The time for rejoicing has come.
I never really liked cartoons. I treated the whole genre with some really ignorant form of benign neglect. I didn’t think the format was bad or stupid, I just couldn’t connect to most shows, whether they were SpongeBob SquarePants or Family Guy. Until Futurama came along.
Futurama was… multifaceted. Some episodes were outrageously funny, others dead serious. Some, the best ones, were both. Slurms McKenzie’s unexpected demise in “Fry and the Slurm Factory” is the earliest of those that I can think of right now, but the most surprising, the one that hits you over the head from seemingly nowhere, is “Jurassic Bark”.
Futurama went to places where many live-action series wouldn’t dare go in a thousand years. I’m chiefly thinking of “Amazon Women in the Mood” here, but there are many other episodes that are just as naughty… or, well, gross.
Futurama did another thing that few of its live-action brethren ever dared do: it had a serious, lasting love story that even got resolved at some point. In a world where lasting attachments between characters are considered something of a ratings-killer Futurama did the right thing and gave Fry and Leela a chance. Time and the sixth season will show where the story of Phillip J. Fry and Turanga Leela will go, but I for one do hope for the best.
Speaking of the sixth season: did I mention that Futurama is back? The show has been cancelled, renewed as a series of feature-length direct-to-DVD movies, lain dead for almost two years… and finally been resurrected again. The sixth season of twenty-six episodes (maybe, perhaps, might be less, no-one can or will actually say) started airing less than a week ago and the beginning is promising.
“Rebirth” isn’t the best episode of Futurama, but neither is it bad. One thing that it is is disgusting, but to explain that would entail too many spoilers, so I won’t. All I’ll say is that I shouldn’t have been disturbed by the scene in question, but I was. I was, as they say, really grossed out. And I think that wouldn’t have happened if the characters in Futurama were less real, less dear to me. Just something to think about.
One way or the other: Futurama is back. It’s still funny, still daring and still shamelessly self-referential. And we love it for it.