It’s stuff like this that makes me love ‘Futurama’ even when the show isn’t at its comedic best. ‘A Clockwork Origin’ combines science and comedy in a wonderful way.
After last week’s absolutely awful episode, ‘Futurama’ had some making up to do. With this episode, the show completely won me back. It isn’t the funniest or most compelling episode of the season, but obscure references and a love of science are on proud display.
It all starts with a debate between evolution and “creatureism” that rings really close to home. It’s a current controversial issue, but since it’s almost certainly going to continue to be controversial, it doesn’t really date the episode.
I’m not sure if folks on both sides of the debate can enjoy the episode equally – it’s pretty pro-science. As a fan of science, skepticism and all that sort of stuff that the incredibly red center of America (fine, the South too) tends to be against, I found a lot here to love.
Early in the episode, we see Professor Farnsworth debating the theory of evolution with an orangutan. We get a funny look at the “moving goalpost” issue when the professor is constantly asked to produce more and more missing links to prove evolution. “It’s only a theory, like gravity or the shape of the earth!”
Eventually, the “creaturists” take it to the point where Farnsworth just can’t deal with it. He utters the phrase, “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.” The entire Planet Express crew inadvertently ends up stranded on a distant world, where Farnsworth’s robots start evolving.
There are plenty of great little inserts in the episode. The flying spaghetti monster is one of them. It’s not his first time on the show, but this is the first time it’s been obvious. It’s a great role for the parody religious icon too, since he’s clearly anti-evolution. The robot court being named “Superior Gort” is a nice gag too.
There’s plenty of funny stuff here, like Fry shouting out “This is a cool way to die!” as he’s carried off by a robot pterodactyl, or Amy shouting out “Watch out for the next thing!” just before Fry is carried off.
I’m almost positive that the robot dinosaur fights were pulled directly from a movie – but if they were, I haven’t seen it. Sadly that’s a reference that just passed me by. If they aren’t a reference, then it’s an oddly joke-free segment.
The segments with Cubert and Zoidberg seem like they had plenty of potential, but ultimately don’t go anywhere. They fight, sort of bond, and then it just ends. Zoidberg’s always good for a laugh, but I think there could have been a lot more there.
Lastly, I have to admit to giggling a little bit every single time someone said, “Homo Farnsworth.” Who knew? Apparently, I’m still 12-years-old.