Love and Rocket
|"Love and Rocket"|
Fry and Leela in the brain room
|Episode no.||Season four
|Directed by||Brian Sheesley|
|Written by||Dan Vebber|
|Original air date||February 10, 2002|
|Opening caption||"When You See The Robot, Drink!"|
|Opening cartoon||"In a Cartoon Studio" by Van Beuren Studios (1931)|
A few days before Valentine's Day, the Planet Express crew tries to land a delivery contract with Romanticorp, a company that is the maker of all things romantic, that is headquartered in the most romantic city on Earth: Milwaukee, Wisconsin (they even don new uniforms to seem more official, and the uniforms are worn for the rest of the episode). After a tour of the facilities, Fry becomes obsessed with finding the perfect candy heart to express his feelings for Leela, but she just finds this antic annoying. Planet Express gets the contract to deliver the hearts and with the additional funding from the new contract, the Professor makes some upgrades to the ship. The upgrades include a new personality, complete with a female voice module. Bender and the ship's new personality fall for each other and start dating. Bender quickly grows tired of the ship, and begins cheating on her. The ship, suspicious of Bender, begins acting in an increasingly possessive and erratic manner.
The crew is assigned the task of delivering several tons of conversation hearts to Lrrr of the planet Omicron Persei 8. Unsurprisingly, the Omicronians are highly offended by the chalky candies and their poorly spelled messages. While escaping from the Omicronian death fleet, Bender decides to break up with the Planet Express ship. This cracks the ship's fragile mind, and it comes to a stop, allowing the Omicronian missiles to strike.
The ship is sent tumbling through space, dented and scorched, but otherwise physically intact. Leela attempts to console the ship, but she fails. The ship, acting irrationally, decides to fly into a quasar. With the power of ten billion black holes in it, the ship and Bender would be merged into a perfect quantum singularity. She offers to stop if Bender would merge his programming with hers, which he refuses, stating that the ship's personality could overwhelm his own. To eliminate any interference from Fry or Leela, the ship turns off the air and shuts off the artificial gravity. Leela has Bender distract the ship by agreeing to merge their programming while she and Fry, using oxygen tanks, try to shut down the ship's brain, which is filled with candy hearts. While the two machines play a cat-and-mouse game, Leela continues to attempt to shut down the brain by popping the tops of its carbonated logic unit similarly to Dave shutting HAL 9000 down in 2001: A Space Odyssey (also winning free admission to Six Flags), which makes the ship even less rational. While searching the candy for messages, Fry notices that, unbeknownst to her, Leela's oxygen supply is critically low. However, she ignores his attempts to warn her, because she assumes he's trying to read her a candy message, so he secretly hooks her mask up to his tank to keep her alive.
With this sacrifice, Leela is able to successfully shut down the ship's artificial intelligence, returning every system to normal. Unfortunately, Fry is rendered unconscious due to the lack of oxygen. Realizing that Fry risked his life to save hers, Leela gives him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Fry awakens and coughs up a candy heart with the perfect message, "U leave me breathless"; the two smile and wish each other a Happy Valentine's Day. The two find Bender, who appears to be unaware that a little of the ship's program has slipped into his. Leela decides to dump the undelivered hearts into the quasar instead of cleaning them up.
As inexplicably narrated by Zoidberg: the hearts vaporized, producing a romantic fuchsia-colored radiation that is harmless on Earth and visible during Valentine's Day, but that destroys many planets en route, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. Nevertheless, couples around the world, including Fry and Leela (and Zoidberg), happily gaze at the beautiful space phenomena.
- The ending sequences with the quasar is a reference to the ending sequence of 2010: The Year We Make Contact, in which Jupiter explodes and everyone around the world gazes at the new sun in the sky.
- The song "Daisy Bell" sung by Bender during the first montage for his love of the ship is a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey. "Daisy Bell" was the earliest memory by the HAL 9000, sung in 2001 by HAL while he is being deactivated by Bowman. The Planet Express ship also gives a nod to HAL's famous line, "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
- Lrrr and Ndnd are watching Friends when the Planet Express crew arrive to make the delivery, and Lrrr comments that it is a "Joey heavy episode".
- The green code scene in which Bender merges his programming with the ship is reminiscent of The Matrix.
- Lucy Liu's lines in this episode were recorded during "I Dated a Robot" for use in a future episode.
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