Saturday, September 7, 2013

Top 25 Supporting Characters in 'Futurama'

It's been an interesting journey for the Planet Express crew in the 31st Century. Beginning on Fox in 1999, by creator Matt Groening ('The Simpsons') 'Futurama' lasted 5 seasons, originally cancelled in 2003. The show would live on through four direct-to-video feature lengths ('Bender's Big Score', 'The Beast with a Billion Backs', 'Bender's Game' and 'Into the Wild Green Yonder'). Comedy Central would resurrect the series in 2010 giving 'Futurama' a little more room to breathe, without the FCC pressure on network television. This "rebirth" was quite a success as it ran for 52 episodes, ultimately ending in it's second cancellation just last week. With the series concluded (again) I want to take a look back over the past 140 episodes and remember some of the lesser known characters that made us laugh throughout the years.

"The Top 25 Best Supporting Character's in 'Futurama'"

Before I begin, this is In Memoriam to the fallen Planet Express crew:

(Left to Right)
Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth
Doctor John A. Zoidberg
Turanga Leela
Bender Bending Rodriguez
Philip J. Fry
Amy Wong
Hermes Conrad

We will all dearly miss the Planet Express crew, and this post should not take away from the greatness of the main cast. They were the heart and soul of the show. Their exploits and adventures were what kept us coming back. Their relationships and lives are what kept us interested. But, it is certainly safe to say that without the following list of characters, some of the greatest 'Futurama' moments would have never existed. This is a salute to the characters we may not have seen much (some only once) but when we did, they left their mark.

All the following characters are great, though this is how entertaining I find them.

#25 Reverend Lionel Preacherbot

He is your stereotypical Southern Evangelist. Leader of the Church of Robotology. He is an active opponent of Robosexuality (the love between a robot and a human) but is secretly a Robosexual himself.

#24 Joey Mousepad

Part of the Donbot's Robot Mafia, Joey Mousepad is your typical big, dumb, tough-guy Italian mobster; voice, mannerisms and style included (mousepad/mouse gold chain necklace).

Memorable Quotes:
"Yo! There's our pigeon now. Let's shoot bullets out of our guns."
"Yo! The Mafia supports you. But don't tell no one. Spread the word."

#23 Leonardo da Vinci

Leonard da Vinci was featured in the episode "The Duh-Vinci Code". It was revealed that da Vinci was actually an alien from the Planet Vinci, where he was ridiculed for being the dumbest man on the planet. He traveled to Earth and became the most genius inventor of our time; to which he finally traveled back to his home world when he could not handle the stupidity of the "Earthicans" anymore. He later created a doomsday machine on Vinci in which Fry would thwart, Fry-style. Da Vinci would accidentally die by being crushed by his own machine. (This is historical fact)*

#22 Tinny Tim 

'Futurama's' take on the classic "A Christmas Carol" character, Tiny Tim. Tinny Tim is a robot that is actually programmed to be a poor beggar. He walks with a limp and cane and is also the center of much verbal abuse from those around him, most notably Bender.

#21 Sal  

Sal is the blue collar worker of the 'Futurama' universe. He is seen throughout the series as having various jobs such as: janitor, truck driver, bus driver, maintenance man, construction worker. He lives in New New York and is the stereotypical 20th century New Yorker, often using "S's" where they don't belong.

#20 Elzar

This character really dates this show. Elzar is of course 'Futurama's' equivalent of Emeril Lagasse, world famous chef, whose cooking show was a hit sensation in the early 2000's. Elzar emulates every essence of Emeril, from his signature catch phrases "Kick it up a notch, Bam!" to his show "The Essence of Elzar" and his love of spices (with a weasel). Elzar was the perfect satirical version of one of the time's most well known celebrities.

#19 Donbot 

The leader of the Robot Mafia, the Donbot is exactly what he is. The Don Bot. He is your Vito Corleone, Tony Soprano and Al Capone of robots; a fat Italian that runs a crime syndicate.

#18 Scruffy

Scruffy is the unseen and uncared about Janitor of the Planet Express crew. He is primarily known for his avoidance of doing anything related to his actual job.

#17 Hedonism Bot 

Hedonism Bot is a lessened down version of the famous Roman Emperor Caligula who was known for his Hedonistic ways. Hedonism Bot is programmed to love food, wine and sex, especially orgies. He is pictured as your stereotypical fat, lazy, arrogant Caesar who must never be disagreed with.

#16 Robot Santa

This is every child's nightmare. Programmed to have such insanely high judgment, it is near-impossible to make the "nice list" and those who don't must prepare to die. Combined with Kwanzaa-Bot and Chanukah Zombie, they form the Holy Trinity.

#15 Pazuzu 

Pazuzu is the gargoyle in which Professor Farnsworth owned and put through college. He was granted his freedom for saving the Professor's life, and is now bound to grant the Professor 3 wishes. This shows off the very outside the box creative writing from the 'Futurama' staff.

#14 Hyper-Chicken

Hyper-Chicken! The stereotypical Southern attorney, you know, the kind that is always given the voice of Colonel Sanders from the Louisiana bayou.

 "Pramela" Haha.


#13 Famous Heads 

This one is kind of a cheat. Basically any notable celebrity was featured as a preserved head in this show; including every President of the United States. Their presence on the show was one of the many ways 'Futurama' could stay within our time and be relevant to current events, while still being set 1000 years into the future. Notable Heads include: Leonard Nimoy, George Takei, Al Gore, Conan O'Brien, Sylvester Stallone, William Shatner, Napolean, David Duchovny and probably a hundred more.

#12 Richard Nixon 

Speaking of the Famous Heads, I did mention that all of the President's were featured. The most prominent being that of our 37th President, Richard Nixon. Nixon is the President of Earth in this imagining of the 31st Century, and he is crazier than ever. A perfect use of one of America's most criticized and scandalous Presidents. He is often scrutinized by popular culture for being almost dictator like, having also had a much more serious comparable role in 'Watchmen'. I think Nixon gets a bad rap, he wasn't that bad guys.

#11 Headless Body of Spiro Agnew 

I find this character absolutely hysterical and smart. Richard Nixon's actual Vice President Spiro Agnew is once again his Vice President of Earth. However, Spiro dies during his time as Earth VP and is left a headless monster in the vain of Frankenstein. Even without a head, he is still capable of making Frankenstein types grunts.

#10 Zapp Brannigan 

The most cocky, self-assured General of the Democratic Order of the Planets and Captain of the Nimbus. In reality he is one of the dumbest and weakest men in the world. A self-obsessed ladies man, he is also one of the series most popular and most featured characters.

#9 Hypnotoad 

Hyptnotoad is constantly...hypnotizing. With the power to hypnotize anybody and everyone at once, the Hypnotoad could be the most powerful being in the 31st Century. He is also a highly recognizable public figure having many shows and TV appearances in the 'Futurama' world.

#8 The Harlem Globetrotters

Featured in, perhaps, my favorite episode of 'Futurama' ever, "Time Keeps on Slippin'", the Harlem Globetrotters, living on the Globetrotter Homeworld, are not only the Universe's best basketball players; they are also some of the greatest scientific minds.

#7 Nibbler 

Nibbler is not only the cutest member of the Planet Express crew but also the oldest and most wisest. Nibbler was introduced as Leela's pet, and as the series went on, his deep and rich history was revealed. He is a member of the Nibblonian race; one of the Universe's oldest. He is one of the most interesting characters with a very developed background.

#6 Roberto

The criminally insane robot who is constantly trying to stab anyone in his way. He is one of the most comedic characters in the shows diverse history.

#5 Calculon

The over-acting, over-confident actor. Calculon was one of the greatest robot actors of all-time, starring on the hit show, "All My Circuits". However horrible his acting may be, unbeknownst to him, he does deliver the finest acting performance of his career in the series final season episode, "Calculon 2.0". You also have to love his very Shatner-esque dramatic pause.

#4 Robot Devil (Beelzebot) 

The Robot Devil is one of the series best creations. He is the ruler of Robot Hell and he is a notorious gambler who thinks of unique and creative ways to punish his robot souls. He is featured throughout the series, which are some of the best episodes of all time.

#3 Lrrr 

The overlord of Planet Omicron Persei 8. Lrrr has a desire to conquer all planets and has an affinity for 20th Century Earthican TV. In reality, he is a divorced and re-married father of Ndnd and notorious couch potato. His violent temper and outrage at the events of his favorite television shows consistently provokes him to attack Earth.

#2 Francis X. Clampazzo (Clamps) 

This is one of my favorite characters on the show because, as you can see, I clearly like my 'Futurama' as satirical and stereotypical as possible. This may be one of the most over-the-top characters on the show and I love him for it. The angry and small, but fierce and crazy, member of the Robot Mafia, Clamps is the equivalent to Joe Pesci in 'Goodfellas' or 'Casino'. He is always looking to clamp somebody for the Donbot.

#1 Morbo the Annihilator

'Futurama's' most beloved news anchor, who openly and outwardldy wants to kill them all and take over their planet. His news reports are filled with disgust and hatred towards the Earthicans and I think it's some of the funniest stuff 'Futurama' has ever done. I love this character, and I hope we have not seen the last of him.

Is this really the end for 'Futurama'? History says, "No" and I think they might be right. As the Series Finale said from the title card, "Avenge Us". It is confirmed we will see the Planet Express crew again on an upcoming episode of 'The Simpsons' this season and something tells me we might see them showing up on Fox in a time slot of their own again. Only the future knows.

Can you name them all?

*This is not historical fact, idiot.

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