Finally continuing my series on existing canonical trans representation, this week we’re going to look at Futurama.
I’m not entirely sure how you could miss Futurama; it’s one of those pop culture icons that you can learn about even if you aren’t a direct fan. But if you slept from 1999 until now, here are the basics: Futurama is an animated sci-fi adventure show and sitcom created by Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), and revolving around the intergalactic delivery company “Planet Express.” It has a LARGE recurring cast, but the core cast consists of Leela, a kung-fu cyclops space pilot, Fry, a delivery boy cryogenically frozen in 1999, and Bender, a shiftless, alchohol, kleptomaniac robot.
Episodes run the gamut from comedy to heart-wrenching beauty (I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t cry at the end of “Jurassic Bark”), and the humor itself is anywhere from topical and witty to horrendously outdated. The cast is fairly diverse, though the minority members range wildly between episodes from well-developed characters to shallow stereotypes. Likewise, gender representation on the show can be anything from thoughtful examination to painful, thoughtless stereotypes.
Unfortunately, the one place Futurama consistently shoots for the lowest common denominator is trans representation.
This is Leslie’s biggest production yet, and it’s the happiest day of the year. Ladies celebrating ladies, making new friends, and exchanging cheesy gifts. Leslie puts Alex and Ann in charge of the craft corner, with only semi-disastrous results. April and Cece sneak out with the alcohol, and Penny and Donna can’t stop gossipping. Mindy and Liz feel like they’ve found a kindred spirit in each other, and Britta’s never met anyone as encouraging as Jess. Annie’s got a new role model in Leslie, and Shirley and Jane are exchanging business secrets. Everything is awesome.