Futurama is such an interesting show to watch nowadays. It is a show about the future, yet half the show was created in the early 2000’s, while the other half was created in in the early 2010’s. At times, the show manages to smartly depict the world we live in today, while also being somewhat of a time capsule for things in the past, which is kind of bonkers for a show about the future. Because of this Futurama managed to both predict the future, still be relatable and relevant, and date itself at times.
This list will mostly focus on what Futurama has essentially encapsulated moreso, than what is still relatable or predicted. Go and watch some of these episodes to see just how dated they are.
10 The 2012 Apocalypse Parody Episode
The episode “A Farewell To Arms” is a parody of the world wide conspiratorial panic of the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. A few years prior to 2012, there was a lot of talk in the media about the end of days soon being upon us, based on the Mayan Calendar ending on the date of December 21, 2012. The date was supposed to be the end of the world, but several years later, here we are.
Futurama essentially took this concept, and adjusted it to the year 3012, and instead of the Mayans predicting the end of days, it is the Martians. It is a decent episode, but watching it is pretty weird since 2012 apocalypse is literally never brought by anyone nowadays.
9 Leela Believing She is an Alien
Watching the episode, “A Bicyclops Built for Two” is uncomfortable for a lot of reasons. The episode is essentially about Leela meeting another cyclops and them getting together to repopulate their race. The problem is that this other cyclops is a shapeshifter using his powers to sleep with Leela.
This was before Leela learned she was not an alien, but actually a mutant. It is something that does not get revealed until a later season, so rewatching this episode sort of feels like watching a house fire. Leela believing she has found another person like her, only to find out it was just some sleazy guy trying to hook up with her is rough to watch as well. Additionally, manipulating people for sex was never cool, but in the past, it got used in narratives a lot for the sake of humor. Nowadays just feels kind of sad.
8 Lucy Liu and Nappster
Both Lucy Liu and Nappster are a bit dated in the episode “I Dated a Robot.” In this episode, Fry dates an AI version of Lucy Liu he downloaded off Nappster. To be fair, Lucy Liu is a cool person, but she is not really as relevant as she once was. And while Nappster is an influential part of music and media history, it only really serves as footnote these days.
Lucy Liu is a bit more known, but she is an actress who is mostly known for playing badass femme fatales. Nappster was a place where people could freely download music, and it seriously threatened the music industry at the time. Knowing neither is not particularly harmful to the episode, but it may be harder for a younger audience to appreciate it.
7 Al Gore Buying Gas
In the direct to video film Futurama: Bender’s Big Score Bender travels back in time to kill Fry after getting brainwashed by alien scammers. Bender searches for Fry for 12 years, and eventually runs into former vice president, Al Gore, who is now a taxi driver. Bender offers Al Gore $100 to chase after Fry, and Gore comments that $100 could buy him one gallon of gas.
It is a nod to Gore being an iconic advocate for climate change, and the need for alternative fuels. While both issues are certainly important today, we are thankfully still able to pay for gas at an affordable cost that has not changed much since the airing of this film.
6 Single Female Lawyer
The episode “When Aliens Attack” is about the powerful Omicronian aliens invading Earth, because they are angry about their favorite show, “Single Female Lawyer,” suddenly going off the air in its series’ finale.
“Single Female Lawyer” is based off the show Ally McBeal, which was airing on Fox around the same time Futurama was. The show was fairly popular in the late 90s and early 2000s, but no one really talks about it anymore, and it would not be surprising if people had no idea what it was.
The Morcs appeared in the direct to video film, Futurama: Bender’s Game. When the Futurama crew gets turned into fantasy characters, they run into these creatures they find to be excruciatingly obnoxious. They are basically a spoof of Robin Williams, as they faintly look, and sound like him.
This would not necessarily be aged, if not the unfortunate and untimely death of Robin Williams. This came out back when he was still alive, and there was likely no malicious intent in this ribbing of him, but it is just kind of sad to watch Robin Williams get made fun of nowadays.
4 Space Cats
In the episode, “That Darn Katz,” cats invade the lives of the Planet Express crew. The cats use their cuteness to brainwash the crew into stealing the Earth’s rotational energy. While cats are adorable and are still huge memes on the internet, some of the specific cat memes are bit cringey and annoying to watch as they have been beaten to death at this point. In particular is the “I can Has Cheezburger?” meme, which will cause any modern day internet user to roll their eyes.
Make no mistake. The obsession people have for Iphones is still a huge part of culture, and the episode “Attack of The Killer App” does a great job at satirizing Apple. The only thing that has not aged all that well is some of the advertising that the show mimics being dated a bit. In particularly the Apple silhouettes of Mom and her children that the show parodies. This was a fairly iconic add for the earlier models of Iphones, but is not really used anymore.
2 Slurmz McKenzie
When Fry wins a contest in the episode “Fry and The Slurm Factory,” the Planet Express crew get to go on a tour of the mysterious Slurm factory. While this parody of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory is timeless, the non-stop partier, Slurmz McKenzie, does not really hold up as well.
Not a lot of people may remember this, but Slurmz McKenzie is actually based on the Budlight spokesdog, Spuds MacKenzie. Spuds was a popular mascot in the 80s for the beer company, but is not really talked about these days and hardly remembered. Slurmz McKenzie is still a fun character despite this.
1 Revenge of Robot House
The “Mars University” episode was a great parody of the classic college movies. This episode features Fry going to college and him competing with a monkey who is much more intelligent than him. Aside from this, Bender joins the robot frat, Robot House.
Robot House is essentially a direct parody of the movie, Revenge of The Nerds, which is a movie about a fraternity of nerds getting revenge on the people that wronged them. While Revenge of the Nerds is referred to as a classic college comedy, it is also pretty problematic from a modern perspective. Specifically, there is a scene where the nerds plant cameras in a sorority house to view them undressing. It was looked at as a wacky shenanigan, but with today’s views on sexual misconduct, it is just creepy and awkward. Futurama also directly parodied this aforementioned scene, albeit the only thing undressing was a faulty computer.