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The Telefile
<i>Futurama</i> is Back With More Ass And Less Shiny Metal

Is there anything better on this Earth than having your favorite TV show brought back from the cancellation graveyard? Of course not! In fact, when we were immediately presented with Hypnotoad in the premiere's cold open, it felt downright good. And hearing Bender make fun of both Fox and Comedy Central served as a hilarious tribute to all of us crazy fans who rallied enough Futurama support to get the show resurrected. But if I had to describe the rest of "Rebirth" and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela" in one word, it would be -- of all things -- "sexy."

Really, what was up with all of the raunchiness in these episodes? I'm all for a few throw-away giggles over Zapp Brannigan's immature innuendos or a scene where Bender "objectifies" robot strippers, but "In-A-Gadda-Da-Leela" was inundated with lewd one-liners and naked cartoon flesh. The biggest problems with the sex stuff are that it felt like a cheap way to bring in the cable TV audience, and that it seemed to replace the usually well-crafted science jokes and deceptively complex comedic structure that made the series worth being obsessed with in the first place. The only laugh-out-loud moment was when Bender told Fry: "I haven't felt much of anything since my guinea pig died." It reminded us that the characters are multidimensional and that the writers have more to say than "sex is hilarious!"

A few gags were fun, like watching Zapp cowardly cringe every time Leela caught him in a lie. But then there were other gags -- for example, when Leela screamed through the entirety of her routine day after learning she was a robot -- that felt more like an easy Family Guy joke than a complicated and quirky Futurama thing.

It seems like the writers stopped trusting our intelligence. For one, we've already seen both plotlines before. A character meeting their robot twin? See: Bender and Flexo in "The Lesser of Two Evils." Leela in a coma? Done in season four's "The Sting." The Earth is doomed unless the team can save it? Well, no complaining there, as doomsday is pretty much a Futurama character at this point. But even though these stories were familiar, it was in their executions that they disappointed the most. The pacing was slow and the action was minimal. I want to see the gang visit a strange new planet and fight new species and interact with more heads of dead celebrities. And, unfortunately, the quality of the show's animation is noticeably worse than before. Again, it's something I wouldn't have minded if the jokes and plotlines were still there, but all together, it felt like a downgrade.

I'm crossing my fingers that the shaky start was just a fluke and that Futurama will settle back into its awesome self next week. Generally speaking, it's great to have the show back. I've missed my Planet Express friends, and as long as they stop having sex with each other, I'll stick around for the next 24 episodes.

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