Futurama Can Haz Laughs

When Futurama premiered on Comedy Central, I wrote that I was relieved to see the show nearly back to form: The jokes were fresh and the characters were able to act like themselves instead of servicing some ridiculous 90-minute-long plot. What I'm finding, though, is that it wasn't just the pilot that held up. Futurama has been fantastic, choosing to focus its sense of humor on world-changing events. And the grander the ambition, the more fun the characters seem to have.

Last week the professor designed a time machine that, in order to avoid any paradoxes, only traveled to the future. But the team went a little too far and witnessed the destruction of their civilization, its rebirth, another destruction, and finally the heat death of the universe, only to watch it be reborn again. They went around the loop multiple times, and each stop on the journey allowed the writers to have a little fun—like the look of joy on Bender's face when they arrive in a year where robots were destroying humanity. Though the story was lofty, its heart remained on Leela and Fry's budding relationship.

The same formula worked wonders on Thursday, when a race of hyperintelligent cats (or, just regular cats who've been hyperintelligent this whole time) infiltrated society to steal Earth's rotation. Amy was the one who invented the machine to do it, and Amy was the one who saved the team—and the world. Futurama effortlessly shifts focus between the Planet Express crew, and Amy's moment involved Kiff, Nibbler, and some genuine moments of frustration. What's especially great is that, even when facing the end of the world, the show continues to let its characters do the heavy lifting—which is exactly what The Simpsons has stopped doing.

My one complaint about the new Futurama is that every episode feels the need to do some sort of social commentary. They've tackled the cult of Apple, for one thing, and last night's episode was all about the LOLCATZ meme. The problem becomes that Futurama's targets are inherently geeky, meaning they come and go from the public conscious quickly; given the amount of lead time animated shows need, that's not a recipe for timely satire. (At least the LOLCATZ thing has not been done before.) Thankfully, though, the show mostly relegates the wink-nudge references to the secondary part of the story—last night contained just a few scenes with kittens doing things humans do, and only one cutaway to an I CAN HAZ CHEEZBURGER-type poster. So as long as the series keeps it up with the laughs, and the accidental killing of Eleanor Roosevelt, I'm peachy.

What do you think of this season so far?

Comments (29)
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I love the new season but I must agree with NIGHTWING as well. I love seeing new stuff after so long in the dark but it was not a good episode. All the rest have been great so lets hope next week is better :)
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See, Nightwing gets it. The rest of you are too quick to praise the new version of the show.
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The cats episode was "GOOD"????? You have to be kidding me, that was a horrible episode and one of the worst in the show's history. I loved the previous two episodes (hermes and bender backstory and bender, fry and the prof time travelling), but this past episode being considered "good" or even "okay" is an absolute joke to me. Is it april fools?
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The season got off on a rough start but I've really liked the last three episodes especially the time travel adventure. i'm glad futurama's back. leg bone's connected to the.....CASH BONE!!
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The coolest thing about this new seasin is how in some episodes, characters have their own individual adventures! Season has been excellent so far! To hell with all the naysayers!
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It has been excellent so far. Keep it up!!
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"Need cash? Have bones? Sell Bones Cash CASH BONES!!!"
I totally loved that!!!
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I have too many bones and not enough cash...... what should I do?????
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New Futurama is a vast improvement on what were increasingly woeful 'movies'. There also seems to be less constraints on their characters' behaviour on this new network. Agree that so far it is everything Simpsons no longer is.
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i didnt care for the new season until the least three episodes, but I love the gushy emotional episodes of the series the most i.e the fry dog ep and the fry brother ep, although the cats one was just plain hilarious....
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Need cash? Have bones? Sell Bones Cash CASH BONES!!!
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Need cash? Have bones? Sell Bones Cash CASH BONES!!!
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Need cash? Have bones? Sell Bones Cash CASH BONES!!!
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Need cash? Have bones? Sell Bones Cash CASH BONES!!!
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Need cash? Have bones? Sell Bones Cash CASH BONES!!!
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Thanks to the latest episode, I am never EVER going to be able to look at cats the same way again.
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Most of the new episodes have been really clever. It's good to see the writers are back on full throttle, and can prove that they can write smart jokes. Let's hope Futurama never starts to resort to eating feces down the line as humor, like some other show that was brought back by the fans.
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I have been liking it!
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Personally, this season is great, and I hope they keep it up like that. It was about time that we also had a good laugh.
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prrrrrfect review! im totally agree!
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Agree, except for the confusing first episode, a great start to the season!
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Futurama definitely isn't the same show before it got taken off the air. But what i love about this new season is that it still keeps that thing that has really seperated it from alot of other animated comedies. heart. I dont think i ever laughed and cried at an episode like the time travel one before. It doin its thang.
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I'm so sick to death of the topical humor with this new show. For example, the Apple episode had a Susan Boyle running gag. She hasn't been relevant in a freaking year, and they shove it out there anyway. This is not the show I fell in love with, and you're giving it too much credit.
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I thought the new season started out slow...but last night's episode was pure gold. I just laugh thinking about it.
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I think I might be the only one that doesn't really like this season. I mean its good especially for a comeback but its lost some of its magic. I mean look at it like this, compare the new episodes at 10 and then the older episodes they air after that. Its like two different Futuramas. I'm still a fan of the show but I don't think it will ever be the same.
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love the new season it has been great, last night was the first episode of this season where i noticed the cartoon on the big screen in the intro kinda missed them for a while
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it was great loved the joke where the cat calls the mothership with the song XD
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pretty good episode and i'm surprised they made amy not seem like she's a total airhead and gave her a plot for an ep other than her with boyfriend x. maybe they'll do naisu boat next :P
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I think it's been really stellar so far. Some funny stuffy, and some really ambitious plots--during the time machine episode (which I LOVED), I was thinking, "How will they make this conclude in a way that makes any sense?" and they sure did. Solid stuff.
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