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Author Topic: Bring on Season 7! - General Futurama Discussion  (Read 31176 times)
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Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #720 on: 03-07-2012 15:12 »

Wow, Svip. Spoiler alert? tongue

Anyway, topic:

Yeah that part was sweet, I like when Susan tells Leela to "Plug your nose and give it a go!"

Indeed. That final scene is really sweet without seeming forced. Both AotKA and "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences" manage to pull of freally cute Fry/Leela endings without it feeling like the writers are just shoehorning the moment in, unearned. That's one thing 6A has over 6B, in my opinion; there are plenty of nice Fry/Leela  moments and subplots throughout those thirteen episodes, even though none of them are overtly, solely about their relationship ("Rebirth" might be an exception).
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #721 on: 03-07-2012 17:07 »

Look, if we want to talk "fairness," Prop Infinity has plenty. The Professor is portrayed sympathetically in his reasoning and isn't purely hateful, which is more than a lot of that side deserves. Sometimes there just aren't two valid sides to an argument; I didn't exactly walk out of Blazing Saddles thinking that Mel Brooks should have given racists their fair shake. I'm fine with unbalanced satire....well, in general, because it's usually funnier, but especially when one side is clearly wrong.

I think it's a great episode. One of season six favorites, I think.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #722 on: 03-07-2012 19:02 »

I think [Proposition Infinity is a] great episode. One of season six favorites, I think.

It's heavy-handed moralising that does a poor job of portraying either side as anything but mindless stock characters reciting phrases that even they no longer know the meaning of - just like the actual gay marriage debate, come to think of it.

It's neither satire nor social commentary, in that it fails to do the job of either. Social commentary should be an amusing and eye-opening play on the issues of the day. Satire should be keen, biting, and above all, witty. Both of them should be funny.

PI's collection of rather trite cliches and stereotypes isn't witty, funny, eye-opening, keen, biting, or even amusing. It's clumsy, overdone, and just generally a failure in my eyes. I say this as a person who believes that anybody should be allowed to marry anybody they want to.

It's not the right format for what they attempted to do. It's not the right platform for moralising or soapboxing in general. It's a mystery to me why they thought that there was anything to be gained by producing this episode, and I wish that they'd chosen some other plotline.

Furthermore, I think that anybody who really enjoyed this episode is either just as rabid as any of the people whose views were made fun of, or simply not capable of enjoying anything that doesn't push some sort of an issue - which both go a long way towards making them a terrible person.

As well as meaning they've got absolutely terrible taste.
Otis P Jivefunk

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« Reply #723 on: 03-07-2012 19:58 »

I was just thinking, I hope we got another "Clool" from Amy in Season 7. It's something which has been sadly lacking ever since Season 4...
Inquisitor Hein
Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #724 on: 03-07-2012 21:13 »


It's heavy-handed moralising that does a poor job of portraying either side as anything but mindless stock characters reciting phrases that even they no longer know the meaning of - just like the actual gay marriage debate, come to think of it.

^This.
spira

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #725 on: 03-07-2012 22:11 »

I agree that PI doesn't do a good job satirizing anything. It's just not clever. And one can't even argue that it's supposed to be a tongue-in-cheek lack of cleverness, as some people argue about the trite jokes in Neutopia. PI just missed the mark. However, there's some gold in that episode that doesn't discredit the whole thing. I love the tornado scene and I also think the wrestling with the demons scene is pretty funny. But I don't think it makes any point that it could be trying to make, and it's a little cheap.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #726 on: 03-07-2012 23:05 »

Look, if we want to talk "fairness," Prop Infinity has plenty. The Professor is portrayed sympathetically in his reasoning and isn't purely hateful, which is more than a lot of that side deserves.

The episode implies that the only people who oppose gay marriage are closeted homosexuals who have either been spurned by a same-sex partner in the past or are unsuccessfully repressing their "sinful" urges by sublimating them into devout religious practice. I wouldn't exactly call that a sympathetic--or realistic--portrayal.

PI's collection of rather trite cliches and stereotypes isn't witty, funny, eye-opening, keen, biting, or even amusing. It's clumsy, overdone, and just generally a failure in my eyes. I say this as a person who believes that anybody should be allowed to marry anybody they want to.

This is what I've been trying to say for, like, over a year now. Only I've been rambling like a self-righteous fool attempting to make that point, and you have managed to sum it all up concisely. Well-done, sir.

I love the tornado scene

Fair enough. I also really enjoy the scene with Amy and her parents (whose opposition to robosexuality makes total sense to me, and doesn't come across as heavy-handed or mean-spirited. Unlike Farnsworth's ultra-conservative attitude towards robosexuality--which seems to come out of nowhere--I can totally buy that Inez and Leo would be against their only daughter hooking up with a robot and thus denying them the opportunity to ever have a grandchild).
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #727 on: 03-07-2012 23:13 »

I suppose I should admit that I also enjoyed the tornado scene a little. Plus "hopes... deleted" is gradually finding its way into my daily vocabulary.

Now, back to bashing it...
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #728 on: 03-07-2012 23:37 »

There are some parts of the episode that I hate, and others that I love. The tornado scene was just brilliant, as is everything with Amy's parents.

What I don't like is how forced the Bender-Amy relationship feels. It would've worked better if they made up a new character and used her instead of Amy.

Also, the ending is a little... anti-climatic.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #729 on: 03-07-2012 23:40 »

Also, the ending is a little... anti-climatic.

Shut up and love it. tongue

Seriously, though, I agree. Bender's rejection of Amy is so rushed, and Kif's bad-boy turnaround is totally pointless. Ugh.
meisterPOOP

Professor
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« Reply #730 on: 03-08-2012 00:30 »

If my little USB suggested I should start my collection with this...Well,

...I'd be a little dissapointed.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #731 on: 03-08-2012 02:18 »

I loved PI, and it was the episode that restored my faith in the new run, (two of the episodes before it were AWFUL.)

There were so many great lines like:
"I love Amy.  I've finally found someone I want to spend the rest of her life with!"
"Can I get an amen?" "I'll take a three-men. Hola!"
"You wouldn't know perversion if it put clamps on your testicles!"
'Pardon my language Amy, but you really ruffle my petticoats!"
"I'm back in the game!" "Yeah!  The game of Old Maid!"
"That was greaaaaat." "Shut up."

Some of my favourite lines from that episode.
UnrealLegend

Space Pope
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« Reply #732 on: 03-08-2012 03:53 »

Yeah, Bender is certainly certainly at his best. I love how when he pulls out the ring a little tag floats off saying "exhibit A"  laff
spira

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #733 on: 03-08-2012 04:02 »

Agreed. Also agree with Spacefish that this ep is better than the two preceding it. Despite the awkward attempt at social commentary, PI seems Futurama-ish.

Definitely not a realistic portrayal of the gay-rights battle, which makes most of the episode fall flat. But Bender is spot-on (even if characters like Kif are very much not) and I think it does a good job of being an episode with social commentary that doesn't exclusively focus on the social commentary. I hope they can maintain that balance with the upcoming commentary episodes, but also make the commentary funny and satirical.
meisterPOOP

Professor
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« Reply #734 on: 03-08-2012 14:20 »

Let's not...And say we did.
cyber_turnip

Urban Legend
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« Reply #735 on: 03-08-2012 14:52 »

"Proposition Infinity" is an odd episode. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the comedy in the episode; its weaknesses lie pretty much exclusively in the plot, premise and general lazy elements of writing surrounding them. So it doesn't surprise me that people are so split on it - if you're happy for the show's story to be a bit weaker than average providing you still laugh, it's a good episode - if you heavily value the show's integrity from a story standpoint, then that's probably enough to completely turn you against the episode.

Personally, I guess I fall in the middle. I don't mind the episode because it's funny, but I also can't really accept it as anything other than a bit weaker than average due to its awkward crow-barring of inter-character relations into the proceedings.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #736 on: 03-08-2012 19:24 »
« Last Edit on: 03-08-2012 19:26 »

The portrayal of (certain) religious conservatives fighting their own desires with homophobia is hardly off base. This is a common phenomenon. As for Farnsworth, his part is really a stand in for the larger argument that there aren't really any unselfish reasons to oppose gay marriage, but his reason is at least made sympathetic, and he's shown as being capable of change. This is more than homophobes get on most shows.

It's not a perfect episode. In particular, I found the pacing rather rushed at times. But it's funny and will hold up reasonably well, certainly more so than if it pretended that anti-gay arguments really had any merit to them. That would just look terrible a decade or two from now.
Inquisitor Hein
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #737 on: 03-08-2012 19:37 »
« Last Edit on: 03-08-2012 19:41 »

The portrayal of (certain) religious conservatives fighting their own desires with homophobia is hardly off base. This is a common phenomenon.

No one questions this...the point of criticism is the assumption that EVERYONE opposing gay marriage has to fall into that pattern. Up to unproved accusations and labeling opponents automatically that way...Neither is any opponent of gay marriage a religious fundamentalist, neither every supporter a pervert trying to undermine the traditional family values.

South Park's "The Death Camp of Tolerance" satirised imhO quite well the effects of automatic "unquestioned minority support based on ideology". While still not sending an anti-gay message.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #738 on: 03-08-2012 21:16 »
« Last Edit on: 03-08-2012 21:53 »

They didn't say everyone fell into that camp. That's why the Professor's part was there. However, in terms of political and religious leaders leading charges against gay marriage, there's a huge contingency of them that turn out to be gay and hypocritical, and that has to be highlighted. I'm actually genuinely surprised when some of those guys turn out to be having straight affairs. As well, homophobia is in large part, generally speaking, a manifestation of discomfort with one's sexuality, even if the person happens to be straight.

On the subject of South Park: well, those guys are never really fair, but that's one of the things I love about them. (They do often say "both extremes are ridiculous" in a lot of episodes, but that in itself is a point of view and they don't treat the extremes "fairly.") There are actually a number of episodes I disagree with completely but still love, and the fact that they have a strong point of view and aren't shy about expressing it is what makes them funny and interesting. I don't feel these episodes would be better if they tried to strike some kind of false balance. I feel the same way about, say, the Napster episode of Futurama, which is completely unbalanced and doesn't hear out the filesharing arguments at all, but that's fine. The writers are entitled to their opinion, and the material would have been less interesting and funny to me had it been fair.
Solid Gold Bender

Urban Legend
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« Reply #739 on: 03-09-2012 16:23 »

I decided to buy my first Futurama Volume in order to keep me busy while I wait for 7A. It's gonna be awesome! Me and Mattchoo8008 are going to watch it today on our way to the Great Wolf Lodge!
DannyJC13

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #740 on: 03-09-2012 18:30 »
« Last Edit on: 03-09-2012 18:31 »

Seriously, you've only just bought a Futurama DVD? no no

Also, reveal your true identity!
Inquisitor Hein
Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #741 on: 03-09-2012 18:37 »

This could raise the question where he did watch Futurama so far... wink(As none of us would ever watch illegal copies on the Internet.. tongue )
Solid Gold Bender

Urban Legend
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« Reply #742 on: 03-09-2012 20:17 »

My Mom cut off Netflix, which had all the episodes. So I bought the season to stay entertained.
DannyJC13

DOOP Secretary
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« Reply #743 on: 03-09-2012 20:21 »

You can't rely on Netflix forever... wink
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #744 on: 03-10-2012 16:28 »
« Last Edit on: 03-10-2012 16:41 »

The thing is with PI, satire is becoming harder and harder to do properly, especially when more people in the US (and around the world increasingly) start behaving like over the top cartoon characters.  I mean, the other day Rush Limbaugh was ranting about his support of a radical right wing terrorist movement that uses kidnapped child slaves as its soldiers.  If a character in a tv show said something like that, I would probably turn the television off, and think the writers were trying way way too hard, and accuse the show of being over the top to the point of being ridiculous.  Of course these people are a minority, but it does show how fact can be so much stranger then fiction.  I swear, I've lost count of the times when I've seen a somewhat overthetop jab at someone, and then see that person doing the same thing (but x 10) in real life.  I'm not saying that its an excuse to be overly black and white/heavy handed with satire, but there are so many real life people in the US alone who make the antagonists in PI look extremely mild in comparison, that I do wonder where a writer has to draw the line.

I agree with DotheBartman.  Sometimes it is almost impossible to portray the other side sympathetically.  I keep thinking about how I would portray the other side less heavy handedly and more sympathetically in PI, but I really can't.  There has got to be a way, even if it is people who just want to deny civil rights to people they've never met.  I suppose people should just go with the fact that this is what people genuinely believe (though this just highlights the reasons why church and state need to be separated.)
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #745 on: 03-10-2012 16:47 »

I agree with DotheBartman.  Sometimes it is almost impossible to portray the other side sympathetically.  I keep thinking about how I would portray the other side less heavy handedly and more sympathetically in PI, but I really can't.  There has got to be a way, even if it is people who just want to deny civil rights to people they've never met.  I suppose people should just go with the fact that this is what people genuinely believe (though this just highlights the reasons why church and state need to be separated.)

That's definitely valid. I know I have a hard time sympathizing with people who are against gay rights in real life, so maybe it's unfair of me to expect the writers to take that task upon themselves for this episode. But if it's so hard to be even-handed when it comes to this issue, that just makes me think that the show shouldn't have tackled it in the first place.

Because, what were they trying to accomplish? Futurama is not South Park; it's not a show that goes out of its way to explore and satirize hot-button social issues. It's a wacky sci fi show, more character- than issue-driven--and, even though the writers have a social conscience, they rarely impose it on the stories they tell. So, to me, "Proposition Infinity" goes against everything Futurama ordinarily stands for: It is a plot- and issue-driven episode that takes a dump on characterization and oversimplifies a complex moral and social issue. The episode--to me, at least--is not particularly well-written or funny; however, I could forgive these offenses if it was actually trying to do something useful.

But I don't think that's the case. "Proposition Infinity" is not instructive (because, in all honesty, how many ultra-conservative, super-religious, borderline-homophobic people watch Futurama? How many bigots are going to have their minds changed by a twenty-two minute episode of a cartoon that probably isn't even on their pop culture radar?)--which, to me, makes it self-righteous. The liberal-minded writers are preaching to the choir of a liberal-minded fan-base (of which I am proudly a part), which is what bugs me so much. The episode takes an issue that is contentious in America as a whole, but which the subset of Americans who watch Futurama can almost unanimously agree upon, and just mean-spiritedly bashes the side it deems wrong under the guise of social conscience. And, I don't know, that just seems pointless to me.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #746 on: 03-10-2012 17:17 »

I'm not saying that its an excuse to be overly black and white/heavy handed with satire, but there are so many real life people in the US alone who make the antagonists in PI look extremely mild in comparison, that I do wonder where a writer has to draw the line.
Or they could not use the show as a soapbox. Then no line needs to be drawn. Personally, I prefer my entertainment to be entertaining in its own right. If I want to listen to people shouting about each other's beliefs, I'll search out something that's explicitly labelled as such. I won't turn to a science fiction cartoon to provide me with that. When I think of what Futurama should be, I think of episodes like "I, Roommate", I think of episodes like "The Series Has Landed", I think of episodes like "Love and Rocket", "The Late Philip J. Fry", "Roswell That Ends Well", "The Farnsworth Parabox", "Time Keeps On Slippin'", "The Devil's Hands are Idol Playthings", "My Three Suns", "Futurestock" and "When Aliens Attack".

Those episodes don't feel the need to make heavy-handed and clumsy attempts at satire, or to single any group of people out for praise or ridicule, and they do a great job of telling stories that are very definitely set in the future. In a time when the issues of today are dead and buried, and there are exciting new things to think about. Futurama is a universe of fantastic things. Space Whales that recycle time in their intestines, delivery boys unwittingly assassinating planetery rulers and assuming their thrones, senile and amoral old men creating armies of mutant atomic supermen to do their bidding, mutants and robots and strange monster from other worlds, Space pirates, Captain Kirk-esque buffoons commanding the firepower of an entire allied fleet, beautiful alien women, and epic-level quests to save planets (or the entire universe) from several fates that might even be worse than death.

That's what I want from Futurama. Satire belongs to other programmes, other genres, and is really only ever for a biased audience who have an interest in the agenda of one side over the other in any debate or argument. It's something that can be used as a powerful tool for humiliating people... but that's not what I want when I put on an episode of Futurama. I want to see attack ships on fire off the shoulders of Orion and such.

Therefore it doesn't matter at all whether it's difficult to satirise something properly. The fact that they're cramming social commentary and satire into something that's meant to be about spaceships and rayguns, heads in jars and electric frankfurters, and travelling across the length and breadth of the universe as well as backwards and forwards through time means that it damn well had better be perfect satire. If it's not perfect, why profane my entertainment experience with it? There can be no excuse.

As has been mentioned, South Park are pretty much spot-on with their satire. They manage to portray both sides as equally stupid in any issue they care to tackle. Their credo of "anything is fair game or nothing is" is a fine one. But Futurama is a very different beast at heart. They're not supposed to be holding a mirror up to our world. They're meant to be showing us a different one. A world where there are a thousand years between everything we think we know and everything that is held to be true. A world as different from ours as that inhabited by the Vandals and Visigoths and Imperial Rome.

So if they don't get the satire absolutely right, they shouldn't be doing it at all. I could forgive it if it were perfect (after all, Futurama is also a comedy, and perfect satire is usually amusing), but it's so fucking clumsy that it's irritating and comes off as mindless bandwagon-storming.

The fact is that Futurama has no place attempting that kind of satire, and it's probably best left to other shows which have a wider scope. Matt Groening stated in an interview in 1999 that he wanted to do to science fiction with Futurama what he did to the American family and American sitcom with THe Simpsons. I took that to mean that he wanted... well, Space Whales that recycle time in their intestines, delivery boys unwittingly assassinating planetery rulers, etc. Not merely The Simpsons in the future. Which is where the road that starts with episodes like PI leads.

In conclusion, the entire episode was a terrible lapse in judgement on the part of both MG and DXC. Let's hope they learn a lesson and stick to both what they're good at, and what Futurama ought to be. Smart yet silly, and a thousand years removed from everything that's going on around us right now.

PS: I see that whilst I was typing this, Gorky said much of what I wanted to say. Gorky, please stop stealing my thoughts. Thankyou.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #747 on: 03-10-2012 18:50 »
« Last Edit on: 03-10-2012 18:52 »

But Futurama was always supposed to be satirical! You can pick out individual episodes that aren't particularly satiric of current issues all you want, but even those are generally satirizing various films or sci-fi conventions, and they're all pretty much loaded with jokes making fun of some aspect of American culture. And in those same early interviews with Matt, he always said that he wanted to move away from the idyllic and dystopian versions of the future that he saw in other sci-fi in large part so that he could satirize the present. The whole idea was "it's 1,000 years in the future, but we still have bad soap operas and advertising everywhere and products that don't work. Nothing changes."

Of course the show is character-driven and whatnot, yadayadayada...that's what makes it a satirical sitcom. It does its satire through the characters. So does South Park and other such shows. If the issue people have with PI is that they feel it betrays the characters somehow, I guess I can see that (though I disagree and will gladly go to the mat for it in that area), but to claim that the show has never been about satire of the present simply is not true. That was always an enormous part of its mission statement.
Gorky

Space Pope
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« Reply #748 on: 03-10-2012 19:09 »

But Futurama was always supposed to be satirical! You can pick out individual episodes that aren't particularly satiric of current issues all you want, but even those are generally satirizing various films or sci-fi conventions, and they're all pretty much loaded with jokes making fun of some aspect of American culture.

I agree that the show has its satirical aspects--but I take issue specifically with the show trying to tackle a hot-button, contentious, muddled political and moral debate. Gay marriage is something that should be discussed, but Futurama is so not the forum for such a conversation--particularly when "Proposition Infinity" adds nothing to the debate. It relies on cliches and stereotypes, and it just affirms beliefs that the majority of Futurama viewers already hold.

I support gay marriage and have great disdain for some of the people who oppose it--but I wasn't exactly clamoring for an episode of my favorite TV show to do little more than pat me on the back for holding the "right' opinion on this issue. I didn't learn anything from "Proposition Infinity"; it didn't make me think about my stance on the issue. It didn't challenge me at all, and I think good satire ought to be somewhat intellectually stimulating or thought-provoking.

Again, the episode is pointless. It's self-indulgent and self-righteous; it's lazy and sloppy. And it doesn't even make a compelling argument for gay marriage--it just lampoons the opposition in a way that's kind of disrespectful and mean-spirited and trite. And, I don't know, I just don't find that particularly fun to watch.

Quote
If the issue people have with PI is that they feel it betrays the characters somehow, I guess I can see that (though I disagree and will gladly go to the mat for it in that area)

I think the episode takes liberties with Kif and Amy's relationship, and does a great injustice to Amy's growth as a character (specifically in "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch"). It sacrifices established characters and relationships for the sake of a story that didn't need to be told. And that, ultimately, is my biggest beef with the episode. Its lousy social commentary is secondary to its unnecessary fucking around with the characters.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
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« Reply #749 on: 03-10-2012 19:30 »
« Last Edit on: 03-10-2012 19:31 by totalnerduk »

In those same early interviews with Matt, he always said that he wanted to move away from the idyllic and dystopian versions of the future that he saw in other sci-fi in large part so that he could satirize the present. The whole idea was "it's 1,000 years in the future, but we still have bad soap operas and advertising everywhere and products that don't work. Nothing changes."

Of course the show is character-driven and whatnot, yadayadayada...that's what makes it a satirical sitcom. It does its satire through the characters.

Sure, early episodes satirise people and societal trends in general as well as classic sci-fi. But to pull something out of the daily newspapers and say "lots of people are angry and loud regarding this: I think we should mock the people we disagree with through our television show!" is not what the show's original mission statement was.

To claim that the show has never been about satire of the present simply is not true. That was always an enormous part of its mission statement.

It depends greatly on your point of view. I'm talking in my previous post about the in-depth satirical lampooning of two sides of a then-current (as in, flash-in-the-pan) issue that (as Gorky says) most Futurama viewers are likely to hold the same beliefs on as the writers.

You're talking about parodies and sight gags, homages and small "digs" at the present, which the show is peppered with in general and are funny. They also manage (most of the time) to remove what's happening in the future a couple of steps from the aspect of now that they're poking fun at.

You'll notice I did say "this kind of satire" up there. I realise that there is a sprinkling of satire in Futurama and I want it to stay just that. A sprinkling. Not a whole goddamn tsunami.

You did it again Gorky. Seriously, are you a CIA computer intercepting transmissions from my brain before they get to my keyboard via my fingers?
TheMadCapper

Fluffy
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« Reply #750 on: 03-10-2012 20:59 »


I take issue specifically with the show trying to tackle a hot-button, contentious, muddled political and moral debate. Gay marriage is something that should be discussed, but Futurama is so not the forum for such a conversation--particularly when "Proposition Infinity" adds nothing to the debate. It relies on cliches and stereotypes, and it just affirms beliefs that the majority of Futurama viewers already hold.

Again, the episode is pointless. It's self-indulgent and self-righteous; it's lazy and sloppy. And it doesn't even make a compelling argument for gay marriage--it just lampoons the opposition in a way that's kind of disrespectful and mean-spirited and trite. And, I don't know, I just don't find that particularly fun to watch.

Exactly. I think Futurama's a better show than this. When I see shows acting this way, it annoys me and makes me cringe at how they can't be reasonable - whether I agree or disagree with them. If I was interested in one-sided political jerking off I'd go to media where I expect one-sided political jerking off, like The Daily Show or Rush Limbaugh. Don't turn Futurama into a platform from which to mock people's beliefs.

Another example of this attitude shift:
Old Futurama attitude - jokes about Jesus' second coming destroying video tapes.
New Futurama attitude - jokes about how Christians are stupid.
Welshy
Crustacean
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« Reply #751 on: 03-10-2012 23:00 »

I never really saw PI as a soapbox episode. It was more of just a story about a real world situation that happens to be controversial. I think its likely that the writers sat down down and said "Why dont we do a parody of Prop 8? That`s got potential for a good story with jokes" and then ended up inserting a slight bias towards the No side simply because that`s how most of the writers think. I don`t feel that they said "I`m really fed up with homophobes. Let`s use our animated comedy show as an outlet to propogate our views !" Now Family Guy- theres an example of how NOT to do social commentary on tv (which nowadays is every one of their episodes).
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
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« Reply #752 on: 03-10-2012 23:17 »
« Last Edit on: 03-10-2012 23:28 »


I agree that the show has its satirical aspects--but I take issue specifically with the show trying to tackle a hot-button, contentious, muddled political and moral debate. Gay marriage is something that should be discussed, but Futurama is so not the forum for such a conversation--particularly when "Proposition Infinity" adds nothing to the debate. It relies on cliches and stereotypes, and it just affirms beliefs that the majority of Futurama viewers already hold.

I support gay marriage and have great disdain for some of the people who oppose it--but I wasn't exactly clamoring for an episode of my favorite TV show to do little more than pat me on the back for holding the "right' opinion on this issue. I didn't learn anything from "Proposition Infinity"; it didn't make me think about my stance on the issue. It didn't challenge me at all, and I think good satire ought to be somewhat intellectually stimulating or thought-provoking.

I think this itself depends on perspective....although ideally I'd like to think that satire and comedy can have some kind of social impact on the way people think about issues, a lot of comedians and satirists themselves would dispute that claim, or at the very least, downplay it as their main objective in comparison to simply using satire as a tool to make people laugh. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, in every interview, always downplay any perceived role they have in actually changing issues or minds, and say that their only real goal is to make people laugh.

And even if a piece of satire doesn't change anyone's mind...is that so bad? Oftentimes, even if something is preaching a belief to you that you already hold, it's nice to have something out there that's basically agreeing with you and saying "hang in there!" I would bet that for a lot of gay people who can't get married, seeing a cartoon episode make some jokes and say in no uncertain terms that they should be able to, even if through stereotypes (and this whole show, every character and situation, is built on stereotypes...I mean, let's be real here), is probably quite comforting. In the same way that when I sit down to The Daily Show, though I don't expect to have my beliefs changed and certainly not anyone else's, it's nice to have something out there that makes me feel a lot more sane. And especially for people actively working on these issues, that can be especially important for morale.

Also: I would imagine the Futurama writers, even if they hope to change minds or create awareness whatsoever (which I slight doubt, but they've done the environmental episodes every season, so who knows), are completely aware that the worst homophobes aren't going to have their minds changed. HOWEVER, people who are more "in the middle on the issue," or who are younger and haven't really thought about it actively much yet, are perfectly susceptible to a show like this making them think actively about it. Not necessarily one show by itself, maybe, but I actually think there's been some kind of demonstrate-able impact on attitudes about homosexuality thanks to the larger flood of shows that have (finally) come around in the last decade or so that have addressed them.

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I think the episode takes liberties with Kif and Amy's relationship, and does a great injustice to Amy's growth as a character (specifically in "Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch"). It sacrifices established characters and relationships for the sake of a story that didn't need to be told. And that, ultimately, is my biggest beef with the episode. Its lousy social commentary is secondary to its unnecessary fucking around with the characters.

The whole thing with Kif and Amy never really bothered me. Maybe more so in "Beast With a Billion Backs" since it was left hanging afterward (otherwise I wouldn't have had a problem with it then, either). Although their relationship in the original run was, for lack of a better word, "cute," it was never particularly deep and kind of lacked any substance I think, from a story point of view. They never had any real troubles, and Kif was kind of like a male Mary Sue a lot of the time. And knowing what we do about Amy's character, I found her reverting back to "bad boys" for a time pretty realistic and believable. It's something I've seen in a LOT of people I've known, and most people, even after "growing" some, do tend to fall back into old habits and patterns for a time.


Sure, early episodes satirise people and societal trends in general as well as classic sci-fi. But to pull something out of the daily newspapers and say "lots of people are angry and loud regarding this: I think we should mock the people we disagree with through our television show!" is not what the show's original mission statement was.

It depends greatly on your point of view. I'm talking in my previous post about the in-depth satirical lampooning of two sides of a then-current (as in, flash-in-the-pan) issue that (as Gorky says) most Futurama viewers are likely to hold the same beliefs on as the writers.

I keep seeing this stuff about how this is a "current events" issue that the show shouldn't be doing. I'm not sure I get that. The Napster episode was much more current (for the time) and even that's remained pretty prescient, don't you think? Just look at the whole mess with SOPA and The Pirate Bay that was all over the news recently. The gay marriage debate has been going on for some time, and homophobia about those relationships has been going on for centuries. And meanwhile, there have always been other similar civil rights battles as well, and always will be. This isn't just some 2010 issue that they decided to pull out because people were talking about it then. The appearance of the "black and white alien" character from Star Trek (I don't know the name, but....I'm sure some people here know what I'm talking about) in one of the crowd shots was, I think, an intentional nod to the fact that there will always be these battles, and sci-fi will always find ways of commenting on them. This is largely why I said earlier that I think the episode will age very well. It will still be prescient in some way even once the gay marriage dispute is resolved (which may not be in our lifetimes!).

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You're talking about parodies and sight gags, homages and small "digs" at the present, which the show is peppered with in general and are funny. They also manage (most of the time) to remove what's happening in the future a couple of steps from the aspect of now that they're poking fun at.

You'll notice I did say "this kind of satire" up there. I realise that there is a sprinkling of satire in Futurama and I want it to stay just that. A sprinkling. Not a whole goddamn tsunami.


The whole show is built around satire, though. The whole universe the characters live in is a satiric depiction of our own. It's not just individual jokes or lines; this stuff is embedded into the show in such a way that it can't be removed. I'll grant there are probably some issues the show shouldn't touch on too much (I don't particularly want to see an episode where Leela debates getting an abortion), but it's still hardly a "sprinkling" of satire that's in the show. I'm not just talking about little jabs at things here and there.

And also: this episode did exactly what you just described. It removed itself by a step or two from our own time. Are people arguing about marrying robots right now? No. It's a futuristic, bizzarro depiction of something going on now. Like New New York City as a whole is.
totalnerd undercanada

DOOP Ubersecretary
**
« Reply #753 on: 03-10-2012 23:52 »

Firstly, I don't think you understand the usage or meaning of the word "prescient".

Secondly, the entirity of the show is not built on heavy, in-depth satire. There are some elements that poke fun at the world we live in today, but to say that Futurama is built on satire is ridiculous. I'm wondering now if you actually understand what satire is.

The show works around the simple premise that the future is very different, but the human race is essentially the same. There are a lot of different types of humour used to convey this idea, but to call all of that satire is stretching it. There are nods to classic sci-fi. There are parodies and homages and little jokes that build upon the real world. Not all of this is satire. There are little throwaway sight gags and one liners that prod at things and ideas that are around today. Not every single one of these can be described as satirical. The building blocks of the show cover all sorts of jokes about science fiction. They're not very in-depth, they're not a scathing and distorted deconstruction of the original aspect of today's world or media or literature or culture that portrays it as an overblown farce and is designed to make one particular set of people appear ridiculous or monstrous in the extreme. They're often respctful, sometimes direct parodies (as in the case of the Space Titanic) or subtle homages (such as Chapek 9). It's not all satire.

The satire that is in the mix is subtle, it's sprinkled lightly, and it's not the overblown and heavy-handed treatment that PI received.

Thirdly, the comparison was so ham-fistedly obvious between the current issue and the events of the episode that it was not at all removed from our own time. It was very clumsy, and very specific. As you say, it was a "depiction... of something going on now".

Finally, I refer you back to my comments re: soapboxing. Even if certain controversdial civil rights issues are still likely to be around in the future, there are so many other plotlines that could be explored before the writers actually need to stoop to heavy-handed sermonising and demonising groups they disagree with in order to make jokes.
FishyJoe

Honorary German
Urban Legend
***
« Reply #754 on: 03-11-2012 01:10 »

I never really saw PI as a soapbox episode. It was more of just a story about a real world situation that happens to be controversial. I think its likely that the writers sat down down and said "Why dont we do a parody of Prop 8? That`s got potential for a good story with jokes" and then ended up inserting a slight bias towards the No side simply because that`s how most of the writers think. I don`t feel that they said "I`m really fed up with homophobes. Let`s use our animated comedy show as an outlet to propogate our views !" Now Family Guy- theres an example of how NOT to do social commentary on tv (which nowadays is every one of their episodes).

I agree. The episode was pure farce! Yeah, it took a pro-gay marriage point of view, but it didn't try to get all "serious" and preachy on us. It was a spoof on the whole gay marriage debate and I thought it was funny.

I feel like I've had this debate before...my opinion is the same as its always been. I hate it when shows get preachy, no matter how much I agree with them. I didn't feel insulted by anything in this episode.
SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
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« Reply #755 on: 03-11-2012 01:12 »
« Last Edit on: 03-11-2012 01:18 »

I wouldn't say Futurama's references to current events are subtle, even in the old series.  Futurama made plenty of obvious references to issues and hot topics, from global warming, disposal of garbage, illegal downloading and piracy,to conservationism.  They are more subtle when compared to recent episodes however, but in the way Jupiter is closer to Earth then Uranus is.  

I do agree that Futurama is increasingly using more and more current events in its episodes, however.   I don't think Futurama demonised anyone in PI however, since the anti-robosexual antagonist was treated fairly sympathetically.  Bender himself embodies many of the "qualities" that the far right use as arguments against gay marriage: Bender is immoral, greedy, selfish, flighty and so on, and treated Amy as a sex object and abandoned her pretty quickly.  It's not quite South Park (which at least makes fun of everyone equally) but you could use it to say that PI isn't as black and white in its message on a first viewing.   It's pretty obvious from the start that Amy and Bender's relationship is superficial and based on lust, not genuine love.  It's also hinted that Amy and Bender, didn't fight for gay robosexual couple's right to marriage.  

I also agree with Welshy and FishyJoe. I didn't see PI as that preachy, but that might be because I've watched the Family Guy "gay" episodes, which are quite frankly, a train wreck in every sense.  Family Guy is ten times as preachy with its messages, which are further ruined by the fact that every gay character on his show is either an over the top effeminate caricature at best, or a pedophile at worst.    After seeing episodes like Family Gay and You May Kiss the Guy Who... Uh, Receives, (and the previous two lacklustre episodes of the rebooted Futurama), I was dreading PI (at least IAGDL and AOTKA weren't really trying to have a "moral", as bad as they were), but ended up pleasantly surprised.  The plot wasn't that preachy, and the jokes actually made me laugh.
DotheBartman

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #756 on: 03-11-2012 04:26 »
« Last Edit on: 03-11-2012 04:28 »

^That, except that I didn't think "Gadda" and "Killer App" were all that bad (though the former was one of the series' weaker episodes).

But also, what I'm pointing out is that the show's universe, itself, is a satiric reflection on our world. That's not to say every episode has a specific satirical intention or message. Neither did every old Simpsons episode, and what I'm saying was true of those, too. The show's very setup and world is satiric in the way it was constructed, and you can't remove satire from that and even have the same show. So why not do, you know, satire with that once in a while? I always thought one of the show's few real flaws was that it didn't really do enough direct satire other than the very generalized stuff that it does basically every week. It's a missed opportunity when sci-fi can be used so effectively for such a thing; hell, a few of the show's best episodes, like Godfellas and Big Piece of Garbage, are direct satires on specific topics. (Not that I want them to spend a lot of time on really passing things like Jersey Shore or whatever...or Yo Gabba Gabba, I suppose.)

I wouldn't want every episode to be current events based, but I also wouldn't every episode to be a big sci-fi extravaganza, either. It's best if the show does lots of different things to stay fresh, rather than conforming to what any particular fan wants most from it week after week.
Inquisitor Hein
Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #757 on: 03-11-2012 10:05 »
« Last Edit on: 03-11-2012 10:11 »


The liberal-minded writers are preaching to the choir of a liberal-minded fan-base (of which I am proudly a part), which is what bugs me so much. The episode takes an issue that is contentious in America as a whole, but which the subset of Americans who watch Futurama can almost unanimously agree upon, and just mean-spiritedly bashes the side it deems wrong under the guise of social conscience. And, I don't know, that just seems pointless to me.

I support gay marriage and have great disdain for some of the people who oppose it--but I wasn't exactly clamoring for an episode of my favorite TV show to do little more than pat me on the back for holding the "right' opinion on this issue.

Well...I think you were never intended as part of the group the writers did preach to, as the episode was never intended for real liberals. The "pat on the shoulder for being right" was rather meant as "reward for the right kind of prejudice":

- "Everyone agreeing with gay marriage wants to undermind the traditional family" -> Biased, prejudiced, stupid accusations without proof.
- "Everyone opposing gay marriage does so because he's a religious fundamentalist and/or closeted homosexual himself"
-> Sign of intellectual superiority and tolerance for something so obvious that no proof is needed.

So, all in all:
Groening appealed not really to all liberals, but rather to that "wannabe- liberal" fraction that by itself is as narrow-minded and prejudiced as they accuse their opponents to be. Just selling them the feeling to be "better than the enemy", and "unproofed prejudice is right as long as it's against the right group, and we'll tell you who the right group is".


SpaceGoldfish fromWazn

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #758 on: 03-11-2012 14:30 »

It's kind of difficult because there really aren't any arguments against gay marriage besides "The Bible says" and "I personally find it icky".   It's really difficult to make the other side look sympathetic when you don't really have much to go on.    Team America works however, since it lampooned actors and Hollywood liberals deciding to play armchair crusader or interfering with things they had no clue about, as much as it made fun of right wing America throwing its weight around globally.   Aside from misinformation and being misguided, there's no real reason to oppose gay marriage the same way there was no real reason to oppose desegregation or interracial marriage. 

You could include people like Perez Hilton I suppose, (he's widely disliked among gay people, for being every negative gay stereotype rolled into one and having each stereotype level be over 9000, as well as having a history of doing his best to damage the careers of successful gay people, whilst claiming to be "pro gay rights".  Oh and he also stole one of Harry Partridge's movies whilst attempting to not pay the original artist a percentage of the profits or even crediting him.).    I'm curious, I know South Park did a Gay Marriage! Episode, and what was their take on both sides of the fence?
Tedward

Professor
*
« Reply #759 on: 03-11-2012 15:55 »

Groening appealed not really to all liberals, but rather to that "wannabe- liberal" fraction

You seem to like to single out Matt Groening for these sorts of things. Yes, he's the executive producer and has a lot of authority, and in creating the show he set its tone, but what about the individual writer of the episode? What about the team of writers who collaborated on the writing process? What about DXC, the lead writer, showrunner, and his fellow executive producer who approves what goes out? It's fine if you want to criticize the show for being a pussified platform for PC nonsense and a haven for poorly executed character designs stemming back from the pilot, but at least spread the blame around! tongue
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