Ep.47: I Dated a Robot (Notes)

  • Fry: “For one brief moment, I felt the heartbeat of creation and it was one with my own!” To which his co-workers respond, “We all feel like that all the time!” to shut Fry up. This is in contradistinction to an earlier episode which suggested that people of the future live in misery. This new revelation, then, hints that people in the future commit suicide for reasons other than neurological, such as social and labor oriented (such as Bender’s obvious loneliness and disgust at being built to help end-lives). Since we know that the suicide rate in the future is high, this means that for people to end their lives, the conditions of the future must truly be horrendous for the state of affairs to cut through the evident “joy” which everyone apparently feels.
  • Fry’s dreams can be completed in but a single morning, “quite an hour and a half” as the professor remarks; some of those activities were planet destroying, riding a T-Rex, and downloading the personality of a celebrity into a robot body. All of which, considering the technology of the future, was easily achievable. In particular, though, I want to draw attention to the planet wrecking company– run by Sal, of course– since it is described by Leela as a humdrum activity; this makes sense since there would, of course, be many planets which would be uninhabitable by humans or that wouldn’t be profitable to colonize. Needless to say, such planets would only be good for mining the destroyed wreckage. Usually, in sci-fi, all, or most planets, are deemed livable by planets or in the very least, aren’t routinely destroyed for fun.
  • The professor says that there are only two universes which are parallel to each other; in other episodes, though, such as in season four, we see that alternate timelines are created, which is similar to a universe. Likewise, in the film The Beast with a Billion Backs, the monster-creature existed within an alternate universe. This means that these universes are not quite parallel but exist in a mathematical dimension not quite in line with the professor’s own calculations.
  • Nappster is obviously a riff on “kidnapper” which is a simple workaround of the music site from yesteryear which allowed people to download music. The whole episode, then, taken with the rather crude comments on the function of the internet (“the free exchange and sale of other people’s ideas!”), has a reactionary morality which defends exploitative labor-practices.
  • Once Fry begins morally “dating” Lucy Liu, we see the series first formal introduction of Robosexuals or humans who live with and through some manner have sexual congress with robots. The viewer is introduced to this through a satire of an anti-Gay sex PSA from the fifties. More to the point, it hints at how society grappled with the ideas of robots being used to satisfy sexual urges once they surpassed the uncanny valley; that is to say, society grappled with it through reproductive concerns and forbid it out of religious fear (as indicated at the end of the PSA where the reptilian “Space Pope” endorsement is seen and Bender’s angry ranting about Fry having “metal fever”). Obviously, propaganda by any sense of the word, even more so since Hermes directly calls it as much. We know that robots can reproduce by themselves, so since most humans can reproduce, human-robot relationships and Bender’s rage at Fry, is primarily taboo because heteronormativites become “crossed”, so to speak, and that threatens the maintenance of the reverse industrial army.
  • In the anti-Robosexual PSA: “All of civilization was just an effort to impress the opposite sex, and sometimes the same-sex”. Let’s ignore the nihilism of civilizational commentary since this is typical White cynicism meant to be deflected as part of postmodern defeatism; what I want to bring attention to is the “same-sex” part of the announcer and how it is accompanied with an image of the word “drama” crumbling. Get it, homosexuality is just drama according to boring cishet dudes in animation. Funny. Yet another instance of the petty and limited understanding of the sexuality spectrum.

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