The Problem with Popplers
|"The Problem with Popplers"|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Chris Sauve
|Written by||Patric M. Verrone
Darin Henry (story)
|Original air date||May 7th, 2000|
|Opening caption||"For External Use Only"|
|Opening cartoon||"Up to Mars" (1930)|
"The Problem with Popplers" is the fifteenth episode in the second production season of Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 7, 2000. The title is a reference to the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble With Tribbles".
When the Planet Express crew lands on a planet in search for a fast food restaurant, they find that it abounds in a delicious edible life-form, which they call "Popplers". The highly addictive "Popplers" soon inspire a new business venture for the crew. Unfortunately, after Popplers become an incredibly popular food item and the organization MEAT (Mankind for Ethical Animal Treatment) begins to protest against them, it is learned that they are the larval stage of the Omicronian race, and that the planet from where they came from is one of the nursery planets of the Omicronians. Leela, the first to discover this when a Poppler awakens in her hands, leads the charge to stop the eating of Popplers. This mostly fails, partly due to Bender's subversive actions. The warlike natives of Omicron Persei 8, led by Lrrr, arrive to seek justice for humans devouring billions of their young. The Omicronians demand that they be allowed to eat the same number of Earthlings as "Popplers" which were eaten. Since there are fewer humans on Earth than the number of Popplers that were eaten, and since Lrrr filled up on nuts during the negotiations, the Omicronians choose instead to eat the first Earthling to eat their young: Leela.
In order to fool the Omicronians, Zapp Brannigan brings a female orangutan dressed and styled as Leela. The Omicronians are initially fooled because they have difficulty recognizing individual humans; however, hippie Free Waterfall Junior exposes the sham to protect "one of Mother Earth's most precious creatures". After realizing the trick, and after Ndnd eats the orangutan, Lrrr demands the real Leela. With Leela in Lrrr's mouth, the small Omicronian, Jrrr, whom Leela had been nannying since birth, arrives. Jrrr jumps into Leela's mouth and convinces the Omicronians that it is wrong to eat other intelligent life out of revenge. The Omicronians leave, but not before Lrrr devours Waterfall Junior. The amount of drugs in Waterfall's system leads to Lrrr becoming stoned.
This episode was ranked number eleven on IGN's top 25 episode list, particularly noting its great premise. In Doug Pratt's DVD Pratt calls this episode "original and inspired". The A.V. Club gave the episode an A.
- This episode establishes that Leela's family uses the name-order convention (surname, given name) common to countries such as China and Hungary.
- This is the first episode where Fry is referred to as Philip (his first name).
- This is the first appearance of Phil Hendrie on Futurama as one of his Waterfall characters. He later appeared as Free Waterfall Sr. in "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" as well as both Old Man Waterfall and Frida Waterfall in "A Taste of Freedom". He reprises his role of Frida in the fourth Futurama movie "Into the Wild Green Yonder" along with her newly introduced brother, Hutch.
- Jrrr later reappears in "T.: The Terrestrial".
- Iverson, Dan (2006-07-07). "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". IGN.com. Retrieved 2008-03-22.
- Pratt, Douglas. Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More!. p. 474.
- "Futurama: "Mother's Day"/"The Problem With Popplers"". 2015-03-05. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
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