Futurama: S01E13: Fry and the Slurm Factory
I freely admit this is my favorite first season show. It’s full of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory references, but even if you’ve never seen or don’t like the movie, the concept works translated into a future alien culture reference. Too many gags from the movie occur in this episode to cover well, so I’d definitely call this a must see to take it all in.
We open with an exterior shot of the Planet Express building. Inside, Bender and Fry are watching All My Circuits when a commercial for Slurm, a highly addictive soft drink, interrupts the drama. A knock-off of a popular beer advert, “Slurms McKenzie”comes surfing onto a beach to party with his two babe sidekicks. Slurms looks more like a slug to me, but I’ll go with the writers on this one. He announces the chance to party with him at the Slurm factory on planet Wormulon if one lucky Slurm addict finds the golden bottle cap. Why there’s a bottle cap in a can, I can’t begin to say. Fry is already in the grips of a Slurm addiction of massive proportions and Bender loves the original party worm; they are hot after that cap.
The next morning Fry is working his way through mountains of Slurm attempting to win the contest. Bender walks in feeling poorly and off they go to Dr. Zoidberg for a diagnosis. It would help if they saw a doctor who could tell humans and robots apart. Of course, the professor has to take over and finds it to be the perfect time to test his new invention. The F-ray looks like a flashlight and emits a beam that can see though metal. The professor entrusts Fry and Bender to lock up the F-ray after finding and removing Amy’s stolen watch from Bender’s gears.
Did anyone notice Bender’s color change after his “fever” goes away? Naturally they go all about town using the beam to look into things until Fry needs a Slurm fix. They finally put two and two together and begin using the ray to search Slurm cans. Both show up at Planet Express with a hover dolly full of prizes, but no golden bottle cap. Fry swears off the cola in disgust, but can’t fight the urge and gets another can from the fridge. You guessed it; Fry chokes on the golden bottle cap, what a winner!
The entire crew arrives on Wormulon to be greeted by Slurms at the gates of the factory. Another worm named Glermo greets them too and whisks them off on a VIP factory tour. They walk into a surreal landscape of a cascading Slurm river and cans growing on trees. There are even little orange dudes called grunka-lunkas who work in the factory. Everything is smooth sailing on their river boat tour while they learn how Slurm is made, that is until conversation centers around the secret addictive ingredient.
After the prerequisite warning song by the grunka-lunkas, (watch the episode!) the tour continues with more secret ingredient questions and more singing. Fry is desperate for a Slurm fix as he hangs over the rail of the boat to drink from the river. He jumps in, forgetting he can’t swim, and Leela and Bender end up jumping in after him. They all are sucked into a whirlpool, through a pipe and emptied into a cavern. They quickly discover that the Slurm river is fake and so is the factory. The three swimmers explore and find a conveyor of fresh Slurm and the door to the production room. Fry grabs a can of warm (warm?) Slurm and they go in to see the secret . . . a giant worm spewing Slurm out of her ASS!
Fry just can’t let his Slurm go even knowing it’s origin. Leela knocks the can from his hand catching the attention of the Slurm queen. After a brief chase that leads them back to the production chamber, Glermo confronts them and the queen has them sent to the torture cave. A torture cave in a bottling plant? Is that how they do it? Bender is to be made into cans, and they submerge Leela in a vat of royal Slurm to be turned into a Slurm queen. Though Leela’s common Slurm will be foul, they decide to market it as “new” Slurm and make a killing when they bring back “classic” Slurm. Any Coke drinkers recognize that scenario? Fry is free to go if he can resist the lure of the super concentrated Slurm that the queen excretes and force-feeds him.
Fry tries to leave the Slurm but ends up dragging the trough with him as he releases Leela. She saves Bender, dumps the super Slurm and they try to find the exit. Slurms McKenzie and the babes show up with a proposition: He’ll show them to safety if they take him too; he’s tired after 40 years of nonstop partying. The queen bursts in and Slurms leads them through a cave-in area toward the exit. Slurms sends his babes away and sacrifices himself by partying hardy until the roof caves in on his head. once back on the ship, the professor calls the Bureau of Soft Drinks, Tobacco and Firearms to report the disgusting secret of Slurm. Fry overhears that Slurm will be outlawed and discredits the professor, saving Slurm. The crew grabs some Slurm and party their way out in memory of Slurms’ sacrifice.
Nice closer for the first season, even though it aired as a second season show. It illustrates the tone of the whole series as the creators explained the original concept.
I’d rate this episode a healthy 8.5 out of 10. What did you think?
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Futurama reviews are © 2006, 2007 Chrystal Litchford.
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Futurama names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.