Futurama: S03E06: Bendless Love
This episode delves more into Bender’s sensitive side, a side we didn’t think existed except in relation to food and folk music. It also revisits some old characters like the Robot Mafia and Flexo and some old scenery, the Hip Joint. Poor Flexo seems to suffer from mistaken identity inspired mishaps every time he and Bender cross paths. I’d say this episode had a little bit of everything necessary to make a damn good Futurama episode.
Leela and the crew are in the middle of an exciting lift off when something goes wrong, causing them to immediately crash. A thorough investigation by Leela finds a faulty L-unit is the culprit. It seems someone very strong has straightened it out, ably displayed by Bender. The office staff is aghast the possibility of sabotage, but soon notices that other items around the office have been bent out of shape such as Amy’s javelin, Zoidberg’s slinky and Hermes’ straight edge.
Even the Professor is bent forward at a 90-degree angle. Bender “corrects” the Professor’s posture by bending him to face skyward. This causes the rest of the staff to suspect Bender. He’s offended, but a viewing of the security camera footage shows him prowling the office in a “sleep-bending” frenzy. Bender concedes that a bend-free lifestyle could be causing some problems, since he was programmed to bend from the day he was Tijuana-manufactured four years ago. The Professor banishes Bender from the office until he satisfies his bend-lust.
Bender heads right down to the local bending factory only to find the robot workers’ union is picketing, with the full support of the robot mafia. A worker tells Bender that the management is hiring scabs at an inflated wage, so Bender crosses the line to “have it out with the management’, read: become a scab.
The scab foreman is Flexo, Bender’s bearded look-alike. Flexo is still his old good-natured self and holds no grudges against Bender despite the mistaken identity inspired imprisonment he suffered at their last meeting. Bender also meets his co-worker Anglelyne. It’s love/lust at first sight for Bender and he lays on the charm and does some heavy flirting.
It turns out she’s a blowsy, fun-lovin’ gal who can more than keep up with Bender. A little friendly bending competition between them culminates in a Ghost-inspired bending scene that ends with literal sparks flying. Cue the cliche’ date montage of carnival gaming, boating and tandem bike-riding.
Back at the office, the staff is still trying to piece things back together, except the Professor. He theorizes that either his new posture has led to a new perspective on life or that blood pooling in the back of his skull is producing a mild delirium. Unfortunately, everyone else has to sit strapped in at the conference table now bolted to the wall to accommodate the Prof’s posture. He’s bragging about dating a Brazilian starlet (“Everyone says I’m robbing the cradle, but I say she’s robbing the grave”) when Bender visits to fill them in on his new love and to invite them to Elzar’s restaurant for a celebratory dinner on him.
At dinner, he sings Anglelyne’s praises until he spots her sitting at a table with Flexo, looking cozy. He confronts them and is shocked and dismayed to find out that they are divorced and trying to remain friends. He tells her he understands, but back at the office with Fry, Amy and Leela he’s still obviously upset by the prospect of Flexo and Anglelyne being close. Amy and Leela advise Bender to tell her how he feels, but Fry’s suggestion to just act like a guy prevails. Bender hatches a plan to impersonate Flexo and try to get Anglelyne to cheat.
Donning a magnetic beard, he calls Anglelyne while pretending to be Flexo and invites her to a club. While they’re out, he treats her like a queen, flashing a wad of cash several times during the night. That gets the attention of the robot mafia, who decide that they should arrange an “accident” to teach the fithly scab a lesson about flashing his scab cash.
Anglelyne notes the changes in “Flexo” but still keeps him at arms length because of her feelings for Bender. They close the place down and all Bender’s effort pays off as Anglelyne finally gives in and kisses him. When the beard stays with her afterward, she calls Bender on his deception. He says she still loves Flexo and she argues that maybe she loves him so much it doesn’t matter who he pretends to be. Bender decides the easiest solution is for Flexo to die. He speeds off to the factory, where Flexo is working late, to put word to action.
At the factory, Bender and Flexo trade blows while the mobsters prepare to drop an un-bendable girder on Flexo. Anglelyne comes in to break up the fight just as the girder crushes Flexo. She tells them both that Bender made her realize how much she still loves her ex-husband. Bender loves Anglelyne so much, he doesn’t want to see her hurt, so he prepares to unbend the girder and free her lover. He uses some bend-gay (tee hee) and some herculean strength and manages to get the job done. He leaves the lovers to it and heads back to the office.
Bender brings the staff and crew up to speed on recent events and declares his bending days are over for the foreseeable future. The Professor tries to cheer Bender up, but the whole office roundly criticizes his cheerfulness, fed up. They beg Bender to do something and he bends the Professor all the way backward. They try to tell him he got it wrong, but Bender prefers the Professor as miserable as he is. That seems to be close enough for the rest of the gang as well.
This one gets a romantic 8 out of 10.
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 courtesy of The Leela Zone