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September 21, 2014

'Futurama' - 'Lethal Inspection' Recap

by Danny Gallagher, posted Jul 23rd 2010 9:42AM
Mom's killbots from the (S06E06) For the most part, I've been impressed with 'Futurama's' return to the airwaves. Some episodes have been a little rocky, but there's always more than a few bumps when a show has to penetrate the thin layer of TV's re-entry layer.

It feels like the old show did, but something has been missing from the last few episodes: a real sense of emotion. One of the great things about 'Futurama' and shows like it are its surprising ability to make you feel something other than laughter. The "Jurassic Bark" episode, the one in which Fry's dog waits for Fry's return long after he's been frozen in the cryogenics lab, was the closest I ever came to crying at a TV show. Thank God for man's inability to divert tears from flowing by sheer will, even though I had to use a pair of pliers and some loose thigh skin to take my mind off of the emotional pain.

Thankfully, it returned last night.

The episode had a nice mix of comedy and adventure, as did all good 'Futurama' episode since it's main focus is as a space epic in a blue collar future. However, it's biggest strength was its sense of heart. It not only made for a nice twist that fit together a little too nicely, but it also proved that 'Futurama' can be much more than just a simple comedy show about robots that drink and aliens with obvious skin conditions.

This time, Bender realizes that he is just as mortal as the meatbags he works with, thanks to a flaw in his initial design. So he and Hermes set out to find his initial inspector, the fabled "Inspector No. 5," by infiltrating the never-ending maze of paperwork and fine print that is the Central Bureaucracy.

Episodes that center around this setting are always good because they give the show a "Douglas Adams" feeling that even high speed technology and storage information can make things even more convoluted and confusing. It also sets up for great bits like the giant Rubik's Cube-like cubicle, complete with Billy West's dead-on Paul Lynde workmate as the "center square." The 'Hollywood Squares' joke felt like I was watching an episode of 'Family Guy' with better plot development (really any "plot development" would be a step up from 'Family Guy.')

The plot moves to its road-hopping adventure tangent pretty quickly as Bender and Hermes head to Mexico to find his inspector at the Mom factory where he was born/built. The bits work pretty well. Bender's attempt to speak Spanish had me cackling, just because John DiMaggio's thick New York/Brooklyn voice sounded like the farther dialect possible from a Mexican accent.

I still found myself wanting more out of the road trip aspect of the episode. These two are on an adventure and it felt like it ended rather quickly, before it had much of a chance to get started. That's just a sacrifice to the cruel and heartless gods of time that only gave 'Futurama' 30 minutes to get a plot going, 23 if you count the commercials.

The ending where it's revealed that Hermes was actually Bender's original inspector and responsible for letting him live in spite of defect felt a little too tacked together, like it had been stapled around something that didn't quite fit and causing it tear apart at its seams. But it had such a great sense of heart that the thought quickly left my mind. It didn't beat the lesson over your head that life is always worth living no matter how short it is by sticking to the comedy that makes the show work, like the "Killbots'" ridiculous ability to mistake gun puns for orders.

This was no "Jurassic Bark," but the ending had plenty of bite.

Other observations:

- If anyone out there isn't sure what to get me this year for Christmas, a pair of "ass kicking feet" should be at the top of your list.... especially if you need an ass kicking from me. I'm a size 10 and a half, by the way.

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easterhumiston

If all the Government programs worked well like in much of Western Europe, people would be happy and think that Government had a job to do.
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August 31 2010 at 3:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steffany

Jurassic Bark is my all time fav, and then probably the Sting. This episode rates up there with them. This review said EVERYTHING that I was thinking. Could not have said it better myself.

July 24 2010 at 11:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mack Swift

"And Zoidberg's being overcooked!!"

July 23 2010 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Javanese

Jurassic bark is one of the greatest animated tv series episode ever aired!

July 23 2010 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Happy Steve

When I saw the bureaucrat workstation in the Mexican house, I had a feeling that Hermes would turn out to be Inspector #5. Although I thought it would be revealed by having the camera accidently scan and approve him in front of Bender. I like the actual ending better.

I like these last few episodes. Feels like the good ol' Futurama we knew and loved.

July 23 2010 at 11:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John Hewitt

The ending didn't feel tacked on to me. In fact, I saw it coming as soon as Hermes started suggesting they give up on the search. I liked the Episode and I liked that Hermes and Bender got time together. I don't think that has really happened before.

July 23 2010 at 11:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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