Dr. John A. Zoidberg
|Dr. John A. Zoidberg|
|Date of birth||August 5|
|Planet of origin||Decapod 10|
|Relatives||See family section|
|First appearance||"The Series Has Landed" (1ACV02)|
|Voiced by||Billy West|
Dr. John A. Zoidberg is a Decapodian employed as staff doctor at Planet Express and an honorary Globetrotter. He has been employed at the company for the past ten years. It is uncertain whether he is technically and legally qualified for this job, for he seems to be a bit hazy on details of human anatomy and frequently mixes up human organs, orifices and genders and can't even tell a human from a robot. It is possible the Professor keeps him on staff simply to avoid liability.
There is evidence that he doesn't even have a medical degree (he claims that he lost it in a volcano), but Zoidberg has never let himself be stopped by this, and it is not known whether he is actually a competent doctor when dealing with his own species. In fact he has occasionally shown extraordinary medical skills, although this was perhaps only by accident. He is desperately poor (while referred to as an employee of Planet Express, there is no evidence that he is actually paid anything at all for this job) and most of his meals come from garbage cans or dumpsters. He seems able to eat and digest almost anything, including clothing (but not pixellated video game sprites), and will do anything for a free meal.
It is likely that the Professor keeps him on staff for the dual purpose of avoiding liability by having a company doctor, and that he doesn't have to pay Zoidberg nearly as much as an actual license physician (hence Zoidberg's poverty).
Dr. Zoidberg was born on Decapod 10 and seems to have visited high school there, apparently Edna was a class mate or at least on the same school. During that time, his face was covered in barnacles, for which he was laughed at. He wanted to become a comedian but was looked down on for it so he developed an interest in medical science, which was looked down on because he gave up on his dream of being a comedian. Eventually, he went to medical school and left his home planet to seek his fortune on Earth, although it is not known whether he studied on Decapod 10 or on Earth. For this, he had to give up his life-long dream of stepping into the footsteps of his uncle Harold Zoid, the famous master comedian of earlier days, and becoming a comedian. He has tried to be a freelance comedian nonetheless, but somehow seems to lack the necessary talent. Zoidberg is sometimes referred to as the Professor's oldest friend, which could mean that he is a lot older than he looks, but also might indicate poor social skills on the Professor's side, which is much more likely, although there have been several hints that he is older than he looks in several episodes.
Zoidberg once saved Fry's life by transplanting his head onto Amy's shoulder when his body was severely damaged in a car crash on Jupiter's moon Europa. On another occasion, he tried to kill Fry in the Decapodian tradition of Claw-Plach. He has served as a military doctor in the conflict with Spheron 1 and defeated the Decapodian oppressors who had occupied Earth in response to Zoidberg being sentenced to death for eating an Earth flag. On one occasion he travelled through time to 1947 Roswell, was captured by the US army, met President Harry Truman (it is unclear which of them was more baffled by the other), and was partially vivisected before being rescued and returned to the future.
Zoidberg seems not to be hugely intelligent, but is rather nice and friendly despite the fact that most of his co-workers look down on him, especially Hermes, who likes to make his life even more miserable. He lives with a continuing delusion that he is well regarded by the rest of the Planet Express crew. Zoidberg is Professor Farnsworth's oldest friend, which suggests that Dr. Zoidberg is much older than he appears. A citizen of Earth, he loves his chosen home planet for the personal freedom it provides. He is also apparently the only intelligent organism on planet earth deemed nice by the Robot Santa Claus. It is unknown why, but it may be because of a glitch in Santa or because of Zoidberg's kind and innocent personality.
- Norm, Sam and Sadie, parents (mentioned in 3ACV08), presumably one is the woman who raised him (seen in 4ACV05), the other two are deceased biological parents. He referred to one of them (his mother) as a saint, which was most likely just an expression.
- Harold Zoid, uncle
- His brother Norman and up to nine other siblings that budded from Zoidberg during the coral stage of his larval stadium. A duplicate Norman dies when he is sucked into the Fountain of Aging, but all other siblings are never mentioned again.
- Zoidfarb, cousin - Zoidberg received an Xmas card from him in Xmas Story
- As the show progresses, Zoidberg's apparent utility becomes less obvious, and the Planet Express staff shun his presence from one instance to another.
- As with all Decapodians, Zoidberg's mannerisms, speech, and personality are representative of dry East Coast humor readily seen in communities of New York such as Bensonhurst and Queens.
- He claims to have lost his medical degree in a volcano.
- In earlier episodes he is animated with teeth, but in later episodes he is drawn without. His mouth frills are prehensile and can move independently, although most of the time they remain loose.
- Zoidberg has a top fin or crest on his head that appears at times of emotional duress, such as "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" and Bender's Big Score. It seems to be linked to his species' equivalent to testosterone, as it appears to be linked to both aggression and arousal, as shown in Bender's Game
- His greatest fantasy is to be a grandmother ("Subjugated yet honored!").
- Hermes from the earliest episodes seems to harbor a bitter hatred toward Zoidberg, never explained or given a rationale. This starts in "Hell Is Other Robots", when Hermes states someone (in fact Fry) has been using a lot of hot water, then blames Zoidberg who exclaims "MEEE?"
- An alternate version of him as a blob-like creature appears in Bender's Game
- In the Halloween 2008 cartoon of Homestar Runner, the Poopsmith is dressed as Zoidberg. Also, if you click him a the end of the toon, the King of Town uses the phrase "Good news, everyone!"
- Apparently likes Barbados Slim(Although he says he likes a lot of people, possibly a catchphrase).
Billy West has often stated that the voice of Zoidberg was inspired by profile actors from Yiddish theater such as Lou Jacobi and George Jessel.
Zoidberg: In my experience boxes are usually empty, sometimes with a little cheese stuck to the top, and one time pepperoni, what a day that was!
Bender: I got a busted ass here, I don't see anyone kissing it!
Zoidberg: Alright, I'm coming.
Zoidberg: Leela's problem is purely medical, soon she will lay her eggs and they will hatch and all will be well.
Zoidberg: Oh, the hypochondriac's back! So what is it this time?
Fry: Well, my lead pipe hurts a little.
Zoidberg: That's normal. Next patient!
Zoidberg: Fry, it's been years since medical school, so remind me. Disembowling of your species: fatal, or non-fatal?
Zoidberg: Friends, help! A guinnea pig tricked me!
- (At inappropriate times) Hello
- Sometimes he will (with a moronic grin) exclaim "What an honor!" ("Roswell that Ends Well").
- Excellent, excellent!
- (Famous person)? I love that guy!
- Woop woop woop woop!? (This sound effect is based on sound effects made by The Three Stooges.)
Also, he is usually shown to be highly unintelligent when it comes to being a doctor, such as claiming Amy the father of Leela's baby, humans having multiple mouths, and Fry being a robot. The closest he has ever been to showing competence in the field of medical science was in "Parasites Lost", but only because he saw it in a commercial.