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Author Topic: Ken Keeler better come through  (Read 3060 times)
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cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #40 on: 07-14-2010 02:25 »

Fry was the main character in Future Stock. He's the character that undergoes conflict and attempts to rectify that and he's the character than learns something at the end of it all.

'That Guy' wasn't even close.
Svip

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #41 on: 07-14-2010 02:29 »

There would be no story without him.
Aki

Professor
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« Reply #42 on: 07-14-2010 02:30 »

There would be no story without him.
There would be no story in When Aliens Attack without Jenny McNeal either, that doesn't make her its lead character.
Svip

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #43 on: 07-14-2010 02:36 »

There would be no story without him.
There would be no story in When Aliens Attack without Jenny McNeal either, that doesn't make her its lead character.

She is replaceable, That Guy is not.  He drives the plot forward, because he makes the decisions before Fry and convinces Fry for which decisions to make.  That Guy could not have been replaced by another character, because his character drove the plot.
Aki

Professor
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« Reply #44 on: 07-14-2010 02:39 »

She is replaceable, That Guy is not.  He drives the plot forward, because he makes the decisions before Fry and convinces Fry for which decisions to make.  That Guy could not have been replaced by another character, because his character drove the plot.
So Lrr is the lead character in Spanish Fry?
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #45 on: 07-14-2010 03:16 »

That would make Kif the lead character in Proposition Infinity. If he hadn't broken up with Amy then none of the plot could have happened.

That Guy is a catalyst, an enabler, but not the protagonist.
Aki

Professor
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« Reply #46 on: 07-14-2010 03:20 »

That would make Kif the lead character in Proposition Infinity. If he hadn't broken up with Amy then none of the plot could have happened.

That Guy is a catalyst, an enabler, but not the protagonist.
Sounds more like it. As I see it the main character is the one whose perspective everything is from. Harold Zoid is - as cyber turnip puts it - the catalyst of That's Lobstertainment!, but Zoiberg is the main character as we see things more or less as he sees them. Fry is the main character of Future Stock, but That Guy is the catalyst. What's different from Futurama in The Simpsons is that in some episodes the secondary character isn't only the catalyst but the lead, as in A Fish Called Selma where the lead is Troy, even though The Simpsons are there commenting on the story and getting somewhat involved. That never happens on Futurama.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #47 on: 07-14-2010 05:45 »

You're right, I took some bad examples. But say, A Fish Called Selma, The Principle and the Pauper, Dumbbell Indemnity, Eight Misbeheavin'.


Well, (and my memory of episodes past season eight is particularly fuzzy so forgive me), from what I remember the conflict of Dumbell Indemnity was largely that Moe's actions caused Homer to be put in jail, and it became an episode largely about their friendship and the conflict between the two.  Similarly, although the Apu one was a little more about just him, it still was basically about him actively seeking the help of the family and Homer in particular.  I think you're right about Pauper, though.  Around seasons 7 and 8 they were really trying to branch out and explore more unexplored parts of the Simpsons universe, which tended to involve more of those "Fish Called Selma" type episodes where the main family had less of a role.

With Futurama, I think it gets tricky in terms of what you define as a secondary character at times.  I personally consider characters like Hermes, Nibbler, and (of course) Scruffy to be secondary, but they're also part of the Planet Express crew...so they're part of the main "family" of the show even though it's really more Fry, Bender, and Leela (and to an extent the Professor) who are really at the center of the show most of the time.

I think Futurama has also made less use of its secondaries (outside PlanEX) probably because there just aren't as many of them, other than a few like Zapp, who really have well-defined relationships with the main characters.  With earlier Simpsons episodes, I think it was more natural to expand on some of those side characters, because they already had established relationships (and conflicts) with the main characters; so, for instance, the writers could think "hey, wouldn't it be interesting if Bart and Skinner became friends?" or "what if Homer started to like Ned Flanders and hung around him all the time?" or "what if the family had something that Mr. Burns wanted?"  They weren't just excuse to fill episodes but real valid questions about how the characters' interactions would differ if placed in certain situations, and that drove the development of those characters.  With later episodes, it tended to be a bit more forced...characters like the Comic Book Guy and Groundskeeper Willie really don't have any particular relationship with any of the family that one could define, so those episodes are just forcing "depth" into the character that just isn't really there, and obviously to fill an episode "slot" that they just needed an idea for (by the same token, I always thought doing a show about Otto in one of the early seasons was a bad idea).

With Futurama, characters like Morbo, Lrr, etc are hilarious but they just don't have much of a relationship with the main cast, or in some cases even know them at all.  Which might be why we haven't seen them expanded yet, and have seen a lot more of characters like Zapp and Kif who have defined relationships to the main cast in some way.  Even with the most recent episodes, something like "what if Zapp and Leela were isolated from everyone and forced to live together?" is a valid question to ask, and one based on exploring a pre-existing relationship between them.
Svip

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #48 on: 07-14-2010 11:13 »

She is replaceable, That Guy is not.  He drives the plot forward, because he makes the decisions before Fry and convinces Fry for which decisions to make.  That Guy could not have been replaced by another character, because his character drove the plot.
So Lrr is the lead character in Spanish Fry?

No, you are missing the point.  Lrrr is purely a 'higher ranking tertiary character', if you will.  His character is not that important to plots, but rather his raison d'Ítre.  Character is the sum of one's characteristics (totally stolen from totalnerduk).

That would make Kif the lead character in Proposition Infinity. If he hadn't broken up with Amy then none of the plot could have happened.

That Guy is a catalyst, an enabler, but not the protagonist.

I never claimed he was the protagonist, because he isn't.  He is the enabler as you say, which makes him vastly more important in the brief time that he is in the show than Lrrr or Calculon.

A. Had he not been a 'businessman' type/Wall Street guy, he wouldn't have focused so much on profit and image for the Planet Express corporation.
B. Had he not been an 80s guy, then Fry probably would not have found him that appealing in the first place.

Lrrr's relationship problems in Spanish Fry is only related to his character in how he deals with these problems, and of course his character does drive the plot at certain points (such as finding the whole plan stupid), he isn't that much of an enabler.

That Guy's character in itself is simple so vastly more important, even to a more comparable character such as Morgan Prompter.  What is she, basically?  A new 'takeover' of the company who has a relationship with Fry.  Her character only really needs professionalism with a fetish for unprofessionalism.  She didn't even had to be a bureaucrat.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #49 on: 07-14-2010 16:51 »
« Last Edit on: 07-14-2010 16:52 »

That Guy's character in itself is simple so vastly more important, even to a more comparable character such as Morgan Prompter.  What is she, basically?  A new 'takeover' of the company who has a relationship with Fry.  Her character only really needs professionalism with a fetish for unprofessionalism.  She didn't even had to be a bureaucrat.

"How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back" is kind of a strange episode, because it's supposed to be about Hermes, y'know, getting his groove back, but the Fry/Morgan thing seems to get more play in the episode overall. That said, I disagree with you: Morgan needed to be a bureaucrat because otherwise her story--filing away Bender's personality at the central bureaucracy as a means of getting back at Fry--would not have dovetailed with the Hermes-getting-his-groove-back thing and brought as neat a resolution to the story.

As far as what constitutes a major character and what constitutes a secondary character: for the purposes of Futurama, I consider anyone who is not part of the PE crew a secondary character--therefore, the main cast would consist of Fry, Leela, Bender, Farnsworth, Hermes, Zoidberg, and Amy (you can exclude Scruffy for the time being; if they further explore his back story, which I think is the intent, that might elevate him to a more significant status). But within that group, you have the "true" main characters--Fry, Leela, and Bender--and then, I suppose, the "supporting" mains (if that makes any sense; I fear it doesn't), which would be Hermes, Amy, Zoidberg, and Farnsworth. All of these characters have rich back stories, and the writers have taken time to develop them and make them more three-dimensional. They are the "family" of the show, so they are all part of the main cast.

Anyone who associates with the crew frequently--Zapp, Kif, the Wongs, Morris, Munda, Mom--is a secondary character. And beyond that, you have those catalyst characters: Lrrr, Ndnd, the Waterfalls, stuff like that. It's true that Futurama doesn't have as large a supporting cast as the Simpsons, but I agree with DotheBartman that I'd much rather we get stories where those secondary and catalyst characters help us to learn more about the main cast--not more about those secondary characters.
Svip

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #50 on: 07-14-2010 17:23 »
« Last Edit on: 07-14-2010 17:45 »

Here are the different groups of characters as I see them, listed in order of importance but without name for each group.

  • Fry, Leela, Bender (appears in all episodes)
  • Farnsworth, Amy, Hermes, Zoidberg (appears in almost all episodes)
  • Zapp, Mom, the Wongs, ... (appears in several episodes and have important relationships with the two categories above and may even have plots revolting around them)
  • That Guy, Morgan Prompter, ... (appears in a single episode, but with major plot importance)
  • Lrrr, Calculon, The Waterfalls, ... (appears in several episodes and made drive some episodes, but lack important relationships with the first two categories)
  • Fender, Thog, Emperor Bont, ... (appears in a single episode and has a slight plot importance)
  • Hattie, Scruffy, Petunia, ... (appears in several episodes, but always serve as the same character in whatever situation they are placed in; joke characters)
  • Crack Addict, Bicycle Thief, 21st Century Girl, ... (appears regularly in a single episode, but their character and situation is their only raison d'Ítre*)
  • Stock characters (background characters, may have lines (e.g. 'pfft, tourist' in SP3K))
*Note: 21st Century Girl's reappearance in "The Sting" does not contradict this.  There are only two attributes (so to speak) to this character; she claims to be from the 21st century and had sex with Fry.  The joke is just further elaborated on in "The Sting".


The characters listed are examples of these sorts.  I also ask for other reasons, because we are actually having some issues labelling characters on the Infosphere.  And either a new method should be introduced or just keep our current 'flawed' method, which isn't really that great.

Basically, think of any character and then consider how you place them, from Dr. Mbutu to the Robot Devil.

Edit: After some consideration, I have come to realise that my grouping is not perfect, as it lacks placement for characters such as Fender, Thog, Emperor Bont, etc.  Characters sort of like That Guy and Prompter, but with less 'importance' in the episode.  But they nonetheless they are important in the episode and are only used in this episode for that.  So I added that to the list.

Edit 2: Added 'definitions' to my list.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #51 on: 07-14-2010 19:45 »

Personally, I think the likes of Lrrr and Calculon should rank above That Guy and Morgan Proctor.

Whilst That Guy and Morgan are very important to their specific episodes, Lrrr is vitally important to a handful of episodes (Spanish Fry, When Aliens Attack) and the fact that their roles are recurring surely counts for something? That's just my personal preference though.

I've never really felt the need to rank the characters in list of importance anyway. There's no definitive way of doing it and it ultimately just comes down to personal preferences. For example, Fry is the show's lead character. With the exception of a few episodes, he's more important than Leela and Bender, yet Fry, Leela and Bender are very much the show's three main characters. Then, personally, I'd say that Farnsworth is more important than Amy, Hermes or Zoidberg, whilst still less important than Fry, Leela and Bender. He appears more often, has meatier roles when he does appear and has had more of his own plots even if they're just subplots. Where do you draw each line?
Svip

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #52 on: 07-14-2010 19:48 »

The list's order is rather arbitrary, I agree, but it was mainly the purpose of grouping them.  I could also ask, why should A come before B in the alphabet?
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #53 on: 07-14-2010 20:53 »

Because C already comes after it, so that space is taken.
JoshTheater

Space Pope
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« Reply #54 on: 07-14-2010 21:56 »

I like that I started this conversation.

I think we can all agree that the character that an episode revolves around, or is about, is the character that deals with the main CONFLICT of the episode. The conflict is key, it doesn't matter how much a character appears, or drives a plot, or so on, the character with the main conflict that needs to be resolved is the main character of an episode.
[-mArc-]

Administrator
Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #55 on: 07-15-2010 07:57 »
« Last Edit on: 07-15-2010 07:58 »

I'm also a fan of Ken Keeler's episodes (but for his first one for Futurama, that one I thought was OK but not great (too adventure-ish!)). However, I don't know if flesheatingbull is helping himself by building up this much anticipation. If you don't like the new episodes that aired so far at all, I don't think a specific writer is going to change it.


PS:
Quote from: Ken Keeler
"The best thing I ever wrote for TV was the 'Principal Skinner is an Impostor' episode of 'The Simpsons', which is often named as their 'Jump the Shark' moment".
http://www.gotfuturama.com/Information/Articles/Ken_Keeler_Interview.dhtml
seattlejohn01

Space Pope
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« Reply #56 on: 07-15-2010 09:03 »

Hey, I like the Armand Tanzarian episode...
Gopher

Fallback Guy
Space Pope
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« Reply #57 on: 07-15-2010 09:07 »

Silence! I concur!

Never understood the hate for the skinner imposter episode.

hobbitboy

Sir Rank-a-Lot
Urban Legend
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« Reply #58 on: 08-21-2010 14:45 »

"Ken Keeler better come through"

  And how!

Don't hate me, Trinity.  I'm just the messenger.
jfroneb1

Crustacean
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« Reply #59 on: 08-23-2010 04:14 »

"Ken Keeler better come through"

  And how!

 laff Yes indeed.
Ghost and Horse

Crustacean
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« Reply #60 on: 08-23-2010 10:42 »

Principal and the pauper is one of the best episodes of the series (Well, top 50 anyway), I hate the disrespect it gets.

Long Live Ken Keeler.
CommanderZapp

Starship Captain
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« Reply #61 on: 11-16-2010 10:19 »

Principal and the pauper is one of the best episodes of the series (Well, top 50 anyway), I hate the disrespect it gets.

Long Live Ken Keeler.
Oh my, yes that's true.
KurtPikachu2001

Urban Legend
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« Reply #62 on: 11-19-2010 18:07 »

I'd like to see an episode where it's just Bender, Leela, Hermes, and Amy.  No Fry or Zoidberg. 
seattlejohn01

Space Pope
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« Reply #63 on: 11-19-2010 19:56 »

Seeing as how Fry is the main character, that's probably not going to happen.
hobbitboy

Sir Rank-a-Lot
Urban Legend
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« Reply #64 on: 11-20-2010 11:55 »


 Probably, but it is possible, I suppose.

Don't hate me, Trinity.  I'm just the messenger.
seattlejohn01

Space Pope
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« Reply #65 on: 11-22-2010 11:10 »

Hmmm.  Let's see... has there been any episode that's either not featured Fry or he's been a very minor character?
KurtPikachu2001

Urban Legend
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« Reply #66 on: 03-16-2011 19:02 »

One thing's for sure, I'm glad Pat Allee and Ben Hurst don't write for Futurama.  They would probably make it be serious.  And probably have Bender act like Robotnik and Fry act like Snively. 
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