Friday, June 25, 2010

The Futurama is Now!

It's here! It's here! It's here! It's here! Sweet zombie Jesus, I can't fucking believe it! I have been looking foward to the return of Futurama with more anticipation and anxiety than an upcoming lobster dinner with Frank Grimes. Not only is Futurama easily the best animated show of all time... well, no that's pretty much it. It is hands down the best. It started off strong, stayed strong and ended strong. Now, don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of The Simpsons, which was a massive driving force in shaping the collective consciousness of my generation and embedding itself in the annals of pop culture for all of eternity. I mean, I can hardly get through a conversation - or a blog post for that matter - without some reference to or direct quote from The Simpsons. The thing with The Simpsons, though, is that they started off OK (the first season is sometimes hard to sit through) got amazing and has now petered off to a mere shadow of its former glory, with a few notable exceptions. But it seems that Matt Groening and his partner in crime David X. Cohen took all the lessons they learned from The Simpsons and honed their skills to near god-like perfection for Futurama.

It totally sucked balls when Futurama was cancelled by Fox for some inexplicable reason in its prime, but I also felt a small twinge of relief because now that spaceship had run out of dark matter fuel (for lack of a better metaphor) there was absolutely no chance of this piece of art that I loved being fucked up, unintentionally or otherwise. So when I heard the news that Futurama was indeed being brought back to life first through a series of several movies and then with new episodes in a new season I was cautiously optimistic. I had been burned before - and badly - by a little show I like to call Family Guy... because that's the name of the show. The first three seasons of that show were pure gold, and I remember watching bootleg episodes on my roommate's computer back in university. In fact we studied for our geology exam with Family Guy and I passed, so it was all good. But that's neither here nor there.

The point of this rambling is that because of the outpouring of support from the fans and massive sales on DVD, Fox decided to bring Family Guy back to life with disappointing results. For me the magic was gone and with the exception of a few episodes all the new stuff is damn-near unwatchable including two especially shitty Star Wars specials. I don't know what happened, but they took the cutaway which, when used sparingly, is a highly effective comedic device and then overused it to death.
So having been burned before and holding Futurama in such high regard, I was very hesitant to get my hopes up for its return. Just like one of Bender's schemes, Futurama seems incapable of failing. All four movies - Bender's Big Score, The Beast With a Billion Backs, Bender's Game, and Into the Wild Green Yonder - were firing on all cylinders, and Groening seemingly did the impossible: he recaptured the magic of the original four seasons. They had all the self-deprecating, logic-bending, social-commentary-filled humour that made the show so great to begin with.

And then on Thursday, June 24, a date that will live on in history textbooks as one of the great days in animation history, we were graced with not one but two episodes from an entirely NEW season of Futurama, and all I can say is that they were fucking great. The first one picked up right where Into the Wild Green Yonder left off and quickly delved off into that age old question: can two robots truly find love in a meatbag's world? It was nice that the ongoing gag/story about Fry and Leela's unrequited love was an integral part of the show, as was Bender's partying and the Professor's wild and often ethically questionable science (stem cells anyone?) It was glorious. One of the great things about the show is that the tone and the characters have remained consistent throughout. The main characters have already been well-established and so have their motivations which the makers of the show seem to understand implicitly. Plus the calibre of the writing has also remained steadfast and true like the inevitable countdown of a doomsday device.

So it is with a cautious sense of optimism that I step out of the suicide booth and plant myself in front of my TV to await another episode of The Scary Door... I mean Futurama. Thank you Matt Groening and David X. Cohen and the good folks over at Comedy Central for the gift that keeps on giving. Now I can look forward to cracking open a can of Slurm, ordering a large bucket of popplers, sitting down with my best robo-friend and watching another daring adventure of the crew of the Planet Express delivery company, and I suggest you do the same unless you want the clamps. And if you don't like it then you can kiss my shiny metal ass!


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