Season 5 Episode 10

The Farnsworth Parabox

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Jun 08, 2003 on Comedy Central
out of 10
User Rating
399 votes

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Episode Summary

When the Professor conducts an experiment so hideous that he wants his apparatus destroyed in the thermonuclear inferno of the sun, he has Leela guard the two-foot cubic box overnight so that no one opens it and sets it off. Fry and Bender try their best to sneak a peek but it is Leela who finally gives in and opens the box. Drawn into the power of the box, Leela is thrown into a parallel universe, which has duplicates of the Planet Express gang - including Leela.moreless

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  • Farnsworth creates a box with an alternative universe inside it which Leela and the others enter.

    The Whole "Alternative universe" thing is probably the number one thing that every science fiction show has a stab at and is the most out there thing that they all try to do something with. It was only a matter of time till "Futurama" tried it out so here it finally is in season 4.

    This episodes alot of fun if not as hilarious as some of the earlier or newer episodes. Most of the laughs come from Bender, again living it up with another version of himself.

    As I wrote above, the whole other universe thing has been done lots of times before, but its the first time this show has used the idea, and they get some cool if predictable use out of it.moreless
  • Another Great Episode for the Fans!

    The Farnsworth Parabox. A great episode. Not only for the fans, but for anyone who wants to get into Futurama. This Episode is incredibly exciting and really funny. It also gives a very strong Sci-Fi feeling for anyone who loves the Sci-Fi parts of Futurama. I thought that the Plot and Script were very cleaverly thought out. I really liked the way that the Parallel Characters interacted with eachother. With a mixture of honestly Great looking Animation and CGI, all of these ingredients make this episode of Futurama one of my Favourites. The Scene where they all go into the different Parallel Universes is so funny!moreless
  • The Crew finds a universe parallel to theirs

    In this episode, Pr. Fransworth gives Leela the duty of watching over a very important box, but that no one (including Leela herself) was allowed to look into it. Eventually, Leela grows so very bored, and disobeys Fransworth's orders and opens it, and then some kind of switch-a-roo happens and Leela is back... or she? It is eventually shown that there is a parallel universe inside the box, and the main difference is that if one gets heads, the other gets tails. I found this episode hialrious throughout, with universe B, all the other dimmensions, and the confusion that led to their universe being in the box(?) Overall, a very classic episode, easily one of the best of the series. 10/10 A+moreless
  • Clever

    Parallel Universes, including one of the Planet Express crew? It's a good, clever, funny episode, especially near the end with all the universes they travel to. That is one of the funniest parts of the entire series, I think so anyways. Anyway, this is a really strong offering from the show, it's probably in my top 5 or so for the series, it is just such a good episode throughout and the resolution was good, as was the rest of the episode. It definitely gets an A+ from me, it is just such a joy to watch when I domoreless
  • A funny and well written episode

    "The Fansworth Parabox"

    Grade: A

    So this was an interesting episode which dealt with Parallel Universes and their many different outcomes in terms of simply flipping a coin. Filled with good quotes and memorable moments, The Farnsworth Parabox is one of the best episoes of Season 4/5 as a result.

    The episode begins with Farnsworth doing an experiment whilst Fry keeps trying to ask Leela out. Leela's excuses for not wanting to don't work on Fry, and in the end Farnsworth finishes the experiment.

    The professor tells the crew about the object he used for his experiment, which is a Parallel Universe box (though he only tells the crew about the box and not what's inside). He tells no one to look inside, and in the end he lets Leela guard it from the others. Leela successfully fools the others from taking the box by switching it, in which Fry and Bender fall for it.

    Leela gets through the whole day without anyone peeking the box, and gets annoyed on not being able to have even a slight peek on what's inside. Whilst heading for a coffee vending machine, Leela gets a coin out and decides to flip it whether to look inside it or not, she gets Heads so she decides to look in, only to be sucked into the box.

    Leela comes out of the other side, and realises she's in a different universe, noticing the many changes in the crew and the environment. The 2nd Leela forces the crew from the original Universe into the new one, and as a result they are assumed to be the evil crew.

    Both crew Universes discuss on what has just happened, and conclude that both boxes have Parallel Universes. The 2nd Farnsworth has hidden the box for the time being, and when convinced that their parralel selves are not evil, they will let them go back as a result. The original Leela also finds out that their Parallel Fry and Leela selves are also married together as well.

    With having to live in the Parallel universe for a while, the crew try to get along with each other. Bender meets his Golden opposite, in which he realises that there's someone as equally as great as him, whilst the two Zoidbergs are annoyed at how their crew treats them as losers, when one of them knows where the box is and should keep it hidden away from them. Meanwhile, Fry and Leela learn more about how their secondary selves got together, in which resulted in a positive coin flip, in where it was negative for the original Leela, preventing her from dating Fry, in which annoys him.

    Both Farnsworths' have been working together and conclude that neither of them are evil, and that they can return to their own universe as a result. The 2nd Professor goes into a fish tank and finds in the clam its not there, and they then find out that the Zoidberg's took it. To make things worse, the Hermes from the original universe has been sent to destroy the original Parallel Universe box, by sending it into the sun.

    With the Zoidberg's running away and jumping into another random Parallel Universe box, the crew tether wire on them so that they can get back to the correct universe when they find them. After finally cornering the Zoidberg's off in the Hippie universe due to lack of boxes, the crew quickly jump back before Hermes releases the cargo lock. Farnsworth tells Hermes not to do it, in which he hesitates for a few seconds and lets them out.

    The episode ends with both crews switching boxes from each universe, and as a result they both have their own existing universes with them. Everyone is watching the TV, and Fry comes in and sits on it, stretching the whole universe as a result.

    So overall, a very funny and excellent episode of Futurama, using the multiple universes as a good set of jokes, and telling out the interesting outcomes of a simple coin flip. I think this episode also cleverly twisted catchphrases too, like Golden Bender's "Bite my glorious golden ass!" so that was pretty awesome. Overall, a decent episode not to be missed!moreless
David Herman

David Herman

Mayor Poopenmayer, Professor Ogden Wernstrum, Scruffy, Toronga Morris, Larry, Dwayne, Various

Katey Sagal

Katey Sagal

Turanga Leela, Various

Billy West

Billy West

Philip J. Fry, Professor Hubert Farnsworth, Dr. John Zoidberg, Zapp Brannigan, Leo Wong, Various

Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Amy Wong, Inez Wong, Various

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille

Mom, Linda the Newscaster, Various

Frank Welker

Frank Welker

Nibbler, Various

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (17)

    • This episode marks the second time Fry and Bender have attempted to climb through a steam vent, the first being Love's Labours Lost In Space.

    • The reason Dr. Zoidberg is blue is because one in every two million lobsters is blue.

    • Opening theme promotion: BEATS A HARD KICK IN THE FACE

    • Universes seen: Universe 25 (people-with-no-eyes universe), Universe 1729 (bobblehead universe), Universe 31 (blocky robot universe), Universe XVII (Roman universe), Universe 420 (hippy universe).

      Other universe boxes include one that is very cold, one that contains nothing but women, and another one has octopus-like residents. Also, the Benders steal treasure from both a leprechaun universe (gold Bender) and a pirate universe (original Bender).

    • The two metallic finishes for the Bender type robot are Foghat Gray and Glorious Gold.

    • Notice that when Fry and Bender jump out of the steam vent, Fry's clothes have shrunk due to the steam.

    • When Bender and Fry are in the vent, Bender switches his eyes for angled ones. He then looks around the room below, rotating them both in the same direction. However, if he did that, the eyes would have hit and the sound would have gotten Leela's attention.

      Edit: She was pretending to fall asleep, so Fry and Bender take the decoy box. She was sitting on the real box.

    • When Leela is guarding the box at the beginning she is reading a magazine. The cover says its Bigfoot's birthday. This is a reference to the episode Spanish Fry involving Bigfoot.

    • In an attempt to return to Universe A, the professors created a variety of other boxes. If they all lead to other universes, then the other universes possess a Parabox containing Universe 1. Which still puts Universe 1 in danger, should anyone shake it or destroy it.

    • Before Leela fell into the box, the walls of the Planet Express building changed from red to blue and back to red. After Leela fell into the box the walls changed back to blue but after the commercial break the walls are red again.

    • The boxes are shown to contain full universes, but when people jump or look inside, they immediately emerge from the alternate universe's own "parabox" without travelling the enormous distances depicted.

    • How did the Hippy-Universe Farnsworth manage to build that one Parabox?

    • In the episode I Dated a Robot (when Fry is doing everything he's ever wanted to do) Farnsworth says there are only two parallel universes - theirs and the one where everyone is a cowboy. However, Farnsworth and his alternate-universe-in-a-box counterpart have now created countless (or at least 1729) parallel universes that didn't actually existed before.

    • In the scene with everyone sitting around the table (Universe 1 on the left and Universe A on the right) looking at the hologram. Leela 1 is missing her wrist device which is suppose to be on her right wrist but when you see her protesting about being called Universe B the wrist device reappears.

    • How could the box that fell on Zoidberg A, when he backed into the shelf filled with boxes, fit over him AND the box in his claws) if both boxes were the same size.

    • When the crew got back to universe A to prevent Hermes from destroying the box, they all jump in the box head first, except Farnsworth who drops the box and goes in feet first. When they arrive in universe A, they all come out head first.

    • When the crew was picking names for the Universes Leela A suggested Universe A and B, but the alternate Leela said that their Universe would be called Universe 1. Later on Farnsworth A still calls the alternate Professor, Professor B.

  • QUOTES (41)

    • Hermes: Item 1: Box. Check. Item 2: Sun. Whoo, that's a big check! (Hermes puts down the rear view mirror then catches fire) Whoo!

    • Hermes 1: Oh, if I know Hermes A, he's half way to the sun by now!
      Bender 1: Our universe is doomed!
      Both Benders: DOOOOOOOOMED!

    • Bender 1: Y'know what they say about making friends, make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver-
      Bender: And the other's gold. (both hug)

    • Leela A: Well I got through the night and no one looked in the box. Not even me, the person that gave up her whole evening to watch it, a whole evening of TV, gone. What a mockery of Justice that I can't take a little tiny peek. Ugh I need coffee. (Pause) (Leela goes to coffee machine and gets ready to put in a coin) Ok heads I look, tails I don't. (She flips the coin, it comes up heads) Oh, yeah! Oh, Yeah! Heads! I meant alright then. (She walks back to the box) No I have a duty not to look. Well then again I promised the coin I would. (She opens the box and looks in) Oh its deep, deeper than a small box should be (She falls in the box) Ah...Ouch, my lawyer will hear about this.
      Fry 1: Leela what have you done?
      Leela A: Nothing. What do you mean why was I looking in the box?

    • Farnsworth: Help Satan! You owe me!

    • Farnsworth: There. That space-time eversion has given us their box and vice-versa!
      Leela: So what you think you just explained to us is that -
      Farnsworth: Correct! This box contains our own universe!
      Hermes: Sweet honey bee of infinity!

    • Farnsworth 420: Dig it! All of you fitting in this box is like seriously freaked up!
      Farnsworth: Nonsense! Why, there's a whole universe in there!
      Farnsworth 420: Dude, there's a universe in all of us.
      Amy 420: Right on, professor Freaksworth!
      Farnsworth: (To his hippie self) Get a job!

    • Leela: Uh, have you robot versions of yourselves seen any extra Zoidbergs around here?
      Fry 31 (mechanical voice): Negative. Will you go out with me?
      Leela: Uh, access denied.
      (Fry 31's head explodes)

    • Amy: Splug! Which one did they go into?
      Farnsworth: Oh let's all ask each other! That'll solve this problem.

    • Farnsworth 1: Now don't give up yet you cry babies. The box is gone but we still have one preposterously slim hope.
      Amy: Is it a kind of hairspray?
      Farnsworth: No. We must attempt to make another box containing our universe! Doy!

    • Hermes 1: What's goin' on here? Why aren't you all out destroying the Professor's box?
      Leela 1: Hermes, aren't you curious about the fact thats there's two of everybody?
      Hermes 1: No. Now like my granny used to say back in her tar paper shack on Montego Bay "If you want a box hurled into the sun, you got to do it yourself!"
      Farnsworth 1: Your granny can go to hell!

    • Leela 1: Then one night when Fry asked me out the only excuse I could think of involved ghosts. I knew he wouldn't buy it so I did what I always do in those situations.
      Leela: Oh Lord!
      Leela 1: I flipped a coin. It came up heads and we went out.
      Fry: You mean you flipped the coin too? And it was tails? So that's why you said you had to meet that ghost.

    • Amy 1: This is so great! I always wanted an imaginary friend!
      Amy: I'm not imaginary, I'm parallel! We're exactly the same, right down to the - Splech! Is that pink nail polish?
      Amy 1: Is that not pink nail polish?

    • Bender: I've got my eye on you boy!
      Bender 1: Don't even think about it lunch-pail! You'd be dead before you hit the ground!
      Bender: Good point. Whatyya say we just hit a strip joint?
      Bender 1: I was waitin' for one of us to say that! Bender A, you're a prince among robots! Can you forgive me for distrusting you?
      Bender: Aw, I can't stay mad at what is essentially me. I love me!

    • Leela 1: Um, can Fry and I watch our parallel selves together? We have plans tonight.
      Leela: You guys are dating?
      Fry 1: Oh no no no. We're married.

    • Farnsworth: Your people and your slight differences disgust me. I'm going home. Where's that blue box with our universe in it?
      Farnsworth 1: Oh you'd like to get back to your evil universe wouldn't you? And destroy your box with our universe inside it.
      Farnsworth: Nonsense! I would never do such a thing unless you were already having been going to do that!
      Farnsworth 1: Wha?
      Farnsworth: You heard me!

    • Farnsworth: Let's recap what's happened so far. As you can see I accidentally created a box containing your universe.
      Farnsworth 1: While I, in a simultaineous blunder created a box containing your universe.
      Leela: This is getting confusing. Why don't we call our universe "Universe A" and this universe "Universe B"?
      Bender 1: Hey, why can't we be universe A?
      Fry 1: Yeah!
      Amy 1: Yeah!
      Zoidberg 1: We want the best letter!
      Fry: We called it first. Besides, this place kinda feels like a "B" y'know?
      Leela 1: Alright, you can be crummy universe A. And we'll be universe 1!
      Fry 1: Or "The Mongooses," that's a cool team name. The Fighting Mongooses!

    • Farnsworth 1: Now now, perfectly symmetrical violence never solved anything.

    • Farnsworth: Astonishing. I must have created a parallel universe!
      Farnsworth 1: Baldercrap! I created your universe! All you created was my fist parallel to your face!

    • Fry: Oh wow. It's like that drug trip I saw in that movie when I was on that drug trip.

    • Leela: I tell you they're not evil. But don't be confused. They are jerks.

    • Farnsworth 1: It contains a parallel universe! And when you create a parallel universe it's almost always populated by evil twins!
      Leela: No look, I am not evil. My loan officer said so.
      Farnsworth 1: Oh you'd like us to believe that wouldn't you Leela? Or should I say Eveela?
      Bender 1: Oh this is awful. Somewhere there's a Bender more evil than me. I do my best dammit!

    • Fry 1: It's some guy wearing a Leela costume! Get him!
      Leela: Hold it! You have this all wrong. I just fell into the box and then I fell out somehow.
      Fry 1: You shut up sir.
      Farnsworth 1: No wait, I've got it! I know what's in the box. Oh I've been as dumb as Fry!
      Fry 1: Am not!

    • Farnsworth 1: Leela? Oh, there's a woman for you! Always dyeing her hair instead of not looking in a box.

    • Fry 1: Leela, what have you done?
      Leela: Nothing. What do you mean "why was I looking in the box?"
      Fry 1: I mean your hair. It's all different-y.

    • Fry: Ow it's hot! The butter in my pocket is melting!

    • Fry: Let's just forget about the box. The Professor said to stay away.
      Bender: Fry, how can you be so naive? He was joking. Get it?
      Fry: No.
      Bender: That's what makes it so funny!... Okay, he wasn't joking, now shut up and follow me.

    • Hermes: Scram you lousy green snakes! Here Leela, take this and use it to shoot those guys.
      Leela: Right! If they try to look in the box.
      Hermes: Whatever.

    • Zoidberg: In my experience boxes are usually empty. Or maybe with a little cheese stuck to the top. And one time pepperoni! What a day that was! Give me the box!

    • Farnsworth: Good news everyone, I'm still technically alive! Yes! But I need you to dispose of this crazy ass experiment that almost killed me. You'll have to throw it into the sun itself, for only the thermonuclear inferno of the sun has enough energy to ensure its total destruction!
      Bender: I can hit it with a shovel!
      Farnsworth: That's not good enough.
      Bender: This one time I pounded a guy into the ground like a stake with a shovel!
      Farnsworth: Yes yes!

    • Leela: Look, I'm embarrassed to admit this but you forced me to. I can't go out tonight because... I have sweaty boot rash!
      Amy: No spluh! Why do you think I'm sitting over here in the stink-free zone?

    • Fry: I know you've rejected me a lot before but frankly I wasn't sure we were right for each other either, but now I am! So how 'bout a date tonight?
      Leela: Sorry I think I, um, I think I left my toaster on.

    • Farnsworth 1: The easy part was getting the brain out, the hard part was getting the brain out WOHAHAHAHAHA!
      Farnsworth A: Oh you.

    • Hermes A: It's like my grandmother always said. If you want a box thrown into the sun, you've got to do it yourself. God rest her zombie bones.

    • Leela 2: One year later, Fry proposed and gave me a diamond scrunchie.
      Fry: One year later, I got beat up at at Neil Diamond concert, by a guy named Scrunchie.

    • Bender ONE: Bite my glorious golden ass!

    • Farnsworth ONE: Good news, everyones!

    • Farnsworth ONE: Yes, its the apocalypse, all right. I always knew I'd have something to do with it.

    • Amy ONE : The Professor is right, you are evil ... and shallow!
      Amy A: I am not evil!

    • Narrator: Meanwhile in Universe A, Hermes A heads towards the sun... A.

    • Farnsworth: Buddha, Zeus, God one of you guys help me!

  • NOTES (2)

    • A number of scenes were deleted for time. Some of them can be found on the Volume 4 DVD.

    • The Bobble Head universe is numbered 1729. This number is Ramanujan's taxi-cab number, Bender is Mom's 1729th son, and Zapp's spacecraft the Nimbus is labelled BP-1729.


    • The Narnia Chronicles
      The idea of jumping from one universe to another well predates Star Trek or Sliders.
      The Magician's Nephew, was published in 1955 and is the first book in the series containing The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
      In this book, the two main characters jump into many shallow pools in a forest clearing that lead to different universes, similar to the many boxes on the floor in this episode.

    • The "hippy" universe is numbered 420. 420 is a term used by pot smokers as a code for getting high.

    • DC Comics: Multiverse

      Most of the episode is a parody of the DC Comics Multiverse where there are several Earths that explained why various superheros were different in different comic series.

    • Sliders
      A good portion of the episode was based around the ideas from the television series Sliders. Another FOX program that had to deal with horrible programming switches.

    • Men In Black
      The fact that the entire Universe can be kept in something so small is a parody of "The Galaxy" from Men In Black.

    • Farnsworth One: All women... I'll save that one for later.
      The method of visiting parallel universes -- jumping into a hole -- and at least three of the parallel universes visited in this episode seem to reference "Sliders". There is the all-woman world of "Love Gods", the hippy world of "The Summer of Love" and the robot world of "State of the Art."

    • Farnsworth: When you create a parallel universe it's almostalways populated by evil twins.
      The classic Star Trek episode, Mirror, Mirror by Jerome Bixby and the oft revisited Mirror universe seems to be the reference here.

    • Poincare
      In the final scene Fry sits on the box containing the universe and crunches it and we see - from outside Fry's universe - that it and all the people and things in it are also crunched, and no one inside notices, just as Henri Poincare theorized.

    • Professor Farnsworth: Buddha, Zeus, God one of you guys help me!

      Buddha is the center of the Buddhism religion, often shown as very large in size.

      Zeus is the Greek God of Thunder, and the King of the Greek gods.

      God is the center of Christianity, Judaism, and others. He is shown as all-knowing, and all-powerful.