The Why of Fry
|Navigation in production order
|Navigation in broadcast order
|Season 4 episode
Broadcast season 5 episode
|The Why of Fry
|David X. Cohen
|Dancing space potatoes? You bet!
|First air date
|6 April, 2003
|Much Ado About Mutton
"The Why of Fry" is the sixty-fourth episode of Futurama, the tenth of the fourth production season and the eighth of the fifth broadcast season. It aired on 6 April, 2003, on Fox. It guest-stars Bob Odenkirk as Chaz. Nibbler enlists Fry in a mission to blow up evil brains bent on destroying the universe; Fry time travels into the past to prevent himself from being cryogenically frozen.
Act I: "Without me, there IS no mission!"
Fry is disappointed because Leela and Bender went on a mission without him (and without his services as Delivery Boy), and because Leela is going out with another man - Chaz, the Mayor's aide. Fry is upset because he thinks himself unimportant. Meanwhile, Leela and Chaz are going to Elzar's Fine Cuisine, where Chaz manages to get a table without a reservation - Leela is genuinely impressed. Fry has adjourned to O'Zorgnax Pub to drown his depression in alcohol, however, Leela and Chaz enter and Leela tells him she may not make it back to her apartment tonight, and she needs him to walk Nibbler. Fry gets fined as Nibbler unloads a pile of Dark Matter on the sidewalk, just in time for Chaz to make a showy appearance in his car with Leela. Nibbler, however, reveals his intelligence to Fry and takes him to his spaceship, both leave Earth and head for Planet Eternium where the Nibblonian Council informs Fry that he is the most important person in the universe, for the fate of the universe rests with him.
Act II: "Now it's personal!"
Fry is told that due to his lack of the delta brainwave, he is immune to the attacks of the Brain Spawn and therefore the only hope of the universe. The Brains have constructed the Infosphere, a monstrous memory bank that contains all information in the universe. Once they have acquired all information, they will make sure that there is no new information by destroying the universe. Fry is to infiltrate the Infosphere and plant a Quantum Interphase Bomb inside that will blast the sphere into an alternate universe from which there is no return, then escape the blast on a Scooty-Puff, Jr. (Who's ready for safe fun?), a clockwork-powered scooter. As the Infosphere opens itself for a final self-scan, Fry can enter the structure undetected as the Brains cannot perceive him because of his special thought processes. Fry plants the bomb, but hesitates to trigger it as he wants some answers on intriguing questions, like what postal stamp glue is made of (toad mucus) and what really killed the dinosaurs (the giant brain at the center of the sphere). The unauthorized access triggers the alarm, and as Fry tries to make his getaway, the scooter breaks. The brains become aware of his presence, among them the Big Brain. Fry now triggers the bomb, leaving sixty seconds to detonation. Fry is pleased that he is helping good triumph over evil, or so he thinks. The brains in turn show him what really happened on the night of 31 December 1999 when Fry got frozen (after some confusion between him and a Philip J. Fry from Hovering Squid World 97A) - Nibbler gave Fry's chair a push so he fell into the cryogenic tube. Fry is furious with the Nibblonians for wrecking his past life, but before they can elaborate on the subject, the bomb goes off and transfers the Infosphere to the alternate universe.
Act III: "Here I come, future!"
The Brains think of a way for Fry to return to 31 December 1999, so he can prevent Nibbler from shoving him into the tube and thus stop the Nibblonians from thwarting the Brain's plan to understand and destroy the universe. Meanwhile, Chaz has taken Leela to the Rocket Skating Rink that he has reserved just for them - impressing her once more. But the reservation means that the orphans from the Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium can't take their turn on the rocket skating rink as planned and are missing out. Leela asks Chaz if the orphans can join them, but he refuses as he wants to impress her with his amazing influence. This leaves Leela extremely testy, and she makes him eat his own badge - the romance is over. Fry is transferred by the Brain Spawn to Old New York, to the night he was frozen, where Nibbler is then busy ordering a pizza as I. C. Wiener at Panucci's Pizza to the address of Applied Cryogenics. Fry materializes behind Nibbler under the desk his other self is sitting at and seizes him, telling him what brought him there. Nibbler explains that he did not come back in time, and that Fry is needed in a thousand years time, and that the Nibblonians were afraid he might refuse being frozen. Fry, on the other hand, loves the future and has nothing against being frozen, but is still mad because he does not like being used. Nibbler now tells Fry what happens now is his choice, and asks Fry if there is nothing in the future that he wants, and Fry answers that it is Leela - but that she doesn't think much of him. Nibbler thinks she may be the Other, and tells Fry not to give up on her - he offers his help in the matter. Fry is now left to choose between saving himself or the universe - and Leela. He makes his decision and tips the chair his other self is sitting on, sending him into the cryogenic tube - the future is saved... unfortunately, it means he's going back to the other Universe and the Infosphere. Fry has just enough time to say that Scooty-Puff, Jr. sucks before he fades - and so, a thousand years later, Fry manages to escape the vanishing Infosphere on the Scooty-Puff, Sr. (The Doom-Bringer). Nibbler brings Fry back to Earth and then deletes his memory of the incident to maintain his cover. Before that, he gives Fry a flower that he in turn gives to Leela, and for a moment, she is happy to see him, although he is not the most important person in the universe. As she gives him a kiss, Fry's final utterance is "YES!"
- This episode is one of two Futurama episodes that do not feature Professor Farnsworth, the other being "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", which is the following episode in production order.
- The events of this episode were planned before the show started.
- Guest star Bob Odenkirk is the brother of Futurama writer Bill Odenkirk.
- The last three bits of information seen going into the Infosphere are "Beavers mate for life", "11 > 4", and "For Quality Carpets, Visit Kaplan's Carpet Warehouse".
- Kaplan may refer to Eric Kaplan, who is a writer for Futurama.
- Technically, some of the events didn't happen, namely those in which Fry travels back in time because Nibbler remembered to give him a Scooty-Puff Sr., instead of the Scooty-Puff Jr., meaning Fry could get away from the Infosphere and not get a chance to ask to go back.
- This episode marks the only time that Fry is seen wearing a Wristlojackimator, which he uses to communicate with the Nibblonians.
- The Brains' method of time travel works across universes.
Ken: Does he not know?
Nibbler: He does not know.
Fiona: He knows not?
Nibbler: Knows not does he.
Male Nibblonian 2: Not he knows?
Fry: I did do the nasty in the pasty.
Nibbler: Quite possible. We live long and are celebrated poopers. You will meet me when I'm a thousand years older.
Big Brain: Detecting trace amounts of mental activity. Possibly a dead weasel or a cartoon viewer.
Nibbler: Yes, incidentally, I need to remain undercover so I'm blanking your memory.
Fry: [After his memory is erased by Nibbler.] Hmm, did everything just taste purple for a second? All right, c'mon, you dumb poop machine.
Infosphere: [Scanning info.] Beavers mate for life. 11 greater than 4. For quality carpets visit Kaplan's carpet warehouse!
Fry: Is it true that postage stamp glue is made of—
Infosphere: Correct, toad mucus!
Fry: What really killed the dinosaurs?
Infosphere: MEEEEEE! [The Giant Brain is seen blasting dinosaurs to death with its ray blasts.]
Infosphere: Clarification request. Are you the Philip J. Fry of Earth, or the Philip J. Fry of Hovering Squid World 97A?
Big Brain: Earth, you fat idiot! Hurry up!
Leela: We're back from the mission!
Fry: Wh-What? You went without me?
Bender: [Shouting.] You were looking up curse words in the dictionary. It seemed like a better use of your time.
Fry: But-- But I'm the delivery boy.
Leela: Don't worry. Everything went fine.
Bender: Better than usual!
Leela: We got medals!
- "Space Pilot 3000" (1ACV01)
- We get a lot of flashbacks from this episode, and the shadow from this episode is explained.
- "Love's Labours Lost in Space" (1ACV04)
- Nibbler mentions he will be stationed on Vergon 6, where they will meet in the future.
- "A Clone of My Own" (2ACV10)
- The joke about cartoon viewers having low brainwaves is similar to the joke about cartoon writers being losers.
- "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" (2ACV11)
- Fry thought Hermes was an "outer space potato man" in this episode, which are "promised" as a regular feature in the opening joke caption.
- "Anthology of Interest I" (2ACV16)
- "The Why of Fry", along with "Roswell that Ends Well" explains why the universe was destroyed in this episode. Had Fry not been frozen because of his future self, it would create a paradox and destroy the timeline.
- "War Is the H-Word" (2ACV17)
- Using a wind-up toy to fight enemy forces.
- "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid" (3ACV07)
- Nibbler asks Fry if he can remember when he defeated the Brain Spawn.
- "Insane in the Mainframe" (3ACV11)
- One of the brains says "Are you insane in the membrane"? This is a reference to the song "Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill, just as the title of this episode was.
- "Roswell that Ends Well" (3ACV19)
- Nibbler mentions that Fry is his own grandfather.
- "Jurassic Bark" (4ACV07)
- In this episode, we see two shadows knocking Fry into the tube during a flashback, we get the explanation for the extra shadow in the current episode.
- A shot of Nibbler's third eye sticking out of a trash can is included as a reference to these events as well, an item which many fans had noticed.
- "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" (4ACV09)
- Curious Pussycat is seen again. This is its third appearance.
- Into the Wild Green Yonder
- When the Legion of Mad Fellows tells Fry that the fate of the universe depends on him, he says "Yeah, I get that a lot." There is also mention of how he lacks the delta brainwave.
- Amy reads the book Martians Are from Mars, Venusians Are from Venus, an allusion to the 1992 book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.
- The song "Insane in the Brain" by Cypress Hill is referenced to by one of the Brain Spawn with "are you insane in the membrane?"
- The flashing light Nibbler uses to erase Fry's memory alludes to the Neuralyzer in the movie Men in Black.
- After having his memory erased, Fry asks "Did everything just taste purple for a second?" This is an instance of synesthesia, a neurological condition that is characterized by the mixing of sensory input. Fry does this once before, when he smells the color blue flowing out of the microwave in "Roswell that Ends Well".
- It is possible, then, to assume that Fry is a colour-gustatory synesthete (a synesthete that "tastes" colours).
- The giant brain within the Infosphere bears a high resemblance to the final boss from Gradius.
- In the book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, there's a flashback that tells of a very old race. These people built a giant computer called "Deep Thought" just to finally get an answer to The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
- Star Wars:
- The Infosphere resembles the Death Star.
- The mission to destroy the Infosphere (and destruction of it) is reminiscent of the mission to destroy the Death Star.
- Nibbler says "maybe she [Leela] is the other," but this remark remains unexplained. It is likely it is a reference to Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, where Yoda mentions that "there is another," which too is never explained, though it is likely to refer to Princess Leia — it is doubtful that the writers of Futurama are trying to suggest that, like Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, Fry and Leela are siblings.
- Nibbler also says "Knows not does he!" Again, this seems to be a reference to Yoda messing up grammatical structures in Star Wars movies.
- When the Big Brain explains how Fry can return to the past, a light cone diagram is shown on the display, used in general relativity to illustrate the past and future boundaries of an event.
- When the Nibblonians are telling Fry that he is very important, Fry incredulously asks "So the way I feel when I'm drunk is correct?". The Nibblonians reply: "Yes, except that the Dave Matthews Band doesn't rock".
- The rocket skates are slightly reminiscent of the ACME rocket skates Wile E. Coyote always buys.
- "There are guys in the background of Mary Worth comics that are more important than me."
- After Fry, the Brainspawn and the Infosphere are trapped in the alternate universe, one of the brains mentions that they could spend the rest of eternity singing "American Pie"; the full version of the song lasts over eight minutes.
- The Brainspawn's mission is reminiscent of the mission of Brainiac from the Superman DCAU series, who seeks to understand all information and then destroy it.
- Albert is missing from the group of orphans (this may not be a goof but it isn't explained why he's absent).
- The Infosphere apparently scans all knowledge in a sequential way. One knowledge chunk is "11 > 4". There are unlimited pairs like that, so technically the scan could never be completed.
- It may have only been scanning information that people said, meaning that this would not be true.
- Another explanation is that this was done intentionally as a joke, although it is unlikely.
- When Fry and Nibbler were in the past (31 December 1999), and under the table, they were talking at normal volume so the Fry in the past sitting in the desks chair must have heard them.
- It is established in "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid" that Nibbler must communicate telepathically to bypass the language barrier. It is entirely possible that Fry's perception is that they're talking normally when they might not even be speaking at all.
- When the Nibblonian ship approaches the Infosphere, the female nibblonian is on the left hand side (from viewer's perspective) and then when the camera goes into the ship, she and Lord Nibbler have swapped places, she is now on the right.
- The light in Applied Cryogenics change during the scene. When Future-fry emerge and grabs Nibbler all shadows indicate the only light source is directly above the table. When the countdown on the clock begin the light source is between the table and the cryogenics tube, and finally when past-Fry tumbles over there's an incredibly powerful light source at the entrance door.
- In "Jurassic Bark", we see a Nibblonian eye-stalk in the trash bin, yet in this episode Nibbler is under the desk all the time.
- The eye-stalk is not necessarily Nibbler's.
- When Fry enters the Nibblonian Hall, his jacket is done up, then next shot it is undone again. He would not have had time to undo it.
- When Fry is flying into the Infosphere, there's a shot of him looking down at his wrist communicator and he isn't wearing a glove. Every other shot shows he is.
- The Nibblonians could not be called that and neither can Nibbler be called Lord Nibbler, because Turanga Leela names Nibbler, so that could not be his real name, if he had sentience before being found by Leela.
- It is established in "The Day the Earth Stood Stupid" that his name and the name of their race is likely called such for the sake of time as in the time it would take to pronounce one letter of his true name, a trillion cosmoses would flair into existence and sink into eternal night.
- The big brain in the center of the Infosphere asked if the request was from the Philip J. Fry of Earth, or the Philip J. Fry of Hovering Squid World 97A, indicating that there was only one Philip J. Fry on Earth during 31 December 1999. However, in Bender's Big Score, when Bender looks for Fry in the phonebook, it becomes apparent that there was more than one Philip J. Fry alive at that time.
- The big brain may be asking for clarification based on the Philip J. Frys who are in a position to have been alive back then and asking the question in the present, meaning that only these two Philip J. Frys meet that criteria.
- When Fry goes back in time and lets Nibbler freeze him, Nibbler says that he will get a transfer to Earth to help Fry in 1000 years. However, because Nibbler is on Earth the whole series, (we presume that being on Vergon 6 was simply a ploy to get close to Fry), that means that Fry has always been going back in time. Simply because Nibbler is with Fry means that Fry went back in time, so he SHOULD have given Fry the Scooty Puff Sr. in the first place.
- Because Fry tells Nibbler that Scooty Puff Jr.'s are poor quality, Fry does not end up getting trapped in the Infosphere. Because of this, Fry would not be able to go back in time and tell Nibbler that Scooty Puff Jr.'s are poor quality, and he would get stuck in the Infosphere. Then, because he got stuck in the Infosphere, he would go back in time..... etc. This creates a paradox.
- Fry brings his own bomb into the Infosphere, yet the timer and audible countdown for the bomb appear on the Brain's computer instead of the bomb, as though the sphere had initiated a self destruct sequence.