Futurama, Season Nine, Episode Eight, “Assie Come Home”

Written by: Maiya Williams
Directed by: Raymie Muzquiz
DN’s Ranking: Bad / NONESSENTIAL / Essential

“Does anyone else find this delivery suspicious?”
“Nope. He’s too dumb and I don’t care.”

I’ve often described almost random things as ‘inherently hilarious’, so you can imagine my joy at Futurama taking the inherently hilarious idea of emotional investment in Bender’s ass and building a whole episode around it. We’ve had a few discussions now around late-era sitcom concepts that the show is playing with; after the random pairings of characters who don’t talk to each other much and the focus on tertiary characters, taking an iconic piece of the show going back to the pilot and pretending, hey, we actually care about this is a pretty common move. To their credit, they don’t belabour the joke too much; the journey to find Bender’s ass is a structural element and not the one joke they’re beating into the ground. 

Indeed, “Assie Come Home” almost risks becoming a random assortment of ideas hodge-podged together – the closest it comes is the fact that the opening act is a complete mini-arc in itself, with the reliably funny idea of Leela trying to do something good and messing it up. I could have used some kind of end-episode gag tying it all together, but the gags driving that first act are so good that I forgive it for being merely funny – I’m particularly tickled by the mirror gag messing with Leela’s attempt to get clever. I also enjoy how this does lead directly into the main plot; the second critical observation I ever remember having as a kid was noticing that the opening scene of any given episode of The Goodies tended to have nothing to do with the main plot beyond kicking it in motion, and I always enjoy it.

“This ain’t a church, lady! Except for tax purposes.”

I also enjoy the lighthouse plot this all (eventually) leads into. This show has frequently returned to the well of ‘space travel = old timey sea travel’ ideas and always narrowly avoided overlap with itself. It helps considerably that they have a) a deep knowledge of old timey sea dog cliches, b) an exact sense of banal dumb shit to put in the mouths of old timey sea dog cliches, and c) voice actors that can deliver the stereotypical voices with complete conviction, all of which come together in one line (“That’ll be my cuppa-soup. It’s been microwavin’ longer’n I can remember.”). 

Title Card: Featuring a new invisible character who doesn’t speak
Cartoon Billboard: N/A

“The booty call is at daybreak!”

This also contains another of my favourite background jokes: the guy in the bazaar selling Head Sox. Just a dumb pun that appeals to me. As always, the animation elevates the episode a little bit; I enjoy the wide scope of visual ideas here, from the gangsta planet to the bazaar to the Sargaseous Sea. You also have the neat design of Bender reduced to only his eyes and mouth.

The title is a reference to the film Lassie Come Home. The concept of a planet of gangstas is a parody of the planet of gangsters in the Star Trek episode “A Piece Of The Action”. The Blips and the Cruds are a parody of the Crips and the Bloods combined with the Star Trek episode “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, with aliens who are black on one side and white on the other. Fry getting his head just in a jar of HUNNY is a reference to Winnie-The-Pooh. Fry drops a parody of the album Straight Outta Compton. The episode has appearances from the following robots: C-3PO of Star Wars, The Iron Giant from the film of the same name, Rosie of The Jetsons, Robot Bill and Ted from Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, Alpha Five from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, Tetsujin 28-go from the anime of the same name, a Dalek from Doctor Who, Clank of Ratchet & Clank, and a cylon from Battlestar Galactica.

“You know the answer, you scurvy bastard!”

There’s also a robot that looks like R2-D2 of Star Wars. The lighthouse and Tarquin within it contain multiple references to an area in Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, and his name is a riff on Quint of Jaws. Tarquin’s boat is named in parody of The Jetsons. The scene of the one-eyed corpse is lifted from Jaws. 

Iconic Moments: N/A.
Biggest Laugh: It’s amazing what perfect comic timing will do.

Next Week: “Leela And The Genestalk”. “It’s time for you to shut up!”