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Futurama "Time Keeps On Slippin" Talkback (SPOILERS)

Discussion in 'The toonzone - General Animation Discussion' started by Craig Marinaro, May 6, 2001.

  1. Craig Marinaro

    Craig Marinaro The Feast of 1,000 Beasts
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    Futurama Tonight (SPOILERS)

    Wow.

    This has to be one of my favorites so far. The first act was funny (with some amusing use of the Globetrotters, and some Space Jam-esque undertones). But once the time-skip plot got going...it really blew me away.

    The "skipping ahead" jokes wound up getting slightly tiresome, but they kept them fairly fresh (my favorite: Hermes' "plan" to solve the problem, which somehow winds up with the whole crew in a nude conga line). Bender's obsession with becoming a Globetrotter struck me as rather bizarre at first, since it had little to do with anything we've ever seen in the character before. But the way it tied in with Fry's plight at the end was wonderfully executed (and use of the mournfully whistled "Sweet Georgia Brown" as a symbol of both Fry and Bender's lost dreams was surprisingly affective).

    I think this episode may well have been the best yet, from a character standpoint. All of the cast is well-handled, and all the main characters have at least one or two memorable scenes. I loved Zoidberg's crying about how lonely he is, then immediately returning to his stoical "consultant" demeanor. Another highlight was the crew trying to figure out why Leela married Fry, and someone proposes, "Maybe you were a great lover!" Amy, who had her little fling with Fry last season, doesn't miss a beat in saying, "No."

    Leela is a bit cruel toward Fry, but her reasons are believable. Her trying to placate him with a "let's forget all this and just be friends" attitude is sad and realistic ("I guess nothing I can ever do will make you feel the same way about me as I feel about you." "Guess not! Tell you what, why don't I let you fly?").

    The marriage-and-divorce angle was very cleverly handled (and gave FOX a little something for their promos to tease the audience ;). Fry is quite possibly more of a sympathetic character than he's ever been before. He's trying here--he's trying so so hard. I really felt for the poor lug. He buys champagne, he learns how to fly the ship (do you know how hard that would be for even a person of average intelligence, let alone Fry?), he pours his heart out...and he still gets the "let's be friends" treatment. And the ending, with the whole "moving the stars" bit...quite heartwrenching. Fry's jaw-dropping expression at the explosion was worth a million words. Ouch.

    Something of a downer ending. But a very effective, very funny episode. What more could you possibly want from a TV show?

    -C
    Official ToonZone Guy Who Doesn't Use the Board's Smilies.
     
  2. DR. BELCH

    DR. BELCH Member

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    Fox Sunday Night [possible spoilers]

    FUTURAMA
    The setup was decidely bizarre...extraterrestrial harlem Globetrotters land on earth and challenge the Planet Express Crew--with nothing at stake and no prize--to a basketball game, and Farnsworth uses time particles to grow a crop of basketball playing mutants for his team. Farnsworth's boys lose...but the problem is even worse than that. The collection of the particles have ripped space and time like a cheap pair of Froot of the Looms, and time is jumping randomly. Farnsworth likens it to a record skipping--they know of records in the 31st century? Then again, they did bring back the silent movie (cf. the Harold Zoid ep).
    Anyway....
    Some of the skips in time are riotous--Fry loses the game somehow even though the PE team is over thirty points ahead with two minutes left; the spontaneous conga line (DYN that Zoidberg is shirtless?), Fry's attempted seduction of Leela in a broom closet results in an instant black eye, some kids grumbling about old folks abusing social security turn instantly into old geezers and demand their slice of the pie--but the most interesting of all was Fry and Leela's marriage...then divorce. Fry racks his brain trying to fiure out how he won her heart...and on their mission to restore order, realizes he spelled a love message by literally moving the stars...which unfortunately gets blown apart before she sees it. So basically...thought it was going to be an abortion after the first five inexplicable miinutes, was pleasantly touched in the end.
    I suppose Fry and Leela are lucky they didn't have kids. The way time was skipping, they'd have been feeding them pablum one minute and sitting in rocking chairs eating it themselves the next. It's nice their split was amicable...Leela's mature enough not to hold grudges, and Fry's grown up enough not to keep pursuing her pointlessly.
    Bender wants to be a Harlem Globetrotter...but lacks soul. I'm surprised he didn't go to Farnsworth with some sort of scheme to have a soul chip installed. Then again I guess you can't program soul.
    Great line from Leela on Fry: "I love his youthful spirit, but I hate his childishness."
    Great line from one of the Globetrotters on Bender's new b-ball jersey: "Ye-eee-ee-eah. Lawsuit."
    Was anyone else thinking the first ten minutes was basically "Space Jam" meets the Harlem Globetrotters cartoon of the 1970s?

    KING OF THE HILL
    This one felt like a 24-minute-long butt joke. Shades of Beavis, Mr. Judge?
    Hank suffers from a genetic condition that depletes his buttocks and has caused the disks in his back to herniate. Sitting is painful, and he plans to enter a riding lawnmower race that weekend. So the doctor pescribes him a synthetic butt. I've heard of a living bra, but a dead end?
    Of course his friends have a fine old time making fun of Hank's problem; they grab his butt off the clothesline and throw it around. At Peggy's prodding, Hank joins a support group for the buttless and is inspired to make his condition public (cf. Mrs. Kelsey Grammar's campaign for irritable bowel syndrome)...but the others in the group aren't so keen.
    When Hank blows out a buttock in the big race, and Dale punctures the other one with a penknife, it turnes out his buttless buddies are there to cheer him on, and one of them hands over his own fanny packs for the cause.
    You can tell I'm doing all I can not to laugh myself into a coughing fit writing this review, right?
    If the condition is genetic, why doesn't Cotton seem to suffer from it?
    Watch for the bit where Dale tries to cheat by using NO2 in his engine and blames his failure on the shifty Chicano he bought the goods off of.
    Watch also for the bit where Bill rears back and tips over on his old rusty mower. "I did better'n I thought I would!"

    THE SIMPSONS
    I thought from the title "I'm Goin' to Praiseland" that this one would suck more a** that Dr. Sal Calabro* during a busy week. But with this one and last week's ep I've been pleasantly surprised. Is it my imagination or has the quality improved un poco on "The Simpsons" lately?
    Ned runs into an old friend, the gospel singer (voiced by Shawn Colvin) he first met after his wife's tragic and sudden passing. But he offends her when he, in a scene inspired by Jimmy Stewart in "Vertigo", tries to make her look like Maude. She leaves him heartbroken.
    When the Simpsons offer to help Ned clean out everything that remains of Maude, Ned runs across her old sketchbook, which has blueprints for a Bible-themed amusement park. He sets to work to build it immediately (with a bit of prompting from Marge and the kids. Homer seems too busy having fun with his wood chipper).
    Unfortunately a Biblical theme park turns out to be more trouble than it's worth--the hammerless Satan-head Whack-a-Mole and the preaching House of Horrors abuse, not amuse, the masses. However, when people start having visions of Heaven at the feet of a statue of Maude, the money starts pouring in. The visions, however, are caused by a gas leak, and Ned is torn by a moral dilemma: lie and exploit a "miracle" for profit, or tell the truth and go belly-up?
    Ned makes the right decision and declares the park closed (after a candle lit by a worshipper nearly blows the joint sky-high)...and his new love returns ("It's a wig. Now let's never speak of this again.") Homer may not be the most subtle man on earth, or the brightest (he wants to stick his head in the grill to see if it's lit), but he does show he cares about Ned (!) by pushing the two lovebirds together and then giving them privacy (running off giggling like a giddy schoolgirl). A welcome change from the boorish, selfish horse's a** we've been seeing of late. There's a hint that the two may be moving in together (in sin? Oh Ned, you dog, you!) and that Maude may be allowed to rest in peace.
    Apu is Hindu. Why is he at a Christian-themed amusement park?
    Methane gas doesn't cause hallucinations, and certainly doesn't act this fast. Over a period of months a slow leak can cause lethargy, headaches, nausea, and eventually death.
    Watch for the bit with Comic Book Guy's vision of Heaven...though that doesn't look a thing like Barbara Feldon, IMO.
    DYN John Travolta in Disco Stu's vision? Possibly a ref to Michael, in which he plays a fallen angel who chain-smokes, cusses, and smells like candy when he gets carnally aroused.



    *Dr. Sal Calabro is a plastic surgeon who is a frequent guest on the Howard Stern Show. He does a lot of pro bono work in connection with Stern; most of his clients seem to be strippers, adult film stars, and rabid female fans of ol' Eagle Beak.
     
    #2 DR. BELCH, May 6, 2001
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2001
  3. Nftnat

    Nftnat professor/historian/chronicler

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    Umm, Doc, might Travolta's appearance possibly go back a bit further than Michael? Say, to a certain movie from 1977? hint hint.
     
  4. The Mad Hatter

    The Mad Hatter Whyyyyy'sis heead so biiiiiig?

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    Wow. I know I should expect this, considering that the cast of the show consists of an alien, an alcoholic robot, and a cryogenically unfrozen delivery boy, but Futurama really is the most original show on television. It took me a while to get used to the time-skipping, but I really got a kick out of it (Farnsworth preparing to attach the star mover to the Planet Express, suddenly skipping to the loaded ship taking off: "Off you go, apparently!").

    And I'm constantly amazed at how the show manages to be simultaneously gut-busting and touching. See that, network execs? It's possible to be emotional without being toothless, and edgy without being soulless. The star moving bit was a great detail to hide toward the end... hmmm. Hey, E. Penrose (you here yet?)! Remember when you said it would be neat for the show to build up via plot to one big joke at the end? Both here, and in the episode with Fry's brother, it looks like they're doing it... only both eps lead to a really sweet moment.

    And the Simpsons was better than the stuff we've seen lately too. I love it when they simultaneously criticize and revere religion. Actually, there are few shows on television that take more time addressing religion. Very cool.

    But... what's with Homer taking care of the unibrow baby?
     
  5. robert

    robert Member

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    <Wow.

    Ditto.{What the hey, you explaned your feelings in one word, so why should I be left out?}But of course, I have to go on by saying other stuff about this ep. At the very least, this proves that when Fry isn't portrayed as mearly a bumbling idiot, he can be a very sympathetic character- it's quite wonderful to see that he really does love Leela. The Globetrotters were quite funny guest stars, probably much funnier than the last time they were portrayed in cartoon form. We got at least one funny line from everyone, Craig noted many of the supporting characters moments except for Farnsworth's response to the need for a Doomsday Device {"Now the ball's in Farnsworth's court! I figure I can part with one of these and still be feared."} And the ending.....in Craig's words, ouch.
    Sad thing is though that next week's the season finale. And yet the Simpsons season finale isn't until the week after that, I wonder if that's fair. Looks like we go back to the wacky stuff next week with an army of Lucy Llu robots. As for the Simpsons...oh next week looks so bad{it's about Homer opening a day care center, BTW}, the promos showed Homer chasing Bart with a mace so it's too bad that was shown too late to get into Brainatra's little satire. Plus Ron Howard shows up again too, at least they didn't hype that, but I shudder to think that may be because he's pretty much a supporting character instead of a guest star with his 3rd{!} guest turn.
     
  6. DR. BELCH

    DR. BELCH Member

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    That's the brilliance of this joke--it's two-pronged. It references both the Travolta of the disco age and the Travolta of Michael (Pearly Gates, angels...it's subtle, but it's there). Just be grateful there weren't any Look Who's Talking or Battleship Earth references...or any winged babies from the toilet paper commercials. :eek:

    Though I'm glad my mom didn't see "I'm Goin' To Praiseland". She would deem the idea of a Biblical amusement park blasphemous (she has no eye for religious satire) and say so loudly and frequently. I was reminded, oddly, of a scene in Alien Nation, in which Sykes is telling his alien girlfriend about a Tenkton religious icon that projects blissful hologams and talks about putting it to use as a tourist attraction. She gets royally p***ed and suggests turning Christianity into an amusement park. "We can serve communion wine and wafers at the concession stands," she fusses, "and have a ride called 'The Father, Son, and Holy Ghoster Roller Coaster'!" He gets offended, but soon takes her point.
     
  7. Craig Marinaro

    Craig Marinaro The Feast of 1,000 Beasts
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    Nah...I think we'll probably see more of this plot thread eventually. The chemistry between the two has been way too interesting to just let it die now. Besides, it's obvious that both really feel for each other. Just that Leela's inhibitions keep her from giving in to her emotions.

    I presume this was the writers' way of putting it to rest for a bit. They've been building and building this for the last two seasons, and it reached something of a climax here. I think we'll probably hear more about it down the line (perhaps with Leela finally deciding to make a commitment to Fry, but Fry having moved on by then).

    What I find increasingly interesting is that Futurama, unlike The Simpsons, seems to have something of a "plan." The Simpsons just sort of evolved over the years, without the creators seeming to try to take it in any direction. But the way Futurama is handled gives the feeling much more of the creators planning things out in advance much more carefully. That may not be the case, but it feels that way, anyhow.

    As for last night's Simpsons...some nice character bits with Ned (trying to get over Maude, his predicament about whether or not to report the gas leak with all the good it was doing). But the good stuff was overshadowed by what may have been the *WORST* showing of jerk@$$ Homer behavior yet. Not that he was particularly worse than usual at any given moment, but the quantity of instances was annoyingly high. It seemed like they felt obligated to remind us how much of a total moron Homer could be every 30 seconds with another lame stunt or unsympathetic line. I guess maybe they figured an episode about a character coping with a problem couldn't work on this series unless it was interspersed with Homer being totally heartless and idiotic. Pity...it did have the potential to be a good one.

    The one part that really had me laughing was the opening scene with the ice cream flavors. Beatitutti-frutti...hee hee.

    Someone on Usenet made the interesting point of how many episodes these days open with some sort of festival or fair or other gathering of Springfield citizens. I'd never even thought of that before...but I realize now that that's actually a huge part of why so many episodes seem like carbon copies of each other. The opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the episode...and when they all open exactly the same way.....

    Anyway, Al Jean is taking over full-time from Mike Scully as Executive Producer starting next year. He's been with the show on and off since season one, executive produced the 3rd & 4th seasons along with partner Mike Reiss, and cocreated The Critic with the same. Maybe he'll pleasantly surprise us and pull the show from its rut. We see.

    Robert:
    Actually, next week is *NOT* Futurama's season finale. TV Guide erroneously reported it as such on their website (and possibly in the magazine itself)...but if you look on their "season finales" page, they list the actual finale date, the 20th, which will be a second "What If?" episode to round out the season. TV Guide, next to their listing for this episode, put, "For instance: What if this show was cancelled? Would anyone notice?"

    I'd write someone an angry letter about that bit of opinionated journalism, but this *IS* just TV Guide. Not like anyone expected any sort of real writing from them. =P

    -C
    Official ToonZone Bellyacher.
     
  8. E. Penrose

    E. Penrose Member

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    Re: Futurama Tonight (SPOILERS)

    Lotza references in this episode. One is to cheezy '70's cartoons.
    Remember the Globetrotter's show, where every plot was solved by a climactic basketball game? (In "Josie & the Pussycats," everything was solved by a concert.) Another, if I'm not mistaken, is to Firesign Theatre. "Come on, everybody! Take off your . . ."

    The Bender subplot seemed intended as bathos, rather than pathos. In contrast, Fry's pain was fully explored, and there was something more at stake. The graphics were stunning.

    I was surprised that "King of the Hill" did as much as it did. The episode at once parodies and exploits the Recovery from Cancer/Losing a leg/ Colostomy/Disease of the week plot. While the episode wasn't as strong as I'd like, it harnessed the dynamics of that plot. I doubt anyone could parody so successfully using the original illness.
     
  9. Craig Marinaro

    Craig Marinaro The Feast of 1,000 Beasts
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    My mistake...apparently, both the scheduled season finales of Futurama and King of the Hill on May 20 have been inexplicably replaced by Simpsons reruns, and the May 13 episodes turned into the season finales.

    This leaves Futurama with an absurdly short *FIFTEEN* *EPISODE* season...not to mention that the "tradition" of ending each season with a "What If" episode has been broken before it could even be established. *MOST* annoying.
     
  10. DR. BELCH

    DR. BELCH Member

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    More on "Futurama"/"The Simpsons"

    Though that begs the question of where Fry will go for that lovin'. He's already had a fling with Amy, the only other female employee of P.E...plus a brief dalliance with a mermaid (until the mechanics of carnal relations came up; personally I'd presume they mate the same way ordinary fish do--externally) and with Zoidberg's girlfriend on the planet of the crab-people. There don't seem to be a lot of human females in the future, and even fewer who will have a slacker like Fry. :(

    Which is what I said about "HOMR"...with some extensive script doctoring, better character work, and closer adherence to the original source inspiration--"Charly", Flowers for Algernon--
    it could have been the best episode of season 12. What I especially hated was seeing Lisa, the purported champion of higher education, saying that intelligence is directionally proportional to unhappiness (complete with graph). That seemed off-whack somehow.
    As for "Praiseland", it showed Homer the way I like to see him. Like Groening's said, he's a creature of pure id, unable to regulate himself--he's an emotional pulp truck with bad brakes on an icy road. Too often he's written as blatantly rude, self-indulgent, and utterly disrespectful of other's feelings, especially Lisa's. He should be sympathetic and loving, if limited by his dimness and not always knowing how to properly express himself (cf. "Homer's Phobia".) Here he wants to help Ned patch it up with his new paramour, and dispose of the knicknacks that remind Ned painfully of Maude (and, like I said, it's a good excuse to satisfy his urges and fool with the wood chipper. Just be grateful he didn't stick his head or arm in it.)

    My favorite was the empty cup called "Unitarian ice cream". It would've worked equally well with Jehova's Witnesses... ;)
    I also liked the bit with Willy's special blend sawdust. "Do I detect a hint of cinnamon?" "[coyly] Oh, I'm not tellin'."
     

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