Futurama shows us the softer side of MomS

So far on Futurama, Mom has succeeded as a business leader only by cheating people. In this episode, she gets a lot better... and a lot worse.

"Leela and the Genestalk" meanders a bit, and it doesn't have the best lines of the series, but it has a point. Better than that, it has several. The episode starts with Leela winning a mechanical buggalo-riding contest by inadvertently growing suckers on her hand. Zoidberg assures her that she won't die if "I get you a better doctor." But that doctor tells her she's going through an incurable process of "squidification," but she'll just keep growing more tentacles. She runs away from the crew of Planet Express, saying sadly, "I'll miss several of you," and climbs a giant beanstalk up to a seemingly magic castle. (Fry traded the ship for fake magic beans.)

Futurama shows us the softer side of MomS

The castle seems to be populated with magical creatures, but in fact is owned by Momsanto. In it, Mom juggles genes to make things like a "pine-u-pork" — a cross between a porcupine and a pig — and an alligator head with wings. Even the magic beans came from Mom. Leela, as a valuable source of genes, is imprisoned in the castle, while Mom conducts experiments. The episode concludes with Fry and Bender fighting their way through Adventure Time and Batman and Robin shout-outs to rescue Leela.

Futurama shows us the softer side of MomS

The episode isn't a classic, but it reminds me of the classic "The Problem with Popplers." That episode also skewered various political attitudes towards food. The strict vegetarians, with their knee-jerk protesting, were obnoxious and politically useless; the meat-eaters, with their eagerness to literally eat babies if they tasted good and could be sold cheaply, were willfully blind and completely spineless when it came time to face the consequences. In "Leela and the Genestalk," Mom and her company were motivated by pure greed to do some very irresponsible things. On the other hand, their research helped feed billions of people. And while it felt good to rail against their tactics, and genetic engineering in general, few people were willing to stick to their principles when the research could give them a new lease on life. The point wasn't that either side was right, but that there had to be a better way to debate.