Season 3 Episode 9

The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Mar 04, 2001 on Comedy Central
out of 10
User Rating
253 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

The Professor decides to ship hazardous cargo to the outer reaches of space, but the course chartered takes the ship through some environmentally sensitive areas-including the penguin refuge on Pluto. Leela refuses to transport the dangerous cargo, so the Professor removes her from command and installs Bender as captain. While Bender is piloting the ship, he allows his attention to drift and accidentally showers the penguins with oily goop. As punishment for his crime, Bender gets 5 hours of community service helping clean up the mess.moreless

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
  • Funny.

    I thought this was a really funny episode of Futurama. I enjoyed the story a lot.

    I am not able to describe this episode, so I am going to use TV.com's summary of the episode instead of coming up with my own:

    The Professor decides to ship hazardous cargo to the outer reaches of space, but the course chartered takes the ship through some environmentally sensitive areas-including the penguin refuge on Pluto. Leela refuses to transport the dangerous cargo, so the Professor removes her from command and installs Bender as captain. While Bender is piloting the ship, he allows his attention to drift and accidentally showers the penguins with oily goop. As punishment for his crime, Bender gets 5 hours of community service helping clean up the mess.moreless
  • This episode is such a funny episode.

    This episode is so funny and has my favorite storyline I have seen thus far with Bender thinking he is a penguin and some hilarious parts are when Bender names Fry Wiggles and when Leela and the other environmentalists make a ring of peace and the ship just goes over them and Leela says where you aware that ships could fly up and the leader says no I was not. Also it was really funny when Fry yelled at Zoidberg because they where lost and he said he was good at navigating and Zoidberg says he is sorry then he starts crying and when the killer whale attacked Bender when he was swimming like a penguin and it was very funny when an octopus was on top of the Planet Express ship. Also the ending was amazing when Bender said ah stupid birds will survive on their own and then you see two penguins learn how to use guns. Overall because I laughed so much during this episode is why it is brilliant.moreless
  • hillariouis episode

    I admit I surprised myself a little when I realized this episode embodies "exactly why I watch this series." When I think of my favorites I think of ones with deeper plots or meanings like Parasites Lost, and The Why of Fry. Still when I rewatched this episode on DVD recently I realized how great this episode is. Not because it has a moral or character development but because of the simple fact that it's absolutely hilarious. There just are so many great jokes throughout this episode, and Zoidberg is at his peak hilarity. The purpose of the plot is simply to bring our characters from one funny situation to another and I loved it. Purpose if Futurama had remained focused on episodes like this it would have appealed more to the mainstream audience (as much as I love episodes like the Why of Fry, Jurassic Bark, and all the Fry/Leela episodes, I gotta admit that perhaps people in general weren't interested in those kind of emotions, themes, and serious meanings in an animated comedy). In short, this episode is not to be missed.moreless
  • I loved this episode. It was so funny because it had so many historical references.

    This episode opens with Professor Farnsworth giving the crew an extremely controversial mission: towing a dark matter tanker through the solar system, and dangerously near the penguin preserve on Pluto in order to avoid a tollbooth. Leela refuses to take part, and the Professor makes Bender the new captain. Leela joins the protesters from Penguins Unlimited.

    After initially failing to stop the tanker, Leela and the protesters race ahead to intercept the tanker at Pluto. Meanwhile aboard the Planet Express ship, Bender lets his new power go to his head. Fry gets fed up with Bender's captaining, and rejects both his leadership, and his friendship. A distraught Bender goes on a sobriety binge, and takes the tanker on an erratic course over Pluto. The tanker collides with an iceberg, and spills dark matter across the landscape.

    For his part in the disaster, Bender is sentenced to community service, cleaning up the spill alongside the Penguins Unlimited environmentalists. However, when the police officers supervising his work are distracted by a round of platonic hugging, Bender dons a tuxedo and blends into the colony of penguins.

    Leela sets off to search Pluto for Bender, while Fry inexplicably decides to take the Planet Express ship and search for Bender in space. That night, Bender is mauled by an orca, and the damage causes him to shut down. When he reboots, his boot loader reinitializes him with penguin-like behaviors.

    Back at the Penguins Unlimited facility, it is announced that the dark matter has increased the penguins' reproductive speed by tens of thousands of times. Whereas one penguin usually lays one egg a year, the penguins (both males and females) are now laying eggs at a rate of six eggs every fifteen minutes, which go on to hatch in 12 hours. In order to save the penguins from mass starvation, penguin hunting season is declared. A reluctant Leela agrees to take part; but her first shot hits Bender in the head, causing him to reboot into his normal personality.

    When the hunters arrive, Bender leads a large force of penguins in an assault (while delivering a speech reminiscent of Winston Churchill's famous "We shall fight on the beaches..." speech). After the penguins succeed in driving off the hunters, Bender takes off his tuxedo. Unfortunately, since he had taught the penguins to hate anything that wasn't a penguin ("If it ain't black and white, peck, scratch and bite"), he and Leela come under attack. The penguins corner them on a floating slab of ice, but Fry arrives in the ship to save them. When it lands on the ice, it tips the block, sending the penguins sliding into the gaping mouth of an orca. Leela and Bender board the ship, and everyone returns to Earth. Leela states that nature will set things right and the episode ends with two penguins with very serious looks picking up leftover guns and cocking them.moreless
  • I think it is truly one of the funniest episodes this show has ever done

    Well, you pretty much know that anything involving penguins is going to be great, and this episode had killer penguins. What could possibly be better? This is pretty much a Bender-centric episode, and, therefore, it doesn't have all that much in the way of emotion or character development, but I think it is truly one of the funniest episodes this show has ever done. All the characters (except poor Amy) are involved well, with Leela protesting, Bender's penguin adventure and the Fry and Zoidberg storyline, which was hilarious. Funniest bits include Bender calling Fry 'Wiggles', Fry and Zoidberg leaving space as we know it, and the absolutely wonderful gag about penguins slipping on oil with cartoon sound effects added 'to lessen tragedy'. That's probably my favourite joke on this show ever. All the penguins falling into the killer whale was funny too, like Bender said: hilariously cruel. There was even a nice little message about not killing animal for fun. Nice to see a bit of a scenery change on Pluto, the icy landscapes looked wonderful. A really brilliant ending as well.moreless
David Herman

David Herman

Protestor / Hunters

Katey Sagal

Katey Sagal

Turanga Leela

Billy West

Billy West

Philip J. Fry / Professor Hubert Farnsworthm / Dr. Zoidberg / Smitty

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille


Frank Welker

Frank Welker


Maurice LaMarche

Maurice LaMarche

Morbo / The Hyperchicken

Phil Hendrie

Phil Hendrie

Free Waterfall Senior / Old Man Waterfall

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (7)

  • QUOTES (49)

    • Bender: Guys, it's me! Your lovable dictator!

    • Leela: Well, at least it'll help reduce their population.
      Bender: Yeah, life is hilariously cruel.

    • Leela: Look, I don't know if shooting penguins will help the environment or not. But I do know the decision shouldn't be in the hands of people who just wanna kill for fun.
      Waterfall Sr.: Leela, you may just be farming some free-range truth there. On the other hand, we already made up 200 pounds of batter for penguin tempura.

    • Waterfall Sr.: Why aren't you firing randomly into those birds, little lady? Don't you wanna help 'em?
      Leela: Not this way.
      Waterfall Sr.: What? Why you're not a tree-hugging kook at all!

    • Bender: I don't know why but when I look down at their little faces, it makes me wanna puke! In a good way!

    • Leela: Alright, this is for their own good. Don't leave orphans. Gotta kill entire families. But they're so cute. No! You can do this. It's just like murdering a little butler.

    • Leela: I'm sorry, but if it's fun in any way it's not environmentalism.
      Waterfall Sr.: Oh, really? How 'bout blowing up dams?
      Leela: Yeah... that is fun.

    • Waterfall Sr.: Now surely you agree that a quick, semi-painless death is a damn sight better than weeks of starvation.
      Leela: Well, I suppose... But- I mean- I joined Penguins Unlimited to love penguins, not to hunt them.
      Waterfall Sr.: This time the two are one and the same! Now are you with us or are you gonna let innocent penguins suffer?

    • Leela: You can't shoot penguins. Isn't there some way to keep them from breeding?
      Waterfall Sr.: Cold showers don't work on Antarctic creatures.

    • Waterfall Sr.: If the birds keep multiplying there'll soon be too many to count. Before long the penguins will exhaust their food supply and starve to death.
      Leela: Oh, if only we hadn't flown penguins to Pluto and dumped oil on them, this might never have happened. Can't we stop them from multiplying?
      Waterfall Sr.: Yes, I reckon it is our responsibility. And thankfully we have a plan.
      Leela: What is it? We'll do anything.
      Waterfall Sr.: Everyone, grab your guns. I declare penguin hunting season officially open.

    • Waterfall Sr.: Folks, it's worse than we thought. Seems dark matter is nature's sex drug. It's like a perverted trail mix of penguin oestrogen, penguin Viagra and Spanish penguin fly. Why, it's making them ultra-fertile.
      Leela: How ultra?
      Waterfall Sr.: Well your garden variety penguin lays one egg a year. Since the spill our penguins have been laying six eggs every 15 minutes. (crowd gasps) Also, the eggs hatch in only 12 hours. (crowd gasps again) Also, the males are laying eggs. (crowd gasps again and a man faints)
      Doctor: This man is over-gasped.

    • Zoidberg: Captain, I don't think we're on Pluto any longer. In fact, we may have left space as we know it.
      Fry: Then where are we? You said you knew how to navigate.
      Zoidberg: Stop yelling at me!

    • Fry: Wait. Let me. Bender and I have our disagreements, but we're still friends and I'm gonna show him what that means. To the ship.
      Leela: Why don't you just walk? He was only about 20 yards from here.
      Fry: Madam, I am in command now.

    • Fry: So, where's Captain Bender? Off catastrophising some other planet?
      Zoidberg: Damnit, Fry! He may have done wrong, but he's still your captain.

    • Leela: Hey, why weren't you Kong donkeys outside cleaning up?
      Zoidberg: They sent us inside for doing an unsatisfactory job... And eating penguin eggs.
      Fry: You ate most of them.

    • Leela: Has anyone seen Bender? Bender? Here robot, robot, robot.

    • Waterfall Sr.: Good work, everyone. I suggest you all go get some sleep. Me, well, I'm gonna stay up all night singing songs about penguins in a fine, piercing tenor.

    • URL: Aw, man! He got away!
      Smitty: I guess this is why Chief says no hugging.

    • Hyper-Chicken: Son, as your lawyer, I declare y'all are in a 12-piece bucket o' trouble. But I done struck you a deal: Five hours of community service cleanin' up that ol' mess you caused.
      Bender: Five hours? Aw, man! Couldn't you just got me the death penalty?
      Hyper-Chicken: I'd have done better but it's plum hard pleadin' a case while awaitin' trial for that there incompetence!
      Bender: Yeah, uh, good luck with that.

    • Smitty: Are they black with white feathers or white with black feathers?
      URL: It don't matter, baby, they're all beautiful!

    • Morbo: At the time of the crash, the tanker captain had an alcohol level of .08 percent - well below the legal limit for robots.

    • Fry: What's happening?
      Zoidberg: All 6,000 hulls have been breached!
      Fry: Oh, the fools! If only they'd built it with 6,001 hulls! When will they learn?

    • Leela: Bender's flying too low! And he's upside-down!
      Protestor: He must be talking on a cell phone!

    • Zoidberg: Captain, please, have some liquor. You robots need alcohol to function.
      Bender: Gah! I once knew a guy... you look like him. But he wasn't either. I'm a good captain.
      Zoidberg: Please, sir, I love you like a father!

    • Fry: Being captain is obviously more important to you than being my friend. I'm going.
      Bender: Going? But a captain can't drink without his first mate.
      Zoidberg: You can drink with me maybe?
      Bender: I don't feel like drinking.
      Zoidberg: Then, if you'll excuse me, I see some ravioli that only has two shoe prints on it.

    • Fry: If I were in charge I wouldn't treat you like this. You're nothing but a big blowhard.
      Bender: Sir, you forget yourself! Shut up!

    • Bender: Wiggles, weren't you about to propose a toast to your gallant captain?
      Fry: Fine, I've got a toast. To Captain Bender, he's the best... at being a big jerk who's stupid and his big, ugly face is as dumb as a butt.
      Bender: Eh, I've heard better.

    • Bender: But I suppose it's this medal I'm most proud of, Wiggles. I won it for saving the children of Earth from a giant kangaroo. It was on the Australian news, you probably didn't see it.
      Zoidberg: Brilliant!
      Fry: Would you cram a sock in it, Bender? Those aren't even medals, they're bottle-caps and pepperoni slices!

    • Waterfall Sr.: This here is our penguin preserve.
      Leela: Aw! They're so cute! They're like if puppies and kittens could have babies!

    • Leela: When you were planning this peace ring, didn't you realise spaceships can move in three dimensions?
      Waterfall Sr.: No, I did not.

    • Waterfall Sr.: Our peace ring has 'em trapped like a tiger in a washing machine!

    • Bender: And what's Peter Parrot's first rule of captaining?
      Fry: Always respect the chain o' command... captain.
      Bender: Correct, Wiggles. You've just earned an invitation to the captain's table.
      Zoidberg: The captain's table! What an honour!

    • Bender: Aye! We're hitched up tighter than Davy Jones' U-Haul! At ease, men.
      Fry: I am at ease.
      Bender: Mr. Fry, I like to give my first mate an informal nickname. From now on you will be known as... Wiggles!

    • Waterfall Sr.: Now, folks, it's time to stop that tanker with a non-violent human circle.
      Leela: Why do we have to resort to non-violence? Can't we just kick their asses?
      Waterfall Sr.: Now, little lady, those people's asses are living things too.

    • Waterfall Sr.: Greetings, Econauts. I'm Free Waterfall Sr., founder of Penguins Unlimited... Whoa! No, no! No applause. Every time you clap your hands you kill thousands of spores that'll some day form a nutritious fungus. Just show your approval with a mould-friendly thumbs up... Please hold your thumbs until the end.

    • Bender: Fry, the title of captain may inflate the human ego, but it's beneath the notice of my mighty robo-logic. Now look spry, men! We launch at six bells!

    • Fry: No fair! Leela was training me to be captain. She even let me sit in her lap and steer... in this comic I drew.

    • Farnsworth: Well, Fry, or should I say Captain Fry? No, I shouldn't. Because Bender is the new captain!
      Fry: Bender?
      Farnsworth: That's right. Being captain is about intuition and heart. A good captain can't have either one. That's why cold, logical Bender is perfect for the job.
      Bender: Well, I do think of human life as expendable.

    • Leela: Look, Professor, I can't participate in this mission.
      Farnsworth: What are you yapping about?
      Leela: This time it's your reckless disregard for the environment. In fact, I'm gonna go join those protestors.
      Farnsworth: This is an outrage! I demand you hand over your captain's jacket.
      Leela: This is my normal jacket. I've had it for 10 years.
      Farnsworth: I said hand it over!

    • Fry: OK, she's all restocked with emergency jam. Let's get going.
      Leela: At the risk of sounding negative: No!

    • Farnsworth: For this highly controversial mission you'll be towing the Juan Valdez, an orbiting supertanker full of rich Columbian dark matter.
      Leela: Dark matter oil? What if we hit something? The tanker could leak.
      Farnsworth: Impossible! The tanker has 6,000 hulls. So, unlike me, it's entirely leak-proof. Now, once you've hauled the tanker past the protestors-
      Leela: Protestors?
      Farnsworth: Correct. 6,000 hulls.
      Leela: Why do we have to fly within three feet of this penguin preserve on Pluto?
      Farnsworth: To avoid the tollbooth.

    • Farnsworth: Good news, everyone! I'm sending you on an extremely controversial mission.
      Fry: Controversial?
      Farnsworth: Oh, my, no.

    • Leela: Fry, I know those cookies are fresh-a-licious but they produce an awful lot of trash.
      Bender: Ah!
      Leela: And, Bender, that aerosol head spray makes your antenna smell nice-
      Bender: Thank you.
      Leela: But it's doing long-term damage to the planet.
      Bender: So? It's not like it's the only one we've got.

    • Zoidberg: Captain, I don't think we're in Pluto any longer.

    • Leela: And with windchill it's 20 degrees below absolute zero.

    • Bender: It's like I told them: 'If it ain't black and white, peck, scratch, and bite!'"

    • Free Waterfall, Sr.: Look, nobody enjoys shooting penguins. But if you have to shoot penguins, well, you might as well enjoy it.

    • Free Waterfall, Sr.: Good way to avoid frostbite, folks. Put your hands between your buttocks. That's nature's pocket!
      Leela: Uh, I think I'll go check on Bender.
      Free Waterfall, Sr.: Watch that he doesn't pick your pocket!

    • Free Waterfall, Sr.: If you're cold, rub your bodies with permafrost: its nature's long johns. If rubbin' frozen dirt in your crotch is wrong, hey, I don't want to be right.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (10)

    • The sign 'Think intergalactically, act interplanetarily' is an update of the present day environmentalist message 'Thing globally, act locally.'

    • The episode makes a number of references to the Puffin Penguins.

    • Bender's hat is made to look like Napoleon's hat.

    • Listen out for the quote about the ship being upside down, the reply about him being on a cell phone is a tip-of-the-hat to an article about the fact that most road accidents are caused by people talking on their cellphones.

    • Leela: Hey! Why aren't you two Kong Donkeys cleaning up?

      Kong Donkeys is a reference to Donkey Kong, a popular video game character that made Nintendo what it is today.

    • Roadkill Bill
      Right before this episode first aired, a comic strip that featured two months of "Pissed-Off Penguins," a flock that's armed and angry over environmental issues.

    • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

      Bender getting mangled by a killer whale and ejected on the shore is a takeoff of the similar scene involving R2D2. Bender even makes an R2D2 sound during it.

    • Birdman of Alcatraz

      The title of the episode is a tribute to the 1962 movie "Birdman of Alcatraz", based on the 1955 book by Thomas E. Gaddis.

    • Exxon Valdez
      The spilling of the oil is a reference to the 1990 Exxon Valdez spill. In the real incident, the captain was drunk, where in this episode Bender is sober, resulting in the same ending.
      The ship was also called, "The Juan Valdez", which is also the name of a coffee industry character.

    • Bender: We shall fight them on the beaches! We shall fight them on the glaciers!
      Loveable penguin dictator Bender's words are of course a reference to Winston Churchill's famous speech of 1940, where he sparked British will to fight the Germans with "We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets. We shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!"