Where the Buggalo Roam
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|"Where the Buggalo Roam"|
Bender, Fry, Leela, Amy, her parents, Professor Farnsworth, Amy's pet buggalo and Hermes at The Wong Buggalo Ranch
|Episode no.||Season three
|Directed by||Pat Shinagawa|
|Written by||J. Stewart Burns|
|Original air date||March 3, 2002|
|Opening caption||"Krafted with luv by monsters"|
|Opening cartoon||"The Emerald Isle" by Fleischer and Famous Studios (1949)|
|Season three episodes|
|List of all Futurama episodes|
"Where the Buggalo Roam" is the tenth episode in season three of the animated television series Futurama. It originally aired March 3, 2002. The title is a reference to the folk song "Home on the Range".
The Planet Express staff head to the Wong Ranch on Mars for a Mars Day barbecue. Amy Wong's parents are happy to see her, but considerably less enthusiastic about her co-workers, especially Dr. Zoidberg, who immediately begins making a nuisance of himself. Kif arrives, and is nervous about meeting his girlfriend Amy's parents for the first time.
The barbecue proceeds, with Amy's parents being thoroughly unimpressed with Kif. Everything is going well until a strange sound begins, and a dust storm rolls in. Everyone takes cover in the Wongs' mansion, but the unprotected buggalo outside are rustled during the storm, ruining the Wongs.
Kif sets off with the last remaining buggalo, Amy's personal pet, in an effort to draw out the rustlers. Professor Farnsworth sends Fry, Leela, and Bender along with him. As the group tell ghost stories, including Bender's story of the screen with the Windows logo, Amy jumps out of the bushes to join them. Kif and the crew find the stolen buggalo hidden in the crater of Olympus Mons when the ground shakes (making Kif ask if the rumble was him and Amy making love). They find a way to eject the buggalo from the crater, but when they are about to head back to the ranch, the same strange sound from the barbecue begins, and another sand storm whirls in.
While the crew is trapped in the center of the storm, the rustlers fly in on buggalo. The rustlers are the native Martians, who are angry over their ancestors' sale of Mars for one bead. The crew are surprised to learn the buggalo can fly and the Martians indicate only those who truly love the planet can fly a buggalo. The Martians also reveal they had planned to ruin the Wongs by stealing the buggalo; but with the opportunity staring them in the face, they kidnap Amy. Kif and the crew return the buggalo to the Wong Ranch. Initially the Wongs are very impressed with Kif, but another mini-sandstorm brings a ransom note.
The Wongs, more unhappy with Kif than ever, call in Zapp Brannigan to resolve the situation. Brannigan, Kif, and the crew set off for the face on Mars, one of the two entrances to the Martian reservation. The other is the 'giant stone ass' of Mars, a gigantic pair of buttocks, but the Ass on Mars is on the opposite side of the planet from the Face on Mars. Brannigan botches the negotiations, and the Martians call up another sand storm, which engulfs Amy. Kif jumps on the back of Amy's buggalo, and flies it into the whirlwind, recovering Amy. The Martians, impressed by Kif's ability to ride a buggalo, call off the storm and offer peace.
Unfortunately, when smoking the Martian peace pipe, Kif chokes on the smoke, angering the Martians. The Martians sentence him to be killed, crushed by the bead they traded the planet for. As the bead lowers from the ceiling, the crew discovers that the "bead" is a gigantic diamond. When they inform the Martian chief of the bead's value, the Martians call off the execution, and leave to find a planet they can purchase. The Wongs cannot believe Kif saved Amy, and credit Zapp with the rescue.
On the Wongs' porch, Kif still feels bad as Amy's family doesn't like him, to which she replies that if they liked him, she would not. They kiss while the buggalo stampede and shake the ground, and Kif writes in his diary that he just made love for the second time.
Broadcast and reception
|This section may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. (August 2010)|
In this episode, there are direct references and allusions to the European conquest of the Americas, along with the mistreatment of Native people by the Europeans and the Native attacks against white settlers. One of the first references occurs near the start of the episode, when Professor Farnsworth comments that the Western Hemisphere on Mars is the better hemisphere and how the same is true for Earth. This has deep roots in history, as one of the driving factors in European colonization of the Americas was to bring civilization to the Native Americans, since the Europeans typically viewed the Natives as heathens who needed Christianity. These beliefs in saving the Natives’ souls were the reason behind the first Christian colonies and settlements in the Americas.
During the episode, Amy’s father, Leo, talks about the importance of the Wong’s massive herd of buggalo, as they make up majority of the Wong’s family fortune and power. This is similar to the way Native Americans in the central plains of North America would maintain herds of buffalo for both economic profit and for spiritual needs. The Native American’s spiritual beliefs and spirituality is further referenced in the episode when after Zapp throws the Slurm can on the ground and the Martian sheds a tear. This reflects the Native American sadness at seeing the meat from buffalo being wasted by American settlers. It's also a reference to the famous Keep America Beautiful commercial broadcast in the early 1970s featuring actor Iron Eyes Cody shedding a single tear.
The rustling and attacks on the Wong family ranch by the native Martians are reflective of real life skirmishes between Native Americans and Europeans, and later Americans. Many of these attacks were in response to the initial show of force the European did during the starting periods of colonization, such as seen with the Spanish during their massive conquest of the Caribbean and Central and South America. These attacks were usually over land and the expansion of white settlement on tradition Native hunting grounds or territory, which the Natives themselves believed that the encroaching settlers were directly responsible for disappearing buffalo and Native poverty.
After Amy gets kidnapped by the Martians, Leo tells Zapp the Martians were ‘encouraged’ to live in underground reservations on Mars. This is a stab to a very dark and sad time in Native American history, as they were also ‘encouraged’ as well to live in reservations and the Natives who refused were eventually ordered to move by either governmental order, such as Indian Removal Act of 1830 in the USA, or by military force, such as the forced removal of Cherokees during the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears was the forced removal, enforced by the United States Army, of the Cherokee Natives into present-day Oklahoma.
The biggest and most direct reference to Native American history is the anger that the Martians have towards the Wongs. The ancestors of the Martians traded the Western Hemisphere of Mars to the Wong family in exchange for one large bead. The Martians feel like they got ripped off, but eventually calculate that they received an excellent deal after Fry and Leela both point out that the ‘large bead’ the Martians received was in fact a very large diamond worth a fortune. This is very similar to history, as Native Americans would receive monetary compensation for the land they traded to the white settlers, although the ancestors of both the Martians and Native Americans had a different concept of land ownership.
Another major reference occurs when Kif is about to be crushed by the ‘large bead’ when a Martian woman says that Kif will be crushed by the same bead that crushed the Martian people’s dreams. This alludes to European conquest, especially the Spanish Empire who after wiping out many Native Central and South American tribes, such as the Aztecs, Mayans, and Incas for gold. While the Spanish had immense control over these lands for the time being, Spanish control eventually collapsed after these colonies broke away from Spain with armed conflicts.
The last major allusion in the episode to Native Americans is after Kif saves Amy and must smoke the peace pipe with the chief Martian. This is a direct and obvious reference to Native American lifestyle. Native Americans, particularly in North America, would smoke from a peace pipe as a sign of peace and good faith, and it would be used as the way the two tribes or groups ‘signed’ or consented to the peace between the two parties. However, if a person ever coughed after taking a puff from the peace pipe, this would be interpreted as the person coughing on the peace process and as a slap in the face of the other Native chief. People who coughed from the peace pipe would often face some type of death penalty, although the punishment varied from tribe to tribe .
The Wongs' ranch is based on the ranch in the movie Giant.
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