Obsoletely Fabulous

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Season 4 episode
Broadcast season 5 episode
Obsoletely Fabulous
Obsoletely Fabulous.jpg
Wooden Bender with the inhabitants of the island
Production number4ACV14
Written byDan Vebber
Directed byDwayne Carey-Hill
Title captionYou can't prove it won't happen
First air date27 July, 2003
Broadcast numberS05E14
Title referenceThe British sitcom Absolutely Fabulous
Opening cartoonMuch Ado About Mutton


Season 4
  1. Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch
  2. Leela's Homeworld
  3. Love and Rocket
  4. Less than Hero
  5. A Taste of Freedom
  6. Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television
  7. Jurassic Bark
  8. Crimes of the Hot
  9. Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles
  10. The Why of Fry
  11. Where No Fan Has Gone Before
  12. The Sting
  13. Bend Her
  14. Obsoletely Fabulous
  15. The Farnsworth Parabox
  16. Three Hundred Big Boys
  17. Spanish Fry
  18. The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings
← Season 3Season 5 →

"Obsoletely Fabulous" is the sixty-eighth episode of Futurama, the fourteenth of the fourth production season and the fourteenth of the fifth broadcast season. It aired on 27 July, 2003, on Fox. Bender finds himself feeling obsolete compared to the new Robot 1-X, but he cannot get himself to get the upgrade, so he flees to a distant island.

The Story

Act I: "I'm your top-of-the-line, Mom!"

The "Roboticon 3003", the worlds largest robot trade show, takes place in Madison Cube Garden, and the crew goes to have a look. Professor Farnsworth and Dr. Wernstrom use this opportunity to present their latest Killbots - unfortunately their stalls are side by side, so they end up in a fist fight, while their killbots go share a drink in the face of the senseless violence from their creators. Mom's Friendly Robot Company presents its latest model: Robot 1-X, a servant robot with countless uses around the house. The Professor is so impressed that he buys one of them, which makes Bender unhappy who feels threatened by this superior piece of technology. To take care of that, he decides to get an upgrade to become compatible with the new technology. Seeing how the other robots getting the upgrade are changed by it, Bender changes his mind and flees from the factory, but is afraid to face his co-workers in his current obsolete state. He folds a no boating sign into a makeshift boat and heads out to sea.

Act II: "I am a hideous triumph of form and function"

Bender strands on a lonely island and soon runs out of power. He is rescued by a group of obsolete robots who refused to get upgrades and defy modern technology, instead they embrace nature. Bender soon adopts their ways and goes even further - he decides to get a downgrade. He emerges from it as a steam-powered unit with a wooden body. He decides it is time to declare war on technology.

Act III: "The 1-X robots are my friends!"

Bender and his fellow robots travel in a wooden rowing submarine to New New York, performing acts of anti-technological terrorism. Their last target is the Planet Express building where Bender has a score to settle with Robot 1-X. They shoot the building with a catapult but miss, trapping the crew under the damaged Planet Express Ship where they are threatened by burning fuel. Bender rushes to save his friends, but is let down by his wooden body that disintegrates from termites. The only way to save the crew is to ask Robot 1-X for help, which Bender does, and it saves the crew. Bender realizes that he loves Robot 1-X - and finds that he never left the factory in the first place, and his experience on the island was an illusion triggered by the upgrade process. Amazed at how real the vision was, Bender begins wondering if life itself is just the product of his or someone else's imagination, but comes to the conclusion that "Reality is what you make of it," and walks off into a fantasy world with unicorns and cigar-lighting fairies.


This episode was subject to censorship by Pick TV.

Additional Info

May - 2007 Calendar


  • The Killbot from the deleted scene in "Love's Labours Lost in Space" can be seen on the "Roboticon 3003", it is standing in front of Wernstrom's stall.
  • The Masked Unit from "Raging Bender" can be seen walking in front of the Robot Toys stall in the beginning.
  • This is the second episode of the series to involve long fantasies, the first being "The Sting"; it was also the second episode in the series (and in a row) to revolve around Bender either getting an upgrade or being changed ("Bend Her").
  • This was also the second and last episode to have an entire act with only one major character (Bender Act 2)
  • Also, one of the robots at Roboticon 3003, and at the robot upgrading place became an enemy in the game.
  • Fatbot, one of the Fratbots from Epsilon Rho Rho, is the robot in line behind Bender waiting to get the upgrade.
  • Malfunctioning Eddie can be seen in the background at Roboticon.


  • This episode's premise, in which most of the plot is revealed to be the main character's hallucination of escape from a dire predicament, all compressed into a few moments of actual time, is very similar to the famous short story "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge".
  • When Bender is playing with the robot scratching post, there is an object resembling R2-D2 in the foreground.
  • According to the commentary, the mill-wheel-powered robot's name is Lisa, the name of the Apple Macintosh's predecessor.
  • Sinclair 2K probably refers to the Sinclair home computer series of the 80s.
  • The wooden submarine has its origin in the series' creators obsession for a similar device, likely the one built by Cornelis Drebbel.
  • Wernstrom's killbot has Lotus Notes on it.
  • The title may be an allusion to the "Britcom" Absolutely Fabulous.
  • The title of the episode and Mom's statement of 'for the 17th year in a row, the future of robotics has arrived' may be a reference to planned obsolescence, which is a feature of many contemporary consumer technology products.
  • Bender and his gang swing through the city of New New York using vines, a reference to the film Spider-Man.
  • The song that Bender plays from the CD is "I'm Alright" by Kenny Loggins. This song was used for a scene in the movie Caddyshack. Song: [1]. Movie: [2]
  • When bender puts his beer down (after 1-X cleans Nibbers litter box), it bubbles over, which accurately represents beer-bottle cavitation physics [3]


    Bender: That new robot is great, huh? It sure made me look like a pile of crap.
    Professor: Indeed! That's why I bought one to help around the office!
    Bender: Eeee!

    Bender: We're going to stage an attack on technology worthy of being chronicled in an anthem by Rush!

    Bender: Mirrors reflecting mirrors?! HI-TECH SORCERY!

    Bender: [After being made a wooden body.] Behold my hand-crafted purity! The modern world can bite my splintery wooden ass!

    Leela: [After seeing Bender in his new body.] Oh Lord, he's made of wood.

    Bender: Save my friends! [Bender screams.] And Zoidberg!


  • At the beginning of the episode the crew is seen attending Roboticon 3003, but in the previous episode, "Bend Her", Hermes and Bender are seen competing in the 3004 Earth Olympics.
    • This may have been a wrong banner.
  • Bender is shown getting up off his back; even though in "Crimes of the Hot", he was shown to be unable to do this.
    • At the end of "Crimes of the Hot", he manages to get up without help.
  • More than once throughout the episode, Cartridge Unit is seen talking without the use of a cartridge. Although this can be said to be the result of Bender's imagination not filling out the details, it was not intended by the writers.
    • He may have some words set in him to be able to say without cartridges, or he put it in off screen.
  • When Bender is attempting to make Yam Schnapps, he is unable to find a plug socket for his blender. However, in "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television", he plugs a TV into a plug socket on his lower body.
    • However, it is likely he didn't have enough power in himself to run the blender.
      • Or since he never used it after that episode, he may have had it removed.
  • When Bender picks up the washing machine that had washed ashore, an indent is shown in the sand where the machine had sunk in, but Bender does not sink into the sand.
  • When the robots swing through New New York on vines, for one frame, Cymbal-Banging Monkey's pants are brown.
  • The Planet Express ship leaks fuel which sets a light putting the crew in danger, even though the ship is powered by dark matter.
    • Once put it, dark matter could be converted to liquid that's extremely flammable.
      • Although this can be said to be the result of Bender's imagination/part of the upgrade to help add to the plot of Robot 1-X helping Bender.
  • When Bender is released from the upgrade device, but still inside, you can see through his head slightly as if he were a ghost.


(In alphabetic order)

Episode Credits


  1. ^ a b c No title. (Youku.)