Posted 05/02/01
Guest article contributed by Alan David Doane

I don't know why, exactly, that Futurama appeals to me more than The Simpsons, but it does.

Both were created by the manic imagination of Matt Groening, who surely must be one of the most talented, insightful observers of humanity ever. Both series have held a mirror up to the stupidity, hypocrisy and insanity of American life, and reflected back brilliant commentary that speaks deeply to our flaws even as it forces us to laugh out loud at our own flaws.

Both series have also inspired merchandising tie-in, The Simpsons much more diversely and pervasively, due in part to its longer run on television. Futurama stuff is just beginning to appear, in the guise of a new Bongo Comics series, a few Bender items (an amazing, breakout character), and a set of action figures from Moore Action Collectibles.
The initial set features three characters, Fry, Leela and Bender, and the delightfully retro Planet Express spaceship. The ship, unfortunately, is not to scale with the figures, but it still makes for a neat representation of one of the key elements of the show.  It also comes with a couple of Aliens that can be used as accessories for the character figures.

As for the figures themselves, they are among some of the finest MAC has ever turned out. First and foremost, I have to congratulate the company for going the extra mile and giving these figures probably the most articulation of any MAC figure ever. These are true action figures, much more poseable not only than most MAC toys, but even more than the Simpsons figures from Playmates. The lack of articulation is what has kept me from jumping on the Simpsons bandwagon, but the Futurama figures just beg to be opened up and played with.

Each comes with some delightful accessories, most notably the litter pan that comes with Leela, with one ball of the ultra-valuable dark matter excreted by li'l Nibbler (also included). Maybe my kids are smarter than me -- I couldn't figure out what the litter pan was (a cake?), but my daughter immediately said "That's Nibbler's poop!" I have nothing to say in my own defense.

Each of the characters comes with a terrific backdrop, including Bender's suicide booth and Fry's cryo-tube.  These are among some of the most well-thought-out and executed accessories I've ever seen included with action figures, complementing the characters perfectly, looking absolutely terrific when displayed and inspiring hours of play for kids.

I know I probably shouldn't (my wife certainly feels that way), but I love sharing Futurama with my children. Sure, it resulted in my daughter saying "Bite my shiny metal ass," in her second-grade class, but I think it's worth it to be able to bond with my kids over such a brilliant show that so perfectly entertains and so wonderfully plants the seeds of doubt that I hope will result in my children growing up with a healthy distrust of authority. I can't think of a better show with which to blaze those all-important anti-establishment neural pathways.

-- Alan David Doane

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