I hate political satires. I hate satires on current events. Last night's Futurama, entitled Decision 3012, was both. And yet, it was incredibly great. It includes everything from Nixon hamming it up to a treatise on the time travel paradox in the Terminator movies — but the real reason to watch is the endless sight gags.
It's an election year in the world of Futurama, and so Leela — who tried to block Nixon's election in the first series — gets another shot at knocking Tricky Dick out of office. She's especially fired up when she hears that he'll build a Dyson Sphere Fence across the southern half of the solar system to keep out cheap alien labor and "use the poor as a cheap source of teeth for aquarium gravel." (Have I mentioned I love Futurama's Nixon? Because I do.) She backs the intelligent and reasonable opposition candidate; Senator Chris Zaxxar Travers. His funny name gives Nixon a chance to question his Earth citizenship, and so Leela goes to find his long-form Earth Certificate.
Sounds entirely too on-the-nose, but the episode goes to a lot of fun places with it, and if you're a liberal, this episode is as gratifying to the ego as an episode of the West Wing. The real stand-out throughout the episode is the nonstop absurdist gags that have characterized Futurama from the start. The best parts of the series are usually those rapid-fire lines that the characters toss out so quickly and casually that you don't even know what they've said until later. This episode has Ruth Bader Ginsburg saying "You Ruth Bader believe it!" It features a correspondent from "Fox Quote Unquote News." It has Leela, asking where her candidate was born, and upon him saying Kenya, exclaiming enthusiastically, "Cradle of humanity!"
But like we said, the real stand-out of this episode is the sight gags. Decision 3012 is for the people who have Tivo, and the patience to pause every minute or so. Every political rally has funny signs at the venue. Every convention has delegates from places like Panem, Skyrim, and Kardashistan. And when the gang travels to Kenya, to find the Earth Certificate, suddenly we get into a bunch of wordless jokes involving African animals that are straight out of Far Side cartoons. I think the one pictured doesn't give too much away — but on screen it's incredible, and unexpected, and it's the reason why it's never a good idea to look away from the screen during Futurama. Like the last election episode, this is an absolute classic. Don't miss it.