|Characters shipped||Philip J. Fry|
|First met||"Space Pilot 3000" (1ACV01) |
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|Started dating||"Rebirth" (6ACV01) |
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Fry and Leela develop a very close friendship over the years. Early on, the find that they have loneliness in common, and they save each other from peril many times. On the surface, Leela seems largely uninterested in Fry, but there are many signs that she is attracted to him unconsciously. Unfortunately, although she has feelings for him, she is very turned off by his childishness, a theme that continues throughout their relationship. Fry has a crush on Leela that comes and goes. He can be in love with her at one moment, and the next moment proposition other women. There are occasional romantic sparks, but for most of the series, it is only their friendship that is developed. Not until the tenth broadcast season does their romantic relationship actually begin a discernible trajectory, and of course this trajectory leads to them living happily ever after, and then, at the end of their happy lives together, even deciding to go again with the aid of a time-travel device.
Leela's first response to Fry is indifference. She refers to him as "Just a guy from the Stupid Ages." Fry's first response to Leela is lust. Just before he meets her, he finds that he likes how she looks from behind. His lust is tempered somewhat when she turns around, revealing that she is a cyclops. It returns quickly, as he soon gets used to her. They begin to form an emotional bond from the very beginning, finding that they have in common the fact that they're both alone in the world: Leela because she grew up as an orphan and Fry because all of his people from the 20th century are gone.
The two remain fairly constant friends throughout the series, Leela mostly uninterested in romantic possibilities, and Fry occasionally realizing that he has a crush on Leela, a crush that usually takes the form of either crude lust or goofy gallantry. But for quite some time, they don't seem to think of each other very much. In "Love's Labours Lost in Space", Leela is looking for a man and doesn't even consider Fry. When the crew all go out to a bar, Leela goes home alone and Fry goes home with a woman from the 21st century. Fry has many flings with other women, as in "Put Your Head on My Shoulders", and objects, as in "The Lesser of Two Evils", while Leela plays the field a bit too, nearly marrying Alcazar in "A Bicyclops Built for Two". Still, they are friends, as can be seen when Fry is upset over Leela's apparent death in "My Three Suns", and when Leela risks her life to save Fry from Santa in "Xmas Story".
Leela's scheme of using Fry to avoid Zapp Brannigan during their Titanic cruise in "A Flight to Remember" leads to some romantic opportunities, but they are complicated by Amy's scheme to use Fry to fend off her parents. Leela reveals that she has at least some feelings for Fry, even if she doesn't realize it: she is jealous when Fry kisses Amy. When Fry and Leela have a quiet moment together, they talk about the loneliness that they share in common, and they see each other as love interests for the first time, almost kissing, although the kiss never happens due to the ship beginning to sink at that very moment.
A similar situation, as touching but less romantic, occurs in "Xmas Story", as Fry and Leela, expecting death soon at Santa's hands, huddle together under a branch of mistletoe. Again, their kiss is interrupted. Although it's not as romantic as their interaction on the Titanic, the moment shows their deepening friendship. Another sign of their friendship that comes with a hint of romance is Fry's response to Leela's involvement with Alcazar. Fry reacts with apparent jealousy at first, but on reflection, realizes that he just wants Leela to be happy. Here he shows a sign of maturity, something he doesn't often do. As we find out in a later season from Leela, her biggest complaint about Fry as romantic material is his tendency to be childish.
Fits and starts
The relationship follows a mostly steady course for a long time. Fry and Leela remain close friends and become closer as time goes on. Fry plays the field but occasionally has bursts of lust, crush feelings, and rarely, something deeper for Leela. Leela also plays the field, but not so vigorously as Fry. In "I Dated a Robot", she even helps him to find a robot celebrity personality to "to be romantically linked with." She has feelings for him but is turned off by his immaturity, as she explains to Zoidberg in "Time Keeps on Slippin'". Fry and Leela intersect only sporadically, and they always quickly forget each other.
Leela shows that in spite of her usual silence, she does have feelings for Fry at some level. In "War Is the H-Word", Fry mentions in front of a disguised Leela that he "has a thing" for a girl back home. She clearly knows that he is talking about her, but she prompts him for more details on this girl back home, basking in his flattery. As gratified as she is by his comments, she must be equally disappointed by his blank stare in "The Cryonic Woman", his response when, attempting to remind him what a career chip is, she says, "It's how we met."
At a fuel station in "Parasites Lost", Fry attempts vehemently to defend Leela's honor, but he expresses his feelings clumsily, referring to her as his "captain" rather than making any reference to his feelings for her. He then goes on to fail miserably at defending her honor, in fact providing his opponents with ammunition and even inadvertently insulting Leela outright. Leela's frustration with Fry's ineptitude is clear. Leela starts to swoon as soon as Fry, having eaten a parasite-laden sandwich, shows the slightest sign of being something other than a buffoon. Her swoon disappears just as easily when Fry convinces the parasites to leave his body. In the closing scene Fry begins practicing the holophonor and shows by its projection that his feelings for Leela remain.
The friendship deepens in "The Cyber House Rules", as Fry makes an effort to convince Leela that she doesn't need a fake eye grafted onto her forehead. When she finally has the fake eye removed, she tells Fry that he is "a true friend." Trying to convince Fry that he is human rather than a robot in "Insane in the Mainframe", Leela gives Fry a steamy kiss, but Fry retains his delusion and only beeps at her in response. He gets another kiss later, but only on the cheek.
Fry seems to be on a mission to win Leela's heart in "Time Keeps on Slippin'". He starts off cool, offering Leela a romantic ride in one of the swan "boats" that aren't actually swans. Later, while they're in space collecting chronitons, he comes on again, suggesting that she and his face get to know each other better. When she rejects him, he says, "Come on, Leela, why won't you go out with me? We both know there's something there." When the Earth basketball team loses Arachneon to a cannon incident, Fry volunteers to replace him, again, with the intention of impressing Leela. Later, Fry lures her to a love nest, claiming that it's a time-proof chamber that will protect her from the time skips. A time-jump occurs just after he says something crude--now Leela is gone and Fry has a black eye.
Leela talks to Zoidberg about Fry, indicating that she likes him but is turned off by his immaturity. This is an important point on Leela's part: Fry's immaturity is the only thing that holds her back. It forever remains the central theme of their relationship, at least until they are finally married in "Meanwhile". However, other than the short-lived fling of Parasites Lost, this is the first positive sign of any kind from Leela: the fact that she'll complain about him rather than ignoring him. Still, when Fry barrages her with flattery and asks her out, she says that they are just too different, he being a man and she being a woman. She walks away from him without hesitation when Bender distracts her.
Fry makes another attempt to impress Leela by showing her that he has learned how to pilot the ship. She is impressed with him, but she is totally turned off to think that he learned the skill strictly to impress her. Just in the middle of her exclamation that there's no way they could ever be together, time skips forward to their wedding ceremony. But Leela is convinced that she has been duped, and after time skips forward a couple more times, they are divorced.
They have one last conversation about their relationship, in which they agree that Leela will never feel about Fry the way he feels about her, under any circumstances. Fry obsesses about and eventually discovers the means by which he convinced Leela to marry him, but Leela never gets to see it.
We find out more about Leela's attitude toward relationships in general and Fry in particular in "Love and Rocket". She apparently agrees with Farnsworth when he suggests that she is a "bitter husk of a human being who long ago abandoned hope of finding love in this lifetime." Fry latches onto the idea that he can find a perfect way to express his feelings by digging through the candy-hearts for the right message. He doesn't listen Leela's advice, "I'm not attracted to a guy's message, Fry. I'm attracted to the guy." She indicates that Fry is blowing it by adding under her breath, "Or not." Later, she is scandalized that Bender is having an affair with the ship. But on reflection she concedes, "given the chance, I'd give in to urges far more shocking." So she would give in to shocking urges, but not give in to Fry's advances. Fry is clearly far down on her list.
Finding Fry unconscious after disabling Planet Express ship, Leela seems touched, mostly by the fact that Fry was willing to sacrifice his life to save hers, but also in part by the aptness of the message inscribed on the candy that Fry coughs up when she resuscitates him: "U leave me breathless." The phenomenon created by dumping the candies into the black hole warms Leela up enough to hold hands with Fry briefly; Zoidberg makes sure that the moment doesn't get too deep.
At the home of Leela's parents in "Leela's Homeworld", there is a sort of shrine composed of items Leela has flushed down the toilet throughout her life. Fry notices on this shrine a letter from himself to Leela, which he describes as "full of my personal feelings." He doesn't say "for you," but it seems that this is indeed what he means. Again Fry is clearly far down on her list.
Teenage Fry goes to the Turanga home to take Leela out on a date in "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles". Fry puts his arm around Leela while they race Moose and Mandy, but she swerves the car to get him to move away from her. After Leela has saved the crew from "pre-life", as she reflects that she is happy with her choice to return to adulthood with her friends, she and Fry share a meaningful glance, but nothing more.
Fry, attempting to assuage his own guilt over missing a delivery mission in "The Why of Fry", wants to make it up to Leela by taking her out to dinner. This is typical of Fry, to miss the point entirely and to have the wrong reasons for asking her out. Typical of Leela is her rejection of Fry. In fact, not only does she reject him categorically, she also explains that she is going out with Chaz, the mayor's aide. When Fry and Leela cross paths while she is out on her date with Chaz, Fry has a brief moment of happiness, hoping that the date is not going well. Leela crushes his hopes when she tells him that the date is going very well, asking him to walk Nibbler.
While Fry from the future argues with Nibbler of 1999, Fry mentions that he has feelings for Leela, but also that she doesn't care for him. Nibbler offers to help Fry with respect to Leela, if Fry will agree to push his 1999 self into the cryo-tube. Fry is won over to Nibbler's request when Nibbler frames the issue as "save yourself or save Leela." On returning to the office from her bad date with Chaz, Leela has Bender burn Chaz' face out of a photo of Leela and Chaz together. While Leela looks at the photo with a hole in it, Fry walks into the room and appears, from Leela's perspective, in the hole where Chaz' face had been. Leela is happy to see Fry, and actually gives him a kiss on the lips.
After their harrowing escape from the space-bees in "The Sting", Fry realizes that he doesn't want anything to happen to Leela, and comments that they need to be more careful. When the baby queen space-bee attacks, Fry puts his body between the bee and Leela to protect her. While Leela is in a coma she seems to have a lot more affection for Fry than she ever has before, perhaps prompted by Fry's death. In one of Leela's coma-dreams, Fry is very romantic, and she enjoys it. The alert viewer might notice that something is clearly amiss with Fry being genuinely romantic with Leela. We have seen from the beginning that Fry has no capacity for romance, and usually approaches Leela with brazen lust even while thinking to himself that he is in fact being romantic. When jelly-Fry comes into being, Leela expresses great relief that "Fry" is now alive. She says nothing about feelings for him, in fact clearly denying any such feelings with, "Feeling responsible for your death was driving me mad."
When Leela has reached the end of her rope, she muses, "The only time I feel alright is in my dreams," then looking at Fry's picture she adds, "with you." Perhaps here we see that Leela has feelings for Fry that she's not entirely conscious of--she constantly denies having such feelings but here she clearly has some. Fry's photo says to Leela, "I love you," but her hallucinations frighten her so much that she is unable to respond. When Leela wakes in the hospital, we realize that everything Fry said in her coma-dream was said by the real Fry at her bedside for two weeks. This is not the first time Fry has said, "I love you" to Leela, but perhaps going through this experience has matured him somewhat, which would finally give some meaning to the words. Their embrace, lacking a kiss, suggests that even if Leela has begun finally to see the desired maturity in Fry, she's still comfortable being just friends with him.
The opening scene of "The Farnsworth Parabox" shows Fry making a surprisingly determined effort to get Leela to go out with him. Leela clearly isn't going for the idea, as she cowers away from Fry on the other side of the couch and finally rejects his request with, "I have sweaty boot-rash!" Later, she shows that she knows Fry very well, in spite of any budding feelings she might have for him: after distracting Fry and Bender with the decoy box, she says to herself, "That'll keep those dopes occupied."
In Universe "One", Fry and Leela are married. Leela "One" tells the story to the others. The story makes it clear that Fry is indeed capable of impressing Leela, and not just on one date, but over the long term. After everyone goes back to their home universes, Fry asks Leela once again to go out with him. Leela flips a coin, but, apparently beginning to consider him a possibility, decides against looking at it, and simply accepts his invitation.
In "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings", Fry practices the holophonor in the hopes of making Leela like him. Never having indicated musical inclination before (except briefly in Parasites Lost), he says that he hears great music in his head. Leela, never having indicated musical appreciation before (except briefly in Parasites Lost), tells the story of Sean, a loser whom she loved primarily because of his musical talent. The stage is set for an exploration of the relationship between Fry and Leela.
When he first receives the Robot Devil's hands, Fry exclaims, "At last I'll have the power to make Leela love me!" While it's clear where Fry stands, Leela is harder to read. While attending a large performance by Fry, Leela sheds tears, but we don't know which kind of love they might indicate. She and Fry have become close friends over the years, but she has only briefly shown flickers of interest in him. When Fry announces that he will make his opera about her, she plays very coy, pretending to be surprised. Everything changes when Leela hears Fry's music, when she shows that she is the same woman who dated Sean: she immediately falls for Fry and gushes about his enormous creativity. In his opera, Fry describes Leela as "the woman that I idolize." The opera itself is a glorious example of this sentiment, but for now, it's the best Fry can do, and for now, it seems to be enough for Leela. After all the other opera patrons abandon the theater, Leela asks Fry to show her the ending, even if necessarily performed by his human hands.
It might seem that Fry and Leela might be at the threshold of a new phase in their relationship, but they have no such luck: subsequent episodes put them back in their usual mode, with Fry usually lusting and occasionally loving, and Leela usually ignoring.
Love and time travel
Fry's emotional repertoire grows just enough to include long-standing jealousy in Bender's Big Score. Leela falls in love with and almost marries Lars (who is a future version of Fry), a clear indication that it truly is only Fry's immaturity that makes her dislike him, as maturity is the major difference between Fry and Lars. Back in the 21st century, the Fry who becomes Lars reconnects with his family and his life, but pines for Leela, until he starts a long relationship with Leelu. At Lars' memorial service, Leela seems to have a new appreciation for Fry, but she doesn't articulate it, and Fry moves on to a different woman in The Beast with a Billion Backs.
Here, we first see Fry dating Colleen, and Leela making no comment when the two women meet. However, when Zoidberg barfs for joy, Leela agrees that the way Fry and Colleen behave toward each other is "pretty sickening". It could be that Leela harbors a bit of jealousy. Later, Fry breaks up with Colleen. To his credit, he doesn't immediately go slobbering after Leela. He pines for a while, even going to counseling (which Leela would appreciate for its contribution to Fry's maturity) and finally decides to leave this universe. Leela practically encourages him in this endeavor. On meeting Yivo, Fry falls in love with shkler. Leela is suspicious of Yivo for a long time, but she also eventually falls in love with shklim.
After being "rescued" by Bender, Fry sheds a tear on saying goodbye to Yivo. For a brief moment he seems sincere, but immediately turns to Leela, practically leering. Her response, that he forgot about her so quickly when he met Colleen, shows that she does indeed have some pain and jealousy due to Fry's instability. Without further comment Fry simply agrees with her, then walks to Amy and propositions her instead. Leela must now be really hurt and angry at Fry, and Fry seems to have taken a step backward in the maturity that Leela always wishes for.
The relationship is only hinted at in Bender's Game, as when Turanga Munda encourages Leela to consider Zoidberg as a dating candidate. Fry is strictly in lust mode: he finds it very enjoyable to ride on the back of centaur-Leela, for reasons he doesn't understand. Into the Wild Green Yonder ends on a rather sad note, with Fry saying "I love you" to Leela, and Leela finally saying "I love you" back to Fry. They even share a passionate kiss. But this occurs as they're flying into a wormhole with the expectation of never returning. Subsequent episodes reveal that the whole scene is just a repeat of their regular relationship: off-and-on, with an emphasis on off.
The other side
Fry and Leela continue more-or-less as they always have: Leela likes Fry and is even physically attracted to him, but is utterly turned off by his immaturity. Fry remains immature, always coming up with silly ideas in a quest to impress her. Sparks fly a few times during the season; nothing sticks, but the final episode suggests a romantic future for the couple
In "Rebirth", Fry and Leela pick up where they left off at the end of Into the Wild Green Yonder, only more so. When Fry's remains dissolve to nothing in Farnsworth's stem cell vat, Leela is so grief-stricken that she creates a robot-Fry. This is a surprise, given Leela's historical cool-headedness about their relationship. Perhaps losing him has intensified her newly warming feelings for him. It is no surprise that robot-Fry creates a robot-Leela.
Fry appears not to have changed much: he shows more than once and finally announces explicitly that he loves "any" Leela. Robot-Leela turns out to be slightly more cool-headed than Leela: Leela was so grief-stricken that she created a fake Fry, while robot-Leela wants to cool their relationship while she tries to sort out her confusion over her own identity.
Fry expresses his feelings more vehemently than ever before, saying, "I love Leela, always and forever." Hearing Fry say this, Leela unambiguously expresses love for Fry for the first time. More kissing occurs.
Fry shows that he has in fact grown a little, when, after the robots run away together, he tells Leela, "I waited a thousand years for you. I can wait a little longer." Not only is this a more mature sentiment than we usually get from Fry, he's also being surprisingly considerate of Leela's feelings. He says it to Leela, although Leela wasn't the one who expressed emotional uneasiness about her relationship with Fry. It was robot-Leela who expressed those concerns. So Fry has guessed that Leela might feel the same way as robot-Leela. This is precisely the sort of thing Leela has always been hoping for: a sign of maturity with a touch of romance.
In "In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela", the relationship seems to have cooled considerably. At the beginning, Fry objects to the idea of Leela going on the mission to sabotage V-GINY, even before he knows that Zapp will accompany her. He apparently adjusts to the idea of her absence, and doesn't mention jealousy at all, even as Zapp makes crude innuendo while he and Leela board Farnsworth's stealth ship. Fry gives Leela a care package to take with her. It seems that his maturity level is still improving, something Leela surely appreciates, and she shows it with some tender words and even a kiss, but only on the cheek.
Still, Fry is Fry: not ten seconds after he worries out loud about Leela's delayed return, he eagerly accepts Amy's offer of end-of-the-world sex. Sadly, when Zapp is considerate of Leela's feelings and behaves like an adult for more than ten seconds, she forgets all about Fry and is suddenly ready to bear Zapp's children. When she finally puts on the brakes with Zapp, it's not because of Fry at all, but because she starts to suspect Zapp of scamming her.
Fry makes not a single comment when he discovers Leela and Zapp naked. He is happy to watch Leela beat Zapp, but he shows no sign of jealousy, even when they have sex right in front of him. It's difficult to tell where Fry and Leela can go from here.
They go only downhill in "Attack of the Killer App". Fry's "selfish rudeness" in posting an embarrassing video of Leela isn't necessarily surprising. Given his immaturity, it is easy enough to believe that he can love her and yet betray her so horribly. Leela had already mostly forgotten her feelings for Fry in the previous episode, but when Fry makes her believe that he has deleted the video, she refers to him as "a good friend." Later, in spite of Fry's betrayal, she actually thanks him for accidentally freeing her from her shame, and gives him a hug. She laughs a lot while watching the video of his disgusting and painful dive, and he takes advantage of the moment to ask for another hug. Leela doesn't want to hug him again, but is persuaded easily enough by a light prompt from Susan.
The relationship is only hinted at in "Proposition Infinity", as Fry and Leela sit or stand next to each other in some scenes. An abrupt and unexplained change occurs in "The Duh-Vinci Code". While exploring the catacombs in Rome, Fry finds a pretext for proposing sex with Leela. No surprise there, but shockingly, Leela glibly agrees. The deed never actually occurs, as the Professor interrupts them, but this is unprecedented: she is now, at least for the moment, willing to have sex with Fry. Does she love him now, or has she simply decided to lower her standards far enough for him to be acceptable? Perhaps she feels obligated due to guilt for not visiting Fry during his two weeks in the hospital after his bus accident. It isn't clear.
We are left in the dark through "Lethal Inspection", as the two hardly say a word to each other. But the relationship is the central theme of "The Late Philip J. Fry". At the beginning of the episode, Fry has a lunch date with Leela to celebrate her birthday, meaning that a serious relationship is once again a possibility. Another hint at a serious relationship is Leela's reaction to Fry's tardiness. She chews him out, suggesting that she is becoming emotionally invested in him. Further, when Bender invites Fry to Hedonismbot's party, Leela angrily tells him to go to the party rather than taking her to dinner. She is clearly inviting him to reaffirm his commitment not only to their dinner, but to her in general. He does the right thing by her, re-committing to the dinner date.
After the accident with the time machine and the accident at Hedonismbot's party, Leela believes that Fry is dead. While Fry is lost in the future, we get two brief glimpses of the life Leela lived after he disappeared. The first glimpse, 20 years later, shows no sign of Leela being attached, but she flirts with Cubert when he momentarily reminds her of Fry. The second glimpse, a further 20 years later, reveals that she and Cubert married at some point after the flirtation but are now divorced. When Fry's birthday card appears out of thin air, she realizes not only that it was not his fault that he missed their date, but also that he did not die in a horrible accident. She realizes now that her time with Fry had been the happiest time of her life. She uses a laser gun to leave a message that will eventually be read by Fry.
Although it may not be obvious, there is a tragedy here, despite the closure we might feel when Fry reads the message. Just before Fry disappeared, he and Leela were on the verge of being in love. As far as Leela knew, Fry died in the accident at Hedonismbot's party. So she spent decades not only grieving a terrible loss, but also believing that Fry had done something really immature, inevitably lowering her respect for him. When she learns the truth, her sadness is magnified by the knowledge that she has spent those decades with an unfairly negative opinion of Fry. She spends the rest of her life with that sadness, without Fry, and then she dies. Fry lives on, but he never sees "his" Leela again. She is dead. Fry experiences this tragedy from the other end: when he reads Leela's billion-year-old message, he can clearly imagine the life she must have lived, the sorrow she must have lived with.
But Fry is not a guy to suddenly make a big jump in maturity. When the universe restarts and Fry realizes that he can drop out of time back into "Leela's" life, he is still the same old Fry we always knew: he says, "I'm almost there, Leela," with not a moment to consider that this will be a different woman, not the woman he just finished grieving. This is, of course, the man who said, "I love Leela. Any Leela." When Fry finally drops into normal time, two Leelas later, he proves it by taking this new Leela out on a romantic date. The fact that we don't see them kiss suggests that the date is still officially a "just friends" date.
It seems that Leela tends not to have feelings for Fry when he is around. In the previous episode, the Leela who lost him looked back and said that her time with him was the best time in her life. But the Leela who has to put up with him day in and day out is usually not very interested. In "That Darn Katz!" Leela is seen sitting alone with Nibbler during a night out, lamenting she hasn't a man, while Fry parties on the dance floor with Bender.
In a sort of backhanded way, Leela hints at the onset of deeper feelings for Fry in "The Prisoner of Benda": she begins to torment him with her insecurities. At first she obsesses about her appearance, especially her eye. When Fry reassures her that she is "the most beautiful woman in the world", she changes direction, scolding him for shallowly being interested only in her looks. She gets really carried away with this idea, and eventually swaps her mind into Farnsworth's body to allow Fry to "prove" his love to her. For Fry, always wanting to prove his love to Leela in some grand and often ridiculous way, this is a golden opportunity. All he has to do to prove his love (and defend his honor) is pretend that he is turned on by Farnsworth's body while Leela occupies it. But he is a bit grumpy about her challenge, and wants revenge: he swaps his mind into Zoidberg's body and returns her challenge, forcing her to pretend that she is turned on by Zoidberg's body while Fry occupies it. They both finally find that they are indeed attracted to each other, even in hideous bodies, which leads to them having sex. Although this is the first time ever that Fry and Leela have had sex (the sex in "Anthology of Interest I" was fictional, a story told by the What-If Machine), their own bodies still have not been involved. So in a sense Fry and Leela have still not had sex.
It is notable that Fry, complaining to Hermes about his predicament, admits that while he obviously is not attracted to Farnsworth's body even if Leela's mind is in it, he is "willing to lie about it." This is a moment of growth for Fry, a step toward maturity. Although Leela doesn't hear him say this, she knows that Fry can't possibly be attracted to Farnsworth's body; when she sees his attempt to be attracted to it, she is seeing an increase in Fry's maturity, which is what she has wanted from him all along.
Fry follows his usual formula for Leela in "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences": he wants her for reasons he probably doesn't understand, and childishly fantasizes about winning her heart by saving her from a space-monster villain. Although in the previous episode they were hot and heavy, by the end of this episode the best Leela can muster is an extended kiss on Fry's cheek. Nothing much changes in "The Mutants Are Revolting". Although Fry and Leela attend Mrs. Aster's gala together, it's business as usual for them. When Fry arrives in the sewer, the main thing on his mind is to impress Leela by sharing the suffering of the mutants. Although Leela is angered by his shallow notions of their suffering, she is ready to forgive fairly soon. Still attempting to impress her, Fry goes for the grand gesture again, by jumping into Lake Mutagenic. Leela is impressed, even to the point of wanting to kiss Fry, but not enough to overcome her aversion to Fry's grotesque body--she refuses to touch him. Later, celebrating the success of their social movement, Leela warms up enough to kiss the still-"mutated" Fry on the lips.
Many episodes go by with no mention at all of the relationship. Finally, in "Law & Oracle", when Leela comments that she loves a man in uniform, Fry tries to impress her by pointing out that he is wearing one: his Planet Express delivery boy costume. Naturally, she rebuffs him. When Fry leaves Planet Express to become a cop, neither one expresses any particular sadness. Leela seems surprised to realize that a long delivery would be less enjoyable without Fry. In "Benderama", the two are seen together a few times, but nothing happens between them. Another silent episode goes by, but "Ghost in the Machines" shines some light. Leela is in her usual mode concerning Fry. After Fry saves the life of another parade-goer, we see Leela among the crowd of people cheering him. So Leela seems still to consider Fry a friend. But she clearly has no romantic interest him. When Fry publicly announces that he has had sex with the Mayor's wife, Leela has nothing to say. She visits Fry in the hospital, but she doesn't go with him to the Amish home world. While Leela hasn't changed, it seems that Fry has: ever ready to proclaim his love for Leela, he says not a word about it when he leaves her behind, presumably forever.
It's business as usual in "Fry Am the Egg Man". Leela's not interested, as we see when she shows interest in Angus McZongo and calls Fry her "strictly platonic friend." Fry is still in love, as he is reminded when Mr. Peppy attacks Leela. When Fry announces in "All the Presidents' Heads" that he has a night job, Leela is completely taken by surprise. At a party at the Head Museum, she dances with Martin van Buren's head. Although she remains his close friend, as we see her tenderly congratulating him on having saved the earth in "Cold Warriors", her romantic inclinations toward Fry are nearing an apogee.
Leela demonstrates that she does at least sometimes think about their relationship. She talks to Fry openly about it in "Overclockwise", describing it as "on-again, off-again". She muses about the future they might have together and has the same concern she always has: his immaturity. He reminds her of it with his starry-eyed suggestion that he would always be happy if she were to love him. We see Leela reading a magazine article that illuminates the current state of their relationship: it is entitled "Is Your Dead-end Relationship in A Rut?" She finally decides to leave the defunct Planet Express to make a fresh start with her life, "breaking up with" Fry in doing so. Fry tries to argue, "But I thought we..." he can't finish his sentence, perhaps underscoring his immaturity one last time. Perhaps if he really knew what he wanted out of life, he would have said something like, "But I thought we would grow old together." Leela moves on with her life, but ultimately returns, clearly indicating that she returned primarily because of Fry. Bender has anticipated Leela's request for a description of their future; as Fry and Leela read it together, their faces indicate that Bender has predicted a happily-ever-after story.
Several more episodes go by without touching on the relationship. By the time we reach "A Farewell to Arms", Leela has apparently come to terms with being in a relationship with Fry. Throughout the episode, Fry looks for ways to impress Leela and show her his love. She appreciates his solicitousness, but finds it unnecessary, and later downright dangerous to her. Early on, her reaction to his behavior is, "I appreciate your gallantry, but isn't this a bit much?" Later, she advances to "Your noble gestures keep making things worse," and "Fry, stop trying to do things for me!" And finally, after his favors continually result in inconvenience and injury, "Every time he says he loves me, I get killed!"
Although she is warming to the idea of Fry, as we can see when she proposes sex on the Planet Express balcony, she has no illusions about him, still seeing him as sweet but a doofus, as when she responds to his "lucky pants" comment with "Awww...Also, oh lord." Although Amy interrupts their attempt at sex, they do manage to share a rare kiss on the lips. Fry makes another gallant gesture by using his pass to Mars to create a fake pass for Leela, choosing himself to stay behind and die with the earth. Leela sheds a few tears for her loss after arriving on Mars, but of course cries out, "Fry, you noble idiot!" when she realizes that he has sent her to her death on Mars.
When the Earth is not destroyed, Fry and Bender sit around drinking; it's no surprise that Fry seems not to realize that Leela is still alive, that they could be reunited. When Mars passes close to Earth, Leela needs help to get back home. Fry runs to help, but Leela calls out, "Or somebody else could do it!" Fry tells Leela to take his hand, something he has been doing all episode, but Leela responds, "I don't know, bad things happen when you say that." It is Scruffy who actually ends up saving Leela, but only after Fry and Leela each lose an arm in Fry's rescue attempt. Fry apologizes to Leela, but her response is gratitude that he was willing to sacrifice himself for her, and although he failed miserably in his attempt to rescue her, that he is the only person who loves her enough to try. The episode closes with a view of their severed arms floating through space; symbolically, the arms are not separate, but holding hands, presumably for eternity.
The relationship again goes silent for a couple of episodes. In "Zapp Dingbat", Leela has no hesitation in sending Fry away to keep watch over her father. But when he convinces her that Munda's happiness matters more than Leela's scruples, she is finally seeing signs of the maturity she has always hoped for. When he suggests that he himself might be marriage material, Leela astounds both Fry and the audience with, "You're getting there," and a rare kiss on the cheek. In a rare moment of continuity, at the beginning of "The Butterjunk Effect" we see that the relationship has followed a real trajectory and taken a step forward: Fry and Leela dine with Kif and Amy. Leela describes the group as "Two happy couples on a double-date." It is likely that this is their first bona fide date, as we find later, when Fry approaches Leela in the gym with flowers and says nervously, "I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me again." When Leela first starts taking the stimulants, she loses interest in Fry. She finds him irresistible when he is covered with butterfly pheromone. But then, Amy also finds him irresistible too. Defending her territory, Leela refers to Fry as "my boyfriend." But still, this could be just the stimulants talking. After the stimulants have worn off and Fry emerges from the giant butterfly's body, Leela seems no happier than the others to find him back to normal.
Leela shows more signs of being invested in "Fun on a Bun". When Fry gets embarrassingly drunk at Oktoberfest, which by now has become a stately and refined affair, everyone but Leela abandons him. Leela stays a little longer to glare at him, perhaps contemplating her next move. She finally arrives at a decision and says that she is "breaking up with" him. Of course, Fry reacts in surprise at the idea that they were dating, but that is not any reflection on the state of the relationship; it is simply a reflection of Fry's lifelong cluelessness (or perhaps drunkeness). At Fry's memorial service after his apparent death, Leela again refers to him as her "boyfriend", although in the context of having broken up with him. Both grief-stricken and guilt-ridden over Fry's death, Leela has all of her memories of Fry surgically disconnected from her conscious mind. But Leela's conscious mind is no match for her unconscious, which still cares about Fry: when she finds a chicken hat on the ship, and later, while staring at a pumpkin (about the same color as Fry's hair), she feels inexplicably sad. Fry, having lost all of his memory due to a blow to the head, has a similar experience while staring at a "prehistoric pig butt" with a purple tail. During their hand-to-hand battle, both Fry and Leela lose their head coverings, revealing their hair to each other and causing a spark of recognition in both of them. Even before they fully remember each other, they start making out. That's a first. Even after finally recognizing him, she continues making out with him; there is no sign of their previous breakup.
The bona fide relationship trajectory continues in the next two episodes. In "Free Will Hunting", Fry laments the loss of Bender while lying comfortably in bed with Leela. In "Near-Death Wish", Fry even neglects Leela a bit, as he rebuffs her advances due to his tunnel vision over Farnsworth's parents. There are a few more episodes that don't touch on their relationship, although the non-canonical "Naturama" throws a bone to diehard fans who really want the two together. Fry and Leela the salmon agree even as juveniles to mate when the times comes. They spend their time together as they mature. Tragically, as they return to their spawning grounds, they find that they came from different originating streams, and must separate. Fry eventually finds that he can't cope with the separation, and risks life and limb to be with her again. They die happily ever after. Later, Leela the elephant seal is interested only in the beachmaster, not even aware of Fry's existence.
The genuine arc of their relationship continues in "Fry and Leela's Big Fling". For reasons unexplained, they keep it a secret from their co-workers, but they are otherwise clearly dating happily. Leela seems to have adjusted to Fry's goofiness, enjoying the ambience that Fry has created for their rendevouz using items he found around the office, such as post-it notes and white-board markers. They even have progressed to the point that they go on a romantic and secluded vacation together. They have a lovers' quarrel when Leela's old boyfriend Sean shows up, but Leela remains committed to Fry. Still, there is some mystery left concerning their love. When introducing Fry to Sean, she says, "He and I are..." and then, "What would you say we are, Fry?"
In spite of this strange exception, progress continues. When Fry goes missing in "T.: The Terrestrial", Leela notices, and when Bender tells her that Fry is out buying flowers for her, she responds warmly. Later Leela finds herself knocking on Fry's door, reminding him that they had a date. She seems unsurprised to hear that Fry is drunk and is standing her up, and she even departs with a genuine and cheerful "I love you!" It seems that she has truly accepted Fry for who he is. And Fry is, after all, Fry: expecting to die soon, Fry forgets all about Leela and says to Jrrr, "The week I spent with you was the best week of my life." When Fry returns home, Leela, believing that he was never gone, and believing that it was Fry, not Bender, who made out with her in a dark closet, whispers to him, "Things sure have been going great between us." And things continue to go well, as the episode ends with them, that is, Fry and Leela, making out.
Many episodes go by with no comment. In "Leela and the Genestalk" we find that all is still well with them, when Fry offers Leela a kiss to console her over her squidification disorder. Of course she is not consoled, but she does return his kiss, even if half-heartedly. In the advanced stages of the disorder, Leela tries to break up with Fry, being unable to imagine what kind of future they can have together. She is surprisingly cruel about it, referring to their long relationship as "Whatever it was that you and I had together". But Fry remains loyal, and when Leela is cured of squidification, they appear to go back to the love that has been steadily growing for many episodes now. Leela guards her territory in "Game of Tones", forbidding Fry to have sex with his ex-girlfriend in a dream, and later asserting her exclusive right to dump Fry. In fear of Blorgulax, Leela turns to Fry for comfort "Murder on the Planet Express". Attending Bender's dance audition in "Stench and Stenchibility", the couple sit with arms around each other. Leela even henpecks Fry a bit, dragging him away from a conversation with Bender after Bender makes an offensive remark.
It is gratifying but not surprising to see Fry and Leela holding hands while making a delivery in "Meanwhile". Fry pops the question and goes for a grand gesture, awaiting Leela's response in person at the top of the Vampire State Building. Although Fry doesn't realize it at first due to his promiscuous time-traveling, Leela intends to agree to marry him. After Fry breaks the time button, he re-proposes to Leela. Her response is perhaps the most romantic thing either one of them has ever said to the other: "I would marry you even if you weren't the last man on Earth." They accept their fate and go on with their lives, get married, and have a life full of adventure backpacking. They happily grow old together. Fry asks Leela whether she found it lonely. She responds, "I was never lonely. Even for a minute."
The episode ends on a bittersweet note. When Farnsworth tells them of his plan to repair the space-time continuum, Fry asks Leela, "What do you say? Want to go around again?" Leela responds, "I do." But they aren't really going around again. These two people, the couple who have loved each other over a lifetime of adventure backpacking, will cease to exist when Farnsworth presses his button. At the same time, it might be said that they, having already lived a full life together, are making room for another Fry and Leela to live out another happy life together.
Fry: You're smart, you're beautiful, and best of all, you'll go out with me-e?
Leela: Fry, please try to understand: You're a man, I'm a woman. We're just too different.
Leela: You know, Fry, I don't care if you're not the most important person in the universe. It really makes me happy to see you right now.
Fry: Then I am the most important person in the universe.
Fry: I thought she loved me too, but obviously I was wrong, as usual.
Leela: Wrong again. You were right.
Leela: What I'll remember is our time together.
Leela: Fry, can we talk about our relationship?
Fry: Of course. Our relationship is the best thing in my life, so I'm sure I'll enjoy talking about it with you.
Fry: Well, this is the end. There was so many things I wanted to say to you.
Leela: Like what?
Fry: Like this is not the end. But mostly just, I love you, Leela.
Leela: Maybe I waited too long to say this, but I love you, too- WORMHOLE!
Leela: I should have known better than to trust one of Fry's romantic gestures. Every time he says he loves me, I get killed!
Fry: Psst. Leela, wanna join the Mile-Deep Club?
Leela: Sure, why not?
Leela: Fry, stop trying to do things for me! Whatever time we have left, just live it with me. So...you wanna join the balcony club?
Leela: Somehow, I keep finding myself thinking about this place... And things.
Fry: Things like me or things like this badminton racket?
Leela: You, Fry.
Leela: Sean, I'd like you to meet Fry. He and I are...what would you say we are, Fry?
Fry: Nude and interrupted.
Fry: Leela! Oh my God, you saved my life! I am gonna get you so many lizards!
[The Professor has told Fry and Leela that they will all get to live their lives over again.]
Fry: What do you say? Wanna go around again?
Leela: I do.
- This list should include all episodes mentioned above.