Ep.21: Raging Bender (Notes)

  • Brain Slugs are likened to Star Trek‘s The Borg which assimilates people. They can be warded off with a garlic shampoo; as an alien race, Brain Slugs are oddly Ableist since later in the episode it is revealed that Fry’s brain slug “starved to death”. This is absurd. Whether one counts it by IQ points, a meaningless and racist concept, or by neuron activity, either way, are implausible for why Fry since we know from previous episodes, like “Put Your Head on My Shoulder”, that Fry thinks intensely (“I spend a few hours selecting candy from the machine, there’s Amy!” emphasis mine). I guess when you’re liberals, you need to find high-brow ways of slandering someone, simply shouting “retard” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • Late Capitalism: the poster for the historical documentary “Galaxy Wars” fools Fry into believing that it is an action-adventure space film; another instance of aesthetics misleading us.
  • Sexuality: on the front of the movie theater, we see a movie called “When a Man Loves a Smizmar”, which indicates that inter-species love is not uncommon in the year 3000 (and as evidenced by Kiff and Amy’s relationship, though Amy is a bit hesitant at Kiff meeting her parents indicating that bastions of prejudice still remain, perhaps).
  • Movie Rating: “Not suitable for aliens from planet M-14”. After this, a pair of aliens leave. Why is the subject matter not appropriate for them? It is clearly a satire on age but since this is an actual race of creatures, how is the film’s contents at odds with their mental capacities?
  • The newly crowned Miss Universe entertains germ-like aliens “fighting to wipe out the human race”. Aside from the fact that this is an obvious science joke concerning germ theory, it reveals that in the year 3000, humanity has made enemies which, aside from the race which Morbo belongs to, want to exterminate humanity. Considering Zapp’s imperialist mass-slaughtering, this is to be expected.
  • During the credits for the “All My Circuits: The Movie”, most of the technical work in the film is done by “Units” with but a single human name. This either reflects the state of labor in the future economy, suggesting that artistic pursuits have been robotized so that the human labors can focus on other economic sectors, or it is an inside joke that since All My Circuits is a robot drama, that it is mostly robots who work on it.
  • Moviegoers during the year 3000 have the apparent option to press one of two buttons which allow them to vote on which direction the film takes; this implies that films have become more like “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories. A false illusion of choice to appear more democratic?
  • Bender picks fights at funerals. As evidenced by his reaction after his first match, though, Bender appears alien to taking lives.
  • Leela’s outlet for sexist and racist violence is to practice “Octouran Kung-Fu”. But, even there, she faced sexist discrimination from her instructor, Master Funog.
  • America’s heartland is in Mexico. Implies invasion by the U.S., unless they mean America in the sense of North America, which I feel is unlikely.
  • Bender’s Persona: “Bender the Offender”. His first words are “I’m just an ex-con trying to go straight and get my kids back”. Though this is an obvious jab at the theatrics of professional wrestling, considering the cross-dressing antics later in the episode, the “trying to go straight”, takes on added meaning. It is important to note that Bender’s career as a wrestler comes wholly from his masculinity but it destroyed the moment the audience finds his masculinity threatened by his cross-dressing persona, the “Gender Bender”. This is the first of two major gender-oriented escapades which Bender involves himself within to win fame and both are rooted in Transphobic, biological reductionist, gender essentialist conceptions of gender (the announcer also manages to smuggle in some Fat Shaming Ableism into the equation when he announces Bender as “the… blond girl… weighing in at 525 pounds…”). Though Leela’s revenge at her old instructor, thus satiating her teenaged complexities, reconciling sexist feelings from one’s past does not make-up for making Queer people the butt of your joke.
  • The heads of Rich Little and George Foreman concur on the sentiment, “as a head without a body, I envy the dead”, thus continuing the thread from previous and future episodes that it is a lousy existence to live without a body and that the resurrection of these people was done against the actual individual’s will.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s