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Recap / Futurama S 3 E 14 Time Keeps On Slippin

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"Have none you pathetic Earthlings game?"


To play basketball against the Harlem Globetrotters (now a planet of their own), Professor Farnsworth uses chronotons to grow a team of mutant supermen. However, this starts to cause 'time-jumps' that threaten to destroy the universe. Meanwhile, Fry tries to win Leela's heart and just might succeed for once, provided the time-jumps don't screw everything up.


  • Affably Evil: Farnsworth created the Mutant Atomic Supermen to take over the universe (and win at basketball), but they're actually super nice.
    Amy: (After the shock wears off) ...Hi!
    Arachneon: [cheerfully] Hello!
  • Artistic License Sports: When Fry begs to take part in the basketball game, he says that they are 35 points ahead, and then comes a Gilligan Cut to the Globetrotters winning 244-86. It is not possible for even the Harlem Globetrotters to score 193 points in 2 minutes in a basketball game, as each of the 65 shots needed to achieve that score would take at least 3 seconds apiece. If anything, The supermutants should've won instead of the Globetrotters anyway because of this even if he were a handicap.
  • Big "NO!": Fry, when he realises that his romantic message is about to be destroyed.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: According to the writers, the reason it's so heavily emphasized that absolutely nothing is at stake in the basketball game except Earth being seen as losers is because execs were asking that the show have episodes with higher stakes. (Ironically, the real conflict in this episode involves the near-destruction of the universe.)
  • Chest Blaster: One of the mutant players, Thorias, has a cannon on his chest, just like the Professor talked about some episodes ago.
  • Cleavage Window: Amy's outfit during the basketball game. When the random time skips start, Amy immediately brings attention to it as a possible explanation. Leela's wedding dress has one too.
  • Continuity Nod: When Fry debates how he won Leela over, Hermes suggests that maybe Fry is a good lover. Amy chimes in, a nod to the episode where they dated.
  • Cosmic Flaw: Stealing chronotrons causes time itself to break apart. Time starts skipping forward at random times, threatening to end the universe itself.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: A man fleeing from the landing Globetrotter spacecraft takes a moment to admire a sunbathing Amy.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Fry's every action in this episode is just trying to get Leela to go out with him, and the one time it works, neither of them remember what happened.
  • Doomsday Device: Bubblegum Tate theorizes that they need one of those to get rid of the chronotons.
    Prof. Farnsworth: Doomsday device, you say? Ah, now the ball's in Farnsworth's court! [pushes a button, a platform with several doomsday devices rises from the floor] I guess I could part with one and still be feared.
  • Downer Ending: Is it ever. Leela divorces Fry instantly, and just as he learns what it was he did to get her to marry him, it gets blown up. Also, Bender just isn't funky enough to be a Globetrotter.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Zoidberg may be desperate for any form of social interaction, no matter how fleeting (or hostile), but even he gets so bored with Leela's lengthy list of Fry's faults that he starts ignoring her and watching the television during a time-skip.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • Fry tries riding some swan boats in Central Park. Only afterwards does he learn those were just swans, even after he found all those eggs.
    • Played for Drama with Fry's message to Leela, which no-one notices save Fry.
  • Foreshadowing: When collecting the Chronotons, Bender and Fry take the effort to catch floating ones, while Leela picks up static ones with tweezers, creating orange rings. This ends up causing the problems everyone faces later.
  • Forgotten Birthday: When time skips and it's suddenly Amy's birthday, Zoidberg says, "I hope we all have as much fun tomorrow at my birth—" Time suddenly skips, and the lodge is empty except for Zoidberg, who only has a cupcake with a single candle in it.
  • Gilligan Cut: In-Universe, caused by the chronotons.
  • Giant Novelty Check: Prof. Farnsworth is given one for "all of Earth's money" by President Nixon to finance his plan to stop the time skips.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Fry used the gravity pump to make Leela a love note of stars, which was so touching that Leela actually married him. Unfortunately, not only did Leela not remember it and divorced Fry, but Fry's message was destroyed along with the nebula before anyone else saw it.
  • Hidden Depths: Bubblegum Tate, and indeed all the Globetrotters, turn out to be genius physicists.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Two children complaining about old people receiving social security benefits. One Gilligan Cut later, and the one complaining is an old man, demanding free money.
  • Ignored Expert: Of a sort. Bender, of all beings, points out that chronotons are the ones "that destroyed a whole civilization." The Professor doesn't care.
    Professor Farnsworth: (angrily) Good news, everyone. You're off to the Tempest Nebula to gather chronotons!
  • "I Know What We Can Do" Cut: Hermes has an idea on how to stop the time jumps. One time jump later and everyone is conga dancing naked while Hermes plays the steel drums. Even he admits he doesn't know how this would be of any help.
  • Jerkass to One: Bubblegum Tate keeps being an overall jerk towards Bender, who really wishes to be a Globetrotter. At one point, Tate even names everyone in the room part of the team, but Bender misses it by a few seconds because he wasn't in the room yet and Tate won't let him catch a break.
  • Killed Off for Real: Poor Arachneon gets an accidental case of friendly fire. The Professor's more annoyed about it than anything else.
  • Literal Metaphor: When Fry is trying to win Leela over while the crew is harvesting chronotons, Leela tells him to 'cool his jets', which Fry means to give it up. Turns out she meant to turn down the flames of his jetpack because they were melting Bender's face.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers: When Hermes suggests that maybe Fry is a good lover, Amy (who slept with him in the past) chimes in with "Um, no."
  • Made Myself Sad: Zoidberg drives himself to tears after realizing how lonely he is. He snaps back a second later.
    Zoidberg: So [Fry]'s not perfect. You don't want to end up old and lonely like ZOIDBERG! [sobs loudly]
  • Naked People Are Funny: Hermes announces that he has an idea of how to deal with the time skips. One skip later the rest of the crew are in a naked conga line while Hermes plays a steel drum and admits he doesn't know why he thought it would help.
  • Natural End of Time: An odd case where the universe ending naturally is problematic. Because nobody remembers what happened during the Time Skip and they're becoming larger and larger, the universe is at risk of skipping to the end of time without anyone experiencing the time inbetween.
  • Noodle Incident: Too many to list. The nature of the sporadic time skips mean a lot of crazy things can and do happen, but even In-Universe, no one can even fathom what the hell they were or how they led to the predicament they ended up in.
  • One-Person Birthday Party: A Cutaway Gag shows that nobody came to Zoidberg's birthday party in a time skip.
  • Put Me In, Coach!: After Arachneon is killed, Fry offers to fill in, noting that they're 35 points ahead and there's only two minutes left in the game. One time skip later, Fry has somehow lost the game 244 to 86.
  • Serious Business: The game against Globetrotters. There was absolutely nothing at stake, and no consequence for losing... save the humiliation of defeat. This is treated as the worst thing ever. The commentary states this was done to mess with the execs.
  • Tempting Fate: To quote Fry, Earth's team is up 35 points with two minutes left, what cold possibly happen? One Gilligan Cut later, and Fry has somehow managed to screw up bad enough that Earth's behind by over 150 points.
  • Time Skip: The main problem of the episode is that time keeps skipping forward. It's quite convenient when it comes to difficult or tedious jobs, because time tends to skip ahead to when they're done.
  • Tragic Dream: Bender just isn't funky enough to be a Globetrotter, and Fry's attempts to win Leela's heart were futile at least for now. Bender even consoled Fry that he knew what it was like to have a dream that would never come true.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Mutant Atomic Supermen that the Professor created are never seen or mentioned again after this episode.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Bubblegum, celebrating an idea that might solve the chroniton problem, makes everyone in the room with him an honorary Globetrotter (The Professor, Amy, Hermes, Doctor Zoidberg). Bender hears this, but arrives just too late.
    • Happens to Fry, over and over again. One of the Time Skips has him finally get married to Leela, only for her to instantly divorce him and when he finally discovers what it was that made Leela finally love him, it's blown up before she can see it.
  • Your Mom: Referenced in this exchange:
    Leela: I don't know how you did it, Fry, but once again you screwed up. Now all the planets are gonna be cracking wise about our mommas.
    Hermes: I'm just glad my fat, ugly mama isn't alive to see this.
    Professor Farnsworth: Enough about your promiscuous mother, Hermes. We've got bigger problems.