A Taste of Freedom
|"A Taste of Freedom"|
|Episode no.||Season five
|Directed by||James Purdum|
|Written by||Eric Horsted|
|Original air date||December 22, 2002|
|Opening caption||"Or Is It?"|
|Opening cartoon||"The Queen Was in the Parlor" (1932)|
Phil Hendrie as Old Man Waterfall
"A Taste of Freedom" is the fourth episode of the fifth production season of Futurama. It first aired on December 22, 2002 as the fifth episode in the fourth broadcast season. The episode was directed by James Purdum and written by Eric Horsted.
The crew celebrates Freedom Day, a day where you can do anything you want, regardless of the consequences. Dr. Zoidberg seems passionate about the holiday, as he loves the idea of freedom, something he did not have on his home planet Decapod 10. At the big Freedom Day celebration in Washington, D.C., Earth President Richard Nixon's head unveils the Earth flag "Old Freebie" to celebrate the spirit of the holiday but the flag is eaten by Zoidberg. Zoidberg feels this is an expression of his freedom on Freedom Day; however, the rest of the crowd sees him as a traitor. Zoidberg is chased around town and takes cover in his planet's embassy.
Zoidberg is put on trial and the crew hires lawyer Old Man Waterfall to represent him. Zoidberg, however, is found guilty and sentenced to death when he refuses to apologize publicly (Waterfall only succeeds in making polygamy legal). After Earth's army storms the Decapodian embassy to seize Zoidberg (which constitutes an act of war, since the embassy is technically on Decapodian mud), the Decapodian ambassador to Earth summons the Decapodian military to retaliate. The Decapodian army easily defeats Earth's defense forces (thanks in no small part to Zapp Brannigan's incompetence, after he hands over the activation codes for the entire global defense network to a thinly disguised Decapodian operative named "Hugh Mann") and Earth is enslaved by the crustacean extraterrestrials.
Zoidberg does nothing to help his former coworkers, despite being the only ones who defended him in the trial, claiming that Earth did not deserve its freedom. Later, Fry, Bender, Leela, Zapp, and Kif, deciding the time has come to fight back, steal a heat-seeking missile from a museum exhibit and launch it toward the Decopodians’ newly constructed Mobile Oppression Palace (a gigantic vehicle left behind by the Decapodians to keep the people of Earth subjugated, as it is much cheaper than an occupation force and just as effective). However, the palace is "cold-blooded," like the Decapodians themselves, and the palace continues its destructive rampage. It eventually crushes Old Man Waterfall (his great granddaughter Frida rushes towards him and cries) for standing in its way, whom Zoidberg respected for defending him when no one else would. Zoidberg then lights a flag on fire. This shocks and angers the other citizens, but Zoidberg explains that he does so in order to preserve the freedom that the flag represents and throws it toward the Mobile Oppression Palace, attracting the missile and thus destroying the palace. Zoidberg is declared a hero and is honored by Nixon at a ceremony, where he unveils a new Earth flag, out of which Zoidberg is allowed to take a bite. Zoidberg concludes that Earth, not Decapod 10, is now his true home planet.
This episode on Fox was rated TV-14 for suggestive dialogue (D) and violence (V); but on Adult Swim and Comedy Central, it is rated TV-14 with no sub-rating letters. This is the sixth time this has happened for Futurama.
- The entire episode takes center the debate on whether or not desecration of the flag is a form of freedom of expression. The episode's conclusion has flag burning as a means of saving lives.
- The lawyer defending Zoidberg supports other unpopular ideas to many Americans such as Satanic worship, polygamy, and same-sex marriage.
- "Freedom Day" is a thinly veiled international version of the United States' Independence Day.
- The flag of Decapod 10 resembles the flag of the Nazi Germany.
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