Ep.43: Insane in the Mainframe (Notes)

  • Zoidberg has been with Planet Express for ten years; during which time he never paid into his pension, which at least gives us a small insight into the retirement package of the future being relatively the same as today, surprisingly enough. This… doesn’t really add up to the timeline we see in a future episode where we learn that Zoidberg came to work for the professor as part of their “arrangement” concerning a certain kind of fever. Not unless past a certain age, both he and the professor rapidly aged. Seeing as how the same issue exists for New New York as a city, though, since if you will remember, in a flashback, the Planet Express building is built before the surrounding city, then I guess we can ignore this for now.
  • The 67th Amendment: one can refuse to testify if one is being threatened by having their lungs being chopped up into a patty. The justice system of the future is both weird and cruel. Imagine the sort of corruption that must have existed for this to pass into law. More specifically, it actually makes sense since in the future, all meat, including human children, is consumed in abundance, so it makes sense that people’s organs are targeted. Once again, something which seems absurd on the surface finds some realism in the world-building.
  • Judge Whitey ruled that being poor is a mental illness and so the human insane asylum has been full ever since. Once again, the justice system of the future is truly one of fascistic anti-people measures. So, it has come full circle.
  • HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots: this is a reference to HAL from 2001: A Space Oydessy. Unfortunately, we do not see any HAL in the episode, though we do see a protracted musing on Freudian psychoanalysis (Dr.Perceptron, doctor of Freudian circuits) along with a literary reference to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. There is, though, a mini-commentary on the rigidness of such institution in that they are unable to discover that Fry is a human. The best part is right at the beginning where Dr.Perceptron uses circular reasoning to attempt and convince Fry to accept his status as an insane robot.
  • Unit 2013, the robot who picks up the CIA dining hall menu, Bender’s Napoleon persona… all amusing but all are very Ableist; it may be a skewering of references but seeing as how this is a comedy, to ignore how the writers are lampooning the mentally ill.
  • Part of why Fry remains traps in the asylum is because the governor doesn’t want to “appear soft on people falsely imprisoned”. It seems that the prison industrial complex has also come around full circle. Injustice has become justice. Case in point, Fry is only released when he legitimately goes insane and believes himself to be a robot.
  • Fry says “ye”, a quasi-medievalism. This in addition to saying “ax” instead of ask. Minor point.
  • Roberto attempts to rob the same bank three times. If there is any value in building an insane robot, it is probably as a means to test bank security. Essentially, a live-action troubleshooting method to perpetually keep the police state on its toes.
  • Fry “regains” his sanity through bio-essentially (by noticing his bleeding blood). Because it is not possible to suddenly “regain” one’s sanity, Fry must have been in a deep denial similar to PTSD.
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