Futurama, Season Six, Episode Eleven, “Lrrconcilable Ndndifferences”

Written by: Patric M Verrone
Directed by: Crystal Chesney-Thompson
DN’s Ranking: Bad / NONESSENTIAL / Essential

“It’s earlier now!”

This one is never bad enough to completely skip over, but it sure is lesser Futurama. Its problem is that the overall plot feels like a retread of every other plot involving Lrr and Ndnd, rulers of the planet Omicron Persei Eight. Aliens playing out hacky Hate My Wife cliches is hilarious, but this fails to reach the absurd heights of something like “Spanish Fry” – it’s just jokes about testicle size and banging women when you’re on a break reskinned for aliens as opposed to cutting a guy’s wang off if a date goes too badly. The most interesting insight the main plot has is in weaponising Leela’s bossiness and comparing it to Ndnd. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really go anywhere despite there being multiple conclusions to take it. The first is the implication that, if Lrr doesn’t have a type – and actually loves Ndnd for her bossiness – then he mostly understands women through the lens of being told what to do by them. That might one direction to take his bafflement at Grrl, who wants nothing more from him than his body. 

The second is the much more interesting idea that Leela is inherently bossy. I’m puzzling over this as someone who relates to her – there is a point beyond simply observing something and heading into looking for something to observe, where you’re looking for something to be sarcastic and critical about as opposed to seeing things that inspire criticism. When you think about it, the plot and trouble happens because Leela couldn’t let go of someone with a problem, and as it goes on, the episode draws more and more comparisons between her and Ndnd. It raises the question of how much Leela is making things worse because she wants to feel like the smartest person in the room but not enough for me to take a definitive stance on the subject one way or the other.

“Leela’s right. That’s not what you wanna hear.”

What helps, though, is that all the smaller elements rule. I always enjoy stories about artists, so I love the little plot of Fry rewriting his comic book and completely failing to grasp the concept of a plot; it’s even funnier when he turns to his comic for comfort when everything goes terribly wrong. What he learns is, of course, that there has to be meaningful stakes with meaningful actions the protagonist can take. And finally, after all these years of having the greatest Orson Welles impersonator on staff, the writers finally bring Orson Welles into the story. Delightfully, they work as hard to capture Orson Welles diction as Maurice LaMarche does to capture his literal voice; it really does feel like Welles himself has come to life for us.

Title Card: Two scoops of pixels in every scene
Cartoon Billboard: N/A

“In the end we caved, like a house of souffle cards.”

Sergio Aragonés guest stars as himself and Katie Sackhoff guest stars as Grrl; finding out that was her actually makes me a little madder that she wasn’t given a little more to work with, although I think she acquits herself as someone a little crazier than they look. I’m of two minds about Grrl’s human design; on the one hand, I think this is actually case of a female character needlessly over-sexualised, and on the other, her design is also not just full of personality, but personality that reminds me of women I’ve known. She almost looks more adorable than sexy. Matt Groening and David X Cohen also guest star as themselves. There is an unintentional laugh when Joss Whedon is spoken of in awed tones.

“Ermrmrfrmr or what?

Much of the plot lifts from Orson Welles’s mythical radio broadcast of War Of The Worlds. He drops a reference to the Jonas Brothers, itself a reference to the opening line of the radio broadcast. Lrr gets what I hope is a mask of JJ Abrams’s face. Bender drops a riff on a line from Mork & Mindy. Ndnd’s line “She’s not the boss of you! I’m the boss of you!” is a reference to a line from Zork: Grand Inquisitor. I will not bother describing every cosplay reference in the Comic-Con scenes. The broken Zapp doll is a reference to infamous outtakes from William Shatner on Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Iconic Moments: N/A
Biggest Laugh:

Next Week: “The Mutants Are Revolting”.