A Leela of Her Own
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|Season 3 episode|
Broadcast season 4 episode
|A Leela of Her Own|
|Written by||Patric M. Verrone|
|Directed by||Swinton O. Scott III|
|Title caption||Scratch here to reveal prize|
|First air date||7 April, 2002|
|Title reference||The film A League of Their Own|
|Opening cartoon||The Goal Rush|
|Special guest(s)||Hank Aaron|
"A Leela of Her Own" is the forty-eighth episode of Futurama, the sixteenth of the third production season and the tenth of the fourth broadcast season. It aired on 7 April, 2002, on Fox. It guest-stars Hank Aaron and Bob Uecker as themselves in jars. Leela becomes the first female ever to play major league blernsball, despite being terrible at it, and vows to not become the worst player of all time.
Act I: "We got guano. Very fresh"
After spending all morning waiting to see if the wall of a strip club will fall again after falling twice before, Fry happens upon a pizza parlor opening across the street from Planet Express owned by Cygnoids, cockroach aliens who act like Italian/Eastern European immigrants. The crew decide to go and welcome their new Cygnoid neighbors, even though Professor Farnsworth is prejudiced against Cygnoids. The pizzas turn out to be disgusting, so Fry decides to help them out as soon as he stops hallucinating and blasting puke. He explains how to act like Earthicans; giving them advice on the pizza parlor and teaching them about blernsball. The Planet Express crew and their families play a game against the Cygnoid's pizzeria. Leela proves to be a terrible pitcher, hitting the batters in the head each time. Her bad playing draws a crowd and she is recruited for the Mets by Abner Doubledeal (the same one who recruited Bender into the Ultimate Robot Fighting League as seen on "Raging Bender").
Act II: "Now pitching for the Mets, Turanga Leela"
Leela's pitching "skills" prove popular with Mets fans. Leela garners many fans and some advertising appearances, thanks to her agent, Bender. During a signing at Family Bros. Pizza, Jackie Anderson, an NNYU blernsballer tells Leela off for ruining the chances for competent women players. Distraught, Leela vows to become the best blernsball player ever. However after a quick review of Leela's statistics Hermes informs her that is impossible and she is likely to become the worst player ever, and Leela vows not to let that happen. To prevent this from happening, the crew visit the current worst player, Hank Aaron XXIV, at the Blernsball Hall of Fame. After several failed attempts, Aaron manages to teach Leela not to hit batters.
Act III: "Ancient Cygnoid secret"
The Cygnoids open a franchise at Fenway Park, and then sell it to Fishy Joe. Leela convinces the coach to let her play after having trained with a Hank Aaron. Leela's unconventional pitching manages to strike out two players before Jackie comes in to bat on the third strike. To the shock of the crowd, Leela manages to get two strikes before Jackie hits the ball hard enough to break the string and send the ball into the "win the game" hole, scoring a grand slam blern. Leela is now officially the worst player ever, and retires, having inspired women to prove they aren't all terrible.
There are several fans of Futurama who have a low opinion of this episode. Several complaints of this episode involve the more serious nature of the episode, the jokes that the episode had falling flat, and the less positive ending of the episode compared to others in the series. This episode's ranking on gotfuturama.com is currently 50%, and ranked, for a long time, as the lowest rated Futurama episode. (There are now several episodes rated lower, including "Yo Leela Leela" at 45%, and "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" at 44%.)
- This episode comes closest to explaining blernsball, the writers intend to make the sport confusing and so they threw in a few oddities at the end of the episode.
- Hank Aaron was reluctant to be in this episode, but agreed when he found out Bob Uecker had agreed.
- Jackie Anderson's name and uniform number (24) is a reference to Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier by being the first black player in Major League Baseball since segregation began in the late 19th century. Anderson is technically not the first female player, thanks to Leela; Robinson was technically not the first black player, because of a handful of pre-segregation players (most notably Moses Fleetwood Walker and his brother Welby Walker).
- One of the players who broke the various color barriers was a half-black and half-white alien. This is a reference to the Cheron natives from Star Trek.
- The Clown who played for the Mets is a reference to Max Patkin who was a former player dubbed the clown prince of baseball.
- Leela's number 7/8 is a play on the number 1/8 which was the jersey number for midget Eddie Gaedel who played 1 game for the St. Louis Browns. Patkin was coaching at 1st base when Gaedel was walked in his only at bat.
- The female Cygnoid's line about moving to Earth so she and her husband can raise fat, spoiled Earth kids and hang underwear from Earthican clotheslines originally included a line about bringing Earth weapons back to their home country to the terrorists of their planet. Because the episode aired after the 9/11 attacks in America, the "sending weapons back to [our] home country to the terrorists," was changed to "live Earthican dream."
- The "ancient Cygnoid secret" exchange is lifted from a famous early 70s commercial for Calgon Water Softener. It involved the same back and forth, between the owners of a Chinese laundry, with Calgon being the "ancient Chinese secret."
- Bob Uecker says "I've never seen anything this bizarre, and I've seen Mr. Belvedere naked! Woo!" Bob Uecker was an actor in a show called Mr. Belvedere.
Leela: I didn't hit the batter! For once I was pitching and not just belly-itching!
Aaron Jr.: Oh, you got that too? I think there's a rash goin' around.
Fry: Wow! I must say, I'm impressed. You look just like a ball player. Can I pat you on the butt?
Leela: Fry, I'm a professional athlete! So go ahead.
Fry: Oh! Now I'm too nervous.
Cygnoid: Please, lady, I want to live. Can I use bat to protect head?
[Leela beans him.]
Bender: Apparently not.
Bob Uecker: Mulligan drives the ball, it's going, going and caught by the shortstop. Man I haven't seen play this bad since the days of Bob Uecker! This is Bob Uecker saying thanks for watching!
Bob Uecker: Welcome to Fenway Park, home of the Boston Poindexters, where the Mets close out a season that'll rank among Mankind's most awful crimes.
Fry: Hey! You opened a franchise!
Blek's wife: Yes. Our biggest seller is Leela's Bean Pizza. Six kinds of beans, plus several things that look like beans.
Fishy Joe: [He eats a slice.] Beans, huh? Mmm. This is great! How do you make the crust so fizzy?
Blek: Ah-ah-ah! Ancient Cygnoid secret!
Blek's wife: My husband, some hotshot! Here's his ancient Cygnoid secret! [She holds up a jar.] Live hornets! We smush them right into dough!
Fishy Joe: I don't care if there's horse manure in it!
Blek: That's a-good!
Fishy Joe: I wanna buy this franchise. How does $100,000 sound?
Blek: Forget it! We come to Earth to make pizza, not money.
Blek's wife: No, Blek! Other way around!
Blek: Oh, right. Offer accepted!
- Hank Aaron XXIV is shown to have played for the Atlanta Braves but, as we learned in "The Deep South", Atlanta has been submerged in the Atlantic Ocean for quite some time. Unless his lifespan is somehow incredibly longer than everyone else's, he would have to be either a mermaid or a head in a jar.
- This was something the production staff were aware of and the Atlanta Braves logo is updated from the 20th century design, which used a tomahawk, to feature a trident.
- Additionally, in "The Deep South", Zoidberg says about the underwater Atlanta: "sure, they've got the Braves, but it's a third-rate symphony," perhaps showing that the Braves still exist as an Atlanta team.
- In the episode "Anthology of Interest I" Shea Stadium is shown to be a complete bowl, but in this episode, it is shown to be more like the actual Shea Stadium, and is open in the outfield.
- All the whole numbers couldn't have been retired since they are infinite.
- It may be that the whole numbers used were only a specific subset, say from 1 to 99.
- During the ending scene between Leela and Jackie Anderson, Leela's eyeliner disappears and reappears between shots.
- Hermes makes a reference to Leela having not recorded an out in 77 innings. However, if no outs were recorded, then Leela would not be credited with any innings pitched, at least if the rules of blernsball are similar to those of baseball.
- Hank Aaron XXIV drinks from Wade Boggs' head jar but contrary to "All the Presidents' Heads", Hank is not transported through time due to the crystalline opal within the jar fluid. However, Wade Boggs' jar might use something else to maintain the head.
- Fry tells Blek and his wife that they need 9 players (the two of them and the seven workers who climb out of the oven) however the Planet Express crew has 10 players at the game (Fry, Leela, Bender, Amy, Zoidberg, Hermes, Cubert, Scruffy, LaBarbara and Dwight)
- This episode runs with the concept that Leela has poor depth perception, due to only having one eye, but this concept is flawed in multiple ways. Firstly, this concept has never been used in the series before, nor is it used since. Secondly, Leela has lived with one eye her entire life, having been born as such. And finally, Leela's eye is in the center of her face, while a depth perception problem would likely only occur if it was to one side.
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