Taking a shot at celebrity culture is so easy that it's pretty much like taking a shot at the Earth itself — it's more remarkable if you miss. Still, last night's Futurama episode The Thief of Baghead still gets in a few good shots, including some great visuals — and one character finally dies!
Needless to say, spoilers are ahead...
Last night's Futurama was all about things that we all realize suck, starting with those people who force everyone to stop having a good time, so they can take a picture of how good a time everyone's having. These people are especially obnoxious, now that they can immediately look at their pictures, decide they're not good enough, and insist on taking another one. Since obnoxiousness is Bender's wheelhouse, he's the shutterbug. When he catches Calculon — the famous Robot TV star — out at the Monsterey Bay Aquarium (this setting offers a priceless visual that I won't spoil because words just don't do it justice), he turns his annoying photo habit to good use and becomes a paparrazzo.
It doesn't take long for Bender to become hated by everyone — or for him to set his sights on the biggest catch of all: Langdon Cobb. Cobb is an actor who is so invested in The Process that he wears a bag over his head all the time, so his face doesn't distract anyone. When Bender eventually gets the picture of him without the bag, more complications develop. Cobb turns nasty, and the only way to defeat him is to draw him into an "act off" with the hammy Calculon, who literally gives it all he has when doing the death scene from Romeo and Juliet. We'll have to wait and see if the Futurama writing staff decides to keep Calculon's death part of continuity permanently.
The episode does a good job of poking fun at how we're desperately interested to know every detail about an actor's life, and will even lap up stories that we know are false — but we can't stand when actors talk about acting itself. The magazine that Bender works for, Us People Weekly, advertises itself as "The Magazine More Women Deny Reading," and will publish anything from centaurs without underwear to Morbo yelling at people. The entire gang can't wait to see Cobb's face. But when he starts talking about The Process, they literally lose the will to live. Which is pretty much how we feel all the time. Everyone clicks on the headlines that feature celebrities getting a parking ticket, wearing bad clothes, or being rude to a waiter. Everyone has an opinion on the Oscars. But absolutely no one wants to listen to people at the top of their profession actually talk about the technique or philosophy of the trade that makes us adore them. We'd much, much rather die.