Futurama “Meanwhile” Review (Series Finale)
After thirteen long years and two cancellations and resurrections, Futurama finally bid a fond farewell last night on Comedy Central. And it was an appropriate, emotional, and fitting end. One has to wonder whether or not this means that creator Matt Groening is also contemplating his ending for “The Simpsons” but I digress. Even though the Planet Express crew will make an appearance in Springfield next year, last night was the last time we will ever see them on their own show.
When I was in film school, I was taught that one of the biggest differences between writing characters for television from film is that television characters and character dynamics don’t change or evolve. Over the last thirteen years, this show really broke that mold especially between the complicated romance arc between Fry and Leela. The episode opens with Fry, Leela, and Bender returning to the moon amusement park, which was where they made their first delivery. After riding a carnival ride that sends Leela out into space and feared dead, Fry laments over all the missed opportunities he had to propose. When it’s discovered that Leela is indeed alive, Fry immediately proposes. Obviously taken aback, he agrees to meet Leela that night at 6:30 at the Vampire State Building with her answer.
In order to ensure that his proposal goes perfectly, Fry steals the Professor’s latest invention which allows its user to go backwards in time for ten seconds as often as they want. When Leela doesn’t show up according to Fry’s watch, he decides that his life is no longer worth living without Leela as his wife and he jumps. Upon jumping, he realizes that each time he pushes the button to go back in time, even though time momentarily stopped, his watch kept working which suggested that Leela wasn’t showing up even though Leela in fact was showing up on time causing Fry to push the button again only it’s too late and has already fallen too far to save himself.
When the Professor and the others realize that Fry took the invention with him, they devise a way to get to Fry to try to save him. Unfortunately what ends up happening is the Professor being lost in an infinite time loop in the space-time continuum and having all time stop in the universe except for Fry and Leela.
They have a marriage ceremony with all of the friends and family present albeit frozen in time and “presided” by the Space Pope. They live out the rest of their days being the only living people in the universe with a bucket list for the ages that they accomplish in beautiful and romantic fashion. Fry and Leela are now very old and the Professor manages to find a way out of the space-time continuum loop. He tells Fry and Leela that he’s able to fix the time-lapse invention and is able to amplify it to take it back to the day before he invented it. The only catch is that neither one of them will have any memory of anything that happened before then.
A fitting ending to a series that brought us a wonderful array of humor and emotion over the thirteen years. So thank you Matt Groening for introducing us to robots that operate on alcohol, stray dogs who sing “Walking on Sunshine,” and Nibbler. A beautiful and fitting conclusion to one of the greatest animated series in television history.