The Lesser of Two Evils
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|Season 2 episode|
|The Lesser of Two Evils|
|Written by||Eric Horsted|
|Directed by||Chris Sauve|
|Title caption||The show that watches back|
|First air date||20 February, 2000|
|Opening cartoon||Felix the Cat Trifles with Time (1925)|
|Special guest(s)||Bob Barker|
"The Lesser of Two Evils" is the nineteenth episode of Futurama, the sixth of the second production season and the eleventh of the second broadcast season. It aired on 20 February, 2000, on Fox. It guest-stars Bob Barker as himself in a jar. It is the first episode to be aired out of sync. After running into Flexo, another bending unit, Fry begins suspecting Flexo of being an evil version of Bender.
- 1 The Story
- 2 Additional Info
- 3 Episode Credits
Act I: "Shut up and get to the point!"
Bender, Fry and Leela are watching Cop Department when an advertisement for Past-O-Rama appears on the television, Bender wishes to see a time before life was cheapened by heartless machines. They look around Past-o-rama at various attractions such as a telephone booths and Al Sharpton’s burial chamber. Then, they come across a ancient car, and Fry attempts to drive it. He is unable, and he instead takes it through a wall. Unable to stop, they hit Flexo, a bending unit with a beard.
Act II: "He's the evil Bender."
The crew are nervously pacing around while Bender is looking at a robot pornography book and Flexo is successfully fixed. Flexo and Bender find that they like each other immediately. They take Fry to a robot gentlemen's club where they pay a robot to give Fry a lap dance which results in injuries. Due to this, Fry begins to think Flexo is evil. The crew go into the Professor's bedroom at his request. He reveals to them the atom of Jumbonium which is so expensive, that if stolen it will cause Planet Express to go bankrupt. Due to this, the Professor hires Flexo to help the Planet Express Crew deliver it, despite some resistance from Fry.
Act III: "And the winner is..."
Bender, Flexo, and Fry take turns watching the atom in that order. Fry distrusts Flexo, so he watches Flexo during Flexo's turn to watch the atom. Fry falls asleep during his watch due to this. When the ship lands they discover the atom is gone, and they begin to search for Flexo. Fry believes he stole it and starts watching Bender who is all the time covering his chin with different things. Due to this, Fry suspects he could be Flexo covering his beard. However, he soon learns that it was Bender anyway. They can't find find Flexo so they tell Bob Barker's head and he orders them to find the atom. When they finally find Flexo, he and Bender begin to chase each other through the beauty pageant but Leela doesn't know who is Flexo because they're covering their chins and Flexo's beard can't be seen. Later it is revealed that Bender in fact stole the atom, and not Flexo. Flexo saw Bender steal the atom and ran to tell Bob Barker's Head. The atom is returned; however, Barker mistakes Flexo for Bender, and Flexo is locked up in Bender's place.
- Sponsored by Arachno Spores, "The Fatal Spore With the Funny Name."
- Past-o-rama's logo is based on the Futurama logo. Title caption: Located on the former site of Brooklyn.
- Flexo has a goatee, which is a reference to the goateed Mirror Universe Spock from the "Mirror, Mirror" episode of the original Star Trek.
- Electric Ladyland (the name of the robot strip club) is the name of the third Jimi Hendrix album.
- From Leela and Bender's guesses on the value of the Atomic Tiara, its value should be exactly $200,000. Based on Professor Farnsworth's earlier descriptions of its value, the nucleus is worth exactly $150,000.
- Bender states that both his and Flexo's serial numbers are expressible as the sum of two cubes. For Flexo's serial number, 3370318 = 119^3 + 119^3. Bender's serial number 2716057 = 952^3 + (-951)^3.
- Stills of Fry in this episode (while in suspicion of why Bender was wearing clothing) have now been used to help express the internet meme: 'I see what you did there', which "conveys a condescending or patronizing tone as a response to a banal joke".
- Contestants in the Miss Universe contest include
- Miss Heaven (who looks like M5438)
- Miss Arrakis
- Miss Unnamed Planet
- Miss Demeanor
- Miss Perfect Little
- Miss Amazonia (Not labeled on the sash, but obviously from Amazonia)
- Miss Methane Planet, Halitina Smogmire
- Miss Earth's Moon, The Crushinator
- Miss Pluto
- Miss Vega 4 (Also known as the Parameciums Homeworld), Gladis Lenux (Info found during "Raging Bender")
- Jellyfish Nurse
- The judges in the Miss Universe Contest are:
- Zapp Brannigan
- Miss Universe reappears in "Raging Bender" and The Beast with a Billion Backs.
- Flexo reappears in "Bendless Love".
- This is the first time Zapp Brannigan appears without Kif.
- Click here to see cultural mentions made in this episode.
- Past-O-Rama shows that people in the 31st century have little knowledge of the distant past. A few mistakes include:
- Mammoth hunts in New York.
- These "mistakes" could also be a satirical jab at the 20th century — i.e. people in the 31st century think of people from the 20th century in the same way people in the 20th century think about earlier/more primitive civilizations (e.g. cavemen).
- Star Wars 9: Yoda's Bar Mitzvah.
- This might, at some point in the near future, be an actual movie, thus not qualifying as a mistake. In fact, it is most likely a jab at the Star Wars prequel trilogy of the early 21st century.
- It could also be referencing the rumours about a sequel trilogy to the original trilogy, which would become fact twelve years after the episode aired.
- Rogue One and the upcoming Han Solo film prove that Yoda's Bar Mitzvah is possible—but the people of the 31st century have forgotten that the "anthology films" aren't supposed to be numbered with the "saga films".
- Appearance of primitive robots.
- Albert Einstein and Hammurabi, the ancient King of Babylon, existing at the same time as each other and at the same time as disco.
- Cars running on tanks of burning fossils.
- However, cars are run on tanks of one burning fossil.
- Cars being called Auto-mo-cars.
- While watching the primitive robots, Bender says "We've come a long way baby" and drags his cigar, a reference to Virginia Slims advertising.
- The Miss Arrakis is from Arrakis, the planet of the novel Dune, by Frank Herbert.
- One of the contestants plays Rossini's William Tell overture on her nose.
Speaker: ...The stately 1992 Latura.
Fry: Hey, my girlfriend had one of those! Actually, it wasn't hers, it was her dad's. Actually, she wasn't my girlfriend. She just lived next door and never closed her curtains.
Leela: Fry, remember when I told you about always ending your stories a sentence earlier?
Fry: How's that robot I ran over?
Farnsworth: We did all we could...
Fry: You mean he's...?
Farnsworth: Good as new? Yes!
Bender: I think I got whiplash!
Leela: You can't have whiplash, you don't even have a neck.
Bender: I meant ass whiplash!
Zapp Brannigan: There it is, Miss Universe. There it is, looking weird...
Fry: He must've used a sleep-ray on me! Sleep-rays exist in the future, right?
Fry: Oh. Then I must've fallen asleep.
- Despite Bender being bad at math and not being a good calculator, he was able to tell that both his and Flexo's serial numbers are expressible as the sum of two cubes.
- Bender might have been programmed to only be good at exponentiation.
- The car Fry was tasked with moving at the museum at the beginning of the episode should not have had any compatible fuel in the tank as whale oil has replaced fossil fuel.
- It could have been upgraded to run on flubber, we never explicitly see if it is free of any special engine modification.
- It's quite possible that a gasoline engine could be modified to run on whale oil (which is flammable). It might not run suitably (or at all) unmodified. Whale oil also might be refined in small batches to a more gasoline-like fuel for such antiques.
- The car ("1992 Latura") is an AMC Pacer (ceased production ca. 1980), which is a two-door. However, in several scenes, Leela, who is sitting in back, appears to be opening her own door.
Alien Language Sightings
Location: Sign in subway
Translation: laser tentacle surgery
- Debut: Albert Einstein (portrayed by an actor)
- Debut: Bob Barker's head
- Debut: Centipede alien
- Debut: Centipede alien's wife and kids
- The Crushinator
- Debut: Gladys Lennox
- Debut: Flexo
- Jellyfish nurse
- Prof. Farnsworth
- Debut: Stripperbot
- Zapp Brannigan
- Debut: Miss Arrakis