The Problem with Popplers

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"The Problem with Popplers"
Futurama episode
Futurama 218 - The Problem with Popplers.jpg
Fry, Bender, and Leela discover the "Popplers".
Episode no. Season two
Episode 19
Directed by Chris Sauve
Gregg Vanzo
Written by Patric M. Verrone
Darin Henry (story)
Production code 2ACV15
Original air date May 7, 2000
Opening caption "For External Use Only"
Opening cartoon "Up to Mars" (1930)
Guest actors
Season two episodes
List of Futurama episodes

"The Problem with Popplers" is the 19th episode in the second production season of Futurama. It originally aired in North America 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 previously undiscovered planet, they find that it abounds in a new and delicious animal life-form which they call "popplers." (Fry chose the name from a list of the two remaining non-trademarked names on Earth; the second was "Zitzlers." This naming also followed the rejection of the unsuitable name "tasticles" as too similar to an existing product: "Those frozen Rocky Mountain Oysters on a stick—you know, 'test-sicles'?") The edible and highly addictive "popplers" soon inspire a new business venture for the crew, for Earthlings just cannot seem to get enough of these delicacies. 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, 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, the Earthlings' luck runs out when hippie Free Waterfall Junior exposes the sham to protect "one of Mother Earth's most precious creatures" (who is however eaten by Ndnd). After realizing the trick, Lrrr demands the real Leela. Just when he is about to eat her, 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/sentient 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.

The episode ends with the Planet Express Crew eating a smorgasbord buffet of unintelligent animals, including a suckling pig and a dolphin who wasted all his money on instant-lottery tickets.


This episode was ranked number eleven on IGN's top 25 episode list, particularly noting its great premise.[1] In Doug Pratt's DVD Pratt calls this episode "original and inspired".[2]


  • 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 also the first episode where Fry is referred to (by Amy) with his first name, Philip.
  • 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.
  • In this episode, Joe "Fishy" Gellman says, "The reason we don't eat people is because they taste lousy." In a separate episode, "Fry and the Slurm Factory," there exists a soda in the future called "Soylent Cola" (whose taste varies from 'person to person').
  • In the episode Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences, the human woman at Comic-Con dressed as an Omicronian says, "I want to have your popplers!"
  • Jrrr later appears in T.: The Terrestrial


  1. ^ Iverson, Dan (2006-07-07). "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  2. ^ Pratt, Douglas. Doug Pratt's DVD: Movies, Television, Music, Art, Adult, and More!. p. 474. 

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