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Recap / Futurama S3 E15: "I Dated a Robot"

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No humans were probed in the making of this episode

Fry discovers a website where you can download a copy of a celebrity's personality into a blank robot, and gets himself a Lucy Liu-bot (voiced by Lucy Liu herself). The two form a relationship, much to Bender's ire, leading the others to shut down Nappster.com, only to learn the site's dark secret.

Tropes

  • All Gays Love Theater: In the propaganda film, the narrator explains that all societal advancements were an effort to impress the opposite sex, showing aspects of society like "SPORTS" and "SCIENCE" crumbling onscreen. He then adds, "And sometimes the same sex," and the word "DRAMA" crumbles onscreen.
  • Amusing Injuries: Fry gets his hands bitten off by a T. rex.
  • And I Must Scream: All the celebrities' heads have been imprisoned at "Nappster.com" for over 800 years. Whenever someone downloads a copy of them, they're subjected to extreme painful electric shocks.
  • Asshole Victim: Among the casualties in the Liu-bot rampage is Zapp Brannigan, a man infamous for his sexist and overtly womanizing attitude towards women, especially to Leela.
  • Ass Pull: In-Universe, played for laughs by the episode of "The Scary Door", which drops multiple absurd plot twists with no foreshadowing whatsoever. A bored Bender simply claims he saw it coming.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": The Charlie's Angels film Fry and Liu-bot go to see has Liu's character speaking in a stilted manner, compared to the rest of her lines as Liu.
  • Balloon Belly: The crew kills one of the Liu-bots by getting her snagged on a fire hydrant; Bender opens it up, making her inflate with water until she explodes.
  • Capture and Replicate: Nappster (actually Kidnappster) keeps celebrity heads in order to make copies of their personalities in robots for consumers. In this case, the buyers know they're buying fakes, but not that the originals are being held captive and painfully shocked whenever a copy is made.
  • Cliché Storm: In-universe, Fry and his Liu-bot go to see a Charlie's Angels film. From what is seen, it's not a cinematic masterpiece.
  • Continuity Nod: The hygiene propaganda film is sponsored by the Space Pope, who is reptilian like Bender said in "A Bicyclops Built For Two."
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • The Professor keeps a copy of "DON'T DATE ROBOTS!" in the VCR at all times.
    • Kidnappster.com have a special computer terminal and backup disk set aside solely for controlling every Liu-bot.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Nappster has apparently moved on from illegal MP3 sharing to kidnapping celebrity heads and selling copies of their personalities for robots.
  • Dirty Old Woman:
    • Madeline Albright's Head, which therefore applies to her robot duplicates. When a nerd gets her instead of Lucy Liu, she takes in the scene (he's set up a candlelight dinner for two) and rolls with the situation.
    • Lucy Liu's Head too, given she openly ogles Bender.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bender describes Fry's romance with the Lucy Liu-bot as "having metal fever" and bemoans humans taking "all of the good robot sisters".
  • Downer Ending: Fry ultimately has to erase his Liu-bot's mind and is left utterly heartbroken.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: One of Fry's fantasies is to destroy a planet ("What did they ever do for me?!"). Fortunately, in the 30th century, this is easily done and is considered utterly humdrum.
  • Edible Ammunition: When the crew gets cornered in a projection booth, they dump a giant bag of uncooked popcorn onto the Liu-bots. The bots then eat the corn and spit it out at an alarming rate. Fry's Lucy Liu-bot saves the day by turning the projector onto the evil copies, which heats up the popcorn inside and makes them explode.
  • Extinct Animal Park: Parodied. Fry visits a "Jurassic Kiddie Park" where he rides a T. rex and feeds it a small pig; unfortunately, he forgets to hold his hands flat and gets them bitten off.
  • Future Imperfect: The 20th and 21st centuries are remembered as the time when boy bands roamed the Earth.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: All the evil Liu-bots are dressed entirely in black leather.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Fry's Liu-bot gets battered to pieces destroying the other Liu-bots.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Bender lecturing Fry on the unethicality of human/robot dating at the end, right before leaving with Lucy Liu's head. Bender even tells Fry not to be a prude when the latter tries to protest!
    • Leela as well, given that she scolds Bender for complaining about Fry's choices, and then declares Fry's choice was wrong, "so it's time to interfere with his life."
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: Liu-bot's last words to Fry as she's dying: "I'll always remember you, Fry. MEMORY DELETED."
  • Insult Backfire: Bender calls the guy at the Kidnappster desk a "fat, internet nerd". Since the guy is a fat internet nerd, he doesn't mind.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Being of Inconceivable Horror.
  • Never My Fault: The Nappster leader blames Leela, Bender and Zoidberg for uncovering the sign to "Kidnappster", despite uncovering the sign himself.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Inflicted on Zoidberg, by one of the evil Liu-bots.
    Leela: And Nappster says illegal copies never hurt anybody.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Bender quickly gets sick of seeing Alternate Universe Bender "lording" his cowboy hat over him.
  • Pet the Dog: Lucy Liu's Head stands as one of the few beings in Futurama to give Zoidberg a genuine compliment, after the first Liu-bot is destroyed.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Zoidberg manages to give one to an evil Liu-bot, complete with snippy claw-snapping at them.
  • Robosexual: Between Fry and his Lucy Liu-bot. Relationships between robots and humans are actually seen in-universe as a bad thing, with a propaganda film showing the negative effects. At the end, between Bender and Lucy Liu's head.
  • Robosexuals Are Creeps: The Planet Express crew is disgusted by Fry dating a Lucy Liu-bot, and they show him a propaganda film to try (and fail) to make him stop.
  • Robo Speak:
    • Lucy Liu-bot occasionally slips into this.
      Lucy Liu-bot: Oh, Fry. I love you more than the moon and the stars and the- POETIC IMAGE NUMBER 37 NOT FOUND.
    • Meanwhile, the evil Liu-bots speak entirely like this.
      Evil Liu-bot: I AM LUCY LIU. GIVE ME YOUR SPINES.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Fry rides the T. rex at Jurassic Kiddie Park, which even has the sign in front matching the park's front gate in the film.
    • When they first arrive in the internet, Fry and Leela walk past a pair of nerds in the middle of a Kirk versus Picard debate.
    • "Stay away from our women! You got metal fever, boy!"
    • Bender channels Archie Bunker in one scene, even sitting in a replica of his easy chair. Leela joins in, and Zoidberg becomes convinced they actually are the Bunkers, complimenting Leela for "finally standing up" to Bender.
    • In the propaganda film, the robot comes in the form of Marilyn Monroe, dressed a la The Seven Year Itch.
    • When the Planet Express crew escape with Lucy Liu's head, the fat internet nerd laments that they were foiled by "those meddling adults".
    • The opening Scary Door segment directly references multiple specific classic Twilight Zone episodes.
    • There are several nods to the real Lucy Liu's career, including the Charlie's Angels franchise of films and her role on Ally McBeal.
  • Space Whale Aesop: In-universe, "Don't Date Robots!" posits that people being able to date robots will lead to the collapse of human civilization, because they're not having sex, because all human civilization is really a desperate attempt to attract a mate. It also throws in that aliens will then destroy Earth for no readily apparent reason.
    Narrator: But when a human dates a robot, there is no purpose. Only enjoyment, and that leads to tragedy.
  • Spoof Aesop: Violating copyrights is wrong because it causes physical agony to the artists.
  • Stylistic Suck: Fry and his Lucy Liu-bot go to see Charlie's Angels III: The Legend of Charlie's Gold, which involves incredibly stilted acting, vampires, and exploding vampires.
  • Take That!:
    • When visiting Nappster, Fry dismisses the idea of a Gwyneth Paltrow-bot on the grounds that he heard "she drinks human blood".
    • During the propaganda film, it states that all human civilization was just an effort to impress the opposite sex, except theatre, which was made to impress the same sex.
  • Tearing Through the Movie Screen: During the climax, the army of Lucy Liu robots march and tear through a movie screen playing the in-universe Lucy Liu movie Charlie's Angels III.
  • Tears of Awe: Discussed in this episode, which opens with Fry excitedly telling everyone about "A big, floating ball that lit up with every color of the rainbow, plus some new ones that were so beautiful I fell to my knees and cried." Turns out it's a college kid in a costume, advertising for Discount Shoe Outlet.
  • Terrifying Tyrannosaur: Played with. The t. Rex at Jurassic Kiddie Park is clearly trained to give children rides, but it's still prone to eating the non-open hands of anyone who feeds it a snack.
  • Thing-O-Meter: Nappster's "Liu-Mo-Stat", which comes with three settings for their Liu-bots; plucky lawyer (default), icy dominatrix and erotic assassin.
  • This Isn't Heaven: The Scary Door's Clyde Smith isn't in heaven or in hell, he's on an aeroplane. And nobody believes him about the gremlin on the wing because he was Hitler the whole time, and Eva Braun is a giant fly.
    Bender: Saw it comin'!
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Zoidberg gets a few moments of competence and a pretty snappy one-liner.
  • You Meddling Kids: Parodied. The leaders of Nappster.com are teens, making the crew "Meddling adults".

 
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Liu-bots Tearing the Screen

During the climax, the army of Lucy Liu robots march and tear through a movie screen playing the in-universe Lucy Liu movie "Charlie's Angels III".

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