Futurama: S01E04: Love’s Labours Lost in Space
The episode begins with Leela sitting across from a handsome cartoon guy in a ritzy restaurant finishing their dinner. Leela tells him how much she has enjoyed the meal and that she appreciates his open-mindedness concerning her eye. When he uses his lizard tongue to eat his mint, she’s totally grossed out by the maneuver. Ewww! Apparently, Leela isn’t as open-minded as she’d like her dates to be.
The next morning, Leela, Fry and Amy are standing around in the kitchen of the Planet Express offices discussing her date. Fry wants to know what was wrong with him and Leela tells them about the tongue. Fry and Amy agree that she is being too picky. Amy offers to take Leela out that night to find a date.
Later that evening, Leela, Fry, Bender, Amy and Zoidberg show up at “The Hip Joint”. People are dancing aroundon floating platforms among flashing lights wearing Saturn-like rings around various parts of their bodies, clothing and hair. This is great animation. They manage to balance the light effects and movement with the stationary characters so that you don’t notice that you’re watching a cartoon. The scene cuts to Amy, Leela and Bender sitting in a booth checking out the man-meat at the bar. Bender uses his gaydar to veto this and every other man the rest of the night. Fry makes a connection at the bar with another clueless patron. Amy introduces Leela to a hyper-sled racer and an energy being but Leela doesn’t take the bait. Zoidberg is sitting dejectedly at the bar when his eyes meet the eye stalks of a lobsterina and magical moments follow. Everyone winds up leaving the club with someone (Amy decides to hook up with the energy cloud) while Leela sits alone at their booth. Not even the janitor will take a chanceon this lovelyone-eyed lady.
Back at Planet Express the next morning, conversationonce again centerson Leela’s love life. She goeson the offensive and changes the subject as the professor dodders in to tell them about their new mission. Vergon 6 is a small undeveloped world mined of its dark matter core, used for starship fuel. He has volunteered them for a tax-deductible charity mission to gather two of each animal species before the planet implodes in three days. Leela’s ready to get going, almost as happy for the distraction as she is concerned about the animals.
Fry and Bender continue to talk about Leela’s search for male companionship and suggest she find a nice guy with two eyes and pokeone out. Leela says she doesn’t care how many eyes a guy she just wantsone who’s “adventurous, self-confident and maybe a snappy dresser”. A large battleship called the Nimbus sweeps across the screen. On board, Captain Zapp Brannigan is talking to First Officer Kif about the snappy new uniforms, basically velour mini-dresses. This character is a scream; I love it when he shows up. Anyway, Kif alerts Zapp to the presence of an unidentified ship in the vicinity. Of course, it’s the Planet Express ship. Zapp decides to destroy the ship, until he becomes more interested in the feel of his velour-covered bicep.
Zapp expects a fight with the other ship because it’s breaking a security cordon around Vergon 6. Backon the Planet Express ship, Leela recognizes the Nimbus and tells Fry and Bender about the heroic tales of its captain. It’s obvious she’s impressed by the legend, although after seeing him in action we know he’s a boob. Fry and Bender notice that Leela seems to have a crushon Zapp. She denies it but figures they should ask for his help with their mission.
On the Nimbus, Kif is still waiting for Zapp to make a move. As the Planet Express ship approaches, Zapp launches into a long-winded speech about military tactics. Before he finishes, the Planet Express ship has docked and the crew is already aboard. The ever heroic captain decides the escape pod is his best bet and heads for the door. The bridge door opens and the Planet Express crew comesonto the bridge. Zapp lets out his best girlie scream and hides while Leela introduces herself to Kif and starts to explain their mission. Brannigan rushes over to identify himself and flirt with Leela.
Obviously impressed, Leela tells him how pleased she is to meet him. Flattery and flirtation continue until Fry asks about his past victories and Zapp goes offon a tangent about his battle prowess. They find themselves in the mess hall as Leela tries to discuss her mission again. When Zapp hears her plan, he forbids her from setting footon the planet because of Brannigan’s Law, the Democratic Order of Planet’s rule against interfering with undeveloped worlds. Leela says she’s going anyway and lands in the brig with Bender and Fry.
Besides revealing certain body parts best left to the imagination, Zapp also reveals his plan to seduce his “female adversary” to Kif and has him bring her to his chamber. Leela isn’t as impressed with Brannigan now, but relishes the chance to reason with him until she sees the sexy outfit she’s supposed to wear. She goes in to face him but stops short when she sees his chamber. The candle lit room has velour draped walls and a pink heart-shaped hover bed. Zapp lounges across the bed in a robe so short that you’re glad this is animation and not anatomy class. He tries in vain to seduce Leela while she talks about her mission. Eventually she tires of Zapp’s smarmy patter and asks to go back to her cell. Zapp breaks down, declaring himself pathetic and lonely.
Leela understands and grudgingly tries to comfort him. Fry and Bender have turned their cell into a sauna with their earlier escape attempt through a steam pipe and are lounging in comfort. They wonder why Leela is taking so long, but hope she’s making progress. Well, she made something! Leela wakes up in bed with Zapp, instantly regretting her bout of pity sex, and tries to sneak out. Zapp wakes up full of morning-after macho swagger. She tries to explain that pity overwhelmed her good sense but he’s too clueless to be insulted. Leela tells him she’s going to rescue the animals anyway. He tells her she’ll come crawling back for more of him before she gets halfway to the planet. Disgusted by his arrogance, she storms out. Brannigan has Kif release the prisoners and brags of his conquest. Bender and Fry are curious about their sudden release; Leela sidesteps and insists nothing happened.
Time is running out for their mission, so they begin to gather the animalson their checklist immediately. After a few hits and misses, Leela runs across a small black animal with an eye stalkon his head. He’s noton the list, but something about him appeals to her. She keeps Bender from cooking the little guy she’s named Nibbler and takes him back to the ship. When the hold closes, Nibbler quickly swallows a lizard several times his size in one gulp.
After finding the last animal, the crew goes to the hold only to find Nibbler alone. They solve the mystery quickly as he gobbles the last animal right in front of them. Bender and Fry are pissed that their mission is a bust.
Leela protects Nibbler until the planet starts shaking and they decide to get the hell out while the getting’s good. When they get to the bridge, they discover they have no fuel. Fry and Bender want Leela to call Zapp for help, but she refuses. They are disgusted to learn she slept with him. She finally agrees to call the Nimbus. Zapp, pompous ass as usual, refuses to help unless they abandon Nibbler. Leela tells him off and decides death is preferable. Suddenly the ship shifts and they see that Nibbler has crapped out a dark matter pellet. Where in hell did that litter box come from anyway? Bender puts the turd in the engine and off they go just in time. They learn that a few animals survived and decide they’re heroes.
Leela and Zapp both end the episode by making entries in their journals. Leela feels that finding a furry friend that poops starship fuel is just a good as finding love. Realizing how that sounds, she tosses that page into the trash. Zapp laments not upholding Brannigan’s Law, but feels great about getting laid by a hot alien chick who happens to be the woman of his dreams. Hearing Zapp’s statements, Kif ends the episode with his exasperated sigh-my feelings exactly. This episode and the introduction of Zapp and Kif was highly successful in my opinion. I look forward to seeing them and the next adventure in the world of tomorrow.
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Futurama reviews are © 2006, 2007 Chrystal Litchford.
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