Ep.48: A Leela of Her Own (Notes)

  • The professor is racist against Signoids (Signas-5). Leela, meanwhile, may have prejudices of her own since she espouses a cynical ideological theory stating that “society’s never gonna to make any progress until we all learn to pretend to like each other”. In any case, the signoids are heavily and stereotypically Italian, complete with a backstory of opening a business to escape poverty. Unfortunately, the signoids creation inadvertently endorses some racist mythology; we see them mix in hornets and horse manure into their dough, and this aligns well with racist propaganda from yesteryear which tried to link MSG as a poison within Asian cuisine.
  • Leela ends up as the first female Blernsball player in the major leagues. However, her fame is a joke since she is a publicity stunt. A social commentary on the gender divide in sports but also a wee bit sexist in itself since the commentary is delivered through a legitimation of sexist discrimination– Leela’s inability to play– though the episode attempts a recuperation through Jackie Anderson’s role as a competent athlete. Since Leela does have trouble with depth perception, however, I cannot hold this too much against the episode as it seems the sport is just ill-suited to someone with imperfect vision.
  • Leela’s number is “7/8” because all the whole numbers had been retired. This raises a question, obviously, on pie and just how much of it humanity in the year 3000 knows. Jackie, though, has the number 24– how?
  • When in the locker room, the players’ genitals are covered by an electronically generated black bar; when Bender trips the cord and the bars disintegrate, the players automatically shriek for cover, suggesting that the human body has yet to be normalized even in the future, when people are supposedly less rigid about modesty and nudity. Though, it could just be a male insecurity issue.
  • Leela’s fame promptly causes her to be commoditized by the industry and Bender, who uses her fame to have her star in exploitative commercials and autographs signings.
  • Bender’s head can be used as a batting helmet. One of his many issues in addition to a steam cooker, an oven, a dark room, a toilet, and a cannon.

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