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MoonPop: Futurama, "The Series Has Landed" April 20, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in MoonPop.
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This week’s exhibit of moon colonization in pop culture comes courtesy of “Futurama“, the highly entertaining animated program that is the second series from the creators of “The Simpsons“. The general plot and setting of the series revolves around a delivery boy (Fry) who gets accidentally cryogenically frozen in 2000, and wakes up in 3000, only to find himself as a delivery boy again in this far future.

The second episode of the series (after the pilot, and of 72 episodes in the original run) is called “The Series Has Landed” and features comedic musings on the meaning of moon colonization. The events of the episode involve Fry and the crew he ends up with (Planet Express) doing a, to them, routine delivery to the Moon (which of course, blows him away, as he has just barely arrived in this new era and is still getting adjusted).

The crew are bored with the propect of the moon, despite Fry’s enthusiasm for it, as by this point it is basically only inhabited by a corny and artificial theme park. Essentially, the Moon (of such mystery to someone like Fry of our era) has been reduced for the year-3000 era folks to little more than a “big, dull rock” only a hop and a skip (all of two seconds, in the episode) away. Historical signifigance is always a fragile thing, especially when tourists show up.

The idea behind the humor here being that the Moon, which Fry describes as a “romantic, mysterious thing…hanging up in the sky where you could never reach it, no matter how much you wanted to”, could very easily (and probably will) be reduced to commonplace, or something otherwise less than the mystique it carries now. This could actually potentially happen for society within the next 100 years, or sooner, at the rate at which we are progressing; the generation of kids growing up now (and this era in general) has a similar shift in perspective already going.

The episode has Fry getting frustrated with the theme park on the moon (“Great and all, but it’s all just so artifical…you might as well have just stayed on Earth”), and convincing his colleagues to escape with him to the surface, where they promptly get lost, eventually rediscovering the ‘long lost’ original lunar landing site by accident and then getting back home.

Hopelessly lost on the surface, Fry’s captain (Leela) is less than amused by it, though in the end, her seeing an Earthrise with Fry warms her to the idea of the Moon’s value and beauty outside of what her era built on it.

In the end, Leela asks Fry: “So Fry…is the real moon anything like the moon you used to dream about?”

Fry’s response, after their brief adventure on the surface?

“Eh, close enough.” :)

You could say ‘only time will tell’ what the grandchildren of the teens and 20-somethings of today will have as their image of the moon and its experiences, but in reality, we do have some power over this, and it’s largely up to the developers of today to decide what the moon will be like for the folks of tomorrow. :)

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