Talk:The Prisoner of Benda

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Featured.png The Prisoner of Benda appeared on the Infosphere's Main Page as the featured article for Fortnight 10, 2011. This article (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best produced by the Infosphere community. If you can update or improve it, please do.

The theorem

What's the theorem?

The algorithm is presented just after all the swaps are done to bring everyone back. It's shown for a split second as a full on written answer.

A simpler version is also shown in this article, written by Sandra I believe it was (check the history). Aki 15:56, 20 August 2010 (CEST)
Yes, I wrote a simple algorithm not knowing Keeler’s method, I didn’t see the split second proof, it flashed by so fast. An algorithm (“Here’s how to…”) is different from a proof (“It’s proven possible to…”). Someone (not you, Aki, it was some IP) deleted it, saying: “Deleted the previous part about algorithms because it was wrong. As the proof shown and mentioned in the episode, two extra planes are required instead of just one.” That’s insulting. I do use two extras in my algorithm. Your buddy comes in to solve the last closed loop. Sandra 11:01, 22 August 2010 (CEST)
I uploaded a screenshot of the theorem but am too lazy to put it in the article myself. it's not very high res but you can still read it very well if you zoom in a little. here.

lol there's more on this page so far about hte theorem than there is about the plot. haha. Papaburger 17:01, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

I uploaded a bigger one and put it in there. Aki 17:22, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

Also, this. --Buddy 06:01, 1 September 2010 (CEST)

[1] --I'm Scruffy... the Janitor. 06:11, 1 September 2010 (CEST)

Employees of the Years

The earliest Amy is known to have worked at PlanEx is now 2992 (age 13) several years prior to becoming Farnsie's grad student and lost the weight between 2997 and 3000 (unless the 2992 photo was reused despite weight loss). Fat Hermes has been there since at least 2993, so the young Hermes flashback in Lethal Inspection must be prior to this. This means that Bender definitely is older than he thought he was when he said he was four and remembered his birth, with a flashback that did not match and now must be assumed to have at least five years in between these two events. Finally, Scruffy has been there since at least 2995. I feel this whole "Bender's age" issue should be discussed. - Quolnok 16:23, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

I reacted to this as well. We can excuse Amy being there since age 13, but Bender's age is a strange matter. Ofcourse most can be solved with "he lied" or "he thought his first memory was by his birth but he was wrong". Move to the actual article? Aki 16:30, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

Regarding Bender's age: what if the massive personality change effected by his electrocution when he met Fry corrupted his memory?

Interesting if true. Perhaps he wasn't even evil before that. - Quolnok 00:59, 9 September 2010 (CEST)


I transcribed the proof from this episode as best as I could - without the proper TeX plugin, it is kind of sketchy, but what the heck. The proof is sound, by the way; the only thing that lacks is the q.e.d. (quod erat demonstrandum), that Clyde verbally notes after completing the proof. (Goof?) -Kamikaze28 16:38, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

Nice work. The QED is as you say unnecessary since he claims it verbally, but it could easily have been there as well - not a goof in my opinion. I'll get the screenshot asap and put it in there. Aki 16:42, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

Hi, I agree the proof is sound (although I believe it is possible to write the proof more simply). I made a YouTube video in response to the mathematics in this episode, I won't add it to the main page myself but I would like you to if you think it is worthy [Update: It was removed, here's a replacement that's not as good ] Also, I believe the main page claims 13 swaps is the minimum swaps it would take. I have found a way to do it in 9 moves (in this particular case only) - Jim.


Red Dwarf

I can't be alone in noticing that some of the themes of swapping bodies (because one or the other is unhappy about their diet, and/or then using another body to eat excessively, amongst others) also appear prominently in episode 4 of Red Dwarf season III. Worth mentioning in the allusions section or just complete and utter coincidence?

I know Red Dwarf has achieved cult sci-fi sitcom status here in the UK, but has Futurama ever made reference to it? Would it likely start now? --Zedderick 19:48, 20 August 2010 (CEST)

Isn't the whole... protagonist getting frozen in time, waking up in the future with a robot, a mutant and an all-knowing-but-now-so-old-and-senile being sort of... taken straight from Red Dwarf? --That Sullen Piñata 12:24, 23 August 2010 (CEST)
Since Cohen or Groening never mentions Red Dwarf in interviews, commentaries and other points of interests where they might discuss the origin of Futurama, I am going with 'no' and that it was purely coincidental.
As for the plot being a reference, Stargate also did this plot. --Sviptalk 12:32, 23 August 2010 (CEST)
I quite agree with Piñata. The more I watch Futurama the more I feel there are huge references to "Red Dwarf". Yet, I don't know every episode of "Red Dwarf"...Yach 12:56, 23 August 2010 (CEST)
I mentioned this a long damn time ago. Protagonist frozen in time. Best friend is a robot. Poor hygiene. Artificially intelligent household appliances ("You want some toast?"). The list goes on. I'm not sure they're deliberate references, but the coincidences sure pile up, don't they? And I have the entirety of Red Dwarf on DVD as well, so if anyone needs screenshots for evidence, I've got 'em. And I'm just a silly American. But I loves me some Red Dwarf. --Buddy 06:06, 1 September 2010 (CEST)
I have never seen Red Dwarf, so I might not be relevant to the discussion, but it sounds like it deserves a mention. Maybe simply "The idea of mind-switching is also used in Stargate and Red Dwarf" or something. Aki 22:47, 1 September 2010 (CEST)
More like; "Mind/body swapping is a common occurrence in science fiction, appearing in at least half of all sci-fi universes at some point". - Quolnok 07:34, 4 October 2010 (CEST)

The Scary Door Twilight Zone

“When Amy (in the Professor's body) is eating ribs, she says ‘I have died’ in Cantonese.” Is this is a reference to the (80s) Twilight Zone story “The Misfortune Cookie” (YouTube), at the end of which [spoiler alert!] the evil protagonist, after eating a table-full of Chinese food without satisfying his unbearable hunger, receives a fortune cookie bearing the news “You are dead”? Perhaps I’m reaching, but it sprang to my mind instantly upon reading the translation.

I'm a giant fan of Twilight Zone (the original, I've never actually seen the remakes (sorry!)), but I have not seen that one, and from what it sounds like it's pure coincidence. Aki 22:47, 1 September 2010 (CEST)

The Mischief of King Balerion

Did this episode remind anyone else of this story from the Cyberiad, by Stanislaw Lem? It concerns an impish ruler who gets Klapaucius to construct a set of horns which he can use to swap minds with someone by butting them (with hilarious consequences). I know DXC is a Lem fan since he mentions another of his stories in the commentary to Insane in the Mainframe so it seems a possible source of inspiration.

Short Circuit

The 'Hello Baby' quote from bender on the boat is clearly a reference to Short Circuit. It is done in the same old school analog powering-up-tape-player sort of way that it was in that movie. see:

Bubblegum's voice

Maybe the sound system of my computer broke, but I felt Bubblegum Tate's voice really sounded different as it used to. Am I the only one to have felt this? Yach 16:51, 25 August 2010 (CEST)

I heard Sweet Clyde talk more than Bubblegum for once, and it sorta threw me. Perhaps that was the issue? --Buddy 06:08, 1 September 2010 (CEST)
Maybe. In the audio commentaries of Bender's Big Score, Phil Lamarr said that he had forgotten how to do Bubblegum's voice... Did he forget once more?Yach 17:10, 1 September 2010 (CEST)

Bender's Medal Allusion

Doesn't the symbol on the medal Emperor Nikolai gives Bender at the end, look like the Galactic Empire's symbol?