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|Season 4 episode|
|Written by||Kristin Gore|
|Title caption||It's like "Hee Haw" with lasers|
|First air date||17 February, 2002|
|Opening cartoon||Makin' 'Em Move, Van Beuren Studios, 1931|
"Leela's Homeworld" is the fifty-sixth episode of Futurama, the second of the fourth production season and the fifth of the fourth broadcast season. It aired on 17 February, 2002, on Fox. Leela finally learns the truth about her parents and her own identity.
Act I: "Get back in the sewer, weirdy!"
The Professor builds a new machine that produces glow-in-the-dark-noses, but also creates a great amount of toxic waste. Hermes wants the Professor to get rid of the waste for legal reasons, so the Professor hires Bender to dispose of it. He dumps it into the sewers, ruining Vyolet's wedding.
Meanwhile, Leela is named "Orphan of the Year" in the orphanarium she grew up in, the Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium, and attends a ceremony there receiving the award. During the ceremony, Vogel talks about the day Leela was left on his doorstep. She was found with a letter in AL1 and a bracelet, but Vogel never translated the letter. After this, Leela gives a speech telling the orphans to be proud of who they are, and they come to admire her. However, after the ceremony, she confesses to Fry that although she gave a speech telling the orphans that she was stronger being an orphan, all she ever wanted was to have parents. Fry comforts her, and Leela says that she thinks that somewhere up in space, her parents are looking for. After she says this, we see Turanga Munda and Turanga Morris in the sewers, revealing that Leela is not an alien but a mutant.
Act II: "Mu-tate! Mu-tate! Mu-tate!"
As Leela protests Bender (who has started up a waste disposal company) shoving an entire whale (having been hired to clean up the set of Free Willy 3) into the sewers, Bender dismisses her concern it will enrage the sewer mutants by pointing out they're on the surface and out of the mutants' reach, part of the street collapses; the mutants thusly drag Bender, Leela, and Fry into the sewers. All three are sentenced to be dumped into Lake Mutagenic to be mutated (which Bender's dumping contaminated even further). The liquid can't harm mutants as they already are mutated, nor can it harm robots because they don't have DNA (the mutants get around this by stating they'll beat Bender up afterwards). They are rescued by two mysterious robed strangers who somehow know Leela's full name. After the robed strangers help them, the mutants chase them, hoping to recapture them. While running from the mutants, the crew break into a house that has a complete biography of Leela pinned on the walls plus a lot of stuff she flushed down the toilet. They are caught by the mutants and sentenced to death, but the mysterious strangers intervene again and they are only banished from the sewers. Fry and Bender go to the surface, but Leela stays behind and dives into Lake Mutagenic in pursuit of the strangers.
Act III: "Isn't that the same machine that makes noses?"
Leela finds that she is not mutated by the sewage and pursues the two strangers deep into the sewers. Fry, in the meantime, searches for clues on Leela's origins in the orphanarium, and acquires the note that was pinned to Leela's basket when she was abandoned from Vogel. The note is written in an alien language, so he takes it to the Professor to analyze it. He uses the Nose Machine, pointing out that there's no reason it can do things other than make noses. Although the Machine is unable to decode the language, it does find out that the note originated from the sewers.
During a flashback, we find out that Leela's parents are Sewer Mutants. Leela had so few mutations that they decided to give her up to the orphanarium to enable her to lead a real life on the surface. Her mother wrote the note in Alienese to convince the warden Leela was an alien, not a mutant. Her parents chose never to reveal her true origins so she would not learn the shameful truth. The only connection between them is a bracelet they left with their daughter, of which her mother has a duplicate.
Meanwhile, Leela caught up with the robed strangers after they fled to the house with Leela's biography. She threatens them with a gun, desperate to retrieve information about her origins. She finds the duplicate bracelet on one of the strangers, and suspects they have taken it from her parents after they killed them. The strangers confess the deed, and Leela is about to kill them when Fry literally drops in from above and reveals the truth - the strangers are indeed Leela's parents. They were so desperate that their daughter should not learn her true heritage that they were prepared to die rather than reveal that piece of information, and they fear their daughter might despise them because of all they did.
Leela, realizing that after decades of searching she has finally found her parents, embraces them - the family is reunited. During a flashback, we see that Leela's parents had been helping her all along, even though she didn't know who they were.
- The eagle on Hermes' badge holds a folder saying "To Be Filed".
- One of the orphans who won an award for "Often Seen in the Background of News Spots" appears in the background of Leela's interview one minute later (see picture).
- Other awards include "Diligent Flosser", "Has Tasted Every McDonald's Sandwich" and "Successfully Switched from Heroin to Methadone".
- The closing song for this episode is "Baby Love Child" by Japanese pop-rock band Pizzicato Five. Link
- The orphanage offers espresso to the orphans.
- The pedestrian crossing sign in the sewers had an image of a person with two heads and three legs.
- Fry was flashing the crowd at Space Mardi Gras.
- When the mutants gave the gang a tour, all of the buildings behind Fry said "Dry Cleaners".
- Alien code: When Leela looks down at her bracelet, you see the first official appearance of Alien Code 3. The code hasn't officially been translated.
- In the flashback of how Leela's parents watched over her as a child, one of the math problems on her worksheet is incorrect.
- Warden Vogel claims nobody on Earth, not even Brainzilla, can translate AL1 (Alienese), yet many other episodes contain AL1 written in places on Earth. For example, in "Bendin' in the Wind", Utah has been renamed Human Farm, written in AL1.
- Perhaps whoever writes it in other episodes do not know English.
- This is one of the only episodes to have no debuting characters, though Leela's parents are properly introduced here after being seen as background characters in "I Second that Emotion".
- Normally, in the United Kingdom, Futurama episodes on DVD are either rated PG (may not suitable for younger viewers; may call for the entire family or viewers between the ages of 8 and 12 to see it) or 12 (not suitable for children under 12 years old without adult supervision), depending on how strong the show's content is, with violence (including injury detail, threat, gore, body horror, and references to and scenes of suicide and self-harm), sexual content (including innuendo), nudity, dangerous imitable behavior (mostly Bender's criminal acts and Fry's idiotic antics that can be dangerous if copied), scenes depicting/mentioning drug abuse, and subject matter that may be too distressing, frightening, or inappropriate for younger/more sensitive viewers as the deciding factors on the rating. This episode, however, was rated U (meaning that it's suitable for all ages) by the BBFC when released on DVD, despite the episode containing fleeting references to sexual spanking, scenes of the Planet Express crew being threatened by mutants, scenes of body horror, the central theme of child abandonment, the climax of Leela having a mental break over her parents' alleged death and nearly murdering the couple who turn out to be her parents, and the tear-jerking ending. In contrast, this episode was rated TV-PG on American television (and on Hulu Plus) for suggestive dialogue (D) when it premiered on FOX and reran on Cartoon Network. On Comedy Central and Netflix, all of the episodes (including this one) are rated TV-14 (unsuitable for viewers under 14 years old), regardless of whether or not the show's content is strong enough for that rating.
- At the time of this episode's release, there already was a Free Willy 3, over 5 years before this aired, meaning Bender would have to travel 1005 years in the past in order to clean up the set.
- "A Big Piece of Garbage" (1ACV08)
- News paper front page in the "Leela Museum" about the PE crew saving Earth from the garbage ball.
- "I Second that Emotion" (2ACV01)
- Leela's parents appear in a mutant crowd but don't make contact.
- "Raging Bender" (2ACV08)
- Picture of Leela in a karate robe seen in the "Leela Museum".
- "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" (2ACV05)
- Bender tells the story about how he became known as Honest Bender.
- "The Cyber House Rules" (3ACV09)
- Many of the orphans seen are the ones Bender adopted.
- "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch" (4ACV01)
- Leela gives Kif and Amy the basket her parents left her in at the orphanarium. However it is revealed that Vogel dumps the baskets in a pile and given they are all identical, it is unlikely that it was the correct basket.
- When the screen pans over the orphan's awards, the "often Seen in the Background of News Spots" orphan is on the far left, but appears on the right as Warden Vogel hangs Leela's photo.
- The bracelet on Leela's mother's tentacle only appears when Leela notices it and snatches it from her.
- When Leela confronts her parents, Morris's hood is covering his face in shadow. His mouth is moving normally instead of vertically when he speaks.
- At the end of the episode, it shows Leela as an adult sleeping and before her parents tuck her in, you can see that she is not wearing her Wristlojackimator. In previous episodes, when you see Leela go to sleep or get out of bed, she normally has it on.
- She could've just decided to take it off that night.
- When they are in the hot-air balloon when they "fire up the sewer gas," Fry, Leela and Bender start coughing. Bender shouldn't cough when he is a robot who doesn't breathe or have a nose.
- He may still have a sense of smell (one of his many senses), or he is just trying to fit in.
- He does have a nose as revealed in "Bender Gets Made". He just never wears it.
- There are no ladders to reach the sewers, unlike in "Space Pilot 3000", "The Mutants Are Revolting" and "I Second that Emotion".
- The baby Leela in the basket has a card hanging around her neck saying "Hello! My name is Turunga Leela". Later on when her parents remember leaving her there, she doesn't have it anymore.
- Also, when Warden Vogel is telling the story the bracelet is on Leela's left hand. Later it is seen that Morris puts it on Leela's right hand.
- In "Mother's Day", Leela's Wristlojackimator abandoned her and there was no bracelet under it.
- The other times we have seen Leela without the Wristlojackimator she had opportunity to remove the bracelet as well, so those are not considered goofs.
- Hermes' badge says "Federal Bureaucracy", yet in "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" and "Lethal Inspection" he was working for the Central Bureaucracy.
- Raoul Inglis is previously shown and said to have only one ear, but is now shown with both ears intact.
- Maybe he is constantly mutating since it is only in "I Second that Emotion" where he has one ear.
- Although the orphanarium was renamed the "Bender B. Rodriquez Orphanarium" in "The Cyber House Rules", it seems to have reverted to the original name "Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium".
- During most shots of the Leela's basket, the screw that connects the handle to the rest of the basket is silver. However, during one shot, the screw is brown.
- Although the commentary states that the dead whale Bender stuffs into the sewer is Mushu, this is impossible, since Mushu doesn't appear for fourteen more episodes, and since that whale is a completely different type of whale than Mushu (probably an orca).
- When Leela emerges from the green wastes, the octopus on her head looks like a reference to the movie Hot Shots! Part Deux, when the fishing boat explodes and Ramada exits the water with an octopus on her head, which in itself is an allusion to the short story The Call of Cthulhu.
- The leg sewer mutant was wearing a Boston Red Sox baseball hat.
- Among the parts of parade balloons used in creating the hot air balloon that returns to the surface is made from Underdog, Bart Simpson, Bullwinkle J. Moose and Garfield's owner Jon Arbuckle.
- Professor Farnsworth says that deciphering the alien language on Leela's note could take an hour or a hundred million years. This is a reference to the halting problem in computability theory.
- The wall upon which Leela's parents have chronicled her life is a reference to Being John Malkovich.
- When Leela comes across the wall with her chronicled life, she gasps "Great Cheech's ghost!", which is a reference to the Superman character Perry White, who often says "Great Caesar's ghost!" when angry, exasperated or surprised. A similar reference was also made in "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television".
- The computer on the Warden's desk appears similar to the personal computers used in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
- Businesses in the sewers include Bed, Bath and Beneath, Big Mutant Boy's, and Starbucks.
- Free Willy 3: The Rescue is referenced when Bender says he has to clean up the set and dumps a whale in the sewers.
- The Professor's Glow-in-the-dark noses is an obscure reference to the movie Skin Deep.
- The mutagenic lake when seen from above resembles one big eye.
- One of the orphanarium's Wall-of-Famers is revealed to have been inducted for having successfully switched from heroin to methadone (visible on his photograph). This is a reference to the film "Annie Hall," in which Woody Allen imagines one of his former elementary school classmates to have stopped being a heroin addict in order to be a methadone addict.
Warden Vogel: It is not easy being an orphan. Not if I've anything to do with it!
Hermes: It looks like toxic waste. [He sniffs.] And it smells like toxic waste.
Fry: What does it taste like?
[Hermes tastes it.]
Hermes: Delicious fig pudding! Ooh, that's good! But a distinct after-taste of toxic waste.
Amy: Wow! Cool!
Bender: Now I can punch you in the nose in the dark! [Professor Farnsworth sneezes and turns the light on. The glow-in-the-dark nose is on Bender.] Where did it go?
Alien Language Sightings
Location: Note attached to Leela
Translation: YOUR PARENTS LOVE YOU VERY MUCH