Futurama: S02E11: How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back
This episode has no shortage of inspired animation moments either. Perspective seems to be the animators’ speciality. It amazes me how much good animation I miss, simply because it’s so seamless and edited like a live-action show. This show gives us an amusing glimpse in to the bureaucratic dynamo that is Hermes Conrad. I particularly enjoyed the musical number, in fact I’m singing it as I type (be glad no audio accompanies this review). I thought the show was pretty good, but most of the next few are too. Take the time to watch this one, it’s worth it.
Hermes is in his office reveling in all of his bureaucratic glory. He sorts and collates an enormous stack of paperwork then sends it through the shredder into a paper mill. It then becomes raw paper again until it’s processed into new forms that shoot straight into his inbox. Ah, the cycle of bureaucracy. He’s all set to leave when a memo shoots out of the mail tube notifying him of an impending missive from the Central Bureaucracy. Sure enough, another memo arrives notifying Hermes of his bureaucratic inspection the next day. He spends the rest of the day readying his office to his satisfaction and leaves very assured of a bureaucratic promotion from grade 36 to 35. Leela, meanwhile, has planned a poker party with some of her old cryogenics co-workers, Fry, Bender and Zoidberg (who begs for inclusion, as usual). Hermes declines, going home to relax for the big inspection.
Bender cheats (NO, not Bender!) by using “lucky shades,” read: X-ray glasses. All goes well for a while, until Bender remarks upon a physiological anomaly of another player. The jig is up! Leela’s former co-workers give chase. Bender ends up in Hermes’ office and they wreck up the place. When Hermes comes in the next morning, Bender is just leaving the scene. He has a nervous breakdown at the sight, spending a little time out on the ledge contemplating suicide. His wife comes in and takes him off to a spa planet for a little R&R while the bureaucrat that came to inspect him, one Morgan Proctor, takes over his post.
Morgan makes all of their lives a living hell with her endless rules and regulations. She’s about as anally retentive and obsessive-compulsive as a body can be, I guess you’d have to be to get to grade 19. During a routine locker inspection, the filth that passes for Fry’s possessions gets her all hot and bothered, “Dirty boy! Dirty, dirty, dirty!” She beds him several times and even promotes him, to the consternation of the rest of the staff. They continue with their “fraternization” at will, until Bender catches them in the act. Bender is shooting off his mouth in her office the next day, prompting her to remove his personality disk. She sends it to the central bureaucracy to be filed, pretty much losing it forever. Fry tells the rest of the staff the story and they set off to rescue Bender’s personality disk.
Meanwhile, on the spa planet, Hermes and LaBarbara are not having the greatest time. Turns out the planet is a forced labor camp instead of a spa. Hermes helps the supervisors/taskmasters streamline the operation, which rekindles his bureaucratic passion. Back on Earth, the staff is standing in a VERY long line outside of the Central Bureaucracy. The line is so long (How long is it?) that they move backwards instead of forward because someone gives birth in line. Leela comes up with the brilliant idea to pose as delivery persons (well, duh) in order to gain access. They get inside and question several bureaucrats of different grades and get lots of bureaucratic answers. In other words, long and needlessly complicated. They wind up using her wrist LoJack -a-mater to navigate through the stacks and tubes to the central filing room. Really liked the nod to Dungeons & Dragons universe with the appearance of the beholder.
Faced with a massive in-pile several stories tall, they think all is lost. Morgan comes by to gloat, but Hermes suddenly appears. It seems he organized the labor camp so well, it’s being run by a single worker. Zoidberg told him where to find the crew and he came to the rescue. Number 1.0, the head bureaucrat, flies up in his personal aircraft (I told you the place was big!) plane and demands an explanation. Hermes requests permission to sort the master in-pile in order to find Benders’s brain. Number 1.0 agrees but gives Hermes until close of business, four minutes hence, to get it done or he will lose his bureaucratic license. Hermes breaks into song explaining his bureaucratic motivations while he sorts and files. He ends with a flourish, restoring Bender’s personality. Unfortunately, he finishes with two seconds to spare, a bureaucratic no-no, and is demoted to grade 38.
The staff celebrates his return but Morgan reminds them she is still acting bureaucrat of Planet Express. She fires Fry and begins to make some other changes when Hermes brings her up short with information he came across while sorting. She didn’t stamp a form enough times, five being the charm, and is left shamed and awaiting her bureaucratic fate. As Number 1.0 says, “Bureaucrat Conrad, you are technically correct. The best kind of correct.” Hermes is re-instated as Planet Express’ bureaucrat and promoted to grade 37 in recognition of finding Morgan’s error. The Professor welcomes him back with severely reduced pay and Hermes rehires Fry, also at severely reduced pay, “In fact, severely reduced pay all around.” Whoo-hoo! Zoidberg tries to weasel into the spotlight but is squeezed out by the credits. Awww!
The paperwork is filed, stamped five times. I give this one a 8.2 out of 10.
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Futurama reviews are © 2006 Chrystal Litchford.
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Images courtesy of The Leela Zone