Anthology of Interest II
|"Anthology of Interest II"|
Bender being turned into a human in the segment "I, Meatbag".
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Bret Haaland|
|Written by||I, Meatbag:
Raiders of the Lost Arcade:
David X. Cohen
|Original air date||January 6, 2002|
|Opening caption||"Hey TiVo! Suggest this!"|
|Opening cartoon||"A Close Call" (1929)|
"Anthology of Interest II" is episode eighteen of Futurama's third season. It originally aired in North America on January 6, 2002. This episode, as well as the earlier "Anthology of Interest I", serves to showcase three "imaginary" stories.
Professor Farnsworth hauls out his What-If Machine again, claiming that he is finished "fine-tuning" it (striking it repeatedly with a hammer), and the crew takes a look at three alternative realities.
I, Meatbag 
Bender asks what would happen if he were human. The simulation opens with Professor Farnsworth announcing that he has invented a process of reverse fossilization, which can turn robots and machines into organic life-forms (having already turned a toaster into a raccoon, which still has the ability to make toast). He uses his reverse fossilization machine on Bender, who is transformed into a human. After a short period of adaptation, Bender's self-control is overwhelmed by his new senses of taste, touch and emotional responses, and goes on a sensory input binge.
A week later, at the Nobel Prize judging, the Professor presents Bender who has become a thousand-pound overweight blob. The committee initially condemns Farnsworth, but Bender begs them to consider his new lifestyle. This inspires the scientists to spend the night in a state of wild hedonism (to the tune of "Conga"). The next morning, the hungover committee tries to award Bender with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry but discover that he died shortly after midnight (Dr. Zoidber'g post mortem reveals Bender had a failing liver, a pulse rate of 300 bpm, and a cholesterol level of 40 pounds). The "woo!" noises that the partygoers assumed were from Bender were actually caused by air escaping the many folds of fat on his body. As the Planet Express crew sadly roll away Bender's massive corpse, the narrator announces that "You watched it, and you can't "unwatch" it.
Raiders of the Lost Arcade 
Fry asks to see a world that is more like a video game. As the simulation starts, President of Earth Richard Nixon is preparing to sign a treaty with Ambassador Kong of planet Nintenduu 64. Ambassador Kong attacks Nixon, and a state of war erupts.
Due to his extensive knowledge of video games from the 20th Century, Fry is brought to the Milatari headquarters and introduced to General Colin Pac-Man. Before Fry can impart his wisdom to the military, the Nintendians launch an attack on Washington, D.C., and they are forced into the escape tunnels, which resemble a Pac-Man board.
They emerge from a Super Mario pipe outside the Planet Express building, where the Nintendian invaders, led by Lrrr, are blasting New New York. Fry situates himself at the controls of a rolling anti-aircraft artillery platform, and begins destroying the alien ships in a manner similar to Space Invaders. Fry is unable to destroy the final ship ("My brother always got it for me!"), which lands nearby. The invaders emerge, demanding "a million allowances worth of quarters" with which to do their laundry, but the Earthlings refuse. A compromise is reached, when the Earth people agree to allow the Nintendians throwing their laundry in with Earth's.
Leela asks what if she found her true home and ends up being accidentally knocked unconscious, prompting her to dream a parody of The Wizard of Oz with Leela as Dorothy, Fry as the Scarecrow (who tries to claim that he has a brain), Bender as the Tin Man (saying "beer" instead of "oil can") and Zoidberg as the Cowardly Lobster ("the other guy, courage, not enough of it, need some from whatshisname"). Along the way, they encounter a group of small alien creatures who had previously appeared in the series, who "represent but are legally distinct from" the Lollipop Guild.
They all make their way to see The Professor at the Emerald Laboratory only to be captured by Wicked Witch Mom who asks Leela to be her daughter. Leela agrees as long as she gets to hurt people but Mom ends up melting because of Bender splashing champagne on her. Later they end up at the Emerald Laboratory where The Professor tells Leela to clap her magic boots that she got earlier together to send her back home. Instead, she uses them to become a witch and turns Fry, Bender and The Professor into toads. She then gets splashed by some water from the ceiling because of Zoidberg ("I think there's a problem with your upstairs toilet.") and starts melting. She then wakes up to Bender splashing water in her face saying she was having a wonderful dream except for the fact that they were all there. The Professor becomes disappointed that Leela has revived: he was holding tongs and a box marked, "Leela's Organs". Hermes tells him, "there's always next year".
Cultural references 
I, Meatbag 
Human Bender's outfit (a white shirt, blue pants and black shoes) is nearly identical to the normal attire of Homer Simpson. It is possible this was intended as a nod to Matt Groening's other show. The song that Bender becomes infatuated with as a human is "Conga" by Gloria Estefan. The title of the section is also a nod to the Isaac Asimov collection of short stories I, Robot.
Raiders of the Lost Arcade 
The "Raiders of the Lost Arcade" segment is a "non-stop barrage of game references" with jokes and allusions referencing a wide array of classic video games. The title is a reference to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The segment starts off with a reference to Asteroids where the Planet Express ship is dodging rocks. "Ambassador Kong" is a reference to the arcade game Donkey Kong, as well as Italy's Ambassador to the U.N. being Mario. The maze which the characters run through is an homage to both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man both appear in the episode (Pac-Man as General Colin Pacman, and Ms. Pac-Man as his wife/widow). Zoidberg adds to this when he coughs up certain objects which are in the Pac-Man mazes. During the battle, the Lrrr's ship shoots Colin Pacman, and he dies in the same manner as in the Pac-Man games, after which Ms. Pac-Man arrives and cries mournfully over him.
The Nintendians' fleet is composed of Space Invaders ships, which move in the same pattern as those in the original video game. Also the song that is playing when Fry is playing is "Tom Sawyer" by Rush. The planet Nintendu 64 is a reference to the game console Nintendo 64. When the Milatari HQ is first shown, the green tank from Battlezone is shown driving past. When the characters walk through the HQ, they go past doors labelled Moon Patrol and Missile Command. As the video game villains (Lrrr, Donkey Kong, a Berzerk robot, BurgerTime's Mr. Egg, and Q*bert) exit the landed ship, one character says the phrase All your base are belong to us.
The majority of the plot is a direct parody of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, with Leela taking the place of Dorothy, Amy as the Good Witch of the North, Fry as the Scarecrow, Bender as the Tin Man, Zoidberg as the Cowardly Lion, Professor Farnsworth as the Wizard and Mom as the Wicked Witch of the West. When Leela first exits the spaceship, a parody of the NBC peacock logo is seen spreading its feathers.
During the "Raiders Of The Lost Arcade" story, when the Nintendians exit the space craft, Q*bert can be heard speaking backwards. When played in reverse, he can be heard saying "Where can a guy get some pants around here?" This is an example of backmasking.
In 2006 IGN.com ranked this episode as number 12, with "Anthology of Interest I" at number 13, in their list of the "Top 25 Futurama episodes". As of March 21, 2008, TV.com has given this episode a 9.1 "Superb" rating.
See also 
- Baker, Chris (2007-12-17). "Videogames & Futurama, Part 1: Raiders of the Lost Arcade". Archived from the original on 28 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- Iverson, Dan (2006-07-07). "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Moore, Frazier (2002-01-09). "Bowl games give ABC rare touchdown in Nielsen ratings". Daily Breeze (Copley Press Inc.). Retrieved 2009-03-07.
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