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November 24, 2014

Futurama: My Three Suns

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 16th 2006 8:46PM
Futurama: My Three Suns(S01E07) I'm going to start with Billy West's take on this episode, because he says exactly what I loved about it. I'll just put it in in transcript form (from the interview I did with him a in June):

BW: I loved it, because of the people made out of the water, it just looked so cool. It was a real killer; I loved that one. What a thing to say about an episode: "Well, he drinks the emperor."

JK: Well, that just says to me that with a Sci Fi cartoon, you can go in any direction you want.

BW: Right, but you notice that they have their roots in pure Sci Fi. Like drinking the emperor. That's like Ray Bradbury kind of stuff.

JK: Even though they have the crazy characters, they still try to root themselves in traditional Sci Fi literature.

BW: It just semed endless, what you could do.


"Endless". That's just about the perfect term for it.

Think about the beauty of Futurama. It's a pretty well-known assumption that cartoons can put their characters in situations that live-action shows can't. Kenny can get killed on South Park every week, for instance, and he can come back like nothing ever happened. But imagine what you can do when you are producing a science fiction cartoon. Just being free from Earth's bounds allows the cartoon's creators latitude that's only slightly smaller than the universe itself.

"My Three Suns" is a great example of this. The planet of Trisol (three suns... get it?) is the show's first example of what can be accomplished once the Planet Express folks leave our solar system. In fact, Matt Groening and David Cohen mentioned on the DVD commentary that the idea, of a planet inhabited by people made of water where Fry drinks the emperor, was one of Groening's earliest ones; it was going to be the second episode until the powers that be decided to keep things close to home to start.

The other thing you can do is have robots spew lines that would seem subversive coming out of a human's mouth, especially a live human's mouth. "OK, Fry, grab a Kleenex for this one, 'cause there's no God and your idiotic human ideals are laughable!" is one of the things Bender says to get Fry to cry out the emperor. Fry's response is priceless: "Phew! That's a load off my mind."

Other notes:
  • This is the first time we see Elzar, which is the year 3000 equivalent of Emeril. For some reason, I thought Emeril didn't start kicking it up a notch on TV until 2000 or 2001; the fact that this episode was done in 1999 means the big E has been with us for a long time (I can't wait to see their take on Rachael Ray in 2008).
  • "Good news, everyone!" has already become a catchphrase by now, so much so that they make fun of it by showing Bender bracing for the bad news as soon as he hears Farnsworth utter those words.
  • When the organ dealer in Little Neptune tries to sell Fry on getting gills, he tells our "hero", "Yes, gills. Then, uh, you don't need lungs anymore, is right?" I love Fry's response: "Can't imagine why I would." Ah, good ol' moronic Fry.
  • The "Refreshing Crack" vending machine. No more needs to be said.

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Tucker

Blue Sam - what?

July 18 2006 at 10:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ErricZ

Oh, you evil man, you! It's all your fault. You and your awesome interview with Billy West and now your killer almost-weekly reviews of Futurama long gone. I have been borrowing some episodes and now I am feeling compelled to just go an buy the whole damned series on DVD so I can get the commentary too.

Man, you are costing me money here! Too bad you can get a cut of it. ;)

July 17 2006 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B

They always park far away from the delivery place. I assume it's to save on tolls.

July 17 2006 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam the Deaf

Tucker,

Your comment isn't necessary for this subject of only that show.

Otherwise, that's pretty silly to place spaceship far away from the place to delivery. For some reason, spaceship might wipe water people. heh

July 17 2006 at 9:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tucker

Another of my all-time favorite lines...

Dealer: "Ah, is x-ray eye. See through anything."
Fry: "Wait a minute, this says z-ray."
Dealer: "Z is just as good! In fact is better, is two more than x!"

July 17 2006 at 8:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gavin

Wasn't it Vonnegut who wrote something about water being sentient, and that human beings existed only as a vessel to move it from one place to another?

July 16 2006 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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