The only show broadcast at the speed of light
Calculon (who died in "The Thief of Baghead" and lost to Langdon Cobb) is backed-up and put back into his old body so he can return to All My Circuits, only to learn that his over-the-top acting is over-the-hill.
- To "The Thief of Baghead", where Calculon killed himself in a failed attempt to win an acting competition by making a death scene more realistic a year prior.
- Also to "Ghost In The Machines", where Calculon is seen as a robot ghost who can only interact with the Robot Devil.
- Continuity Nod: Caculon is shown to still have a photo of Coilette in his suitcase, who was Bender's Gender Bender form that he fell in love with in "Bend Her"
- Counting to Potato: The Robot Devil challenges Fry to "think of a number between one and three" as a challenge with the prize being Calculon's freedom. Fry initially guesses four, then settles on M.Robot Devil: Yes. The number I was thinking of was the letter M.
- Cruel to Be Kind: Leela gives an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech to break Calculon's ego and have him act without the ham.
- The Diva: Even as a minor character, Calculon demands extravagant perks.
- Dull Surprise: Compared to Calculon's Large Ham acting, Vaxtron's acting is more laid back and not as emotional. When he hears his girlfriend is pregnant, with someone else's child, he just coolly replies "Okey doke."
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Robot Devil can't stand Calculon's one-man show, which has been received poorly on Earth, and thinks that's too much for the robots suffering in Robot Hell.Calculon: So, what do you say, R.D.? Shall I dazzle the damned with a command performance of my one-man show?
Robot Devil: (aghast) Oh, God! Haven't they suffered enough!?
- Heel Realization: Calculon's scene parallels Calculon finding out what people really thought of him.Monique: Oh, Calculon, I wish you had never escaped from those brutal crab fishermen. I want you to know I didn't wait for you, not even for one day.Calculon: Then I suppose the honorable thing would be to kill myself. I thought I could just step back into my old life. But it seems the world got on fine without me. Maybe even a little bit better. The name Calculon used to mean something. Now it's a stain that will never wash clean. Farewell.
- Killed Off for Real: After being brought back to life and doing a spectacular job at acting out an All My Circuits scene where his long-lost character commits suicide, Calculon gets accidentally squished by the studio equipment. He does not get revived again.
- Large Ham: Calculon's Kryptonite, along with his ego.
- Magic from Technology: Parodied. Downloading a robot's AI into its old body is disturbingly reminiscent of a necromancy ritual. It involves placing the body within a pentagram of wireless hubs, playing the installation disk backwards (which plays the message "Rise from the dead in the name of Satan") and taking a spare circuit board from a sacrificed robot goat. Amy explains the process is like magic, but with electricity. Hermes lampshades the entire process.Hermes: Seriously, this could not seem less scientific!
- Possibly justified as Farnsworth originally created the basis for modern robots when working for Mom; it's entirely possible he deliberately programmed this method for the hell of it.
- Mechanical Animals: Part of the ritual for reviving Calculon involves taking a spare circuit board from a slaughtered mechanical goat.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Calculon's disguise as "Mr. Ben Derisgreat" only consists of a mustache and an extra robot ear. Arguably somewhat justified, since he's auditioning to replace the "real" Calculon, so it would make sense for an actor resembling him to show up.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech:Leela: I'm sorry, Calculon, but someone needs to remind you of the truth. You're a grade-B actor who died and was immediately forgotten... You're nothing but a pompous windbag who lost touch with genuine emotion years ago. The sad fact is, we should have left you dead, because you can't possibly do a scene like this.
- Replacement Scrappy: In-Universe, Vaxtron is this for Calculon in All My Circuits. He's a very dull actor compared to the Large Ham and Bender and Fry both hate him for it. Leela likes his subtlety, though.
- Running Gag: Calculon repeatedly does a dramatic... PAUSE! During his dialogue.
- Seasonal Rot: In-universe, opinions are split on Vaxtron being introduced as Calculon's replacement. Leela likes Vaxtron's acting more than Calculon's, but Fry and Bender dislike him, saying that he is the reason the show is terrible now.
- Shout-Out: Calculon's one man show is about the HAL-9000, in the style of Hal Holbrook's Mark Twain one man show.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Calculon's Heel Realization is that he wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things.
- Tempting Fate: Calculon on his HAL-9000 one man show's reviews:Fry: Oh, yeah, I get a good feeling about these. "Worst play in history." "Calculon dies for second time." "Theater to be demolished to remove stink of new show."Bender: "12 hospitalized for boredom at play." It says nine of them are gonna be okay.Calculon: So they really didn't like it. They hated my acting.Fry: Not entirely. I mean, "Worst play in history"-- there's some ambiguity there.
- Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: Calculon is so unpleasant to the Robot Devil that he immediately takes any chance to get the guy back out of Hell.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The executives see Calculon has come back from the dead and barely question it, simply offering him some water.