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Bender wrestling as "The Gender Bender"
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Ron Hughart|
|Written by||Lewis Morton|
|Original air date||February 27, 2000|
|Opening caption||"Nominated For Three Glemmys"|
|Opening cartoon||"Hollywood Capers" (1935)|
"Raging Bender" is the eighth episode in the second production season of the American animated television series Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 27, 2000 as the twelfth episode of the second broadcast season. The episode was written by Lewis Morton and directed by Ron Hughart. The story focuses on Bender becoming a professional robot wrestler.
At the morning Planet Express meeting, the crew discovers Hermes has been assimilated by the Brain Slugs. To avoid Hermes' slack-jawed stare and being assimilated themselves, the rest of the staff takes off for the movies.
While watching All My Circuits, The Movie, Bender picks a fight with a robot that turns out to be Ultimate Robot Fighting champion The Masked Unit. The Masked Unit trips on Bender's oil-soaked popcorn, and is knocked out by the fall. Coincidentally, the commissioner of Ultimate Robot Fighting, Abner Doubledeal, is at the movie, and hires Bender on the spot.
After training with Leela, Bender has his first fight against a chainsaw-equipped robot called The Clearcutter. Seemingly by a stroke of luck, Bender defeats his opponent, causing The Clearcutter to explode into a pile of parts. However, Bender runs into the robot backstage, and the commissioner reveals that Ultimate Robot Fighting is fixed, and that the most popular robot always wins. Bender is shocked at first, but then celebrates the fact that he is popular.
Bender spurns further training from Leela, and proceeds to win several fights, but eventually, his popularity wanes, and he is told that he can either take a dive in his new role as 'The Gender Bender', or be killed by his giant opponent, Destructor. Bender asks Leela for help, but she initially refuses. When she discovers that Destructor is being trained by Arcturan kung-fu Master Fnog, she changes her mind. The male chauvinist and sexist Fnog had ruined Leela's dream of competing in the Arcturan Kung-fu junior championships years ago, and Leela still holds a grudge.
Bender tries to fight Destructor, but takes a merciless beating in the ring. He begs Fry to throw in the towel, but sees that Fry now has a Brain Slug on his head. Meanwhile, Leela discovers that Destructor is being controlled remotely (using motion capture and virtual reality) by Fnog, hidden beneath the ring. They proceed to fight, but just as Fnog is winning, Leela grabs his fist and forces it into the floor; when Destructor copies this move, his fist smashes through the canvas and knocks Fnog out. Destructor collapses on top of Bender, pinning him and winning the match. The flattened Bender receives a Bed Bath & Beyond discount card, and Fry and Leela roll him up and carry him home. Fry's Brain Slug is found on the arena floor, having starved to death.
When Fry, Bender, and Leela are riffing through the newsreel, they are ironically shushed by Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo from Mystery Science Theater 3000. The film's opening sequence is an homage to Maurice Binder's iconic James Bond "Gun barrel sequence."
Destructor's final blow to Bender's head is shot in black-and-white slow motion in a recreation of a famous shot from Raging Bull.
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