How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back

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"How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back"
Futurama episode
Futurama 214 - How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back.jpg
Hermes performs "Born to Be a Bureaucrat".
Episode no. Season two
Episode 15
Directed by Mark Ervin
Written by Bill Odenkirk
Production code 2ACV11
Original air date April 2, 2000
Opening caption "As Foretold by Nostradamus"
Opening cartoon "Felix the Cat Trifles with Time" (1925)
Guest actors

Nora Dunn as Morgan Proctor

Season two episodes
List of Futurama episodes

"How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" is episode eleven in season two of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on April 2, 2000. The title references the 1998 film and popular novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back.


Hermes Conrad is excited because the Central Bureaucracy is conducting an inspection the next day, and he expects to be promoted to a Grade 35 bureaucrat. Leela hosts a poker game with her former co-workers from the cryogenics lab at the office that night, and Bender cheats via the use of X-ray glasses. On the run from the other players, he takes refuge in Hermes’ office, but the other players find him, and the savage beating he receives trashes the office.

The resulting mess costs Hermes his promotion, and the inspector, Morgan Proctor, places a suicidal Hermes (who is so emotional he cannot recite his own catchphrase, murmuring 'Sweet something of...someplace!') on paid vacation, which Hermes considered a penalty. Morgan appoints herself as an acting Planet Express bureaucrat. Doctor Zoidberg suggests Hermes and his wife LaBarbara take a trip to Spa 5, the sauna planet which gives him a bucket of krill for every patient he sends there.

Morgan, who has a fetish for slovenly men (which she explains by saying she is "surrounded by neat freaks all the time"), begins a secret affair with Fry for his messy instincts. Fry is promoted to Executive Delivery Boy, who no longer goes on actual deliveries. After Bender discovers the illicit affair and tries to blackmail them, Morgan downloads his personality and intelligence to a floppy disk, turning him into a mindless drone who can only say "I am Bender. Please insert girder." She then sends the disk off to the Central Bureaucracy for filing.

At Spa 5, Hermes discovers it is in truth a forced labour camp, and he begins to use his natural managerial skills to reorganize the labor camp for efficiency, oblivious to the torment of his fellow workers (a single Australian man ends up doing all the labor). The rest of the Planet Express staff infiltrate the Central Bureaucracy in order to recover Bender’s mind. One of the many employees they encounter is a Beholder, a Dungeons and Dragons monster, who simply hopes not to be exposed for sleeping on the job. They discover the master in-pile, which is an enormous pile of pneumatic tube capsules, only one of which contains Bender’s brain.

The Planet Express staff is daunted by the giant pile, but Hermes and LaBarbara return from Spa 5, Hermes having regained his love of bureaucracy. In a musical number, he sorts and files everything in the pile with amazing speed, finding the disk with Bender’s brain in the last tube. He is restored to his original rank of Grade 36 by Number 1.0, the head of the Central Bureaucracy, but immediately demoted to Grade 38 for finishing two seconds early, since bureaucrats should not finish early. Because Morgan is still in charge of Planet Express, she fires Fry for exposing her affair. However, Hermes exposes a mistake she made on her high school prom date papers, having stamped them only four times instead of the standard five. Number 1.0 promotes him to Grade 37 for this, and in turn, orders his assistants to get the papers needed to have Morgan taken away. The Professor re-hires Hermes, but at severely reduced pay; Hermes does the same to Fry in turn, then cheerfully cuts everyone else's pay as well. Zoidberg begins to sing a song of his own, but the episode's credits appear abruptly after the first few words.

Broadcast and reception[edit]

In its initial airing, the episode placed 94th in the Nielsen ratings for primetime shows for the week of March 27 - April 2, 2000.[1]


  • Leela's old co-workers from "Space Pilot 3000" appear.
  • Leela's old boss says his wife does not know he has a job; however, "Space Pilot 3000" establishes that jobs are required by law.
  • The Australian man who Hermes forced to do all the work in Spa 5 is later seen as a slave helping to build the Sphinx in the episode "A Pharaoh to Remember" and mining diamonds in "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences".
  • In the film Bender's Big Score, which takes place seven years after the events of "Requisitioned," Hermes has been promoted to Grade 34 but in "Lethal Inspection", which takes place 3 years after the events of the film, was shown to have been demoted to Grade 36, the grade Hermes had held before the events of "Requisitioned".

Production notes[edit]

  • When Hermes is attempting to sort the master pile, he is told that he has only four minutes. He musically completes the task in just under a minute and a half (assuming the song takes place in real-time). He is told that he has finished two seconds early (something a good bureaucrat apparently never does).

Cultural references to other works[edit]

  • In the DVD audio commentary, Matt Groening and others mention Terry Gilliam's film Brazil having an influence over the depiction of the Central Bureaucracy.[2]
  • When Dr. Zoidberg is announcing his hand in the poker game he says he has "three human females, a number, and a king giving himself brain surgery." The king giving itself brain surgery is a reference to the 'Suicide King'. The nickname often given to the 'King of Hearts' because on a standard pack of cards he is pictured as if driving a sword into his own head.[3]


  1. ^ "PEOPLE'S CHOICE.(television program ratings, week of March 27 to April 2, 2000)(Illustration)(Statistical Data Included)". Broadcasting & Cable (Reed Business Information). 2000-04-10. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  2. ^ "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back". Futurama. DVD Commentary (2003). No. 11, Season 2. 20th Century Fox.
  3. ^ [1] The "Suicide King"

External links[edit]