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Futurama- Episode 7.26 "Meanwhile" (Series Finale)- Review

It’s not so often that a show like Futurama happens to be on the air. I’m sure at least everybody has heard of it, even if they don’t watch it. It has had a powerful impact on popular culture, it has been critically acclaimed, and it has built one of the strongest fanbases out there. It’s a show that got to live two lives, one in FOX and one in Comedy Central, which is not something many shows can brag about. Both lives were full of good times, and as such it’s really hard for me, as a Futurama fan, to think this is the last episode of the series, but at the same time I’m really glad it ended like this, with every element that makes the show funny and moving on display, something really rare and special, something that can’t be copied.

Before I get to the episode itself, I’d like to talk a little bit about my experience with the show, the show itself and its pasts seasons: when Futurama started airing I was a kid, and I didn’t understand what was funny about it; for me, it was a cartoon of which I understood nothing at all. My big brother was a fan of the show and he tried to explain some aspects of the show to me, but I still didn’t get it. Then, two years ago, I was 19 and I was looking for something to watch; a friend told me about a really bizarre episode of Futurama and then I just got curious. I looked up the episode, watched it, and ever since then I became a fan. I binged 6 seasons before the 7th started, of which season 4 became my favorite with episodes like “Jurasic Bark” and my all-time favorite episode “The Sting”. Season 6 was pretty funny, but quite bizarre, with episodes like “The Prisoner of Benda” being hilarious but quite creepy. Then season 7 came, and I liked it even though it became evident that the ideas weren’t as fresh as before, but it was still better than most programming, it was still a good way to kill time. Until it was announced that the last 13 episodes of the season would be, in fact, the final episodes of the show; when I got to know that I was really bumped, because I felt that I was just a newbie in Futurama’s fandom, and because I just recently got in love with the show and it was departing, just as my favorite show (Fringe) just ended. So I looked at these 13 episodes rather different than the first 13, all of them were Futurama’s big goodbye, and I enjoyed them all to the fullest; some more than others, sure, but I took this final season as my chance to flavor Futurama as I never could as a kid.

What makes an episode of Futurama good? I’d say it’s the unique blend the show has of both comedy and drama; it’s not the only show that has used both elements, but it’s the only one that does it this way; even with the “everything goes” logic Futurama has, in which it can make absolutely any plot work, from time travel to body swap to robot apocalypse and many more, the show always has a meaning; it could use the most absurd plot of all time and still make it work with funny lines and funny actions from the characters. Within that logic the writers usually exploit all the comedic potential and throw, from time to time, emotional beats into the mix: three weeks ago in the Scene Of The Week section I mentioned how Futurama is a show about a man who lost his life and is forced to start a new one; among this new family, really strong emotional beats come when exploring the relationship the characters have; Fry and Bender’s friendship is one of the strongest combinations for both comedic and emotional results, but it’s Fry and Leela’s relationship the one that comes out as the most moving and tonight’s episode proves it.

We start the episode with a trip to the moon, and Fry remembers that it was their first delivery assignment; I remembered the episode clearly as it got mention and it’s a nice that the series reflects a little bit about is past during the series finale. As per usual, thing get a little bit crazy early on: the gang gets on an amusement park ride called “Mecha-hexadecapus” which sends Leela flying off the amusement park and off to the moon without her suit. She survives (using the air of a balloon to survive), but the scare triggers Fry’s decision to make an important step forward in their relationship: to propose.

There’s a moment there in which Fry tells Bender about how he can’t live without Leela and why he thinks he should marry her, and even though at first Bender seemed annoyed, we get to see him moved by Fry’s resolve at the end. I thought it was important to talk about this, because this friendship (as I mentioned before) is one of the cores of the show, and I was glad that we got to see, even for a brief moment, how Bender cares about Fry: it’s not that we don’t know that already, it’s just nice to remember that when the series is about to close, because we know that Bender can be a real piece of work (to say the least… mostly trying to be polite), but it’s undeniable that he loves Fry. Bender can pretty quickly switch from evil to good and never go out of character, which is one of the many wonders of this character.

As the episode goes forward, the professor shows as a device that allows people to go 10 seconds back in time and Fry would put a use to it pretty soon.
Time travel plots are ones that Futurama handles great: “Roswell that ends well”, “The Why of Fry” and “The Late Phillip J. Fry” are examples of how much dedication and thought they put when this kind of plot is used, and here we get as much effort put on it.
Seeing Fry use the time regression button was quite funny; we get him using it to steal diamonds with Bender, avoid Leela’s hand getting cut off, and escape his own death after jumping off a building: this last segment uses a lot of screen time, but it’s worthy: Fry gets trapped in a loop and we get to see him get killed like 6 times, each time with different good punch lines from different characters to make it work (see stray observations below to see some).

Eventually, Fry is saved, but ends up breaking the button and both he and Leela get trapped in frozen time and decide to live their life together in their paralyzed world; I was a bit worried that this would be the predictable scenario in which two characters who happen to be moving in frozen time start getting desperate and sick of each other until the crisis is resolved, but here that isn’t the case: we get to see Fry and Leela living a full life together, growing old, enjoying their company: they make the best of a really bad situation, and there’s no need for cheesy lines or stuff, it’s enough to see them walking together across the ocean to travel around the world to know that these guys really love each other. And I think it’s best when tv series shows us love instead of shouting it out loud. That’s what Futurama has always done with this couple, they show us their affection and words are not needed. It’s really sweet, and when Fry asks to Leela if their life was lonely and she replies saying “I was never lonely, not even for a minute” it felt so natural that I couldn’t help but smiling.

Finally, the professor arrives (even though he was presumed dead) to fix everything as he usually does in most of these scenarios, and tell Fry and Leela that they can go back to a point before the button was conceived, but they would forget everything. And as Fry asks Leela if she would live a second life with him again and she says yes, I couldn’t help but thinking that this was the way the show acknowledged its own life: they got cancelled, the lived a life and then they got a second chance, and many fans decided to embrace that new life. It may just be me, but I think it was their way thank us for staying with them for a second time.

And that was it, the episode cut to white soon after.

For a series finale, there’s not much of the supporting/recurring characters as I would have hoped for, they mostly just pop up on screen for the final act; even our planet express crew doesn’t get that much to do both in the beginning and for the last part. And even if I’d love to see Bender doing some more crazy stuff, or giving characters like Hermes, Amy and Farnsworth one last blaze of glory in this finale (I’m not including Zoidberg, as he had his moment in last week episode), I still consider this episode a success. I laughed plenty times and even though it’s not the most poignant nor the most hilarious episode the show has done, it was a sweet way to say goodbye, with all the craziness, gags and tender moments that makes Futurama what it is: a very special and unique show.

Grade: A-

Stray observations:


-Professor Farnsworth uses his button to tease Zoidberg by borrowing him money and then go back in time so he wouldn’t find the money; seeing him discouraged as he found no money on his pocket was pretty funny.

-Leela rescued Fry, but killed Farnsworth in the process: Leela: “It worked!”
Hermes: “But you killed the professor!”
Leela: “Yeah, but it worked!”

-After Fry dies a couple of times: Leela: “He sure has a lot of blood for a skinny guy”

-Leela to Fry: “I would marry you even if you weren’t the last man on earth” if that isn’t sweet I don’t know what is.

-Fry: “We can get married in the morning… except that there is no morning”.
Leela: “We can worry about that in the morning”.

-Fry’s startled when the professor fixes the button: “I could have fixed it that easily?”
Professor: “You? HAHAHAHA”

-It’s kind of ironic/funny that my first review happens to be of the final episode of Futurama. I hope you enjoyed it; I surely did enjoy writing it. I’ll be back with more reviews for HIMYM, Community and Once Upon a Time; read you soon!

I'm currently studying Psychology while also writing fantasy books (one already published in my home country, Chile, you can check it out on the facebook icon). I watch many different types of shows, including my favorites Revenge, Game of Thrones, Once Upon a Time and about 23 more. Currently writing articles and very soon some reviews too

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