The Farnsworth Parabox
|"The Farnsworth Parabox"|
|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 in the fourth production season of the American animated television series Futurama. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on June 8, 2003. The episode was written by Bill Odenkirk and directed by Ron Hughart. The plot of this episode revolves around the Planet Express crew's adventures in parallel universes.
After an experiment nearly kills him, Professor Farnsworth plans to destroy a yellow box containing said experiment by ejecting it into the sun. He forbids the Planet Express staff to open it, and Hermes assigns Leela to guard it, after she makes excuses not to go out on a date with Fry. However, she decides to look in the box; she falls in upon doing so and finds herself in a parallel universe, which includes an alternate married Fry and Leela.
The parallel Leela orders everyone in the original universe to come into their universe, as the parallel Professor believes that the original universe members are all evil. 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. The Professors eventually decide that nobody is evil and the members of both universes spend time befriending one another; including dinner where the alternate Fry and Leela describe to their original counterparts how alternate Leela's coin flip led to their dating and eventual marriage; Fry is angry at Leela because her coin flip had the opposite outcome. However, just before the original Planet Express crew returns home, parallel Hermes comes in to destroy the box containing the original universe. The crew realize that original universe Hermes must be doing the same thing to the box containing the parallel universe, and they plan to go back through the box to stop Hermes but discover that the box is missing. 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 into a parallel universe box in search of them. After checking several parallel universes, they eventually find the two Zoidbergs, and everyone makes their way to the original universe. They arrive outside the box inside the airlock just as Hermes has reached the Sun and is about to eject the box.
After returning to Earth, the parallel universe crew return to their universe after saying goodbye to their counterparts. When asked by Fry, Leela flips a coin and decides she will go out on a date with him after all. To ensure the safety of both universes, the Farnsworths exchange their universe boxes by pulling each other's back into each other's universe, meaning they have pulled their own box into their universe. The Professor then tells the crew they must take care of the box. However, the last scene shows Fry sitting on the box, unknowingly compressing their universe.
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 standalone episode and in particular for Universe #420 where Professor Farnsworth tells his hippie counterpart to get a job. The 2013 revision of the list bumped the episode up to number 16, reassessing it as better than "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", "Space Pilot 3000", the two "Anthology of Interest" episodes, "Parasites Lost", "Fry and the Slurm Factory", and "Love's Labors Lost in Space", all of which had previously been ranked higher. The reassessment praised the episode's study of alternate Futurama realities. In 2013, it was ranked number 6 "as voted on by fans" for Comedy Central's Futurama Fanarama marathon.
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