Difference between revisions of "The Prisoner of Benda"

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=== Quotes ===
=== Quotes ===
{{cleanup}} <!-- How is that possible?  I think that the real problem, if anything, would be that the quotes don't fit the transcript, which, I checked, and they do.  It's the transcript that has a problem if there are errors in grammar.

Revision as of 22:09, 30 April 2012

Season 6 episode
Broadcast season 7 episode
The Prisoner of Benda
Fry-Zoidberg and Leela-Prof.png
Fry and Leela in Zoidberg's and Farnsworth's bodies.
Production number6ACV10
Written byKen Keeler
Directed byStephen Sandoval
Title captionWhat happens in Cygnus X-1 Stays in Cygnus X-1
First air date19 August, 2010
Broadcast numberS07E10
Title referenceThe Prisoner of Zenda
Nomination(s)Writers Guild of America Award
Animation, 2010, Ken Keeler (won)


Season 6
  1. Rebirth
  2. In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela
  3. Attack of the Killer App
  4. Proposition Infinity
  5. The Duh-Vinci Code
  6. Lethal Inspection
  7. The Late Philip J. Fry
  8. That Darn Katz!
  9. A Clockwork Origin
  10. The Prisoner of Benda
  11. Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences
  12. The Mutants Are Revolting
  13. The Futurama Holiday Spectacular
  14. The Silence of the Clamps
  15. Möbius Dick
  16. Law and Oracle
  17. Benderama
  18. The Tip of the Zoidberg
  19. Ghost in the Machines
  20. Neutopia
  21. Yo Leela Leela
  22. Fry Am the Egg Man
  23. All the Presidents' Heads
  24. Cold Warriors
  25. Overclockwise
  26. Reincarnation
← Season 5Season 7 →

"The Prisoner of Benda" is the ninety-eighth episode of Futurama, the tenth of the sixth production season and the seventh broadcast season. The Professor and Amy are cleaning up a mind-switching machine that switches the crew members' minds, but everything goes haywire and they can't change back.

The story

Act I: "We're just the people this Mind-Switcher was made for by us!"

The Professor and Amy decide to try out The Mind-Switcher.

Bender is watching the news, and finds out that Emperor Nikolai of the Robo-Hungarian Empire is visiting New New York in his yacht, the RMS Overkill. He plans on stealing the Emperor's crown, but he cannot get his co-workers to help him by doing specific jobs (Amy seducing the guards, Zoidberg cutting the alarm wire, and Fry taking the fall). Meanwhile, Amy and the Professor put the finishing touches on the Mind-Switcher. The Professor reveals that he had always wanted to live life to the extreme while he was young, and Amy reveals that she still has that demonic food lust from way back, despite having obtained an elegant figure since 2997. They decide to switch minds, so that the Professor could use Amy's young body to do extreme sports, and Amy could eat all she wants in the Professor's old body, since he was so thin. However, when they try to switch back into their normal bodies, they find out that the Mind-Switcher only works once with the same pair of people. They try to solve this problem by putting Farnsworth's mind in Bender's body, and Bender's mind in Amy's body. However, the Professor realizes that it wouldn't work, and Bender runs off with Amy's body to pull of the heist. Amy finds out that it is difficult to eat with an elderly digestive system, and she convinces Leela to switch bodies with her, so that Leela could get the Professor's senior discount at the movies. Fry is disgusted that Leela is in the Professor, and she claims that Fry is shallow, and had only loved her for her body. Meanwhile, Bender in Amy's body swims to Nikolai's yacht, where he ties up his guard and cousin Basil. However, he is then caught by Nikolai.

Act II: "A man could give her a toke of her own medicine."

Bender in Amy's body proves that he is a Bending robot to Nikolai and Basil. Nikolai reveals to Bender that he had always wanted to live the life of a normal person, without all the fame and fortune of an Emperor. Bender decides to use this to his advantage, by telling him that he could put his mind into his real Bending Unit body, and in exchange, Bender will live the life of an Emperor in Nikolai's body. The two of them go back to Planet Express where Bender finds out that the Professor, who was in Bender's body, ran off to join Circus Roboticus as a daredevil named "Nonchalanto". Needing a robot body for the Emperor to reside in, Bender switches minds with Wash Bucket, and then switches minds with Emperor Nikolai, so that Nikolai had Wash Bucket's body, and Bender had Nikolai's body. Meanwhile, Fry decides to get revenge on Leela by putting himself in a hideous body and prove that she is shallow too. He switches minds with Zoidberg so that now Fry has Zoidberg's body and Zoidberg has Fry's body. Nikolai in Wash Bucket's body thinks that Zoidberg in Fry's body is his human friend as Bender said, and Zoidberg pretends to be Fry so that he could have a companion. Fry in Zoidberg's body confronts Leela in the Professor's body. In order to prove that neither of them are shallow, they both decide to go on a date at Elzar's Fine Cuisine. Leela finds out that her body is getting ruined by Amy, who is making it obese by eating butter. Hermes Conrad agrees to switch bodies with her, so that Hermes would be in Leela's body. Meanwhile, Bender is enjoying life as an Emperor, but is shocked when Nikolai's fiancée Princess Flavia and Basil pull out guns and swords to assassinate him.

Act III: "This is for Big Bertha."

The solution to the problems.

Fry in Zoidberg, and Leela in the Professor go for a meal at Elzar's, both trying to repulse the other as much as possible with their new bodies. They both try to prove to each other that they are not shallow by making out on the table at the restaurant, as Amy in Hermes' body, and many others, watch. Meanwhile, Fry's real body, occupied by Zoidberg, takes Nikolai in Wash Bucket's body to Fry and Bender's apartment, despite the fact that neither of them had ever been there. Zoidberg pulls out a stove which creates a gas leak. Nikolai asks Zoidberg to light his cigar and they blow up the apartment. As this is happening, Bender in Nikolai's body manages to get back to the mainland of New New York, with Basil and Flavia shooting at him from behind. He is chased into the United Nations building where Nikolai was supposed to give a speech. However, Basil runs in after him with a sword and attacks him on live television. Meanwhile, Wash Bucket in Amy's body finds Scruffy in his quarters and confesses her love to him. She wants the two of them to move to another city and live together, but Scruffy says no, because in the back of their minds they would know that it wouldn't be right. Professor Farnsworth, still in Bender at the Circus Roboticus, watches the fight at the UN on the TV Robot. He wants to help Bender, but cannot get there in time. A howitzer named Big Bertha volunteers to shoot him there, but is badly injured because of the size of Bender's body. The Professor lands on the United Nations building roof. With his own sword, he starts a swordfight with Bassor before he could do any harm to Bender in Nikolai. Meanwhile, the making out of Fry and Leela, in Zoidberg and the Professor, had moved back to Leela's place. After having sex, the two of them are surprised to see Bender's body fighting with Basil on TV. The Professor in Bender's body wins by opening his door and revealing twenty Robot Clowns, all wielding swords of their own, and they kill Basil. Later, at Planet Express, Bubblegum Tate and Sweet Clyde use math to find out a way to get everyone in their original bodies, as shown below. They use it and the episode ends with everyone back to normal and Bender realizing that he left the real crown in Nikolai's compartment.


The final page of the production script of the episode.

According to David X. Cohen, writer Ken Keeler penned a theorem (and proof thereof) based on group theory, then used it to explain a plot twist in this episode.[1]

Writer Eric Rogers calls "The Prisoner of Benda" his favorite Futurama episode alongside "Jurassic Bark", "because it may be the epitome of what this series attempts to do every week: the perfect blend of science fiction and bust-a-gut humor".[2]

The Futurama theorem

Main article: Futurama theorem

The Futurama theorem is a real-life theorem invented purely for use in this episode. It proves that regardless of how many mind switches have been made, they can still all be restored to their original bodies using only two extra people, provided these two people have not had any mind switches prior.

The theorem was proved by writer Ken Keeler, who holds a PhD in applied mathematics, and he claims they included it to popularize math among young people. The Futurama theorem is also the first known theorem to be created for the sole purpose of entertainment in a TV show.


In its original American broadcast, "The Prisoner of Benda" was viewed by an estimated 1.774 million households, down 150,000 viewers since "A Clockwork Origin" [3].

Additional Info


  • The title of the episode and Bender's plot of posing as an emperor is a reference to the 1894 novel The Prisoner of Zenda (as well as its numerous adaptions).
  • The title caption refers to:
  • Leela makes several mentions of Nicolas Cage movies, possibly the National Treasure series and the Astro Boy movie.
  • The shape of Emperor Nikolai's crown is loosely based on an actual Hungarian crown jewel, the Holy Crown of Hungary.
  • Bender in Amy's body convinces Emperor Nikolai that he is a robot by dancing Michael Jackson's famous Moonwalk.
  • In order to show that he is a robot, Bender, in Amy's body, tells Emperor Nikolai to ask him something only a robot would know. This is referred to as a Reverse Turing Test and is a reference to the Turing Test, in which person tries to distinguish between a machine and a human by asking questions.
  • Hermes says that Amy (in the body of Leela) "makes Fat Albert look like normal Albert". This may also be a callback to Fry's line, "He makes Speedy Gonzales look like regular Gonzales" from the episode "War Is the H-Word".
  • Big Bertha, a robot with a cannon stomach, is a reference to the German Big Bertha howitzer.
  • The idea of one-way-mind-swapping-machine is very similar to the one in the Stargate SG-1 Season Two episode "Holiday". However, in that instance, the limitation was a feature of the machine's design rather than the bodies' development of a resistance.
  • The concept of a member of royalty temporarily switching lives with an ordinary person is similar to the story The Prince and the Pauper.
  • The UN Conference is portrayed as nightclub act in Vegas with the opening act delivered by "Peaches and Herzegovina" which is a play on both the name of Eastern European nation Bosnia and Herzegovina and American disco/soul duo "Peaches & Herb".
  • An occurrence of mind switching was seen in the original Star Trek series in a third season episode called "Turnabout Intruder". James T. Kirk's body is forcefully taken by Dr. Janice Lester (a former lover of Kirk's) and Kirk is forced to use Lester's body to convince the crew members of the mind change. Among other issues, Lester's and Kirk's voices remain in their respective bodies, so swaying crew members' beliefs of the switch proves difficult.
  • Leela parodies the lyrics of the spoken intro of Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby got back" when she talks about her eye.


  • This is the third episode of Season 6 to use a cold opening (alongside "Rebirth" and "That Darn Katz!"). Cold openings were previously used most prominently in Seasons 1 and 2.
  • This is the third animated TV show in which a character voiced by John DiMaggio switches bodies with someone and the voice moves with the character into the new body. The other two were the "Kim Possible" episode "Mind Games", which originally aired in 2002, with DiMaggio voicing Dr. Drakken and the "Penguins Of Madagascar" episode "Roger Doger", aired in 2009, with DiMaggio voicing Rico.
  • When Amy (in the Professor's body) is eating ribs, she says "I have died" in Cantonese.


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  1. ^ "In an APS News exclusive, Cohen reveals for the first time that in the 10th episode of the upcoming season, tentatively entitled "The Prisoner of Benda", a theorem based on group theory was specifically written (and proven!) by staffer/PhD mathematician Ken Keeler to explain a plot twist."
    Levine, Alaina G.. "Profiles in Versatility:". American Physics Society. Retrieved on 15 May 2010.
  2. ^ [http://www.gotfuturama.com/Information/Articles/Eric_Rogers_Interview.dhtml CGEF Interview with Eric Rogers]
  3. ^ [1]