"FEATURING A NEW INVISIBLE CHARACTER WHO DOESN'T SPEAK"
Still reeling from all the Comic-Con excitement, which included Futurama's final panel (maybe) and news of the cross-over with The Simpsons, I forgot to hammer home how few new installments of the animated comedy remain while recapping the very solid "Calculon 2.0." Last week was a welcome return to form for the animated comedy, especially after the dismal "Saturday Morning Fun Pit," but it still doesn't make up for just how spotty the second half of the seventh season has been so far and now that "Assie Come Home" has aired, you can count the number of (potentially good) episodes that Futurama has left on one hand. Because there's five. Let's hope they saved the five best for last. Not that the half-treasure hunt, half-Lassie spoof didn't have its moments. Okay, seventy percent treasure hunt and ten percent Lassie spoof. The remaining twenty was set-up that sort of sent up gang violence but mostly just paved the way for the bot-jacking premise. They kind of half-assed it.
"Look. Let's just agree that gang violence is an important issue with no easy answers."
Like I said, the twenty-first episode of the seventh season (or Episode 8 of Season 7B) is by no means terrible but it didn't have the clever storytelling structure or nail the emotional moments that can make Futurama so special and better than all the other animated shows of its ilk. Instead "Assie Come Home" contains an opening sequence disconnected from the rest that was created solely to set-up the theft of Bender's body before turning into a paint-by-numbers treasure hunt plot to retrieve his parts. Oh, and I'm not sure what's worse, the tacked-on homage to Lassie or the fact that the writers thought that that naming the episode after it would hide its superfluousness. The ending just rubbed me the wrong way. An easy way-out to wrap up "Assie" when they should have just left his ass in space if they wanted the emotional note to play. But I digress, back to the gang-banging opening that finds the Professor once again delivering good news. Well, it's good from his perspective since he's getting a little extra on the side for not asking too many questions about the mysterious delivery to the planet plague by a gang war. Are you a blip or a crud? Who cares, the sequence will be over soon enough and none of it is all that memorable or will factor into the rest of the show.
"The Beast With Two Bucks $1.99 Sex Shoppe"
Okay, the showdown where they all shot themselves in the face was pretty funny as was hearing John DiMaggio do his best Tracy Morgan impression as one of the space gang members obsessed with mirrors. Anyway, Fry and Leela manage to make their way out of the skirmish and back without incident, too bad Bender can't say the same about his time watching the ship. They took everything but his eyes and mouth, cause they didn't like his screaming or his winking, and fortunately his head came complete with its own lojack. Located! Just the head though, although the pawn shop owner is willing to part with a list of his customer's names if it means his release. No? How about a giant head for URL? It's like DK mode. Now that they have the list of people who bought Bender's parts, it's time to track them down one by one which makes for the aforementioned paint-by-numbers portion of "Assie Come Home." Bender, Fry and Leela collect all the bits back going from place to place, starting with a scene at a sex shoppe. The extra 'pe' makes it classy. Actually, they don't even retrieve the antenna, sorry, robot dong at the sex shoppe (with a familiar name), they are only pointed in the direction of a customer who bought it. Again.
"I mean a percentage of the value of the recovered goods. Now be gettin' some rest, the booty call's at daybreak."
Cue the montage of the trio really starting collecting the parts, going from a visit with Hedonismbot to Robot House, an old riverboat to a children's hospital. Poor Tinny Tim. I will say though that watching Bender tramp around at his worst is always enjoyable to watch and the episode picked up a lot once he started stole (and ditched) the cart. At this point, only one body part remained and it happens to be the shiniest of all. Even if Fry has never heard of Bender speak about his butt. I also quite enjoyed Tarquin as a guest spot, his verbose delivery was very amusing, especially when describing his many jobs or willingness to help Bender locate his missing ass. For a price. After a successful trip into the Gaseous Sea aboard the Flotsam and Jetson, Tarquin's Weather Channel App warns of a coming storm and he must return to the lighthouse to turn on the signal even if it is absolutely futile. Fortunately for the mojito drinking crew of the S.S. Miami Muy Caliente, Bender's ass happens to be ten times more reflective than the mirrors Tarquin is using and it saves their lives. And Saturday night. His ass has a destiny and must stay to save more lives, no matter how sad leaving it behind (huh?) may be. It wasn't. Maybe if it actually stayed out there and the silly Lassie nod never happened. Oh well.
"Even my ass wouldn't watch that."
Futurama returns with Episode 22, "Leela and the Genestalk," next Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.