Time Keeps on Slippin'

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Season 3 episode
Time Keeps on Slippin'
Time keeps on slipping.png
Production number3ACV14
Written byKen Keeler
Directed byChris Loudon
Title captionFor proper viewing, take red pill now
Title caption referenceThe Matrix
First air date6 May, 2001
Broadcast numberS03E14
Title referenceLyric in Fly Like an Eagle by The Steve Miller Band
Opening cartoonThe Clown's Little Brother (1920)


Season 3
  1. Amazon Women in the Mood
  2. Parasites Lost
  3. A Tale of Two Santas
  4. The Luck of the Fryrish
  5. The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz
  6. Bendless Love
  7. The Day the Earth Stood Stupid
  8. That's Lobstertainment!
  9. The Cyber House Rules
  10. Where the Buggalo Roam
  11. Insane in the Mainframe
  12. The Route of All Evil
  13. Bendin' in the Wind
  14. Time Keeps on Slippin'
  15. I Dated a Robot
  16. A Leela of Her Own
  17. A Pharaoh to Remember
  18. Anthology of Interest II
  19. Roswell that Ends Well
  20. Godfellas
  21. Future Stock
  22. The 30% Iron Chef
← Season 2Season 4 →

"Time Keeps on Slippin'" is the forty-sixth episode of Futurama, the fourteenth of the third production season and the fourteenth of the third broadcast season. It aired on 6 May, 2001, on Fox. After collecting chronitons in an attempt to beat the Globetrotters in a basketball game, Farnsworth inadvertently causes time to start skipping forward randomly. Meanwhile, Fry tries to win Leela's affection, and during a time skip he manages to do so, while Bender tries to become a member of the Globetrotters.

The Story

Act I: "Your face can take a lot of punishment. That's good to know."

While the staff of Planet Express are visiting Central Park Lake, a spaceship lands and the Globetrotters emerge and challenge Earth to a game of basketball simply to embarrass them if they lose. Professor Farnsworth offers to play them and plans to beat them with a team of mutant atomic supermen, however they are currently only babies. To speed up the growth, Farnsworth sends the crew to collect chronitons. While collecting the chronitons, Fry tries but fails to impress Leela. Professor gives the supermen the chronitons and they grow into adults; mutations include a man with a cannon in his chest and a giant spider. The basketball game starts and is commentated by Marv Albert's head. The supermen are winning 48-42.

Act II: "Enough about your promiscuous mother, Hermes!"

While playing, however, a strange flash occurs, causing everyone to reappear in a different position. Another flash happens, and Professor times the game out; he determines that time is lurching forward randomly, due to interference from the Chronotons. Time and space are ripping apart. In addition, Aracneon is killed and Fry offers to play to show Leela his skills. However, in two minutes he allows the Globetrotters to win 200 points, causing Earth to lose the game. The leader of the Globetrotters, Ethan 'Bubblegum' Tate offers to help find out what is happening with time and space. The Professor concludes that by Thursday it will be the end of existence.

Act III: "Hello, lawsuit."

Time continues to skip forward and the Professor concludes that everyone acts normally during a time skip, but they have no memory of it. Bender expresses his love of the Globetrotters and his desire to be one. Fry shows Leela to a special room that will stop time skips; in reality, it is just a ploy for them to have sex, annoying Leela. She complains to Zoidberg that Fry is sweet but very immature. Through the Smell-O-Scope, Farnsworth finds out that time is leaking, causing time skips on Earth. Bubblegum thinks that moving a cluster of stars to a certain area will cause the time skips to move to an empty part of the universe. Using all of Earth's money, a gravity-pump is built to move the stars. After Leela successfully moves the stars, Bender shows Bubblegum his homemade Globetrotter uniform and Fry again tries to impress Leela. While Leela once again starts to reject Fry, saying she will never fall for him, a time skip occurs and Fry and Leela have just gotten married.

Act IV: "I deserve free money!"

The time skips carry on and Leela, thinking that Fry tricked her into marriage, divorces him. The others try to console him. He tries to figure out how he managed to woo Leela. Farnsworth realises that Bubblegum's algebra was incorrect. The rest of the Globetrotters decide to cause an implosion in the Chronoton nebula to create a black hole. Farnsworth provides one of his doomsday devices for that to work. Bubblegum tells Bender he isn't 'funky' enough to be a Globetrotter, upsetting him. Fry apologizes to Leela about the possibility that he did trick her in marrying him, and begins to think that he will never find out how he and Leela married. However, he is taken aback when he finds out he really did win her heart by spelling "I Love You Leela" with the stars themselves; unfortunately, they are sucked into the black hole before he can show Leela. Fry asks Leela if she saw the message before it was destroyed. Leela has no idea what Fry is talking about and leaves the room. Fry gloomily stares out into space while Bender whistles a slow version of "Sweet Georgia Brown."


This episode was named #10 on IGN's list of top 25 Futurama episodes and #5 on io9's list of top 10 Futurama episodes.

Additional Info


Promo pic of this episode
The second promo pic of this episode
  • The name of the episode is a reference to Steve Miller's song "Fly Like an Eagle".
  • It is revealed that Zoidberg's birthday is the day after Amy's.
  • The background music played when the Globetrotter ship lands is based on the music from A Clockwork Orange.
  • Professor Farnsworth has mentioned Atomic Monsters before, but the only other time we see any is at the end of "Mother's Day".
  • The cheque for All of Earth's Money has question marks for the date.
  • The nebula where Fry, Leela, and Bender go to collect the Chronitons is named the Tempus nebula. Tempus means "time" in Latin.
  • The Globetrotters consist of:
    • Ethan "Bubblegum" Tate
    • "Sweet" Clyde Dixon
    • "Curly" Joe
    • six others
  • The Earth team is:
    • Armo (five arms)
    • Lazar (laser eyes)
    • Thorias (cannon in chest)
    • Grotrian (very tall with super-long arms)
    • Arachneon (half-spider)
    • Philip J. Fry (as a substitute two minutes from the end)
  • While collecting chronitons, Leela is seen causing the rips in the nebula that will provoke the time skip. However, Fry and Bender's actions do not seem to create any disruptions.
  • The same thing that the Planet Express crew is trying to put a stop to helps them to attempt the task quicker. This is the only moment where the time skips actually aid the crew.


    Fry: So, Leela, how about a romantic ride in one of those swan boats? They're kinda dangerous, but I finally mastered them.
    Leela: Those aren't swan boats, they're swans.
    Fry: Oh. That explains these boat eggs. [He holds up some eggs.]

    Hermes: I'm no physicist, but I think I know how to stop the skipping. We'll just-
    [Time skips, and Hermes finds himself playing a steel drumset, while the rest of the crew are doing a conga line butt naked.]
    Hermes: I don't know how this was supposed to work.

    Zoidberg: Don't be so hard on yourself, Fry. You lost the woman of your dreams but you still have Zoidberg. You all still have Zoidberg!

    Leela: Fry, stop. I don't wanna hurt you, but there is absolutely, positively no way that you and I will ever, ever-
    [Time skips.]
    Preacherbot: ...man and wife. You may kiss the bride.

    Nixon: Now, how long will it take to build?
    Tate: It won't be easy, Nixon. A jim-jam this complex might take months or even-
    [Time skips.]
    Farnsworth: Ah, there we are. One gravity pump. Powerful enough to move the stars themselves. Now to begin the arduous task of attaching it to the ship so th-
    [Time skips. The Planet Express ship is taking off with the gravity pump attached.]
    Farnsworth: Off you go, apparently.

    Farnsworth: Doomsday device? Ah, now the ball's in Farnsworth's court!
    [Platform rises from floor containing many doomsday devices.]
    Farnsworth: I suppose I could part with one and still be feared.

    Bubblegum Tate: Sweet Clyde, laugh derisively at him!
    Sweet Clyde: Ha ha! Ha ha! Ah Ha ha ha!

    Leela: Well, let's divide up the china. I guess I'll take the NFC helmets and you can have the AFC helmets.
    Fry: Fine. Break my heart again.


  • The Globetrotter saucer is identical to the one featured in The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • The front cover of the pop singer Wendy's album is a reference to Britney Spears' album ...Baby One More Time
  • The basketball playing aliens, giant monsters, and title are all an allusion to the movie Space Jam which featured Billy West as a main character.
  • Professor Farnsworth throwing a chair on the basketball court is a reference to former Indiana University basketball coach Bob Knight, who famously threw a chair across the court during a game.
  • Farnsworth's reply to the Globetrotters' challenge, "[t]his will not stand," is the same statement President George H.W. Bush made regarding Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.


  • After the time skip during the wedding, when Fry gets a bouquet in his mouth, Grotrian, who is to screen right, is duplicated.
  • In Bender's Big Score, the Globetrotter ship is seen with a red-white-and-blue color scheme, unlike the tan and green seen in this episode.
    • They could have updated their ship or gotten an entirely new one.
  • The time skip between the basketball game and the circus does not follow the rules of the other times skips, because the characters have not behaved normally during the intervening time, but rather have stayed exactly where they were.
    • The Madison Cube Garden could be an isolated spot that skips time, like the Professor mentions later on.
  • The "champagne" which Fry buys Leela is described as "domestic, non-vintage". By international law, Champagne may only be produced in the Champagne region of France. The correct term would be "sparkling wine".
    • There is no such international law. There are French laws, EU regulations, and various bipartite treaties, but nothing that includes the US. It's questionable whether American champagnes can be exported to Europe or elsewhere, but they definitely can be, and are, sold domestically.
  • Leela is shocked that Fry can fly the ship, but he previously flew it in "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz", with her on board.
  • The Planet Express ship flies away from the implosion, even though Fry is still looking out the window.
  • In one shot of the crew and the Globetrotters discussing the situation at the stadium, Sweet Clyde has the colors of Lazar.


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