Just about every scene of Futurama is dense with layers upon layers of jokes and references, and even hardcore fans can have a hard time catching them all. Here are some of the most obscure — and easy to miss — moments from the hilarious sci-fi saga.
In the 2002 episode “Where No Fan Has Gone Before,” Star Trek lover Fry is dismayed to learn that after the show’s fandom became a religion, its fans all died in the Star Trek Wars. Then, to make matters worse, the only copies of Trek episodes and movies were dumped on an abandoned planet. Fry and company steal away Leonard Nimoy’s head from the Head Museum and journey to that world to get the tapes. It is on this forbidden world that an energy cloud named Mellvar keeps the original Star Trek cast. Mellvar keeps them eternally young, but also forces them to do Star Trek things, like participate in a never-ending convention and act out his fan fiction.
In this Trek-reference-laden episode, veteran Trek actors Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Walter Koenig, George Takei, and Nichelle Nichols all voice their animated counterparts, with one glaring omission: James Doohan, who portrayed Enterprise chief engineer Montgomery Scott, a.k.a. Scotty. Instead of the Scottish guy, they’ve got a Welsh guy named Welshy.
Supposedly, Doohan’s agent said no to the part, leading the Futurama folks to come up with their own explanation for Welshy.
Every episode, Futurama offers a one-liner at the bottom of its title screen. Some past examples include: “As seen on TV,” “For external use only,” and, on the 2010 episode “The Prisoner of Benda,” the joke is “What happens in Cygnus X-1 stays in Cygnus X-1.” That’s a two-fer of a reference. First, it plays off of the long-used, universally known Las Vegas tourism slogan “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”
However, Cygnus X-1 is a real thing. It’s a stellar-mass black hole, a 700 light years-wide cosmic entity said to have formed from the collapse of a star. As black holes have tremendous gravitational pull and suck in anything that dares come near, well, what happens in Cygnus X-1 really does stay in Cygnus X-1. That sucks.
Good Old Welshy | 0:14
A Black Hole of References | 1:23
The Cat’s In The Cradle | 2:03
Don’t Read Into This | 2:50
Just A Couple Of Rebels | 3:40
An Act Of Shellfishness | 4:12
The Cleveland Show | 4:56
Married…With Cyclops | 5:42
Welcome To The World Of The Past | 6:34
A Little Little Prince Joke | 7:39
A True Work Of Art | 8:20
I’m Grandpa Now | 9:15
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