Futurama: S01E06: A Fishful of Dollars
This episode marks the first appearance of Mom, a kick-ass character that recurs throughout the series. She tells it like it is, in some very colorful language. I can’t decide if I like her or Zap Brannigan more. She always makes me at least giggle, even when the episode isn’t as good as it could be. She alone is worth watching the episode for, but it’s also one of those first season “coming of age” episodes for Fry that pretty much disappear until much later in the series.
Fry is in bed, unable to sleep for the squeaking of springs coming from the next room. Having reached the end of his rope after hours of noise, he bangs on the wall and tells whoever it is to cut it out. The scene cuts to a pair of poker playing robots with bodies make out of giant springs that need oil. Let me tell ya, I am not a fan of these cold opens. They’re amusing to watch, but are very hard to work into a review and have it make sense. I guess David X. Cohen felt the same way about working them into a script, because they stopped, for the most part, before the first season closed.
Fry has a dream about being in a very difficult college class, unprepared and in his undies. (I’m sure there are those of us who can relate). The dream ends with an advertisement for underwear. He talks to his co-workers about the phenomenon later that morning and learns dream ads are pretty commonplace in the 30th century. Inspired, they all run to the nearest department store. Fry tries to get the briefs of his dreams, but he can’t afford them. Bender skulks through the store shoplifting robot oil in massive quantities. A commercial for Mom’s robot oil comes on the store monitors. We are treated to our first view of a grandmotherly woman, Mom, oozing huggability. Bender is eventually caught, shedding oil cans like cat fur. Fry, Leela and Amy try to pay his fine, but can’t scrape up enough dough. Fry spies a branch of his old bank and tries to see if he still has an account. After using his ATM card and PIN, he’s told that his 93-cent balance has turned into billions.
They all celebrate Fry’s good fortune with various activities and end up in a pizza parlor. Fry learns that his favorite pizza topping, anchovies, are now extinct (coincidentally around the time Zoidberg’s people arrived on Earth). He realizes that despite his fortune, he can’t buy back all of the things he misses from the 20th century. Bender encourages him to try and he goes off on a spending spree, getting an apartment, furniture, TV and video recordings and eventually ending up at an auction of 20th century goods. To Fry’s glee, they have the last know can of anchovies in existence up for auction. He’s about to outbid several people when Mom, the lovable industrialist, ups the ante. They get into a bidding war, but Fry perseveres with a winning bid of $50 million. Back in her office, Mom drops her friendly fat-suited persona and turns into a chain-smoking wrinkled old bitch in a catsuit and stiletto heels. She believes Fry knows the secret of the anchovy’s oil. one drop can lubricate a robot for life, and with its DNA, Fry could cut into the cornerstone of her business. She shows her three sons the video footage of Fry at his bank, telling his friends his PIN is the same as the price of a cheese pizza and a large soda back at his old 20th century job. She wants her sons to come up with a way to get his PIN so they can bankrupt him and buy those anchovies. What I don’t get is why they didn’t just steal the anchovies or take them along with his money and get the whole thing over with. I guess it would’ve been a short boring episode. Meanwhile, Fry has withdrawn from the world in favor of picking up his life where he left off. When Bender and Leela try to coax him back into the outside world, he throws them out.
Later that evening, the three stooges (no pun intended!, well . . . maybe a little) show up a Fry’s door and tranquilize him. When he awakens, they make him believe he’s still in the 20th century and his whole trip to the future was just a dream he had while goofing off at work. They enlist the help of Pamela Anderson’s head for authenticity, using one of the boys as her body. She orders the pizza and soda and they finally get the magic number. They dump a still half-drugged Fry out on the street and speed away with his fortune. He has a dream about Bender and Leela and realizes that friendship means more than the things he left behind. He goes to the office to tell them what happened and Mom shows up to offer to take the anchovies off his hands since he lost his fortune. Fry refuses and she relents when she realizes he only wants to eat them. He gets a pizza, puts the fish on it and has everyone give it a try. Everyone hates it except Zoidberg, who gobbles up the whole thing. The episode ends with Zoidberg advancing on the camera in an anchovy frenzy.
I give this one a 6.8 out 10.
Any lower and Mom might come after me!
What did you think?
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Futurama reviews are © 2006 – 2019 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of The Leela Zone