Fry and the Slurm Factory
|"Fry and the Slurm Factory"|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Ron Hughart|
|Written by||Lewis Morton|
|Original air date||November 14, 1999|
Pamela Anderson as "Dixie"
|Opening caption||Live From Omicron Persei 8|
|Opening cartoon||The Simpsons shorts – "Making Faces" (1987)|
"Fry and the Slurm Factory" is the thirteenth and final episode in the first season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on November 14, 1999. The episode was directed by Ron Hughart and written by Lewis Morton. Pamela Anderson guest stars as the voice of one of the Slurm party girls.
The episode opens with an advertisement for Slurm, which is an intergalactic popular beverage that is fluorescent green. The makers of Slurm are announcing a contest: whoever finds a golden bottlecap inside a can of Slurm wins a free trip to the Slurm plant, a tour of the Slurm Factory, as well as a party with the popular Slurm mascot, Slurms McKenzie. Fry resolves to find the bottlecap by drinking massive quantities of Slurm. Meanwhile, Bender is sick with a high fever (900 °F); Professor Farnsworth uses this as an excuse to test his experimental "F-ray", a flashlight-like device that enables the user to look through anything, even metal. The Professor is able to find out what is causing Bender's high fever; he reveals a watch that belongs to Amy Wong caught in one of Bender's cogs.
After repairing Bender, the Professor leaves the F-ray in the custody of Fry and Bender. Fry realizes that they could use the F-ray to scan Slurm cans for the golden bottlecap. After checking "90,000" cans, they give up on finding the winning can. Fry settles in to relax with a Slurm and chokes on the winning bottle cap. The Planet Express crew arrives at the Slurm plant on Wormulon. After meeting Slurms McKenzie, the crew takes a tour down a river of Slurm through the factory, and see the Grunka-Lunkas manufacture Slurm. Fry tries to drink the Slurm from the river due to his thirst, but he falls off the boat and remembers he does not know how to swim. Leela dives in to save him, and Bender joins them because "Everybody else was doing it."
The three are sucked into a whirlpool and deposited in a cave under the factory. They discover that the factory they toured was a fake. They enter the real factory and discover Slurm's true nature: it is a secretion from a giant worm, the Slurm Queen. They are discovered and captured by the worms. Bender is placed into a machine designed to turn him into Slurm cans. Leela is lowered by crane into a vat of royal Slurm, which will turn her into a Slurm Queen. Fry is fed ultra-addictive "super-slurm", so that he cannot resist "eating until he explodes". Fortunately, Fry manages to drag the tub of super-slurm to the crane controls, so he can save Leela while continuing to drink the super-slurm.
A freed Leela saves Bender slightly too late, leaving Bender with a hole through the side of his torso. Leela then saves Fry by dumping the super-slurm down a drainage grate. They manage to escape, but are pursued by the Slurm Queen. Slurms McKenzie, exhausted from his years of partying, arrives and sacrifices himself to save Fry, Leela, his two super models, and Bender. When they escape, the Slurm Queen yells that the company is ruined by the discovery of the secret. Professor Farnsworth contacts a government agent to reveal the secret of Slurm. However, Fry is so addicted to Slurm that he tells the government agent that "grampa's making up crazy stories again", so that it can continue to be produced. In the end, the entire Planet Express crew holds a toast to Slurms McKenzie and Slurm itself.
Broadcast and reception
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A-. In 2006 IGN listed this episode as number three in their list of the top 25 Futurama episodes, also stating that this episode was the "most memorable" of the series. When IGN updated their top 25 list in 2013 the episode moved to number 21. The episode was 17th in Paste's list of the 20 Best Episodes of Futurama.
The episode, including its title, is a parody of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, a movie adaptation of the novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The characters whom the factory paid to pretend to be workers, the Grunka Lunkas, resemble the Oompa Loompas from the film version of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the tour guide, Glurmo, also wears a Willy Wonka-like attire, and speaks in a Gene Wilder-like voice. Slurms McKenzie, the Slurm party worm, is a parody of Spuds MacKenzie, the Bud Light spokesdog.
Professor Farnsworth's F-Ray reveals a 6502 microprocessor—a widely used CPU in home computers of the 1970s and early 1980s—in Bender's head. Head writer David X. Cohen chose the 6502 from having developed software in assembly language for the CPU.
The beverage Slurm has many similarities to the short-lived soft drink Surge that was popular around the time of production, which included the hard-core image that advertised it. Slurm could also be a parody of Mountain Dew, which has similar imagery for its advertisement. Slurm’s green color also resembles Mountain Dew.
Slurm posters were one of the first clues to deciphering the alien languages in the series and were meant to act in a manner similar to the Rosetta Stone for dedicated fans. Slurm is referenced in the Marvel Comics title Young Avengers written by Allan Heinberg. In the Young Avengers Special, the character Hulkling is shown attacking the Shocker using a Slurm vending machine. In 2008 Twentieth Century Fox filed to trademark Slurm, either with the intent of releasing a branded beverage or possibly to prevent others from doing so.
- Booker, M. Keith. Drawn to Television: Prime-Time Animation from The Flintstones to Family Guy. pp. 115–124.
- "PEOPLE'S CHOICE.(weekly television program ratings)(Statistical Data Included)". Broadcasting & Cable. Reed Business Information. 1999-11-22. Archived from the original on 2012-10-23. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- Handlen, Zack "Futurama: Futurama: "Fry And The Slurm Factory"/"I Second That Emotion"". The A.V. Club. January 8, 2015. Retrieved 2019-09-15.
- "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". Retrieved 2007-06-14.
- "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". IGN. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
- "20 Best Episodes of Futurama". pastemagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
- Basile, Nancy. "Futurama Pictures". Retrieved 2007-09-14.
- Cohen, David X (1999). Futurama: Fry and the Slurm Factory commentary (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Guizzo, Erico (2009-05-01). "The Truth About Bender's Brain". IEEE Spectrum. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
- Cohen, David X (2003). Futurama season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "Space Pilot 3000" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Allan Heinberg (w), Gene Ha (a). "Young Avengers Special #1" Young Avengers v2, 1: 10/4 (December 2005), Marvel Comics
- Wilson, Mark. "SLURM IS COMING!! (maybe)". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2018-03-12.
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