‘Futurama’ 6.04 Recap: “How Are The Cattle Prods Going To Help?”

The fourth ‘Futurama’ episode this season, ‘Proposition Infinity,’ is an altogether tight episode that suffers a bit from the “torn from the headline” syndrome. It isn’t as bad as the last episode, ‘Attack of the Killer App,’ which was full of references that just fell flat. “Wait, did he review that one?,” you say. “Well no, it was 4th of July weekend as well as my birthday, and even bloggers get a day off once in a while!,” says I.

There’s a lot going on in ‘Proposition Infinity,’ but the main story centers around the proposed legalization of marriage between humans and robots. This all stems from Kif dumping Amy for swooning over “bad guys.” After she gets binned by Kif, the Martian klutz turns to the baddest boy around – none other than the beer swilling, cigar smoking, ring stealing Bender. They keep the relationship secret for a while, but it’s not long before they’re found out.

Most of the Planet Express crew are cool with it, but Professor Farnsworth is dead set against it. From there, the episode starts get a little bit obvious in terms of its message. A robot preacher comes down on Bender for his sins, and Amy’s parents try to make her choose a human. Bender and Amy launch Proposition Infinity, which would legalize marriage between robots and humans. Observant viewers – and non-observant ones too – will notice that the symbol for infinity looks just like a sideways eight.

There’s a pride parade for robot and human couples that features robots in very broad gay stereotypes, as well as Hedonism Bot, who’s generally up for anything. Old people are against the prop, while young people are generally okay with it. It all comes down to a vote based on a debate between Bender and Farnsworth, who reveals that he once was in love with a robot.

The message heavy parts of the episode get tiresome quickly, but there are some absolutely brilliant moments. Leela’s question about the cattle prod is a fantastic laugh, as is Bender’s go-to line of “Oy, this guy” when the preacher comes on screen.

The one other thing that could get problematic fast is the throwback to characters from older episodes. It’s fun to see Roberto again, and the robot preacher and the Wong family, and the bevy of characters that appear in this episode. But after too many, it just starts to get overwhelming.

1 comment

  1. JoeRo

    I loved this episode, as well as the previous one. I was even pleased with Kif’s characterization as he continues to emotionally evolve. After being murdered by Zapp in the 2nd film, then coming back only to realize Amie banged Zap shortly after that, I can understand the guy being jealous and insecure. The writing was spot on.

    I’ve heard many complaints lately on various blogs and forums claiming that Futurama is now somehow too “current”, or playing things too on-the-nose for some viewers. But Futurama has always done that, and done it well. You take the correct approach here in your review Dick, implying that it wasn’t the references to current tech that somehow made the jokes bad, but rather it was the jokes that made the jokes bad (the “… references that just fell flat”.

    I like what the writers were doing here, and while some of the jokes did indeed fall flat, I think overall it’s a good episode. It reminded me strongly of The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz” and “Crimes of the Hot”, two episodes that took strong aim at themes such as pollution and environmentalism. In the DVD commentaries Ken Keeler acknowledged that at least one joke wasn’t laugh out loud funny, but that it should in fact be there. (For the record he was referring to the joke in Crimes of the Hot where Mom says, regarding the bending units high emissions, “We’ll just call it a sport utility robot and reclassify it as a light truck.”) As an aside, that was a great joke in my opinion.

    Anyway, there seems to be a lot of vitriol being directed at the “new” Futurama these days, and while I’m not accusing the author of this post of that I just thought I’d acknowledge it here. The new Futurama works for me, no two episodes have been alike so far, and that’s what I’ve come to expect from the talented people behind this brilliant show. Bottom line, I’m very happy they’re back, and look forward with much anticipation to the next episode.

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