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