It's Fry's first Christmas in the future. He misses his family and friends, but when he realizes that Leela never even had a family he decides he needs to buy her a Christmas gift. As he leaves to shop his friends warn him not to stay out past sundown. In 2801 a robotic Santa was built to determine which children had been naughty, and who had been nice and distribute gifts accordingly. But a calculation error caused Santa to label everyone as too naughty to deserve gifts. The Santa of the 31st century, therefore, is a murderous villain who you don't want to hear on your rooftop on Christmas Eve. In the end of course Fry and Leela both end up running from Santa through the streets of New New York and in the end, through a grand moment of team effort, Santa is defeated.
I love this episode for so many reasons. It's a Christmas episode but it doesn't feel any different than any other Futurama episode. The humor is the same, the characters are the same, and they even develope Fry and Leela's relationship just a little more.
John Goodman voices the robotic Santa, which is perfect. He's done quite a bit of voice acting in his career so it's not just a celebrity voice actor for the sake of having a celebrity. He blends in well with the rest of the cast.
Something else I love about this episode (and the entire series, really) is the attention to detail. Fry asks a question about "Christmas" to which the reply is, "What-mas?" The crew finally realizes that he means "X-mas"... he's just using some archaic pronunciation. Just like when he says "Ask" instead of "Aks." For the rest of the series, whenever someone says Christmas or "ask"... they use the pronunciations from this episode.
In the end the crew gathers around the piano to sing Christmas carols, and the Professor gives us a jolly, naked holiday greeting as only the Professor could do.
A Tale of Two Santas
Santa's back! And the crew has to deliver his letters to Neptune where his icy fortress is located. Fry decides that this is their opportunity to bring back what Christmas used to be. They travel to Neptune and trap Santa in the ice. Bender takes over as the new, kind Santa who delivers toys instead of death and destruction. Unfortunately no one trusts Santa anymore and Bender is shot at, lit on fire, and over all unwanted in peoples' homes. He's arrested and the crew has to bring back the real Santa to prove Bender's innocense.
I like this episode because, like the first Christmas special, it's just another episode of the show. The crew is always sent on these missions that are either ridiculously dangerous, or they get sidetracked on their way there.
One reason I absolutely love Futurama is for their geeky Star Trek references that only about 3 people get. In this episode it's Leela's theory that, because Santa is a robot, he will be destroyed if presented with a logical paradox. This "rule for robots" is from the Star Trek Original Series episode I, Mudd. I just thought I'd point that out for any Trekkies reading the blog.
This episode references Rudolph when Santa asks Bender, "Won't you join my slaying tonight?" It's great when Christmas specials reference each other.
In the end, the crew realizes that "Fear has brought us together! That's the magic of X-mas!"
Monday, December 11, 2006