guy did that, I'd know it... wait a minute, they've all been saying that! Even Sean! [She runs off crying.]
  • Out with a Bang: Turns out Decapodians only mate once, then die.
  • Playing Cyrano: Fry, for Zoidberg, courtesy of a conveniently placed conch shell.
  • The Power of Friendship: Subverted. Fry gives a speech about how his and Zoidberg's friendship won't be torn apart over a woman... only to have his arm cut off by Zoidberg mid-speech. Fry promptly gives up and starts whacking Zoidberg with the severed limb. The fight only stops when Leela points out that the spectators are all gone and Zoidberg realises that he's missed the mating frenzy.
  • Rule of Funny: The plot gets kicked off by the crew deciding to sign up for the gym. Leela and Amy walk into the Planet Express lounge, where a noticeably-chubby Fry and Bender are watching TV.
    Leela: Look at you guys. No offense, Fry, but you've become a fat sack of crap.
    Fry: Sack?
    Amy: And Bender; your beer belly's so big your door won't even close. And that doesn't even make sense.
  • Screaming at Squick: When the Decapodians go into the Frenzy, it causes the ocean to be filled with bubbling green ooze, which grosses out Fry, Leela, and Bender.
  • Sex Signals Death: All Decapodians. Fry sums it up.
    Fry: You mean you have to choose between a life without sex or a gruesome death?
    Zoidberg: Yes.
    Fry: Tough call.
  • Shipper on Deck: Fry tries his hardest to get Zoidberg and Edna to hook up.
  • Shout-Out: The Decapodian national anthem is the fight music from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time". Fry reacts accordingly.
    Fry: Uh-oh.
    • The title is one to Dion and the Belmonts' song "Why Must I Be a Teenager In Love".
  • Skewed Priorities: When a member of Zoidberg's species has sex they die immediately afterward. When Fry learns that Zoidberg has to choose between a life without sex or a gruesome death, he says, "Tough call."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Amy, who keeps removing the rubber bands binding Zoidberg's claws. Even after he's clawed her up, she still doesn't learn and keeps falling for his claims that he's not crazy anymore.
    Bender: Moron.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Fry actually manages to get the upper hand against Zoidberg and could have killed him if he'd so desired, but refuses and attempts to make a Patrick Stewart Speech about Zoidberg being his friend. Zoidberg responds by cutting one of Fry's arms off. A now-pissed off Fry decides he's okay with killing Zoidberg after all.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Leela telling Edna that all of the things Zoidberg had been saying to her were put in his head by Fry is what leads to Edna becoming infatuated with Fry and Fry and Zoidberg having a duel.
  • Won't Get Fooled Again: Parodied when Zoidberg keeps tricking Amy into removing the rubber bands on his claws so he doesn't go crazy again.
    Amy: Fool me seven times, shame on you. Fool me eight or more times, shame on me.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Zoidberg is only looking for someone to have eggs with, so he's a bit confused about these new emotions.
    Zoidberg: This "love" intrigues me. Teach me to fake it.
    • Some time later:
      Zoidberg: I'm confused, Fry. I'm feeling a strange new emotion. Is it love when you care about a female for reasons beyond mating?
      Fry: Nope. Must be some weird alien emotion.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: On returning home, Zoidberg finds his old childhood bully (a hermit crab), and eats him.
    Zoidberg: Who's the tough guy now, Vinny?!