Some shows have the ability to transport audiences anywhere and everywhere, no matter how farfetched. Yeah, we’re talking about Matt Groenings’s unforgettable animated sci-fi.
‘If it can be thought of, it can be done’ seems to be a fitting motto for Futurama. The writers have been whisking the fans to endlessly imaginative planets with an assortment of incredible characters since 1999, and after a decade since its second cancelation in 2013, we’re finally back to work with the Planet Express crew.
With season 11 episode 3—How the West Was 1010001—we’re back to something that Futurama has always been fantastic at, and that’s parodying movie genres.
The biggest takeaway from the installment is sure to be its satirical aim at Bitcoin, and the Professor gathers the central characters to head out west and join in with the mining rush… not for gold, but for the cryptocurrency.
While this invites lots of Bitcoin-related jokes, the writers embrace even more in the way of parody of the Old West, and the once very popular genre. We enter saloons, we have gunslingers and other genre conventions soaking up the spotlight. However, we can’t help but feel reminded of this absolute gem of an episode from season 3… Where The Buggalo Roam.
Season 3 episode 10 walked so season 11 episode 3 could run. The iconic episode found the gang venturing out to the Wong Family Ranch on Mars Day for a BBQ gathering. Much of the episode centers around efforts to rescue cattle (the buggalo) from the Martians.
Taking off on buggaloback instead of horseback, the Planet Express crew accompany Kif on a mission to bring back the stolen cattle, and they eventually find them all gathered inside a crater on Olympus Mons when the ground shakes. Their rescue efforts are thwarted when a sudden storm traps them, and the native Martians explain that they are angry over the injustice of their ancestors selling their land over to the Wongs for the price of one bead.
Taking an opportunity to blackmail the Wongs, they kidnap Amy, and Kif is confronted with the chance to prove his bravery to the family once and for all.
After ups and downs, it’s eventually revealed that the ‘bead’ the Martians were referring to is in fact a gigantic diamond that is worth an absolute fortune, compelling them to seek out another planet they can purchase while leaving the Wongs with Mars.
Paying homage to the western movies of American filmmaker John Ford such as The Searchers and Stagecoach, just as many conventions of the genre are at play once again, with the latest episodes feeling like a spiritual continuation and expansion.
If you ever watch a western and then fancy seeing Futurama skewer the genre, Where The Buggalo Roam and How the West Was 1010001 would make an absolutely ideal double-bill.