Futurama: S04E15: The Farnsworth Parabox
This is Futurama at its finest. Without a doubt, The Farnsworth Parabox is this sadgeezer’s favourite Futurama episode, and even ranks in my desert island five of sci-fi episodes.
So sit right back and enjoy my review of the best Futurama episode of all time. But don’t get too replaxed there will be a test on this later…
The episode starts peacefully enough, a nice outside shot of the Planet Express building, quickly followed by an explosion upstairs in the Professor’s laboratory. Meanwhile downstairs, Fry is once again desperately trying to get Leela to go on a date with her. Fry is one dedicated man(sic), he ignores the shaking building and screams for help from above, and continues his quest to go out with Leela. And she is just as dedicated at shooting him down, because she also screams over the pleas for mercy that she has sweaty boot rash and can’t go out with him that night.
Throughout the explosions, the Professor pleads for help from various deities; Buddha, Zeus and God. He even calls in a favour form the devil. Shortly thereafter the explosions stop. Interpret that however you will.
Later, after cleaning up his lab, the Professor explains to everyone he created something so terrible that nobody can gaze upon it. Luckily it was created out of view in a non-descript box. A box just like used to store all those permanent records the teachers always threaten students with. Furthermore it must be shot into the sun soon so that it will be completely destroyed, and prevent it madness from spreading. Crazy thing is though, nobody including the Professor knows what in the box. He just knows that it must be destroyed.
Of course this stirs everyone’s curiosity. Hermes has to fire a warning shot when Fry, Bender and Zoidberg try to rush the box to see what’s inside. This forces the three stooges to scram. He hands Leela the pistol and says “Here Leela, take this and use it to shoot those guys”.She replies, “Right, if they try to look in the box”.His reply, like the thorough bureaucrat is, “Whatever”.
Like good cartoon characters, Bender and Fry still want to spy inside the box. So they crawl through the (superheated steam) heating ducts until they’re over the box. once Leela appears asleep on the job, Bender reaches down from the ceiling duct and grabs the box. I and most the audience already know that Leela was feigning sleep and set up a fake box, but the two knotheads don’t realize that and open up the box to find unlabeled booze and a ball of tangled Christmas lights. The two couldn’t be happier!
Leela, congratulates herself on a job well done. She knows that her trap will keep them busy for a while, or at least until the real box is destroyed. But she is curious herself and flips a coin to see if she’ll open the box. As luck would have it, the coin lands on heads and she looks inside.
The box is deeper than it looks, and she immerses herself all the way in, until she get sucked into the box. She falls out head first from the top of the box, but in a strangely coloured but similar room. The rest of the gang comes into the room. They too have difference appearance, Fry has black hair, Professor has head stitches, Bender is gold. They all criticize her about her “new” purple hair colour. Just like women to dye their hair on a whim. She explains that her hair has always been that colour, but they say that it wasn’t and point to another Leela with red hair for to show her the discrepancy. A beat later and they all realize that there are two Leela’s. Fry thinks that our Leela is a man impersonating her. But the Professor knows better. He realized that he created a parallel universe. And then says that parallel universes are always inhabited by evil twins. He’s almost right.
All this talk about parallel universes makes me curious though. There is already a parallel universe, one with Cowboy Bender. So now there’s another parallel universe? A parallel parallel universe?
The parallel Professor sends Parallel Leela into the box to explore the other universe, and find out how evil their counterparts are. Our Leela explains that they aren’t evil, just jerks. It’s too late though, because the other Leela jumps out of the box again and forces our crew onto the Parallel universe. Our crew makes some stupid comments, and gives Leela some time to fight back. But perfectly symmetrical violence never solves anything, and the two Leela’s subdue each other.
The next scene shows both crews around the briefing table, and the two Professors explains that they each created the others universe, simultaneously. Our Leela gets confused and says that our universe should be universe A, and the trippy colour universe, Universe B. The parallels don’t like that too much, and demand that they be called universe 1. Now that I’ve explained all that, I can now save some keystrokes 😉
It turns out that only differences between the two universes is that coin flips have opposite outcomes, oh and the colours are fraked up. Crew A wants to go home, but Professor 1 won’t let them until they determine that they aren’t evil. He tells his crew to keep an eye on their counterparts.
Later that night, the Frys and Leelas go out for dinner. We learn that in this universe the two are married. It all happened when Leela flipped a coin one night to decide if she should go out on a date with Fry, It worked out well for the ones, and they fell madly in love. We already know what happened to the A’s.The two Zoidberg’s go out together too to their favourite night spot, the dumpster. Doctor’s must not get paid much in the 31st century, or know much about food safty… While sifting through the dumpster the two get annoyed with their status and decide to steal the box, to gain everyone’s respect.
After consulting the scriptures, the Professors announce the next morning that none of them are evil (ha!) and that they can go home. But it becomes a large problem, when Hermes 1 enters the room, and ask why they haven’t destroyed the box yet. That’s when the crews realize that Hermes A is probably getting ready to destroy the box in the other universe (and universe 1 with it). Actually if Universe 1 is destroyed so will Universe A since A is located in 1.
Confused yet? I’m not!
The problem get much worse when the crews discover that the box is missing from where Professor 1 hid it (in a giant fish tank).
Back in Universe A, Hermes is nearing the sun in the Planet Express, readying to jettison the box with Universe 1 with the box that is Universe A. Since he’s close to the sun, it’s pretty bright and he lowers the sun visor, which burns up immediately. I love the subtle jokes in this show.
With time running out, the Professors try to create another box with Universe A. Instead the lever jams and they create several hundred boxes. They check each box to see if its universe A. None succeed. Some of the universes they created are: ice universe, all women universe and squid universe. Things are looking pretty bad. Professor A laments, “Yeah it’s the apocalypse alright. I always new I’d have a hand in it”. Just then the Zoidbergs enter the room. The crews take suit, but the lobsters knock into the shelf containing all the new universes, and jump into a random box before that box is eaten by another box. Each of the characters grabs a cable and jumps into a box to try to find the idiots. They check out the following universes:
25: Eyeless universe1729: Rude Bobbledhead universe31: Blocky robot universeXXVII: Roman universe?: Pirate Universe?: Leprechaun Universe420: 1960’s stoned out universe
The Professors meet up with Zoidbergs in that last universe, and force them back to universe 1. once they are all back home, per se, everyone jumps into the A universe. Hermes is about to jettison the box into the sun when they all fall out into the airlock. They plead with him not to eject them. He thinks for a minute, because he’s him, and lets them all live.
At the end of the day, the two universe say goodbye to each other, and all depart to their respective universe. The professors each reach through the box to the other side, grab that box and pull. Now each universe contains a box containing itself.
Interestingly enough, that little stunt couldn’t work in a three dimensional universe. It would have required a fourth spatial dimension. And even then, the box would have emerged on the other side, inside out. So really the boxes shouldn’t contain the universe. The box is surrounded by the universe. The interior of the box is outside the universe! Or it should be at least…
An another side note, Universe 1 is gonna have to reach into other universe a lot to reclaim their boxes, since that universe created a few hundred boxes!
Finally the crew comes to realize how precious their box, is and they must go to great lengths to make sure it is well protected, for the fate of the universe is in their hands! When they shake the box, the universe shakes too! So they do what any person would do with a box, they through in a corner and used it as an extra seat when the couch was full!
I’d rate this episode a perfect 99,420
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Futurama review is © 2005 Ryan Bechtel.
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Futurama names, characters and everything else associated with the series are the property of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.