Thursday, July 22, 2010

Did Futurama Get Edgier?

When Futurama moved to Comedy Central, did the show change it's tone, adding shock for its own sake? The question was raised after a couple of things in the first three episodes. In the second new episode, Leela and Zap Branigan spend some time naked except for leaves, conveniently held in place by sticky bark. Leela is showing more skin than usual but no more than a bikini would cover. In the third episode, Fry and Bender have a bet in which the loser has to dive into a pool filled by the PukemePoopyou, a creature with two goat heads. It spends much of the episode spewing from one end or the other.

So, given that Comedy Central is the home of South Park, where you can say anything except "There's Mohamed dressed as a bear!", is Futurama upping the shock level? I don't think so. The show was originally on Fox at a time when it was known for bad taste so the standards have not really changed. Consider a few classic episodes:

In Three Hundred Big Boys, Leela stuffs her swimming suit with rotten fish in order to retrieve a watch that Mushu the whale swallowed. It works and the whale spent some time vomiting. "It just keeps coming and coming," the robot cop observed. At the same time, the whale ate Leela's swimming suit and she had to wrap herself in a banner, showing about as much skin.

Slurm is excreted from the rear end of a giant slug.

Fry was once infested with intelligent worms. The Planet Express crew journeyed through his bowels. At one point Zoidburg appeared riding a sperm cell saying, "You'll never guess where I've been."

Nibbler once ate Amy's bikini top. She used a couple of hamburger buns for modesty until the Professor could spray on a replacement.

In the episode with Fry's petrified dog, Leela and Amy were dressed in sexy leotards, practicing disarming each other in sexy ways. Later Leela started to tear her already brief outfit off.

The professor appeared fully nude from the rear several times. Leela, disguised as a man, had to avoid Zap while showering. Zap was nude with his modesty preserved by Nixon's head.

There there was the episode with "human horn".

Clearly, Futurama was never a model of decorum. I think it only seems shocking now because we have seen the older episodes so many times (I lost count years ago).

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