Anthology of Interest I
|Navigation in production order
|Navigation in broadcast order
|Season 2 episode
|Anthology of Interest I
|Painstakingly drawn before a live audience
|Title caption reference
|The sitcom prelude / disclaimer "filmed before a live audience"
|First air date
|21 May, 2000
"Anthology of Interest I", alternatively titled "Tales of Interest", is the twenty-ninth episode of Futurama, the sixteenth of the second production season and the twentieth and last of the second broadcast season. It is the first segmented episode. It aired on 21 May, 2000, on Fox. It guest-stars Al Gore, Stephen Hawking, Nichelle Nichols and Gary Gygax as themselves. Farnsworth's What-If Machine tells three stories. First, what would happen if Bender becomes 500 feet tall, followed by what would happen if Leela was slightly more impulsive, and finally what would have happened if Fry never came to the future.
Act I: "Terror at 500 Feet"
Hundreds of Bending Units complete work on Bender, who blasts off and heads to Earth. Meanwhile, Fry roams New New York lonely and has no friends. Bender lands near Fry and the two become friends. While catching a throwing disc, Bender kills the heads of Hanson and thousands of their fans so the DOOP retaliate. They begin attacking Bender. They are so focused on stopping Bender that they shoot Fry with electricity when he tries to stop the fighting. This causes Bender to go on a rampage and destroy every building that he can find in New New York. Noticing the carnage, The Professor enlarges Zoidberg so that he can fight Bender on equal ground. However, Zoidberg also has issues and begins destroying New New York. This causes a turf war between the two giants. While Bender attempts to boil Zoidberg, Fry walks up wanting to make Shrinky-Dinks. While Bender is distracted, Zoidberg cuts Bender's feet off and he is impaled on the Empire State Building, slowly killing him. Fry admonishes everyone for their part in the tragedy, while Bender laments that he was unable to fulfill his dream of killing all humans before dying.
Act II: "Dial L for Leela"
Leela gets to ask a question. After being teased about being unimpulsive, she asks the what-if machine the following: What if she was more impulsive?
Leela buys some boots with "a crazy green stripe". The Professor makes Leela his sole heir because she's "so un-impulsive". She kills the Professor by kicking him into his pit of man eating anteaters to get the money. The Professor's death motivates Zoidberg to begin investigating. Hermes finds the video will which shows Leela killing the Professor, so she attacks him, chops him up, and puts his remains in the garbage disposal. Bender catches her disposing of the body, so he tries to extort her ("The X makes it sound cool!"). She kills Bender using a microwave and its radiation, and she turns Bender into a go-kart. Amy insults her by saying that the go-cart is sexier than her, which causes Leela to kill her and stuff the body inside a grandfather clock.
The remaining staff gather in the Accusing Parlor. Zoidberg attempts to solve the mystery. Cubert, Scruffy and Nibbler independently realize who the murderer is and meet their demise as they are about to expose Leela, all on the same sword. Zoidberg finally works it out, only because he gets a letter from Bender he wrote before he dies, but Fry leaves before Zoidberg can reveal the killer and Leela kills Zoidberg. Later, Fry works it out. ("Hey Leela, whatcha eating?" Leela: "Lobster.") Leela is able to keep him quiet by doing something really impulsive: she has sex with him, which he likes.
Act III: "The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime"
Fry gets to ask a question. Fry's request for a repeat of Bender's question is denied, so he asks: what if he never came to the future?
Fry makes his fateful delivery to I. C. Wiener at Applied Cryogenics. Instead of falling in the freezer, he hits his head. This rips the fabric of space-time, through which we see some of the Planet Express staff. The next day Stephen Hawking drops by Panucci's Pizza. Fry asks him about the hole in nothing, with "monsters" in it. After work, the Vice Presidential Action Rangers abduct Fry. The rangers inform him that they have to fix the time-space continuum or the universe will be destroyed. Fry tells his story and it is decided that when he hit his head he should have died, the attempt at murder fails to fix it and the rift in Space-Time reappears, they try to make him enter the tube but instead he breaks the glass. This causes the universe to collapse on itself and Fry and the Vice Presidential Action Rangers are floating around outside the universe, they start a game of Dungeons & Dragons.
The Professor throws away the What-If Machine because he didn't think the stories were realistic, but declares the fing-longer a success.
However, it is revealed that this entire episode is itself being watched on the What-If Machine by the Professor, who wanted to know what life would be like if he'd invented the fing-longer.
- Admiral Crunch has a reappearance in this episode.
- Gary Gygax's appearance alongside Al Gore is something of an inside joke since Gore's (now ex-)wife, Tipper Gore, hates Dungeons & Dragons and has been publicly critical of it.
- Al Gore received some criticism for his appearance because parts of the show "conflicted starkly with the anti-violence, anti-smoking and family-values themes of Gore's campaign". Gore's spokesperson responded by stating that most viewers would recognize that the show was meant to be entertaining and that it would be taken in the right spirit.
- When rebroadcast during the 2000 Presidential Election, the tagline at the start of the episode said, "Starring a guy who is kind-of, sort-of our next president, maybe!".
- Nichelle Nichols and Al Gore both make later appearances in "Where No Fan Has Gone Before" and "Crimes of the Hot" respectively.
- Giant Bender's shell seems to be made of bent girders.
- As mentioned on the DVD commentary, the Anthology of Interest episodes came from a desire to tell stories that couldn't be told in normal continuity, similar to Marvel's What If? comics.
- When Zoidberg is big, he attacks the Chase Manhattan Bank Building for denying his credit card application and the Apollo Theater for booing him offstage on open mike night. These are both references to "A Clone of My Own" when he is up on stage talking about the The Professor and the crowd doesn't like him he says it was the Apollo Theater all over again, and "Bender Gets Made" when he says that they denied his application.
- The first of two Anthologies, the Anthology of Interest episodes (and to a lesser extent the comics) are equivalent to Treehouse of Horror on The Simpsons.
- This episode is Scruffy's first speaking appearance.
- Despite his assertions in "Xmas Story" that Fry's 20th century sense of modesty is outdated, The Professor still seems to have accumulated tickets for public nudity. This, however, may be a result of the What-If-Machine's imagination or a sign that public nudity is still illegal/not tolerated, despite modesty being considered "outdated" in the 31st century.
- The Professor calls the final story in this episode absurd, citing "Stephen Hawking in a pizzeria" as especially bad. Interestingly, in an episode of The Simpsons (Don't Fear the Roofer), Stephen Hawking buys a Little Caesars pizzeria.
- Scruffy reappears, although his moustache is now white, not brown like it was when he appeared in "A Fishful of Dollars".
- There is also 1 part it is brown for about 2 seconds, at the start of the scene for the third story.
- Al Gore is voiced by himself, making it his first appearance in any TV series of any kind (two years later, he would host a Christmas episode of Saturday Night Live for the show's 28th season). It is also one of the very rare times that a politician appears as himself on a show.
- When giant Bender rips Shea Stadium from its foundations, a sign indicates that the Mets were the World Series Champions in 1969 and 1986, which means that they won't win between now and the year 3000! This is further stated in the episode "A Leela of Her Own".
- This episode is one of four featured in the Monster Robot Maniac Fun Collection, reflecting its popularity with both fans and the creators of Futurama.
- This episode was named #13 on IGN's list of Top 25 Futurama Episodes.
- When Bender boils Zoidberg inside Shea Stadium, the stadium is a complete bowl. In real life, Shea was open in the outfield (and torn down in 2009). However, considering Old New York was destroyed, this was likely meant to be a completely new Shea Stadium from the one the Mets used from 1964-2008.
Terror at 500 Feet
Fry: Will you be my friend?
[Bender holds out his hand.]
Bender: Put it there, pal! [Fry shakes his finger.] I meant your wallet.
Zoidberg: Friends, help! A guinea pig tricked me!
Zoidberg: So, now Zoidberg is big, huh? That's more like it! Who's intimidating who now, big city? [He walks towards a building.] Hello, Mr. Chase Manhattan Bank. Deny my credit card application, will you? [He growls and knocks the building in half. He turns around.] Ah, the famed Apollo Theater. "Boo" me off stage on open-mic night, huh? I'll show you!
Bender: Bite my colossal metal ass!
Dial 'L' for Leela
Farnsworth: Ohhh! You've killed me! You've killed me!
Leela: Oh, god. What have I done?
Farnsworth: I just told you. You've killed me!
Leela: OK, just try to be nonchalant.
[Cut to: Planet Express: Lounge. Leela walks in whistling nonchalantly.]
Zoidberg: Alright, so you're nonchalant. Quit rubbing our noses in it.
Hermes: What are you hacking off? Is it my torso? It is! My precious torso!
Zoidberg: Hermes, quiet! I'm deducing things.
Zoidberg: My next clue came at 4:15 when the clock stopped. And another came 2 hours later, at 4:15, when I discovered the murdered body of Amy's dead, deceased corpse.
The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime
Farnsworth: That question was less stupid. Though you asked it in a profoundly stupid way
Gary Gygax: Greetings! It's a [He rolls his dice.] pleasure to meet you!
Al Gore: If we don't go back there and make the event happen, the entire universe will be destroyed. And as an environmentalist, I'm against that.
Al Gore: You fool! You foolish fool!
Stephen Hawking: Great, the entire universe was destroyed!
Fry: Destroyed? Then where are we now?
Al Gore: I don't know but I can tell you where we're not. The universe.
Nichelle Nichols: Eternity with nerds. It's the Pasadena Star Trek convention all over again.
Gary Gygax: Anyone want to play Dungeons & Dragons for the next quadrillion years?
- The Applied Cryogenics scene is missing a certain shadow that was seen in "Space Pilot 3000", but that may be explained by the fact that the being that causes the shadow caused him to fall into the tube.
- The DOOP attempts to destroy Bender with something that looks like electricity. Electricity is a known drug for robots as seen in "Hell Is Other Robots".
- Fry's afro makes, although with a different look, its first appearance since "Hell Is Other Robots". It will appear again in "Rebirth".
- Zoidberg avenges himself on a bank that denied him a credit card application. He previously mentioned having credit cards (since revoked) in "Bender Gets Made".
- The anteater spitting the glasses back onto the Professor's skull is a reference to the fact we never see his eyes.
- At first it seems as though Bender is going to ask what it would be like if he were human, but instead he changes it. This foreshadows future events because in the sequel, "Anthology of Interest II", Bender does ask the What-If machine what it would be like if he were human.
- This is the second time that Leela is seen having sex with somebody out of impulse (the first time being "Love's Labours Lost in Space" with Zapp Brannigan) and the first time we see her in bed with Fry. Although, since it was during a What-If scenario, it cannot be regarded as canon.
- Bender says he'd like to "axe" the What-If Machine a question ("Xmas Story").
- The universe being destroyed in the last story could very well reference The Why of Fry, where the brains wanted to destroy the universe.
- When Giant Bender first meets Fry, he says that he needs a big cereal. This is a catchphrase from Honeycomb cereal commercials, one of a few references made in the series.
- The Earth forces that try to stop Bender consist of tanks, foot soldiers and futuristic biplanes, this is a reference to the original King Kong movie.
- Giant Zoidberg destroying the city and fighting Bender is a reference to the Godzilla films Gojira and Kingu Kongu tai Gojira.
- Mr. Panucci says the only 'real' monsters are Dracula, Blacula and Son of Kong.
- When giant Bender flies to Earth the song "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath is briefly heard.
- Nichelle Nichols appears as Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Fry asks, "Was Planet Express built on an Indian graveyard?", a reference to the horror movie Poltergeist.
- "Good night, sweet prince" is a direct and well-known quote from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare; these words are spoken by Horatio as Hamlet dies.
- There are several references about Dungeons & Dragons, including rolling dice to decide what to do, and holding a +1 mace.
- Zoidberg wears the famous hat of the great detective Sherlock Holmes, and "The Accusing Parlor" looks a lot like his home in London from the books.
- The story of a giant robot coming to earth and making friends with a lonely kid is a parody of the story behind The Iron Giant which was made into an animated film in 1999.
- One of the members of the Vice Presidential Action Rangers is Deep Blue which was a computer made by IBM that beat world chess champion Gary Kasparov in 1997.
- The cover of the Monster Manual at the end of the third segment is exactly the same as the original Monster Manual from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st editon from the late 1970s. This particular book was, of course, written by Gygax.
- The events of "Roswell that Ends Well" explain the timeline issues which cause the universe to be destroyed.
- The Professor later invents the fing-longer in "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz".
- A sequel to this episode is created, "Anthology of Interest II".
- Sadly, Gary Gygax passed away eight years after this episode aired. The film Bender's Game
- In the first segment, Leela works for Planet Express, and Fry isn't assigned a job. But without Bender's involvement, Leela and Fry would still have their original jobs: Bender suggested hiding in the head museum, and bent the bars there.
- However, it's possible that different events could have led to them escaping.
- This, and most of the other goofs, could just be inconsistencies of the What-If Machine.
- In the third segment, Leela and Bender are amongst the rest of the Planet Express Crew when the rip in space-time forms. This shouldn't be, because Fry was responsible for the two joining Planet Express in the first place.
- After Fry falls and bumps his head on the freezer door, he gets up and the table he was sat at is now a lot further away from the freezer than it was when he fell and the can isn't in his hand or on the floor.
- Scruffy's moustache and hat keep changing colors throughout the episode.
- Al Gore called Nichelle Nichols 'Commander Uhura', but she only had 1 gold braid which indicates the rank of Lieutenant.
- Al Gore may not have known this, or he may have been referring to her later rank from the films despite Nichelle wearing the more iconic TOS uniform.
- Several times throughout the episode, the characters say the word "ask", which was said in Xmas Story to be an archaic term for "ax".
- When the usage of the word "ax" is first brought up, Leela knows that "ask" is an archaic pronunciation, implying that people still know about the pronunciation.
- If Fry hadn't fallen in the cryogenic tube, that means that Nibbler never made the call for I. C. Wiener. Therefore, Fry wouldn't have gone to the cryogenic lab for a delivery at all.
- The reason Fry didn't fall into the tube may have been because Nibbler failed to get to the lab in time, meaning that he still made the call.
- When Leela kills Bender with the microwave, multiple errors can be found:
- When Bender collapses, his now detached eyes are shown as spheres. However, when his eyes move or fall out in other episodes (such as "Space Pilot 3000" and "A Flight to Remember"), they are shown to be rounded cylinders. However, they would later be spherical in "Ghost in the Machines".
- When Leela pointed the microwave at Bender and destroyed him with radiation, the microwave was unplugged.
- If a robot was actually hit by microwave radiation, it wouldn't fall apart the way it did.
- When Gygax hands Fry the +1 mace, he is on Fry's right. However, during the wide shot immediately afterwards, Gygax is directly behind Fry.
- Abner Doubledeal
- Debut: Al Gore
- Cubert Farnsworth
- Debut: Deep Blue
- Prof. Farnsworth
- Debut: Gary Gygax
- Debut: Hanson
- Kif Kroker
- Debut: Narrator
- Debut: Nichelle Nichols
- Mr. Panucci
- Mayor C. Randall Poopenmeyer
- Randy Munchnik
- Debut: Stephen Hawking
- Dr. Ogden Wernstrom
- Zapp Brannigan
Characters seen in the "Attack! Bender vs Zoidberg" poster from 2006
- Horrible Gelatinous Blob
- Joey Mousepad
- Malfunctioning Eddie
- Number 9 Man
- Robot Devil
- Tinny Tim
- Voice Actors
- DVD Commentary
- Special Guests