Commentary:The Sting

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Commentary for
The Sting
The Sting.jpg
Production number4ACV12
On DVDSeason 4
Disc 3
Matt Groening
Executive Producer
David X. Cohen
Executive Producer
Patric M. Verrone
Rich Moore
Supervising Director
Brian Sheesley
Billy West
Actor (Fry, Zoidberg, miscellaneous)
John DiMaggio
Actor (Bender, miscellaneous)
Maurice LaMarche
Actor (Did not appear in episode)

Topics of Discussion

  • David X. Cohen points out that the golf game Bender is playing already exists. He attributes that to their startling vision of the future.
  • David talks about virtual games he saw in Japan.
    • Matt Groening's favourite game he has seen is one where somebody beats on two drums with sticks to a rhythm. People were dripping sweat while he watched them play.
    • John DiMaggio talks about a boxing game he played where he almost had a heart attack. David figures that's how he received two black eyes.
  • Patric M. Verrone talks about the inspiration of the episode. They wanted it to appear as if one of the cast members really died.
  • Patric explains how they tried to connect this episode with the pilot in which the career chips were taken out of a folder titled "Contents of Space Wasp Stomach." However, the Professor states his previous crew was killed on a similar mission to steal honey from Space Bees and contradicts the first episode.
    • Patric had to research if wasps and bees ever work together or if wasps create honey. He went so far as to call his father-in-law who is an Entomologist before coming to the conclusion that the two do not have any relations and acknowledging the fact that it contradicts (or made liars of) the pilot.
  • Brian Sheesley comments on the background artwork of the honeycomb. The people responsible for it were Edgar Duncan, Jeff Murts, Zeke Johnson and Debbie Silver.
  • Matt notices the space helmets look similar to the ones from 20 000 Leagues Under the Sea.
  • David talks about how honey bees communicate through dance, when they find honey for example.
    • John says he does a little dance when he finds honey too.
  • Maurice LaMarche wonders what the etymology of the word entomology is.
  • A bee can be heard on the commentary track. It's Billy West making the noises.
    • Maurice asks him if he is translating for the bees.
  • Brian states they do not use the correct colour of Royal jelly. This is because Royal jelly is a creamy-white colour and it was thought the colour would not work well.
  • Billy makes another, angrier bee sound. John tells him to stop because it's "freaking [him] out."
  • Billy asks how the show skews with bees and Maurice answers.
  • David goes through the process of John's work as a bee. John would first read the line and quickly repeat it as a buzzing bee.
  • David was surprised at how fast the story for this episode was created.
    • This was one of the only episodes in which the story was created entirely on work hours as opposed to going on a story retreat to create it.
    • Patric looks over his notes and reads that January 12 and 13 were the only days they worked on it.
  • David points out that all the bees striking the ship were in 3D, while the other ones were not.
  • Billy and John were amazed at the animation where Bender was being shook around on the stinger inside the cargo bay of the ship.
    • Brian explains how the effect was created.
  • Patric explains the joke where the Professor is wearing a black lab coat to Fry's funeral.
    • Matt never noticed that joke and asks to be told of them in the future if he misses any.
      • David points out a Marijuana joke.
      • Rich says "See that lamp? It's funny."
  • The commentators point out all of the cameo characters at Fry's funeral, including the radiator Fry kissed.
  • David mentions the Orbiting Meadows Cemetery is from episode 304.
  • Patric says this episode could get aired last and people would think it is the final episode if the twist ending were cut.
  • Brian asks about why Leela rips the tissue in half. He asks if it is because she has one eye.
    • Patric answers "no" and explains it is a reference to when they were working on season one episodes and people would get sick. A runny nosed David would take a tissue and tear it in half because he was at risk of running out of tissues. Patric submitted the joke and people laughed, assuming because it was a reference to Leela's one eye.
  • Patric's original idea was to have all of Fry's lines accepted in two ways, both in Leela's coma and in the hospital, but it proved to be too limited and was deserted.
  • David explains that they went through many takes of the Professor saying things similar to "Bullpie!"
  • David asks if the Professor's brain scanner is based on a rolling magnet toy.
  • Patric talks about a joke by Hermes that was cut.
  • Brian liked the ranges of colours he was able to work with in this episode.
  • The fantasy scenes give the writers and animators a chance to "branch out a bit."
  • David recalls that arguments would periodically break out in the writers room, but they always eventually realized the entire episode is a dream and practicality does not matter.
  • Patric's main concern was people thinking about why they just didn't put Fry's head in a jar, like many other people. They came up with an argument about the "toxin from the bees prevent[ing] the fluid in the head jar from actually working."
  • Brian asks why the last act of the episode starts with Bender on fire. Rich adds in "That is so weird," and Patric replies "Comedy."
    • The writers have a general theory of trying to wake people up at "the ungodly hour of 7:15."
  • David explains why he was confused earlier about who voiced what characters when Amy speaks in the Professor's voice.
  • He asks if any problems arose from that in Rough Draft Studios, but Brian says there was no problem because they only get the dialogue, not an audio track.
  • David recalls Katey Sagal's performance at the table read for this episode.
  • David likes the way Fry's return worked out because it was not a good explanation, but it would be on a show that was slightly worse than Futurama. He says a fan at this point would be disappointed with the outcome of the episode and then would be shocked at the last minute when Leela wakes up.
  • The musical scene took a very long time. John is doing all of the beat boxing in the background. Tress MacNeille plays the bee.
  • This Zoidberg's set was inspired by the Elvis Presley Special.
  • Everybody is astounded at how happy the bee is.
  • People are amazed by the Stargate-like sequence.
    • Patric and Billy think it looks much better than 2001: A Space Odyssey. David explains it's also better because "it's not 45 minutes long."
      • Matt has a friend who watches 2001: A Space Odyssey on fast forward and thinks it's a great movie. David loves the movie, but agrees that sequence is too long. Matt loves it also, but didn't buy the monkey suits in the intro. Billy says "You almost couldn't see the human asses sticking out of the back of them."
        • Matt tells a story about when he first saw the movie in theatres. He noticed the baby chimpanzee was real and quietly said it out loud. People around him laughed "derisively" at him. Maurice tauntingly asks "Where are they now?"
  • Patric tells a funny DVD commentary story he heard the other day about fellow writer Jeff Martin. Jeff was watching an early Simpsons commentary in his bathroom with the door shut and his wife walks by just as another commenter, Mike Reiss says "Boy, I could watch this all day."
    • Maurice impersonates Mike Reiss and David suggests we buy The Simpsons DVDs to listen to Mike Reiss.
      • Billy asks Maurice to do another Mike Reiss impersonation regarding recording lines. Rich asks if he can do Al Jean saying "I concur." Billy believes Mike Reiss loves everything.
  • David really thinks the ending works well, when they cut to the hospital, but later realized that they could get both the emotion and the joke before the episode ended.
  • Brian is apparently bitter about a scene being cut regarding a bee landing on a flower.

Highlights / Quotes

    Matt Groening: So, Patric, how did this episode originate?
    Patric M. Verrone: Well, we were all sitting around in the writers room and they were paying us so we felt obliged to do something and [John begins laughing] I think Eric Kaplan had an idea to do something where... [John continues to laugh] Take it easy.
    Billy West: Who are you, Cape Fear? [People laugh]
    Patric M. Verrone: Where, uh... I'm talkin' over here! Where we should just kill one of the cast members off. [John continues laughing louder] And, uh... so, uh... I'm gonna kill you!

    Patric M. Verrone: So we made liars out of the pilot.
    David X. Cohen: Yep. Thanks a lot!
    Rich Moore: Thanks! I only directed it.

    Billy West: Hey, how does this show skew with bees?
    Maurice LaMarche: About as well with regular audience.

    Billy West (as TV announcer): Futurama at 7:00.
    Billy West (as viewer): Seven?!

    John DiMaggio: That sounds like a sound effect. [Realizing what he just said:] I know.

    Patric M. Verrone: [Just before the audio track ends] Bye!


  • David says a Professor line went through many revisions and John did many takes. He corrects himself after being asked "Who?" by John. Billy voices Professor Farnsworth.

Related DVD Features

  • David talks about the deleted scene where Leela flies past planets that look like her co-workers.