Life Lessons from Futurama

I heard a nasty rumor the other day that Futurama might be getting a reboot. This is my favorite show of all time, and I think they ended it on an exemplary note. Honestly, I can’t think of a better ending. So whoever had the idea to reboot this and spoil that perfect last episode can bite my shiny metal ass. 

I love Futurama because it’s funny, it’s smart and it’s way more emotional than people give it credit for. And like everything else, it taught me things. 

Next week, I’ll do a Why It Works post about Futurama. But today, I want to talk about some times the show made me think about fairly deep topics. Maybe deeper than you’d expect from a show that included a swearing, chain-smoking alcoholic kleptomaniac robot. 

Fry in Futurama Space Pilot 3000

Karma will out

Every character in Futurama has a moment, often more than once, where they are human. They have flaws, they’re selfish. They let their baser instincts guide them. And almost every time, Karma bites them.

Yes, even Bender. 

Karma will out is a lesson we need to be reminded of, even as adults. And while it doesn’t always work in the real world, it does often enough for our delightful Gen Z to create a delightful new phrase for it. Fuck around and find out. 

Fry kicks Bender out of their shared apartment because his antenna is messing with the tv signal. He fucked around with Bender’s emotions and found out that doesn’t feel great. 

Bender fucks around and steals an expensive cigar and finds out the cops take that sort of thing seriously. 

Karma will out. 

You can be smart and stupid at the same time

Amy is, in my opinion, an underrated character. She’s a college student, taking classes so intentionally advanced that she’s the only one taking them. She’s clever, quick-witted, and kind of a bitch sometimes. But she’s also a silly young adult who has no coordination, has swallowed her cell phone by mistake, and once lost the keys to the ship in a crane machine.

Both of these things can exist in the same person. I think sometimes we get caught up in proving we’re whatever we want to be. We want to prove we’re adults, prove we’re smart, prove we’re responsible and have our shit together. 

I’m smart when it comes to writing, time management, handcrafts, home crafts, art, computers, and a few other things. I am also the fool who once asked, “Why is Honey Nut Cheerios giving out wildflower seeds to help the bee population?”

I’m also the fool who turns on the light on my tablet to look for my tablet in bed. Who forgets to grab a towel on the way to the shower. And who does a million other stupid things while still being a published author and holding down a full-time job in the technical field? I contain multitudes and sometimes that’s not a good thing. But it doesn’t make me dumb.

You can be silly and serious at the same time

My favorite episode of Futurama is The Sting. In it, Lela thinks Fry is dead after he’s stung by a giant killer space bee. The episode deals with not only mourning the death of a loved one but also substance abuse and suicide. This is from the same series that later had an episode about cats trying to take over the world. And it did both of those things exceptionally well.

Life is both silly and serious. There are heavy things we have to deal with. But there are also remarkably silly things. We live in a world where both puff adders and kiwis exist. And while that’s a thought that can get you down if it comes out of nowhere, it’s comforting when you’re dealing with one of those serious moments. 

At least it is for me.

Leela, Fry and Gunter in Futurama Mars University

God is present 

Or the energy of the universe is present if you prefer. 

There’s an episode of Futurama called Godfellas. It won a metric ton of awards and for good reason. It’s amazing. And there’s a line that is stuck in my mind and will probably never go away.

If you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all. 

It makes me wonder how many times my life has been touched by an unseen but present source of love and hope. Just a tap here, a nudge there. How have I been helped without even realizing it? 

I love that, just the question of it. It makes me feel protected. Even if I’m not sure anything’s being done at all. 

Thanks for reading! If you liked this post, you can buy me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi. 

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