Ep.15: Brannigan, Begin Again (Notes)

  • Episode reflects some of the aesthetics of the award winning Gay porn film “Midnight Cowboy”. And odd choice.
  • Virtual chess mimics the chess in Star Wars (or was it Star Trek?).
  • D.O.O.P: Democratic Order of Planets: similar to the United Nations. Disdain for U.S policies come up through the acronym misspelling “dupe”, as in, being duped into supporting U.N pretense.
  • DOOP fostered peace between the “Insectoids” and the “Space Lizards”, but when the camera cuts to the representatives, the Space Lizard representative is in the process of eating the Insectoid representative before hastily spitting him out; a jab at the ineffectiveness of U.N peace keeping operations.
  • First references to Planet Amazonia.
  • Zapp hates “the Neutrals” because he “doesn’t know where they stand”. Signals a “you’re either with us or against us” fascist mind-set. If this episode didn’t premier earlier than the third prequel Star Wars film, then I would make a connection to that franchise as the Jedi are mentioned throughout Futurama at numerous points.
  • Zapp arbitrarily arrests Leela and company because he thinks that the giant scissors are part of a Nuetral plot to assassinate the representatives of the Yearn people of Nylar Four. Obviously, part of Zapp’s toxic masculinity as it is a pretense to be alone with Leela and harass her.
  • In the crowd, one of the Robot Elders from Chapx-9 can be seen. Like the present day U.N., the future U.N plays host to a variety of brutal regimes for reasons probably related to imperialist alliance (the lugnut shortage is relieved by Earth, thus signaling that the Earth government has certain relations with the Chapex population).
  • Zapp Conquest: “…from a triumphant carpet bombing of Eden Seven.” Zapp, like Trump, will go to no end to preserve freedom!
  • Zapp’s ignorance leads to the destruction of the DOOP headquarters after he tries to cut the ribbon with the laser set to MEGADEATH(TM). The former DOOP headquarters is located in Weehauken New Jersey. Soon after it is revealed that the space station cost over 400 billion dollars. After a quasi-heartfelt speech, Zapp quickly attempts to pass the blame to Kiff who is promptly dismissed from the DOOP as well.
  • Zapp pleads “99% absolutely not guilty”. A fun but narcissistic way to try and defend yourself against overwhelming evidence.
  • Hyper-Chicken Lawyer: from a backwoods asteroid.
  • Zapp nearly is cleared of charges due to classism (“the incompetence of this hillbilly prosecutor”) and his service to the imperialist military. Is convicted at the last moment by a Leela’s defiant pleading.
  • During the montage of odd-jobs which Zapp and Kiff endure to make money, Kiff is waved in to an older woman’s limo (the cat lady who has one share of Planet Express); it is connoted that Kiff had sexual relations with her. Denotes the low-position which hey have sunk.
  • Homoeroticism? Fry and Bender play with the hoses and Leela says, “this is the third hose fight I’ve broken up today, and the second one using actual hoses”. Does this mean that the first hose was a penis-oriented affair?
  • Zapp reveals that Leela was the only woman who ever had sex with him. (“I mean physically.”)
  • Labor Exploitation: The professor only hires Zapp and Kiff to distract people from PE’s “horrendous safety record”.
  • Professor has bad memory, can’t remember long-term employees.
  • Zapp inspires a mutiny in part due to toxic masculinity. He appeals to Fry and Bender’s lazy work ethic and male focused ethos via beer and gambling. Once the mutiny succeeds, he encourages Fry and Bender to drink Beer to gain their loyalty; if one wanted to go in this direction, one could argue that alcohol is being used as a pacifying agent on the working class as fascist aggression is normalized.
  • Physics: each of the forty pillows weighs 150 pounds once on the planet surface. Can science enthusiasts do the calculations?
  • Zapp’s toxic personality causes a cyclical effect: just as Kiff sighs dejectedly whenever Zapp does something absurd, Kiff’s incessant talking about Zapp causes Leela to sigh dejectedly. Part of late capitalism’s alienation. Zapp defines loyalty as a willingness to die for him.
  • Class Life: Zapp describes the unhealthy hobo food as “Hobo cuisine”, an oddly enlightened way at looking at working class food for an imperialist mass-murderer.
  • Zapp is delusional: he believes that dismantling the “Neutral war-machine”, the DOOP’s “arch-enemy”, will lead to him being reinstated as captain. Deflects criticism of the plan back on to Kiff.
  • Neutrals take the idea of neutrality to an extreme by having even language and affect be measured in middling terms.
  • Kiff is infantilized by being forced to wear a children’s space suit and by being manhandled.
  • Feminist vs. Meinist: labor conflict takes odd turns as Leela hesitantly endorses Zapp’s misogynistic fable to the DOOP chairwoman so that she may be rid of Zapp in her daily working life; a sort of feminism if one wishes to look at it that way; a compromise which must be made under late capitalism if one wishes to have a pleasant working life.
  • Leela encourages a mutiny after the professor cancels the proposed time-off. Part of the great dialectic.

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