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The end of Futurama??? Bite my shiny metal ass!
Sep 3rd, 2013 by Dr Karma

Tomorrow marks the second ending of Futurama. I’m going to miss it. futurama_8

The show originally aired on Fox from 1999-2003. It was revived by Comedy Central in 2008. While the original Fox shows were good (with perhaps the exceptions of the film-length works), the Comedy Central version has been really good, producing some wonderful episodes with biting satire.

Futurama is the brainchild of Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons. When The Simpsons aired, Groening’s team had creative control (i.e. the show didn’t receive ‘notes’). Groening fought hard to maintain that policy with Futurama. Those of us who love the show are grateful–Fox would have taken out a lot of the darker elements that make the show what it is.

The title comes from an exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair that imagined what the world would look like in 1959. Futurama shows us the years right after the start of the fourth millennium–the year 3000. It’s the show’s inherent science fiction that both turns off some anti sci-fi people and attracts the rest of us. It also allows the writers to play with reality for the sake of humor and social commentary. When else but in the year 3000 could Richard Nixon’s head be president? Could an evil “mom” figure rule the world through the eyePhone? Could a robot steward remind his airline passengers, “In the event of a wormhole causing us to travel back in time, do not kill your parents. If you are traveling with a small child, help them to not kill you before you don’t kill your parents.”

google glass-1

Well, you could maybe have those things in a Simpsons Halloween episode, but the whole joy of Futurama is that you can have the horror and comedy of sci-fi without having to wait for October (or, when stupid sports are ruining my life, November).

I still prefer The Simpsons to Futurama. And while Futurama is critically acclaimed, it seems the fans continue to support the family comedy that changed television over its sci-fi little brother. However, I don’t claim that The Simpsons is superior in writing, satire, or animation. Or that family comedies are inherently better than workplace comedies. Rather, my loyalty to The Simpsons is partially caused by it coming into my life when I was so young. leonard-nimoy_288x288

Also, I have never really liked Fry. And it’s hard to really, really love a show when you don’t love its main character. Although Bart and Homer both have problematic personalities, deep down, I like them. However, Fry could go back into a freeze pod, and I wouldn’t miss him. I would miss lots of the other characters–Leela, Kif, Zap (whom I wish we could have heard voiced by Phil Hartman, as was intended [miss you, Phil]), Morbo, and the Robot Devil, a diabolically good singer, etc.

Now they’re all leaving. Luckily, Netflix is streaming them, so you can binge watch, as I’ve been doing this week. Find yourself in future when suicide booths are luckily not well constructed, when Christmas has finally become X-Mas, when those who have difficulty with lessons in love can have a very sexy learning disability (sexlexia), when we finally discover why cats are so adorable,* when Al Gore can explain the true role of the V.P.:
Fry: “Who are you people?”
Al Gore: “I’m Al Gore. And these are my vice presidential action rangers, a group of top-nerds whose sole duty is to prevent disruptions in the space-time continuum.”
Fry: “I thought your sole duty was to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate.”
Al Gore: “That, and protect the space-time continuum. Read the Constitution!”

Futurama will remain one of the few shows to come back after a cancellation (the other two notable shows are Family Guy and Arrested Development). It’s fitting, really, that this show (in which the main character didn’t quite succeed in his world and gets another chance in the future) came back from the dead to succeed again. As we say goodbye tomorrow, we’ll cross our fingers that the space-time continuum will allow another rebirth. Until then, let’s eat that pizza the I.C. Wiener ordered.

I would so watch the evening news is Morbo was the anchor!

I would so watch the evening news if Morbo were the anchor!

* The cats are adorable because they have an ulterior motive. Josh Weinstein, who wrote this episode, is also adorable, but it’s hard to believe he has an ulterior motive (which is probably exactly what he wants me to think). FuturamaHeadInAJar.jpeg

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Visiting “The Simpsons”
Jan 12th, 2011 by Dr Karma

As many of you know, I don’t have a twitter page, but Denise, social goddess that she is, made one for our book, The Simpsons in the Classroom–you can follow us under Simpsonology. It is through this apparently fabulous entity that we got in contact with some of the heavy hitters at THE SIMPSONS: David Silverman, animator & director; Josh Weinstein, producer & show runner & writer; and Chris Ledesma, music editor. The latter invited us to see a recording of the music for the show if we were ever in LA. This year’s MLA happened to be in LA, so down we went last weekend.

Walking on to the Fox lot, we were nervous. As Denise had explained to our friend Kathy, our excitement was extraordinary because the circumstances were. How many people have loved one thing and been obsessed with one thing, since 1987? How many people then teach it and write about it? How do you expect people to react when they get to meet their obsession after over twenty years? (I think we held ourselves together very well, all things considered.)

Getting our passes from the guard seemed surreal; I think we were both expecting to be turned away, like it was all some sort of mistake, but the passes were given and we set off down a fake street that they use on BONES and HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER toward the FUTURAMA trailer to meet up with Josh. Josh used to work on THE SIMPSONS, but now is on FUTURAMA, which Comedy Central will hopefully renew (it’s been really good lately–check it out!). The two nice people in reception were expecting us, and Josh was summoned.

We started with a tour of the Futurama building–his office, the revision room, etc. Josh offered us some Matt Groening doodles that were on post-its in the revision room. Apparently, Groening can’t sit down without doodling something and we now have our own proof of that.

Then Josh took us on a brief tour of relevant parts of the lot. The recording stages in one building are named after three famous Hollywood women–Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, and Marge Simpson. We couldn’t access Marge’s studio because they were doing some dubbing for BONES. “You mean Angel from BUFFY might be in there?” quipped Denise.

The old SIMPSONS‘s building itself looked like a motel–it was small and two stories and all of the rooms were accessible by the outside. When you look straight on to it, you see a fountain with koi (and netting to unsuccessfully keep feral cats out) and bathrooms. Groening’s office is behind a nondescript door to the right of the bathroom doors.

Along the way, we met Ian Maxtone-Graham (who wrote, among other things, “24 Minutes” and who is very tall), Rob LaZebnik (“Homer vs. Dignity”), and Michael Nobori (“To Surveil with Love”). Due to Denise’s description of my love for Weird Al Yankovic, Mr. Nobori has probably banned me from the lot from now on.

Josh then took us for coffee at Moe’s Bar on the lot. We talked about working with his old writing partner, his brief stint on SIT DOWN, SHUT UP, Groening, and the behind the scenes stories of some episodes.

By this time, it was 11; we’d been there for an hour. Josh had to hand us over to Chris, which is where I’ll continue with the next post.

(Relevant pictures are being uploaded to Facebook; I can’t get them to post here . . .)

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