Futurama is many things. Futurama is comedy. Futurama is science fiction. Futurama is satire. Futurama is adventure. Futurama might not succeed at every attempt in these fields, but one thing it always succeeds at is its few attempts to go emotional and pull on those heartstrings.Story
Yes, I cried. Just prior to the final scene, I was thinking that the episode was good but could have done more. And then on that final note, it did more than I could have ever imagined. Very, very touching.
The story was inspired and well-paced. I'm not sure what my favorite aspect of this story was. We got an adventure into the past. We got a dream episode. We got Fry interacting with his family. We got Fry's workmates interacting with his family! We got to revisit December 31, 1999. We got plenty of callbacks. We got good jokes. We got an emotional ending. We got a lot.Plot
There were some plotholes in this episode, but I don't think they broke the episode in any way. The more ambitious a Futurama episode is, the more I wish we could see it produced as a movie instead -- and I mean a typical 90-180 minute film that is not designed to be broken up into four episodes. The worst part of the plot for me was that the audience was led to believe that Earth was in danger due to the previous planet's destruction, but the Nibblonian was simply looking for his car keys. Why would Digby destroy planets in order to find thousand year-old keys? What gives, eh?
Other than the nonsensical Nibblonian aspects, I really enjoyed this plot and the scenarios and interactions it provided. I loved how there were various audio cues that were modified by Fry's memory to slightly resemble the elusive tone. Very nice touch! I especially like that we got a deeper look into Fry's family life. It's more comedic to display the contempt, but it's profound to see Fry's past and what it really means to him (as well as what he really means to his family).Maybe I do kind of miss this place. Maybe I just convinced myself I hated it 'cause I knew I could never come back.Funny
This wasn't the funniest episode, but it provided plenty of lines and visual cues that really entertained. None of the jokes seemed bad to me. The Shazam joke definitely wasn't great, but I don't understand all of the hatred for it.
My favorite line from this episode: Philip, have you lost weight?
Mr. MacFarlane, you strike again!Characters
Every character was in-character, properly used, and at least somewhat involved in the plot. Other than Nixon, Agnew, and Digby (and a one-off joke from Randy), this episode did not need any extra characters to drive the plot. We had the Planet Express crew, Fry's family, and characters that filled roles in Fry's last night in the past. Everyone served a purpose and provided their appropriate humor.
Also, why was Nibbler running away from Seymour in Fry's parents' living room? Did Seymour try to mark his territory? Classic
This episode had the "classic feel." I love that we got to explore more of December 31, 1999, and we got to do so in a way that did not retcon anything. In fact, it was downright respectful to the established mythology.
Game of Tones was full of callbacks! Fry's relationships in the 20th century. Noticeably F.A.T. and the rest of the breakdancing crew. Fry's bored reactions to some of the events of his last night in the past (a nod to the fact that we've seen those events so many times now). Tricky Dick's love of Charleston Chews. Vergon 6. Bender's pleasure derived from transfering electricity.Visuals
As always, this episode was a visual treat. Some of my favorite shots include the view from the bottom of Fry's laboratory bed as the Professor is preparing the Radio-Cranial Dream Injector and the establishing shot from above the Planet Express building with the building and ground cracking and owls flying upwards toward the camera. Futurama is art.Gripes
The aforementioned plotholes are my only gripe for this episode, and as I mentioned they don't really break the episode for me.Highlights
• Darned kids. In my day, sound didn't travel through space!
• There it is again! It's driving me crazy. Why am I the only one whining?
• Hologram off.
• But I guess the memory is gone forever.
(Sad) Like Kaboom! cereal.
(Dry) And my family.
• Fry's physical reaction upon being injected.
• (A brick falls on Randy's head) Ow. Sewing!
(The Planet Express sign falls on him) Ow.
• Fry licking Seymour. And blowing his nose into him.
• Mom!? You know Leela?
• The entire encounter between Fry's family and workmates.
• Mt. ShushmoreOverall
Not quite perfect, but as perfect as 21 minutes of animated comedy can get. The Late Philip J. Fry and Game of Tones are the best of the new run for me.10/10Hello!? Pizza delivery for... I.C. Weiner? Ah, crud! Every time!