“It’s Benders all the way down.” Whether life is a simulation is at the heart of the final episode of season 11 of Futurama.
I was provided with advanced digital screeners for Futurama season 11. The opinions I have shared are my own.
In the final episode of season 11 of Futurama, Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) announces that he has created a simulation of the entire universe – and when he says the entire universe, he means it. We zoom in to see a pixelated version of the Planet Express Crew as they get an assignment to deliver something to Space Italy.
Amy (Lauren Tom) wants to know if the simulated versions know, and Farnsworth’s responses makes her wonder if their world is also a simulation. But the answer has to wait, as the simulation is taking too much energy and the Professor suggests that they need to unplug them.
We zoom in to the simulation, and Fry gets the idea of watching every episode of television made… wait a minute! It’s an obvious reference to the first episode of the season!
The Professor comes up with a new source of electricity, which gives the simulation a higher resolution – and now they look like the crew we all know and love. But wait (again) – the simulated version has created a simulation. (Not that big of a surprise considering the title.)
In the first level simulation, Amy comes up with a way to find out whether they are in a simulation or not (and now I’ve written ‘simulation’ so many times the word has lost meaning). In the ‘real’ world, the professor admits this solution will make their universe cease to exist, so he comes up with a way to send Bender’s (John DiMaggio) consciousness down to the simulated world.
They manage to save the universe, but by sacrificing Bender; but in the ‘real’ world, Bender comes back – saying the exact same phrase his simulated version had said when he went down. In other words, it hints that this world is also a simulation.
Despite the ‘turtles all the way down’ concept, I was disappointed that we didn’t actually see whether the ‘real world’ was a simulation or not. I was fully expecting another pull-out where we either see a 3D Futurama crew (like they did in that Halloween episode of The Simpsons where they brought Homer into our world) or we see Matt Groening (or someone that’s supposed to be him) making the cartoon much in the same vein as that one episode of Looney Toons. But alas, we end on the first level simulation breaking apart.
The whole episode is, in a way, an encapsulation of the entire season, as when the simulated world becomes higher definition, they get a delivery to the King of Space, which was the plot of episode 9. It’s clever, but feels like it could be more – which is what I feel is the case for the whole season.
Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed season 11 of Futurama. But I feel like in many of the episodes, the moral was a bit like a frying pan to the face in terms of the obvious. But of course, sometimes you need the moral straight up. There’s no word as to whether they will get a season 12 or not, especially with the writer’s strike. But I would be sad if it didn’t. This show deserves some love and I hope it gets it.
Futurama is available on Hulu, 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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