6.24 Cold Warriors
Normally, I wouldn’t comment on the opening message presented in the Futurama title sequence (which changes every week, in case you hadn’t noticed after a decade), but it happens to be one of the funnier gags – perhaps even the funniest – in the episode.
Now, that’s not to say the gag is particularly funny (it is funny, but not that funny), it’s just that Cold Warriors is rather bereft of laughs in comparison to its brothers and sisters this season. The opening, “We’re following you, but not on Twitter” is never really matched in this Fry-centric, flashback-heavy tale.
It’s odd that we would be confronted with another “past” episode so soon after last week’s excellent Tip Of The Zoidberg. It’s slightly frustrating, too, as the previous instalment fulfills the need for both story and laughs, whereas Cold Warriors does neither. Comparisons have to made, though I am loathe to do so (preferring to rate an episode on its own merits), with the other Fry episodes (and both utterly perfect), Luck Of The Fryish and the award-winning Jurassic Bark.
Phillip J has managed to bring back the common cold back to New New York, leading to Planet Express being quarantined and then the whole city (in a scene reminiscent of Springfield being domed in The Simpsons Movie), and his past seems to be the only way to uncover a cure.
The flashbacks concentrate on Fry and his father Yancy, where we find the younger versions of the future delivery boy being treated somewhat harshly, and we also discover that he has a scientist nemesis at school (like Farnsworth and Wernstrom). Fry has entered Nerd Search 1988 with his experiment: his hamster, whom he has infected with the common cold to see if the sun’s rays can eliminate the disease.
It’s a tightly packed tale, following the footsteps very closely of the previous flashback stories, and it is wonderful to see Fry’s family life again. The added Back To The Future gag, with a certain Barack Obama working in his pizza parlour is a a treat, but the episode doesn’t work when compared to the episodes it so obviously apes.
Cold Warriors might not be a very good Futurama episode (it’s not), but it’s a testament to the show that even its lesser offerings are still worth watching, and capable of raising a laugh or two along the way. That’s more than you can say about most of the output on television these days.
Read our review of episode 23, The Tip Of The Zoidberg, here.