Futurama: S03E03: A Tale of Two Santas

Holiday tidings from the crew of Planet Express! That is, as long as you’re not a seven-foot tall Santa robot with murder in your diodes.

The crew is making their usual post apocalyptic preparations for Xmas, brand-new bulletproof shutters taking point. The Professor is pretty pleased with his security level, lamenting the fate of any fool caught on the streets that night. Which means it’s time to send Leela, Fry and Bender off on a delivery mission. The timing is bad enough, and this isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill extremely dangerous mission. No, they have to deliver a sack of letters to the not-so-jolly old elf-bot himself on the North Pole of Neptune, making certain death the likely outcome.

Fry isn’t particularly pleased with the overall state of Xmas in the future and even less pleased after reading the pitiful letters from the children of Earth begging Santa to ease up on the massive bodily injuries. When they reach the North Pole, they find Santa’s village inhabited by shrimpy, malnourished, alcoholic Neptunians that used to be toy makers til Santa’s programming went to hell.

Even Leela has to hop on Fry’s bandwagon at the sight of the peewee “elves.” The mini-Neptunians help the three of them sneak into Santa’s heavily defended fortress of doom by hiding them in the sack of letters. The three of them confront Santa with his crimes against humanity expecting the old “logical paradox” chestnut to blow Santa’s mind, literally. Thanks to an anti-paradox update to Santa’s programming (Damn you, Microsoft! – Just kidding Mr. Gates), they end up running for their lives. They get to the ship in one piece, but Santa has a death grip on the engines. The heat of the engines melt Santa neck deep in the ice, which quickly re-freezes when the engines are cut, trapping Santa indefinitely.

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They take this chance to start up toy production and make Xmas the way it should be. They promote bender to Santa since he’s the only one who can make the journey ‘round the Earth without rest, while Fry and Leela prod the Neptunians through song to double time the production schedule. Bender loads up his sleigh and takes off to discharge his duty. He and Kwanza-bot (a quick cameo by Coolio) discuss the state of holidays before he heads optimistically on to Earth. You know something’s up when Bender is optimistic, so it comes as no shock when he’s met with massive weaponry instead of open arms.

After several houses and several varieties of beatings and bangings, Bender dumps the toys in the sewer and goes to drown his sorrows at the nearest bar. Believing Bender is Santa, New New York’s favorite human/robot cop duo pick him up and take him to stand trial for Santa’s many crimes. Bender’s protests fall on deaf ears and he’s sentenced to death by electromagnet.

Fry and Leela head back to Neptune to bring the real Santa back to clear Bender’s name. They cut Santa out of the ice to haul him away; too bad the renewed toy factory production has caused global warming. Santa is free to subjugate and terrify once again. Another frantic chase follows with another narrow escape. Santa hitches a ride to Earth to get his vengeance and make this Xmas the worst ever.

Since the “Free Santa” campaign didn’t work, the crew breaks in on Bender’s execution, each one dressed as Santa (except Zoidberg dressed as Jesus-don’t ask) and all claiming responsibility for his crimes. Nobody falls for it and the execution begins. Santa breaks in, destroys the electromagnet, takes responsibility for his crimes and carries Bender off into the night. He has Bender help him spread death and destruction to make up for lost time.

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Our old recognizable Bender is back as he takes glee in enforcing Santa’s strict code of naughty vs. nice. Back at the office, the crew is huddled together in fear bitching about another crappy Xmas. But Fry puts a decidedly Futurama-esque (read: cynical) spin on the situation by pointing out that fear has brought them together. Maybe that’s what Xmas is all about. When they’ve taken care of the backlog, Santa dumps Bender off at the office with a warning: Play Santa again and I’ll kill you next year. Insert menacing ho-ho-ho here.

This one gets 6.5 out of 10

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Futurama reviews are © 2006 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 thanks to the Leela Zone and Robot Hell

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

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