Last night’s episode of ‘Futurama’ certainly caused me to take paws. This season has been less than purrfect, but this is the first episode that I considered to be a cat-astrophe. Hit that “Continue Reading” button and we’ll unravel this whole ball of yarn.
That first paragraph up there sucks, doesn’t it? Yes it does, because cat puns aren’t funny. They’re not funny when my mom says them, they’re not funny when my grandmother says them, and they’re damn sure not funny when they’re on ‘Futurama’.
So here’s the plot of the episode ‘That Darn Katz!’: A bunch of cats from outer space take over the Earth through mind control. When they stop the rotation of the planet, only Amy and Nibbler can save the day. That’s right, Amy and Nibbler are your main characters in this episode.
In the whole of ‘Futurama’, there are only a few “straight man” type characters. Most of them are there for humor, with the exceptions of – for the most part – Leela, Kif and Amy. Those three exist so that funny characters can be funny.
They’re the Lou Costellos, the Oliver Hardys, and the Silent Bobs. Characters like this don’t work without their counterparts. Amy and Nibbler definitely don’t work well together at all. In the episode, Nibbler only speaks for the sake of exposition and Amy doesn’t say anything funny.
Even worse, there are all sorts of things trying to pass for jokes that just don’t make sense. On the cat home world, for example, the cat scientists use a telescope that’s shaped like a cat’s head. Why would they do that? Humans don’t build telescopes in the shape of human heads.
The whole plot to stop the Earth’s rotation seems a bit contrived, which is fine if it’s acknowledged. It isn’t.
The gag where the Earth stops is also downright dumb. If the planet were to suddenly stop, there would be an immense amount of destruction because the atmosphere would keep moving while the Earth itself stopped. If it slowed very gradually, over years and years, it wouldn’t be as bad.
In ‘That Darn Katz!’, the rotation of the Earth is stopped in the matter of a few hours, but there aren’t any adverse effects until the planet comes to a complete stop. When there are, it’s as if someone puts the brakes on, which is pretty far from accurate. ‘Futurama’ has, in the past, been pretty soundly rooted in science. If it ever did stray, there was always a point made to acknowledge that fact, or explain the reason.
Bad science aside, ‘That Darn Katz!’ just isn’t funny after the opening ad. I mean really, Lolcats? Is this 2006? Is an “All your base are belong to us” joke slated for the next episode? Will the Hampster Dance be making an appearance?
Yikes. Just plain yikes. This episode is an absolute mess, especially compared to last week’s brilliant entry.
On the plus side, ‘That Darn Katz!’ is a surefire nominee for the worst ‘Futurama’ episode of all time. Rest easy, Zoidberg, ‘That’s Lobstertainment‘ is sure to get called out far less often on forums now that the cat’s out of the bag.
See? Cat puns just aren’t funny.