The Farnsworth Parabox
|"The Farnsworth Parabox"|
|Episode no.||Season four
|Directed by||Ron Hughart|
|Written by||Bill Odenkirk|
|Original air date||June 8, 2003|
|Opening caption||"Beats A Hard Kick In The Face"|
|Opening cartoon||"The Queen Was in the Parlor" (1932)|
"The Farnsworth Parabox" is the fifteenth episode of the fourth production season of Futurama. It first aired June 8, 2003, as the tenth episode in the fifth broadcast season. The episode was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Ron Hughart.
Professor Farnsworth decides to destroy an experiment that nearly killed him in a yellow box by ejecting it into the sun. He forbids the Planet Express staff to open it, and Hermes assigns Leela to guard it. However, she is tempted by curiosity and flips a coin to decide whether to look in the box. The flip results in favor of looking in the box. Upon doing so, she falls into the box and finds herself in a parallel universe where everyone has identical personalities to their counterparts but different hair and clothing colors.
The parallel Leela orders everyone in the original universe (except Hermes) to come into their universe by threatening them with a gun, as the parallel Professor believes that the original universe members are all evil. However, they all decide to discuss their differences over the meeting table. The two Farnsworths discover that, just as the original Farnsworth created a box containing a parallel universe, the parallel universe Farnsworth created a box containing the original universe. After arguing over which universe will be named Universe A and Universe B, the original universe is named Universe A and the parallel universe is named Universe 1.
Although everyone is the same, Professor-A questions why Leela-A looked in the box whilst Leela-1 did not. Leela-1 says that she flipped a coin and it came up tails so she did not look, a complete opposite of what happened to Leela-A. Both professors observe that the key difference between both universes is that coin flips have opposite outcomes. They ask the two groups to watch their counterparts to determine if the other is evil. When Leela-1 asks if she and Fry-1 can watch their counterparts together because they have plans, Leela-A thinks that they are dating but she and Fry-A are amazed to find that they are married.
The counterparts begin watching each other: the Benders have different metallic colors but their personalities are exactly alike, even down to stealing each other's wallets. The Amys are slightly discouraged to realize that they both wear nail polish of a color the other dislikes (Amy-A wears yellow, Amy-1 prefers pink, the reverse of their clothing colors), and Professor-A and Professor-1 talk about a brain operation Professor-1 attempted on himself, again the result of a differing coin flip.
Fry-A and Leela-A go out to dinner with Fry-1 and Leela-1 and Fry-A becomes slightly annoyed and angry after realizing that Leela-A did not marry him because she always had excuses for not wanting to go out with him. The Zoidbergs talk in a dumpster about how they are both unappreciated by the rest of the team, until Zoidberg-1 remarks that he saw where Professor-1 hid the box containing the original universe. The two both plan to steal the box.
After studying the Scriptures, the Professors decide that nobody is evil and the members of Universe A can go back home. However, when Hermes-1 comes in to destroy the box containing Universe A, the crew realize that Hermes-A must be doing the same thing to the box containing Universe 1. They plan to go back through the box to stop Hermes-A but discover that the box is missing (Professor-1 had hidden it inside the Coelacanth tank). The two Farnsworths try to recreate the original box, but end up creating a large number of boxes containing different universes. As the crew looks through the boxes, the two Zoidbergs walk in holding the original universe box and quickly jump into another universe box, and in the process bump into the bookshelf containing the boxes, causing all of them to fall so the crew are unable to tell which box the Zoidbergs jumped into. Each member of the two crews goes in a parallel universe box in search of them, grabbing a length of wire so they can return. After checking several parallel universes, each with its own amusing point of difference, they eventually find the two Zoidbergs, and everyone makes their way to Universe A. They arrive outside the box inside the airlock just as Hermes-A has reached the Sun and is about to eject the box.
After returning to Earth, the parallel universe crew return to their universe. When Fry asks Leela if she will give him another shot, Leela flips a coin. When Fry asks whether it is heads or tails, Leela decides that they will just say that it is heads. The Farnsworths exchange their universe boxes by pulling each other's back into each other's universe, meaning they have pulled their box into their universe. Farnsworth tells the crew to treat the new box with care. Later, Fry enters the living room to find the crew watching TV and sits on top of the universe box, partially flattening the entire universe under his own weight.
Broadcast and reception
In 2006 this episode was ranked 17th on IGN's list of the top 25 episodes of Futurama. The episode was noted for its humor as a stand–alone episode and in particular for Universe #420 where Professor Farnsworth tells his hippie counterpart to get a job. In 2013, it was ranked number 6 "as voted on by fans" for Comedy Central's Futurama Fanarama marathon.
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