Godfellas is the eighth episode of the fourth season of Futurama, and the fifty-first episode overall. This is an absolutely Bender-centric episode with little of a Fry/Leela b-plot. When Planet Express is caught in the sights of space pirates, Bender is accidentally shot into space. But, after it seems most lonely, a civilization begins to grow on Bender and worship him as if he were a god.
The episode opens with Fry and Leela in space when they're suddenly confronted with a band of ravenous space pirates out to loot their ship. The battle wakes Bender and, unable to get back to sleep, he begrudgingly attempts to sleep in a torpedo tube instead. But, midbattle Fry fires Bender out of the tube (not knowing he was in it), destroying the pirate ship but also losing Bender to the vastness of space because the Planet Express Ship was moving at full speed when they shot Bender out of the tube. As Bender floats through space, he's caught in a meteor shower where a chunk of rock inhabited by tiny people is imbedded into Bender's torso.
Bender gives unto his new followers a set of commandments (just one, "God Needs Booze") and watches them lead their simple lives. Back on Earth, Fry is attempting to use the smelloscope to find Bender, but his scent is too mild and is being overpowered by ranker things in the universe (i.e. Zoidberg). Amy and Hermes attempt to cheer Fry up by getting him a new, inferior, friend named Helper. Meanwhile in space, Bender witnesses what his demands for alcohol have done to his civilization; Many of his followers were maimed building the brewery and the liquor business brought the rise to organized crime. Bender cries for his people, causing a massive flood that washes away Malachi's son. When Bender saves him, his followers begin to pray, but all of their prayers are met with disaster when Bender attempts to interfere too much. Fry, fed up with feeling helpless, goes to do something desperate and crazy—he seeks assistance from the church. The father offers no help, so he goes to a coin operated gypsy who tells him about a sect of monks who spend their lives searching for God with a high powered telescope. In space, Malachi warns Bender of the civilization on his backside plotting war against the faithful society on the front because their prayers are going unanswered. Bender decides to let things unfold without his meddling. This results in the ultimate destruction of both societies due to the nuclear materials they discovered and used for weaponry.
On Earth, Fry and Leela travel through the Himalayas to find the monestary where the monks are searching for God, as the Gypsy said. In space, Bender laments over the loss of his people, but stumbles upon a galaxy signalling him in binary. He floats closer to find that the galaxy also speaks English and may be a galactic computer or God or a space probe that collided with God. The two talk about Bender's experience as God and the galaxy's philosophy. In the monestary, Leela and Fry threaten the monks into letting them use their telescope to look for Bender. Fry eventually gives up, giving the telescope one last spin, managing to send out one final prayer (without him menting to) that he wishes he had Bender back. The galaxy hurls Bender back to Earth, they free the monks and the episode ends with the Galaxy saying, again, "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."
Alien Language Sightings
- No alien letters make an appearance in this episode.
- 2x20 - Anthology of Interest I: The music that plays when Fry says that Bender "always wanted to drift but through the American southwest" is the same music that plays when Bender dies at the end of the first Anthology segment.
- 4x12 - Insane In The Mainframe: An offhand reference is made to Bender's desire to be emperor and his fondness for Napoleon. Bender first dressed as Napoleon in the robot insane asylum episode.
- Opening Caption: Please Turn Off All Cell Phones And Tricorders
- Coolio: Coolio is on the coin Bender drops onto his civilization because he was so enjoyable to work with on previous episodes (Coolio appeared as Kwanzaabot in A Tale Of Two Santas).
- God: The galaxy that may or may not be God is actually voiced by Billy West. The voice he does is inspired by Vic Perrin, the announcer for Outer Limits.
Behind the Scenes
- Writers Guild Awards: Ken Keeler won the WGA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Writing at the 55th Annual Writers Guild Awards on March 9th, 2003.
- Piano Man: The piano being played early in the episode is not musical director Christopher Tyng but is actually writer and executive producer, Ken Keeler. The song he plays is Polonaise in C Minor by Chopin.
- Shelved: This episode was originally scheduled to air January 13, 2002.
- Cut Scene: Originally Bender was going to have a dream about being a rock star. The idea was that Bender has a drop down menu for dreams and the one for being a rock star is a square with a guitar that says "Yeah, yeah yeah" and then "Dream Over." However, it was cut at the animatic stage. The same segment was to be included in The Honking, but was also cut.
- Cut Scene: While Bender was floating through space, he was originally supposed to visit The Little Prince's asteroid where the prince would fire at him.
- Fun With Censorship: The brewery was changed from "Godweiser" to "Lordweiser" in order to appease the censor and some FOX executives.
- Original Concept: The episode originally only had Bender floating through space for the first act, the rest of the episode was going to be a Lrr and Ndnd fighting story that was reused for a later episode (5x12 - Spanish Fry).
Allusions and References
- Goodfellas: The episode title is a parody of the movie Goodfellas.
- Pioneer: The symbols Bender engraves into his chest is the same drawing used on the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts.
- The Little People: Several references to the Twilight Zone episode, The Little People, are made. The episode was about a man who becomes the God of a race of tiny people. This was also the basis of a Treehouse of Horror segment in The Simpsons called The Genesis Tub.
- The Nine Billion Names of God: The idea of the Tibetan monestary using science to search for God is a nod to the book by Arthur C. Clarke, The Nine Billion Names of God. In the novel,
- Namgyal: The name of the shirpa who leads Fry and Leela to the monks in the Himalayas is never revealed in the episode but in the script he's designated "Namgyal." Namgyal was the original given name of Tenzing Norgay, the shirpa who was the first to reach the peak of Everest with Edmund Hillary.
- Bender tending to his society of people living on his body.
- Fry and Leela searching for Bender at the monestary through a telescope.
- Bender's conversation with God/The Galaxy.
- Fry: So that's my story Father Changstein el Gamahl. Is there anything religion can do to help me find my friend?
Priest: Well, we could join together in prayer.
Fry: Uh-huh but is there anything useful we can do?
- Fry: Aw c'mon, you guys have forever to look for God. All I'm asking is one measley lifetime to find my friend.
Monk #2: He speaks out of love for his friend. Perhaps that love in his heart is God!
Monk #1: Oh how convenient. A theory about God that doesn't require looking through a telescope. Get back to work!
- Bender: You know, I was God once.
Galaxy: Yes, I saw. You were doing well until everyone died.
- Galaxy: Bender, being God isn't easy, if you do too much, people get dependent. And if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch, like a safecracker or a pickpocket.
Bender: Or a guy who burns down the bar for the insurance money.
Galaxy: Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing.
- Galaxy: When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.
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