That Darn Katz!
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|Season 6 episode|
Broadcast season 7 episode
|That Darn Katz!|
|Written by||Josh Weinstein|
|Directed by||Frank Marino|
|Title caption||(Or similar product)|
|First air date||5 August, 2010|
|Title reference||That Darn Cat!|
|Opening cartoon||Scotty Finds a Home (1935)|
"That Darn Katz!" is the ninety-sixth episode of Futurama, the eighth of the sixth production season and the eighth of the seventh broadcast season. It aired on 5 August, 2010, on Comedy Central. A group of cats hypnotizes the Planet Express crew, and Amy and Nibbler have to stop them.
 The Story
 Act I: "The horse says: 'Doctorate denied.'"
At Planet Express, Amy Wong is anxiously preparing to present her doctoral thesis at Mars University the following morning. The Professor admits that since Amy has been his graduate student for the past twelve years, she was experienced enough to present her thesis about six years ago; he simply neglected to tell her. He advises Amy to relax before tomorrow's presentation, and so the crew take her out to The Hip Joint for a night of fun (and heavy drinking). While there, Nibbler voices a desire to Leela to be treated as a respected, equal member of the crew rather than a common pet.
After partying late into the evening, Amy oversleeps and shows up late (and in her underwear) to defend her thesis at Mars University; she is reviewed by a doctoral panel consisting of Professor Morris Katz, Dr. Ogden Wernstrom, Ethan 'Bubblegum' Tate, and Professor Fisherprice Shpeekenshpell, a robot with a Mattel See 'n Say for a head. After Professor Farnsworth loans her his lab coat, Amy begins her thesis defense: She proposes using a giant ratchet and a length of superconducting wire to harness the power of the tremendous magnetic field created by Earth's rotation, creating a perpetual motion machine that could provide an abundance of free energy. However, Amy's presentation is interrupted by Professor Katz's cat (to which Amy is highly allergic), and the panel members scoff at her implausible proposal, denying her doctorate.
Back on Earth, Katz's cat emerges from within the Planet Express ship, having stowed away on the return trip from Mars. The other crew members immediately become entranced and fawn over the adorable feline, but Amy is still bitter about its interference at the university and having been denied her degree, and Nibbler is jealous of the attention that Leela gives to the cat instead of to him; he says that the cat should be watched carefully, claiming that "nothing acts that cute without some ulterior motive". Amy and Nibbler both spy upon the cat, but fail to find signs of anything sinister. They are ready to admit that they may have misjudged the cat when they hear an entranced Leela refer to the cat as "my lord" and say that Amy and Nibbler represent a "tewwible thweat," and must be "spayed and neutered, wespectivewy".
 Act II: "Pet it! Pet it! Pet it!"
The cat meows out a rhythmic signal which summons a pink flying saucer shaped like a cat's head. Amy and Nibbler rush to tell the other crew members that the cat is evil, only to find that they all have cats of their own, and are also being mind-controlled. The cat saucer lands in the Planet Express hangar, where the crew begins unloading supplies, including an enormous ball of yarn and a large amount of cobalt; it's obvious that the cats are using the crew to construct something in the basement, but when Amy and Nibbler try to investigate, they are told that no one without a cat may enter. They decide to travel back to Mars University in order to interrogate Professor Katz and find out what the cats are up to, but when they burst into his office, they discover that Katz is nothing more than a life-sized marionette rigged to be operated by a cat. Amy realizes that the cat itself is Katz, and is angry that she was denied her degree by a "fuzzball".
The two return to Planet Express to find the door to the basement ajar and unguarded. Upon investigating, they discover that the cats have implemented Amy's thesis as an actual model, building a large ratchet above the molten crater in the cellar, and substituting the superconducting wire with a length of yarn that runs down into the Earth's core. Amy sneezes, accidentally revealing her and Nibbler's position, and they are confronted by Katz in control of Leela's body.
Katz explains that all cats originated from the planet Thuban 9, where they lived a pleasant, lazy existence. However, Thuban's rotation gradually began to slow down. This was initially beneficial, as it provided longer days and nights for napping, but eventually Thuban's rotation came to an almost complete stop, resulting in large differences in temperature on the two hemispheres of the planet (due to one side being exposed to constant sunlight, and the other shrouded in darkness). Thuban scientists searched until they found a planet with the proper orientation and magnetic field: Earth. Thuban scouts landed on Earth in 3500 B.C., and were worshiped as gods by the ancient Egyptians. The Thubans built an enormous antenna - The Great Pyramid of Giza - to siphon off Earth's rotational energy and beam it back to Thuban, but the Thubans grew accustomed to being pampered by the Egyptians, until they became fat and domesticated, and the knowledge of how to save Thuban was lost... until Katz heard Amy's thesis. Amy is furious that Katz not only mocked her research, but stole it for himself. Katz orders the Professor to open a large can of cat food; the sound of the can opener is broadcast throughout the city, causing thousands of cats to plaintively rub up against Planet Express headquarters. The static charge they generate is channeled down into the molten crater, which causes the Earth's rotation to begin slowing down.
 Act III: "Enjoy being broiled alive by the sun, and also the dead bird we've left in your slipper."
The Planet Express crew members turn the giant ratchet, gradually slowing the Earth's rotation. Nibbler theorizes that the space cats must be using some sort of "super cuteness" to hypnotize them; he tries to counter it with a pleading expression of his own, but to no avail. The Earth at last comes to an abrupt halt, transmitting its rotational energy to Thuban, and inertia from the sudden stop causes several landmarks and land masses to shift position. The crew members are snapped out of their hypnotic trance, and the space cats depart. The crew attempts to turn the ratchet in the opposite direction in order to restart Earth's rotation, but the ratchet doesn't budge.
As the Earth's western hemisphere slowly begins to roast, Amy says that the ratchet can only apply force in one direction; she laments having ever come up with the concept for her thesis. The Professor consoles her, saying that technology itself is neither good nor evil; it's how it's used that's important. Amy agrees that science must continue moving forward... and realizes that's the answer. She explains that while they cannot turn the ratchet backward, they can continue turning it forward, which will cause Earth to begin rotating again; the planet will be turning in the opposite direction than it was beforehand, but that should make no difference. The plan is quickly undertaken, but the crew is unable to turn the ratchet quickly enough until Nibbler dresses up in his naval uniform (which bears a striking resemblance to a child's sailor suit) to motivate them. This does the trick, and Thuban's energy is siphoned back to Earth, kick-starting the planet's rotation (and causing Thuban to double its angular velocity). In recognition for having proved her thesis and saving the planet, Amy is awarded her doctorate in Applied Physics (as well as a sportsmanship award that Tate found in his glove compartment); Nibbler, still in uniform, also makes his peace with Leela, gratefully curling up in her lap to receive her affection. The crew returns to Planet Express headquarters while, for the first time, the sun sets in the East.
"That Darn Katz!" originally aired on 5 August, 2010 on Comedy Central and was viewed by an estimated 1.950 million viewers receiving a 1.3 rating/2% share in the Nielsen ratings and 1.0 rating/3% share in the 18-49 demographic, going down slightly from the previous week's episode.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club enjoyed the episode, rating it an A-, stating that the jokes were strong throughout the episode. Handlen felt the episode was "a return to pure wackiness" and found it a nice change of pace from the more emotional issues of the season. He particularly praised the season's continuation of unlikely pair-ups in Nibbler and Amy, feeling that both received good character development from the episode. Alex Zalben of UGO.com likewise enjoyed the use of both characters, feeling that "it paid in such great character dividends. Amy manages to prove she’s not just a bunch of eye candy, and Nibbler finds out it’s not so bad to be cared for by Leela after all." He concluded that "That Darn Katz!" may not have pulled on the heart strings like the last two episodes, but this one was firing on all cylinders – and we need episodes like this, just silly larks about cats taking over the world, to give us breathing time between the crying jags."
 Additional info
- This is one of only five episodes of Season 6 to use the full opening sequence, complete with opening cartoon. The others are "Rebirth", "Benderama", "Yo Leela Leela" and "All the Presidents' Heads".
- This is the only episode revolving around Amy to not deal with her romantic relationships with other characters.
- This is also the first episode of Season 6 to have a sponsor.
- While the title is a direct reference to the movie That Darn Cat, it is also a reference to multiple other things.
- When Amy wakes up late, she claims to only have 10 minutes to get to her Doctoral review on Mars. Given the average distance between Earth and Mars (based on their respective distances from the Sun) and the time it takes Planet Express Ship to travel to the moon, this would have been just barely enough time if Amy got into the ship immediately and was dropped off at the auditorium door.
- Of course, in actuality Earth and Mars are almost never that close, since they are usually at different points along their respective solar orbits.
- In a real astrophysical system, it is often much easier to lose rotational kinetic energy than it is to lose angular momentum. For example, gas in an accretion disk surrounding a black hole needs to lose both energy and angular momentum in order to fall into the hole. The gas can radiate away its energy through photons, but rather elaborate mechanisms are required to remove its angular momentum. It is therefore reasonable to assume the cats are more concerned with siphoning off the angular momentum, not the rotational kinetic energy, of the Earth.
- Bender mentions that he has a cousin named Turner, who is apparently good at turning things.
- The episode title is taken from the 1965 Disney movie That Darn Cat (remade in 1997). The Katz is of course referring to the episode's antagonist Morris Katz, but it is also possibly a reference to the Futurama producer Claudia Katz.
- It is likely the name Morris Katz is a nod to Morris the Cat, the mascot for 9Lives brand cat food.
- Cash Bone states that "the legbone's connected to the cashbone". This is a reference to the song Dem Bones.
- The commercial itself is a parody of those infamous "Cash for Gold" commercials.
- Bender remarks that the Thubanian leader's anus looks like an asterisk, a reference to the Kurt Vonnegut novel Breakfast of Champions.
- While under the Thubanians' spell, (most of) the Planet Express crew replaces R's and L's with W's, just like Elmer Fudd does in his speech.
- To signal the flying saucer, the Thubanian leader mews the Meow Mix jingle.
- This ship's lower-toned response to it is a reference to the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- The cats and their spaceship is a reference to the 1978 film The Cat From Outer Space.
- The "ALL EMPLOYEEZ must haz cat to enter!!!" sign is an allusion to the lolcat.
- While in Egypt, the cats received "vittles most tender" and "feasts so fancy".
- The Thubanian leader describes the no longer rotating Earth as one big McDLT (McDonalds Lettuce & Tomato), which was given out in 2 parts: half of the bun and the meat (warm), lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles, sauce and the other half of the bun (cold). It was sold between 1984 and 1990.
- The Thubanian leader's statement that they just received the McDLT commercial implies that Thuban 9 is roughly 1026 light years from Earth.
- This is the third time we see The Hip Joint in the series. Previous times being in "Love's Labours Lost in Space" and "Bendless Love".
- This is the first time the contents of Nibbler's litterbox are actually seen being thrown away, since dark matter is no longer useful in any way as of Bender's Game.
- Though dark matter is still referred to as "volatile".
- Volatile, or "stinky".
- Though dark matter is still referred to as "volatile".
- The cats say that their race was responsible for the creation of the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. The people of Osiris 4 would later imitate this knowledge unknowingly second-hand, mistaking it for Earthican technology.
- The cavern with the lava pool seen in this episode is the same place where Fry's dog was going to be cloned in "Jurassic Bark", and may be the limestone cavern referred to in Bender's Big Score.
- In "The Series Has Landed", when Amy is introduced, Professor Farnsworth states that she's his engineering student, a detail that had been mostly ignored until this episode.
- Since Nibbler never wiped the memories of the crew at the end of Bender's Game they are all aware now that he can talk. Now that everyone knows he can talk, Nibbler feels that he should be treated as a member of the crew in this episode, only to miss the comfort of being Leela's "schnookums".
- Amy and Kif's apartment is seen once again; the previous time being in "Proposition Infinity".
- Leela claims to be single at the Hip Joint even though she has clearly shown feelings for Fry in the past few episodes.
- It seems like the relationship is on again, off again. Due to Fry's frequent screw ups, they're most likely in a very casual relationship. The note she wrote him in Cavern on the Green was future Leela, who assumed Fry had been dead for decades. Present Leela might not view it as a real relationship yet.
- The episode's end establishes that the Earth is now moving in the opposite direction, which is seen again in a shot in "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular". In "A Clockwork Origin", however, the Earth appears to be turning in the other direction, but that is probably just an animation flunk.
- Several landmarks are depicted when the world is stopped. They are the Statue of Liberty, the Houses of Parliament Clock Tower (often referred to as Big Ben), and the Eiffel Tower. However, some of them look different than they did in past episodes. The Statue of Liberty does not hold the Tube Transport System (1ACV01), and the Eiffel Tower no longer hovers (4ACV09).
- Amy finally gets a doctorate in applied physics, but she had originally stated that she was going for a doctorate in engineering.
- Applied physics is also often called engineering physics, and thus she could be called both an engineering student and a physics student.
- The first time the Earth is shown from outer space, the Western hemisphere appears at night; however, the next two times just minutes afterwards, it shows the Western hemisphere in daytime.
- The wheel in the lava pool is made of wood, even dolomite (referenced in episode "Jurassic Bark"), which is meant to be one of the strongest natural resources doesn't last long in lava.
- It could be made of a previously unknown Thubanian material.
- The Thubanian leader says they (Thuban 9) got the McDLT commercial last year, but he has been on Earth (or, more likely, his ancestors have) for the last eight thousand years or so.
- The crew of flying saucer (which presumably arrived from Thuban 9) could have told him about this commercial.
- When Leela is dumping the dark matter into the lava, she says it is "highly volatile", despite the fact that dark matter lost its volatility in Bender's Game.
- As said above it is volatile or "stinky".
- Debut: Alarm Clock
- Professor Farnsworth
- Horrible Gelatinous Blob
- Debut: Professor Morris Katz
- Kif Kroker
- Debut: Nibbler's best friend (mentioned in speech only)
- Debut: Obliteron (mentioned in speech only)
- Debut: Professor Fisherprice Shpeekenshpell
- Ethan 'Bubblegum' Tate
- Debut: Thubanian leader
- Debut: Turner (mentioned in speech only)
- Dr. Ogden Wernstrom
- Dr. Zoidberg
 Episode Credits
- Voice Actors
- DVD Commentary
- ^ Seidman, Robert (06 August 2013). Thursday Cable: Jersey Shore on Top + Project Runway, Futurama, Stan Lee’s Superhumans & More. Retrieved on 07 August 2010.
- ^ a b c Handlen, Zack (05 August 2013). "That Darn Katz!". Retrieved on 06 August 2010.
- ^ Zalben, Alex (06 August 2013). 'Futurama' - "That Darn Katz!" Recap. Retrieved on 06 August 2010.