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Recap / Futurama S 3 E 20 Godfellas

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A battle with Space Pirates ends with Bender being shot into space. While Fry does everything in his power to find his lost friend, Bender becomes the subject of worship from a species of tiny organisms that start to grow on his body.


Tropes:

  • An Aesop:
    • If you do too much for others, they become overly reliant on you, and if you do too little people, lose hope.
    • Don't expect recognition from others when you do the right thing.
      Galactic Entity: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
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    • Additionally, you can't wait for someone else to solve your own problems and have to be willing to face and resolve them yourselves. As Bender himself says at the end of the episode when he decides to save the Monks in the face of Fry musing that their God might send them more shoes to eat if they pray hard enough, "You can't count on God for jack!"
  • Astronomic Zoom: The episode ends with one zooming out from Earth to the Galactic Entity in outer space.
  • Being God Is Hard: Bender's seemingly simple request for beer led to the micro sized aliens having many hardships. And then they waged religious war against the other micro alien colony on Bender that couldn't see him and didn't believe he existed. And then everyone died. Later in the episode Bender met an entity that may or may not be the real God, and shared notes. Conclusion reached:
    Galactic Entity: Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket.
    Bender: Or a guy who burns down a bar for insurance money!
    Galactic Entity:: Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing.
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  • Contrived Coincidence: Fry's prayer to find Bender just happens to reach the God-entity, who happens to have Bender nearby and decides to throw him back to Earth.
    Leela: This is, by a wide margin, the least likely thing that has ever happened.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Subverted. Bender fears a tiny asteroid penetrating his head, but one does and it only slightly hurts him.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The entire plot only happens because Bender thought it would be a good idea to sleep in a torpedo tube during a fight with Space Pirates. Sure enough, he ends up fired out of one and lost in space.
  • Dressed to Plunder: The space pirate captain dresses like a stereotypical sea pirate from the olden days: bicorne hat, ruffled shirt, eye patches over two of his three eyes, wooden pegs replacing three of his four legs, and parrots on three of his four shoulders.
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  • Eating Shoes: After three days locked in the laundry room the monks cook their shoes and eat them.
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: Bender tries to slow down his drifting through space by dumping excess weight. So he starts throwing off the swag he picked up from the Space Pirates.
  • Genius Loci: God is a sapient galaxy. From the shrimpkins' perspective, Bender is also a living world.
  • Giant's Droplet, Human's Shower: Provides the page image. When Bender is moved by the Shrimpkins' pleas, one of his tears accidentally causes a major flood.
  • God Guise: Bender ends up drifting in space, where he becomes God to the Shrimpkins, a race of miniature people who end up settling on his body.
  • God Is Flawed: Bender does try to serve as God to the Shrimpkins, but he inadvertently drives them to extinction.
  • Godly Sidestep: "Godfellas" is this trope in compact-episode form. Bender becomes a god, fails horribly, meets something that might be (or have been) God, and then proceeds to learn the ultimate godly lesson:
    Entity: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
  • Happiness Realized Too Late: Played for Laughs. Following the Space Pirates' attack on the Planet Express Ship, the pirate captain has an epiphany and states, "Too late I realize my children are my only real treasures", right before his ship explodes.
  • Hero with an F in Good: For once, this is Played for Drama. Bender tries to be a decent God to the Shrimpkins, but his own flaws mean he can't properly balance their material and emotional needs, and he ends driving them to self-destruction.
    Bender: (to the Galactic Entity) It was awful. I tried helping them. I tried not helping them but in the end, I couldn't do them any good.
  • Hidden Depths: Bender tries very hard to be compassionate and merciful towards his Shrimpkin followers, in stark contrast to how he usually treats people. Unfortunately his thoughtlessness in attempting to perform miracles leads to the Shrimpkin getting wiped out.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Fry engages in this while refusing to believe that finding Bender is hopeless.
    Fry: You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless. You gotta hope even more and cover your ears and go, "Blah blah blah blah!"
  • Insurance Fraud: Bender gets sent into space and has a brief stint with life forming on his body, note brief, he meets an entity that may or may not be God shortly thereafter. In the conversation that follows, it explains using a "light touch" with creation in terms of "a safe-cracker, or a pickpocket".
    Bender: Or a guy who burns down the bar for the insurance money!
    Galactic Entity: Yes, if he makes it look like an electrical thing. If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Malachi's son, and all the other Shrimpkins, dies this way when the civilization on Bender's ass nukes them.
    Son: Look, daddy! I'm hugging God! Maybe if I hug him real hard he'll save us from-[radioactive shockwave vaporizes them]
  • Kindness Ball: This is easily the most sympathetic Bender has been in any episode. Although he does take advantage of his godhood for booze, he takes no malicious action, regrets even things that accidentally harm others, and at the end goes out of his way to help some people he never even met.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Leela's line under Contrived Coincidence, which the DVD Commentary admits was their way of side-stepping the unlikeliness of it (and Matt Groening calls "hanging a lantern").
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: This is how the godlike entity Bender meets operates. He openly considers the possibilities of being a sufficiently advanced A.I. or an actual Physical God to be equally viable, and a clear answer for what exactly "he" even is is never given to either Bender or the audience.
  • Not Quite the Almighty: Discussed by Bender and the Galactic Entity on whether the Entity is God, or a god-like being that was the result of a probe colliding with God. The Galactic Entity admits both are possible.
  • Nuke 'em: The Shrimpkins gain access to Bender's nuclear stockpile. Their society goes downhill really fast after that.
    Malachi: The time has come to convert the unbelievers!
    Bender: Convert them?
    Malachi: To radioactive vapor!
  • Oh, Crap!: Fry and Leela are shocked after Bender gets fired out of a torpedo tube.
  • Panspermia: The Shrimpkins land on Bender via a meteor chunk he crashed into.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The crew tries to cheer Fry up by giving him a replacement Robot Buddy for missing Bender called "Helper". It doesn't work.
  • Rope Bridge: Subverted. It turns out that the rope bridge to the monastery is actually a moving walkway.
  • Script Wank: The aesop is repeated at the end.
  • Seadog Peg Leg: Space Pirates are featured in the episode. Their captain is a four-legged alien dressed in typical pirate attire, including peg legs for three of his legs.
  • Shadow of Impending Doom: Bender's giant tear casts a menacing shadow before dropping onto the Shrimpkins.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Bender ultimately fails to provide proper guidance to the Shrimpkins, and they wipe themselves out in a nuclear war.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Bender drifting through space while the soundtrack plays Also sprach Zarathustra is a nod to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
    • The idea that "God" might have been "the remains of a space probe that collided with God" is very likely a callout to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Changeling", which focused on a space probe that collided with an alien craft and became a near-godlike entity.
    • The Monks of T'Shuva, who are a monastic order that searches the universe for signs of a creator from a facility in a remote mountain range, seem to be inspired by the Listening Monks from the Discworld novel Soul Music.
  • Single-Precept Religion: When Bender is being worshiped by tiny aliens, he issues only one Commandment: God Needs Booze.
  • Space Friction: Bender slows himself down in space by spinning.
  • Space Pirates. In the opening, the Planet Express crew is attacked by an alien pirate embodying every stereotype about the Golden Age of Piracy — complete with multiple peg legs, eyepatches and parrots — but in space.
  • Space "X": The space pirate captain demands that the Planet Express crew hand over the space doubloons, or else he'll shoot them with his space cannons.

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