Futurama: S02E03: A Head In The Polls
This is another one of those filler episodes, entertaining enough but nothing special. Must be something about those third episodes of a production season (see I, Roommate). Although this does mark the first appearance of Nixon’s head, something that re-occurs several times later in the series. Beyond that, no new territory covered in the political satire or the sci-fi arena.
Fry and Bender are perched in their usual spot on the sofa, watching the boob tube. Leela walks in, flips the channel to the presidential debate and it’s slumber city for our slackers. She nags Fry (Bender is a non-voting felon) into having some interest in the proceedings. Fry is unimpressed by the candidates’ speeches and even less impressed with the fact that they’re clones. Appalled by Fry’s attitude that his vote doesn’t matter, Leela drags him off to register to vote.
They are exposed to a myriad of different parties at the registrar’s office. Other than the two main parties(the Tastycrats and the Figerlicans), they also encounter the Green Party (Kif is a member, get it?) and the Brain Slug Party before Fry settles on the Voter Apathy Party. These scenes are probably the most entertaining of the show. Lots of visual humor and quick takes.
Back at the office, Fry and Bender revert to their usual behavior until a news report about a titanium mine collapse catches Benders’s attention. The collapse sends the price of titanium skyrocketing. Bender, being 40% titanium, recognizes an opportunity and immediately pawns his body for a wad of cash.
Now just a head, Bender throws his money about randomly. He takes Fry and Leela out gaming, relaxes pool side and even buys a cranium-sized convertible to tool around in. He gets quite full of himself considering he’s just a bucket with eyes at this point. He demands Fry and Leela take him to the head museum where he’ll be in better company. More fast-paced background visuals.
Settling in the former presidents’ wing, Bender is sure they’ll confirm his notion that, “Bodies are for hookers and fat people.” Nixon’s head tells him his body was nothing to scoff at; he shouldn’t have let it go. Bender has a nightmare that evening, taking it as a sign he shouldn’t have neglected his body.
The next morning, he and Fry go to the pawn shop, only to find they have already sold his body. They head back to Planet Express where Bender pines for his body. A press conference suddenly catches their attention, at which Nixon’s head announces his candidacy for Earth president. He steps from behind the podium to reveal . . . Bender’s body!
Bender, Fry and Leela travel to Washington, D.C. for the election eve debate among the three candidates, hoping for a chance to talk to Nixon. While Nixon’s on stage, they sneak back and hide in his dressing room. As his campaign manager tells him his robot body has given him an advantage, they pop out and demand Bender’s body back. Nixon refuses and has them removed.
A despondent Bender comes up with a plan to break into Nixon’s suite at the Watergate and steal back his body while Nixon sleeps. They clamber up the building and into Nixon’s window, unscrewing his head from Bender’s body. All is well until Fry discovers the “magic tentacles” on the bed, awakening Nixon’s head. Leela assures him that he has no chance at victory; she doesn’t believe that voters will be stupid enough to reelect him. He maintains that voters are just as stupid as they ever were. As he’s about to call security, Bender plays back a recording of Nixon’s recent damning statements. They agree to exchange the tape for the body.
On election day, the crew eagerly watches the returns. It seems Nixon’s head didn’t do so well with the human voters, but when the robot polls close, he wins by one vote. No one can explain Nixon’s popularity among the robots until he makes his acceptance speech atop a mountainous battle-droid body. To make matters worse, they all realize they forgot to vote, even Leela after all of her earlier proselytizing. Chastened, they watch as Nixon goes on a rampage, breaking into the White House and wreaking havoc in general.
I’m forced to rate this a hum-drum 4.5 out of 10.
Futurama reviews are © 2004 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of The Leela Zone