Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yuletide TV Day 9: Futurama

Series: Futurama

Episode: S2E4 "X-mas Story"

Original airdate: August 1, 2010

Santa? Killer-Robotic Santa with the voice of John Goodman

Other holidays mentioned: None

Availability: Netflix 

Unique Christmas Story:
Futurama is one of those rare shows where it can pull of witty dialogue, low-brow humor and incredibly heartfelt story lines. This isn't the case for every episode of the series, but when it goes for those emotional moments, it rarely misses. Such is the case with "X-mas Story" which begins by focusing on Fry's loneliness living 1000 years away from the life he knew and then shifts to Leela's loneliness of never finding out where she came from.

Fry asks the question "What's the point of X-mas when everyone you loved died 1000 years ago?" It's an important question to ask because so much of how Christmas is defined is through spending time with loved ones.

But as hard as it is to spend Christmas away from loved ones, it is even harder to have never had any loved ones to spend it with. This is what Fry discovers when he realizes that Leela became upset after his wallowing. She's an orphan who has never had a family to celebrate Christmas.

Fry is determined to give Leela a great Christmas, and to do so he embarks on a classic sitcom quest: finding the perfect gift.

Although the episode is pretty standard fair up to this point, the episode unfolds a new wrinkle when Fry learns he needs to be back with his gift before sundown. Why? Because otherwise Santa will hunt him down.

Futurama is set in an absurd future where almost anything is possible, even Santa Claus. Instead of a holly-jolly fat though, the future is subjected to a robotic Santa who judges everyone as naughty and instead of giving them coal, fires rocket launchers at them.

It's a plot device only an adult cartoon could get away with but it does so with such conviction there is never any reason to doubt it. Fry and Leela encounter Robo-Claus, but its the lesson they learn from each other that are more valuable than the gifts they give. They take solace in each other's loneliness, and find that Christmas doesn't need to be as memorable as they were expecting it to be.

Unique Holiday Message:
No matter how bad we think we might have it, someone out there has it worse.

Canadian Christmas might just prove to be the best Christmas.

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