Ep.23: A Clone of My Own (Notes)

  • The Professor reveals that he put Hitler’s brain in the body of a great white shark. Supposedly, he was disciplined for that action, though it is never referred to again.
  • Life of the Professor: April 9th, 2841 is the professor’s birthdate; Hometown Neighborhood: Hell’s Laboratory (in New New York); he learns to read at age 8 and still isn’t toilet trained; as a teenager, he played the futuristic version of Dungeons and Dragons; spent fourteen years in graduate school; the professor has designed “fast cars, trendy night spots, and beautiful women” while “working out of his tiny one-room apartment”; for fifty years, he worked for Mom’s Friendly Robot Company, built the first robot capable of qualifying for a boat loan.
  • After his birthday celebration, the professor experiences a deep existential dread over his looming age and (allegedly) his impending death; but, since death in the Futurama universe tends to only happen through violence, and the professor spends a decent amount of time lamenting his half-finished inventions, this crisis seems to be more about labor and social usefulness, retirement, in a word, not death per se.
  • When people turn 150 they are taken by “the Sunset Squad” to a mysterious planet for their care. This is the “Near Death” star and its name reveals that death is capable of happening in the Futurama universe, though it could just be a turn-of-phrase; what is interesting is that Leela says this with confidence so we can assume that people have had their lives extended to 150 instead of eighty or ninety which is the average today.
  • Professor laments about his half-invented projects and “loves half loved”. He is quite the ladies man if you want to add up all his paramours. In any case, he spent fifteen years trying to make a time machine; in a later episode, he succeeds in making a time machine which can move forward in time only.
  • Qbert’s cloning process was begun twelve years prior but the professor, evidently, forgot about it until now; what would have happened if he never remembered Qbert? Regardless, Qbert’s reveal is preceded by a Dr. Frankenstein-esque show of a giant lever and arcane scientific equipment making Qbert’s existence something of a duality with equal parts abomination and goodness.
  • The Professor began the cloning process by removing some skin cells from a growth on his back then put him in a small tube, where his nose got squished up against the side. At the episode’s end, the professor says that Qbert will end up just like him (he is a clone, after all) and that he should read up on a condition called “wandering bladder”, thus revealing that the professor also had trouble with his bladder during his youth (whatever we are qualifying as “youth”). Qbert, as revealed by Bender, already wets the bed.
  • When Qbert asks if they’ve ever seen a genius’s wiener before, Fry replies “once in the park”. This is revealing. Sure, it could have just been on of those eccentric persons ranting and raving, but since we know previously that Fry has this odd association with Queerness, I find it especially telling that Fry has seen another man’s penis. Sure, it doesn’t mean much by itself but when taken with other events it starts to build a more complete picture than the standard cishet guy.
  • The Universal Translator: can only translate into “an incomprehensible dead language” which happens to be French. How did French become a dead language and one which is “incomprehensible” to boot?
  • PE Delivery Ship: can travel faster than the speed of light, since scientists increased the speed of light (in 2208), and so is able to traverse between galaxies in “mere hours”. Meanwhile, the afterburners deliver “200% fuel efficiency” via dark matter. In any case, the engines move the universe around the ship while the ship itself remains where it is.
  • After the dinner with Qbert at Elzar’s, the professor alerts the Sunset Squad robots; evidently, the professor can communicate with them somehow. Did the professor invent them?
  • Disease: T.H.S, or Talking Hump Syndrome. Diseases are weird in the year 3000.
  • Upon seeing the Near Death Star’s insides, Leela remarks “your Medicare dollars at work”, thus signaling that the star is a product of the Earth government which taxpayers pay into. This makes sense since why else would robots take care of old humans when many robots hate humans, apparently?
  • The life support system of the star is a parody of The Matrix; does this have any deeper point of reference or meaning? We know the virtual communities is a satire of retirement homes in Flordia, so does this mean that year 3000 Flordia is no longer appropriate for senior citizens? Does this carry over in any way to the possible third industrial robot revolution I alluded to in the Xmas episode? It is, after all, robots caring for the old people.
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