This review contains spoilers.
7.5 Zapp Dingbat
Though you might be getting excited at the titular hint at the return of a certain awesome Space Captain, you’d best recalibrate your expectations, as this week’s instalment is a actually a Leela story.
Despite a scene featuring the one-eyed goddess almost naked and looking for some rumpy-pumpy (calm down, Internet), Zapp Dingbat is emotionally concerned with the Planet Express pilot and her mutant parents (bloody emotions!).
The gang visit the Turangas as the couple celebrate their 40th anniversary only to find that all is not well within the marriage, leading to a rather hasty divorce. Her mother, Munda, who studied exolinguistics at University, and her father Morris, who wanted to surf the sewers of the world as a youth, find their passions have driven them apart.
Enter Zapp Brannigan, all velour and faux pas. In a scene not dissimilar to a moment from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, whilst simultaneously taking place in a Star Wars cantina parody (which is smirksome rather than hilarious), the Kirk-a-like conducts a linguistic boo-boo with a race of shark-like aliens, the Carcarons, sparking an intergalactic incident.
Thankfully, Munda is on hand to help out, resulting in Zapp taking a romantic interest in the tentacled mutant, much to her daughter’s disgust. After a brief dalliance, Leela’s mother becomes his translator, traveling through space with him whilst her ex surfs the sewers of the world. Both dreams fulfilled.
As you can perhaps tell, this isn’t vintage Futurama. At times, it’s predictable (not in a good way) and feels very familiar (and not particularly funny) – though it’s gratifying to see the mutant world revisited again.
Whilst not quite applying the brakes to the current run, in terms of quality, Zapp Dingbat is pleasing but like many Leela stories, a bit too involved. The laughs are there, though not as plentiful as normal, with the story overriding all and, given it’s been such a staple of many sitcoms previously, feels a little flat in the world of Futurama.