A Taste of Freedom
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|Season 4 episode|
Broadcast season 5 episode
|A Taste of Freedom|
|Written by||Eric Horsted|
|Directed by||James Purdum|
|Title caption||Or is it?|
|First air date||22 December, 2002|
|Title reference||The book of the same name by Peng Ming-min, about an objective observer's unwitting participation in political matters, and subsequent troubles|
|Opening cartoon||"The Queen was in the Parlor" (1932)|
"A Taste of Freedom" is the fifty-ninth episode of Futurama, the fifth of the fourth production season and the fourth of the fifth broadcast season. It aired on 22 December, 2002, on Fox. In celebration of Freedom Day, Dr. Zoidberg eats the Earth flag, for which he is sentenced to death. In retaliation, the Decapodians enslave the entire world.
Act I: "Freedom, freedom, freedom, oy! Freedom, freedom, freedom, oy!"
It is Freedom Day on Earth, an the Planet Express crew are celebrating with everything that is right and proper for this occasion - like doing whatever you want or taking a hot nude group bath in the traditional Freedom tub. Zoidberg, however, enjoys it more than everyone else, as on Earth freedom is given, but on his home world, people have to suffer for it. That's why he loves Earth. They all go to Washington DC to watch the great parade, including military vehicles from DOOP. When Earth President Richard Nixon's head holds the Freedom Day Speech and salutes the beloved symbol of Freedom, Old Freebie, Zoidberg eats the flag in order to express the concepts behind Freedom Day. Unfortunately, the assembled Earthicans do not agree with Zoidberg's actions and Nixon's head orders Zoidberg's execution.
Act II: "I was hating Zoidberg before it was cool!"
Zoidberg flees inside the Decapodian embassy and finds a safe haven there for the time being. The Ambassador promises Zoidberg the full support of his government. Nixon's head orders to storm the embassy, but the Planet Express crew intervene on Zoidberg's behalf claiming the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Earth's constitution. Nixon therefore takes the case to a place where the constitution doesn't mean squat - the Supreme Court. The crew find a lawyer to defend Zoidberg, Old Man Waterfall. The Supreme Court decides that flag eating is not protected by the constitution and orders Zoidberg to apologize, but he refuses and is thus sentenced to death. Earth forces, led by Zapp Brannigan, begin attacking the Decapodian Embassy, whereupon the ambassador orders the Decapodian Army to attack.
Act III: "Is it possible that all this slavery and oppression is schmutzing up our freedom lesson?"
After disabling the defenses by subterfuge, the Decapodians conquer Earth, enslaving every inhabitant and forcing them to build the Mobile Oppression Palace which provides cheap oppression and begins wrecking up Washington D.C. Fry, Leela, Bender, Zapp Brannigan and Kif are preparing a counterattack with an ancient heat-seeking missile. Old Man Waterfall tries to stand up to the invaders with his precious Earth flag, but is killed, which causes Zoidberg to change sides. However, the missile cannot acquire the target as all Decapodian technology is cold-blooded. Zoidberg saves the day by setting Old Man Waterfall's Earth flag on fire and hurling it into the Mobile Oppression Palace - the missile homes in on the target and destroys the oppressive device, freeing the Earth. On a celebration to honor Zoidberg, he is allowed to take a bite out of the flag to be hoisted with the approval of Nixon's head.
- Harold Zoid appears on a newspaper in this episode.
- The episode originally featured the Mobile Oppression Palace destroying buildings, but were considered in bad taste due to the 9/11 attacks and were replaced with alternate footage (one of which was the sexually suggestive visual pun of the Bill Clinton Monument getting its tip cut off).
- The episode is based off the famous flag burning controversy.
- The embassies in Embassy Row include these of the Neutral Planet, the Klingons (pink, because it was originally supposed to be a Barbie Embassy, but it was scrapped during production, so the only indication that it is the Klingon embassy is the logo), the Globetrotter Homeworld and of Decapod 10.
- Richard Nixon's Head is carried around by the Secretary of Transportation, instead of the Headless body of Agnew.
- The woman seen talking to the young John Zoidberg is not his birth parent, as the events of "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" show that they must be dead; not to mention the fact that she herself uses the phrase "if you want your parents to roll over in their graves". She may be his third, non-biological, parental figure - in "That's Lobstertainment!" he identifies himself as "Norm and Sam and Sadie's boy".
- Dr. Zoidberg's dream of being a comedian was previously mentioned in "That's Lobstertainment!".
- During the Curiosity Company logo, Bender can be heard saying, "Freedom!" one last time.
- Michelle is in the crowd and is thrown out of the way by Bender.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Frida Waterfall who later becomes the leader of the Feministas in Into the Wild Green Yonder.
- Click here to see cultural mentions made in this episode.
- While raising the flag (after taking a bite), Zoidberg says "I wonder what the Shroud of Turin tastes like"
- When Zoidberg takes the flag from Old Man Waterfall, Old Man Waterfall's fake hand is the wrong one, unless he has two fake hands.
- It is likely that every part of Old Man Waterfall's body is fake.
- When Bender's "freedom train" first pushes aside the crowd during the Freedom Day parade, one of the women who we see getting pushed aside is also seen standing on the far left of the crowd at the front. She looks like Michelle.
- During the courtroom scene there are many discrepancies with the spectators.
- In the first shot of the courtroom, identical people sit on either side with different colored hair/clothes. These people don't match the following shot from the front.
- Zoidberg's podium is first seen close to the crew, but later is moved forwards significantly.
- During the opening statements of Old Man Waterfall the spectators switch places.
- During the telepathy, the spectators are completely different than before.
- Leela's tank top strap is irregular and crooked when they are sitting on the building steps at night (approx 16:45)
- "The Series Has Landed" (1ACV02)
- Overweight man from the Moon seen.
- "Brannigan, Begin Again" (2ACV02)
- The Neutral Planet's embassy seen.
- "A Head in the Polls" (2ACV03)
- The Clinton Monument seen.
- Scoop Chang jumps the gun on the rest of the press.
- "Raging Bender" (2ACV08)
- Bender feeds the flag to the Foreigner.
- "War Is the H-Word" (2ACV17)
- Several D.O.O.P. soldiers who attack the Decapodian embassy with a long pole made their first appearance in this episode.
- The slogan "Don't Mess With Earth!" is trotted out for use by a jingoistic Earthican.
- "The Luck of the Fryrish" (3ACV04)
- Fry lambastes Communists, taking after his father.
- "Time Keeps on Slippin'" (3ACV14)
- The Globetrotter Homeworld now has an embassy on Earth.
- "A Pharaoh to Remember" (3ACV17)
- "Roswell that Ends Well" (3ACV19)
- Zoidberg claims in court that "two of my three hearts are having attacks"; if this is the case, he was relieved of one of his four hearts while the scientists at Roswell were studying him and said organ was left in the past when the crew returned to the year 3002.
Fry: They sure hate Dr. Zoidberg.
Bender: Pft. Posers! I was hating Zoidberg before it was cool.
Fry: Where are we ever going to find a lawyer to take his case?
Leela: I'll ask the head of the ACLU -- once he's done singing.
Head of the ACLU: [singing] Don't mess with Earth. [talking] Kill Zoidberg! Goodnight!
Zoidberg: Yes, I'm desecrating a flag, but to preserve the freedom it represents!
Old Man Waterfall: Do your worst, you sea devils. I'll make my stand with Old Freebie. You can crush me but you can't crush my spirit!
[The Mobile Oppression Palace crushes him.]
Old Man Waterfall: Argh, my spirit!
Leela: Zoidberg, you set us free! I feel like I could stand to hug you! I can't, but you know what I'm trying to say.
Zoidberg: Ambassador Mervin, you killed my lawyer.
Ambassador Mervin: You're welcome!
Zoidberg: He defended my freedom when no one else would. He was a good and honorable man.
Cut to the Washington DC Street
Old Man Waterfall: I request a Satanic funeral.
Fry: I'm having one of those things. You know, a headache with pictures?
Leela: An idea?
Alien Language Sightings
- Professor Farnsworth
- Debut: Frida Waterfall
- Debut: Hugh Man
- Zapp Brannigan
- Debut: Ambassador Mervin
- Michelle (cameo, unknown moment)
- Debut: Chief Justice Myrtle Fu
- Richard Nixon's head
- Debut: The Pain Monster
- Old Man Waterfall
- Randy Munchnik (cameo, unknown moment)
- Scoop Chang
- Debut: Snoop Dogg's head
- Unnamed fat guy (cameo, unknown moment)
- Debut: Museum of Ancient Weaponry