Transcript:Commentary:Love's Labours Lost in Space

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Transcript of commentary for
"Love's Labours Lost in Space"
Transcribed bySvip
Commentary participants
  • Note: One question mark in bold (?) means that the speaker was not identified by the transcriber.
  • Note: Three question marks (???) means that the word in proximity to the question marks is a suggested word, but not necessarily correctly identified, or if there is no word near the question mark (a space away is not near), then no suggested word was provided.

Matt Groening: Hey, space pals, welcome to episode four of Futurama. This is Matt Groening.

Scott Vanzo: I'm Scott Vanzo, director of computer graphics.

Brian Kelley: Brian Kelley, I'm a writer.

John DiMaggio: John DiMaggio, voice of Bender and other characters.

Brian Sheesley: Brian Sheesley, the director of the episode.

David X. Cohen: David Cohen, executive producer.

Rich Moore: And Rich Moore, supervising director.

DXC: Scott.

SV: Yeah?

DXC: You have some discussion of the 3D while we're watching this fabulous 3D coming up here?

SV: The final is kinda difficult for us to create, it has over 80 levels of 3D animation that are composited together, a lot of cheats, probably the single biggest scene that we have ever done, or at least we view it as a scene, so... I don't know what else to say.

DXC: How long did it take just to animate that 28 seconds?

SV: I think we did it in about four or five weeks, all together. With two 3D people and myself directing as well as Mike Smith who was directing the title.

DXC: How long does it take — out of curiosity, I don't even the answer to this — how long does it take to render one frame of that kind of degree of computer– 3D computer graphics?

SV: We split it into a lot of different levels, because it was taking so long, and that way we can fix things a lot easier. I would say, probably about an hour a frame for that title.

DXC: And 30 frames per second? So that adds up.

SV: Yeah. Sure does.

?: That is uncredible. [laughter]

JD: Amy..!

DXC: Brian Kelley.

BK: Yeah.

DXC: I have a question for you.

BK: Yes, David! Go go! I am not going to start on my own.

?: 30 thousand quadroploops on—

DXC: I saw your name go by as writer, you were in as a freelance to write this episode.

BK: That's right.

DXC: I happen to remember, it is a day that stands out of my mind, because I quit the day you came in to write this episode. I imagine it was kinda interesting to walk in and sort of a confused maelstrom activity going on. Of course, I came crawling back about 5 days later. Having gotten some sleep, which was main problem, but what was going through your mind, did you think that this whole show was going down the tubes or what?

BK: Well, yeah, that was my initial impression and you know, history bored out and I was correct. I always like, I always dreamt writing a sentence, when you guys asked me to do this, I was really thrilled. And that ruined it all, but...

DXC: It has come full circle now, you do write for The Simpsons.

BK: I do, yeah, a few months ago. So by the time you are listening to this, I will have been fired.

DXC: Well, we paved the way for that --

[Zoidberg cannot grasp onto his glass, but spots a lobster in a tank.]

?: It's a natural reaction.

?: Little soft focus.

?: Oh yes.

SV: Took us a lot of gelliton to do that.

DXC: There is some more 3D.

[M5438 is on screen.]

SV: Yeah, he's made out of particles and some geometry.

DXC: That doesn't mean anything.

?: It does for the 3D artist to make the cheapest old Star Trek effect in the book.

JD: When– actually, interesting, when– that's Billy West's voice doing that, he has the ability to hit those kind of– there's no effect on that.

DXC: Yeah, it is like two notes going at once in his voice. You're absolutely right, that's not processed. That noise came out of Billy West's mouth. On that subject, Billy was into record an episode recently and we had to shot down the operation for ten or fifteen minutes, because we thought there was some feedback problem, because we were getting a second note like that. And they rewired the whole studio, before they realised that it was Billy's vocal cords acting up a little bit. Crazy whistle through his nose.

JD: Yeah!

?: I remember on the janitor that we just did, that– there was an original funny voice, 'cause we were kinda going for a Scatman Crothers on there, but it got changed later on.

?: [Professor voice] Oh eh.

[Hologram of Vergon 6.]

SV: Holograms are always done in 3D. And this is– I'm not sure this is the first time we see holograms, I always like them a lot, I like the colour palettes and stuff.

DXC: I like the way you guys use the lighting lit by the thing.

SV: Yeah, our colours vary; Bari Kumar does all the colouration on the characters for these types of things, does a really good job.

JD: Who was the genius who came up with the idea of dark matter?

MG: That was you– that was David, right?

DXC: Yeah, I thought of it before Einstein. [laughter]

MG: You thought of it as the fuel.

DXC: Yes.

JD: Employing it as a fuel.

DXC: That's true, yes. We wanted to think of something that was not well understood, so no matter what we said about, people couldn't dispute.

JD: It is strange how much the voice has changed, I said it before, and I'll say it again.

?: Is that deliberate or is—?

JD: No, it just– I think it just happened. The introduction of Zapp.

[Zapp Brannigan on screen.]

DXC: Zapp Brannigan! Billy West as Zapp. Maurice LaMarche as Kif Kroker. Matt, you had some ideas about these characters early on, I think you wanted one may show here.

MG: Well, I just thought that it would be neat– nice to have an alien assistant who was totally frustrated. And passive aggressive, it seemed like Mr Spock should always be moaning in exasperation at Captain Kirk, and so that's where this came from.

DXC: Zapp seems kinda half Captain Kirk, half actual William Shatner.

MG: Exactly!

RM: That's the way it was described to me, originally. When you gave me the script, it was "pretend that William Shatner is the captain of the Enterprise", not captain Kirk. And it described it perfectly.

SV: I think this is the first time we see the Nimbus as a 3D model. And I think it came out really well, it is one of my favourite models, 'cause it has the fewest number of moving parts.

?: He wasn't coaxed?.

SV: And the 3D modeller told me that there's over 2200 that was put on. So I had to put that on there.

DXC: Is that true?

SV: Yes.

DXC: So there is actually– so it is actually rendering all 2200 windows?

SV: That would be Eric Whitehead, the 3D modeller.

DXC: Well, that– now that I know that, I want to knows what's inside those windows! On a big screen TV, I want to be able to see what's inside of everyone of those windows. You guys– you're slacking off over there!

MG: That's the next format, you'll be able to– DVDs is not good enough, but there will be a new format coming along soon, and then–

DXC: I like this close up on Zapp, there.

?: A lot of these poses that Zapp is sitting in his chair are taken from captain Kirk. So there was a lot of reference going on there.

DXC: When we were– when Matt was designing Zapp, every time we would draw a revision, the skirt would get a little shorter.

MG: You guys made me– you guys made me tone it down actually, 'cause he used to have really sexy gogo-boots and the skirt used to go out a little– flare out a little bit more.

?: He came back from Korea a couple of times with his crotch fully exposed. You guys never saw that!

?: You know, it's another country.

?: A lot of inbetweening.

MG: In editing, extend that laughter for about 30 seconds.

?: Who came to the Halloween party as Zapp Brannigan?

?: That was Mr Peter Avanzino.

?: That's right.

[Zapp is explaining how he killed the killbots.]

MG: I love the movement on his shoulders in this shot. Right there.

Soldier: [episode; off screen] You suck!

JD: My father knew that was me when–

DXC: It wasn't from the voice, it was from the context.

JD: Yeah, it was.

[Zapp Brannigan is talking.]

JD: It's interesting about Billy West's choice in this– this vocal quality, it's basically based on a disc jokey, that loves the sound of his own voice. [Zapp like voice] Guy who likes to sit and listen. [normal] And every syllable, just rings through.

[Kif walks up the ladder right below Zapp.]

?: Oh god...

?: One of my favourite shots of animation right here. We all know that Zapp Brannigan's a man's man, but we gotta have him do a special ??? scene.

DXC: That is one of the most memorable scenes from this season for me.

[Zapp and Kif are talking.]

DXC: There's a little bit of Jon Lovitz creeping into Kif's voice here. I love the shorts ???–

?: Coming up is one of my favourite shots, the interior of Zapp's bedroom. We designed it after the last shot in 2001 and Rich and I decided to go with the portrait of JFK that hangs in the White House.

[Leela pulls out the plug on Zapp's hover bed.]

DXC: One of our first decisions to make things hover, a long list of items in the present are futurised by presenting them to hover.

BS: This is a tricky episode– beginning– we weren't a hundred percent sure about how adult the show should be. So, coming up with this bed scene– it was– it seemed like it might be too risky. What you think, Matt? Did we go over the line with this upcoming stuff?

MG: No, we established our line. [laughter] No no, no I-- this was a turning point in the series, because this showed that we could take the heroine of the series and really degrade her and so a lot of people liked the show.

DXC: Bender gets modest whenever he is in like a steam room, a hot tub...

[Leela and Zapp lying in bed together.]

DXC: The foot sticking up is a great touch in that scene.

[Zapp is lying on the bed talking to Leela with his gut exposed.]

?: Ah, that's–

?: The gut is genius.

?: Oh, the gut was supposed to grow and grow over each scene, but it got a little too grotesque, so we had to pull it back a bit.

JD: So great he got Kirk chest. It's awesome.

?: We tried to do every shot, where we saw either a piece of Zapp as one of the sculptures or one of the pictures, just whatever... to remind you that, he's in love with himself.

[Zapp is standing up addressing Kif.]

?: Originally– he was– had both hands on his hip, and then we had to make sure he had to hold it with one hand.

DXC: Hold what?

?: The blanket.

DXC: Ah, okay. I love the shots where the maximum possible amount of skin is exposed. Through the magic of animation, that the corner of the towel ???.

?: Easy in animation too...

[The crew are harvesting animals on Vergon 6.]

?: This is actually the first time, I think, we went to another planet, where we can do something with colour and sky, and trees and everything around the environment.

[Fry throws the net over Leela.]

MG: Boy, he's stupid.


JD: Here's Nibbler. Voiced by Frank Welker. Freddie on Scobby Doo. My man goes back, how far back? [URL voice] Way back.

DXC: Nibbler plays a larger and larger role in later seasons of the series.

?: Since this being the first time, we had to talk with Matt a lot on how to develop the character, onto what his specific movements was; more like a cat, more like a monkey, or what have you, so.

DXC: Wasn't he gonna fly at some point?

MG: Yeah, in the original design, he had bat wings.

JD: Frank Welker is a genius. He's done so much stuff– he used to know Elvis. Elvis used to make him do dog impressions. [Elvis voice] Hey, do that– do that dog impression for me, Frankie. Hey, Frankie. [normal] I'm serious, no lie. He knew Elvis. But he is known amongst the Hollywood voice community as the guy you hire. He can do a flock of geese in one take. It's like, he's out of control.

MG: In designing Nibbler I went– I wanted to do– I wanted to see if I could make a character that was really ugly when you looked at the components, he's got one nostril, he's got fangs and an eye ball on a stock on the top of his head. And yet he is really– pretty cute, huh?

?: At one point, did you want mucous to be dripping out of his nose?

MG: Yeah there was a– wasn't there a ??? just hanging there, yeah.

[Leela is calling Zapp.]

DXC: I don't think we have any two episodes where the phone technology is the same.

?: Several different types.

DXC: Dial some times, whether with or without picture. This time there is 16 numbers on the phone. 45 maybe.

MG: The part of Zapp Brannigan was originally meant for Phil Hartman and we knew how great he was, we said "you don't have to come and audition", but he said no, he wanted to, and he came in and of course he nailed the part and he was ready to go and then, you know, he was killed just a couple of weeks later. And you know, it was incredible sad to see this guy, when he came in, so full of life, so much fun. And I don't think I've ever seen an actor enjoy himself as much as Phil Hartman did, not only his own work, but obviously the people who he was playing with.

DXC: And I– regarding Billy West ended up doing the part, he came into audition also and he does it the way he did when he came into audition, he never do an impression of Phil Hartman. We let him do his take on it, once Phil wasn't available...

MG: I think when you see the signs and you read the lines, that's the way to go.

[They are watching Nibbler's litter box.]

MG: I think that– alien equivalent of a cat box is probably a first for prime time animation. What you say?

DXC: A full cat box.

[Vergon 6 explodes.]

SV: We used kinda of a warp effect to crumble that planet down and the difficult thing was to get the cartoon lines to kinda show up during the warp.

DXC: A couple of episodes ago, it took them one second to get to the moon, now apparently, it's gonna be an overnight journey... the last miles.

SV: One thing about the Nimbus – the design – going back between Mili [Smythe], Matt, Rich and myself. If you look at it, it is a large floating can of ham.

DXC: Where did Maurice get that groan from, something we told him? The Kif groan? Anybody know, John?

JD: Ah, actually, I don't know that.

DXC: Maybe it's a Maurice original.

MG: We directed him, that would be the response of someone who had no ability to dispute his barboonish captain's orders, he would just moan. No, actually, David, that's your moan that he is doing!