It’s Xmas Time Amok as holiday horror comes early to Hulu this year. Futurama season 11 episode 6, “I Know What You Did Next Xmas,” was written by Ariel Ladensohn and directed by Crystal Chesney-Thompson.
Xmas season has arrived in New New York City. A gentle snow falls on the Planet Express building. Inside the control tower, Amy Wong (Lauren Tom) holds Newt as they put the Hypnotoad atop the Xmas tree. Meanwhile, Kif Kroker (Maurice LaMarche) and Mandy (Tom) add ornaments, one of which features Morbo’s head. The fireplace is decorated with stockings for the crew and more, including “Nibbler’s Worms” (see: “Parasites Regained”) and three extra stockings on Amy’s for Newt, Mandy, and Axel (LaMarche).
Bender Bending Rodriguez (John DiMaggio) sits on the floor and draws a picture as Hubert Farnsworth (Billy West) enjoys a pipe. Farnsworth says, “Ah, Xmas season is upon us. Secure the perimeter!” Philip Fry (West) and Turanga Leela (Katey Sagal) place Xmas razor lights on the PlanEx building’s widow’s walk before activating Gingerbread House shielding. A gumdrop identifies an owl as an intruder and bops it away.
Inside, Bender and Hermes Conrad (Phil LaMarr) roll the familiar shield into place in front of the fireplace. John Zoidberg (West) observes someone left an Xmas card in Bender’s stocking. The card reads, “I know what you did next Xmas!” Bender dismisses it as random. But Zoidberg wonders what Bender “will have done, and who could possibly will have known about it.” Bender says he does a lot of stuff and tosses the card onto a pile that includes a summons, a final warning, and a wanted poster featuring him (Bender). Ominous music plays.
“Hive Mind Says Relax”
In the PlanEx break room, the Wong-Kroker family settles in to watch an Xmas special. They’re joined by Fry. “There’s a Holiday for Everyone” (sponsored by Mom’s Old Fashioned Blood Remover, now in oatmeal spice) stars Kwanzaabot (Coolio) and Chanukah Zombie (Mark Hamill). A trio of children demand to hear the story of Robot Santa (DiMaggio) rather than learn about Kwanzaa or Chanukah. Kwanzaabot and Chanukah Zombie sigh and dump their respective holiday symbols into a trash can.
The pair explain that the ancient tradition of Xmas began in 2801. The Friendly Robot Company developed a high-powered mechanical Santa. They gave him a naughty/nice sensor, allowing him to determine who deserved gifts and who deserved brutal punishment. Kwanzaabot points out this might have been the first mistake. But on Robot Santa’s first delivery, his naughty/nice sensor malfunctioned. As a result, he viciously attacked the families who had hoped to be greeted with festive gifts.
Amy and Kif move to cover Axel, Mandy, and Newt’s eyes. Amy tells them she never wanted them to know Santa was real. The eyes of all three (and Fry) fill with tears. Later on, Fry, Leela, Amy, Zoidberg, Bender, and Hermes board up the control tower windows. Farnsworth enters and announces he knows how to fix Santa. He says it’s just a matter of sneaking up on him and reversing the polarity of his naughty/nice sensor.
Leela says the plan is impossible since Robot Santa is always on guard against attacks (like her). As such it is impossible to sneak up on him. Farnsworth says you can’t sneak up on him in space, but you probably can through time. Since Santa’s only on guard against attacks from the present, Farnsworth has been upgrading the time machine from “The Late Philip J. Fry.” He plans to travel back in time to 2801 and sneak up on Santa during his first delivery. As it happens, it took place at the PlanEx building. However, back then, it was a (literal) meat market.
Farnsworth explains that once he arrives in 2801 he’ll reverse the polarity of Santa’s naughty/nice sensor and return to the present. To minimize the chance of anyone becoming their own grandfather, Farnsworth will travel through time alone. Unfortunately, he backs over Mrs. Magilicutty’s time cat on the way out.
As Farnsworth travels back in time, the screen shows glimpses of earlier in “I Know What You Did Next Xmas,” scenes of the crew using the Smell-o-Scope, and scenes from “The Day the Earth Stood Stupid” and “Put Your Head on my Shoulders” pass by. Also, it seems like Farnsworth left that Xmas garland up for about 22 years. Farnsworth munches on a baloney and cheese sandwich.
Xmas Time Amok
Kautzman’s Second-Hand Meats, December 25th, 2801, 12:01 am. Inside the control dome, a plate of cookies sits beside the fireplace, which is decorated with stocks for the Kautzmans and L’il Schnitzy. Robot Santa arrives and scans for cookies. He sits and begins consuming them as Farnsworth arrives in his time machine.
Farnsworth pulls a 3021 penny (with Hilary Clinton’s face on it) from his coin purse. Then he creeps up behind the cookie-distracted Santa and reverses the polarity of the naughty/nice sensor. Then Farnsworth creeps back into the time machine, unnoticed. Santa screams “cookie” and begins eating the Kautzmans’ table.
While Farnsworth means to go forward, he accidentally shifts the time machine into “Reverse” again. Since time is cyclical, he just decides to take her around the long way. Farnsworth sips a can of Olde Fortran Malt Liquor as the viewscreen shows Futurama’s Earth history, as first established by “Space Pilot 3000.”
After the reverse Big Bang and Big Crunch, the viewscreen shows scenes of future history, as established by “The Late Philip J. Fry.” We also see what appears to be Bender’s giant grabber punching into the PlanEx control tower, and a split-second shot of Bean, Elfo, and Luci from Disenchantment. Next, we see a destroyed New New York City under siege from hideous flying laser-shooting eyeballs. One of them sticks to the time machine’s window as Farnsworth returns to the present and announces he fixed Santa. Fry says it will be his first happy Xmas since he got frozen and never had to see his family again. Hermes says they still have a week of work.
But Farnsworth says they should take the week off. Leela declares it to be a human resources miracle. Farnsworth invites Fry to spend the week with him and Cubert (Kath Soucie). But Leela’s family is hoping to meet Fry (again). So Fry says he’ll wear out his welcome at one and then head to the other. The PlanEx crew exits the control room, leaving Bender and Zoidberg alone. Bender declines Zoidberg’s invitation to spend time together.
In the Bronx, Cubert and Fry lose a snowball fight against Farnsworth and a Yeti. Meanwhile, the Kroker-Wongs take a holiday photo with Inez (Tom) and Leo Wong (Feodor Chin). At the last second, Inez switches their sweaters from “festive” to “ugly.” Elsewhere Hermes and LaBarbara Conrad (Dawnn Lewis) limbo amid their Kwanzaa and Xmas decorations. Dwight Conrad limbos while he plays his handheld game. And in the New New York City sewers, Leela makes asbestos angels with Turanga Morris (David Herman), Turanga Munda (Tress MacNeille), and Leela’s Grandmother (MacNeille, see “The Mutants Are Revolting”).
In his dumpster, Zoidberg and “moldy sandwich man” celebrate the holidays with an Xmas tree made of fish bones and a menorah made from Kentucky Slims. Inside the PlanEx control tower, Bender calls Calculon (LaMarche). Calculon asks how Bender got his number. Bender says he’s just dialing every number in order. Calculon tells him to keep dialing and hangs up.
Zoidberg arrives in the control tower with a bucket of dumpster nog. Bender is won over by the liquor, which is so strong even the fumes have them intoxicated. Zoidberg and Bender bond over their lack of family before uniting against Santa. Bender suggests drunk driving the time machine to last Xmas and kidnapping Santa.
With Santa kidnapped, he won’t be able to deliver presents. They celebrate the idea of ruining their “stupid friends’ holiday.” Zoidberg wonders if it’s a good idea or just seems like a good idea because they’re “intoximated.” Bender belches fires in the middle of declaring it a good idea. Then Bender grabs a string of Xmas lights off the tree before the pair gets in the time machine.
As they travel through time, Bender sings a version of “Jingle Bells” that comments on Zoidberg’s stench. They arrive at Xmas eve and find Santa picking a round object off the floor and declaring it a “cookie.” Zoidberg declares it to be last Xmas. Bender lassos Santa with the Xmas lights. Zoidberg gags him with an ornament. They load him into the time machine and return to the present.
Bender continues to sing carols as they carry Santa to the Kautzman old meat locker. This is located behind a mattress in the hanger. Bender and Zoidberg celebrate their success by “doing the Bender.” But Santa bursts through the meat locker door. He pursues them to the control room, where Zoidberg tells Bender to use the time machine. Bender picks up the time machine and smashes it over Santa’s head. Santa rips through the machine and menaces the duo.
But as he approaches Bender and Zoidberg, Santa trips and slips on the bucket of dumpster nog. Santa tries to catch his balance with a string of Xmas lights but they break and begin sparking. The exposed wires land in the nog puddle and Santa is electrocuted. Zoidberg takes out his stethoscope and declares him dead. Then they notice that “I still know what you did next Xmas” is written in the frost on the window.
Bender says they must get rid of the body, which is usually pretty fun. They take Santa’s corpse out onto the Hudson River and attempt to sink it with little success. Police officers Smitty (West) and URL (DiMaggio) arrive and ask what they’re doing. They accept Bender’s explanation that they’re dumping toxic waste. “Carry on, night dumpers,” says URL.
At the Conrad home, Hermes teaches Dwight the family recipe for Turducken, cooked in alphabetical order. LaBarbara asks if they’re using flamingo this year. Hermes says not at $20/lb. In a PlanEx bathroom, Bender and Zoidberg argue as they attempt to flush Santa’s corpse down the toilet. Zoidberg leaves to get a bag of acid from Farnsworth’s lab. But he spills it and both Bender and Zoidberg end up falling through the bathroom floor.
At the Wong-Kroker celebration, Kif unveils his Turdolphin (fresh turtle cooked inside a fermented dolphin). Leo says it will soon be “puke inside of vomit” and Amy tells him to “keep the truth to [himself].” Inez asks what smells like whale butt and Kif declares, “The gravy.” In the PlanEx hanger, Bender and Zoidberg attempt to make Santa in sausage with the Kautzman’s old “Baron von Sausage” grinder but only manage to grind Zoidberg’s left claw.
Unique Family Traditions
At the Farnsworth chalet in Queens, Fry and Cubert watch Farnsworth 3-D poultry-prints Turducken a la Farnsworth.” This is made from liquid chicken, duck filament, and a fresh turkey Farnsworth printed out earlier. Fry realizes he must head out to make it to Leela’s celebration. Farnsworth offers to print him some skis using liquid chicken.
At the Turanga residence, her grandmother reveals they cook fresh Turducken in their house. These are native to the sewers. Because they crave death, one readily climbs into the family’s open cooking pot. Fry arrives and apologizes for being late (as he got hungry and ate his skis). Leela’s grandmother is charmed by Fry. Fry asks Leela about Bender and Zoidberg and she replies, “I figured they were with you, or something.” She assures him they’re fine.
But Bender and Zoidberg are not fine. Bender posits eating Santa. Zoidberg says it’s a “nightmare before Xmas” and wishes they’d never become friends. Bender denies they’re friends and says they never were. “But we danced, and murdered,” Zoidberg laments. Bender says he’ll do the carving and asks if Zoidberg wants “white Christmas or dark Christmas.”
But the carving is interrupted by a knock at the door. The entire PlanEx crew has returned to surprise Bender and Zoidberg. Zoidberg says “Bah, humbug” and closes the door on their face. Leela threatens to carol if they don’t open up. Zoidberg tells Bender they have company. Bender says “just a sec” and chainsaw sounds can be heard. Leela breaks down the door and everyone enters.
In the control room, the crew tells Bender and Zoidberg they came “as soon as [they] realized what losers [Bender and Zoidberg] are.” The crew fails to notice the party equipment is made from Santa parts. The three Turduckens and the Turdolphin are placed on a table. “Isn’t that pretty? It looks like a magazine,” observes Munda. Cubert asks about Bender’s third leg, which is obviously Santa’s. Zoidberg ties him up and puts him on the Turducken/dolphin table.
Later, everyone enjoys their meal (even Dwight, who gets a tuft of Cubert’s hair, and Cubert, who now has a side buzz). Farnsworth says Santa will soon arrive with gifts. Zoidberg tries to confess but Bender grabs his mouth flaps. Santa approaches and the crew eagerly awaits. But Santa fires upon them as he arrives. Farnsworth is confused but then realizes he’s been a total Fry. Taking the naughty/nice sensor from the punch bowl (which is made from Santa’s head), Farnsworth realizes Santa was built with the sensor correctly installed. It was Farnsworth who was responsible for reversing the polarity and making Santa murderous.
Santa enters the control room. He prepares to punish everyone for being naughty, especially Mandy. But then he spots the naughty/nice sensor on the floor where Farnsworth dropped it. “Cookie,” he says as he picks it up and eats it. That’s when Zoidberg and Bender arrive in the time machine. This Zoidberg declares they’ve arrived at last Xmas.
From their hiding spot, present-Zoidberg and Bender observe themselves from the past as they kidnap Santa earlier in the episode. Bender realizes Zoidberg didn’t take them to last Xmas, he took them to next Xmas – i.e., this Xmas. “Dammit Bender, I’m a doctor, not a time machine guy,” shouts Zoidberg.
Past Bender and Zoidberg bundle Santa into the time machine and depart. Everyone is confused. But Bender admits they kidnapped and murdered Santa. Zoidberg says they didn’t mean to, but he and Bender begin sobbing. Farnsworth says they should stop crying, as they’re heroes. Hermes says because Farnsworth set Santa to “kill,” Bender and Zoidberg saved all nineteen of them. Bender and Zoidberg dance together to celebrate their status as heroes.
Amy says it’s adorable that Bender and Zoidberg are friends now. Bender declares they’re all having a mass hallucination. Leela asks what happened to Santa, and Kif says she’s drinking out of him. But Bender asks which one of the meatbags wrote the creepy notes. He indicates a new one on the control room ceiling reading, “I’ll ALWAYS know what you did next Xmas.” But Santa’s head declares, “‘Twas I.” He falls out of Leela’s hands, spilling Leela’s drink. She uses a straw to slurp up the liquor puddle.
Santa reveals he knows that next Xmas, Bender became friends with Zoidberg. Further, Santa is blackmailing Bender. Bender begins to scream “no,” but then asks if Santa takes Amy’s Venmo. Santa assents. Bender ignores Amy’s protestation as he takes her phone and puts in Santa’s head’s mouth. “Cookie,” declares Santa as he gobbles it up.
Before the end credits, Kwanzabot returns to perform his version of “The 12 Days of Xmas.” It even includes Fry’s dead dog, Seymour Asses (see “Jurassic Bark”; prepare tissues). At the conclusion, text appears reading “In Memory of Coolio” as Kwanzabot’s ship travels away into space as the sun sets over Earth’s horizon.
New episodes of Futurama are available for streaming Mondays on Hulu.
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