Futurama: Season 6, Episode 14

Neutopia (23 Jun. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Animation | Comedy | Sci-Fi
7.2
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To avoid an imminent bankruptcy, the "Planet Express" is converted into an airline company, but on its the first flight the airliner crash-lands on a strange planet.

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Title: Neutopia (23 Jun 2011)

Neutopia (23 Jun 2011) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
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Turanga Leela (voice)
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Bender / Sal (voice)
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Small Rock Alien / The Borax Kid (voice)
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Amy Wong (voice)
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Hermes Conrad (voice)
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Scruffy / Falaffel Salesman / Rock Alien (voice)
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Storyline

To prevent the imminent bankruptcy of the "Planet Express", the crew tries to make a bikini calendar using the female employees (much to Leela and Amy's dismay), but there are too few females to fill all the months. Then, they convert "Planet Express" into an airline company "Plan-Am". Due to Professor's chauvinism, women are made flight attendants, and men become pilots, even though Leela is the only capable pilot. This eventually causes the ship to crash on some planet, where the survivors are hopelessly locked in the battle of the sexes. The fighting attracts the attention of the local inhabitant - a rock creature with incredible powers. The creature proposes a series of tests to determine which gender is superior, but when both groups fail the tests, it concludes that gender is redundant altogether, and strips everyone of their sex characteristics. Not distracted by sex issues anymore, the survivors are able to create a perfect society - the Neutered Utopia (Neutopia), but after a... Written by Dimitry Rotstein

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23 June 2011 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Trivia

One of the rock aliens is called the Borax Kid, whose white color and physical appearance matches that of the boron-based mineral called borax. See more »

Quotes

Zapp Brannigan: I got your distress call and came here as soon as I wanted to.
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Connections

References Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tries to do too much in its' short runtime, but it does have its' moments.
24 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This review may contain spoilers *** 'Neutopia' brings the show round back to one of its' favourite topics - gender. It starts off with the Planet Express crew in dire straits as they have to pay off an 11 million bill, and of course they have no money. So the men force the few women in the crew (Leela, Amy and Hermes' wife LaBarbara), to pose for a sexy calender, which they hope to sell millions with. The women of course feel angry about being forced to strip and be seen as sex objects, kicking off the gender war which carries through most of the episode. When the calender fails, the professor steals Leela's idea of turning their ship into a intergalactic plane service. When they put Fry and Hermes in charge of flying the plane, instead of the far more capable Leela, the plane crashes on an unknown planet.

On this planet the crew (and the passengers) encounter a strange rock alien who does not understand gender, and in trade for its help they must complete certain tests it puts upon them. When the genders fail to work together and complete the tests, the alien then thinks the only way to save them from their gender conflict is for each gender to have their genitals removed and be neutral, which it proceeds to do. As a neutral party, the newly neutered crew work together very well, with no gender differences and tension in sight. However Hermes and LaBarbara are angry that they cannot have sex, and return to the alien and demand it to change them back. The alien reluctantly agrees and attempts to put their genders back in place, however it does it wrong and both the female and male characters have swapped genders. Before it can correct its mistake Zapp Brannigan appears and kills the alien. The crew have no choice but to go back to Earth as the opposite genders.

That is the general plot line, so does this episode hold a candle to the classic 'Futurama' episodes. In a word, no. That is not to say the episode is bad, it's just that it is not as good as it could have been. One of the problems is, we have been on this particular subject of gender war before, and done much better i.e. 'Amazon Women in the Mood'. Many of the gender jokes just feel like old hat, such as the women seeing visions of clothe shops in the desert, and the men not asking for directions when they are hopelessly lost. Also it seems most of the characters have taken a step backward in development. Such as the men being highly sexist at work towards the women, forcing them to pose for a sexy calender, and not letting Leela drive the plane-ship because "women don't drive airlines", even though everyone knows Leela is by far the most competent of the lot and drives the ship most of the time. It just seems really out of character for these characters who we have known for many years now.

The second problem is the episode tries to do far too much in its short runtime. The gender swapping part, which was what everyone thought would be the main plot line, is crammed into the last 5 minutes. The amount of potential for this sequence is wasted, and it came too late into the story. Also the episode spent far too much time with Hermes and LaBarbara (the two least interesting characters), who were put at the centre of the whole gender conflict. Why were these two the focus when they could have had Fry and Leela? It would have been amazing to see Leela as a man, romancing Fry as a woman. The episode should have been split into two parts with the first part being them stuck on the desert planet but stretched over the whole runtime, and the second being about the gender swap. The fact the season premiere is 2 episodes back to back, just makes it seem like this is how it should have been.

However I've whined too much, there is still a fair bit to like in 'Neutopia'. The episode still cracks with the energy that was present in the older episodes. The part where all the characters were neutered was quite original, and made me chuckle. Also the last sequence where the characters swapped genders was hilarious and grotesque in the short amount of time it was on. The photo shoot at the end was one of the funniest bits in Futurama I have seen for a while. There were also some great nods to fan fiction, with the gender swapping, and Fry Amy and Leela sleeping together (even though they were neutered). My favourite line from the episode was "Thank god our fans are such huge perverts!", as funny as it is true.

'Neutopia' is an annoying episode, because it felt like it could have been so much more, but at the same time it was quite entertaining. There were some great bits here and there, but the over-filled storyline and the lame gender jokes weighed it down a bit. They should have split it into two parts, or just concentrated on the gender swap completely. Here is hoping the later episodes are true classics!


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