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September 3, 2015

Futurama: A Big Piece of Garbage

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 23rd 2006 8:08PM
Futurama: A Big Piece of Garbage(S01E08) This episode had more laugh-out-loud moments for me than any Futurama episode up to this point, which is saying a lot. But this is also a pretty important one in the history of the show, for a number of reasons: 1) This is the first story were we hear a lot more from Farnsworth besides the ritual "Good news, everyone!"; 2) This is the first time we meet his arch-rival, Dr. Ogden Wernstrom; and 3) This is one of Al Gore's favorite episodes.

Well, we don't know about item 3 for sure, but given it's environmental theme, it's not that much of a stretch.

In the DVD commentary for the episode, David Cohen and Matt Groening mentioned that they try to do one environmental-themed episode per season. This, obviously, is the first of them. But it's ok if you confused it with other environment-centric episodes; for instance, I thought this was the episode that Gore used a clip from this in his movie An Inconvenient Truth, but I was wrong. But I'm not the only one that was confused, especially after Gore's movie, as we seein this week's edition of:

Billy West's Take: I liked that one. I think that's the one that had global warming in it or no? Where someone was explaining global warming?
JK: I don't know... I'll have to go back and look at that one.
BW: I do too. I just saw the clip (from Gore's movie), so I think everything is that now (laughs).

What I like about the episode is that it doesn't beat you over the head with the message. Yes, people in the 20th and 21st centuries throw out a lot of garbage. But instead of tsk-tsking us over it, writer Lewis Morton decided to show it in the form of a big ball of 20th century garbage threatening to hit New New York. And there's nothing serious about a big ball of garbage (especially one with a mountain of Bart Simpson toys... when Bender pulls the string on one, it says, "Eat my shorts." So Bender eats its shorts and purrs in Homerian fashion, "Mmmm... shorts.").

Of course, the other story is about Farnsworth feeling he's hit the wall at 149 years of age. He's still an inventor, but he's a forgetful one. 100-year-old whipper-snappers like Wernstrom are ready to take over, and Farnsworth just won't have it. I mean, without his Smellescope, no one would have found the big ball of garbage, right? So, he may be a doddering old fool who can't remember to get out of his slippers in the morning, but he still can be a scientist. And he's less of a jerk than Wernstrom, anyway.

Some notes:
  • Loved Fry's garbage generation skills. "This picture of your wife. Pure garbage," he tells Mayor Poopenmeyer (heh... I wrote "poop") as he explains how to create garbage.
  • Too bad I didn't see this episode before interviewing Billy West. I would have praised him for his retching skills. He does it twice: once as Fry and once as a man from Neptune who encountered the garbage ball.
  • Dave Herman is a genius for more reasons than his voice. He's the "designated hitter" of the show. He doesn't have a regular character; he just does whatever voices are needed. Here, he does Wernstrom and Poopenmeyer (heh... I just wrote "poop" again). To voice actors like West, that's "the toughest assigment to have... It's like every week you've got to figure out how to create a character that's not established." And he's the guy who brought the term "no talent ass-clown" into the lexicon. Talk about a talent.
  • Notice in the pictures of a younger Farnsworth, his coke-bottle glasses only look about an inch thick. The 149-year-old Farnsworth's specs are much thicker.
  • This is the first time we see newscasters Linda and Morbo. Linda continues to do local news happy talk while Morbo just keeps on insulting the "puny" humans. I love how, after Linda does a report on an injured kitten, Morbo just says, "Kittens give me gas."
  • Yes, that's really Ron Popeil's voice playing Ron Popeil's head.
  • Maurice LaMarche does Morbo's voice. In the commentary, Cohen said that in this episode, they put a harmonizer on LaMarche's voice to get it low enough for Morbo. After that, though, LaMarche just did the voice naturally. Wow.
I'll leave you with this joke, probably one of my favorite exchanges from Season One:

Fransworth: I'm sorry, Fry, but astronomers renamed Uranus in 2620 to end that stupid joke once and for all.
Fry: Oh. What's it called now?
Farnsworth: Urectum.

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Adam, you started the childish exchange ... end it and don't read about show you don't like.

These rerun entries are exposing some new people to some new shows they never got into when they were originally aired. I've become a Futurama fan since these postings began, what more needs to be said?

Maybe you are just a script kiddy who can't get the references because they are all over your head? Maybe that's why you don't enjoy the show -- are you a Jeopardy watcher or a Wheel watcher? Hmmm ... Wheel, I'd say.

Do I care about Buffy? No! So I don't read about her shows. You should try the same thing, Adam.

July 26 2006 at 1:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Count me in as a fan of both "Futurama" and the TV Squar Retro series of posts. I don't read the posts for shows I never liked, possibly because I never bought that device that glues my eyeballs to a computer monitor and saps me of all free will.

Keep up the good work, Joel, and remember: it never pays to feed the trolls.

July 24 2006 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark Stevenson

I love the re-reviews. Keep up the great work, and I agree with Joel on this one.

July 24 2006 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not to be gauche by actually talking about the episode... but it's the source of the quote that cemented Bender as my favorite animated character.

Fry (panic-stricken): Uhhnnh... we're gonna die, right?

Bender (matter-of-factly): Right.

July 24 2006 at 10:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joshua Stein

I have a question from Brother Justin and "the many who are asking" to not post about re-runs: How much do you pay every month to read this site? Because you should ask for your money back. THIS IS A FREE SITE. If you don't like the content, then DON'T READ IT. Simple as that. I was never into Buffy, so I don't read any of the Buffy posts. I was a huge fan of Futurama, and rather enjoy reading about the old eps, seeing what I might have missed.

The entitlement some people feel is absolutly astounding. I feel I should be entitled to bitch-slap anyone who thinks that they should get to dictate the content of an ad-supported site. If you don't like what they have to offer here, go elsewhere, or at least leave constructive criticism. Hey, you could start your own site. Maybe www.tvforwhinersandthosethathavenolife.com is available.

July 24 2006 at 9:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You fucking idiot. They stopped ordering episodes after FOUR seasons. And does Fox cancelling or not cancelling a show really have anything to do with how good it is? Look at the critically acclaimed Arrested Development.. Cancelled. Look at the shitty reality shows Fox airs instead.. Fox cancelled Family Guy (which I hate) after 3 seasons, but like Futurama, the show was never supported by the network and never had a solid time slot. Cartoon Network picked up the re-runs, and now both shows are more successful than ever, and both have been resurrected. Now, a show's popularity isn't always an indication of its quality, but neither is the approval of a Fox network executive.

I know you're partially doing this to "ruffle some feathers". Though my "feathers" are not "ruffled", I do think you're a tool. I mean, who goes around trying to piss people off who like a tv show you don't like? What's the point? Why are you wasting your time? And the things you say are devoid of any creativity or insight. Calling someone a "dense asshole" right after you got the facts wrong, and trying to support your argument with the actions of Fox network executives (some of the "densest assholes" on the planet) shows just how vapid you really are.

Anyway, shut up.

July 24 2006 at 4:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michael Shapiro

Hey Gavin.

If Fururama is "one of the best animated series" ever, then how come FOX shitcanned it after only 2 seasons, you dense asshole

July 24 2006 at 3:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with Joel, what's the point in talking badly about a show on a fan post. The only reason to do it is if you're trying to make people mad, hence being a troll. Never feed trolls.

July 24 2006 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't feed the trolls, as they say on the internets. Futurama is one of the best animated series that TV has ever seen and the new episodes will be greatly appreciated no matter what network they air on.

Hey Adam, you can bite my shiny metal ass.

July 24 2006 at 2:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Futurama is sarcasm and innuendo. If you do not hav certain experiences, you will not get the jokes. If you havent seen or read certain material, you will no get the jokes.
While I like South Park as well, Futurama is just a different kind of toon.

Some folks are just angry and need something to dislike, and its usually because they do not understand or are stupid.

July 24 2006 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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