Game of Tones

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Season 7 episode
Broadcast season 10 episode
Game of Tones
No.137
Production number7ACV23
Written byMichael Rowe
Directed byEdmund Fong
Title captionIF UNABLE TO SEE THIS MESSAGE, TURN ON FUTURAMA NOW
First air date14 August, 2013
Broadcast numberS10E10
Title referenceThe TV series Game of Thrones
Special guest(s)Tom Kenny
Seth MacFarlane
Sarah Silverman
Kath Soucie (guest starring)
Frank Welker (guest starring)
Additional
Commentary
(Transcript)
Transcript
Animatic

Pictures

Season 7
  1. The Bots and the Bees
  2. A Farewell to Arms
  3. Decision 3012
  4. The Thief of Baghead
  5. Zapp Dingbat
  6. The Butterjunk Effect
  7. The Six Million Dollar Mon
  8. Fun on a Bun
  9. Free Will Hunting
  10. Near-Death Wish
  11. 31st Century Fox
  12. Viva Mars Vegas
  13. Naturama
  14. Forty Percent Leadbelly
  15. 2-D Blacktop
  16. T.: The Terrestrial
  17. Fry and Leela's Big Fling
  18. The Inhuman Torch
  19. Saturday Morning Fun Pit
  20. Calculon 2.0
  21. Assie Come Home
  22. Leela and the Genestalk
  23. Game of Tones
  24. Murder on the Planet Express
  25. Stench and Stenchibility
  26. Meanwhile
← Season 6

"Game of Tones" is the one hundred and thirty-seventh episode of Futurama, the twenty-third of the seventh production season and the tenth of the tenth broadcast season. It aired on 14 August, 2013, on Comedy Central. It guest-stars Sarah Silverman as Michelle and Seth MacFarlane as Seymour. The crew journeys into Fry's dreams to seek the meaning of a mysterious alien melody.

Plot

Act I: "It's that schwacked-out music from outer space again."

Earth is slowly approached by a mysterious alien ship that repeatedly broadcasts four loud musical tones, which can be heard by everyone on the planet. At first, the music is merely an annoyance, but as the ship draws nearer, the booming tones begin to cause structural damage, and will eventually grow so loud that the vibrations will literally shake the planet apart. No one has any idea what the ship is trying to communicate; only Fry seems to recognize the alien melody, but his memory of hearing it is so vague that he cannot place it.

Act II: "This was the last time I ever saw my family."

Seeing that it is crucial for Fry to recover his memory of the melody, Farnsworth scans Fry's brain, finding that Fry's memory of the music originates from 31 December, 1999, the night he was cryogenically frozen. While the alien ship is still two weeks away from Earth, Farnsworth connects Fry to one of his machines and sedates him, transporting Fry in a kind of dream state to the world of his memories of that day. The crew are able to view Fry's experience on a TV monitor, and even communicate with Fry with microphones. After exploring his neighborhood and retracing his steps for a very short time, he accidentally wakes up, only to find that he has been asleep for almost two weeks. The alien ship is now so close that major earthquakes occur every time the tones are played.

After complaining that he doesn't want to go back, remembering what a bad day it had been for him, mentioning in particular "hanging out with my crazy family", Fry returns to the dream state. As he arrives at the family home, he laments, "There's not one thing about this place that I missed." Just then Seymour runs up to greet Fry. As Fry muses on his feelings for Seymour, he thinks about his family, and realizes that perhaps he does miss them after all. In spite of Farnsworth's protests, Fry re-engages with his family, savoring the experience. He realizes that he needs closure, especially with his mother, but his fellow crewmembers begin to arrive in his dream, interrupting. Eventually they drag him out of the house, insisting that he continue his mission. Making a final effort to escape them, he runs back inside, but his people are gone; a quirk of this dream state has eliminated them.

Bitter and defeated, Fry leads the crew through the rest of his day, even up to his last two minutes at Applied Cryogenics, still with no satisfaction. Fry takes his place in front of the cryogenic tube, leaning back in his chair as the countdown to the New Year begins. In the final seconds as he falls back into the tube, he at last hears the four notes, followed by two additional, higher-pitched notes that he had not recalled until now. Armed with this new information, Nixon leads the crew to a landing facility built to receive the alien craft. When it arrives and blasts out the four notes, Fry uses a keyboard to respond with the final two. The ship lands, and from it emerges Digby, Nibbler's personal chauffer.

Digby explains that on 31 December, 1999, he had conducted Nibbler to Earth on his mission to ensure that Fry entered the cryo-tube. Accompanying Nibbler, Digby used a key fob, coincidentally at the very instant that Fry fell in, to remotely lock the spaceship. The fob, after all, was the source of the musical tones, the two additional notes being the acknowledgement from the ship. Mission accomplished, Digby and Nibbler became severely drunk at a local pub. Heading home, having forgotten where they had parked their ship, a drunken Digby dropped the fob, with keys attached, down a storm drain. Forced to take a cab back to their base on Vergon 6, Digby had later retrieved a spare set of keys, and has been traveling from one planet to another, broadcasting the security signal in an attempt to locate the "company car". Fry leads them to the roof of the Applied Cryogenics building, where the Nibblonian ship still rests, ransacked, with a dead battery. With Bender's help, Digby flies away. Nibbler thanks Fry, vowing to somehow repay him. Fry thinks of his mother and laments that they cannot give him what he really wants.

Act III "Mom, there's so much I need to say."

That night, while asleep, Fry has a dream about his mother, and once more expresses his desire to speak with her. When a television sportscaster announces the results of the 2000 Rose Bowl, Fry is confused; since that game took place after he was frozen, it should be impossible for him to know the results. Nibbler appears, and reveals that this is not actually Fry's dream; it is one of his mother's, and is the gift that Nibbler spoke of. Fry asks if it is really her, and she replies that it is, telling him that she has dreamed of him often since his disappearance. When she asks him what he would like to talk about, he wordlessly embraces her with tears in his eyes. Back in the 21st century, Fry's mother dreams of her son with a smile on her face.

Production

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As late as 8 January 2013,[1] the episode's title was revealed.[2]

On 5 February, Vulture.com released a preview clip for the tenth broadcast season,[3] which contained footage from the episode.

On 19 June, it was revealed that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane would voice Seymour in the episode.[4]

By 9 July, part of the animatic for the episode had been released online.[5][6]

In the animatic, the montage of Fry spending time with his family was longer, and the song "1999" played over it.

By 8 August, Comedy Central had released a two-minute preview clip featuring the crew trying to discover the source of the melody.[7]

Image gallery

Reception

By 5 December, the episode had been nominated for the 2014 Writers Guild of America Awards.[11]

Additional information

Trivia

Allusions

Click here to see cultural mentions made in this episode.
  • The episode's title is a reference to the TV series Game of Thrones.
  • Shazam is a reference to the music-identification service of the same name.
  • Seymour sitting on the couch along with the rest of the Fry family and holding a martini is a reference to Family Guy's Brian Griffin, who is also voiced by Seth MacFarlane.
  • The rugby-stadium scene is likely a reference to the classic computer game Robots.
  • There are several references to the 2010 film Inception. From the very act of getting into a dream, to the fact that, if Fry dies in the dream, he wakes up, the time proportion being different (inverted in Futurama) between the real world and the dream, the crew members connected to the dream machine, the shots of the world shaking due to the dream's collapse and the slow motion and music used as Fry is falling into the cryo-tube.
  • The scene where the crew communicates with the alien ship via sound and lights on a billboard is reminiscent of the climax from the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A location similar to Devils Tower is also seen in the background.
  • The final scene is a reference to the ending of the 2001 film A.I. Artificial Intelligence, where the protagonist gets to live one last experience with his mother based on memories.

Continuity

Goofs

  • Fry's alarm clock reads "09:01" thirty seconds after turning to nine o'clock.
    • This may be due to the fact that the clock is part of a dream.
  • The design of the radio-cranial dream injector in the second act is different from the design of the radio-cranial dream injector in the first and third acts. The animatic version of the design, however, is the same.
  • Fry is saddened to relive the last time that he ever saw his family, but in "Space Pilot 3000", he seems thrilled at the notion all the people he ever knew were dead.
  • When Fry sees his mother in the kitchen, she is watching TV, but, when he walks up to the counter, the TV is not on.
  • Fry's mother said she thinks of him constantly after he disappeared, but Fry's duplicate comes back and lives in the past for a decade. Fry's duplicate is visibly older before freezing himself, but Fry's mom is still young during the end scene indicating that the time period should be somewhere when Fry's duplicate comes back.

Quotes

The extras menu for Volume 8, featuring Bender and Fry at Fry's house.

    Hermes: But what are those aliens tryin' to ask us? What do the tones mean?
    Professor Farnsworth: Isn't it obvious?
    Hermes: Uh... No.
    Professor Farnsworth: Drat! I was hoping it was.

    Fry: Can you guys hear the professor too?
    Fry's father: Yup.
    Fry: Does that seem strange to you?
    Fry's mother: Well, no. Not in a dream. Lotsa weird stuff could happen.
    Seymour: Philip. Have you lost weight?

    Leela: Sorry to disturb you all, but Fry needs to get going.
    Fry's mother: I was just telling him that, Leela.
    Fry: Mom? You know Leela?
    Fry's mother: Nope.

    Fry: Michelle. Baby. Where're you goin'?
    Michelle: It's not working out, Fry. [as her cab drives away] I put your stuff out on the sidewalk!!
    Leela: Hey, you hussy! You can't dump Fry! That's my job!

    Fry: The last thing I did was blow my noisemaker sarcastically, to underscore my deep disappointment with life.

Appearances

(In alphabetic order)

Characters

Places

Miscellaneous

References

  1. ^ Eric Rogers (08 January 2012). EricRogersLA. (Twitter.) Retrieved on 17 January 2012.
  2. ^ FoxFast: Futurama. (FoxFast.com.) Retrieved on 17 January 2013.
  3. ^ Jesse David Fox (05 February 2013). Watch a Preview of Futurama’s Seventh Season. (Vulture.com.) Retrieved on 23 June 2013.
  4. ^ a b Dan Snierson (19 June 2013). "'Futurama': Seth MacFarlane to play.... -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 19 June 2013.
  5. ^ "DannyJC13" (09 July 2013). Futurama: Saturday Morning Fun Pit animatic. (PEEL.) Retrieved on 31 December 2013.
  6. ^ Animatic video. Retrieved on 16 August 2013.
  7. ^ I Too Was on Earth That Day - Video Clip. (Comedy Central.) Retrieved on 08 August 2013.
  8. ^ Countdown to Futurama: Fry Licking Seymour. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 02 June 2013. Retrieved on 02 June 2013.
  9. ^ Countdown to Futurama: Nibblonian Ship. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 03 June 2013. Retrieved on 07 August 2013.
  10. ^ Countdown to Futurama: Nibbler and Digby. (Comedy Central's Tumblr page.) 04 June 2013. Retrieved on 07 August 2013.
  11. ^ Michael Rowe (05 December 2013). Mike Rowe. (Facebook.) Retrieved on 11 December 2013.
  12. ^ Taryn Ryder (20 March 2013). Seth MacFarlane and ‘Game of Thrones’ Star Emilia Clarke Break Up. (Omg.yahoo.com.) Retrieved on 19 June 2013.