Season 3 Episode 2

War Is the H-Word

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Nov 26, 2000 on Comedy Central
out of 10
User Rating
311 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Bender and Fry volunteer for military duty to enjoy the benefits of the soldiers' discount. When war breaks out later that same day, Leela too decides to join the all-male ranks, under the guise of Lee Lemon, and creates quite a stir for her leader, Zapp Brannigan.moreless

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  • Perfect

    In this episode, Fry and Bender join the army to get a special 5% discount off of gum. However, they are quickly called into a war on a distant planet. They survive, however Leela is disguised as a man (Lee Lemon) in order to help them. Zapp is attracted to Lee(la), and is very confused as he doesn't realize it's Leela. Later, Bender nearly dies to stop a bomb, and then the army plants one in him. This episode was so funny, the war, Zapp, Fry, evryone and everything was great. Overall, a new favorite of mine, check it out. 10/10 A+moreless
  • War!

    War is always an interesting plot, especially a clever war like the one in this episode (War is the H-Word). It was a very clever war, with awesome enemies, and some smart guns. The end was the best part "Bite my shiny daffodil ass!" LOL! That made me laugh for days. This is a great episode to watch, and it is one of my favorites. I encourage anyone who likes this show and war to watch this episode of Futurama.

    Immediately after Fry and Bender join the army for a discount on something at a gas station, Earth goes to war with another planet.moreless
  • hillarious

    Bender and Fry hatch a plan to join the military to gain 5% discount cards given to all military personnel, buy gum from a store and then quit. Playing the military for chumps.

    Their plan goes awry when war is declared and their resiginations will no longer be accepted. In an attempt to help stop her friends being killed Leela tries to join as well but the military are no longer accepting female recruits, not while Zapp Brannigan is in charge, so she is forced to disguise herself as a man to be accepted into their ranks.The best scene is when after the first battle against their foe goes poorly. President Nixons head places a bomb inside Bender designed to blow when he (Bender) utters a single word. Ass. When Bender discovers this he turns this predicament in his favour by making demands and threatening to blow himself up if they are not met.moreless
  • Earth goes to war.

    Fry and Bender go to a convenience store to buy some gum when they see a military man walk up and get a discount on the purchase he makes. They decide to join the military and get a discount card then quit. Right after they sign up, war is declared. They are immediately put on a ship with Zap Brannigan, of all people. Leela tries to go with them, but Zap tells her that women are no longer allowed in the military. She uses a disguise and gets on board anyway. Nixon's head tells the soldiers that they are headed for a planet and....moreless
  • ANother one of my personl favorite episodes!!!!

    Fry and Bender enlist in the Earth Army to take advantage of the 5% military discount to buy chewing gum. Within seconds of their enlistment, Earth declares war on Spheron I, a planet that commanding general Zapp Brannigan describes as devoid of any natural resources and possessing no strategic value.

    Concerned for her friends' safety, Leela attempts to enlist, but is unable due to the Army's men-only policy (similar to the situation of Mulan). Leela sneaks aboard the Nimbus disguised as a man under the name of Lee Lemon, and Brannigan finds himself attracted to this new soldier.

    The troops are deployed to Spheron I and discover that the enemy is a race of sentient spherical creatures. Fry is told to hold back an assault while his fellow soldiers recharge their weapons by turning a crank that plays Pop Goes the Weasel (similar to how a Jack-in-the-box is operated). When the enemy charges, Fry blows a hole in the ground with his weapon and hides in it while his squad is decimated. Bender opens his chest plate and throws himself on a bomb, absorbing the explosion. After the battle, Brannigan sentences Fry to become Kif's assistant while Bender, now a hero, is treated at a field hospital.

    As the soldiers regroup at camp, Richard Nixon's Head sends Bender, now an officer, and Henry Kissinger's Head to negotiate with the Spheron leaders. Leela overhears Nixon and Brannigan discussing the true plan: while Bender was recovering, Nixon had a bomb implanted inside Bender; the weapon will detonate with enough force to destroy the entire planet when Bender says "ass".

    Leela and Fry steal a helicopter and fly to the negotiating hall; in the process, Leela reveals her identity, to Fry's amazement and Brannigan's overwhelming relief. Fry stops Bender from accidentally activating the bomb; however, Bender realizes that he now has the power to force the Brain Balls to do anything he wants, including surrender. The spheroids reveal that Spheron I is actually their home world, and it is the humans who are the "evil invading aliens", but Bender simply demands that they "get the Hell off [his] planet!" Without argument, the spheres all bounce into the sky and disappear.

    Back at the Planet Express office, Professor Farnsworth and Zoidberg confess that they were unable to remove the bomb from Bender's body. Instead, they reset the bomb's trigger, taking it from the list of words that Bender almost never says. Despite Bender's pleas, the crew refuses to tell him the new trigger word but during the credits Bender correctly guesses "antiquing". After a last second boom and flash, Bender states that he's OK.moreless
David Herman

David Herman

Soldier #1 / Henry Kissinger's Head

Katey Sagal

Katey Sagal

Turanga Leela / Lee Lemon

Billy West

Billy West

Philip J. Fry / Professor Hubert Farnsworth / Dr. Zoidberg / Zapp Brannigan / Richard Nixon's Head / Clerk / Hick Soldier

Lauren Tom

Lauren Tom

Amy Wong

Tress MacNeille

Tress MacNeille


Phil LaMarr

Phil LaMarr

Hermes Conrad

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (10)

    • The title caption on the New New York Post newspaper at the end of the episode reads 'Balls Throughly Licked.'

    • Kif's donkey is in the hospital with Bender. You can see it for a few seconds before they pan to Zoidberg.

    • The jellyfish-like alien nurse assisting Dr. Zoidberg looks like the same species of sea alien seen arm-in-arm with Zoidberg on the deck of the Titanic in A Flight to Remember. She (or an alien who distinctly resembles her) is also seen performing a gangster rap at the Miss Universe pageant in .


    • In the Cafeteria scene, Bender can be scene with wheels attached to his side, but in the next scene they are gone.

    • Why doesn't Bender know his Bottom 10? If he's a robot, wouldn't he have that stored inside him somewhere?

    • Bender's top ten:
      10. Chump
      09. Chumpette
      08. Yours
      07. Up
      06. Pimp-mobile
      05. Bite
      04. My
      03. Shiny
      02. Daffodil
      01. Ass

    • One of the words Bender says the least is "antiquing," this being the word in which makes him explode at the end of the episode.

    • Several posters and signs seen within the episode include; 'EARTH ARMY Employee Of The Months (Piture of a coffin with a flag over it),' JOIN THE ARMY, WHAT ARE YOU, CHICKEN? BUK BUK BUK!,' Earth Men Are Real Men' and 'We don't know but we've been told, our beer on tap is mighty cold.'

    • When the military officer buys his porno magazines and other items in the 7/11, he has to pay $95, but he gives one bank note to the cashier and leaves without saying anything or getting change.

  • QUOTES (71)

    • Zapp: (in the shower) Lower. Lower. Lower. Too low!! Lower.
      Fry: (scrubbing Kif's back) I'm walking on sunshine! Whoa! I'm walking on sunshine whoa, oh, oh! I'm walking on sunshine whoa!

    • Bender: So, what's the word?
      Hermes: We think it's better if you don't know.
      Bender: Oh, come on. I'm not gonna say it. Please? Ooh, is it "please"?
      Fry: No.
      Bender: Hm, words I never say. Oh, I know! "Thanks"!
      Leela: Bender, stop trying to destroy the world.
      Bender: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Is it "sorry"? No. "Fun-derful"? Uh, "non-alcoholic"?
      Amy: Quit it!
      Fry: Bender!
      Hermes: Stop it, mon!
      Zoidberg: Enough already!
      Bender: "Compassion"? "Shrimptoast"? "Antiquing"?
      Big explosion sounds
      Bender: I'm OK

    • Leela: We couldn't disarm the bomb so we reset the word that triggers it.
      Amy: It's from the list of words you almost never say.
      Bender: That's using your ass.

    • Bender: Hey, chumps and chumpettes. Did you get the bomb out? Can I go back to saying the word I love to say?
      Zoidberg: I'm sorry but we couldn't remove it.
      Farnsworth: It's stuck in there with glue or something, I don't know.

    • Bender: Bender's got the upper hand now. The name of the game is "Make Bender Happy Or He Blows Up The Planet". I'd rather die and take everybody with me than sit here one more minute listening to these idiots talk about bouncing!
      Brain Ball: Please, stay calm. There's no need to bounce of the handle.
      Bender: That's it, I'm saying it! "A" is for-
      Brain Ball: Wait, stop! We give in to all of Earth's demands. The war is over. Our home planet is yours.
      Fry: Alright! Hey, wait a minute! This is your home planet? We're the evil, invading aliens?
      Brain Ball #2: Correct.
      Bender: Then I guess you learned a valuable lesson: Don't mess with Earth.
      Brain Ball: May you bounce in peace.
      Bender: Get the hell off my planet.

    • Kissinger: Young man, you have the bravery of a hero and breath as fresh as a summer ham.

    • Brain Ball: We cannot condone bouncing of the seventh variety.
      Bender: Enough of this crap! I'm catching the next pimpmobile outta here! But before I go I have one thing to say. Bite my shiny metal-
      Fry: Stop! You can't say the next word.
      Bender: Up yours, chump, I said it 906 times before lunch.

    • Kissinger: Please, gentlemen, we must put an end to the bloodshed. We have all seen too many body bags and ball sacks.

    • Bender: These balls are making me testy. If they don't stop bouncing and jiggling, I swear I'm gonna shove this treaty up their- Wait a second. Where do you shove things up a ball?
      Kissinger: This isn't a productive area of discussion.

    • Brain Ball: The Elders tell of a young ball much like you. He bounced three metres in the air. Then he bounced 1.8 metres in the air. Then he bounced four metres in the air. Do I make myself clear?
      Kissinger: Mr. Ambassador, our people tell the same story. Oy.

    • Zapp: So it's you I've been attracted to! Oh, God, I've never been so happy to be beaten up by a woman.
      Leela: Let's do it again sometime.

    • Zapp: Lee? When will I see you again? (gasps)... The two of you are good friends? But I thought we would be good friends. Well, let's see how friendly you get when you're sharing a prison cell!

    • Leela: Come on! We gotta save Bender.
      Fry: You wanna save him too, Lemon? You barely know him.
      Leela: Fry, don't you recognise me?
      Fry: Hermes?

    • Fry: OK, I gotta break down that gate, beat up those three guards, steal that chopper and rescue Bender.
      Leela breaks down the gate and beats up the guards
      Leela: Hi-yah!
      Fry: Hey, I did it! Wait, that's not me.

    • Bender: My chair's too hard. It's a real pain in the, uh, whattya call it? Lower back! Yeah, that whole region.

    • Brain Ball: We demand bouncing, followed by rolling, followed by rolling of the third type.
      Kissinger: Say what?

    • Zapp: And Bender's number one most frequently-uttered word, the word which, if uttered, will blow up this entire planet: Ass.
      Fry: We don't have long!

    • P.A. Announcer: Attention: All personnel evacuate the planet immediately. And not just because it's meat loaf night.

    • Nixon: Come on, Brannigan, stuff yourself into a uniform. We've gotta get off this planet before the bomb goes off.
      Leela: Bomb? What bomb?
      Zapp: The one we had the doctors implant in that gullible Bender robot.

    • Zapp: Private Lemon, no need to leave. My stall just became free.
      Leela: Maybe you should put on a towel, sir.
      Zapp: Right! Right! I'm about to try the new lotion you recommended. If I should accidentally put too much on my hands, perhaps I could rub it onto you.

    • Zapp: A little lower. Lower. Lower. A lot lower. Too low!... Lower!

    • Zapp: You'll be negotiating with the aliens' mysterious leaders, the Brain Balls. They've got a lot of brains and they've got a lot of kutzpa!
      Nixon: Accompanying you will be our top peace negotiator, Henry Kissenger.
      Kissinger: How are you?
      Bender: Is he any good?
      Nixon: Looking like that, he talked his way into Jill St. John's bed. Nuff said!

    • Nixon: Now, listen here, Bender. This war is in danger of going all quagmire on me, so I'm sending you on one last mission.
      Bender: Hot diggidy daffodil!
      Nixon: A mission of peace.
      Bender: Aw!

    • Kif: Use a brush, you dunderhead! And mix these mixed nuts. I see two almonds touching!

    • Zapp: Damnit, Kif, where's the little umbrella? That's what makes it a scotch-on-the-rocks!
      Kif: Actually, sir-
      Zapp: Make me a new one.

    • Zapp: Welcome, Lieutenant Bender. You're looking sharp.
      Bender: I got wheels! With clickety-clack-ers.

    • Zapp: Ah! Pre-war scotch!

    • Zapp: I hereby order that in Bender's honour he be melted down and made into a statue of himself.

    • Nurse: Are you ready to operate, doctor?
      iHawk: I'd love to, but first I have to perform surgery.
      Zoidberg: That's my joke! I'll kill you!

    • Nixon: Slow down there, Starsky, I'm up to something here. I want this robot fixed. Fixed like Kennedy fixed the 1960 election. Damn bean-eating war hero!

    • Zapp: Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it.

    • Zapp: Private Fry, you shall henceforth serve as Kif's assistant.
      Fry: That doesn't sound too bad.
      Kif: You speak when I tell you to, you filthy worm!

    • Zapp: I'm de-promoting you, soldier. Kif, what's the most humiliating job there is?
      Kif: Being your assistant.
      Zapp: Wrong! Being your assistant!

    • iHawk: Gee, Zoidberg, leave some for the enemy to kill.
      Nurse: Leave Dr. Zoidberg alone! He has twice the training you do.
      iHawk: Yeah, he's a doctor and a butcher!

    • Zoidberg: (performing surgery) Scalpel!... Blood bucket!... Priest! Next patient.

    • Nurse: Are you ready to operate, doctor?
      Zoidberg: I'd love to, but first I have to perform surgery. I kid! I kid!

    • P.A. Announcer: Incoming wounded. All operating personnel report to tent four, repeat, four- I mean five! Repeat, four.

    • Bender: If they put me on a stamp, tell them to use the young Bender.

    • Hick: Fry, you emu-bellied coward!

    • Dying Soldier: Give this to my son.
      Bender: You got it!
      Dying Soldier: Wait. I didn't tell you where he lives.
      Bender: Hey, I think your son might also like those boots.

    • Zapp: Well, well, well. If it isn't Lee Lemon: The flaming star of Brannigan's Rough Rangers. Say, uh, Lemon, do you like to read? I just got a great book on tape. It's about life in Ancient Greece and-
      Leela: Sir, the alarm. I think I'd better-
      Zapp: Shh. Don't talk. Just go.

    • Hick: So. Any you fellas got a special lady back home?
      Fry: Well, I sort of a have a thing for this girl I work with.
      Leela: Really? What type is she? You know, blonde, or Chinese, or Cyclops?
      Fry: Cyclops.
      Leela: Aww, she sounds sweet.
      Bender: But sweet girls aren't for you, eh? You hard-fighting, hard-farting, ugly, ugly son of a-
      Leela: Stop! Stop flattering me!

    • Bender: You're my kind of soldier, Lemon. A foul-mouthed, barrel-chested, beer-bellied pile of ugly muscle.

    • Fry: Mind if we sit with you?
      Leela: Uh, hey, why the hell would I? We're all guys here. Sweaty, hairy, gassy guys.
      Fry: Good point... I guess.

    • Nixon: So, anyway, we open up the panda crate and, wouldn't you know it, the damn thing's dead! Up-chucked it's bamboo. True story.
      Zapp: Uh-huh, uh-huh. That's whatever you were talking about for you.

    • Zapp: What's your name, private?
      Leela: Lee... La... man. La Man... Lemon! Lee Lemon, sir.
      Zapp: Lemon, you're a man's man. You're a man's man's man. More importantly, your hand, while firm and masculine, is soft as a velvet child. What lotion do you use?
      Leela: Pert and Popular, sir.
      Zapp: Roger that. Kif, get me ten cases of Pert and Popular.
      Kif: What shall I do with your Jergens, sir?
      Zapp: Squirt it on some homeless man with dry elbows.

    • Leela: Uh, sorry, sir. I was still in attack mode. You know how testosterone is.
      Zapp: As a bubbling Crock-Pot of male hormones, I sure do.

    • Kif: That new recruit is phenomenal, sir.
      Zapp: Yes. He edged out my old mark by two seconds... and 16 minutes... and 12 hours. I do plan to finish someday, Kif.

    • Fry: Whoa! Check out that guy. He makes Speedy Gonzales look like Regular Gonzales!

    • Zapp: What's the matter, private? Tent got your tongue? Ha ha, Tent got your... Kif, write that down and send it to "Humor In Uniform".

    • Fry: Uh, just so we'll know, who's the enemy?
      Zapp: A valid question. We know nothing about their language, their history or what they look like. But we can assume this: They stand for everything we don't stand for. Also, they told me you guys look like dorks.
      Bender: They look like dorks!

    • Zapp: It's a desolate, ugly little planet with absolutely no natural resources or strategic value. Questions?
      Soldier: Why is this Godforsaken planet worth dying for?
      Zapp: Don't ask me, you're the one who's going to be dying.

    • Zapp: Now to present the logistics of our mission, the Commander-in-Chief. Please welcome the original Gerber Baby, Earth President Richard M. Nixon.

    • Bender: Great, we're gonna die.
      Fry: And this ham gum is all bones.

    • Leela: I wanna enlist. My friends always die if I'm not there to save them.
      Zapp: Sorry, but the army's instituted a men-only policy.
      Leela: What?
      Zapp: It's shameful, I agree. In the olden days, I proudly fought alongside female troops, shoulder to, uh, shoulder. Alas, after a series of deadly blunders caused by distracting low-cut fatigues and lots of harmless pinching, the army decided women weren't fit for service. Not when I'm in charge.

    • Hermes: I don't want you to worry about your jobs while you're away. That's why I'm firing you now.

    • Farnsworth: Now be careful, Fry. And if you kill anyone, make sure to eat their heart, to gain their courage. Their rich, tasty courage.

    • Bender: Hello. We're here because we, uh, love our planet!
      Recruitment Officer: Sign here on the dotted line, patriots, and I'll give you your discount cards.
      Fry: Just out of curiosity, we could use the cards to buy gum, then immediately quit the army, right?
      Bender: You know, playing you all for chumps?
      Recruitment Officer: Correct.

    • Clerk: Alright, look. Our policy is: If for any reason you're not completely satisfied, I hate you.

    • Fry: Hm, Spider, Hubble, Nitrogum... ooh, Big Pink! It's the only gum with the breath-freshening power of ham.
      Bender: And it pinkens your teeth while you chew.

    • Brannigan: Look at this sissy kif, why others were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole, wallowing in a pool of his own cowardice.
      Fry: That wasn't cowardice!

    • Brannigan: That young man fills me with hope, and some other emotions that are wierd and deeply confusing.

    • Nixon: I didn't live 1000 years and travel a quadrillion miles to look at another man's gizmo!

    • Bender: This is the worst kind of discrimination: the kind against me.

    • Leela: You know, Zapp, someone ought to teach you a lesson.
      Zapp Brannigan: If it's a lesson in love, watch out; I suffer from a very sexy learning disability. And what do I call it, Kif?
      Kif: Ugh, 'sexlexia.'

    • Nixon: This is the moment we were training for all yesterday afternoon.

    • Soldier: This is the worst part the calm before the battle.

      Fry: Then the battle's not so bad?

      Soldier: Oh right. I forgot about the battle.

    • Dr. Zoidberg: I'm afraid he's dead.
      Soldier: No doctor, I'm still alive!
      Dr. Zoidberg: Excuse me? I'm the doctor here!

    • Fry: Bender, if you say the A-word, you'll blow this planet straight to the H-word!

    • Bender: What's the point of living if I can't say ass?

    • Zapp Brannigan: Men, you're lucky men. Soon, you'll all be fighting for your planet. Many of you will be dying for your planet. A few of you will be forced through a fine mesh screen for your planet. They will be the luckiest of all.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (22)

    • Dyslexia: Zapp's made up sexual learning disorder, "Sexlexia", is a play on the actual learning disorder Dyslexia.

    • Cat's Cradle:
      Outside the gas station, there is a poster that reads "Free Bag Of Ice-9 With Six Pack". This is a reference to the 1963 science fiction novel "Cat's Cradle", by Kurt Vonnegut. In the book, a super weapon, Ice-9, is created and is capable of freezing all the liquid in the entire world.

    • Ancient Greece
      Attempting to peak the interest of Lee Lemon (Leela), Zapp Brannigan wants to discuss Ancient Greece. Bisexuality was a normal and acceptable part of Ancient Greek society.

    • Rough Riders
      Zapp Brannigan refers to his men as "Brannigan's Rough Rangers," a reference to Roosevelt's Rough Riders, the nickname given to the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during the Spanish-American War.

    • Nixon: Slow down there, Starsky.

      Starsky was one of the two main characters on 1970's police drama Starsky and Hutch.

    • Katrina and the Waves

      Fry sings Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine" in the shower, a 1985 hit single.

    • Speedy Gonzales:
      Fry refers to Leela as Speedy Gonzales, a 50's-60's era Looney Tunes character who could run really fast.

    • The poster behind Leela in the cafeteria says "Round hips sink ships." This is based on a popular saying "Loose lips sink ships" and originated in WWII, warning soldiers to not reveal information during conversations, letters home or if they're captured.

    • Leela: We're here. I followed the bouncing balls.

      This is a reference to the bouncing ball at the bottom of the screen which highlights each word to the lyrics of a song during text-based karaoke sing-alongs.

    • Song Allusion 28 days and Apollo 440 -say what

      When the balls say we demand bouncing followed by rolling followed by bouncing of the third kind, then Henry Kissenger says say what? this is an allusion to the part of the song say what: 'You see I'm lazy
      I like to get funky
      I like to let it flow
      And swing like a monkey, Say What?

    • Plot: Woman dressing up as a man to join the army

      The idea of a woman dressing up as a man to join the army may be based on the Disney movie Mulan, which is loosely based on Hua Mulan, a Chinese woman who joined an all-male army by disguising herself as a man to take her father's place.

    • Nixon's head: ...fixed like Kennedy fixed the 1960 election.
      Nixon lost the 1960 Presidential election to Kennedy. And there were rumors that Kennedy, along with the Mafia had fixed parts of the election in Illinois.

    • Visual: Training with a light-saber and floating drone.
      The scene with Fry training with a light-saber and a floating drone is from Star Wars.

    • Bender: Tell them to use the young Bender.
      This is a quick and cheap reference to the 1992 Elvis Presley commemorative postage stamp where they voted to use the young Elvis or the older, fatter Elvis.

    • Starship Troopers
      Among the parodies are the humans being the alien invaders, defeating the strange creatures in war, the uniforms similar to the 1998 film, and they referred to the leader balls as "Brain Balls" just like the "Brain Bugs" in the movie.

    • Title: War is the H-Word
      The title is a reference to the saying "War is hell".

    • Nixon: So we opened up the panda crate and wouldn't you know it, the damn thing's dead.
      Referral to China's reopening of relations in 1972 with then President Nixon by donating two pandas to a U.S. zoo.

    • Zapp Brannigan's PDA Bender's Top 10
      The top 10 list of words Bender says is a reference to David Letterman's famous Top Ten list he presents on each episode of Late Show with David Letterman.

    • M*A*S*H
      The military hospital scene is a take on the sitcom M*A*S*H. The music is similar to the M*A*S*H theme, Todd Susman (one of the PA Announcers from M*A*S*H) voices the PA Announcer in this episode, and the robot surgeon is named iHawk, a reference to Alan Alda's character Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce. M*A*S*H was produced in the 70's and took place at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital that operated during the Korean War.

    • Pop Goes The Weasel
      When Fry charges his gun by turning the little crank, the "Pop Goes the Weasel" song plays.

    • Zapp Brannigan: Kif, write that down and send it to 'humor in uniform.'
      Humor In Uniform is a section in the magazine Readers Digest where they print short funny stories having to do with the military that are sent in by readers.

    • Vietnam
      Nixon sending Henry Kissinger to negotiate peace with the enemy.