Retrosepctive review of Futurama Season 4 Episode #58 - Jurassic Bark

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Moe Maishlish, Aug 26, 2004.

  1. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    Spoilers Ahoy! If you haven't seen this episode yet and don't want it ruined for you, stop here!

    I picked up the Season 4 boxed set of Futurama yesterday, encapsulating most of the episodes that I had not yet had a chance to see.

    First off, let me just say that I absolutely LOVE Futurama - I find it to be a very smart show in terms of it's humor (not sophisticated mind you, but very well written), and it got a few special gems in it that really make the show memorable.

    So tonight I spun up the second Disc of the 4 DVD set, and watched Episode #58 - Jurassic Bark, for the first time.

    The premise of the episode is simple, if not a little silly, but that's never stopped Futurama from making good on it's writing and delivering the laughter in spades. What I didn't expect tonight though was for that laughter to be followed by an emotional chaser! By the end of the episode, I was in tears.

    (Yes, I'm a big softie).

    During an excavation of New New York, the remnants of the old Pizza Parlor in which Fry had worked are uncovered. However unexpectadly, along with the pizza parlor, the fossilized remains of Fry's loyal dog Seymour are discovered. The episodes is scattered with several flashbacks to 1999 & 2000, chronicling the Fry/Seymour relationship. The first of these flashbacks tells us how Fry & Seymour first found each other - as a starving pup on the streets, Fry takes pity on the poor dog and gives him pizza slices from a pie that he couldn't deliver... and with that act of kindness, Seymour's loyalty to Fry is cemented forever. Back in the present... er, future... well, back to Futurama time, Fry finally manages to reclaim the remains of his long-lost-friend, and so begins the attempt to clone his dog, all the while feeding Bender's jealous whims.

    The great jewel of this episode however lies completely in the flashback sequences, and with Seymour, as we learn of how strongly he cares for Fry. The real emotional stuff starts on December 31st, 1999, right before Fry goes out to make his last pizza delivery (this is covered in Episode #1... when he gets cryogenically frozen for 1000 years, etc.). Seymour tries in vain to stop Fry from leaving, but in the end is told "wait here, I'll be back". Of course, when Fry doesn't return, Seymour attempts to solicit the help of Fry's family with no effect. Smart dog that he is, he manages to locate Fry at the cryogenic lab, but is dragged away kicking and screaming (well, barking & whimpering) by Fry's clueless parents.

    By the end of the episode (after some more Futurama style humor), Fry discovers that Seymour actually lived for 12 years after he had last seen him, and decides to give up on the cloning process. "He's lived a long life, and would have forgotten me" Fry says, as they walk away from the cloning machine....

    ...flash back to 2000 & Seymour, waiting on the sidewalk where Fry told him he would meet him. In the background, a song plays - it's lyrics "I will wait for you" play as we follow the remaining 12 years of Seymour's life, waiting on the sidewalk for Fry to Return. The final shot - an old, scrawny, sad looking Seymour, maintaining a hopeless vigil for a best friend who will never come home.

    [​IMG]

    Having been a loving dog-owner (and having lost my dog a couple of years ago), this really hit home & touched a nerve. This episode was so well written, and so emotionally resonant that I couldn't help but post this retrospective review.

    This is, by far, the best episode of Futurama or any animated show that I've ever seen. In fact, this particular episode rivals & puts to shame many live-action drama's on television today. It's a downright crying shame that Fox cancelled this series - what a colossal mistake they made.

    I can honestly say that I would have bought every season boxed set of Futurama had the series continued.

    Moe.
     
  2. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    Personally, this is by far my least favorite episode of "Futurama," probably the only one I really dislike. (Of course, I'm not a "big softie.") I still love this new set, which includes my favorite episode "Less Than Hero."
     
  3. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    I wouldn't say this is Futurama's Best episode. Not by far anyway. Another flashback episode, The Luck of the Fryish, is also way up there.
     
  4. JerryB

    JerryB Extra

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    This is an episode that I love and hate at the same time. I recognize the greatness of the episode, but that ending makes me miserable every time I watch it.
     
  5. GeorgePaul

    GeorgePaul Second Unit

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    Ditto, Jerry. That ending is just too damn sad. It represents a huge and isolated dip in tone from the rest of the series (in James Bond terms, the OHMSS of the series [​IMG] ).
     
  6. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    That's one of my favorite Bond films!

    I really liked this ep and I didn't mind the sad ending.
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i agree that it was the best ep of the series.
    right next to the one were he finds out about his brothers and the 4 leaf clover.

    but this one is tough to make it through the end without feeling bad for the dog.
     
  8. Scott Thomas

    Scott Thomas Second Unit

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    I have to agree with you Moe, the final shot left me with a lump in my throat. The same type of lump that I got at the end of The Iron Giant.

    Its amazing that a light heart sci-fi comedy can have such a hugh impact someone.
     
  9. Moe Maishlish

    Moe Maishlish Supporting Actor

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    The reason I loved this episode so much is because it, literally, pulled the rug out from underneath my feet. The ending is so heart-breaking, but at the same time I recognize the fact that it's heart-breaking because we are made to CARE about a cartoon dog on an animated comedy! How many cartoons can do that?

    At the same time, I don't think I'll be able to revisit this episode like I will any of the others. It's "light-hearted" until the end, when it pulls a complete 180 in tone.


    I'm with you on that one Scott... I always get a lump in my throat in the last few minutes of the Iron Giant...

    "Superman..."

    [​IMG]

    Moe.
     
  10. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

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    Another great episode that manages to woork dramatically is "The Sting." That being the one where Leela insists on going on the mission that got the last crew killed to prove that they're better.
     
  11. Duane Robinson

    Duane Robinson Second Unit

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    Futurama does this from time to time like the time-skip episode where Fry got Leela to fall in love with him and he couldn't figure out why. And when they are about to blow up the stars that were causing the skips in time he sees that he had actually moved the stars themselves to profess his love to Leela. However, he noticed this too late and the stars were blown up before Leela got a chance to see them. I really loved the dog episode and felt really touched by it, moreso than a lot of the "drama" on TV has touched me.

    One thing I didn't like about the episode was that they made Bender into a huge A-hole. Usually, he's self-centered, arrogant, and kind of a jerk but this episode damn near made me hate him. When he threw the dog into the lava just so that Fry could be his best friend again went too far even for Bender. But he redeemed himself by diving for it and barely making it thanks to his tough Dolomite hide. That song at the end and the little montage was really touching though, nearly brought tears to my eyes. And believe me that is a rare occurrence.
     
  12. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Bender's behavior actually is quite in character if you combine his normal "self-centered, arrogant, and kind of a jerk" behavior into the common situation where a pet or child feels it is being replaced when a new pet or new child is introduced into a household. Often, the resident pet/child will get emotionally unstable because of the change and sometime does attempt to cause injury to the object that they feel is "stealing" the attention of their caregivers.
     

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