The future is past in these two episodes of Futurama, as XMas and the pandemic rule the day.
I was provided with advanced digital screeners for Futurama season 11. The opinions I have shared are my own.
A Christmas episode in September? Well, Ted Lasso had a summer Christmas episode, so why not Futurama?
Time travel shenanigans are the basic plot to episode 6, “I Know What You Did Last XMas”. For those new to Futurama, XMas is a time of terror as Santa (John DiMaggio) has gone bad. As the team gets prepared for this year’s visit from Santa, Bender (also DiMaggio) gets a card with the title drop.
Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) has the idea to go back in time and reverse the polarity of Santa’s Naughty / Nice sensor, thereby making him good again. He returns to the present and gives the team the rest of the week off in “an HR miracle” so the team can spend the holidays with their family. But wait – Zoidberg (also West) and Bender have no family and end up spending time with each other. This gives them the idea to go to last Christmas to kidnap Santa, thereby ruining the holidays for everyone.
Let’s just say the rest of the plot is typical Futurama, filled with time travel tropes, a holiday special with the origins of Robot Santa, dumpster nog, and turduckens galore. Considering it IS September, the episode is a fun jaunt throughout as we find out the true reason Santa is evil as well as the curse that Bender and Zoidberg become friends. I loved it, as I’m a fan of time travel tropes all the way.
Meanwhile, episode 7, “Rage Against the Vaccine”, is exactly what you think it’s about. We join the show as 3023 celebrates the year we finally triumph over COVID-19: a pretty bleak assessment, but considering how things are going maybe not so inaccurate. Unfortunately, a new virus is passing around the mutants of the sewers of New New York, Explovid.
As Bill Nye’s head declares the pandemic over, he ends up catching the new one from Leela (Katey Sagal) and we find out that its main feature is making you angry. There’s the usual ‘not wearing a mask correctly’ dig, as well as the doubt in the vaccine Professor Farnsworth comes up with. Meanwhile, the aliens have decided to use this time to invade the planet. But wait – Hermes (Phil LaMarr) has a theory that it’s actually a zombie virus. He goes to New New Orleans to find a voodoo cure.
There’s plenty of digs at those who fought against safety concerns of COVID-19, as well as a Zoom joke and an Omicron variant joke since that’s where the aliens are from. It’s a little on the nose, but maybe that’s what’s needed with the way people are declaring the pandemic over. It is probably my least favorite out of the episodes so far, mainly because I didn’t need to be reminded about COVID and the anger it has given people.
Futurama airs Mondays, and more information can be found on Hulu’s website.
Author: Angie Fiedler Sutton
Angie Fiedler Sutton is a writer, podcaster, and all-round fangirl geek. She has been published in Den of Geek, Stage Directions, LA Weekly, The Mary Sue, and others.
She also produces her own podcast, Contents May Vary, where she interviews geeky people about geeky things. You can see all her work (and social media channels) at angiefsutton.com.
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