Found a "Tripping the Rift DVD" for just 9 Bucks at the store, and decided to watch that series once again.
As the comparison to Futurama is mentioned, here are my two cents:
- As mentioned before, I consider Futurama in certain themes too biased, too politically correct. Tripping the rift's humor may in many ways be cruder and more juvenile than Futurama, they may not have such brillant ideas like the Harlem Globetrotters being the greatest scientic minds of the known universe...yet, that series really deserves the title "Equal opportunity offender", lashing out at every direction, without knowing any "sacred cows".
- Character constellation.
TTR allows in many ways a much smoother character interaction. When we look at Futurama, what roles are there on the ship:
(I will be another criticism of Leela, you have been warned)
Weapon Expert: Leela
Folks to mess up to allow a Leela skill display: Fry, Bender.
A bit one-sided, isn't it? Also, her mess-ups are not usually followed by consequences, or a real struggle to get over problems (e.g. Möbius Dick and LLLiS delivered a solution within seconds...though the interesting part of those stories is usually "Let's see the character struggling to get out of that mess").
When we look at TTR, there is far more balance:
Leader: Chode. Certain street smarts, but common sense usually overridden by greed.
Brain: Six. The Brain/Voice of reason. Yet, as a sex-object, remaining usually unheard.
Pilot: T'Nuk. Skilled in what she does, also rather tough character. Subversion of the "Hot Babe" type, for being ugly as the night, yet considerung herself a beauty.
To cut a long story short: Every of those characters has a specific set of abilities and weaknesses. Every one is eligible to save the day in a competent way, or to make things even worse. Without any predictablity which of those two options will be played out.
E.g. let us compare TTR "Cool Whip" with Futuramas "MTS".
In both episodes, one crew member is worshipped as a god by locals, ignoring his former friends, and unaware of facing certain doom.
- Futurama made a brillant portrait of the Trisolians culture, no dout about that. But otherwise, it was "Leela is great, Fry should have done what she told him, let's have Leela save the day". Usually, satirical sitcoms should ridicule authority. But in this here (as in BBA), QUESTIONING authority was ridiculed. If this ain't a tame, cowardly plotline, I do not know what is...
- Whip's mess-up was very similar to Fry's. Yet, it was played out very differently from Futurama, not just the "loser earning the hero a showdown". There were reasons why he developed a certain animosity towards the others, and -in the end- he was allowed to pull the story through himself, to save the day (which he previously ruined).