Commentary:The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings

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Commentary for
The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings
The Devils Hands are Idle Playthings.jpg
Production number4ACV18
Recorded date20 February, 2003
On DVDSeason 4
Disc 4
Matt Groening
David X. Cohen
Executive Producer
Ken Keeler
Bret Haaland
Billy West
Actor (Fry, misc.)
Maurice LaMarche
Actor (Calculon, misc.)
Dan Castellaneta
Actor (Robot Devil)

Topics of Discussion

  • Fry's Holophonor recital is like Ken's when he was younger.
  • The Holophonor makes its second appearance (3ACV02).
  • The Crew thought there was a 50/50 chance that this episode would be the last one when they were writing it.
  • The Devil's voice is based on a very bad impression of actor Hans Conried by Dan Castellaneta.
  • All the Robots on the Devil's Wheel of Robots appear in the show.
    • It was easier than they expected to find names to go on the wheel -- there were hundreds available.
  • The crew tried to fit most of the characters into the last episode.
  • The music on Fry's music advert is a reference to musician John Williams.
  • They don't know what the public thinks of Hedonismbot as the episode hadn't been aired yet.
  • Its actually hard for the actors to scream or yell in their characters' voices. The tendency is to fall back to their own voice.
  • Lots of secondary characters appear in the background in this episode.
  • They think it's funny that they still make fun of Nixon in the last episode.
  • Katey Sagal had a bad throat whilst recording and not all of her lines were recorded on the same day, then they couldn't record the lines she missed as Katey was working on 8 Simple Rules. This episode was thus delayed for many months, but it didn't matter, as the air date had slipped so badly anyway.
  • Most voice actors seem to have great singing voices.
    • Maurice points out though that when he sang his only singing part as Kif in 3ACV01 he couldn't get notes right for hours. He will sing again as Calculon at the Donbot's daughter's wedding 6ACV14.
  • Real opera singers were used for Warden Vogel, baby Leela, the other orphans, the fake Robot Devil, and fake Bender. Ken Keeler recalled trying to teach one singer the tune, "and he just looked at me with amazement, and insisted it couldn't be done".
    • Our regular and guest cast members (Dan Castellaneta, Billy West, Katey Segal, John DiMaggio, Phil Lamarr, and Lauren Tom) sang the other parts, both on stage and in the audience.
  • Dr. Zoidberg has money in this episode.
  • It's impressive that the music at the end is bad yet moving.
    • The graphics in the last scene were purposely bad too (Fry's holophonor playing), reflecting the crummy video game graphics (Monkey Fracas, jr.) in the opening shot of the pilot.

Highlights / Quotes

  • David X. Cohen: Look, it's Dan Castellaneta as the Robot Devil.
  • David X. Cohen: Every robot on this wheel appeared in the show and we made sure they weren't robots like Cleaning Bot that appeared for a second.
  • Billy West: I love Ken's operas.
  • Bret Haaland: Yes that's a real song from ERM.
  • David X. Cohen: That grand singing of the word Dork always makes me laugh.
  • Matt Greoning: That joke's great.
  • Bret Haaland: Well it said he disappeared but I thought a robot can't do magic.
  • Billy West: (As Zoidberg) I wanted to go out good.


  • After being deafened by Bender, Leela received Calculon's ears (via the Robot Devil) at Intermission. They enabled her to hear "like a safecracker", but by the end of the concert, they had disappeared and her hearing was restored. Calculon did not appear further, so we can't tell if he got his ears back.