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|Season 6 episode|
Broadcast season 8 episode
|Written by||Aaron Ehasz|
|Directed by||Crystal Chesney-Thompson|
|Title caption||OTHERS ASK, "WHAT IF?" WE ASK, "WHY IF."|
|First air date||23 June, 2011|
|Opening cartoon||Hollywood Capers (1935)|
|Special guest(s)||Patton Oswalt|
"Benderama" is the one hundred and fifth episode of Futurama, the seventeenth of the sixth production season and the second of the eighth broadcast season. It aired on 23 June, 2011, on Comedy Central. Bender gains the ability to self-replicate, threatening to overrun Earth with vast swarms of copies of himself.
Bender is able to clone himself, with the help of the Banach-Tarski Dupla-Shrinker, alcohol supplies run out.
Act I: I'm sorry. Do you see a robot in this room named "Folder?"
The Professor opens the episode by unveiling his latest invention, the Banach-Tarski Dupla-Shrinker (which resembles an overhead projector), a duplication machine that is able to scan an object and then produce two exact yet smaller copies. The Professor explains that as he ages, his frame grows shorter, and he becomes more susceptible to the cold; therefore, he needs twice as many sweaters, in a smaller size. He demonstrates by scanning a full-size sweater, explains that the duplicator uses matter for fuel (and "any old useless matter will do"--in this case, Zoidberg's wedding photos), and produces two identical, smaller sweaters. The Professor asks Bender to fold his new sweaters, and Bender grudgingly complies, although the lazy robot complains about having to perform two separate tasks. Bender spots the unattended duplicator and, devising a way to more efficiently complete his chore, places the machine inside his torso, eats several pieces of lab equipment to power it, and produces two miniature Benders, whom he then asks to fold one sweater each (although they don't actually do this).
Bender and his duplicates get along well, hanging out together, causing mischief, and even going on a Planet Express job to deliver hygiene products to an unattractive, self-conscious alien giant. The three Benders make a litany of crude jokes at the giant's expense, insulting his appearance, although the mild-mannered alien does not respond to their taunts... until Fry, attempting to be compassionate, remarks that the giant's looks are probably hereditary, inadvertently insulting his mother. This sends the giant into a rage, and he attacks the fleeing Planet Express ship, although the crew manage to escape.
Back on Earth, Bender and his duplicates fondly reminisce about mocking the giant. When Bender asks his duplicates for a pair of cigars, they move to oblige him, but when he changes his mind and asks for four, they bristle at the idea of having to carry two cigars each. Instead, they activate their own duplicators (since Bender had the original duplicator inside him when he used it to scan himself, all of his duplicates have one as well), creating another four, slightly smaller Bender clones. This process repeats itself, rapidly escalating until Planet Express headquarters is infested with an army of increasingly smaller Benders.
Act II: This place is crawling with yous!
Bender is unconcerned with the steadily increasing number of his clones, as this simply means "there are more Benders around", which he considers to be a good thing. However, the Professor displays a mathematical equation projecting the Benders' population growth, explaining that they will continue to replicate ad infinitum, multiplying exponentially; because they need matter in order to replicate, they will eventually consume the entire planet. The Professor calculates that the Benders are currently in their eleventh generation, making 2,046 Bender duplicates that must be destroyed. The crew scour the Planet Express building, exterminating the tiny Benders like vermin, and are able to account for them all, but Amy realizes that one of the dead Benders is actually a doll, a piece of merchandise left over from Bender's television career. Bender is not worried that a single duplicate managed to escape, believing it could do little harm, only for his couch to be eaten out from under him by a swarm of microscopic Benders, which appear as a "grey goo". The Professor laments that the Benders will eat all the matter on Earth, but when they also consume Bender's beer, Leela points out that all Benders, like the original, are powered by alcohol; they will exhaust the world's supply of booze long before they are able to destroy it.
Sure enough, the Benders soon drink all the alcohol in the world, and with none left to replace it, they begin to die off. As the professor is bathing, however, he notices that his bath water has somehow been transformed into alcohol; the Benders, which have miniaturized to the atomic level, have begun rearranging water and carbon dioxide molecules into alcohol molecules in order to provide themselves with more fuel. Within hours, there will be no fresh water left on Earth.
Act III: Big Bender starts right now!
As a result of all the drinking water on the planet being converted into alcohol, everyone in the world becomes severely intoxicated. Shortly afterward, the alien giant arrives on Earth to apologize for his earlier attack on the Planet Express ship, but the drunken crew berate him with savage insults (a situation that does not improve when Zapp Brannigan begins firing on him from a tank). When the giant, struggling to control his temper, is unable to reach his therapist, he goes on a rampage, and begins to destroy New New York. Fry pleads with Bender--who, as a robot, is the only member of the crew to remain sober--to stop the giant. The slothful Bender is reluctant, but when Fry offers to fold the Professor's shirts in exchange for Bender saving the world (which Bender computes as Fry performing two tasks against his one), Bender agrees, believing that he got the better end of the deal.
Bender walks into the street and calls upon the assistance of his many microscopic duplicates, overcoming their inherent laziness by explaining that if they all cooperate to complete their single job, they will each only have to contribute one-quintillionth of the required effort. The numerous copies swarm around Bender, taking the form of a single, gigantic "Big Bender" who engages the giant in a fistfight. Bender initially has the upper hand, but after he insults the giant's mother, the giant begins to pummel him. The giant appears to have won, only for the Benders to swarm across him, devouring him until only dust remains. Exhilarated by his victory, Bender asks his copies to use their powers to help him defeat other "monsters", such as poverty, disease, and "unliteracy"; the Benders, however, are repulsed by the idea of having to do more work, and leave the planet in search of a place where they "won't have to do one-quintillionth of a thing all the time", leaving a battered, partially eaten Earth behind.
The next morning, the Planet Express crew are all recovering from a collective hangover, although the Professor is in high spirits, as someone finally folded his sweaters. The crew were all too drunk to do this, prompting Fry to ask Bender if he finally learned a lesson about being lazy. Bender replies that maybe he did, but adds with a chuckle that perhaps he rescued one of the mini-Benders solely for the purpose of folding the sweaters for him. Bender exhales the smoke from his cigar toward the camera, revealing that it is not smoke at all, but a cloud of countless mini-Benders, all laughing maniacally.
During May and June 2011, Countdown to Futurama released six items of promotional material for the episode: concept art of the unattractive giant monster (together with confirmation that he would be voiced by Patton Oswalt) on 9 May, a promotional picture featuring various copies of Bender on 10 May, part of the storyboard showing the Planet Express crew prepare to deliver a package to the monster on 11 May, a promotional picture featuring three Benders riding a bicycle on 12 May, a promotional picture featuring a fight between a giant Bender and the monster on 13 May, and a video clip featuring the crew discussing the many Benders by the conference table on 15 June.
In its original U.S. broadcast on 23 June, 2011, "Benderama" scored a 1.1 share among adults 18-49 and 2.47 million viewers.
In a preview of "Neutopia" and "Benderama", Katie Schenkel from CliqueClack TV commented that these two episodes "[weren't] [her] favourite". Reflecting on "Benderama", Schenkel commented that the end of the episode had its own plot, after the main plot had been resolved, as if the main plot wasn't long enough, in addition, Schenkel commented that she felt that the guest star, Patton Oswalt – while excellent in his performance – was given a throwaway role. Of the two episodes, Schenkel preferred "Benderama" over "Neutopia".
- Benderama is among the few one-word titled media and one of only five season 6 episodes to include the full opening sequence, the other four being "Rebirth", "That Darn Katz!", "Yo Leela Leela" and "All the Presidents' Heads".
- The number of total Benders is given by
2^1+2^2+2^3+2^4+2^5+2^6+2^7+2^8+2^9+2^10=2046, which excludes the original Bender (
- The song played during the montage of the Planet Express crew killing all the Bender clones is The Presidents of the United States version of "Rock and Roll Pest Control" by the Young Fresh Fellows.
- This is the third time that Futurama gets away with almost dropping the S-bomb on the show. In The Beast with a Billion Backs, Bender says, "No shklit." In "Lethal Inspection", a member of the sith is named Darth Ithead, and in this episode, Morbo says that everyone is "tetty much protally fitshaced," a drunken spoonerism on "pretty much totally sh*tfaced".
- This episode reveals that Linda the news reporter is an alcoholic who may have abused or neglected her children while drunk (cf. her reaction when news hit that alcohol has disappeared off the face of the Earth and only hardened alcoholics would be affected).
- The title is a portmanteau of "Bender" and "Futurama".
- The Scary Door narrator says "A picture of yourself in a boat on a river", a play on the first line of The Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" - "Picture yourself in a boat on a river".
- The duplicator's name is a reference to the Banach–Tarski paradox. The real Banach-Tarski paradox involves cutting up one object into (non-measurable) pieces and gluing the pieces back together to make two new objects of the same size without using any extra material. The professor dispenses with this aspect since he does need more material, and the new objects are smaller. This may be deliberate: since the paradox relies on the axiom of choice, this may indicate that the Futurama universe does not choose to allow this axiom.
- Bender says, "Hi, I'm Bender, this is my robot Bender and this is my other robot Bender." This is a reference to the TV series Newhart, specifically the character of Larry and his brothers Darryl, whom he always introduced, "Hi, I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl."
- Farnsworth asks Scruffy what the tiny Bender is doing in his soup. This is a play on an old vaudeville joke where a customer asks a waiter what a fly is doing in his soup, and the waiter usually replies, "The backstroke."
- Farnsworth refers to the bathroom as "the situation room", most likely a reference to the CNN program of the same name or the room in the White House of the same name.
- After 50 foot Bender falls and "dies", Fry falls to his knees and screams "no", similar to the vision in the What-If Machine from "Anthology of Interest I". The scene is a reference to King Kong.
- Bender compares the alien giant to Edward James Olmos who had a starring role in the television show Battlestar Galactica.
- The concept of the duplicate Benders threatening the world is a reference to the hypothetical end-of-the-world scenario called the grey goo theory, involving molecular nanotechnology originally described by mathematician John von Neumann.
- A new episode of The Scary Door appears. The Scary Door was first seen in "A Head in the Polls".
- Braino, a respected genius and one of the Professor's idols, appears on the $30 bill. Braino previously appeared mentioned, on a bust and on a Vincian statue in "The Duh-Vinci Code".
- When the Professor shows the mathematical formula, showing how the Benders multiply, the only ones understanding it are Amy and Hermes. Amy has studied advanced mathematics and physics at university, and became a doctor of applied physics in "That Darn Katz!". Hermes is a bureaucrat and is often seen calculating.
- The fembot Ruth, who previously appeared alongside another fembot in "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular", appears as a miniature hooker in the montage of the Bender clones getting exterminated. Seeing as "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" in entirety was non-canon, this is her first canon appearance.
- Zoidberg correctly identified Hermes' genitalia, having previously thought it was his "tail" in Bender's Big Score and was his umbilical cord in "Rebirth".
- He was drunk at the time though.
- The scene with big Bender fighting the unattractive giant monster, big Bender's near-death experience, and Fry's reaction to it, is highly reminiscent of a similar scene in "Anthology of Interest I". Both scenes are a reference to - among other films - King Kong.
- This is the third time Bender has a talking doll version of himself. In "Fear of a Bot Planet," Bender had a pull-string-activated action figurine that said "Bite my shiny metal ass." In "Bender's Big Score," he had a stuffed doll that said, "Quit touching my junk, pervert!" In this episode, he has another pullstring-activated doll that says, "Shut your pumpkin, bumpkin" and was said to be from the time Bender starred in his own sitcom about a city robot who moves to the country.
- Bender drinking the Professor's bathwater when it becomes alcohol is similar to the part on "A Tale of Two Santas" in which Fry drinks Dr. Zoidberg's bathwater, thinking it was bootlegged eggnog ("...just like my grandma used to make") that went sour.
- Numerous duplicates of Bender were also created in "Six Characters in Search of a Story"
- Hermes' buttons disappear when he says the crew has to be respectful of the unattractive giant monster's appearance.
- When Bender watches the unattractive giant monster destroy New New York on TV and he meanwhile is seen just outside the window, a helicopter visible outside is missing on the TV, in spite of the exact same angle.
- 11th generation Benders are shown manipulating water atoms that appear to be about the size of a softball. A Bender of this generation would be much larger than a water molecule (three atoms).
- A sufficiently long amount of time happens between the mentioning of the 11th generation and that of the manipulating of molecules to assume that these are later generations Bender reaching an atomic scale.
- It is pointed out that Bender could consume all matter of the Earth and it is never cited a shrink effect on atoms (if so series shown would be summation of original mass multiplied number of Benders in each generation), so replicas are probably composed of ordinary mass and it could not be replicated at atomic scale as operating robot and replication had to be arrested at some point.
- When the Benders at the atomic scale are altering water molecules, their molecules should be visible, as there are few molecules smaller than water.
- The Benders may have gotten so small that they are no longer made of atoms. Instead, they might be made directly of protons, neutrons, electrons, or other very small particles.
- When the Professor is explaining that the Benders are rearranging atoms to make alcohol, a Bender is seen grabbing a molecule and connecting it with another to presumably make alcohol, but all the molecules appear to be either water, hydronium, or hydroxide, with nothing to suggest that there is any carbon around, which is needed to make ethanol.
- If red atoms are assumed to represent both oxygen and carbon (which have similar atomic radii), the molecules depicted are actually ethanol, or partially assembled molecules thereof.
- the professor also says carbon dioxide or CO2, which is readily dissolved in water.
- The professor's formula, shown at the meeting, does not describe the story's mass conversion process.
- The depicted equation is a somewhat complicated form of a completely different (and mathematically famous) divergent series, whereby the Nth generation of Benders has total mass equivalent to 1/N Benders. (In other words, mass-wise, you end up with Bender plus half a Bender plus a third of a Bender plus a quarter, etc.) Surprisingly, even though each generation is smaller than its predecessor, this will eventually grow to any mass desired -- though the number of generations required can be very large. For example, if the rate is 1 generation per second, then a full year would only convert somewhere between 13 and 25 Benders of mass. To make the equivalent of 100 Benders would require over 800 decillion years. (Of course, perhaps each generation only requires an amount of time proportional to the mass being converted, in which case one whole Bender's worth of mass is converted every second, and an absurd number of generations would be happening in those seconds.)
- In the story's actual process, the Nth generation converts 1.2^N Benders of mass (not 1/N). The divergence of this process is much easier to see, because each generation is bigger than the one before it, not smaller. (Obviously, 1 Bender plus more-than-1-Bender plus even-more-than-1-Bender, ad infinitum, leads to infinite Benders.) With this process, getting over 100 Benders of mass would take 16 generations (and result in 131,070 new Benders of various sizes).
- As drawn, the linear dimensions of the initial pair of smaller Benders are 60% of the original's. However, this means they are not 60% scaled by volume, but 21.6% (which is 60% cubed, accounting for three dimensions). This is for a similar reason that a square that is half as wide and half as tall as another square won't be half as big, but one-quarter as big. (Arguably, 60% height is much easier for the viewer to grasp; a more "accurate" height would merely look like a slightly smaller Bender, not a "mini-Bender", and would also be harder to display emerging from the parent's compartment.
- The helicopter that the unattractive giant monster uses to shave disappears completely after he is hit by Bender.
Professor Farnsworth: Enough good ones, everyone. We have a delivery to an alien space giant.
Hermes: You'll have to be respectful. This customer is fifty-feet tall and sensitive about his appearance.
[Amy jumps from inside the ship and looks at items on the cart.]
Amy: Colossal tooth whitener, mega deodorant, humongous acne cream... Aw, and one regular-sized condom.
Bender: All that and a small wiener? This guy's got it goin' on.
Professor Farnsworth: Scruffy, what is that tiny Bender doing in my soup?!
Scruffy: It appears to be giving you the finger, sir. Enjoy.
Bender: Let this beatin' be a lesson about never attacking those more handsome than oneself.
Unattractive giant monster: All I wanted was to apologise to you people! But now I have to kill you.
Bender: How? By makin' me look at you?
Unattractive giant monster: No. By makin' you look at... My momma!
Bender: Your momma's so ugly!
Unattractive giant monster: I told you not to talk about my momma!
Hermes: Do you want to see a picture of my boy?
Zoidberg: Sure... [He looks at the picture.] That's your penis!
Hermes: That's my boy!
- Debut: The Bender duplicates
- Debut: Dr. Daniel Zenus
- Debut: Dr. Daniel Zenus' robot
- Debut: Dr. Daniel Zenus' son
- Professor Farnsworth
- Gus (deleted scene)
- Debut: Dr. Judy Lesterman
- Debut: Linda's children (mentioned in speech only)
- The Scary Door narrator
- Debut: The unattractive giant monster
- Debut: The unattractive giant monster's mother (mentioned in speech only)
- The underwater house salesman
- ^ 'Futurama': A giant Patton Oswalt unleashes his wrath on New New York
- ^ Seidman, Robert (24 June 2011). Thursday Cable Ratings: Burn Notice, Swamp People, Suits, NBA Draft, Wilfred top Night + Futurama, Louie & More. (TVbytheNumbers.com.) Retrieved on 25 June 2011.
- ^ a b c d Schenkel, Katie (20 June 2011). "Futurama comes back … with a stumble". CliqueClack TV. Retrieved on 20 June 2011.