Last night’s ‘The Late Philip J. Fry’ is a standout episode of ‘Futurama.’ It has great comedy throughout, a little sweetness to go with it, and some science to top it all off.
The episode starts fantastically, with Fry attempting to sleep through Bender’s incredibly loud lovemaking. Robot sex is not a quiet act, nor is the hambone break that said robots take in Fry’s room. It’s a funny start to the episode, and it pays off in providing the first reason for Fry to be late.
We’ve never been explicitly told that Fry can’t get places on time, but it’s not a huge surprise. In addition to being clumsy and more than a little dopey, the guy’s frequently late. Most folks can relate to that, at least a bit.
The main action of the episode takes place within Professor Farnsworth’s time machine – a machine capable of going forward in time, but not backwards. The crew accidentally goes too far forward and has to keep forging through time until they come upon an age that has a backwards time machine.
The episode starts strong, but there’s a joke early on that worried me. It’s a play on the ‘Planet of the Apes‘ ending, like so many other shows have done before. Thankfully, the writers do something original and interesting with it. It even ends up being one of the stronger jokes of the episode.
The folks at ‘Mystery Science Theater 3000’ always said that joke writing isn’t a quest to see “Who will get this joke?” Instead, it’s all about having confidence that “The right people will get it.” Last night’s ‘Futurama’ has plenty of those gags that will go over the head of much of the audience.
A reimagining of the Zager and Evans tune ‘In the Year 2525’ is particularly good. And nothing beats the way the crew “solved the time paradox.” Did everyone get the jokes? No, probably not. That just makes them all the better.
It doesn’t get much better than this. ‘The Late Philip J. Fry’ is ‘Futurama’ back in top form, and is definitely the best episode of the season so far.
This episode also gives us what may be the best in and out of context line of the season: “Just slow it down. I’ll shoot Hitler out the window.”