Comedy Central can bite my shiny metal ass! After 140 episodes, a revival, seven seasons, and numerous movies, the network has canceled Futurama. The show was created by Simpsons mastermind, Matt Groening and premiered in 1999. Futurama ran for four seasons until it was canceled in 2003, and due to popular demand, the show was revived in 2007. Featuring the talents of: John DiMaggio, Billy West, Tress MacNeille, Katey Sagal and Maurice LaMarche, Futurama boasted a fine cast and an even better team of writers. Over its long run, Futurama has earned six Emmy Awards, two WGA Awards and seven Annie Awards, as well as a 90 score on Metacritic, making Futurama a critical darling.
The last episode of the show will air on September 4, marking the end to one of the most critically acclaimed television shows of all time. Futurama has been killed, but it wasn't entirely-unexpected, as David X. Cohen told EW, “I felt like we were already in the bonus round on these last couple of seasons, so I can’t say I was devastated by the news. It was what I had expected two years earlier. At this point I keep a suitcase by my office door so I can be canceled at a moment’s notice.” It is because of the social relevance and excellence of Futurama that I have decided to eulogize the show's passing, as I would a family member or a favorite pet.
This cancellation hurts me right in the childhood. I'm not about to mince words here, I love Futurama and this cancellation makes me feel anger towards Comedy Central. Futurama was a television staple to me and others in the community growing up. My grandparents may have had the Andy Griffith Show, but we were treated to a higher level of comedy that often bordered on very transcendental, verging on philosophical episodes, that not only caused viewers to laugh, but also to think. Who could forget the quandaries posited by episodes like "Roswell That End's Well" or the sadness evoked from Emmy nominated episode "Jurassic Bark"? Most importantly, Futurama worked as a brilliant comedy, and it's unique brand of subversive, smart, relevant and edgy comedy has been influencing comedians and television alike since Futurama's inception in 1999.
Despite the fact that Futurama is, in fact, an animated cartoon, it managed to create characters more real and life-like than anyone featured on an MTv reality show. The biggest reason that Futurama worked and was so engrossing was because of one of the single greatest characters ever created, Phillip J. Fry. While other characters may have held the spotlight of the show (Zoidberg and Bender) Fry was the realistic idiot that everyone could relate too. It is impossible to watch any given episode of Futurama and not feel a connection with Fry, he is an amazingly written character due to his simple and sweet nature.
He reacts to new situations in the best way imaginable and overcomes being fazed by suddenly being in the year 3000 relatively quickly. He is the only character in television history with a genuine love story that I have had a vested interest in. From episode one, Leela and Fry were meant to be together.
It didn't matter that Fry was an idiot or that Leela was a mutant, Futurama was about acceptance and despite any differences that Fry and Leela might have had, anyone watching knew that they were perfect for each other. Which is why the first time that Futurama was canceled, in 2003, it was border-line heartbreaking because you would never know if those characters wound up happy, but unless the writers decide to give Futurama the send off it deserves, we may never know.
Futurama was more than just a show, it was an exercise in philosophy as well as a damn-fine source of irreverent humor. To get your fill of Futurama before it leaves us on September 4, (most likely forever this time) the show is available on Netflix and more than Futurama's fair share of "best of" clips can be found online.
For a test of one of Pop Culture's favorite characters, here is a Bender Rodriguez "best of" compilation:
For anyone that hasn't cried today, here is a clip from "Jurassic Bark" (a.k.a "Fry's Dog's" episode):