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Recap / Futurama S 3 E 7 The Day The Earth Stood Stupid

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When giant brains attack the Earth, Leela learns that there may be more to her pet Nibbler than she thought. She also learns that the planet's only chance of survival lies in the hands of Fry!


  • Aerith and Bob: With the Nibblonians, we have Nibbler, then Fiona and Ken. They were using fake names for Leela's benefit.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: The Brain Spawn destroy planets just because they can't stand listening to the thoughts of other sapient species.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Played for Laughs. When Zoidberg pretends to be Bender's pet during the pet show, Bender verbally abuses him, attacks him with a whip and threatens to have him spayed.
  • Big Eater: It's a trait of all Nibblonians, as demonstrated by the Feast of a Thousand Hams, which they finish in seconds.
  • Big "NO!": Stupid Leela lets out a Big No when Fry dies in the book he writes, while the Big Brain gives an Evil Laugh.
  • Brain Monster: The Brain Spawn.
  • Captain Obvious: Leela and Farnsworth, both made dumb by the Brains, when they try to retrieve a note from the fireplace.
    Leela: Ow! Fire hot!
    Prof. Farnsworth: The Professy will help. [Reaches in, his sleeve catches fire] Yaah! Fire indeed hot!
  • Disability Immunity: As the Brainspawn render people stupid by attacking the delta brainwave that facilitates higher intelligence, Fry is immune to their influence as he doesn't have a delta brainwave, but has somehow cobbled together a random assortment of other brainwaves into a working mind.
  • Dunce Cap: Nibbler wins a conical hat for being the Dumbest Pet in Show. The hat has the word "DUMB" written on it.
  • The Exact Center of Everything: At the very centre of the universe lies Planet Eternium, home-world of the oldest race of aliens in the universe in the Nibblonians.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Big Brain plans to trap Fry and Leela inside a book. Fry manages to turn this around, trapping the Brain in a book he wrote ("A crummy world full of plot holes and spelling errors!").
  • Fence Painting: Tom Sawyer manages to trick the Big Brain of all beings into doing this.
    Brain: Tom Sawyer, you tricked me! This activity has been less fun than previously indicated.
  • Fish Eyes: Stupid Bender briefly sports these as he suggests joining the Reform Party.
  • Flight: The Brain Spawn can all fly.
  • Forgetful Jones: Everyone becomes this after being stupidified by the Brain Spawn. Bender in particular keeps forgetting that he's a robot, even seconds after Fry reminded him.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Nibbler's true name takes longer than the lifespan of a trillion universes to say, so he chooses to go by his Earth name while time is of the essence. Leela thinks that's adorable.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: Due to the effects of the Brain Spawn's stupid-rays, no one except Fry and the Nibblonians can recall how Earth was attacked. Fry tried to explain what happened, but no one cared enough to listen to him.
  • Had the Silly Thing in Reverse: Fry addresses the now stupidified citizens of New New York by megaphone, only he's holding it backwards. A pigeon flies in and squaks into the megaphone, knocking Fry on his ass.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Fry uses the Big Brain's Portal Book powers against him, writing his own book about how the Brain wins and leaves Earth for no reason, then tricking the Big Brain into acting it out.
  • Hulk Speak: Several people talk this way after being turned stupid by the Brain Spawn.
  • Hypnotic Creature: The creature that wins the pet competition is - THE HYPNOTOAD! ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: The Hypnotoad, which uses them to cheat in a sheep herding contest, along with brainwashing the judges.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Fry shouts at the dumbed-down New New Yorkers to "Stop acting so stupid!"... through the wrong end of a megaphone.
  • Idiot Ball: Everyone on Earth becomes stupid due to the Brain Spawn. Fry, who is already The Ditz, is the only one immune.
  • Incoming Ham: "I'M A GIGANTIC BRAIN!"
    Other Party Guest: Most ungentleman-like.
  • Kick the Dog: The pet show creates a special award of "World's Dumbest Pet" just to give it to Nibbler and laugh at Leela. They are promptly hypnotized by Hypnotoad afterwards.
  • Large Ham: The Big Brain is very loud and dramatic.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Leela loses all her memories of Nibbler's true nature and the Brain Spawn as a result of their stupidification abilities.
  • Loophole Abuse: Given Captain Ahab and Queequeg both assume the Big Brain is a whale, Fry throws some of Tom Sawyer's white paint over it. This is enough to convince them that the Big Brain is Moby Dick, and they start trying to slay it.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Big Brain's tactic to stop Fry and Leela is to strand them mentally inside a book. Fry uses this to defeat the Big Brain, trapping his foe in a book Fry wrote himself.
  • Medal of Dishonor: At the pet competition, Leela and Nibbler get the prize for Dumbest Pet in Show.
  • Nap-Inducing Speak: At the end of the episode, the entire Planet Express crew falls asleep while Hermes is giving a meeting, which is ironically about employee sleep during meetings.
  • No Name Given: The female Nibblonian and the male Nibblonian who give all of the exposition. According to the production crew, their names are Fiona and Ken.
  • Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond: The general situation in the second half of the episode has Fry's below-average intelligence turning him into a bulwark of wisdom in an environment of monosyllabic dullards.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: After Fry comments about how much he loves the invisible dog leash gag, the invisible dog bites him.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Nibbler's been pretending to be an idiot for the whole time he's been with the Planet Express Crew.
  • Only Sane by Comparison: Although Fry is usually the show's main ditz, when earth is invaded by the Brain Spawn, Fry's lack of a delta brainwave makes him the only person on the planet who is immune to their powers, which turn everyone else into brainless morons. Although he's still very much an Idiot Hero, he's the only person who can save the day by default. It's best demonstrated when he yells at the people of New New York to stop acting so stupid through the wrong end of a megaphone.
  • Overly Long Name: According to Nibbler, his actual name is so complex that pronouncing a single letter would take enough time for a trillion universes to be born and die.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Stupid Hermes thinks he made himself invisible by hiding his face with a wooden board.
    • The Big Brain, on entering the books, doesn't bother to disguise itself very much, if at all.
  • Pet Contest Episode: The beginning of this episode has a pet show. Leela enters Nibbler, despite him not knowing any tricks or having any real training. He ends up winning the award for "Dumbest Animal in Show" and gets a Dunce Cap as a "prize". Bender enters Doctor Zoidberg (who is a fully sentient Humanoid Alien) into the show with the intent of splitting the prize with Zoidberg. Bender gets the cash prize, Zoidberg gets the year supply of dogfood. Zoidberg comes in second place, which wins them an afghan (blanket) made from an afghan (dog breed). First prize is naturally claimed by our glorious lord and master, the Hypnotoad.
  • Portal Book: The Big Brain tries to destroy Fry and Leela by taking them into various books, like Tom Sawyer, Pride and Prejudice, and Moby-Dick.
  • The Reveal: Nibbler isn't an animal, but a benevolent Eldritch Abomination who is seventeen years older than the universe itself and is a member of a species that has been waging war against the Brain Spawn for billions of years.
  • Rewriting Reality: Fry does this to beat the Big Brain by trapping it in the book he writes, "full of plot holes and spelling errors".
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Nibblonians. And they hate it.
    Leela: Aww, you're all so cute!
    Ken: No, we're not. We're an ancient and powerful race.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: Lampshaded by Fry, describing his own writing. Even more hilariously, the Big Brain begins speaking with these spelling errors.
    Big Brain: The Big Brain am winning again! I am the greetest! Now I am leaving Earth for no raisin!
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Bender is not pleased that Zoidberg only got second at the pet show.
    Bender: Second place? That's a fancy word for losing!
  • Simpleton Voice: Leela after getting stupefied.
  • Smart Ball: Fry, oddly enough. He manages to defeat the Big Brain on his own with a plan he devises himself.
  • Stupid Scientist: Farnsworth becomes this due to the Brain Spawn.
  • Stylistic Suck: The story Fry writes to trap the Big Brain. While we don't see it directly, we see the Big Brain acting it out, complete with grammar and spelling errors.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Nibbler speaks coherently for the first of several times in the series. He is voiced by Frank Welker, who also does his noises.
  • Take That!:
    • When everyone becomes stupid, Farnsworth says he wants to play the lottery, Amy suggests buying Internet stock and Zoidberg adds, "On margin. Zoidy wants to buy on margin!"
    • When Fry realizes that everyone has become stupid, Bender announces "Let's all join the Reform Party!" On Comedy Central, the line is changed to "Let's all join the Tea Party."
    • "The Brain Spawn hate all consciousness. The thoughts of others screech at them like the forced laughs of a billion art-house movie patrons."
    • Upon learning that thinking hurts the Big Brain, Fry looks for the right book to do the job. He rejects Nancy Drew for being too highbrow and The Hardy Boys for being too lowbrownote  before settling on The Bonfire of the Vanities, which causes the Brain to scream in agony.
    • The Big Brain takes shots at both Moby-Dick and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, describing the first as a "dense, symbolist tome" and the second as a "corny slice of Americana".
    • Nibbler telling the story of the creation of the universe and the meaning of existence causes Leela to remark "So every religion is wrong!"
  • Third-Person Person: This is how several people talk after they are rendered stupid by the Brain Spawn.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: This is the episode that introduces the concept of the delta brainwave and Fry not having it, which makes him Immune to Mind Control. Fry may normally be an idiot, but when everything more sophisticated than the average tree is out of commission, he's practically Einstein.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Brain Spawn turn people stupid to a lethal degree. For example, Hermes was about to drown himself by continuously staring up at a shower with his mouth open until Fry adjusts him (this is based on the myth that turkeys are so stupid that when it rains they will drown themselves by staring up with their beaks open). It's implied this is what caused the destruction of the other planets the Brain Spawn passed through on their way to Earth.
  • Translator Microbes: When Nibbler arrives at the Nibblonian home world, he and the other Nibblonians transmit their thoughts directly into Leela's mind so that it appears that they are speaking her language.
  • The Unpronounceable: Nibbler still calls himself that for Leela's sake. "In the time it would take to pronounce one letter of my true name, a trillion cosmoses would flare into existence and sink into eternal night."
  • The Unreveal: Nibbler explains how the universe began to Leela, something that proves every major religion wrong, but since he's speaking his own language, we don't hear the explanation (and Leela apparently forgets it after the crisis is over).
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: None of the party guests in Pride and Prejudice seem to care that there's a giant brain at the party, just that he's not a proper gentleman.
  • Wham Episode: The biggest one in the show so far. Nibbler is sapient, can communicate with others, is billions of years old, is in a never ending war with floating evil brains, and the only one who can stop the brains is Fry.
  • You No Take Candle: This is how people talk after getting stupidified. Also the Big Brain after Fry traps him in the world of the book he wrote.


Video Example(s):


Fire Hot!

While under the effects of flying brains making them dumb, Leela reaches into a fire, only to burn herself and exclaim, "Fire hot!". The "professy" reaches into the fire too and says, "Fire indeed hot".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / IgnorantAboutFire

Media sources: