‘Fun on a Bun’
The Six Million Dollar Mon was always going to be a difficult episode to follow. Nevertheless, the writers of Futurama have delivered another episode that is clever, witty and charming.
Fun on a Bun begins with Professor Hubert Farnsworth taking the Planet Express crew to Germany for Oktoberfest. But Oktoberfest in the future isn’t the same as Fry’s beloved 20th century version; it’s a more sophisticated and highbrow event. Fry is disappointed by the lack of beer on offer at the festival, so he attempts to get drunk by consuming other people’s discarded beer spit-backs. When he has become fully intoxicated, Fry embarrasses Leela and as a result, she breaks up with him.
Meanwhile, Bender attempts to win a sausage-making competition, but he soon realises that his pork isn’t quite up to scratch. Determined to win the contest, Bender and Fry travel out to a glacier to find a 30,000 year old frozen woolly mammoth. Upon finding this aged delicacy, Bender begins to grind the mammoth into sausages, but Fry gets stuck in the machine. The crew believe that Fry was killed by the sausage grinder, but little do they know, Fry isn’t actually dead – he was just knocked unconscious and frozen in a block of ice.
To deal with the grief, Leela decides to have her memories of Fry removed and gets on with her life as captain of the Planet Express ship. The crew try to avoid mentioning Fry’s name, but unfortunately, Bender is invited back to Oktoberfest, as his sausages are in with a chance of winning the competition. In the meantime, Fry is unfrozen by a group of Neanderthals, who want to reclaim their land from the homo-sapiens. The Neanderthals and the homo-sapiens battle, until Fry and Leela are reunited after their amnesia has passed. The episode ends with a return to a more traditional 20th century Oktoberfest.
As long as an episode of Futurama makes you laugh, or even smile, it’s certainly considered to be a success. Fun on a Bun contains some real side-splitting gags, such as when Hermes is attacked by a giant sloth. However, the episode also has some jokes that are clever, but you don’t actually feel compelled to laugh. Comments like “Ah, Leela, we meet again, but this time I’m the one criticizing the sausage” are quick and witty, but only seem to generate a quiet chuckle of approval. Futurama also feels like it has become noticeably raunchy since the switch to Comedy Central in 2009. There are countless sexual references and innuendo in this episode and even quite overt references in previous episodes including In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela through a rogue death sphere called the V-GINY.
In the same fashion as last week’s episode, the cultural references are sound. Bender is sent news by a raven – an overt allusion to fantasy series Game of Thrones, and Leela visits Annie’s Forgettery, a subtle insinuation to the premise of Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Apt cultural references and clever visual gags are great, but through the development of the Fry and Leela relationship, the writers have added something extra to this episode – a sincere and sentimental feeling.