Ep.24: How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back (Notes)

  • When he enters the PE building to play poker, Leela’s old boss formally fires her, saying “you’re over a year late for work at this point”, which indicates that each season is about one year in the Futurama universe. May also indicate something about labor laws: did the cryogenics lab not have a fill in for Leela this entire time if she was not formally fired until now? I supposed there is too much variance to make any definitive decision but it is revealing all the same if true.
  • Hermes becomes so distraught over his destroyed office and subsequent lack of a promotion, that he threatens suicide; a social commentary, perhaps, on how labor conditions and the false specter of grade raises compels people to go against their nature, hence why Hermes laments that he is “only anal 78.36% of the time”. At the end of the episode, though, it is this fusion of culture and personal which drives Hermes to reignite his passion for paper pushing. Reminds him to take pride in the art, not the artificial rendition of the art. Doubly ironic in the context of a bureaucracy.
  • Within the world of paper pushers, there is a “death transaction” which requires “a suicide and/or falling accident permit” for the dead person to posthumously retain their work rank. This keeps in line with the other absurdities of the Central Bureaucracy such as “paid vacation” being “the ultimate penalty” and the headquarters constituting an immense structure reminiscent of a dungeon in Dungeons&Dragons, while the “master in-pile” is literally a pile of plastic tubes containing documents.
  • Zoidberg, though knowing nothing about “Spa Five, the Sauna Planet” still recommends patients because they send him a bucket of krill for every person he sends. Reveals how desperate Zoidberg’s living and occupational situation is as well as, maybe, the state of healthcare in the future; in any case, since Spa Five turns out to be a forced labor camp, we see an additional movement on how futuristic labor is exploited. Interestingly enough, this is labor performed wholly by humans (24/7), no robots can be seen; this suggests that certain economic sectors still prefer to rely on human slave labor to exploit the natural resources of the land. This ties into the recent theory on eco-socialism.
  • Spurious Bureaucratic Minutia: Fry is promoted to “executive delivery boy” but will no longer go on missions. Ties into a later episode where he is once again promoted to “Executive delivery boy” after a labor/personal dispute with the professor.
  • Sexual Fetish: Fry and Morgan’s relationship is based on ideas of organizational clarity which is related to worldview. Drives her to download Bender’s brain, essentially taking him hostage, while Fry is left to rescue him; inverts the social expectations of what “dirty” and “clean” are supposed to signify.
  • Fry admits that Bender is not a good friend (admittedly in frustration).
  • By the end of the episode, every crew member has had “severely reduced pay” inflicted on what I expect is already a meager pay. In general, everyone in this episode who is not the owner, i.e., the professor, has made out for the worse (the crew gets a slash in pay while Hermes get demoted and his pay slashed).

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