Yesterday's Futurama showed us that even murderous alien dictators can have domestic troubles. The show's resident destroyer of worlds struggled to save his failing marriage while navigating future Comic Con, the ultimate cosplayer, and lots of casual disintegration.
"Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences" - which probably wins the prize for least pronounceable Futurama episode title - shines an emotional spotlight on another unlikely character. Lrrr is one of the show's best second or third tier characters, but he's always seemed fairly two-dimensional: he's a bickering, ineffectual conqueror who can't work a microphone properly. That doesn't necessarily seem like a complex enough character to carry an entire episode. I mean, what's next - an episode all about Clamps? (Actually, yes - next season's premiere will be "The Silence of the Clamps.")
As it turns out, the show didn't have to dig very deep to find the emotions and pathos underneath Lrrr's buffoonish exterior. It all makes sense - Lrrr is so incompetent at world domination because his heart isn't really in it, and here he finally admitted his alien mid-life crisis. Of course, much like Zapp's foray into the Garden of Eden earlier this season, Lrrr's emotional woes were more than a little twisted, as the second his nagging wife Ndnd kicks him out he seeks out the one person who can boss him around just as well: Leela. For the would-be conqueror of the entire galaxy, he is one seriously hen-pecked Omicronian.
The Planet Express crew takes pity on Lrrr, as Bender helps him get his groove back with some wonderfully sleazy debauchery. This episode got a lot of visual gags out of Lrrr's ridiculous size whenever he was on Earth, with him squeezing into a speedy new rocket car a particularly amusing sight. It also revealed just how casually Lrrr will murder people, which is: very. Don't displease Lrrr, because he will kill you. Don't please Lrrr, because he will also kill you, presumably so that he doesn't have to pay for his cool new tracksuit.
While clubbing, he meets Grrrl, a fellow Omicronian who is apparently a total Omicronian babe. (She was voiced by BSG's Katee Sackhoff, so I'm prepared to believe this.) Unfortunately, she's really just a cross-species-dresser who had fallen for him at his failed invasion of Comic Con - oh, and she's a little crazy. (Again, she was voiced by BSG's Katee Sackhoff, so I'm prepared to believe this.)
With his hopes of a fling with a pretty young Omicronian dashed, Lrrr next tries Fry's plan, which hinges on reenacting Orson Welles's War of the Worlds broadcast so as to impress Ndnd, with a little assistance from Orson's head itself. It's at this point that any doubt this episode is a showcase for voice actor Maurice LaMarche should disappear, as he gets to bust out his legendary Welles impression to assist Lrrr, who he also voices. The episode also featured his Rod Serling pastiche in the opening Twilight Zone riff, which was just more proof that The Scary Door really could and should be its own show.
Welles puts his reservations about Fry's script aside so that he can get his promised giant cheese log, and Lrrr's fake alien invasion is on. Or at least, it would be fake, if Zapp Brannigan didn't show up and surrender Earth to the Omicronians. It's here that the episode morphs into the most demented comedy of errors ever, as Lrrr can't bring himself to admit the sham to Ndnd, and so he just goes ahead and conquers Earth because it's easier than admitting the truth. That's some serious human misery in the name of a comic misunderstanding, but Futurama has always known how to up the stakes to ridiculous levels.
This episode isn't quite on the same level as the last couple of episodes, but it's a very strong entry in what's been a good recent run for Futurama. I wasn't completely wowed when I first watched it, but "Lrrrreconcilable Ndndifferences" is seriously growing on me the more I think about it. This episode has a ton of great moments, including the very meta premiere of Matt Groening's new show at Comic Con (and Bender's even more meta prize-winning costume).
Fry's fumbling efforts to become a comics writer showcased him at his lovably dumbest. Any apparent intelligence Fry showed in coming up with the War of the Worlds plan was quickly undone by the incredible stupidity of Delivery Boy Man, which may actually outdo Father Man and Son Boy for this season's dumbest superhero name. His alternatively over-powered and under-powered superhero was a marvel of Fry's stupidity, but he got his redemption when his comics somehow gave him the inspiration for another noble sacrifice to save Leela.
Finally, there's something strangely sweet that the whole episode just came down to who Lrrr wanted bossing him around for the rest of his life. And, in the end, Lrrr knew no one better equipped to nag him ceaselessly than his (theoretically) beloved wife Ndnd. As the alien version of William Lyon Phelps might well have said, "The highest happiness on Omicron Persei 8 is marriage. The second highest happiness is disintegrating people."