Futurama, Season Ten, Episode Five, “Related To Items You’ve Viewed”

Written by: David Goodman
Directed by: Andrew Han

“Hey, that’s the vase I keep my cabbages in!”

I gotta say, I’m having a good time with this season. Like everyone else, I was skeptical of the number of contemporary references I noticed in episode titles; I actually thought this would be another plot about streaming services, but instead it’s about Amazon, and this slides perfectly into that Groening-esque satirical view: here is a systemic evil that is driving our very lives and we’re all just kind of rolling with it. Others have pointed out how strange it is that people in the 31st Century have only just gotten around to things that were developed in the 2010’s, but I believe the show made the choice to be funny before being plausible a long time ago. I wouldn’t be upset if it committed completely to being an internally logical universe that operated independently of the real world – indeed, this very episode builds on the show’s inner logic, more on which later – but feeding in new ideas based on the way the world has changed since 2013 is a completely acceptable creative choice.

“I can take a hint! What I can’t take is a straightforward request!”

Indeed, I think it shows us how the Futurama worldview is still relevant as a way of understanding what is happening to us. This contains another example of the show’s general take on robots (first identified by beloved commentor Raven Wilder), in which a real world example of oppression simply doesn’t apply to robots all that well. One way of looking at satire is that it pushes uncomfortable topics to the forefront of our minds; it’s very obvious that robots can handle the physical demands of what amounts to slavery, but we’re still thinking about the real human beings being subject to the same conditions as Bender. There’s also how what’s being fought is convenience at the expense of others. Every character repeatedly notes how much more convenient things have gotten since Momazon started enslaving robot, and indeed we have the very amusing note that what is horrifying in real life is actually kind of acceptable in the context of Futurama.

“There’ll be three hundred of us and eighteen teeth.”

We also have the development of Fry and Leela’s relationship. We have a basic honest-to-god shift in the status quo when Leela moves in permanently with Fry, and thus also Bender, with a genuine shift in the relationship between all three. Bender being a jealous child is some old-fashioned work for the character, and I loved that Fry and Leela’s arguments over the decor felt organic, and even like a logical extension of the themes of the episode with toys selling us crap we don’t need. I hadn’t thought about it til now, but we even get the rarest of things in Futurama: a genuine moment of positive morality. The best way to fight against the big corporations is to ignore all the crap they’re selling you in favour of people you actually care about.

Title Card: We warned you, but you wouldn’t listen!
Cartoon Billboard: “Betty Boop’s May Party”, 1933

“Robots, cool!”
“Yes, they’re much better than unions. I mean, humans.”

Al Gore makes another cameo as himself.

“Strange. I could have sworn we had an odd number of moons.”

According to my half-assed glance at Reddit, this seems to be the first really popular episode of this season, with people widely seeing it as classic Futurama and getting that energy back.

Biggest Laugh:

“We’re gonna expose your evil to the whole world!”
“What kind of threat is that? Everybody knows I’m evil.”