TV Review: FUTURAMA - All The President's Heads

This is easily the best Futurama episode since the series came back, and that’s saying something.

rating: 5

€œYou€™re mean, Rutherford B Hayes!€Futurama is at its best when it takes an insane concept and just runs with it. It€™s led to some great episodes, most notably €œRoswell that Ends Well€. Like that one, this episode features time travel, and while it€™s not quite as good as the classic Roswell episode, it still more than holds its own. The story begins with the Professor putting together a holographic family tree. He makes a point of highlighting ancestors like Philo Farnsworth, who invented the TV. He also shows Fry€™s branch, which is withered, and riddled with dung beetles. €œSeventeen dung beetles!€ Fry says promptly, when the branch breaks and falls onto his head, scattering the bugs. Fry then says he needs to get some coffee so he€™ll be awake for his night job; a night job he took so he could afford coffee. It turns out Fry€™s job is at the head museum, where all the heads of the Presidents of the United States float in jars. The heads are bored and want Fry to organize a party. He does, and it€™s quite a massive kegger affair that ends with Ulysses S Grant throwing up in the Bushes (both of them). During the party the Professor learns from George Washington that one of his ancestors, David Farnsworth, was a traitor to the colonies during the American Revolution. The Professor accuses Washington of lying, leading to Leela pointing out, €œThat€™s George Washington. He tends not to do that.€ Through some silliness, the Professor and crew travel back in time to the Colonial Era, determined to right this wrong and keep his ancestor from going down in history as a counterfeiter, traitor and all-around cad. They make their changes only to get back and discover that something has gone horribly wrong€ There were a lot of things to love about this episode. The insanity in the head museum was great, as were the digs at colonial Philadelphia and Boston. Also love that Bender was mistaken by colonials for everything from a whiskey still to a steam engine. Plus you gotta love any weapon that consists of a badger on a stick. But where the episode really came alive for me was when they got back to the future and discovered that everything was Anglified. Everyone spoke with a British accent, Bender was missing several teeth, Hermes was wearing a €œManhattan United€ t-shirt, everyone dressed in vaguely old time British clothing and there were flying double-decker buses (one of which had a certain long-scarved Time Lord escaping from it and dashing into a police box. I assume he was dodging Iris Wildthyme). I also loved that initially the Professor is quite happy to stay in this new future, but then finds out the price for staying is way too high. This story really was everything that I expect from the series. It was intelligent, funny and fast-moving. I also loved that the resolution to the problem wasn€™t dragged out too long. Indeed, the actual resolution took about five seconds. This is easily the best Futurama episode since the series came back, and that€™s saying something. I very much hope that the quality continues.
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Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at wilybadger.wordpress.com

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