by Bob Teoh
In this week’s “Futurama,” Earth’s presidential election time nears, and the head of Richard Nixon plans to stay in office by promising to build a giant fence around the solar system to keep out alien creatures. Meanwhile, Leela becomes involved in politics and searches for a new candidate to prevent Nixon from winning uncontested again. At a debate, Leela finds Senator Travers, who appears intelligent and holds strong ideals, and becomes his new campaign manager.
With Leela’s help, Travers is able to put forth his ideals in a way that the public can relate to, and he quickly becomes a strong contender. To ensure his reelection, Nixon hires Bender to research Travers’ history in order to generate scandals. Bender is unsuccessful, but he reveals that the Senator’s middle name is “Zaxxar,” which Nixon believes sounds “alien.” Bender then publicly accuses Travers’ of being an extraterrestrial and demands a birth certificate.
Travers refuses to show his birth certificate, so Leela has no choice but to break into the hospital he was born in to find the document. After breaking into the hospital in Kenya with Fry and Bender (who puts aside his political views for a “good old break-in”), Leela finds the certificate missing. Travers appears and discloses that he was indeed born on Earth, but he has not yet been born. He was sent back from fifteen years in the future to stop Nixon from winning the election. In the future, Nixon’s poor decisions lead to a robot apocalypse, causing a group of survivors to send Travers back in time in order to prevent the end of the world.
The next day, Leela broadcasts Travers’ birth to the world and proves his identity. Travers eventually wins the election, but suddenly disappears, since without the apocalyptic future, he would never have been sent back. Nixon wins uncontested and the fate of Earth remains the same.
Once again, the writers of “Futurama” deliver a crazy, hilarious, and oddly though-provoking episode. From the Senator’s birth certificate to Nixon’s alien wall, the episode takes so many stabs at American politics and never manages to lose focus. The writers also stayed true to their insane hilarity by adding a “Terminator”-esque storyline in an otherwise politically driven episode. With so many twists and turns and both political and ludicrous humor, “Decision 3012” is definitely a must-see episode.
Bob Teoh is a staff writer. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.