Ep.16: A Head in the Polls (Notes)

  • C-Span 9: evidently, in the future, there is so much political and government related programming that there needs to be at least nine whole channels. More to the point, secondary channels of the same channel, tends to be where lesser programming goes; so this is actually a statement that the presidential debate is on not the primary C-Span channel but the ninth from the primary.
  • Other channel covering “Decision 3000″ (parody of Decision 2000) news: ” √2 “
  • Exchange between Leela and Fry: “Look, I know there are no car chases, but one of these two men will become the next president of the world” ; “What do we care, we live in the United States!” ; “The United States is part of the world” ; “Wow, I have been gone a long time.” Probably the best jab at American exceptionalism I have seen from an animated TV show. Together with the two candidates for president, Jack Johnson and John Jackson, literally being clones, this episode, in general, is one of the better political satires.
  • Fry is not registered to vote nor is he vaccinated.
  • The first robot president, John Quincy Adding Machine, won by exactly one vote (which means the electoral college has been scrapped in the year 3000), in part due to his failed promise to not go on a killing spree. Such a spree could be seen as allegorical for the failed anti-war promises of candidates.
  • Professor is adamant about the voting process. Fry asks why he is obsessed; professor responds with “the very instant I became old”, which jabs at the preference of senior citizens to militantly support the voting apparatus due to their failing health and conspiracy theories.
  • Sign over voter registration place declares “First 100 customers get extra vote”. Later in the episode, we learn that despite all the hype and drama of the coting cycle, the turnout was still in the single digits, so this is a piece of humor commoditizing voting itself, where the “democratic act” has become just another commodity which can be marketed.
  • “Tastycrats” (Democrats) and “Fingerlicans” (Republicans) are the two primary political parties. This food centric mutation seems to be the result of commoditization. Reformist parties, in a sense, operate like fast-food chains; this would help explain the banner over the registration center declaring that the first 100 voters get an extra vote.
  • The professor: “The problem with both parties is that they always want to give your tax dollars to the less fortunate”. Both a jab at old person conservative thought but also the paper-thin promises of political parties attempting to appear human under their neoliberal skin.
  • Amy: “Only weirdos and mutants join third parties”. A sign that the two primary parties are speciesist insofar as they only care about the normalized, genetically stable surface-dweller.
  • Camera pan reveals various parties and organizations: “One Cell, One Vote”, “Green Party”, “Brain Slug Party”, “Dudes for the Legalation of Hemp”, “Bull Space Moose Party”, “National Ray-Gun Association”, “People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans”, “Voter Apathy Party”. At least reformism is the same in the year 3000.
  • When the professor speaks to the representative of the NRA, he speaks of how he fears for the “mad grad-student”, revealing that “mad” has become a title or status in the scientific community. Similarly, when Zoidberg speaks to the representative of the booth advocating ethical treatment for humans, it is revealed that humans are used to test cosmetics. Fry’s exchange with the person behind the Voter Apathy Party booth, meanwhile, has a fun jab at the much-maligned nature of reformism when Fry becomes excited for apathy and is kicked out of the party.
  • Morbo says that “all humans are vermin in the eyes of Morbo” but he is seen to get along well with Nixon. Is this a jab at Nixon implying that he is non-human?
  • Labor Exploitation: a titanium mine on Titan collapses, trapping and eventually killing, one-thousand robot workers. The mine owner paves over the mine and though Bender is a robot, he stops caring about his kin once he learns that his body has become valuable. If robots are to be likened as a racial minority, then Bender’s attitude here aligns him with the comprador class of counter-revolutionaries.
  • According to Bender, ATM machines are “snooty”. Class divisions exist in intriguing ways among the robot population.
  • Bender declares “hello, peasants” after he is kicked into the PE table; when he says that he sold his body, the professor, evidently having experience in such matters, relates his own story of how Bender will frivolously spend his money. I find it extremely compelling that the professor has lived such a lifestyle. Bender also has a lone-shark (because, of course he does).
  • Bender has a nightmare of renegade numbers, of which a “2” could be seen; programming humor.
  • Inside the pawn shop can be seen a guitar which looks awfully similar to Silicon Red’s guitar in season eight. Is this the same one?
  • Scoop Chang: works for the Beijing Bugle; later he will work for an increasingly marginalized position at other publications.
  • Nixon circumvents the law by arguing that his new robot body allows him to run for president again despite his previous two terms.
  • In Washington D.C: Washington Monument is dwarfed by the Clinton Monument. Both are large, white phallic towers.
  • Sign outside convention centers reads “Tomorrow: Vice Presidential ‘Your Mama So Fat’ contest”. This is, apparently, an important part of the democratic process in the year 3000.
  • Nixon is pro-war and pro-family after Morbo speaks of his own family as “Belligerent and numerous”.
  • Inside Bender’s compartment, he owns a baby– why?
  • During the presidential debate, there is a “Truth-O-Scope”. It is amusing that even under such conditions, politicians who deliver less than they promise still get elected; makes a farce out of the electoral process and why so few people bother with voting.
  • The 60th president of Earth: Fxjkhr (a giant monster who eats humans; sits on a throne with skulls underneath his feet).
  • Nixon gets busted, again, at the Watergate and though this time the events do not stop his presidential aspirations, this marks another instance of the great dialectic insofar as it shows the past repeating itself but under different conditions and with a different end.
  • Nixon’s Rant: “Computers may be twice as fast as they were in 1973, but your average voter is still as drunk and stupid as ever. The only one whose changed is me. I’ve become bitter and, let’s face it, crazy over the years. And once I’m swept into office, I’ll sell our children’s organs to zoos for meat and I’ll go into peoples’ houses at night and wreck up the place! [Laughs Villainously]”.
  • Voter turnout for the election: six-percent, the highest its been in centuries. Nixon won by a single vote; Fry and Leela forgot to vote. Liberal endorsement of the voting process.
  • Nixon wins the election purely from robot votes thanks to his large body; so, Adorno is proven right in this instance, aesthetics lead to fascism.

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