The Sting (Futurama)

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"The Sting"
Futurama episode
Futurama ep66.jpg
Fry and Leela paint Bender like a bee.
Episode no. Season four
Episode 12
Directed by Brian Sheesley
Written by Patric M. Verrone
Production code 4ACV12
Original air date June 1, 2003
Opening caption "A By-Product Of The TV Industry"
Opening cartoon "The Queen Was in the Parlour" (1932)
Season four episodes
List of Futurama episodes

"The Sting" is episode twelve in season four of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on June 1, 2003.


Professor Farnsworth is reluctant to send the crew on their next mission, to collect honey from giant space bees, as it was the mission which killed his previous crew. Though Bender and Fry are relieved at this news, Leela takes offense and drags them along.

At the hive, Leela paints Bender like a bee to distract the other bees while she and Fry collect the honey safely. The crew discover the remains of the previous Planet Express crew and ship in the hive, but Leela insists that they press on. After gathering the honey, Leela decides to bring home a baby queen bee and some royal jelly in order to make more honey. On the way out, Bender inadvertently insults the hive's queen, causing the bees to attack. The crew manage to escape, but in the ship the baby queen awakens and attacks the crew. Fry throws himself in front of Leela to protect her, but is impaled by the bee's stinger and Leela is only pricked by the tip of it. Bender disposes of the bee and Leela awakens with a minor wound on her body, but sees Fry lying dead on the floor.

At Fry's funeral, a remorseful Leela blames herself for Fry's death. After taking some space honey to calm herself down and help her sleep, Leela experiences a series of dreams in which Fry is alive, all of them ending with Fry telling her to "wake up" and Leela abruptly awakening. In one dream, Fry tells Leela that there is a gift in his locker; Leela finds it after she awakens. In another, Fry gives Leela his red jacket; Leela awakens to discover that she is wearing it, but it mysteriously turns into her own coat when she presents it to the others. Leela's insistence that Fry is alive leads the others to conclude that she is going insane; after experiencing further delusions while awake, Leela begins to suspect the same.

After awakening from a dream in which she attempts to retrieve Fry's corpse, Leela concludes that she is indeed insane. Wracked with guilt and loneliness, Leela resolves to consume enough space honey to fall asleep forever and be with Fry in her dreams, but a portrait of Fry implores her not to do it. Leela tries to fight back, but she ends up smashing her jar of space honey and luring a swarm of bees. As Leela clutches to her picture of Fry, Fry begs Leela to wake up. Leela wails that she does not understand what Fry means as the bees keep attacking her.

Leela then awakens in a hospital to see a disheveled, crying Fry at her bedside begging her to wake up. Fry explains that the venom in the bee's sting affected Leela and only impaled Fry. After getting a new spleen (which came from a man who liked to ride motorcycles) at the hospital, he stayed by Leela's side for two weeks, talking to her and waiting for her to come out of her coma. As the two embrace, they each whisper that the other could use a shower.


The idea from the episode was originally inspired by an idea to kill off one of the characters and the story came together in a matter of hours after that.[1] At one point in the episode, Leela is crying and takes a tissue to dry her eye. However, when she does this, she tears the tissue in half. While this can be seen as a joke on Leela being a cyclops, the audio commentary reveals that this was actually an in-joke among the writers. Around the time of production, Cohen became sick, but still came to work anyway. To save tissues, he ripped a tissue in half.[1]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

This episode was nominated for an Emmy in 2003 for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour).[2][3] Writer Patric Verrone was also nominated for an Annie Award for "Writing in an Animated Television Production".[4] In 2006 this episode was named by IGN as number 24 in their list of the 25 best episodes of Futurama; the episode was included in the list because of its advancement of the relationship between Fry and Leela.[5] The Futon Critic rated it number 48 in its list of the top 50 television episodes of 2003.[6] This episode is one of four featured in the Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection, indicating it is one of Matt Groening's four favorite episodes.[7] In 2013, it was ranked number 8 "as voted on by fans" for Comedy Central's Futurama Fanarama marathon.[8]

In its initial airing, the episode received a Nielsen rating of 2.4/5, placing it 81st among primetime shows for the week of May 26 - June 1, 2003.[9]


  1. ^ a b Verrone, Patric (2003). Futurama season 4 DVD commentary for the episode "The Sting" (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 
  2. ^ " Awards Database". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  3. ^ Azrai, Ahmad (2004-10-31). "Farewell to the funny future". Asia Africa Intelligence Wire. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  4. ^ "The fish that got away took top honors at the 31st Annie Awards". International Animated Film Society. 2004. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  5. ^ "Top 25 Futurama Episodes". Retrieved 2006-11-04. 
  6. ^ "The 50 Best Episodes of 2003: #50-41". The Futon Critic. 2004-01-12. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  7. ^ Lacey, Gord (May 11, 2005). "Futurama — Do the Robot Dance!". Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  8. ^ "Futurama Fanarama marthon". 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-31. 
  9. ^ "Nielsen ratings.(May 26 - June 1, 2003)(Illustration)". Broadcasting & Cable (Reed Business Information). 2003-06-09. Retrieved 2009-03-07. 

External links[edit]