It’s hard to judge Futurama and the stories it’s been telling this season, and part of the reason for that is a renewed focus on characters and sentiment over wacky plotlines or tired TV tropes.
That’s not to say "Near Death Wish" lost what makes Futurama so great because that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The show’s theme and setup allow plenty of goof ball humor and fun to be had.
Nevertheless, in many ways, the core group of characters and their business forms a surrogate family (minus the blood ties between Professor and Fry), and it’s sometimes forgotten that these characters do have to come from somewhere and someone. So, to learn a little bit more about the Professor and his upbringing added some dimensionality to his character where they might otherwise be none.
It also played up the awkward familial situation Fry is in since he’s a genetic precursor to the Professor. While Fry is technically his Uncle, their relationship doesn’t play out that way, and, in most cases, Fry is more like a son or nephew. So Fry’s acceptance speech exemplified the need that he places on Farnsworth to have this ever-changing role that has to match whatever need he has from a family.
Fry wanted him at that awards show so he could show how much value he places in their relationship, and Farnsworth didn’t bother.
So when Fry decided to go elsewhere, and directly to the source (the Professor’s parents), all of sudden the shoe was on the other foot and now Farnsworth needed his parents to satisfy his emotional needs.
The great thing about the episode is that it ended up pulling something out of its hat that usually comes out of Greg Berlanti shows like Brothers and Sisters or Political Animals: for most of us, our family truly does care about us; they do have our best interests at heart, their actions truly do come from a place of love and a lot more time than we sometimes acknowledge, or know about, is spent on us and our well-being.
While Farnsworth’s childhood stories had the typical Futurama colorations, the theme was still there.
- The simultaneous praising and roasting of The Matrix deserves to be listened to more than once.
- Bender using Fry as a weapon.
- The Near Death star.
What did you think of tonight’s Futurama? Let us know in the comments and head over to our Futurama quotes page to see some of our favorite lines from "Near Death Wish."