Futurama’s coming back!
I’m not going to say this is the greatest thing that could happen to television, but…THIS IS THE GREATEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO TELEVISION!!! This is so great it actually beats out ‘Pushing Daisies’ being back on the air (sort of).
Futurama, for those of you who don’t know, is a cartoon comedy that takes place in the year 3000. It’s loaded with sci-fi / geeky humor (i.e. Madison square gardens is now Madison cubed gardens) and if you take even the smallest amount of joy out of sci fi shows, you will love futurama. I’m pretty sure Futurama has referenced every major sci fi show (and plenty of obscure ones too) that has ever been made: Star Trek, Star Wars, Battle Star Galactica, Planet of the Apes (part two no less!)…and those are just the obvious ones I can think of off the top of my head. Unfortunately, Futurama’s greatest strength (geeky humor) was also its downfall, because if you didn’t get the jokes (which required some sort of knowledge of sci fi shows or in many cases, advanced mathematics) then the show would come off as a complete dud. In other words, it was a show for intelligent people, which is a small enough market, but it also aired on Fox, which isn’t exactly known for its intellectual programming. Basically, it was like giving full Harvard scholarships to 5th graders – they might show up and laugh as the right times, but you know they’re not really grasping the material.
The other reason the show never really caught on outside of the sci fi crowd is that there are very few quotable lines. As anyone who watches TV knows, a show’s popularity is directly proportional to the percent of the show that can be quoted during your normal day. Take for instance the ‘Simpsons:’ Arguably one of the things that makes the show so popular is that the writing is highly quotable, and because the show has been on for so long, there is a line for just about any situation you can think of. Seriously, next time you’re sitting in a boring meeting, just think of the strangest thing that happened to you that day and then try and see if you can come up with an appropriate Simpsons’ line. Odds are that you won’t have to think very hard. And of course all that quoting helps to spread awareness of ths show, and the greater the awareness, the greater the potential audience. Family Guy is another great example (I know, I know, one steals from the other…deal with it) There are so many quotable lines in Family Guy (since at least 35% of the show are one liners) that you can’t help but quote them throughout your day, which in turn spreads awareness and makes people laugh, and helps to boost the show’s popularity.
Futurama has no quotable lines. I’m a pretty big ‘quoter’ and not once have I ever quoted a Futurama line during the normal course of my day, which is even more strange when you consider that I used to be in the Navy, and had ample opportunities to quote lines from the different starship captains (notably Zap Brannigan) that are regular characters in the show. Alas, not once have I ever quoted a Futurama line that didn’t come out feeling forced and then hang in the air like a nasty fart the day after a heavy night of drinking and buffalo wings. Futurama fans learned very quickly that one did not quote Futurama except in the presence of other Futurama fans, which of course created the paradox of, ‘how can you tell a Futurama fan unless they quote Futurama, which they don’t do except in the presence of Futurama fans.’ I even tried to come up with my top ten favorite lines and I couldn’t do it! So, please, comment on your favorite Futurama lines and we’ll see how many we can get – my guess is that you’ll come up with fewer than you think!