Ep.30: War is the H-Word (Notes)

  • Outside the corner store there is a sign which reads “Cashier only has $10 in checking account” while inside the cashier is seen wearing a protective bulletproof suit. Suggests that crime is rampant and there is little corporate accountability if the store is warning would-be robbers of the limited funds of the potential robbed.
  • There is a certain level of intrigue in the idea that service men in the future are given all-purpose discount cards. Not only that but that Fry and Bender would serve in the military exclusively for those discount cards. In any case, in the recruitment center, there is a poster which a picture of a bloody coffin that says “Employee of the Month”. Liberal anti-war.
  • The future Earth Military has a “men only” policy after, apparently, sensual pinching caused distractions. Obviously, a very male-centric policy but as far as I know, this is a policy which was never repealed.
  • The “brass ring”, or Sphereon-1, is an “ugly, desolate little planet with no natural recourses or strategic value whatsoever”. Raises the question of why the Earth military would attack such a planet; possibly, to give the military-industrial complex something to do to expend surplus-value. Also, perhaps, to tame the population a bit into believing there is an enemy to fight. In any case, Zapp appeals to the troops by relying on a crude sort of xenophobia and primary school humor: “We know nothing about their language, history or what they look like; but, we can assume this: they stand for everything we don’t stand for! Plus, they told me you guys look like dorks!”
  • When Leela (Lee Lemon) finishes the training course and Kiff remarks on his time, Zapp is able to give the precise difference between Lemon’s finishing time and his own time; this gives credence to another Futurama theory that suggests Zapp is actually a genius (or was a genius) and that is why he remains a general.
  • “That man fills me with hope… and some other emotions that are weird and deeply confusing”. To this, Kiff remarks “ew!” and so we see some macho-man petty-homophobia.
  • There is any deeper idea behind the enemy being giant bouncing balls? Or the guns the Earth troops use needing to be “wound up” as they make wacky childhood noises? (their “Positron Shooters”) Later, Fry remarks that “war has made me into a man” and so there is an obvious thread concerning adulthood and carnage. I want to say that it is a parody of Fullmetal Jacket, but there isn’t a whole lot to go on to prove that point; rather, it seems more generic.
  • Just a fun remark: “Look at this sissy, Kiff; while others were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole, wallowing in a pool of his own cowardice”. Displays a remarkable understanding of the conflict but also that the government is well-aware of the pointless nature of the conflict and how it is managed for other ends. If we really wanted to get into why the Earth government is so belligerent, perhaps we could connect it to the Third Industrial Robotic Revolution? What effect did robots have on the military?
  • The final mission Bender is sent on is one of peace since “the war” was in danger of becoming a quagmire; seeing as how the planet was a spurious invasion, this is surprising, but other ways not since they invaded knowing nothing about the planet or foe. This being said, though, Bender succeeds in winning the war for Earth: what did Earth do with Sphereon-1? “Wait, this is your home planet; we’re the evil invading aliens?” “Correct”.
  • Gender: Leela’s cross-dressing is actually a historically relevant factoid of war; women have always dressed as men to fight in wars but it is interesting here because there used to allow female soldiers. When Zapp sees Lemon and Fry holding hands, he jumps to believing them to be “good friends”, which suggests that in the macho atmosphere of war, there is never even a suggestions of homosexual love; moreover, though, it is interesting that Fry holds Lee’s hand even after he is helped up by him. This plays into Fry’s previous odd homoerotic moments.
  • Rolling, bouncing, rolling of the third type, and Bouncing of the Seventh Variety (violence) along with the height of the bouncing all have exact meanings in “Sphere” culture.
  • At the end of the episode, the Professor is unable to remove the bomb but after the credits, it explodes and since Bender himself is unharmed, this suggests that the bomb was just a diversion or poorly planned. Word changed to “antiquing”.

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