Obsolete Bender and his Obsolete Gang
|Episode no.||Season four
|Directed by||Dwayne Carey-Hill|
|Written by||Dan Vebber|
|Original air date||July 27, 2003|
|Opening caption||"You can't prove it won't happen"|
|Opening cartoon||"Much Ado About Mutton" (1947)|
"Obsoletely Fabulous" is the fourteenth episode in the fourth production season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on July 27, 2003. Set in a retro-futuristic 31st century, the series follows the adventures of the employees of Planet Express, an interplanetary delivery company. In this episode, Mom's Friendly Robot Company introduces a new model of robot, so older models, including Bender, are required to get a system upgrade. Most of the episode documents the vision that Bender experiences whilst he is getting his upgrade.
At a robot expo, Mom's Friendly Robot Company introduces a new robot: Robot 1-X. Feeling unwanted after Professor Farnsworth buys one to help out around the office, Bender decides to get a personality upgrade so he can be compatible with Robot 1-X. During his upgrade however, Bender changes his mind and leaps out the window.
Too scared to get the upgrade but unable to face the others without it, he heads out to sea, only to wash up on an uncharted island. Bender finds that four outdated robots are living on the island and befriends them. After living with the outdated robots, Bender realizes he does not need technology anymore. He then orders his companions to "downgrade" his metal robotics with a wooden body. Bender leads his friends to New New York in a wooden submarine, where they wage war on technology. The band of five are surprisingly successful, but Bender reveals there is one more thing they need to destroy: Robot 1-X.
They head to Planet Express and, after destroying the power lines, Bender breaks into the hangar, where he confronts his technologically stricken former crew. Bender has his robotic friends throw large boulders at Robot 1-X, but they miss and hit the Planet Express ship, which falls and pins the crew down to the floor. A candle falls onto the leaking fuel from the ship, causing a ring of fire to form around the crew. Bender tries to reach for the extinguisher, but his wooden body is eaten by termites. Failing to save his friends himself, Bender orders Robot 1-X to save the crew. This allows Bender to seem like a hero and, when the plan succeeds, he accepts the new robot.
At the end of the episode, it is revealed that Bender's adventure was just a vision he was experiencing during the upgrade.
A scene during the robot upgrade was cut featuring Mom brainwashing the robots. There was also an extra scene at the convention cut.
Regular voice actor John DiMaggio did Bender's dialogue in the scene where he dances to "I'm Alright" before the crew had the song available. The music for the scene when the obsolete robots rampage the city was written by Christopher Tyng and not licensed. The sound effect for Bender's arms falling off was meant to be temporary but it was kept because it was funnier than any of the later attempts at the sounds.
- The episode's title is a play on words, referring to the BBC TV series Absolutely Fabulous (and the related song "Absolutely Fabulous").
- The robot Sinclair 2K was based on the Timex Sinclair. His design was based on Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet.
- The robot Lisa was named after the Apple Lisa.
- The design for Robot I-X was initially inspired by the iMac.
Broadcast and reception
- Cohen, David X. (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Obsoletely Fabulous" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- LaMarche, Maurice (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Obsoletely Fabulous" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- Moore, Rich (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "Obsoletely Fabulous" (DVD). 20th Century Fox.
- "Nielsen ratings: July 21-27. (Programming).(Illustration)". Broadcasting & Cable (Reed Business Information). 2003-08-04. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
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