The Futurama Holiday Spectacular
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|Season 6 episode|
Broadcast season 7 episode
|The Futurama Holiday Spectacular|
|Written by||Michael Rowe|
|Directed by||Ray Claffey|
|Title caption||Time Travelers: Only 331 shopping days 'til last Xmas|
|First air date||21 November 2010|
|Title reference||Possibly, The Star Wars Holiday Special|
|Special guest(s)||Al Gore|
|Nomination(s)||Environmental Media Awards|
Episodic Comedy, 2011 (Won)
"The Futurama Holiday Spectacular", originally titled "Holiday Val-U-Pak", is the one hundred and first episode of Futurama, the thirteenth of the sixth production season and the seventh broadcast season, and the third segmented episode. It is also the third seasonal episode in the series, though parts of Bender's Big Score exhibit seasonal themes. It aired 21 November 2010 on Comedy Central, and guest starred Al Gore as himself and Coolio as Kwanzaa-bot. It won the 2011 Environmental Media Award for greenest Episodic Comedy.
Everyone of the three segments begins with a message from the episode's sponsor, Gunderson's Unshelled Nuts.
It's Xmas Day again, and the Planet Express crew are preparing for the imminent attack from Robot Santa Claus. Fry begins to feel depressed that Xmas just isn't like the way he used to celebrate Christmas, but he can't quite understand what is missing. Suddenly, Santa bursts in through the fireplace and answers his question, in song: what they are missing is an old-fashioned pine tree. He then kills Scruffy and leaves. The crew realize that Santa was right, and they need to bring pine trees back from extinction, just like they did with the barking snakes. They go to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault to find some pine seeds. The crew are taken in by the Norwegian seed guard, who gives them a handful of seeds, and tells them about the Fifty-Year Squirts. However, the pine seeds that they take were contaminated with germs from the nearby Germ Warfare Repository, but they do not take this into consideration.
Fry plants the seeds in the dirt near the Planet Express headquarters. By Xmas next year, it has grown into a small tree. Dick Cheney's head sees it, and, as the Vice-President of Earth, commands Richard Nixon's head, the President of Earth, to steal the tree. Nixon replants the tree at the White House and they have an annual tree lighting. However, as soon as the tree is lit, it grows immensely. The Norwegian seed guard admits that it may have been the germs, and the tree begins to fire its pine cones off of itself and into the soil with an explosion. A tree grows from everyone of those cones, and eventually, the entire planet Earth is covered in coniferous forests. The crew are optimistic about the positive environmental impact at first, but then the Professor and Al Gore's head discover that the oxygen level in the atmosphere is dangerously high at eighty percent. Bender lights a cigar and the entire atmosphere of Earth burns up, killing billions. In space, Santa flies by in his sleigh, as if he orchestrated the entire event in order to kill everyone on Earth. He then pleasantly tells us to stay tuned for the next segment.
It's the end of the Xmas break, and the Planet Express crew is about to destroy the gifts that they forgot to deliver. Bender begins to complain that only the Human holidays are celebrated by them, but a Robot holiday, like Robanukah, a day Bender made up so he could get out of work (1ACV05), isn't. He manages to convince them, in song, to let him celebrate Robanukah by not working, and watching two Fembots named Ruth and Esther wrestle in petroleum oil. However, Bender discovers that the referee, a monkey named Abraham, only has enough oil for Ruth and Esther to wrestle for four and a half weeks, when Robanukah is supposed to last for six and a half weeks. When he goes to buy more at a Mombil gas station, Sal's friend informs them that the Earth has ran dry of petroleum oil. Since Ruth and Esther won't wrestle without oil, Bender makes the Professor install a huge drill to the front of the Planet Express ship and drill a tunnel deep into Earth to find a small amount.
Along the way, they are attacked by an albino humping worm, which humps the ship. They manage to escape it and drill even deeper. As the ship continues to fall apart, and the heat rises, the crew gets more and more annoyed at being forced to risk their lives just for Bender. Bender gets mad at their disrespect for the robot tradition, but then part of the ship caves in and crushes all of the crew except for Bender. The ship ends up destroyed, and jammed in the tunnel, more than two hundred kilometers underground. Five hundred million years later, Bender is still in the ship. He has been relaxing in the side of it that wasn't destroyed. Bender begins to miss the others, but then realizes that over the millions of years, the crew turned into petroleum oil. He collects some and drills back to the surface with his head, where all of New New York has turned into desert, except for the Planet Express building. He walks in to give the Fembots his oil, but is surprised to find out that the oil that was supposed to last for four and a half weeks had lasted five hundred million years, and that Ruth and Esther were wrestling all this time. Bender proclaims it a Robanukah miracle.
The crew all visit the Conrad family in their apartment for a Kwanzaa party, with many of the African-American supporting characters, including Barbados Slim and Bubblegum, who gives Dwight a book called The Mathketball Diaries. At the dinner table, Dr. Zoidberg wishes that someone could tell them more about Kwanzaa's ancient traditions. To answer him, Kwanzaa-bot bursts in through the wall like the Kool-Aid Man and explains, in rap, the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Before he leaves, he reminds LaBarbara that the seven candles of Kwanzaa needs to be made of beeswax. LaBarbara makes Hermes and his co-workers to go out in the middle of the night to find some. At Petunia's Self-Serve Bee Farm, one of the few bee farms open on Kwanzaa, Petunia's bee's have been suffering from CCD, due to the bee parasites that have attached themselves to the bees. Since they have no beeswax, they resort to another option: finding wax from the Space Bees that almost killed Fry and Leela last time (4ACV12).
They fly to the bees' Space Hive, equip Bender with a trans-bumblator and cautiously enter. Inside, they discover that the bees there are also suffering from the same parasites. The Space Bee Queen explains to them that the parasites have been making her children fight with each other, and create chaos in the hive. Although they got enough wax, Hermes thinks that the right thing to do would be to help the Queen restore order by explaining the principles of Kwanzaa. They are successful, and the parasites die. However, now that the bees are back to normal, they go back to attacking the Planet Express crew. Kwanzaa-bot reappears to help them, but is then killed by the bees. The crew end up covered in wax and slowly burning to death as the bees use them as candles.
A curtain comes down and Al Gore's head informs the audience that the crew will be back with new episodes next year, with him as Captain Lance Starman. Amy comes in wearing a Gunderson's Nuts costume, for one last piece of advertisement.
In its original American broadcast, the episode was viewed by an estimated 1.302 million households. The rest of the broadcast season had about 1.9 million viewers, but it should also be noted that The Futurama Holiday Spectacular was aired between seasons.
 Additional Info
- This is the first episode to feature the name of the series in its title.
- This is the first non-canon episode to not feature the What-If Machine and therefore, unlike the ones that did feature it, has no canon story components. Basically, it is the only Futurama episode that is entirely non-canon.
- This episode aired the same day as The Simpsons episode "The Fool Monty", which also had a Dick Cheney appearance.
- Dr. Zoidberg doesn't have any lines until the Robanukah segment.
- The entire crew dies in every segment except for the Robanukah one, in which Bender survives.
- This episode was subject to censorship by local syndication.
- The title is possibly a reference to The Star Wars Holiday Special.
- The episode being "brought to you by Gunderson's Unshelled Nuts" parodies many Christmas specials from the 1950s and 1960s, such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas, where the advertisers would prominently announce their sponsorship within the special itself.
- Robot Santa Claus says "God rest ye, merry gentlemen...in peace!" right before attacking Planet Express, referring to "God rest you, merry gentlemen", a traditional English Christmas carol.
- Robot Santa says "sugar-plummy visions will be dancing in your head" referring to a line from A Visit from St. Nicholas ("While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads").
- Leela sings "don our gay apparel", a line from "Deck the Halls".
- Farnsworth tells Fry to "Cram it, Virginia!". This is a reference to the world famous letter to the editor "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus".
- The way the cake house is destroyed during the Xmas Song references famous atomic bomb test footage, most likely part of the Project Cue tests in May 1955.
- Amy drinks a cup of Roboschewitz wine, referring to the famous kosher Manischewitz wine.
- Leela sets the "Bachman Turners" to "Overdrive". This is a reference to the band Bachman Turner Overdrive.
- Dwight calls Kwanzaa-bot "Kool-Aid" after he bursts through the wall of the Conrad apartment. This refers to the Kool-Aid Man, the mascot of the brand who frequently enters a room by bursting through a wall.
- Kwanzaa-bot calls Dwight "Boondocks", likely referring to the comic strip by Aaron McGruder.
- The Conrad apartment is revisited (3ACV12/BBS).
- The giant Space Bees are seen again (4ACV12).
- Dwight can be seen reading a Captain Yesterday comic (4ACV04).
- The way the cake house is destroyed during the Xmas Song is reminiscent to the way the house where Enos Fry dies is destroyed (3ACV19). As mentioned above, this references famous atomic bomb test footage.
- In the shot where pine trees are springing all around Earth, we can see our planet is turning in the wrong direction. (6ACV08)
- Even though it is clear from the first seasonal episode (2ACV04) that Zoidberg is on Santa's good list, he still gets attacked.
- Probably because of Zoidberg snipping the Xmas lights that incapacitate Robot Santa in that episode.
- The Holophonor is seen again (3ACV02/4ACV05/4ACV18/TBWABB/5ACV16/US#X02).
- Mombil is seen again (BG).
- Bender's watch is seen again (6ACV10).
- A Space Bee asks another if he's black with yellow stripes or yellow with black stripes. This echoes a question Smitty asked URL, if the penguins on Pluto were black with white feathers or white with black feathers (3ACV05).
- When Kwanzaa-bot was rapping, the beat played throughout the whole song, even when they stopped playing the instruments.
- Also, During Kwanzaa-bot's rap, he mentions Xmas and Robanukah. Robanukah was apparently a made-up Holiday by Bender.
- He could have convinced Kwanzaa-bot that Robanukah was a real Holiday.
- Last time we heard of Robanukah (1ACV05), it had been only two weeks long and had different traditions when celebrated in the ship.
- Given that Bender made up Robanukah to skip work, the different traditions can be explained as being whatever Bender felt was good at the time. The addition of four and a half weeks can be explained in this manner. Bender added several weeks to Robanukah because he wanted more time to drink and party.
- When the droidel landed on Shin (ש), Bender took all the coins, but, in the actual game, this letter either means to give in two coins or half your coins, and in neither version of it do you give them to another player.
- Given that Bender is making this holiday up out of pure self-interest, we have no reason to believe that he would play with any regard for the actual rules of the game.
- Bender's Robanukah has nothing to do with the actual Hanukkah miracles, but the droidel still has a Nun (נ), Gimel (ג), He (ה), and Shin (ש) on it, which stands for Nes Gadol Hayah Shom. "A big miracle happened there".
- Bender barely had time to make the traditions of the holiday up. He probably just chose the signs of a normal dreidel.
- Fry probably shouldn't have knowledge of the deadly silent Prius, seeing as he was frozen in 2000.
- Priuses in the time interim may have become something else. Or he does actual research.
- Bender has been on for 500 million years without beer, but he has no rust.
- He may of been offline for some of the time.
- In the year 500,003,010, the Planet Express headquarters is still there, but, in "The Late Philip J. Fry", we learn that it has been destroyed sometime in between 3010 and 10,000.
- This is a universe in which the crew died. Maybe, if they hadn't died, it would have led to the building being destroyed, but since they did die, nobody destroyed it.
- Maybe it was because Bender hired Ruth and Esther, who kept it there. In "The Late Philip J. Fry", Bender didn't, because he went to the year 10,000 before he had a chance to hire them.
- This episode is non-canon.
- Fry's hair would not be intact after 500 million years, especially not under pressure.
- Right after the Professor throws the fruitcake at Santa, his right arm doubles.
Leela: What's wrong, Fry? Are you regretting another wasted year?
Fry: I don't know. Something about Xmas just doesn't feel like Christmas.
Farnsworth: [The alarm sounds and the red light flashes.] Santa's coming! Initiate defenses! [The grey armour (3ACV03) covers the Planet Express headquarters, and Bender, Hermes, and Zoidberg block Santa's fireplace entrance.]
Santa: [Flying in his sleigh.] God rest ye, merry gentlemen... in peace. [He starts firing at the building.]
Leela: [Repeated line.] This could be a good thing.
Zoidberg: What's that loud, boring sound you'll hear when I stop talking?
Farnsworth: [He gasps.] It's an albino humping worm!
Fry: Why do they call it that?
Farnsworth: [The ship begins to rock back and forth.] Because it doesn't have any pigment.
- (In alphabetic order)
- Debut: Abraham
- Al Gore
- Debut: Albino humping worm
- Barbados Slim
- Debut: Barking snakes
- Debut: Captain Lance Starman (mentioned in speech only)
- Captain Yesterday
- Debut: Dick Cheney
- Henry Kissinger's head (deleted scene)
- Professor Farnsworth
- H. G. Blob
- Debut: Norwegian seed guard
- Richard Nixon
- Robot Santa Claus
- Debut: Ruth and Esther
- Santa Claus' aides
- Santa Claus' reindeers
- Tinny Tim
- Space Bee Queen
- Transition Announcer
- (In alphabetic order)
- Conrad family home
- Debut: Germ Warfare Repository
- Jamba Juice (mentioned in speech only)
- La Habra (mentioned in speech only)
- Debut: Norway
- Olive Garden (mentioned in speech only)
- Debut: Petunia's Self-Serve Bee Farm
- Planet Express attic
- Planet Express conference room
- Planet Express hangar (mentioned in speech only)
- Planet Express headquarters
- Space hive
- Debut: Svalbard
- Debut: Svalbard Global Seed Vault
- Vassar (mentioned in speech only)
- Virginia (mentioned in speech only)
- Washington, D.C.
- White House