6.19 Yo Leela Leela
Wait a minute, did he just say “Glasgow, Scotland”? Yes, he did, but more of this geographic oddity later. And, don’t worry, just because this is a Leela episode it, doesn’t mean that the season’s gone all wobbly on the quality front.
The ‘bed wetter of building D’ is invited back to her old stomping ground, the Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanage, where the one-eyed beauty finds she can’t entertain the kids. This inspires the Planet Express pilot to create her own children’s story featuring The Humplings from Rumbledy-Hump. This leads to a television deal with Tickleodeon after the CEO, Abner Doubledeal, sees how much the kids love her story.
But only after he’s subjected the youngsters to a taster for his channel’s shows, such as Popular Slut Club(great name for a band, by the way), Captain Mega Meat and Bottomless Boy(a less than subtle, though still funny dig at fast food marketing at kids) andExtreme Toddler Wrestling. This last entry was where the words “Glasgow, Scotland” appeared (though they’ve amusingly pronounced it as spelt, sounding the “w” as opposed to normal “Glas-go”).
The episode title, Yo Leela Leela, is, as you may have surmised, a reference to US kids’ show Yo Gabba Gabba! which Leela’sRumbledy-Humpis a parody of (not unlike the UK’s In The Night Garden or Teletubbies). The Humplings deal with moralities, such as singing about the “ninety-eight words they don’t say” (like “penis” and “gay”). The twist comes when Leela’s inspiration is brought to light.
Futurama has, throughout its time, displayed some hilarious and, dare I say, satirical volleys at television. 2003’s Bender Should Not Be Allowed On TV, for example, showed the makers’ contempt for the industry they worked in, as the series came to its first end. Here, the trope returns with statements like, “We all know any TV show that’s even slightly good gets cancelled, sometimes two or three times,” whilst also acknowledging the demographics of children’s shows with, “It looks so cruddy their ironic, hipster parents will love it.”
The lessons for kids and moralities, not a new facet of kids’ TV, it should be noted, are addressed too, most notably when Leela, after her attempt at redemption, finds everyone involved is better off, despite the dubious intervention of reality TV. A wonderful comment.
Yo Leela Leela is most definitely in the meta category of Futurama episodes, and whilst not as scathing or defined as similarly-themed stories, it’s still incredibly relevant and thoughtful. The laughs aren’t as numerous as previous instalments this year, but you will hoot at the incestuous tone of the aforementioned Popular Slut Club.
Read our review of episode 18, Silence Of The Clamps, here.