A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post about The Simpsons. It still remains, and will probably remain forever, one of the most lamentable, lacklustre, lackadaisical things to have ever flown out of my pen. Today, I try to redeem myself. My subject will be Futurama or, in other words, The Simpsons — IN SPACE! It is an animated comedy series which is widely — and rightfully — considered as one of the pinnacles of the genre. The lasting popularity of the series is perhaps evidenced best by the enormous number of memes based on it. In some episodes, there is a futuristic board game which, at first glance, looks a bit like chess, but it is played on a round board with unidentifiable pieces. Luckily, in the fourteenth episode of the third season, doctor Zoidberg can briefly be seen behind an actual chessboard.
The story is about the crew causing an instability in space-time, causing random but comically well-timed time jumps. To make sure that the end of time won’t be next Friday, they try to stop them somehow. In the meantime, Fry is pestering Leela for a date. Exasperated, she goes to talk with Zoidberg,1 whom we see scrutinising the board. After a careful inspection, he grabs a piece — and he eats it! No! Blasphemy! Sacrilege! This is why no one likes you, Zoidberg. This is why you’re a miserable, lonely bastard, who will die unloved and unmourned somewhere in the backwoods of the galaxy.
And that’s only the start of the troubles. You see, I was not being entirely accurate when I said that Zoidberg was sitting behind an actual chessboard. He is actually sitting behind this:2
Gah! From all the ugly aliens in Futurama, this is the ugliest one. You might be wondering what that circle on c4 is about. I am, at least. It is a white piece, but it differs from all other white pieces. Since all types are present, it must be some extraterrestrial seventh type of piece. It is also the one Zoidberg chooses to eat. Does that redeem him a little bit? Is he like a cleaner shrimp who removes parasites from chess boards? Is this a subtle joke by the directors?
Whatever it is, it is a monstrosity not fit for human eyes. And yet it was aired on Earth, conceived on Earth, produced on Earth, presumably by homo sapiens specimens.
I don’t want to live on this planet any more.
Realism: -/5 The show features a mutant Cyclops as a pilot, a sentient humanoid crab as a doctor, and a sarcastic robot without a purpose, but this, this is just too unbelievable.
Probable winner: White is up half a legion. Unless Zoidberg continues eating them, black hasn’t got a chance.