Review: Futurama "30th Century Fox"/"Naturama"
Review: Futurama Season 7, Episodes 11 and 12, “30th Century Fox” and “Naturama”
And thus ends another season of Futurama. Tonight’s season finale event, (as it was hailed by Comedy Central) featured two very different episodes that felt representative in their differences of the current state of the show. The first episode “30th Century Fox” was pretty typical fare for Futurama. Bender, after deciding he’s into fox-hunting this week, quickly becomes a crusader for robot-animal rights after learning that the foxes he and his wealthy peers have been hunting are robotic rather than biological. It’s a decent episode, with a mediocre but serviceable A-story and some pretty great gags on the fringes of the action. This isn’t the first time that Bender’s either randomly picked up a new hobby or become a crusader for robot rights, and if I had to guess, it wouldn’t be the last. On the other side of the Futurama episode spectrum, the second episode, “Naturama” was balls to the wall insane and better off for it. Eschewing typical structure, (and for that matter, characters and locations) “Naturama” immediately takes on the form of a nature documentary put together by the aliens from Omicron Persei 8. Broken up into three different segments, the format of the episode recalls last season’s excellent finale “Reincarnation” which showed the characters we’ve grown to know and love in three very different animation forms.
I bring up “Reincarnation” because I’m starting to wonder if Futurama should do episodes like this more often. This hasn’t been a bad season of the show by any means. To restate what I said in my first Futurama review for this site, the jokes are still capable of being hilarious and I still have enough good will towards the characters to forgive a lot the show’s weaker efforts. This has however, been a largely forgettable season. With the exception of tonight’s bizarre, random and delightful foray into documentary filmmaking, not one episode this year has really stood out to me or made me want to watch it again. And so the point I’m getting to is that perhaps the show should start doing episodes like “Naturama” more often. There’s clearly so much glee put into this episode (as evidenced by the lack of a framing device or justification for why we’re being shown the documentary in the first place) that I can’t help but feel that show would be better suited if the writers just did whatever random ass concept episode they felt like doing all the time, as opposed to just phoning it as it seems they have been for much of the show’s revival.
“Naturama” features three different segments, all featuring our favorite characters as animals attempting to mate. The episode gets a lot of comedic mileage out of occasionally treating the animals-that have been made to look like the show’s characters as animals. Perhaps my favorite exchange of the night came from Salmon-Fry and Salmon-Leela. Upon being asked his name, Fry replies simply, “I don’t have a name. I’m a Salmon.” There’s little plot to these segments, apart from the animals attempting to overcome the various obstacles preventing them from mating. But the lack of real plot or focus enhances the episode, as it’s really just fun to watch our favorite characters be animals for a half an hour and act accordingly. All three segments are narrated by a spot-on and nihilistic Morgan Freeman impersonator who frequently contradicts the characters and points out the inherent pointless and disparity to the circle of life. This episode was a delight, and I hope to see more episodes like this next season.
“30th Century Fox” Grade: 75/100
“Naturama” Grade: 95/100
Season Grade: 80/100
Opening Title Gag: Tell your parents it’s educational!
I didn’t talk much about “30th Century Fox”, largely because I didn’t have much to say about it. The episode covered the same ground that we’ve been to a hundred times already, even as recently as a few weeks ago. That said, a horse riding Bender is never not funny.
Zoidberg as a creature of the abyss, moments before being eaten: “Hurray! Look at us, three friends at the beach!”
“Is it ok to talk about his crazy tortoise penis?”
A nice, self-aware moment from Bender: “Foxhunting is a fascinating a noble pursuit that’s fascinated me since I first heard of it ten minutes ago.”
“It was fun maturing with you. But at this point in my life cycle I need someone who’s within squirting distance.” I don’t know how they got that one past the censor, but I’m very glad it did.
-Hedonism Bot enjoying getting knocked around by the waves was inspired.
-Bender’s only merit band in boy scouts was interpretive dance.