Anthology of Interest I

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"Anthology of Interest I"
Futurama episode
Futurama 220 - Anthology of Interest I.jpg
Leela, sleeping with Fry in "Dial L For Leela"
Episode no. Season two
Episode 16
Directed by Chris Louden
Rich Moore
Written by Terror at 500 Feet:
Eric Rogers
Dial L for Leela:
Ken Keeler
The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime:
David X. Cohen
Production code 2ACV16
Original air date May 21, 2000
Opening caption "Painstakingly Drawn Before A Live Audience"
Opening cartoon "Bosko Shipwrecked" (1931)
Guest actors

Al Gore as himself
Stephen Hawking as himself
Nichelle Nichols as herself
Gary Gygax as himself

Season two episodes
List of all Futurama episodes

"Anthology of Interest I" is episode sixteen in season two of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on May 21, 2000. This episode, as well as the later "Anthology of Interest II", serves to showcase three "imaginary" stories, in a manner similar to the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of Matt Groening's other animated series The Simpsons.[1]

Plot[edit]

Professor Farnsworth shows the crew his new invention, the Fing-Longer, a glove with a long rod meant to be used as an extension of the pointer-finger. He demonstrates it by activating the What-If machine, a device that allows the user to view a simulation of a hypothetical scenario after the user asks it a 'what-if' question. The Professor invites the crew to ask a question.

Terror at 500 Feet[edit]

Bender offers to take the first turn and asks what would happen if he were 500 feet tall. The simulation begins with the giant Bender being built by hundreds of regular-sized bending units on some distant planet. He flies to Earth, where he meets Fry, having recently arrived in the 31st century all alone. Bender takes a liking to him and they become friends.

After Bender destroys nearly all of Central Park while playing with Fry (including what seems to be a montage-supporting performance by Hanson), the military are sent to deal with him. The military are unable to damage Bender with their electric weapons, but when Fry runs to his defense, he is electrocuted. Bender wreaks havoc upon New New York. To combat Bender, the Professor uses his enlarging-ray on Zoidberg, only to see him wreak havoc as well. Zoiberg is interrupted by Bender who is not pleased with Zoidberg destroying "his" city. The two fight, with their battle causing massive property damage. Bender finally appears to win by filling Shea Stadium with boiling water and pushing Zoidberg into it. However, while Bender laughs in triumph, an enraged and boiled Zoidberg rises out of the water and snaps off Bender's feet, causing him to fall over and impale himself on the Empire State Building. A tearful Fry admonishes the citizens of New New York City about the tragedy of Bender, whose final words lament his inability to fulfill his dream to kill all humans, then he asks "Who's the real 7 billion ton robot monster here?" Bender dies, and the scenario ends as onlookers silently watch on.

Dial L for Leela[edit]

The Professor asks Leela to ask a question. Leela refuses at first, but is then teased about being unimpulsive. She angrily asks what would happen if she were a little more impulsive.

The What-if Machine creates a scenario in which Leela shows off a new pair of boots, bought on a wild impulse - according to her. However, the only difference is a green stripe down the side, which is of no interest to anyone. The Professor tells Leela that her lack of impulsiveness has given him reason to place her as his sole heir. Leela then kills Farnsworth on an impulse, throwing him into the pit housing his pet man-eating anteaters.

When Hermes comes into the anteater room, he finds a bootprint on the Professor's coat and shows Leela the Professor's video will. As the video will shows Leela throwing the Professor into the anteater pit, Leela kills Hermes to cover up the first killing. Bender then walks in on Leela while she tries to get rid of Hermes' body parts in the sink disposal. He is unconcerned about the killings of Hermes and the Professor, but tells Leela he will blackmail her anyway. Leela kills Bender by exposing him to the radiation from an open microwave oven and turns his body into a toy car. Leela begins to feel regretful of her actions and decides that she will chew gum the next time she gets a murderous impulse. This promise is short-lived as she kills Amy for making a derisive comment about her new Go-kart (Bender)and not having any gum at the time.

Eventually, the survivors become aware that someone in the crew is murdering them. While Dr. Zoidberg attempts to reveal the identity of the killer, Leela kills the crew one by one until only Fry remains. The next morning Fry notices Leela eating lobster (which is actually Zoidberg) and accepts her offer to have some with her. Fry then realizes that she was responsible for the murders, forcing Leela to "do something really impulsive": sleep with Fry to keep him quiet. While in bed, Leela asks Fry if he likes the "impulsive, new me", to which Fry responds "I like it". She turns off the lights and Fry is heard to scream...and then say "I really like it", implying that Leela may have raped Fry.

The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime[edit]

After Bender is told they won't show his scenario again, Fry asks what would happen if he had not been frozen (in what is, according to the Professor, "...a profoundly stupid way," as Fry phrases his question, "What would happen if I never fell into the 'Freezer-Doodle' and came to the 'Future-Jiggy'?")

In this alternate history, Fry narrowly misses falling into the cryogenic tube, and is never frozen. A rift in the space-time continuum appears, which shows the Planet Express crew in the future. The next day, while telling Mr. Panucci, who dismisses his story, Fry is overheard by regular customer Stephen Hawking who arranges for Fry to be abducted on his way home from work. Fry is introduced to the "Vice Presidential Action Rangers", led by Al Gore, whose Constitutional duty (in addition to casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate) is to protect the space-time continuum. His group is filled out by Hawking, Nichelle Nichols, Gary Gygax, and Deep Blue.

Fry explains what happened the previous night and they determine that Fry was supposed to die and try to kill him. Another rift with Bender, Leela, and the Professor appears during the attempted murder and Nichelle Nichols suggests that Fry be frozen and Gary Gygax gives Fry his "+1 mace" for protection "against drunken robots" in the future. Just before Fry enters the cryogenic tube, he smashes it with the mace. This creates a paradox, which causes the universe to collapse into a space-time rift. All the remains are Fry and the Vice Presidential Action Rangers, who appear floating in a featureless void (which Nichelle Nichols compares to "the Pasadena Star Trek Convention all over again!"). The scenario ends with them playing Dungeons and Dragons for the next quadrillion years.

Conclusion[edit]

After the end of Fry's scenario, the Professor curses the What-If machine for simulating scenarios even he found preposterous and dumps it into the trash. He judges the Fing-Longer to be a success and is congratulated by the crew. It is then shown that everything before was just a simulation by the What-If machine created when the Professor asked what would have happened if he had invented the Fing-Longer, leaving him to lament about the possibilities if he had invented it.

Production[edit]

  • Gary Gygax's appearance alongside Al Gore is something of an inside joke since Gore's wife, Tipper, hates Dungeons & Dragons and has been publicly critical of it.
  • When rebroadcast during the 2000 presidential election, the tagline at the start of the episode said, "Starring a guy who is kind-of, sort-of our next president, maybe!"
  • This episode is based on the Asimov short story, "What If—".
  • During the sequence in "The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime" in which Fry almost falls into the cryogenics machine, the shadow of Nibbler is absent (in the original footage from the first episode, there is a shadow of Nibbler present, in accordance to a plotline which explains how and why Fry comes to the future in "The Why of Fry").
  • Bender's appearance as a 500 foot tall robot is a reference to the film The Iron Giant.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

This episode guest starred Nichelle Nichols and Al Gore, who would make later appearances in "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" and "Crimes of the Hot" respectively. Al Gore received some criticism for his appearance because parts of the show "conflicted starkly with the anti-violence, anti-smoking and family-values themes of Gore's campaign." Gore's spokesperson responded by stating that most viewers would recognize that the show was meant to be entertaining and that it would be taken in the right spirit.[2]

This episode is one of four featured in the Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection as one of Matt Groening's four favorite episodes of the series.[3] In 2006, IGN.com ranked this episode as number thirteen in their list of the top 25 episodes of Futurama reviewer noting that although the plots of the three individual segments were not the best work of Futurama they were each considered to have "killer" comedy.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pratt, Douglas. Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More!. p. 474. 
  2. ^ "Veep guest stars in TV cartoon". USA Today. 2000-05-22. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  3. ^ Gord Lacey (2005-05-11). "Futurama — Do the Robot Dance!". TV.com. Retrieved 2007-06-26. 
  4. ^ Iverson, Dan (2006-07-07). "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". IGN.com. Archived from the original on 6 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 

External links[edit]