Ask and ye shall receive!
I complained about the lack of adventures featuring the main cast in “Zapp Dingbat”, and this week in "The Butterjunk Effect" it’s all about Fry, Leela and Amy. But there’s another old saying that goes “be careful what you wish for,” which came in full effect, as this was just a bland half-hour.
For an episode about a man from the 20th century turning into a butterfly while his cyclops girlfriend gets addicted to intergalactic steroids can never be described as having the expected happen, nothing felt surprising.
I suppose a TV show will repeat itself after a while, as “Less Than Hero” did the whole “super-powered drugs” plotline, though it sure didn’t wind up with Fry cocooning himself. Amy being the one to sneak into Fry’s bed instead of Leela? It felt telegraphed. Fry’s eventual butterfly transformation was explicitly spelled out, and of course it was going to play a factor, because how could it not?
The ending was kind of odd in that everything just abruptly stopped. Fry "mates" with the other Nectar addicts, his butterfly shell cracks, and... that’s it. There’s no payoff, it left things where they were, a story lost in time. Based on the initial established storyline theme of Leela and Amy being catty to each other as something that girls do, that didn’t lead to anything, even as Fry and Kif felt emasculated by their super-buff girlfriends.
Those thematic strands just were left hanging, never used again, which in hindsight feel odd to bring up in the first place. I wonder if at some point the creative staff realized that they did this kind of episode already in “Neutopia”, and decided to skew differently while partially through it.
While it was great seeing Abner Doubledeal back as the commissioner of Butterfly Derby after his shady exploits as the owner of the New New York Mets way back in the day, there wasn’t a whole lot else to laugh at. This was the first episode to have a lack of memorable dialogue, and while there were some funny Futurama quotes sprinkled throughout, nothing merited more than a chuckle.
It’s somewhat disconcerting to see an episode with the main cast be so flawed, but perhaps it’s just a bump in the road, and we must accept that even a great show can’t always be great.