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Author Topic: Futurama CHars = Political Metaphores  (Read 336 times)
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enki_25

Poppler
*
« on: 03-22-2004 20:13 »

Hiya,

I'm new here and this will be my first post, and it's a long one, so forgive me.

I've been watching Futurama madly since it came out, thinking about it, learning kewl things about seemingly unrelated topics from it. I am a huge fan of the Matrix, and in the last few months I have madly studied that story, and funnily enough, I feel Futurama is strongly connected.

This is a great Matrix forum if any of you are interested: http://www.matrixcommunity.org/


Anyway, I feel that the characters in Futurama represent certain "cults of personality" or demographics we all interact with all the time.

The most interesting adaptations I have found of this theory are in political or historical interpretations. In other words, I believe Matt makes the characters in the show interact in the way their respective demographics have interacted in the past.

I'll just do two to start, and then you can all tell me to shove off or whatever.

Fry:
A french fry looks like the number 1. Fry is "the one" person that can save the universe. He does this not because he is inclined to do so, but because it is his nature, it's why he was born. A good example is the 'Bender Meets God' episode where Fry simply slams the telescope with his hand and "accidentally" finds god.

Zoidberg:
Dr. Zoidberg is a surgeon who never has money or friends because his nature is to "dissect" anything he touches. The only way he can truly understand and absorb anything is by eating it, or at least putting it in his mouth, so he does this A LOT. Dr. Zoidberg represents IMHO, Jews. Wonderful speakers who find it difficult sometimes to turn off their intensely powerful analytical "knife" and consequently offend some people. If you watch carefully, despite his outward appearance, Zoidberg will often "save the day" by providing much needed pushing or critical information that nobody else seems to remember. He does this not because he is necessarily inclined to save everyone, but because he has been trained to understand things at a level that goes beyond what a normal person needs to live. A good example is the 'Anthology of Interest II' episode where Dr. Zoidberg accidentally "eats" Fry, but Fry can come back because he "has another guy." They all cheer when this happens, even Zoidberg. He never meant to hurt Fry, he was just following his nature (does this story sound familiar to anyone? *cough The Passion *cough *cough).

Anyway, that's enough for now, I feel like I may have already offended huge groups of people. But, let me know if you think I'm on to something or I'm on crack or this is something you all already know.
Jaksiel

Crustacean
*
« Reply #1 on: 03-22-2004 21:21 »

I'll go with the "you're on crack" theory.
zoidberg74

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #2 on: 03-22-2004 21:22 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by enki_25:
Fry:
A french fry looks like the number 1. Fry is "the one" person that can save the universe. He does this not because he is inclined to do so, but because it is his nature, it's why he was born. A good example is the 'Bender Meets God' episode where Fry simply slams the telescope with his hand and "accidentally" finds god.
 

Ever hear of curly fries?....... FLAWED!
Ranadok

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #3 on: 03-22-2004 21:24 »
« Last Edit on: 03-22-2004 21:24 »

Shove off. Or whatever.  Seriously, though. I think that you are right in assuming that the characters in Futurama are representative of various demographics or personality types, but I think you try too hard, and try to make it appear a lot deeper than it really is, or miss the mark completely.

Your Fry point (with the exception of the "french fry" bit, which I think is just coincidence) makes sense, but I'm a bit unclear at what exactly you are getting at. Are you claiming basically that most of Fry's actions end up with a good result because he is the person who is capable of saving the universe?  So, like luck, on a cosmic scale? Interesting.

The Zoidberg bit is kind of hit and miss, mainly because his status changes over the course of the series. He starts out relatively wealthy (having an expensive room on the Titanic and everything), but only later (starting in season 2, really, although there is that one gag in Garbage Ball that lead to it) falling into the friendless, poor territory. Zoidberg is supposed to a Jewish-type character, it shows up a lot (accent, occasional phrase, etc). However, I'm not sure how you arrive at the conclusion that Zoidberg is supposed to represent Jews as a whole. I don't think Zoidberg wields anything like an "analytical knife" or is a wonderful speaker.  Your example (from AOI2), confuses me a bit. Are you saying that Fry represents Jesus, and Zoidberg the Jewish people of the time? I can understand the basis for this for this reference only, but I don't know how well it applies, especially outside  the context of that scene.  The part about him needing to put things in his mouth to understand them is more a characteristic of small children than it is of Jews (unless this point had nothing to do with the Jew claim), and Zoidberg's childishness has been a reoccurring theme on the show.  I think that Zoidberg would be a better fit for children (their innocence, sometimes vengefulness, simplicity, generally lost in the world of adults, and so forth) than he would be for Jewish people.

Anyhow, excellent first post, and welcome to PEEL.

Edit: I figured people would post while I was typing this.
canned eggs

Space Pope
****
« Reply #4 on: 03-22-2004 22:19 »

What about Hermes?  He's a Jamaican bureaucrat.  Look at the juxtaposition, with the subtle ganja jokes next to the uptight jokes.  Maybe he's pointing up the ludicrousness of the identities people forge in postmodern societies.  The total melding of mainstream and underground culture, the white suburban gangstas, etc. 

And his name is Hermes, as in Hermes Trismegistus.  And bureaucracy is pretty hermetic, when you think about it.  It's the new occult.  Look at Terry Gilliam's Brazil.

This thread is totally like an undergraduate political theory class.  It's mad pretentious.  I like it.

canned eggs: all rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.
Shaucker

Professor
*
« Reply #5 on: 03-22-2004 23:12 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by canned eggs:This thread is totally like an undergraduate political theory class.  It's mad pretentious.  I like it.

Hee. Although if you take it economically you have the strong and violent Mom as evil big business and the weak senile Professor Farnsworth as smalltime enterprise.
In small business you have the power of hindsight (Fry), a stinted few of the present (Leela), a capitalist (Amy), a member of the proletariet (Zoidberg), and a corrupt member of the government (Hermes)
Hooray, I'm helping build this bullshit! I'm doing Ricardo proud!

If you don't eat meat, you'll break out in vaginas.
ActionLaPointe

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #6 on: 03-22-2004 23:20 »

welcome to peel
enki_25 is a crack pipe
tho i shoudlnt be talking
Morbo_01

Delivery Boy
**
« Reply #7 on: 03-23-2004 03:27 »

[Fry]This is just like that drug trip i saw in a movie while i was on that drug trip![Fry/]
I'm seriously frightened by all you people analysing my favourite show! its like everybody represents something and that something represents something and that something...
Shaucker

Professor
*
« Reply #8 on: 03-23-2004 07:40 »

Morbo, ever read 'Philosophy and the Simpsons'? It's a whole book comparing the ideas and values of various schools of philosophy to The Simpsons.
Prof. Wernstrum

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #9 on: 03-23-2004 07:42 »

I think that Bender represents the human desire to analyse works of fiction way too much and then find some sort of "deeper meaning" that was never intended. The fact that he ends up talking to God represents how this belief can best be dispelled by listening to the creators of the show, i.e. the Gods of the Futurama universe, and realising that in the 74 audio commentaries they made, not once is anything this deep mentioned despite the fact that they will point out minutae such as throwaway gags about obscure movies.

Or not.
TheLampIncident

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #10 on: 03-23-2004 07:51 »

I ignored the entire post of the starter of this thread for using the word "kewl".
PCC Fred

Space Pope
****
« Reply #11 on: 03-23-2004 08:14 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by enki_25:
Fry:
A french fry looks like the number 1. Fry is "the one" person that can save the universe.

Thank God.  For a moment there I thought this was going to be another nOOb argument based on spurious evidence.

 
Quote
He does this not because he is inclined to do so, but because it is his nature, it's why he was born.

Have you actually seen "The Why of Fry"?

 
Quote
A good example is the 'Bender Meets God' episode where Fry simply slams the telescope with his hand and "accidentally" finds god.

Well I don't know about you, but I'm convinced...

 
Quote
Dr. Zoidberg is a surgeon who never has money or friends because his nature is to "dissect" anything he touches.

Hmm.  Is it not possible that he doesn't have money or friends because he's a creap surgeon?

 
Quote
The only way he can truly understand and absorb anything is by eating it, or at least putting it in his mouth, so he does this A LOT.

So does my baby nephew, that doesn't mean I spend my days trying to psychologically analyse him.

 
Quote
Dr. Zoidberg represents IMHO, Jews.

Wow.  What gave it away?

 
Quote
Wonderful speakers who find it difficult sometimes to turn off their intensely powerful analytical "knife" and consequently offend some people. If you watch carefully, despite his outward appearance, Zoidberg will often "save the day" by providing much needed pushing or critical information that nobody else seems to remember.

Are you the same person who claimed Grandma Tracy is the real hero in "Thunderbirds"?

 
Quote
He does this not because he is necessarily inclined to save everyone, but because he has been trained to understand things at a level that goes beyond what a normal person needs to live. A good example is the 'Anthology of Interest II' episode where Dr. Zoidberg accidentally "eats" Fry, but Fry can come back because he "has another guy." They all cheer when this happens, even Zoidberg. He never meant to hurt Fry, he was just following his nature (does this story sound familiar to anyone? *cough The Passion *cough *cough).

Once again, you're over-analysing.  In Pacman, when you die you usually get another life.  Zoidberg ate Fry by accident and was upset, that's why he cheered when Fry came back.

 
Quote
Anyway, that's enough for now, I feel like I may have already offended huge groups of people. But, let me know if you think I'm on to something or I'm on crack or this is something you all already know.

  no no
Nixorbo

UberMod
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #12 on: 03-23-2004 12:44 »

And what about waffle fries, and home fries?
PCC Fred

Space Pope
****
« Reply #13 on: 03-23-2004 15:35 »

Is there a potato product called a "zoidberg" that's shaped like a zero?  Because it'd really help this guy's case.
Digital Dragon

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #14 on: 03-23-2004 19:36 »

I'll concede that these bullshit analogies were, of course, never intended by the shows creators but that doesn't stop them from being fun to point out.
~FazeShift~

Moderator
DOOP Ubersecretary
**
« Reply #15 on: 03-23-2004 21:34 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by PCC Fred:
Is there a potato product called a "zoidberg" that's shaped like a zero?  Because it'd really help this guy's case.
*Invents "Potatoughnuts"*

*makes millions*

Cheers Fred!!  big grin
Shaucker

Professor
*
« Reply #16 on: 03-23-2004 22:22 »
« Last Edit on: 03-23-2004 22:22 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by ~FazeShift~:
 *Invents "Potatoughnuts"*

*makes millions*

Cheers Fred!!    big grin

Potato TOUGH NUTS? Pukatronic!
Potatonauts? Mayhaps

edit: hooray! I'm a bending unit!
------------------
  You have what my old music teacher Mrs. Mellinger called "stupid fingers"!

"DuffMensch! Oh Ja!"
enki_25

Poppler
*
« Reply #17 on: 03-24-2004 10:44 »

Well,
You some of you must think a very intelligent man like Matt would go to great lengths to create an intelligent story, and make no effort to give it depth.
Do you think Matt is also as young and uneducated as all of you? He's been around a LONG time, he knows exactly why he references certain things at certain times.
If you think this is bullshit, fine. Think about it and start applying the themes to other episodes.

Bender: Represents human evil. Bender does all the things we could all do but don't out of respect for one another, and for ourselves. Before Bender meets Fry, he's just a robot like any other, but meeting Fry gives him some kind of free will, or at least the ability to exhibit his criminal talents way more than other robots. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, but can only understand that's what he does when the consequences effect him directly.

Lela: The absolute of femininity. Lela only has one eye, which prevents her from ever truly seeing anyone's true "depth". This is why she can never see Fry for his true nature, or at the very least that he really loves her (he just doesn't know how to do it well). She's powerful, just like women are in the real world (most guys have a girl at home that MUST BE OBEYED, or they'll kick our asses, right?)

If you think I'm on crack, that's cool. Just remember these themes and try to apply them to episodes as you watch them in the future. Things will get really interesting, I promise (even without crack).
El Scorcho

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #18 on: 03-24-2004 11:42 »

I think your on somthing a little stronger than crack

Let's build quiet armies friends, let's march on their glass towers, let's build fallen cathedrals, and make impractical plans
Zeep

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #19 on: 03-24-2004 11:50 »

wow. someone has *WAAAAAAY* too much time on his hands.

seriously, though. this is mildly interesting, even though i got bored before finishing the first post, but this constant analyzing is annoying! i seriously doubt Matt or David would do something this meticulous and not mention it in any commentaries, interviews, etc.
PCC Fred

Space Pope
****
« Reply #20 on: 03-24-2004 12:28 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by enki_25:
Well,
You some of you must think a very intelligent man like Matt would go to great lengths to create an intelligent story, and make no effort to give it depth.
Do you think Matt is also as young and uneducated as all of you? He's been around a LONG time, he knows exactly why he references certain things at certain times.

I beleive that MG spent a long time creating an interesting setting and characters you can relate to.  I don't believe Fry is called Fry because a French Fry is shaped like a "1" (which it isn't) and Fry is "the one".

 
Quote
If you think this is bullshit, fine. Think about it and start applying the themes to other episodes.

Since I think you're talking bullshit, why should I want to apply the themes to other episodes?  Personally I don't see what kick you get out of twisting events in a fictional show right out of context to support your own crazy theories about the symbolism of the show.
canned eggs

Space Pope
****
« Reply #21 on: 03-24-2004 14:10 »

The show can have references that weren't specifically intended by, Say, Matt Groening, or the writer, or anyone in particular.  First of all, each episode is a team effort so there is no single creative brain behind it.  Secondly, I think the auteur theory is naive.  No literary work has some mystical personality that is the ultimate arbiter of meaning, no matter how personal it is.  Futurama is a dialectic, and searching for meaning like Enki_25 is is one of the ways that that meaning is created. 

So your man may be a little caught up in the showboating aspects of literary theory but that don't mean he's on crack.  I'm suspect of the french fry theory, but just because that's stupid doesn't mean the whole thing is.

Here's one of the innumerable threads with more on the topic.

Also, Bender as evil is interesting, especially in light of the serious insecurities he hides.  Look at his breakdown in "The Honking" or the turtle in "Crimes of the Hot."  But I think he's more complex than that.  He's also a demonstration of the positive side of the liberation he displays by not giving a crap about anyone else.  Look at the end of "Obsoletely Fabulous," for example.  It's sort of like Rock 'N' Roll High School. 

canned eggs: all rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.
PCC Fred

Space Pope
****
« Reply #22 on: 03-24-2004 19:01 »

The fact of the matter is different people are going to "see" different things in Futurama, e.g. Daniela sees Leela as lesbian.  That's natural.  I wouldn't watch shows that I couldn't relate to.

But what gripes me is the number of people who "see" highly obscure things in Futurama, and insist that it's what the writers intended them to see.
Digital Dragon

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #23 on: 03-24-2004 20:14 »

Pfft, everyone knows Leela represents the economic polices of the Weimar governments extremist left.
Shaucker

Professor
*
« Reply #24 on: 03-24-2004 21:13 »

I wouldn't say EXTREME, really...  smile
EvilLunch

Professor
*
« Reply #25 on: 03-26-2004 18:02 »

What an iriguing thread! Okay, let's see. If Fry is Jesus, and his descendant is Farnsworth, and Farnsworth sees a 'vision' if you will about inventing the Finglonger, is Farnsworth then the neomessiah who will one day bring the Finglonger to the world and save us from damnation with the [not a robot]Devil?

Or is Fry just a loveable dope?

I'm goin' with my second theory.. C'mon, man. Matt can create deep works[Just read Life In Hell], but I've never read or seen anything by him that was purposely constructed to be one big convoluted analogy. Then again, if he DID mean for Fry to be Jesus or something, I dunno if he'd be so prententious to blather about it on the commentary track anyway. Nothing's worse than when an artist tries to explain his work in that manner.
AquaSka

Delivery Boy
**
« Reply #26 on: 03-26-2004 18:07 »

i think futurama is just a simple cartoon matt groening thought up that some people are looking into too hard. every shows got a main character and some friends. simple.
zoidyzoid

Professor
*
« Reply #27 on: 03-27-2004 03:53 »
« Last Edit on: 03-27-2004 03:53 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by AquaSka:
i think futurama is just a simple cartoon matt groening thought up that some people are looking into too hard. every shows got a main character and some friends. simple.

I thinks there's more to it than that, but not too much more. Futurama is an intelligent TV show, with some strong satirical aspects, but I do think that some people read too much into it. Each to their own though- everyone sees things differently, and that's a good thing.
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