Ep.37: The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz (Notes)

  • Consumerism: Fry eats “Styro-Pak Cookies” (Oreo Cookies, essentially), which divide each cookie into three individually wrapped packages: top, bottom, and middle. Fry then uses a machine which presses all three parts together only for him to then twist off the top and bottom, eat the middle, and discard the rest. Bender, meanwhile, has an antenna spray which makes him smell good but harms the environment.
  • Leela, outraged at the professor’s disregard for the ecosystem just to avoid the tollbooth, storms off to join the protesters. Interestingly enough, however, she is forced to hand over her personal property (her “captain’s jacket”) to her employer, despite having owned it for ten years.
  • Bender is made captain over Fry because Bender lacks intuition and heart and is “cold and logical”. Selling your surplus-labor in the future is a vicious affair.
  • Leela’s Preference for violence: when she joins Penguins Unlimited, she says, “Why do we have to resort to non-violence; can’t we just kick their asses?” Though the future is brutal when it comes to labor exploitation, at least the spirit of violent resistance is kept alive through the laborers fierce class consciousness. This actually comes up again in a later episode where everyone employed by the professor joyfully remarks how they spend a not insubstantial amount of time devising ways to get back at a bad boss.
  • Bromance: when Fry storms off, angry at Bender’s ego and treatment of him, Bender gets drunk by refusing to drink. Saucy!
  • Media: after the darkmatter oil spill, the newscasters add sound effects to images of the tragedy in order to lessen its emotional impact.
  • Bender is merely given a slap on the wrist after the oil spill with only needing to give five-hours of community service cleaning the spill up, signaling that the environment is hardly cared about in the future; this makes sense since earlier in the episode Fry remarks, “Why, it’s not like it’s the only one we got” after Leela lectures them on the eco-damage they are helping to cause.
  • Police regularly hug one another: the robot police we know from a later episode is a known Robosexual (a robot-human relationship), so does this mean robosexuality is inherently Bisexual or pansexual?
  • Social Hypocrisy: the eco-warriors turn out to be hunters. In times of peace, they love the environment, but when it comes times to “do what you have to do”, they enjoy killing since they minus well enjoy killing if they have to do it. Though it is a borderline third-positionist position, it also hints at a practical methodology in a future otherwise brutal on logic which values only force and exploitation.
  • The ending hints at Penguins arming themselves and maybe gaining some sentience. This is due to Bender’s military leadership (“If it ain’t black and white, peck, scratch, and bite”) and suggests a morally dubious, albeit absurd, ending. Regardless, we see dialectics of military struggle flow naturally from external aggression and then the impulse to liberation (“Nature will work itself out”).

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