31st Century Fox
|Navigation in production order
|Navigation in broadcast order
- This article is about the episode. For the in-universe organisation, see 30th Century Fox.
|Season 7 episode
Broadcast season 9 episode
|31st Century Fox
|Patric M. Verrone
|Today's Episode Brought To You By The Letter (Alien Letter "O")
|First air date
|29 August 2012
|20th Century Fox and its parent, 21st Century Fox
"31st Century Fox" is the one hundred and twenty-fifth episode of Futurama, the eleventh of the seventh production season and the twelfth of the ninth broadcast season. It aired on 29 August 2012, on Comedy Central. It guest-stars Patrick Stewart as the huntmaster. Bender discovers a cruel hunt of robot animals and decides to take action.
Act I: "Tomorrow's clothes at yesterday's prices."
Following an active delivery to Tokyo, the crew return in ravaged uniform remnants. Amy questions the Professor on his promise to provide newer uniforms for the crew a year ago. The Professor dismisses the notion until the creature responsible for the tattered clothing, and which stowed aboard the ship, flies out and renders Hermes and Farnsworth practically naked forcing the Professor's hand. And thus it's off to the garment district.
The crew travel to the shop of a Decapodian clothier to find a new set of uniforms. While trying on various outfits (see below), Bender becomes enthralled by a 20th Century fox-hunting attire. Failing to find anything suitable, Leela calls for them to leave but, before they go, the clothier offers them at a discount the very uniforms they'd been promised a year ago of which Farnsworth approves.
Suited up in their new outfits, everyone is surprised to find Bender had chosen to buy(steal) the fox-hunting outfit and professes a conveniently newfound joy of the sport. Leela is disgusted by the notion of fox hunting but Bender insists they come with him to an upcoming hunt he'll take part in.
Act II: "You, sir, have been outfoxed... I spent all night on that."
During the hunt, Bender is introduced to the huntmaster who follows a strict code of etiquette including a 30 minute head start for the fox. Leela makes numerous unsuccessful attempts to protest the hunt but is thwarted each time by the huntmaster's traps, including an anti-gravity generator. The fox is located and surrounded by the hounds as Leela watches with disgust. However, after the dogs have torn it apart it is revealed as no more than a robot fox with which Leela is less than concerned about. Conversely, Bender is disgusted and cries out over the crime against robot rights and even more so at the fact that the whole hunt operates off of robot on robot violence (the hounds and horses also being robotic).
Bender begins his own quest towards animal rights (particularly robot animals) by forming B.A.R.F., Bender's Animal Robot Front. Gathering a modest group of attendees, Bender begins a quest to stamp out injustices against robotic animals including the liberation of robot chickens from laying eggs as they were designed to, and the butchering of robot animal flesh. Although B.A.R.F. is declared successful, moderately, there remains one last effort on Bender's part: liberating the robot fox.
Failing to get the fox declared a protected creature, Bender, Leela, and Fry sneak in at night to take the fox and rescue it from its role as prey. However, Bender remains to perform one last act. The next day, the hunters are shocked to find Bender waiting in the cage.
Act III: "It's Bender's middle finger. I'd recognize this anywhere."
Bender's efforts are outwitted by the huntmaster supplanting him for the fox and gives him the same 30 minute head start. Bender makes a run for it trying to out think the hunters. Although Bender fails to actually make any discernable escape, he is surrounded almost out the gate. The huntmaster benevolently gives him a second chance which Bender uses to try and escape again.
Meanwhile, at Planet Express, the crew fall in love with the robot fox as it behaves in a cute, pet-like manner. The cuteness wears off though as the fox is not house broken and proceeds to make a mess of things including destroying the new uniforms. Though Leela tries to defend it, she quickly changes her mind after it has also damaged her protest sign. The crew try to kill the fox themselves but only manage to tear half of its face from its head as it scurries off down the street.
Bender unsuccessfully tries to throw everyone off the trail by masking his scent. Elsewhere, the crew chases the fox through New New York taking shots at it. The fox boards a train for New Jersey which they realize is trying to go back to where it considers home. As Bender is overcome by the hardships of being pursued in the wilderness, he ultimately manages to sever a finger and becomes trapped in one of the huntmaster's traps. The fox finds him and helps to get Bender's trapped foot free as the hunt is almost upon them. Barely escaping, the hunting party is interrupted by the ship landing and Leela demanding they hand over the fox. However, the fox is of no concern to the hunters anymore as they now have bigger game which everyone realizes is Bender.
With the fox's help, Bender is able to avoid the huntmaster's traps giving Bender an idea of how to turn the situation in his favor. As Leela attempts to compromise with the hunters over trying to go after both targets, the huntmaster slips off to personally pursue Bender.
The huntmaster, though cautious, is taken off guard by one of Bender's traps which leads him to stumble through a hollow tree trunk. He finds himself watching Bender caught in the anti-gravity snare but Bender reveals that it is really he who is caught in the gravity field which Bender turns off. Now with the huntmaster's gun, Bender has him defeated but shows mercy as Fry and Leela find them.
The huntmaster isn't so benevolent as he steals back the rifle and is prepared to shoot. Bender is saved by the fox who mauls the huntmaster to reveal he was a robot himself all along. Ultimately the irony is enough to satisfy everyone as they mount the huntmaster's head as a trophy back at Planet Express.
On 12 July, following the broadcast of the episode "Zapp Dingbat", the public were given the opportunity to participate in a live chat with the Futurama cast and crew. Several clips of "31st Century Fox" were shown during the live stream.
- This is the first episode (in production order) of season 7 to be aired out of order, as the broadcast order of both this episode and "Viva Mars Vegas" were swapped.
- It is confirmed in the commentary that this swap was requested by Comedy Central as they wanted to advertise Patrick Stewart being in the season finale (which they subsequently did not).
- The plot is a direct reference to the short story, The Most Dangerous Game, written by Richard Connell.
- With this episode, the Awesome Express uniforms have officially been acknowledged as serving Planet Express.
- The Professor had provided new uniforms before in "Love and Rocket" which occasionally showed up.
- Click here to see cultural mentions made in this episode.
- The episode's title is a reference to 20th Century Fox, the company that owns Futurama, and to the company's parent, 21st Century Fox, which was formed as the legal successor to News Corporation.
- The uniforms tried on by the crew contain many references:
- The first uniforms are stillsuits from the film Dune by Frank Herbert.
- Fry wears an operations uniform from Star Trek.
- Zoidberg wears Storm Trooper armor from Star Wars.
- Leela wears a costume from Barbarella.
- Amy wears a Pan Am uniform from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- The Professor wears a red thong with suspenders, a reference to Sean Connery (the first actor to play the character of James Bond in film) in the film Zardoz.
- Bender's fox-hunting uniform is reminiscent of the 1965 film The 10th Victim, starring Bond girl Ursula Andress, who appeared in the first James Bond film opposite Sean Connery.
- Squidward Scissorhands is a reference to Edward Scissorhands and the character of Squidward Tentacles from SpongeBob SquarePants.
- The highway sign reading "Highway jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive" is a reference to the Bruce Springsteen song "Born to Run".
- As Leela tries to kill the robot fox with her sign she cuts off half its facial fur, a possible reference to The Terminator.
- "Missed it by that much" is a reference to the T.V. series Get Smart.
- Newmar's Own Catnip is a reference to both the "Newman's Own" brand of products from Paul Newman and Joan Woodward, and also Julie Newmar's Catwoman on the 1960's Batman.
- The Mission Accomplished banner at B.A.R.F.'s second meeting is based on the same banner hung on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln when George W. Bush delivered his 2003 speech declaring major combat operations over in Iraq.
- When Bender reveals his anti-gravity snare, he uses the "bay-woop" sound effect vocalized by Warner Brothers animation director Bob Clampett to end many of his cartoons.
Farnsworth: Fox news, everyone! I've decided to make the fox our new corporate mascot!
Leela: Where's the huntmaster?
Poopenmeyer: Remember when you said "Nobody leave." and then turned your head briefly... He left an hour before that.
- Fry states that on his uniform, his hands are sewn to his belt. However as Bender asks if the crew would join him on the fox hunt, Fry is seen with his hand free from his belt.
- The trench that the huntmaster knocks Leela in isn't there before or after (later on the second hunt) he knocks her in.
- Leela states she's okay with a robot fox dying, but later goes to Bender's antiviolence to robot animals meeting.
- She could have changed her mind or Bender could have forced her to go to the meeting.
- Bender says he's starving, but, as a robot, it's been stated he doesn't get hungry.
- Bender cuts his finger off with a knife, but he's made of metal.
- He didn't necessarily cut off his finger, he could have just dislodged it from his hand, such as how his arm can disconnect from his torso.
- The knife could be similar to the knife that he used in "The 30% Iron Chef", which cut his arm into many pieces and was still able to cut a tomato with ease.
- Bender is unable to break a metal cage, but is strong enough to bend an unbendable bar?
- The name is Bender, not Lifter or Pusher or Breaker, as has been established a few zillion times by this point. If you want a robot to break metal cages, go get yourself a breaking unit. If you want someone to bend something for you, then come get me. Or just get lost. Either way.
- Bender runs farther than the distance shown when the hunt catches up with him the first time.
- When the horse falls on Bender the first time, it flattens him, but, the second time, he just keeps running with it on his back.
- Bender didn't see it coming the first time and didn't catch it as he did the second time.
- It's stated the fox urinated on the floor, but it's made clear by Bender in several stories that robots don't go to the bathroom.
- The fox could have simply done something likened to urination.
- Fry says Bender got rid of all robot animal cruelty in fifty yards of the building, but there is no farm or pier in fifty yards of Planet Express, as shown in overshots.
- That means Bender didn't really do anything noteworthy and they were really just trying to get him to bring everything to a close.
- What's the point of robot hen eggs? Or cutting up robot animals? They can't be eaten as they're made of metal, so why waste resources on them simply for cruelty?
- After the cats jump onto him, Bender drops the catnip. However, in the wider shot that follows, the catnip is gone.
Alien Language Sightings
- Mrs. Astor
- Backwoods septic tank
- Debut: Hippie Bot
- Debut: Huntmaster
- Mayor Poopenmeyer
- Mom (mentioned in text only, 3:55 (in AL1))
- Debut: Mothzilla
- Debut: Penelope
- Queen of Yonkers
- Debut: Robot fox
- Ron Whitey
- Ruth and Esther
- Debut: Seagasket
- Debut: Squidward Scissorhands
- ^ Episode Guide: 7 ACV. (CGEF.) 29 February 2012. Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
- ^ "Just Fan" (29 February 2012). "Futurama: Futurama News (pre-season 7)". (PEEL.) Retrieved on 29 February 2012.
- ^ Futurama - '31st Century Fox' Episode Info. (MSN TV.) Retrieved on 29 June 2012.
- ^ "Tastes Like Fry" (12 July 2012). "Newsarama! (Futurama News Thread)" (page 1). (PEEL.) Retrieved on 13 July 2012.
- ^ Eric Rogers (30 January 2012). Kitchelfilms. (Twitter.) Retrieved on 31 January 2012.