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Season 3 episode
Broadcast season 4 episode
Production number3ACV20
Written byKen Keeler
Directed bySusan Dietter
Title captionPlease turn off all cell phones and tricorders
Title caption referenceCinema announcement
First air date17 March, 2002
Broadcast numberS04E08
Title referenceThe Mafia [1] films Goodfellas and possibly The Godfather
Opening cartoonCensored (1944)
Nomination(s)Writers Guild of America Award
Animation, 2003, Ken Keeler


Season 3
  1. Amazon Women in the Mood
  2. Parasites Lost
  3. A Tale of Two Santas
  4. The Luck of the Fryrish
  5. The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz
  6. Bendless Love
  7. The Day the Earth Stood Stupid
  8. That's Lobstertainment!
  9. The Cyber House Rules
  10. Where the Buggalo Roam
  11. Insane in the Mainframe
  12. The Route of All Evil
  13. Bendin' in the Wind
  14. Time Keeps on Slippin'
  15. I Dated a Robot
  16. A Leela of Her Own
  17. A Pharaoh to Remember
  18. Anthology of Interest II
  19. Roswell that Ends Well
  20. Godfellas
  21. Future Stock
  22. The 30% Iron Chef
← Season 2Season 4 →

"Godfellas" is the fifty-second episode of Futurama, the twentieth of the third production season and the eighth of the fourth broadcast season. It aired on 17 March, 2002, on Fox. Bender is lost drifting in space after a space battle and Fry is determined to find him. Having played God, Bender runs into a godlike entity.

The Story

Act I: "You know, pirates, but in space!"

Just after the start to a new delivery, Planet Express Ship is attacked by Space Pirates. Bender is trying to get some much-needed sleep and is disturbed by the impacting cannonballs, so he searches some peace and quiet in the #3 torpedo tube. Unfortunately, Leela then orders Fry to fire a torpedo from this tube to deal a fatal blow to the Space Pirates, but instead, Bender, having occupied tube #3 during the attack, is hurled into deep space, carrying a bag of pirate swag he grabbed when he was shot through the pirate ship. Leela attempts to rescue him, but since the ship was traveling at full speed when Bender was launched, they are unable to catch up to him. Meanwhile, Bender tries to find a way to spend all of eternity with 'barely any swag' and drifts through an asteroid field where he is bombarded and finds himself with a little asteroid embedded in his chest. This asteroid is inhabited by the Shrimpkins, a race of tiny humanoids, who, upon emerging from the asteroid onto Bender's chest, recognize him as their god, addressed as "The Great Metal Lord."

Act II: "Those peewees think I'm God, huh? Hard to blame them."

Bender surveys his new worshipers, a race of humble farmers for the most part, and chooses one of the Shrimpkins, Malachi, to be his prophet. He lays down his commandments, or rather his commandment: GOD NEEDS BOOZE. Meanwhile, the Planet Express crew has returned to New New York and begins a search for Bender by means of the Smell-O-Scope. Unfortunately, Bender's odor is not strong enough to be picked up over such a distance, especially since local sources overpower it. In the mean time, the Shrimpkins have constructed a distillery to obey their god's wish. This created several problems: many Shrimpkins were maimed in the building of the brewery, the fumes from the distillery processes has accounted for many deaths, and the liquor industry attracted organized crime. Bender is moved by his worshipers plight and sheds a tear, which causes a giant tidal wave. Malachi Jr. is engulfed in it, and Bender saves him. This causes everyone to pray for their own miracles, and Bender causes more and more problems as he is trying to fulfill their wishes: a village is crushed by a quarter (they wanted riches), a field is burned down by intense sunlight (the farmers prayed for sun), and in an attempt to extinguish the field by blowing on it, many Shrimpkins are swept into space. On Earth, Fry is desperately looking for a way to find Bender in deep space, and he finally manages to find the Monks of Dschubba who search for God in the depths of space by means of a giant radio telescope in the Himalaya. In deep space, the Shrimpkin society is growing, and infidels are rising up because from their position on Bender's back he cannot hear their prayers. Malachi begs Bender to do something about the infidels, as they plan war against the faithful, but Bender refuses because every time he interferes, he only makes things worse. Fry and Leela mount an expedition to the monastery of the monks of Dschubba, while on Bender's body, things seem to go well with him not interfering in the dealings of the Shrimpkins. This ends quickly when the unbelievers and the faithful exterminate each other in a holy nuclear war, powered by Bender's nuclear pile.

Act III: "Who would have known playing God could have such terrible consequences?"

The Shrimpkins and their world are destroyed, and Bender laments their extinction. As he drifts through space weeping, he notices a galaxy signalling in binary code, and he signals back. The Galaxy picks up contact with him, and it turns out that it may possibly be God. Meanwhile, Fry and Leela reach the monastery. They try to persuade the monks to let them use the telescope, which they learn acts as a strong transmitter, to search for Bender. The monks refuse, but as they are at a strict non-violence policy, Leela locks them in the laundry room and they use the telescope anyway. Bender and the God Entity have a deep exchange about being God, and the Entity teaches Bender that being God is not easy at all, as he could plainly see during his time with the Shrimpkins. If you do too much, people depend on you, and if you do nothing, they lose hope explains the Entity. The right approach is a light touch, so that people won't even know you have done anything at all. Bender asks to be sent back to Earth, but the Entity says he does not know where Earth is. Bender is especially helpless in finding Earth, so he settles into the realization that he will be spending eternity with the Entity. After 3 straight days of searching, Fry decides to give up. In his last futile turn of the telescope, it points toward the Galaxy and transmits Fry's last words as he walks away 'I wish I had Bender back'. The Entity receives this transmission, straps a parachute onto Bender's back and flings him in the direction of the message. Bender lands just in front of Fry and Leela, who are leaving the monastery, which Leela says is the "least likely thing that has ever happened". Just then, they realize that they left the monks locked in the laundry room, and Fry wonders if they have to let them out. After all, their God might let them out...or at least give them more shoes to eat. Bender tells them that you can't count on God for anything, and that they will have to do it themselves if they want it done. The God Entity chuckles and says to itself 'When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.'


In 2008, Empire placed Futurama 25th on their list of "The 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time" and cited this episode as the show's best episode. The episode was also the #1 ranked episode in IGN's list of top 25 Futurama episodes.

Additional Info


  • It was originally scheduled to air 13 January, 2002.
  • It is among the few one-word titled media.
  • Fry and Leela visit the "Monastery of Dschubba" (which is a star in the constellation of Scorpius) or possibly the "Monastery of Teshuvah" (which is the Hebrew word for "repentance" or "answer").
  • All of the nebulas are based on Hubble Space Telescope photos.
  • Series creator Matt Groening cites it as one of the best episodes of the series and was quoted as saying he planned to explore the idea of the "God" figure in a DVD movie, 19 months before Bender's Big Score was released.
  • Deleted Scenes:
    • The animatic contains a scene with a prince on an asteroid shooting at Bender
    • An early draft of this episode featured a story that had Bender land on Omicron Persei 8 and solve Lrrr and Ndnd's marriage problems. This story was later used in the fourth season episode, "Spanish Fry".
    • There was a scene removed from this episode and "The Honking" with Bender having a dream about being a rock star, which he selects from a drop down menu.
  • Coolio, who guest starred in the early third season episode "A Tale of Two Santas", appears on the 2996 quarter. This was seen as a tribute to Coolio for being a great guest star.
  • Malachi is reading The Bible, by BENDER with Malachi.
  • The Shrimpkin porno theatre is named Ezekiel's Nasty House.
  • In this episode, Bender says that he only knows enough binary to ask where the bathroom is, even though it was established in "I, Roommate" that Bender doesn't know what a bathroom is and in "Fear of a Bot Planet", Leela tells Fry that robots don't have bathrooms. Given that those were early episodes in Season 1, it is conceivable that by Season 3 Fry explained to Bender what a bathroom is...but it still doesn't explain why he'd want or need to use one (It should be noted that, despite these lapses in continuity, Bender does use a bathroom in Bender's Big Score). Throughout the series, Bender reads and speaks binary with ease, such as in the episode "Hell Is Other Robots".
  • The book "Toons That Teach", a text used by youth groups to teach teenagers about spirituality, recommends this episode in a lesson teaching about "Faith, God's Will, [and] Image of God".
  • Bender being hurled back to Earth by the God Entity and landing at Fry and Leela's feet is a very literal example of deus ex machina (god from the machine), a classical (and contemporary) form of plot device to quickly, if absurdly, resolve a problem. Leela highlights this by stating "This is, by a wide margin, the least likely thing that has ever happened." [2]
  • A video released by The Winglet on YouTube was a parody of Godfellas called Burning through Space. A TF2 character called Pyro is lauched into space and an asteroid crashes into him and small green Scouts (resembling Shrimpkins) built a city on the asteroid.


    Fry: You mean we can never catch up with him? Not even if we rub the engine with cheetah blood?!

    Leela: Fry! If I drop dead from exhaustion, make sure my body freezes in a dignified position! None of that "huddled over for warmth" crap.

    Galactic Entity: You were doing well, until everybody died.

    Leela: This is by a wide margin the least likely thing that has ever happened!

    Fry: You can't give up hope just because it's hopeless! You gotta hope even more and cover your ears and go "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!"

    Bender: Are you kidding? You can't count on God for jack. He practically told me so himself.

    Bender: If even a pea-sized pebble were to whiz through my skull it could [Rock goes through his head.] Ow! Hurt slightly...

    Galactic Entity: Possible. I am user-friendly, my good chum.

    Monk: You see, the telescope is also a powerful transmitter.
    Leela: Sort of like a giant karaoke machine?
    Monk: Not really. Do you want to see our giant karaoke machine?
    Leela: Not really.

    Bender: You're not gonna believe it. First I was God, then I met God.
    Fry: We climbed a mountain and locked up some monks.

    Leela: Your order may be famous for your martial arts, but I have never met a holy man I couldn't clobber.

    Malachi: Smite someone who deserves it for once!

    Bender: Uh, when you're writin' the Bible, you might wanna omit that last miracle.

    Galactic Entity: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.



Bender's customized Pioneer Plaque
  • When Fry shoots down the first pirate ship, he does it through a fancy version of the game Quickdraw.
  • An observatory located in a monastery is also a reference to The Nine Billion Names of God by Arthur C. Clarke. For the complete story, go here.
  • The zoom through the universe at the end of the episode is like that at the end of the movie "Men in Black".
  • This episode is similar to a segment of the Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror VII in which Lisa become god of a tiny race.
  • The show's opening tagline says to "Turn off tricorders", tricorders are from Star Trek
  • Billy West states on the audio commentary that the voice of "God" was based off the opening announcer from The Outer Limits.
  • The astronomically long distance backwards pan as the Space "God" Entity becomes aware of Fry's plea to have Bender back is similar to one in the movie Contact and the short 1968 film Cosmic Zoom by Eva Szasz.
  • When Bender says "Ask not for whom the bone bones, it bones for thee," he is referencing John Donne: "never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee,"
  • This episode explores themes similar to "The Seventh Sally" by Stanislaw Lem.
  • Malachi is the name of a real Biblical prophet, and the name means "My messenger."
  • An asteroid collides with Bender, and immediately afterward, the Shrimpkin civilization appears on his metal casing. This references the theory, known as Panspermia, that life can spread across vast distances of space by "hitching a ride" on space debris.
  • The Sherpa’s name is Namgyal, the given name of Tenzing Norgay, one of the first people to climb Mount Everest.
  • Bender is floating in space to Richard Strauss' Also sprach Zarathustra and Johann Strauss II' The Blue Danube. This is a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • Bender attempts to play Chopin's Polonaise in C minor on his piano.
  • Much of the plot is similar to Theodore Sturgeon's 1940 short story Microcosmic God and The Twilight Zone episode The Little People.
  • The tiny creatures in Alan Dean Foster's short story, Gift of a Useless Man, depend on the main character in a way similar to the Shrimpkins building their civilization on Bender.
  • The God Entity appears almost identical to the God Entity portrayed in Stanislaw Lem's "Voyages of Professor Tarantoga" screenplay.
  • God thinking in binary and the remains of a computerised space probe that collided with God references the first Star Trek movie, in which a massive and powerful, albeit emotionally immature alien intelligence, was found to be human technology that had been found, modified with extremely advanced technology, and sent back. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier has the concept of a being godlike in power that is nonetheless not God as humans conceive of it, i.e. not the creator of the universe, nor in fact good.
  • The symbols that Bender carves into himself are similar to those on the Pioneer plaque, except with Bender shown threatening the Human figures. He then remarks, "There! Now when I'm found in a million years people will know what the score was."
  • The beer brewed by the Shrimpkins for their god Bender is Lordweiser, a reference to Budweiser and to the Metal Lord, a.k.a. Bender.
  • The title of this episode is a reference to Goodfellas although it isn't a large factor in the plot.
  • The way the God Entity speaks is similar to the way the angels speak in It's A Wonderful Life.
  • The God Entity's teachings on being a good ruler are very similar in meaning to the Tao Te Ching's teachings, particularly chapter 17: "When the Master governs, the people are hardly aware that he exists ... when his work is done, the people say 'Amazing: we did it all by ourselves!'"


  • The Statue of Liberty keeps changing what it has in the hand. This time it's the torch again (on a photo). Usually it's a transportation tube.
    • Maybe there are multiple Statues of Liberty, which would explain this goof in all of the episodes.
  • The torpedo Bender removes from the tube has a propeller, which would not accomplish anything in space. Even if it isn't necessary for propulsion, it would be easier to just not build a propeller.
  • Leela's explanation of why they can never catch up to Bender is flawed. There is no "top speed" for a self-propelled spacecraft; it could keep accelerating forever, and assuming Bender is going at a constant speed, the ship would eventually catch up to him. Even if the ship ran out of fuel, it could make a note of Bender's trajectory and go fuel up and eventually catch up.
    • Plus, Bender should have been significantly slowed by going through both sides of the pirate ship, and from picking up extra mass in the form of swag.
    • By the time Leela was done talking, Bender was out of sight and they had no way of finding him.
      • They could still record his trajectory. He was on a straight path for a fair period of time. Also, he often demonstrates his ability to connect to the Internet, and could email them his coordinates.
        • He didn't even know which way Earth was. How could he possibly know his co-ordinates?
    • It is well-known that the ship can travel far faster than the speed of light when it uses its engines for long-distance travel (similar to an Alcubierre drive, which fits Cubert's description of the ship moving the universe around it). The ship was not doing so while in combat (as the stars were moving very little), and so they could easily have gone ahead of Bender and recovered him. Additionally, if the ship was moving faster than light when Bender was fired he would have decelerated quickly, as his velocity would only come from the force of the torpedo firing device (objects moving through the use of an Alcubierre drive will stop the instant its field stops affecting them).
  • The dropping bomb sound Bender makes can be heard before he even enters the atmosphere.
  • Why does the sack of Swag Bender is holding on to wave? Usually there isn't any substance in the universe like air that could make the bag wave.
  • Why is Malachi hanging "down" when Bender holds him even though there's no gravity? But even if Bender affected him enough, he would have to "hang" in direction to Bender, and not to the bottom of the camera's view angle when Bender turns around.
  • One of Benders tears produces a river so big that he can put his own hand into it.
  • The hole in Bender's head disappears later on.
  • The Rolex Bender was wearing disappears when he puts the swag bag into his chest cavity.
  • When Fry and Leela reach the monastery, the bridge connecting it is attached to the ice. Later, when it is moving searching for God, it is now attached to the end of the satellite.
  • Bender says that he only knows enough binary to ask if he can use the bathroom, yet in 2ACV18 he is able to understand the number "666" written in binary.
    • Bender may be able to recognize binary, but not speak it, similar to how a human may understand a word but may have trouble pronouncing it. He may also only know how to translate binary to numbers.
  • After Bender falls through the atmosphere and back to earth, Bender and his parachute pack (and straps) are red hot, yet the backpack and straps do not catch on fire.
  • When Bender lands in the snow after falling back to Earth, the strings from his parachute are attached to straps (which are attached to the backpack). The next shot, the strings are attached directly to the backpack. Next shot, and from there on, the strings are attached to the straps again.


(In alphabetic order)



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Episode Credits


  1. ^ See also Robot Mafia.
  2. ^ See also Lampshade hanging.