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"Futurama" A Leela of Her Own (2002)

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

It doesn't really strike out, but it's not great either

Author: gizmomogwai from Canada
19 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Volume 3 of Futurama has some of the strongest episodes of the series but ironically has more weak links than volumes 1 and 2, and A Leela of Her Own is frequently chosen by fans as their least favourite episode. At the time of this writing, it is currently the lowest-rated episode of the series here on IMDb. I agree it's among the weakest, but I gave it a passing grade because I still found it enjoyable (and indeed, the average IMDb score is about the same). It's a baseball episode, like The Simpsons had Homer at the Bat, but whereas The Simpsons episode is a home run, the Futurama one isn't. A Leela of Her Own doesn't exactly strike out, though.

Actually, it's not really baseball, it's a futuristic version of baseball called blurnsball (first seen in Fear of a Bot Planet, volume 1). On the DVD commentary for this episode, the makers of the show say that blurnsball is basically baseball with the ball on a string, but that view, which is reflected in the episode, loses some of the humour about the game from season 1. In Fear of a Bot Planet, there are several jokes about how blurnsball was more complex than baseball and Fry had trouble following it. Conversely, we still have some humour in this volume 3 episode, mostly physical humour as Leela as pitcher hits every batter with the ball, and manages to knock the professor down too. There is a good butt pat joke and a joke about censored nudity (the downside to this is that while the male players get naked, Leela doesn't). But what I find most interesting about this episode is Leela's dilemma- she's the first female player in major league blurnsball, making her a feminist pioneer. But, as the character Jackie points out, because Leela's so bad, she's actually doing damage to the image of female players. The dilemma becomes more intense when Leela actually has to play against Jackie. Leela has vowed not to become the worst player of all time, but if she does manage to make Jackie strike out, she's again hurting Jackie's image and maybe the general image of female players. Then again, there's an argument to be made that if anyone beats Leela at the end, it should be Jackie.

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Leela plays Blernsball... but not very well!

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
7 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When a Cygnoids family move into the neighbourhood and open a pizzeria the professor isn't impressed to say the least but the others Leela, Fry and Bender decide to give it a try; given that the pizzas contain ingredients like asbestos and live bees! Fry offers to help them improve their pizzas and suggests a friendly game of Blernsball between their pizzeria and Planet Express. Leela pitches for Planet Express and consistently hits the poor Cygnoids in the head! While this makes her a very poor player it quickly draws a crowd who love her 'bean-balls', including the owner of the New New York Mets who signs her on the spot because she is the kind of novelty act that will draw a crowd. She becomes the first ever professional woman to play the game but as expected she continues to hit every batter in the head and she finds fame as the worst player ever! At an autograph signing she is confronted by another woman who hoped to play professionally but feels Leela's failures have made things harder for women; this upsets Leela so she becomes determined to improve... to do this she gets some tips... from the current worst player ever!

Leela has always been one of my favourite characters so it isn't surprising that I rather enjoyed this episode despite not getting all the baseball jokes... you don't need to understand the game to find Leela repeatedly hitting people in the head hilarious! There were plenty of other fun elements to the episode too; I liked the Cygnoids and their terrible pizzas and the black box censorship machine was a good surprise gag. Overall this is a decent episode with some fun gags; it isn't really a classic though.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good episode, but not for me...

Author: netherness_master from United Kingdom
20 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The episode in itself was fine (Leela trying to become a big ball game star, Bender trying to make as much money on the side as possible etc), however I disagreed with the message the episode seemed to give.

It seemed to put emphasis on failure being something to be satisfied about in sport, and the conversation at the end between Leela and the other female player ("Now please, RETIRE...straightaway") seemed to point out that the entire notion of Leela trying to develop herself in sport was pointless and that she shouldn't even try. Others may beg to differ, but I think that sporting adeptness (not necessarily excellence) is something that can be achieved by practically anyone if they are prepared to work as hard as possible on it, and that portraying Leela as a total sporting loser, and (important) her BEING HAPPY WITH IT, was not only pretty unrealistic characterisation (do you think Leela would really be like that?) but also a bit of an affront to many people who try to do well in sport.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this - it's supposed to be comedy, after all - but while I found the first half of the show very good and pretty humorous, for that reason I disliked the second half rather a lot.

That said, I'm a steadfast Futurama fan, and I know there are plenty of great, great episodes out there.

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