Futurama: S02E04: Xmas Story

This episode was originally to be shown in the first season, but the executives at Fox didn’t feel it was appropriate for its time slot. I guess they gave up on it in the second season once they figured out what they were in for. A robotic Santa gone awry is a very sci-fi touch. Classic. Not a bad Christmas episode as they go. There was only a little sappiness, nothing unbearable.

The crew is spending Christmas Eve at the Catskills Lodge, enjoying the comedy of Conan O’Brien’s head and the wintry delights of the ski run. The Professor sleeps his way through a bronze-winning performance on skis, Leela teaches Fry the joys of the trees up/trees down feature of the ski run, and Hermes, Dr. Zoidberg and Fry all wind their way down the bobsled run. Amy spends the afternoon flirting with all of the injured skiers in the lodge. Our intrepid athletes end their day by joining her in the lodge in various stages of injury. With his friends gathered around the fire, Fry tells them he’s full of the Christmas spirit. They break it to him that Christmas has morphed into Xmas. He’s disillusioned by the changes in his favorite holiday, especially when they take him out to chop down a palm tree for Xmas.

They take the tree back to the office and begin to decorate it. Fry only misses his traditions, family and friends more for the festivities. Hermes delivers Xmas cards to the office but Leela has no family to send her a card. She looks back through her albums and gets even more depressed. Fry, unaware of her plight, asks for sympathy from her, sending her running out in tears. Amy points out the problem, making Fry feel guilty and do a little crying himself.

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Still feeling guilty, Fry decides to buy Leela a gift to lift her spirits. Bender goes off to take advantage of the homeless robots’ liquor kitchen. Fry leaves shortly after, but only after the rest of the office warns him about Santa Claus. It seems that in 2801, someone built a robot santa. Instead of being a boon to people everywhere, his standards were set too high, making him judge everyone as naughty. The problem is, instead of coal in your stocking, he sends a rocket up your bum or some similar torture. They warn Fry to be home before nightfall or he’ll be at Santa’s mercy.

The sight of a child-bot going hungry after he’s already finished off the liquor inspires (and amuses) Bender. He gathers a group of misfits and sets off to make mischief. Fry looks in every store and finally settles in the only store left open, a pet store. He spends his savings on a parrot, wisely bypassing 500 lizards. While he’s gone, Leela returns to the office, full of apologies and still a little bitterness. When she hears that Fry is still out, she runs out to find/save him (yet again).

Fry loses the bird and must chase it to the top of a clock tower. He crawls out onto the ledge, dropping the cage, scaring the bird away and almost falling to his death. Just as he’s about to become a grease spot, Leela reaches out and grabs him. As they walk back to the office, Leela tells Fry he didn’t have to get her a gift. He just wanted to make up for hurting her feelings, but she says they can be alone, together. All together now, Awww! A shadow falls over them to the sound of thunderous footsteps; it’s Santa!

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Santa bears down on them, all the while berating them for their naughtiness. A few blocks away, Bender and his cronies are caroling and manage to wheedle their way into a house and loot the place. Fry and Leela are running for their lives as Santa tries to laser them full of holes. Realizing they’re trapped when they run into a vestibule to hide, Fry and Leela hug each other goodbye. Fry notices mistletoe hanging overhead and leans in to kiss Leela. Suddenly, Santa shoots a missile at them, but luckily (for them, not the parrot), Leela’s parrot flies by and takes one for the team. Bender and company come around the corner inventorying their booty and distract Santa with their feloniousness long enough for them all to make a run for it.

The remaining staff at the office is exchanging gifts ala The Gift of the Magi when they all burst in. Santa lands on the roof and wastes no time in coming down the chimney. The Professor has them roll the armor plated chimney cover into place, to no avail. Santa catches the edge and bursts into the room with his evil reindeer and sleigh. He terrorizes the whole group, except Zoidberg, who gets a pogo stick. Santa and his reindeer are set to explode when Zoidberg uses his pogo to jump up and cut through a strand of lights with his claw. Santa and his pals are shocked enough (pad pun, sorry) by the live wire to hold still for Leela to kick him into the chimney and lock the cover. They are safe inside while Santa and his reindeer are blown sky-high.

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Bender serves the carcass of Leela’s gift to everyone, but they’re saved from the prospect of dinner by Nibbler’s never-ending ravenous appetite. Fry doesn’t think that dinner matters; he’s never felt more at home. Sniff, sniff. They sing a lovely carol to Santa’s vicious nature and close with a Merry Xmas everyone!

This one gets 7 out of 10 reindeer hooves up.
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Futurama reviews are © 2006 – 2019 Chrystal Litchford.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission

Futurama names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.

Images courtesy of The Leela Zone

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