EPISODE REVIEW: Futurama: “In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela” (Season 6, Episode 1)

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Futurama is back, baby! Yeah! Returned from the dead a second time! Back and better than ever! Well, tawdrier than ever, anyway. That’s something, right? But who cares, it’s back! Back! Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Yeah!

I completely forgot about it.

Thus I missed the first episode. I did pick up the second one, though, but it wasn’t any great attempt to watch the premier on my part: I didn’t even know it was coming on. I was bored, I turned on the TV, Futurama was on, I watched it. I went to bed. It wasn’t even until just now that I realized it was a new episode, to be honest. There’s a whole lot of ‘em that I’ve never seen.

See, the thing here is that I was never the biggest of Futurama fans. I was a relative latecomer to the series. I hated the first season, and mostly ignored it until the last few episodes of the final Fox season, and then I began to realize I’d missed something swell, or at least better-than-sucky. I started picking ‘em up in reruns, and on the whole I liked the series. It never quite hit the level of vintage Simpsons, but it was head and shoulders above King of the Hill, and easily superior to the brown, mephitic river of Seth MacFarlane excrement that slowly and chunkily oozes from Fox these days. I thought *one* of the “Movie Episodes” two were “meh,” and one icked me out. The point being that I’m a fan, if not an unblinking, dedicated one. Full disclosure.

Last night’s episode was pretty good, if quite a bit more sexualized than usual (And it’s always been a sexy show). Zap Brannigan dreams of a 1950s adventure series (In Black and White!) called “The Transcredible Adventures of Zapp Branigan” alongside an actress with a big, obviously fake eye strapped to her head like a mask. This is pretty funny, particularly the line “Step away from those hostages, or I’ll shoot you! Like this!” and then he shoots the guy.

Brannigan is summoned to the White House (Another great line: “Mister president, what the hell?”) because a huge “Death Sphere” named “V-Giny” is blowing up planets, and it’s coming to earth. The only scientist with a plan to stop it is Professor Farnsworth. (“You called me Crazy, Nixon! Am I still crazy now that you need Me? The correct answer is ‘Yes!’”) He’s built a small one-man stealth fighter (Bender: “That’s great and all, but how’s this happy meal toy gonna’ stop that thing?”) that can go inside and blow it up.

Zap insists on going along, so Leela has to sit in his lap. The ship goes stealthy - meaning it’s invisible - so all we see is the two of them hovering in a pretty sexual position. (Fry: “Is it just me, or was anyone else aroused and angry?”) They fly off to destroy V’giny, but get shot down and crash on an uncharted, hot planet. Lela is pinned under a tree, so, for reasons that seem good at the time, she and Zap strip down naked and cover their naughty bits with ‘sticky leaves.’ Zap is acting unexpectedly resourceful, nice, and un-Zap-like. A talking snake appears. There’s apples. Zap and Leela - still pinned naked under the tree wearing only a small salad - start to like each other and make out. They watch V’giny destroy the earth. They make out some more and discuss the generations upon generations of incest it’ll take for just the two of them to repopulate the species. They’re both appropriately icked out by that.

Meanwhile, the Professor has learned that ‘V’Giny” (Trek gag #1) is actually two satellites who crashed together and are following a munged version of their programming (Trek gag #2) One was a military satellite, the other was communications. They’re now traveling the universe censoring it, blowing up any smutty planet they come across. (Such as the Nude Beach planet). Farnsworth and the rest attempt to cause a puritan revival on earth so it’ll be spared, but that goes about as far as you’d expect (Nowhere), so they decide to head to the last unspoiled wilderness on earth, an island, where they’ll demonstrate wholesome values (Mostly because Amy keeps trying to talk everyone into an orgy, but no one’s really interested because she’d be there.)

On the island they find….Leela and Zap. Turns out Zap’s been lying the whole time, faked the destruction of the earth ( Zap: “I’m actually pretty proud of that one. I rigged a computer to run a simulation, and the ‘telescope’ was actually just a toilet paper tube you were holding up to a TV screen.” Leela: “Wait, we had toilet paper?”), and kept her deliriously dehydrated so she’d want to do it with him.

V’Giny shows up, and approves of the Adam and Eve couple, and threatens to blow up the world if the two of them don’t consummate their relationship. “Well, I guess I could take one for the team,” so they do, with the whole cast watching, and Fry screaming.

The End.

There was a LOT of nudity in this one, and a lot of smutty stuff (The whole bit with the marked-down $5 hooker was a scream), far more than usual, and there’s usually quite a lot of that sort of stuff in this series anyway.

The three “Zap Branigan Adventures” were all pretty funny, though the first one was the best.

I like the running gag of no one really wanting to make it with Amy. Dr. Zoidberg was way more interested in the alternate idea of playing Parcheesi while waiting for the world to end.

For all intents and purposes, this was not just an episode with Zap in it, but an actual Zap episode all about him.

Perhaps it’s just because I liked the real Nixon, but I find Disembodied Head Nixon to be utterly hilarious.

So I’m watching this last night, and I’m thinking, “Wow, this is a whole lot smuttier than the show normally is. “ Of course finding out now it was new makes that all make sense: standards and practices for cable networks are far, far different than for broadcast ones.


[Laughing uncontrollably]*

And that’s about it, I guess. Now that we know the show is back, we’ll review it regularly through this 13-episode season. Futurama episodes are never on Hulu for some reason, so we’ll have to pick that one up in repeats, unless, of course, one of you fine folks saw it, in which case, why not write up a review of your own, and email it to me here: three@republibot.com We’ll post it online for you. And if more than one person writes a review, what the heck, we’ll run both of ‘em. Do be quick, though, we’d like to get it up as soon as possible

*- No.