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Recap / Futurama S 4 E 9 Teenage Mutant Leelas Hurdles

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Now interactive! Joystick controls Fry's left ear

A close encounter with rejuvenating tar at a Neptunian spa regresses the Planet Express staff back to their early teens (except for Professor Farnsworth, starts out as a 53-year-old before regressing to a child). While the Professor tries to find a cure, Leela returns to the sewers so she can have the teen experience with her mom and dad that she never did the first time around.


  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Pazuzu shows up at the very end to save Farnsworth from the Fountain of Aging.
  • All Myths Are True: Leela finds out about the Fountain of Aging from "A Child's Garden of Space Legends" and tells Farnsworth about it.
    Farnsworth: The Fountain of Aging? Hmm. It is just a legend. Still, they called the Tooth Fairy a legend, and now he's head of the FBI!
  • Ambiguously Evil: Pazuzu is heavily implied to be plotting something nefarious, but we never get any concrete proof.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After hiding under the crew's rocket ship, the Professor's gargoyle comes to save his master from the Fountain Of Aging.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Zoidberg's "teenage heartthrob" phase of life bears a strong resemblance to a cuttlefish, while his even earlier phase looks similar to a sponge or tunicate.note 
  • Body Horror: One of the Professor's youth-a-sizing involves him being massaged so hard his skin starts to liquefy. A subversion, in that he actually finds it relaxing.
  • Boyish Shorts: This is mostly averted with the aged down crew; Fry and Hermes are shown in long pants, while the Professor is an adult. However, Hermes is briefly shown in shorts with a sailor top when they're small kids, Fry wears shortalls on the way to the Fountain of Aging as a toddler, and young Professor Farnsworth wears shorts with a button shirt and bow, high socks, and black shoes in the more nerdy/old-fashioned style at the fountain (before returning to pants before he goes into the fountain with the infant rest of the crew).
  • Can't Get in Trouble for Nuthin': Leela and Fry accidentally demolish much of the mutant's school. Leela's parents aren't remotely bothered, and the teachers don't seem to have any reaction either.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Pazuzu disappears after the first five seconds of the episode, only to reappear after the characters and audience have forgotten about him in order to save the Professor from the Fountain of Aging.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Morris tries to give his now teenaged daughter alcohol. Leela's protest results in him adding a silly straw to the bottle.
  • Continuity Nod: The tar contains chronotons, the particles from "Time Keeps on Slipping" that causes time to skip.
  • Death by Cameo: Deep Space Nine appears and is promptly blown up by the Professor using the ship's high beams.
  • Death by De-aging: The Professor's cure for the Fountain of Youth backfires as they don't just become younger, but keep de-aging. They have to get to the Fountain of Aging to not de-age out of existence.
  • Dirty Old Man: The Professor's immediate complaint on learning he's been de-aged to fifty-three? "Now I'll need a fake I.D. to rent ultra-porn..."
  • Disney Death: Zoidberg falls into the Fountain of Aging and promptly dissolves into dust. It's then revealed it wasn't actually Zoidberg, but one of his brothers instead.
  • Dying Curse: Played for Laughs. When the Professor is about to drown, he screams: "With my last breath, I curse Zoidberg!"
  • Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity: While de-aged, the crew acts like the teenagers/children that they look like. Averted with Zoidberg, who behaves the same regardless of age.
  • Exposition Already Covered: When searching for the Fountain of Aging, Farnsworth and Leela notice everything in the solar system they're currently in is getting older the closer they get to an ancient, burnt-out sun. Before Farnsworth could state the Fountain of Aging is located on the burnt-out sun, Leela beats him to it, which angers him.
    Farnsworth: News flash! Everything's getting older the closer we get to that ancient, burnt-out sun.
    Leela: Dude, the Fountain of Aging must be on the sun itself.
    Farnsworth: Shut up! I was gonna say that!
  • Fanservice: When all return to normal age, their clothes (minus Leela) are all ripped. And Amy is barely covered by some shred.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Pre-life! Then death.
  • Fountain of Youth: The tar, obviously. One of the Professor's cures causes those exposed to further regress. This is solved by the Fountain of Aging.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: Leela is forced to choose between reliving her childhood with her parents or saving her friends from Death by De-aging. She chooses her friends.
  • Good Parents: Leela's mom states that if Leela really wants to move in with them as a teenager, she states they'll try their best to respect her independence and boundaries. Hilariously, Leela demands they don't as she wants the typical adolescent experience of strict, nagging, controlling parents. Which her father responds to by offering her tequila.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: Heather, the "youthacizer" at the spa. As a Neptunian, she has four arms and purple skin, but is still quite good-looking by the standards of Groening's animation style.
  • Grumpy Old Man: The Professor, willingly.
    Farnsworth: I don't have time for this! I have to go buy a single piece of fruit with a coupon and then return it, making people wait behind me while I complain!
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Parodied with Teddy-Bear Junction, "the worst scum-hole in the universe".
  • I Want Grandkids: Inez Wong still really wants grandchildren (despite, y'know, already having them, though she probably means "human grandchildren" and doesn't count the offspring Kif made since Leela is biologically the mother). She's annoyed by Amy being de-aged.
  • Inopportune Voice Cracking: Fry, as a teen.
  • Jerkass: Leo Wong, taunting his de-aged daughter about being chubby again.
    Leo: "Stay in room"? You so fat, you gonna stay all around room!
  • Last Grasp at Life: The Professor's raised fist while uttering his Dying Curse.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The title gives away that Leela has since discovered she isn't actually an alien, but a mutant.
  • Merlin Sickness: The entire Planet Express team starts aging backwards until they face a Fate Worse than Death: pre-life! Then death.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The Professor goes bathing naked in searing hot tar, despite being told it's a bad idea.
    Heather: Sir, it's not necessary, or wise to be naked.
    Farnsworth: You sound just like my tennis instructor.
  • Noodle Incident: The Professor paying for Pazuzu to go to college, and the time The Professor was told by his tennis instructor that it's not necessary or wise to be naked.
  • Permissive Parents: Leela's parents are willing to let their de-aged daughter have an independent life but Leela actually wants the strict parenting a teenager normally gets. Leela's dad responds by giving her a bottle of tequila with a crazy straw.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: In his hunt for Pazuzu, the Professor takes over flying the Planet Express ship, dismissing Leela's demand to drive.
    Professor: I'm trying to catch a monster, not find the quickest route to the mall!
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Zoidberg is shown going through different transformations before reaching his adult form. The flashbacks from Zoidberg's youth in "That's Lobstertainment!" showed that Decapodian children are miniature versions of adults. One possible explanation is that Zoidberg's various larval stages are from a point before he 'evolved' into the more familiar humanoid form.
    • Similarly, in "Bendless Love", Bender's recollection of his "birth" shows him being fully assembled already as an adult. Possibly justified as a either a false memory or him getting a new body, and later a flashback in "Lethal Inspection" shows that Bender was originally built with an infant body.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Stink Snub: Little Amy tells little Hermes that he stinks.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid / Wide-Eyed Idealist: Young Bender.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The entire episode is revealed to be Pazuzu recounting to his son how he got his freedom.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Rascals".
  • Youthful Freckles: Teen Leela has these.