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August 22, 2010 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Futurama has always been a haven for geek humor, but last week's episode "The Prisoner of Benda" pushed things to the next level. First hinted at in an American Physical Society interview with showrunner David X. Cohen (previously), staff writer and mathematics Ph.D. Ken Keeler devised a novel mathematical proof based on group theory to resolve the logic puzzle spawned by the episode's brain-swapping (but no backsies!) conceit. Curious how it works? Read the proof (in the show or in plain text), then see it in action using this handy chart. Too much math for a lazy Sunday? Then entertain your brain with lengthy clips from the episode -- including two of the funniest moments in the series in the span of two minutes.
posted by Rhaomi (130 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are people on the internet who have hated on this season. Saying it's been terrible, saying they should never have brought the show back if this was all they were going to do with it.

Some people just cannot be helped.
posted by kafziel at 1:50 PM on August 22, 2010 [15 favorites]


I watched the clip. What scenes specifically were "two of the funniest moments in the series"?
posted by nomadicink at 1:51 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


The new series has been great! It's got about the same hit/miss ratio as the old series.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:54 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I said it somewhere else on Mefi - that episode was butt-droppingly hilarious, one of the best in the show's history. Every Thursday night I am deeply grateful for the second coming of Futurama, and the haters are welcome to kiss my shiny pink bottom.
posted by item at 1:55 PM on August 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'll be happy if they just stop showing the evolution episode on endless repeat. I sat down in front of the tube to channel surf and found that episode four times over the course of the last week. Next song, please.
posted by phunniemee at 2:02 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of the things that made this episode was the way each character carried over their mannerisms to their new body.
posted by drezdn at 2:11 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think many would be happy if they'd stream full episodes, instead of only showing cuts on Comedy Central. (And I do wonder if Comedy Central ever allowed caching of their videos to avoid stutters and lag).

I watched the clip. What scenes specifically were "two of the funniest moments in the series"?

1) Fry in Zoidberg's body getting it on with Leela in Farnsworth's body.
2) Scruffy struggling to push away Washbucket in Amy Wong's body.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I've been loving the new series. There's been at least one true laugh-out-loud moment in every episode, and most of the plots are full of great social commentary. Exactly what I want from Futurama.
posted by hippybear at 2:12 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


nomadicink, I was thinking Fryberg and Professor Leela violently making out (for the first time in the series), followed by most-awesome-character-on-the-show-ever Scruffy ("The Janitor.") being seduced by his own washbucket. Ayup.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:17 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The thing about the proof is really and truly neat, but I'm mostly not loving these new episodes, sadly. They seem a lot more "ripped from the headlines" than they used to be (evolution debate, gay marriage, apps), though on the upside there's a lot less Guest Star Headinajarism. I'm hoping I'll warm up to it.
posted by Gator at 2:18 PM on August 22, 2010


See, you can get a good paying job in industry with a PhD in math!
posted by demiurge at 2:21 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Scruffy/Washbucket moment was a series high, for sure.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:22 PM on August 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Haters gonna hate. This season's the best yet. It's really washed away the taste of the ill-conceived movies.
posted by Plutor at 2:24 PM on August 22, 2010


I long ago knew that I love Futurama too much to be remotely rational about it, but I'm reasonably sure that was a great episode. Not "Jurassic Bark," but great.

I feel for poor Scruffy, but at least he's got his pornography.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:29 PM on August 22, 2010


When we were watching this episode last week, I said, "you know that they had to have worked out the actual algorithm for the brain switching or the geeks would tear them apart". I was right to trust them.

Anyone else squicked out by 150 year old man and lobster sex?
posted by octothorpe at 2:36 PM on August 22, 2010


Just getting in on the general "what an episode that was!" train. I was leery at first when the writers seemed to be trying to unload all of the commentary they'd been saving up for a decade, but then the last few have been brilliant, and this was pure comic gold.
posted by ChrisR at 2:42 PM on August 22, 2010


I love that it's now taken for granted that the Harlem Globetrotters are some of the greatest scientific/mathematical minds in the galaxy.
posted by PlusDistance at 2:42 PM on August 22, 2010 [25 favorites]


hey, 150 year old men and lobsters deserve a sex life just like the rest of us
posted by hattifattener at 2:42 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Haters gonna hate.

Not really. We can just stop watching the new episodes.

Because they suck.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:43 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


But this was the episode in which, after 10 years and 6.5 seasons, Fry and Leela finally did it. Albeit in the worst physical bodies possible, but that's just the way Futurama works.

There are many ways in which this new season is even better than Futurama 1.0, and other ways it is not as good, but still it's a 2.0 that doesn't need 2.1 bug fixes. Keep up the good work, Futuramists.

(I'm also impressed that the solution to the body switching problems only required TWO members of the Harlem Globetrotters. An elegant solution.)
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:44 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


The current season has been uneven but I've been going back through the old ones on Netflix streaming and it was pretty uneven back then. And the new shows are still tons better than the last two movies, especially "Green Yonder" which was terrible.
posted by octothorpe at 2:47 PM on August 22, 2010


Because they suck.

You might want to get that looked at.
posted by flaterik at 2:47 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm aware that there's something wrong with me.

Old Futurama, particularly from the third season until the end, had a spark that these new ones don't have. They're better than the ridiculous movies but they still feel unpolished, like they made the first draft of the script.

But hey, the new, crap episodes aren't making my DVDs of the good stuff any less good, so I'm glad other people are enjoying them.

I will change my mind if they do another song as good as the bureaucracy one.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:51 PM on August 22, 2010


Only a filthy Fingerlican would be against the new seasons. Tastycrats of MeFi unite!
posted by real_paris at 2:54 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, the new season is very good. Some of the episodes haven't been great, but if you have been watching Futurama all along (I mean all along, like when the episodes always started with that weird sequence of four guys talking about football and the second half of the episode didn't connect with the start at all) you would know that the show has always been hit or miss.

My favorite moment of the new season so far.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:55 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


the funniest part for me was leela switching bodies with the proffessor/amy just so she could save 2 dollars at the movies...and then going to see some god-awful 'national treasure' sequel. that and bender using a pocket watch.
posted by sexyrobot at 2:56 PM on August 22, 2010


But if you look at the proof given ( in the link under 'plain text' in the post), the solution has a problem: While all the original characters get swapped back into their own bodies or tin cans as the case may be, the two BASKETBALL PLAYERS END UP SWAPPED!
posted by hexatron at 3:01 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Gator: "They seem a lot more "ripped from the headlines" than they used to be "

Overall I like that it's back, but some of the episodes (particularly the eyePod one) are instantly dated references, and I really don't think they pulled that in the original series.
posted by graventy at 3:03 PM on August 22, 2010


But if you look at the proof given ( in the link under 'plain text' in the post), the solution has a problem: While all the original characters get swapped back into their own bodies or tin cans as the case may be, the two BASKETBALL PLAYERS END UP SWAPPED!

Except the two basketball players have not themselves swapped yet, so it's resolved.
posted by kafziel at 3:05 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Overall I like that it's back, but some of the episodes (particularly the eyePod one) are instantly dated references, and I really don't think they pulled that in the original series.

Three Hundred Big Boys comes to mind. As does 30 Percent Iron Chef. And Fry and the Slurm Factory. And I Dated A Robot.
posted by kafziel at 3:07 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyone else squicked out by 150 year old man and lobster sex?

Does "squicked out" mean "turned on"?

\begin[mode=extreme]{pedant}
Technically, if Leela-Prof and Fry-Zoidberg did it, shouldn't Fry-Zoidberg have died afterwards?
\end{pedant}

\begin{retcon}
It doesn't count for deadly purposes unless it's decapod-on-decapod sex.
\end{retcon}

posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:08 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Out of all of season 6, episode 7 (The Late Phillip J Fry) and 10 (Prisoner of Benda) were both pretty good. 9 (Clockwork Origin) was neat, but flat.

The rest were fucking terrible, and a few of them were pretty knuckle-draggingly imbecilic, which was vaguely insulting considering that at one time the show assumed its viewers were fairly bright.
posted by paisley henosis at 3:10 PM on August 22, 2010


> Technically, if Leela-Prof and Fry-Zoidberg did it, shouldn't Fry-Zoidberg have died afterwards?

Depends, only if he was the one releasing the male jelly (and he wasn't in mating season). Leela-Prof could have instead, remember the "... like my penis" comment.
posted by mrzarquon at 3:12 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


From that infosphere link:
It was established in the episode "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love" that, once a male Decapodian releases his male jelly, he dies. However, in this episode, Fry, who was in Zoidberg's body, wound up having intercourse with Leela, who was in the Professor's body, and did not die.
** It could be that, to die, a Decapodian needs to mate with another Decapodian.
** It could be that, Leela was keen to use her new appendage, therefore it would be Farnsworth's male jelly, not Zoidberg's, that was released.
Maybe the producers could clarify this?
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 3:14 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


hattifattener: "hey, 150 year old men and lobsters deserve a sex life just like the rest of us"

You're probably right. And it was Fry and Leela finally.
posted by octothorpe at 3:17 PM on August 22, 2010


I suck at math but I love this!
posted by Fizz at 3:31 PM on August 22, 2010


I agree that the reboot is an awesome return to form (i.e., the form that was perfected in season five), and this proof thingy is only icing on the cake of awesomeness that was last week's episode. But am I the only one who interpreted the episode to be, at least in substantial part, an homage to Lem's robotic fairytale universe -- in particular, Trurl and Klapaucius's Fifth Sally ("The Mischief of King Balerion")?
posted by a small part of the world at 3:39 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Maybe the producers could clarify this?

It's a cartoon. Continuity is optional on the show, despite the number of callbacks to it.
posted by Electrius at 3:56 PM on August 22, 2010


Maybe the producers could clarify this?

Wizard.
posted by synecdoche at 4:04 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe the producers could clarify this?

Judging by the detail of an average Futurama DVD commentary, they'll probably clarify this and more. I look forward to hearing David X. Cohen and Ken Keeler geek out about this episode in particular.
posted by Lorin at 4:07 PM on August 22, 2010


But am I the only one who interpreted the episode to be, at least in substantial part, an homage to Lem's robotic fairytale universe -- in particular, Trurl and Klapaucius's Fifth Sally ("The Mischief of King Balerion")?

No, I'm with you. Been a huge Lem nerd for 30 years now; that was also the first thing I thought of once the episode started to develop.

Pirx Lives.

*fist bump*
posted by Aquaman at 4:23 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


After the professor said his "we'll have to use... math" line, I actually paused the episode and worked out the proof. I'm pretty sure I've never done that with a sitcom before. Oh wait, there was that one episode of Rosanne hinging on the construction of nonmeasurable sets using the axiom of choice, but I think that's about it.

I'm not so sure we're supposed to think that was the first time Leela and Fry have slept with one another. They've felt to me like an off-again-on-again couple this season, and casual sex is kinda the norm for the both of them. I've assumed for the last few episodes that they'd hooked up a few times already.
posted by painquale at 4:27 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


So I'm watching season three of the Simpsons and I notice that a throwaway gag in Lisa's First Word, a gag usually cut in syndication, was directly referenced in I, Roomate.


Huh.
posted by The Whelk at 4:28 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


After a bit of uncertainty with the eyePhone episode (which was very funny but a little too topical), The Late Philip J. Fry resolved all my concerns. I think a lot of people's complaints are the result of beanplating. Futurama developed this legendary reputation while it was cancelled, so now that it's back it's subject to extra scrutiny.

I say this because I've noticed myself doing it too, laughing but then asking myself, "Is this as funny as it was before?" during episodes. The answer is, humor is not a measurable quantity. If it's funny, enjoy it! If you think too hard about it, it won't be funny anymore.
posted by JHarris at 4:31 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


The professor has really been great this season. I think he's the character the writers missed most; he's getting the funniest lines and a lot of airtime.

Amy is getting a surprising amount of attention too.
posted by painquale at 4:38 PM on August 22, 2010


I've assumed for the last few episodes that they'd hooked up a few times already.

Well, they were married, briefly. So it's understandable.
posted by SPrintF at 4:40 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Re: the quality of this season - The first couple episodes back were not very good. Since then, though, it's been a steady uphill climb, and the last few have been outstanding.

This one...wow. The Scruffy/Washbucket scene might be one of my favorite bits of TV all year, and probably one of my favorite Futurama scenes ever.

"Sure, it'd be sweet for a while. But we'd always know that I'm a man...and you're janitorial equipment."
posted by HostBryan at 4:50 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The [insert-current-topic] episodes in the new season have been less than stellar, but I've loved all the others. I was certain that they must have worked out the proof for the body-swapping when I watched this episode, and I'm glad I was right.
posted by pemberkins at 4:57 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Futurama is one of the few comedy shows where it's almost required that you get nit-picky on everything, so here's my bit:

The voices are wrong on the body-swap. When Fry is in Zoidberg's body he should use Fry's word choice and accent, but Zoidberg's voice (pitch and so on). Likewise Leela-Professor (there is no way that Farnsworth could sound like a 20-something female). I'm actually surprised that the incredible vocal talent that they have on the show didn't take it as a challenge to pull that off and make it work.

However, any episode with Scruffy is a good episode, so there's that.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:29 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh god, I'd almost forgotten about one of my other favorite bits from this - that little indescribable response Amy gives to Leela asking if they'd be able to switch bodies back.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:29 PM on August 22, 2010


It's a cartoon.

The fact that my question was taken seriously fills me with hope for mankind.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 5:32 PM on August 22, 2010


Its Never Luigi - I think part of the problem is that they did the switches so many times that it was a little confusing already, plus there were some new characters thrown into the mix as well (The Emporer and Washbucket) that we don't know well enough to have the jokes land as well if the voices aren't swapped.

Would've been cool, though.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:35 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its Never Lurgi: "The voices are wrong on the body-swap. When Fry is in Zoidberg's body he should use Fry's word choice and accent, but Zoidberg's voice (pitch and so on). Likewise Leela-Professor (there is no way that Farnsworth could sound like a 20-something female). I'm actually surprised that the incredible vocal talent that they have on the show didn't take it as a challenge to pull that off and make it work."

Notice how none of the characters ever pick up on the obvious vocal weirdness -- Fry remarked to Amy (as Leela) "That sounds like something Amy would say," but didn't mention her voice, while Leela (as the Professor) had to ask who Bender (as Amy) was, even after "she" spoke. I think from the point of view of the characters, everyone sounded normal; they only swapped voices for the sake of the viewer, sort of like having Nazi soldiers speak English or showing animated eyes glowing in the dark.

It would have been cool to hear the voice actors tackle that challenge though. I'd think the voices would be so tied up with the character that they'd be almost impossible to separate.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:42 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Looking at all these clips, so far the laugh out loud moment was the name of the entertainers headlining at the United Nations conference: ""Peaches and Herzegovina".
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:48 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


they only swapped voices for the sake of the viewer, sort of like having Nazi soldiers speak English

Best. Godwin. Ever.
posted by Gator at 5:49 PM on August 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Heh. Maybe I should have said "Space Nazis."

But then, that only would have triggered Space Godwin's Law.
posted by Rhaomi at 5:54 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've said it before and I'll say it again, but goddammit I hate Space Hitler!
posted by Navelgazer at 6:01 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Then why haven't you gone back in time and stopped him from inseminating his clonepod?
posted by Gator at 6:05 PM on August 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


You can't really get nitpicky on futurama though. Bender has like 8 origin stories, is made out 110% worth of stuff. It's fun not serious and sometimes that fun is getting the geeky stuff right and sometimes that fun is deliberately getting it wrong.
posted by Submiqent at 6:12 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The voices are wrong on the body-swap. When Fry is in Zoidberg's body he should use Fry's word choice and accent, but Zoidberg's voice (pitch and so on). Likewise Leela-Professor (there is no way that Farnsworth could sound like a 20-something female). I'm actually surprised that the incredible vocal talent that they have on the show didn't take it as a challenge to pull that off and make it work.

Billy West does the voice of both Fry and Zoidberg, so their voice swap would have been extremely impressive---like Mel Blanc doing Bugs as Daffy and Daffy as Bugs in Duck Amuck. It would have been epic.

I'm pretty sure Billy West could have pulled it off, but I don't know about, say Katey Segal. She doesn't really do any voices other than her own. (I think she's the only one who hasn't voiced another character. Has she ever voiced anyone else?) Although I guess she would have just had to swear in Amy's dialect. That would have been pretty funny. Heh, and hearing the professor swear in Martian/Chinese would have been pretty fun too.
posted by painquale at 6:17 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the effort behind the proof reveals the amount of care the writers have for their show, which is awesome.

Here's my extremely brief update on how I've perceived the new season so far. The initial episodes were weak and suffered for want of making social commentary and I would rank 'em among the worst of Seasons 1 - 5. The last three or so episodes have gradually redeemed the show in my eyes. They haven't quite hit an episode that'd rank with the best of Season 4 or 5, but they're doing extremely better. I have high hopes from the previous episodes that they can finally make it happen. I figure that I'd base the overall average of Season 6 as about the average of the first couple seasons with some serious dips to the worse.

Having finally completed my complete Futurama rewatch, I noted the change in the movies. The first two movies, even some of the third, fell within not bad, but not great of the last seasons of the show. It was in the third and fourth movie that I picked up that the level of writing was about on par with what we got in the first several episodes of Season 6, along with much more blatant "product placement."

I agree that the mop bucket in Amy scene with Scruffy was something wonderful. It wasn't the best moment of the series, but it was pretty golden.

Anyhoo...I look forward to Thursday and curse Comedy Central for deciding to break up Season 6 for this summer and next.
posted by Atreides at 6:21 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


@hexatron, I don't think or ever happens in sigma though, so they can just switch back the globetrotters at the end.
posted by ehassler at 6:27 PM on August 22, 2010


But then, that only would have triggered Space Godwin's Law.

Just so long as they don't violate Brannigan's Law... the universe's most erotic law.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:27 PM on August 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


@hexatron, let me try again, I dont think <x,y> nor <y,x> happens in sigma, so they can always switch back the globetrotters at the end.
posted by ehassler at 6:28 PM on August 22, 2010


The high dive joke was well done. A good old fashioned play-with-the-long-set-up joke.

That being said: The Fry Lela relationship has been supremely klutzily handled in these new shows. It used to be kind of delicate and sweet, now it's matter of fact and lame.

There were things I liked about the evolution episode, though. I almost thought there were signs they were turning it around. It collapsed in on itself halfway through, but the first half was good.

Even if they're too much "of the day" the politicalish ones have worked best for me, I'm surprised to say. Maybe the show will become something of its own, a bit sharper on the social satire.

Fry and Lela slept together in one of the finglonger episodes, and if you say that was fantasy, sir, I shall call you a nerd.
posted by Trochanter at 6:33 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


When Fry is in Zoidberg's body he should use Fry's word choice and accent, but Zoidberg's voice (pitch and so on)

Shouldn't even have used Fry's accent.
posted by kenko at 6:38 PM on August 22, 2010


Somewhere around the second swap, I thought to myself, "Hmm. This is a fairly interesting math problem. This being Futurama, I bet some of the writers insisted that they think it all the way through." And when I saw the blackboard, and how it looked like a real proof instead of fake TV math, joy. The best part is that they didn't break comedic stride to do it; the math angle was unforced.

On the whole, I'm very happy with the new season. I thought the last two movies were duds, but the new season has been as funny as the later seasons of the original run.
posted by grimmelm at 7:06 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even if they're too much "of the day" the politicalish ones have worked best for me, I'm surprised to say. Maybe the show will become something of its own, a bit sharper on the social satire.

I just thought of something. Could it be that Futurama's edging towards political issues is a consequence of the show leaving Fox? I mean, they're on the network of the Daily Show now!

I know when Farnsworth said "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" in episode 9 that I felt a pang of empathy with him.
posted by JHarris at 7:17 PM on August 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


This last episode was full of good laughs, and golden moments, but during "The Late Philip J. Fry", they did a shout out to Planet of the Apes that nearly had me literally doing a ROFL.
posted by thanotopsis at 7:18 PM on August 22, 2010


I'm confused. What's the theorem? I can't reconstruct it from the proof. And I know way too much about permutations for my own good.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:26 PM on August 22, 2010


I started writing a big long rant about the profoundness and complexity of Futurama, and realized that this comment space was not nearly big enough to do so. I'll just say that I'm surprised that nobody has commented on how character-orient this season has been, rather than plot-, story-, or gag-orient, like many of the older episodes. The pairing off of characters and exploration of friendships reveals a depth that was easy to overlook in episodes like "Fry and the Slurm Factory" or "Amazon Women in the Mood", although was never absent. "The Prisoner of Benda", while being one of the funniest episodes of this series, is also one of the most complex and rewarding in terms of character relationships, and reveals beautifully the effort put forth by the writers to rehabilitate the supporting cast behind the New Justice Team. Of course I'm grossly oversimplifying on pretty much every point here, but my first attempt reached five long paragraphs before I stopped myself and wrote the above comments. Futurama is, in my view, the finest television series ever produced, bar none, and I hope in the coming weeks to have a few too many pages of thoughts concerning this topic to share.
posted by cthuljew at 7:44 PM on August 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


I watched a little Futurama, found it unfunny, and never watched it again.

I have, however, seen a single Futurama clip that sent me SOBBING harder than anything I've seen on TV.

GOD THIS CLIP MAKES ME BAWL. *CURSE YOU FUTURAMA WRITERS!!!*
posted by The ____ of Justice at 7:52 PM on August 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


It was a good episode - although like "The Late Philip J. Fry," I thought the solution was a bit easy to spot ("keep going and the universe will start up again" and "add more people" respectively). The math bit went completely over my head when I first saw the episode, then when I read about this I was blown away. One of the sadder bits of not knowing as much about physics/math etc. is that I don't always get these in-jokes.

I found "A Clockwork Origin" to be the best of the new season thus far - which is weird, since most of the other folks I've talked to about it most emphatically didn't.
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:53 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm confused. What's the theorem? I can't reconstruct it from the proof. And I know way too much about permutations for my own good.

It's a lemma about being able to restore any cycle to the identity cycle using two additional elements, with the caveat that any transposition pair can only be used once. This post goes into more and better detail. it's been way too long since algebra class at math camp for me to remember some of this stuff. The post starts off with a leaked page from the script. The update at the bottom clarifies once the ep aired.
posted by kmz at 9:08 PM on August 22, 2010


You can't really get nitpicky on futurama though. Bender has like 8 origin stories, is made out 110% worth of stuff. It's fun not serious and sometimes that fun is getting the geeky stuff right and sometimes that fun is deliberately getting it wrong.

Bender's also a habitual liar/braggart/cheat/crook. Just because he claims to be made of 30% Dolemite doesn't mean he necessarily is. Don't get me wrong, I love Bender (he's the greatest!), but Bender's origin stories and composition claims don't really strike me as retcons or inconsistencies.
posted by explosion at 9:09 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Allow me to just say that the bit where the Professor tries to shoot Hitler in a drive-by from the time machine is pretty darned LOLtastic by any reckoning.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:29 PM on August 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Basically the theorem is that no matter how many times the no-backsies switcheroo has been done, two new bodies can channel the fixes through themselves successfully, if it's planned out right, which makes perfect sense (and now, has been mathematically proven.)

The ______ of Justice, I invite you to please watch "Time Keeps on Slippin'," "The Sting," "Luck of the Fryrish," and "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings."
posted by Navelgazer at 9:49 PM on August 22, 2010


I for one can't believe that people are being nitpicky about Futurama and no one has yet noticed that Bender's portion of his and Fry's apartment has disappeared!!! In I, Robot, Bender had that tiny little closet of a space, and then it turned out he had a closet that looked like a giant apartment. In this week's episode, Zoidberg (in Fry's body) walked into Fry & Bender's apartment and went straight from the hallway into the Fry-portion, without going through the tiny grey room that Bender sleeps in.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:09 PM on August 22, 2010


It's another entry, like a servants enterance.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 PM on August 22, 2010


IT WAS THE SAME DOOR
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 PM on August 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm shit at math, but being as this is Futurama I knew from the second the bodies started swapping that this episode wouldn't be ending without a correct proof created by one of the writers.

Most of the episodes this season have been okay, and a couple (I'm thinking of the Eyepod and Da Vinci Code episodes) have been flat-out awful, but this episode and "The Late Phillip J. Fry" totally justify the expense and effort.

Tonight at eleven: DOOOOOOOOOM!
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:51 PM on August 22, 2010


In an earlier DVD commentaries they definitely acknowledge/discuss the ever changing layout of the headquarters and ship. Now, if anybody needs me I'll be in the angry dome!
posted by Lorin at 10:56 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I for one can't believe that people are being nitpicky about Futurama and no one has yet noticed that Bender's portion of his and Fry's apartment has disappeared!!! In I, Robot, Bender had that tiny little closet of a space, and then it turned out he had a closet that looked like a giant apartment. In this week's episode, Zoidberg (in Fry's body) walked into Fry & Bender's apartment and went straight from the hallway into the Fry-portion, without going through the tiny grey room that Bender sleeps in.

I haven't seen any of this season except the clip posted above, and THIS INSTANTLY BOTHERED ME, TOO.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:13 PM on August 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: I for one can't believe that people are being nitpicky about Futurama and no one has yet noticed that Bender's portion of his and Fry's apartment has disappeared!!! In I, Robot, Bender had that tiny little closet of a space, and then it turned out he had a closet that looked like a giant apartment. In this week's episode, Zoidberg (in Fry's body) walked into Fry & Bender's apartment and went straight from the hallway into the Fry-portion, without going through the tiny grey room that Bender sleeps in.

That happened a long, long time ago. Not quite the next episode after they moved in together, but I'm pretty sure that Bender's room up there didn't last through season 1.
posted by paisley henosis at 11:13 PM on August 22, 2010


I found "A Clockwork Origin" to be the best of the new season thus far - which is weird, since most of the other folks I've talked to about it most emphatically didn't.

My wife -- who usually hates Futurama with a passion, regardless of the season -- agrees with you. And I, for one, felt the funniest line of the new season was in that episode: as a giant robot pterodactyl grabs Fry and carries him off into the distance, he shouts (with doppler effect and diminishing volume) "This is a cool way to diiiiiiiiiiiiie..."
posted by davejay at 11:33 PM on August 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


This thread made me watch the new episode! And I'm... regretting it.

sample joke from the old series re-written in the style of the new series: robot mafia machine guns robot debtor repeatedly in the chest as a warning; robot debtor: "argh, you shot me! But because I am a robot, it was not fatal! I'm off now; see you next week when I will have the money to pay you!"
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:52 PM on August 22, 2010


Good news everyone!

I've developed a machine that lets me read this sentence in your mind with my voice!
posted by Sutekh at 1:03 AM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


credit where it's due even if it is 4chan.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 3:45 AM on August 23, 2010


I have, however, seen a single Futurama clip that sent me SOBBING harder than anything I've seen on TV.

You and the rest of the civilized world, buddy. (I don't even need to click that to know what clip you're talking about.)
posted by Gator at 5:03 AM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I did like how they worked Seymour into Bender's Bog Score.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:15 AM on August 23, 2010


Oh hell. Bender's BIG Score.

Bender's Bog Score... ew. I would pay for insurance against accidentally seeing that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:19 AM on August 23, 2010


I have, however, seen a single Futurama clip that sent me SOBBING...

Yeah, that was a heck of an episode.

The seven-leaf clover one (I don't know titles) comes close, too.

The first couple episodes were pretty messy. The last few have been good, so maybe they're re-finding their feet, which should tide me over until Venture Bros.
posted by rokusan at 5:24 AM on August 23, 2010


I have, however, seen a single Futurama clip that sent me SOBBING harder than anything I've seen on TV.


The new Evolution episode was mostly meh, I thought, but totally worth it just for the line "oh look, it's another one of Fry's dogs." I think even THEY know they traumatized the whole planet with that damn thing.

Since I saw this past week's episode I've been trying to figure out how to type out the noise Amy made when Leela asked if they could switch bodies back. I can't figure out how to represent it in letters. If anyone can come up with a good version I would really like to see it because it was the funniest noise ever uttered on television.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 7:04 AM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dormant Gorilla, yes they did. Cause the second Hermes said "it's another on of Fry's dogs: he looked at the camera and said "Too soon?"

That had me laughing instead of the crying I was about to start doing.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:33 AM on August 23, 2010


I mean "Yes, they do know they traumatize the whole planet with that thing."
posted by crush-onastick at 7:33 AM on August 23, 2010


Grr, I can't find the exact quote, but of all the greatness that was The Prisoner of Benda, for some reason the scene where Bender/ Amy gets caught struck me as the funniest;

"It's a robot trapped in a female Chinese-Martian physicists body..."

"How mundane"
posted by quin at 8:32 AM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


You know, all is redeemed on the Seymour front if you watch Bender's Big Score. I think that scene wraps up the sadness that was "Luck of the Fryish" too, if you allow for changing the past.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:43 AM on August 23, 2010


I enjoyed the humor of the fact that Leela and Fry finally had sex, though they were not in their own bodies at the time.

Also, the fact that Fry, in Zoidberg's body, had sex with Leela in the Professor's body, meaning that Fry has once again had sex with a family member. First his grandmother, now his nephew (great-great-great-great-great-great etc).
posted by notmydesk at 9:04 AM on August 23, 2010


they did a shout out to Planet of the Apes that nearly had me literally doing a ROFL.

The time-travel episode was all kinds of awesome, but especially the song.
posted by GuyZero at 9:21 AM on August 23, 2010


Didn't Fry and Leela sleep together when he had worms? I can't remember, but I thought they did. I also know they slept together in one of the What-If Machine episodes (the one where Leela kills everyone), but that was, of course, hypothetical.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:42 AM on August 23, 2010


Could somebody verify for me that a weakly connected directed graph such that for all connections a to b (a,b) there does not exist a connection b to a (b,a) would do just fine in solving this problem and proving that there is a (visual) solution? Or does graph theory miss something that group theory has? Hopefully not being redundant here.

This episode gave me great memories of the best part of Discrete Math at the Umich, a class that frankly was nightmarish for a while. My mind was subconsciously thinking of a solution to the problem... I felt so nerdy... Loving the new theorem for sure.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 10:16 AM on August 23, 2010


No. Leela was willing, but Fry wasn't since he wanted Leela to love him for who he was, not what the worms made of him.

(Which seems batshit crazy to me, since any parasite that will maintain my body at peak efficiency while making me smarter and instantly repairing any damage to me is welcome to set up shop any day of the week, but whatevs.)

I think there was a throwaway joke a couple of weeks ago where Fry asked Leela if she wanted to join the mile-deep club, and she shrugged and agreed.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:17 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also we are speculating on the sex lives of cartoon characters and oh god please tell me how we are better than fanfiction.net
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:18 AM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hang on I'm drawing Kif making out with Eric Cartman while they are both dressed as members of Stryper.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:22 AM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


"It's okay, I'm still seduced from before."
posted by Trochanter at 10:29 AM on August 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fry and Leela also slept together in the What If episode when Leela became a little more impulsive, but I'm not sure that counts since it was only what WOULD have happened, except it probably DID happen somewhere in one of the universes they keep in those little boxes, so I say it should count, and jesus, I HAVE NO LIFE.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 11:04 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also we are speculating on the sex lives of cartoon characters and oh god please tell me how we are better than fanfiction.net

We're just speculating and not literally masturbating?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:08 AM on August 23, 2010


You mean we can not... ohhhhhh.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:09 AM on August 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah and Fry and Leela in Universe B were married so they probably did some sex.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:13 AM on August 23, 2010


Body-swapping episodes are almost always hilarious. Remember The Tick vs. Science? Tick became a zebra, and Arthur's mind got put inside a eight-foot tall humanoid tongue.
posted by JHarris at 11:48 AM on August 23, 2010


Was that the same one where the Tick got turned into a two-headed bluebird that only speaks high-school French?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:52 AM on August 23, 2010


They also got married in Time Keeps On Slipping, so I assume they slept with each other before then. Well, maybe... it's not really clear what the chronotons were doing to the universe. (It makes most sense to think they just periodically wiped everyone's memory, but the professor and the Globetrotters didn't explain it that way.)
posted by painquale at 7:15 PM on August 23, 2010


For whatever it's worth, "Time Keeps on Slippin'" beats out "Jurassic Bark," for saddest, for me. Probably because I saw the end of the latter with no audio, and it just killed me, and for some reason seeing it now with the song, the song just seems all wrong to me. But "Time Keeps on Slippin'" is one of the best episodes, and most tragic, of the entire series to be sure.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:50 PM on August 23, 2010


Futurama is back on the air???

Why was I not informed???

Curses! This is what I get for not watching my requisite four hours of TV a night.

Bah!
posted by mmrtnt at 8:28 PM on August 23, 2010


mmrtnt: Futurama is back on the air???

Why was I not informed???


Actually, we tried to tell you. Sorry you missed the memo.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:28 PM on August 23, 2010


Too late for the FPP, but here's another chart (from Reddit) that shows every mind-swap in the episode -- and in a pretty elegant way, too. I'm getting flashbacks from Primer here, people!
posted by Rhaomi at 10:56 PM on August 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I only got around to watching this last night, and I had a couple of thoughts.

First, Samantha Carter figured out the "No Backsies Problem" at Stargate Command in 1999.

Second, is it just me or does the new Futurama have a lot more fan service than the old one did?
posted by ob1quixote at 8:40 AM on August 24, 2010


does the new Futurama have a lot more fan service than the old one did?

If you mean not specially clever, self-referential in jokes, yes.
posted by Trochanter at 9:12 AM on August 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Plus it's on cable now.
posted by Gator at 9:18 AM on August 24, 2010


...which means it's full of GOOD NEWS for EVERYONE!
posted by item at 9:33 PM on August 24, 2010


...and not just the someones that still watch Fox Sundays.
posted by item at 9:34 PM on August 24, 2010


Was that the same one where the Tick got turned into a two-headed bluebird that only speaks high-school French?

Nope, that one was "Coach Russel's Lament," featuring the return of Charles, the Brainchild.
posted by JHarris at 12:51 AM on August 25, 2010


*excitedly* "Joss Whedon is here?!"
posted by kmz at 11:40 AM on August 28, 2010


After I defended the new season here, I thought the next episode was pretty bad. The comic subplot was fun but the henpecked husband jokes were lame fifty years ago and are pretty embarrassing now.
posted by octothorpe at 12:30 PM on August 28, 2010


Seriously. Frying pans? Really, Futurama?

And another thing that bugged me, and probably only me, was that nobody was pronouncing Ndnd's name right.
posted by Gator at 12:42 PM on August 28, 2010


"Don't get me wrong, I love Bender (he's the greatest!)"

Shut up, baby. I know it.
posted by Eideteker at 2:08 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


"And another thing that bugged me, and probably only me, was that nobody was pronouncing Ndnd's name right."

Wrong!
posted by Eideteker at 2:18 PM on August 31, 2010


"I tried to scream, but I barfed."
posted by Burhanistan at 9:19 PM on September 2, 2010


I feel asleep in the middle of last night's new episode.
posted by Gator at 5:34 AM on September 3, 2010


That one was kind of okay. It still felt like more jokes were set up than actually told, but it got some laughs and was sorta sweet and (crucially) didn't have any cringe-inducing already-dated modern-day references (like the Who Wants to be a Millionaire one).
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:11 AM on September 3, 2010


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