Episode: “’Rebirth/In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela’” (Season 6, Episodes 1 and 2)
Airs: Comedy Central, Thursdays, 10pm
Episode synopsis: In rebirth, following the events of Into the Wild Green Yonder, the gang learns a sad truth about Leela and Fry. In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela features the tale of Leela and Zapp and their attempt to save earth from total destruction.
Major developments: In the first episode of the premiere, we see what happened after the gang went into the worm hole. After some 4th wall breaking jokes, we get an explanation to the promo pic that was released a few weeks ago of everyone in near death, skeleton form. Unfortunately Leela is in a coma, so a distraught Fry heads to the Build-A-Bot Workshop to make a new Leela. Then the real Leela wakes up and hilarity ensues. The second episode sees a brand new bottle episode adventure with Leela and Zapp. That’s about the most “major development” that occurs.
What worked: It was great seeing all the original voice actors back together. The chemistry between the characters is stronger than ever, and downright hilarious. Now that the show is on a basic cable network at a fairly late time, you can see the writers and animators doing much more riskay jokes, everything from an orgy gag that features Amy in latex, to Adam and Eve style nudity between Zapp and Leela. We even see some fairly graphic intercourse jokes, at least by Futurama standards.
What didn’t: Considering that the much less restrictive Comedy Central is letting them get away with much raunchier material, I was surprised how little this changed Bender’s personality. As much as I love the character, he has always been restricted in what he could say or do because of the FCC guidelines impinged on broadcast networks. We saw a much darker side of him in the direct to DVD films but he was very under used in these first two episodes. His only gag is a result of being forced to party all the time because of his new energy source but it gets old very fast and the writers knew it when they have Bender say flat out “I am sick of partying.” Hopefully this will change as time goes on, beyond that there isn’t much to complain about.
Final thoughts: Overall, this was a strong start for the returning Futurama. I can only hope that the push towards much more adult jokes continues. As far as the humor level, the writers never missed a beat.
What’s next: The future of social networking is revealed, and Mom isn’t too far behind.
To read more of Merrill’s television reviews and to listen to his Idiot Boxers podcast, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.