|First, you have to learn one of the most wonderful tools in writing, that many writers themselves don't seem to realise; anything that's only said by one character, with no other character able to verify it, can very easily be written off when necessary as either a mistake or a lie. Such as Fry's line in season 2 about time being a straight line, and not cyclical. Bender could have been wrong about his age, he could have been mistaken, or he could have started counting again when he transfered to the body he's in now, I don't know how robotics work in this show. |
In fact, the flashback we saw in Bendless Love was most likely false. Because not only do we have more evidence to suggest Bender was built in a child-sized body, we know it's possibly for robots to "age". We saw this in "A Clockwork Origin" - granted, it wasn't explicitly aging, more evolving (which apparently only happened at night, since, based on the speed it was apparently happening at, we'd have been able to visibly see it if it happened during the day), but aging itself was implied - and "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles". Based on that episode, we know that robot's can age and grow, thanks to their RNA.
Second, Bender's age. You've gotten it wrong for a start. He was 4 in 3001/2. Even ignoring the thousand years his head aged in Roswell That Ends Well, and the millions of years in Bender's Big Score, if you're accepting that we know Hermes has been at Planet Express for ten years, you're accepting that we know Bender has, because we don't know how long before the show start he'd been at Planet Express. Could have been a month. And he could have gone straight there from Mom's, which would suggest it was a few years.
So, my concluding thoughts are that Bender either lied or was mistaken about his age, and that his flashback was a false memory, possibly implanted when he was built to kick in when he was fully grown (which we know could have happened rather quickly), or, that could have been something akin to his university education, with all his earlier memories wiped for whatever reason. Either way, I find it much more likely that Bender was built in a child-sized body and grew than that he was built the way he is now, if only because we have another character and physical evidence to support the former, versus Bender's memory alone for the latter.
Outstanding analysis. Even so, I don't really care about continuity, I thought this episode was great.