God, last seen on the episode "Godfellas" presents Futurama reincarnated in three art styles:
Child Labor Syndicate Presents: "Colorama: In Glorious Black and White": The first segment sees Futurama as a rubber-hosed cartoon from the early 1930s a la Fleischer Studios note .
Professor Farnsworth discovers a comet made of diamondium, the hardest substance in the universe, and sends the crew to gather diamond dust from the comet's tail to polish a doomsday device. Fry sneaks onto the surface of the comet and finds a large gem, which he hopes to give to Leela as an engagement ring. Fry plants the Professor's doomsday device on the comet and brings Leela to the balcony of the Planet Express building, thinking the resulting explosion will dislodge the gem and send it flying to land on her finger. It instead splits the comet in half, with one half flying towards the sun and creating a rainbow, and the other half flying into the rainbow and creating an entirely new color. Leela marvels at the beautiful sight, depicted entirely in grayscale. Before Fry can propose to Leela, the comet crumbles to dust that falls onto the Planet Express building, crystallizing and trapping Fry and Leela in a giant diamond. One billion years later, an alien proposes to his alien girlfriend with a ring containing the diamond in which Fry and Leela are trapped.
"Future Challenge 3000": The second segment sees Futurama as a low-resolution video game from the early 1980s (think something from Atari or Coleco Vision), a la the short-lived animated sitcom Code Monkeys.
Using the debris from the diamondium comet from the previous segment, Professor Farnsworth creates a microscope lens powerful enough to find the smallest unit of matter, which is depicted as a single black pixel. The Professor forms a scientific equation explaining the mysteries of the universe from this single unit, only to become depressed upon realizing that there are no further scientific questions to answer. Fry cheers him up by saying that he has yet to solve why the laws of the universe are what they are and not something else, thus giving scientists a reason to keep looking for answers about the universe.
"Action Delivery Force": The final segment sees Futurama re-imagined as a Japanese cartoon (particularly the stiffly-animated, badly-dubbed, and clumsily-Americanized Japanese cartoons from the 1970s).
A race of gelatinous aliens who can only communicate through body language is angered by the destruction of the diamondium comet, which they worship as a god, and attack Earth in retaliation. The Planet Express crew attempt to relay a message of peace, but cannot communicate with the aliens properly due to both the humans' and aliens' inability to understand the other's language. Doctor Zoidberg successfully persuades the aliens to leave by shedding his shell and performing an intricate dance universally symbolizing peace, which is depicted as Zoidberg merely standing still while the camera pans across his body.
This episode contains examples of:
- Call-Back: The "God" entity from "Godfellas" introduces the episode.
- Futurama shown as an early 1930s cartoon (complete with a title screen that has Fry and Bender on it) was last shown on the second movie, The Beast With a Billion Backs.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: The Quirky Sci-fi Sitcom becomes an old fashioned cartoon, an 8-bit game and a action packed Anime.
- Running Gag: All three segments attempt to depict an important element of the story on screen in spite of the animation style making it completely impossible to do so; "Colorama" shows the invention of a new color despite the entire story being Deliberately Monochrome, "Future Challenge 3000" depicts the smallest unit of matter (described as being extremely intricate) as a single pixel along with representing the equation as indecipherable, and "Action Delivery Force" has Zoidberg's dance of peace reduced to him apparently standing still and posing due to the stiff animation.
- Series Fauxnale: The third one.note
"Colorama" contains examples of:
- Deliberately Monochrome: Justified, as it's an homage to the early theatrical cartoons that were in black and white.
- Everything Dances: The buildings in the city, until the rainbow appears.
- Heart Beats out of Chest: Fry's heart beats out of his chest, and goes so far it beats through Bender's chest some distance away.
- Hypocritical Humor: When Fry and Leela are on the balcony and everything, including the very building they're standing on, is happily bouncing about.Leela: I love this time of day. It's always so still.
- Inkblot Cartoon Style: The segment is animated as an old cartoon from the 1920s and 1930s, specifically revealed in marketing to be those done by Fleischer Studios. The entire thing is in monochrome, and the characters are redesigned to have Rubber Hose Limbs, pie eyes, rounder features, and white Mickey Mouse-style gloves. Jazz music from the 1920s was also licensed for use in this segment.
- Shown Their Work: The part where Fry walks on the diamondium comet is filmed in the same way they did 3-D animation back in the 1930s at Fleischer Studios (where a real model was built and the two-dimensional character is animated on top of it. Back then, it was known as "stereoptical animation").
- Time Skip: The ending to the segment takes place one billion years in the future.
"Future Challenge 3000" contains examples of:
- Heroic BSoD: The Professor when he realizes that his discovery means that there are literally no more questions to be asked.
- Shout-Out: To many early-to-mid 1980s arcade games.
"Action Delivery Force" contains examples of:
- Anime Hair: Naturally Fry's hair is exaggerated for this effect.
- Continuity Lockout: Parodied with characters constantly referring previous dramatic revelations, including Leela having a brother who turned to evil, with nary an explanation.
- Hong Kong Dub: Parodied. When Amy is saying that the aliens speak with dancing instead of Japanese, an obviously male voice shouts "English!" over "Japanese". Furthermore, when Zoidberg is talking at the end after the aliens leave, his mouth stops moving midway through his sentence.
- Merchandise-Driven: Bender is instead "Mighty Merchandising Robot".
- My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: Fry and Bender try to dance a message of piece to the aliens, but it instead comes out as..."Hey aliens, we will kill you, and dishonor your widows...by making them gather wood."
- Reaction Shot: Also parodied, with anything shocking being immediately followed by the characters surprised faces and vocalizations one at a time.
- Recycled Animation: The space battle sequence uses the clip of various spacecraft exploding twice. In a row.
- Shout-Out: The various music cues come from localized anime of the 70s and 80s, including Voltron, Robotech and Battle of the Planets.
- Thinly-Veiled Dub Country Change: Parodied when the aliens attack various obviously Japanese landmarks, yet the location text claims they're located in the US.