War Is the H-Word
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|"War Is the H-Word"|
Leela disguised as Lee Lemon
|Episode no.||Season three
|Directed by||Ron Hughart|
|Written by||Eric Horsted|
|Original air date||November 26, 2000|
|Opening caption||"Touch Eyeballs To Screen For Cheap Laser Surgery"|
|Opening cartoon||Felix the Cat in "Neptune Nonsense" (1936)|
Todd Susman as The P.A. announcer
"War Is the H-Word" is episode two in season three of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on November 26, 2000. The episode parodies several war films and shows, including Starship Troopers, Patton and M*A*S*H. The subplot where Leela disguises herself as a man to join the military is a parody of Mulan.
Fry and Bender enlist in the Earth Army to take advantage of the 5% military discount to buy Big Pink (ham-flavoured chewing gum). Within seconds of their enlistment, Earth declares war on Spheron I, a planet that commanding general Zapp Brannigan describes as devoid of any natural resources and possessing no strategic value. Concerned for her friends’ safety, Leela attempts to enlist, but she is unable to do so with the Army’s men-only policy. Leela sneaks aboard the Nimbus disguised as a man under the name of Lee Lemon (Leela Man), and Brannigan finds himself attracted to this new soldier, much to Kif's disgust.
The troops are deployed to Spheron I and discover that the enemy is a race of sentient, ball-like creatures. Fry is told to hold back an assault while his fellow soldiers recharge their weapons by turning a crank that plays Pop Goes the Weasel (similar to how a Jack-in-the-box is operated). When the enemy charges, Fry blows a hole in the ground with his weapon and hides in it while his squad is decimated. A bomb is thrown, Bender opens his chest plate and throws himself on it, absorbing the explosion yet leaving him in critical condition. After the battle, Brannigan sentences Fry to become Kif’s assistant for being a war coward, while Bender, now a hero, is treated at a field hospital.
As the soldiers regroup at camp, Richard Nixon’s Head sends Bender, now an officer, and Henry Kissinger’s Head to negotiate with the Spheron leaders. Leela overhears Nixon and Brannigan discussing the true plan: while Bender was recovering, Nixon had a bomb implanted inside Bender; the weapon will detonate with enough force to destroy the entire planet when Bender says his most used word, “ass”.
Leela and Fry steal a helicopter (after beating up Brannigan for it) and fly to the negotiating hall; in the process, Leela reveals her identity, to Fry’s amazement and Brannigan’s overwhelming relief (Zapp comments he's "never been happier to have been beaten by a woman!"). Fry stops Bender from accidentally activating the bomb; however, Bender realizes that he now has the power to force the Brain Balls to do anything he wants, including surrender. The spheroids reveal that Spheron I is actually their home world, and it is the humans who are the “evil invading aliens”, but Bender simply demands that they “get the Hell off [his] planet!” Without argument, the spheres all bounce into space and disappear.
Back at the Planet Express office, Professor Farnsworth and Zoidberg try to remove the bomb from Bender's body, yet confess that they were unsuccessful (as it was 'stuck in there with glue or something'). Instead, they reset the bomb’s trigger, taking it from the list of words least said by him. Despite Bender’s pleas, the crew refuses to tell him the new trigger word but prior to the credits Bender correctly guesses "antiquing". After a last second boom and flash, Bender states that he is "alright".
- This episode continues the one–sided "relationship" between Leela and Zapp which began in the episode "Love's Labours Lost in Space".
- Fry sings the chorus of "Walking on Sunshine" in the shower, which he also does in "I, Roommate", which would be more frequent in season four (especially in "Jurassic Bark" when he teaches Seymour the dog how to bark the tune).
Broadcast and reception
In 2006, IGN.com named this episode as number seven in their list of the top 25 Futurama episodes. The episode was particularly praised for its parodies of MASH and other military movies. Douglas Pratt noted that while the episode was mildly predictable, overall it was still an inspired episode. The episode is also noted for its interesting portrayal of asymmetrical warfare.
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