reasons why futurama is so great and is so important to so many of us
- philip j fry is our protagonist. he is mentally ill and pansexual (both of which are canon). we watch him develop from an irresponsible “loser” who has nothing to a semi-responsible man with an entire family in the form of the planet express crew. he isn’t a typical science fiction male hero - he always has to be saved, he messes everything up, he hardly does his job, but his saving grace is the fact that he is kind. and fry’s kindness is what endears everyone on the show to him. he is the most important person in the universe even though his mind constantly tells him that he’s a nothing who has no one. (this message has helped me through so many difficult times). also, the beauty in a mentally ill queer character getting the happiest of endings imaginable puts futurama leagues ahead of every other show ever.
- turanga leela. EVERYTHING about her. she’s a disabled orphan who grew up bullied and literally had to go through everything alone. when we meet her, time and time again, she chooses her own destiny. the first episode starts with her quitting her boring job to be the best space pilot in the galaxy. leela is the strongest person on the show and is the closest thing to a superhero that the show has. she’s an intersectional feminist, stands up for the rights of minorities and animals. hell, she literally leads a revolution to get the mutants equal rights. one other thing that i want to note is that the animators wanted her nose smaller bc they didn’t think female characters should have big noses, but legend matt groening fought to keep it the size it was.
- matt groening also specifically created the character of amy wong to break the stereotype that only men can do slapstick. amy continuously breaks stereotypes. she’s a genius and has a phd, but she’s also ditzy. she’s promiscuous, she’s a party girl. her parents are emotionally abusive and she deals with an eating disorder. she’s also an asian woman who’s a lead character!! what other mainstream cartoon has done that?
- hermes conrad could’ve been the stereotypical token black character who only comes in once in a while to say “sassy” lines but he’s not. he’s a proud jamaican who’s a proud bureaucrat, a former olympic champion, and an amazing husband and father. and then we see the beautiful story of how he saved bender as a baby and it just makes you love him anymore.
- this last point isn’t about the characters, but about one of the most clear main messages of the show, which fry says in bender’s big score: “i want what’ll make you happy, not what’ll make me happy.” not only does it destroy the nice guy trope in that instance, but it’s used in so many other great situations. bender giving up a relationship with his son so that his son can achieve his dreams, leela’s parents giving up a life with her so that she can have a better life. unconditional selfless love is presented to us time and time again and it’s such an important message