Futurama has got to be one of the greatest, funniest, and most brilliant shows ever to air on TV. It’s jam-packed with witty references (especially scientific and pop culture ones) and has an almost endless amount of entertaining trivia to boot.
On this page you’ll find 30 great bits of Futurama. There will be lots more to come on this blog – but for now enjoy these entertaining Futurama facts, and don’t forget to share this page with any friends and family you know who are fans of the show!
Let’s get started:
1.The Origin of Hermes’ Name
The origin of Hermes’ name is actually quite interesting. In Greek Mythology, Hermes was the name of the messenger of the gods. When you consider the fact that in Futurama, Hermes works for a delivery company, it is rather appropriate.
2. Morbo Is A Blast From The Past
I think we can all agree that Morbo, for a television announcer, is pretty scary looking. However, did you know, the look of Morbo is actually inspired by the aliens from Invasion of the Saucer Men, an alien sci-fi movie released in 1957.
3. The Wongs’ Ranch
The house of Amy Wong and her family, and the ranch it is on, actually takes its inspiration from a movie released in 1956, called Giant. A family in that movie, the Benedicts, have a house and ranch that looks eerily similar to the one the Wongs live in.
4. Bender Is a Fan of the Harlem Globetrotters
There is a tune that Bender is heard to be whistling to himself on many occasions through the series. If you weren’t aware, the tune is actually Sweet Georgia Brown, the theme song for the Harlem Globetrotters.
In this clip from the end of the episode Time Keeps On Slippin’ you can hear Bender hum a slow version of the tune:
5. Cold Openings
During the time Futurama was active on television, it was a rather popular theme for TV shows to future cold opens in the beginning of their episodes. This is where a small plot snippet or scene plays out before the credis. Futurama was no different. For example, in Season 1 of the show only I, Roommate and Hell Is Other Robots did not feature cold openings. However, in the later series the cold opens were phased out, purely as a creative decision by the producers of the show. Brannigan, Begin Again was the last episode of the original run to have a “conventional” cold open – those quirky sponsor openings notwithstanding (Glagnar’s Human Rinds, anyone?)
6. “Ripped-Off” Sound Effects
Futurama’s sound effects are one of the more enjoyable facets of the show, as they really help to drive home the environment the characters are living in. Did you know though, that the show uses sound effects from the 1995 movie Space: Above and Beyond. It also uses sound effects from The Jetsons and Star Trek TV series.
7. What Exactly Does Planet Express Do?
Everyone knows that Planet Express is a package delivery company. But, as most fans have noticed throughout the series, very few packages are ever actually delivered by the company. There is also very little mention paid to how Planet Express can afford to run its business without actually doing much work.
8. The Duh-Vinci Code Reveals A Handy Hint
There was an episode in the 7th season of the show when the gang went to look for Saint James. Their journey took them to the tombs, and there they found a sign with Roman Numerals that instructed them on how many steps to take to find their target. The numerals read:
In modern day numerals, this is translated to:
2*11- (23×89) OR 2048 – 2047= 1
So basically all it was, was a roundabout way of telling them that they only had to take one step. What do you know…
9. A New Timeline?
During the last few scenes of the final Futurama episode in 2013, the show makes subtle hints at a potential reboot. Not only that, but it implies that similar to Star Trek (in 1966) and Terminator Genisys (2015), the reboot could occur in a different timeline. This is shown as Professor Farnsworth, Fry and Leela (with the latter too in old age) using the Time Button to enter a new time line.
10. Benders Secret Fantasy
Bender is a robot of many talents, or so he believes. But did you know, that his fantasy has always been to become a folk singer? This fantasy has always been kept hidden from the other characters, so it’s definitely one of Bender’s biggest secrets.
11. The Origins Of The Hypnotoad
Did you know that the noise played when the Hypnotoad is on screen is actually a recording of a jet engine played backwards?
ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD
Dare YOU watch 10 hours of THE HYPNOTOAD?
12. The Origin Of Leela’s Name
As most hard-core fans know, Leela’s full name is actually Turanga Leela. Her name is a reference to the French composer Olivier Messiaen. His piece, “Turangalila-Symphonie”, is an 80 minute piece performed by an orchestra and pianist. The term Turangalila can be derived from a combination of two Sanskrit words. One of the ways it translates to English, is “love song”.
Leela also sounds very similar to the word for purple in a number of languages (a direct reference to her purple hair). French (lilas), German (“lila”), Danish (lilla), Swedish (lila), Finnish (liila), Romanian (“lila”) and Hungarian (“lila”)
13. Aloha Mars!
Do you like the name Futurama? I think every ardent fan does. But did you know that the show was seriously close to being called Aloha Mars!? Doomsville was another name that was heavily considered, before Futurama was finally chosen.
14. The Drunken Robot Boxer
John DiMaggio, the legendary voice behind Bender, told Kevin Pollak during an interview that he would channel Slim Pickens, and a drunken boxer as he would play the part of Bender. He also claimed that he would channel other sources, which he didn’t go into more detail on. Whatever they are, they all came together to create an iconic character in Bender.
15. DVD Easter Eggs
There is an Easter Egg the creators of the show have left in for fans on Season 4, disc 3. If you go to the sub menu for “Where no fan has gone before” and highlight the home option, you should be able to display the Planet Express ship in the menu by pressing RIGHT on the DVD remote. After that, you just press play and enjoy a special behind the scenes video!
In Volume 4 of the DVD set releases, there is an interesting Easter egg. To find it, you need to click on the robot devils hands. By doing this, it will start a table read of the final episode. Pretty cool, huh!
16. Billy West Auditioned For the Role Of Bender
Although John DiMaggio made the character of Bender his own, did you know that Billy West also once auditioned for the role? He played Bender like a construction worker and, needless to say, didn’t get the part.
17. Getting aHEAD With Inspiration from the Simpsons
One of the most well-known and unique concepts of Futurama is the talking celebrity heads inside jars. But this concept was originally seen in a 1994 episode of The Simpsons. In that episode, which revolved around the storyline of Bart seeming himself in the future, Kitty Carlisle appears as a special guest and, you guessed it, she is a head in a jar.
18. Family Guy & Futurama – Which Would Win?
Shows like Futurama, Family Guy, South Park and The Simpsons have always been in competition with each other due to the fact that they are mostly the same genre and have a lot of crossover fans. Ironically, Futurama was actually released in the UK on the exact same day as Family Guy, in 1999.
19. Dr Zoidberg Stars in a Movie
Billy West, who voices Zoidberg, actually used the voice in Joe’s Apartment, a 1996 movie. So I guess you could say that, technically, Zoidberg is a movie star!
20. What Makes A Bender?
Bender is so much more than a hunk of metal. He is several hunks of metal, apparently. There is a lot of confusion as to what Bender is actually made out of, as throughout the series he has claimed to be 40% titanium, 40% scrap metal, and 40% luck. But in a 2010 episode, it is also said that he is 40% chromium. Furthermore, there is the episode 30% Iron Chef, which presumably relates to Bender’s metallic makeup as well. As you can probably tell, these percentages don’t exactly add up, and the true make up of Benders body is still a mystery.
21. Back From the Dead
It sounds impossible that a show as great as Futurama could ever be cancelled, but it actually happened in August of 2003. Fox seemingly didn’t appreciate Futurama as much as we fans did. But Comedy Central came to the rescue and revived the show in 2009, starting with season 6 that aired in June 2010.
22. Futurama Had A Lot Of People Audition For It
With all the wacky characters in Futurama, it is not a surprise that this happened. But in an interview with Kevin Pollak, Billy West confirmed that 200 people had auditioned for roles in Futurama. That included Ryan Stiles, who auditioned for the role of Fry.
23. Dungeons & Dragons References Galore
You may not know it, but Dungeons and Dragons has been referenced in Futurama all throughout the series. The writer and producer of Futurama, David X. Cohen, is an avid Dungeons and Dragons player, which is the reason for the constant references.
D&D creator E. Gary Gygax has had a cameo in the show, and the character of Al Gore has even gone so far as to refer to himself as a “10th level vice-president”. Monsters from D&D have made appearances, and the Futurama feature fime Benders Game (released in 2008) was largely based on Dungeons and Dragons. And in the credits of the film, there is a tribute to the memory of Mr Gygax
24. Zapp Brannigan Did JFK
Zapp Brannigan is one of the most memorable characters in Futurama, mostly for his arrogance and cheesy behaviour. He has a portrait of himself in his captain’s quarters, further cementing his narcissist personality.
But did you know, this was actually based on a real life portrait John F. Kennedy had in the white house? Both portraits are in the same, iconic pose, further confirming the fact that this had been done intentionally by the creators of the show to reference JFK.
25. One Beady Eye
When we first meet Leela, she is in the role of a Fate Assignment Officer (basically saying what job you will have). Her code number for this job was 1BDI – one beady eye … a direct reference to her being a cyclops. Her apartment number is also 1I; very punny!
26. Leela’s Sartorial Inspirations
Leela is one of the most popular female cartoon heroes of the last two decades, and her outfit in the series is actually inspired by other famous female heroines from famous science fiction films and TV shows. Her iconic white tank top fashion choice originated with the character Sigourney Weaver played in the movie Alien, released in 1979. Futurama isn’t the only show to have been inspired by this costume choice, as Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (released in 1991) and Carrie-Anne Moss in Red Planet (released in 2000) both had similar wardrobes choices.
27. Fry, Leela and Benders’ Consistency
There is no arguing against the fact that Fry, Leela and Bender are the three most popular characters in Futurama. Although, to be fair, this may have something to do with them being the main characters. In fact, they are the only characters in the entire show to be present in every single episode, from the beginning of the series all the way to the end.
Professor Farnsworth and Dr Zoidberg are pretty close to also achieving the feat, but both just miss out. Professor Farnsworth is not present in 2 episodes through the series (Where No Fan Has Gone Before in 2002 and The Why of Fry from 2003), while Zoidberg has only missed three (Space Pilot 3000, Mars University and Brannigan, Begin Again, all released in 1999).
28. Moon Pie Fight on Mars?
In the wacky, futuristic world of Futurama, anything can happen. Including moon pie based fights on Mars, apparently. In the very last part of the opening intro, just before the Planet Express ship crashes, you can see several people transporting through those tubes they use to get around. The first guy that is seen going through is reading a newspaper with the headline “Moon pie fight in Mars Bar.”
One can only begin to imagine what the contents of that article were. One thing I do know, is that they were probably hilarious.
29. The Meaning Of Bender’s Apartment Number
Bender’s apartment number is 00100100. This is a binary representation of the ASCII character “$”. We all know Bender loves the dough, so his apartment number is rather apt. Shut up baby, I know it!
30. Cubert’s Intended Role
When Cubert was cloned and officially arrived on the scene as a character on the show, his initial role was to be a sort of “nod” to the fans, as a character who would point out all the mistakes, inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the show that fans may have noticed. He was the voice of the hard core fan, implanted into the world of Futurama.
Or at least he should have been. The writers could never figure out a proper way to introduce him into the show all the way until the second season. And although he started out in his intended role for the first episode, he strayed from it afterwards and never went back.
What did you think of these bits of Futurama trivia? And if you have some of your own, why not submit them via our contact form and we can publish them at a later date.
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