Futurama (1999–2013)
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The Prisoner of Benda 

The Professor's body swapping experiment produces a result he didn't have in mind.

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Philip J. Fry / Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth / Dr. Zoidberg / Hungarian Midget Robot / Richard Nixon (voice)
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Turanga Leela (voice)
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Bender (voice)
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Linda / Princess Flavia / Washbucket / Big Bertha / Madame Ambassador / Child at UN (voice)
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Morbo / Basil / Fishy Joe / Chainsaw-Eating Robot / Robot Ambassador (voice)
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Amy Wong (voice)
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Storyline

The professor is bored being old and decides to switch bodies with his intern, Amy. When they get tired of the game they decide to switch back, only to discover its not possible to swap with the same person twice. Bender agrees to swap between them to get everyone back in order, but only after he commits the perfect crime. Written by T

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19 August 2010 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Binary on the door to Bender and Fry's apartment translates to "$". See more »

Quotes

Dr. Zoidberg: Switch bodies? I don't see why not. I also don't see why.
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Connections

Featured in Futurama: Fun on a Bun (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A work of demented genius
6 January 2011 | by (Tulsa, Oklahoma) – See all my reviews

As someone who has watched all of the original "Futurama" episodes several times each, I've mostly enjoyed the new episodes while making some allowances for a creative team getting its act together. Some of the episodes were very good, some just OK, none quite up to the level of the best original Fox episodes. As it happens, "The Prisoner of Benda" was the last of the new episodes I had a chance to watch, and it knocked me for a loop!

"Prisoner" makes use of the old science-fictional device of mind-swapping along with the associated themes of making use of the potential for freedom in being someone other than one's self, the discovery of unexpected limitations in one's "new self", and the renewed appreciation of one's previously taken-for-granted advantages. One new wrinkle is the condition that two given minds, once switched, can't be switched back (an inconvenience initially known only to the first two mind-switchers, and discovered by them the hard way). Add to this various personal hangups on the part of the Planet Express crew (does Fry only love Leela for her body? might Zoidberg be less repulsive if he was a human?) and Bender's limitless capacity for troublemaking, and things spin out of control very quickly.

This is perhaps the least predictable "Futurama" episode ever; it keeps adding new surprises and plot twists right up to the end. Among other treats, it includes some sexy "fan-service" bits as well as one scene that can only be described as the very opposite of "fan-service", both to hilarious effect. The episode's tone can turn on a dime, though; some scenes possess unusual emotional depth, including one bizarre, funny and touching scene featuring Scruffy the janitor, usually the series' most enigmatic figure. Remarkably, "Prisoner" stays true throughout to "Futurama"'s well-established characters, maintaining their believability even while putting them through one weird change after another.

I found "Prisoner" the most uproariously funny "Futurama" episode since "Roswell That Ends Well". Both episodes take outrageous delight in stretching the show's continuity fabric beyond previously imaginable limits, and the sustained possibility of breaking the show beyond repair powers the episodes' humor. One reason I've been on the fence with the new episodes of "Futurama" is because episodes like "Roswell" set such a high standard, but now I'm ready to stay with them until they come up with another one. (I just hope we don't have to wait another nine years for one this funny!)


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