Episode Title: "Benderama"
Writer: Aaron Ehasz
Director: Crystal Chesney-Thomspon
In the second episode from last night's "Futurama" premiere, the intrepid Professor Farnsworth (Billy West) creates a device that can take any object and use random matter to create two smaller versions of it. And you can almost set your clock to the time it takes for Bender (John DiMaggio) to get his hands on the device and use it to create infinite duplicates of himself.
This is something that we've seen before on "Futurama." We've had multiple Benders through time travel and evil twins and even an episode earlier this season where Bender essentially stole the Professor's mind swapping machine. The difference between this episode and "Neutopia" is that the Bender jokes aren't entirely played out yet. In the fact, the best moments in this episode actually come early when there are only three Benders; which leads to a "Newhart" reference, of all things!
There were also some really amusing science gags scattered throughout. "Futurama" is always at its best where there are a few jokes that fly over the head of some of the audience. For example, I have no idea what the Professor's math equation meant, but it was hilarious to see Amy (Lauren Tom) and Hermes (Phil LaMarr) freak out while Fry (West) admitted that he didn't understand it.
Even the layman's explanation that the infinitely replicating Benders would deplete the world's resources "like the Kardashians" was perfect. And I would add that yes, the grey goo theory is exactly like the Kardashians… but only one of those horrible things is famous for no discernible reason.
Of course this leads to a hilarious montage of the crew killing numerous Benders in a variety of ways. That was probably cathartic for the crew and even Bender gets in on the act by using one of his duplicates as a pinata
Comedian Patton Oswalt also makes a memorable guest appearance as a hideously ugly giant, who happens to be easy going and personable, even when the first three Benders mock him. Only an offhand remark by Fry about the giant's mother sends him into a rage and leads to a genuinely exciting sequence as the giant nearly destroys the Planet Express ship with a large container of acme cream.
The giant also plays into the conclusion as he returns to Earth to apologize for his actions, only to be met with scorn and cruel jokes from the rest of the Planet Express crew. You know they're really drunk when even the Professor and Zoidberg are getting off zingers at the giant's expense. Weirdly enough, the giant is almost the hero of this story, even when he takes on a giant Bender made up of all of his duplicates. The giant's last words are also incredibly sad; which made for a darkly comedic moment.
"Benderama" had a lot of fun moments that helped negate the bad taste left behind by "Neutopia." But I think after this the writers should avoid "Bender uses experiment x" storylines. There are only so many ways to reuse a plot and I don't want to see this series go downhill before its time.
Crave Online Rating: 8 out of 10.