The Futurama gang reunited for a scripted radio drama taking us back to New New York for the first time in over four years. And as exciting as it was to hear Fry, Leela, Bender, and everybody else on their epic space adventures, the whole thing really doesn’t work unless you’re a freakishly major fan of podcasts.
Nerdist released its two-part Futurama radio drama (or radioama) Thursday, which was designed to promote the show’s mobile game, Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow. The podcast episode features a story from Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, and the Futurama writers and voice actors... and along with Chris Hardwick, since he’s practically written into every Nerdist content contract.
The episode has two central stories. One of them is about Bender trying to reunite with his dying robot arm mother so she can hear him reprise his role as Antonio Calculon Jr. in the revival of All My Circuits. The other, more central part of the tale is about Fry and Leela. Oh yeah, and so many fucking podcasts.
Fry makes Leela a three-dimensional nude sculpture of himself, failing to remember that she lacks depth perception. Since it’s a digital sculpture, Fry has to take it to the digital storage planet Junkleon 7, where the encounter Klaxxon... an evil life form that’s composed of soundwaves from 50 million podcasts. The result is what feels like 50 million jokes about podcasts spread out over 40 minutes. By the end of it, I swore I would never allow myself to hear the word “podcast” again. I’m serious. I’ll give the world laryngitis if I have to.
Look, I love podcasts. I listen to them all the time (right now it’s a mix of My Favorite Murder and My Dad Wrote a Porno). And it’s great to hear my favorite characters again saying things I haven’t heard them say before—hell, you even hear Hypnotoad for the first time. But I’d rather it be about something else besides goddamn podcasts.
Unless you’re such a fan of podcasts that you want to listen to your favorite characters spend 40 minutes making inside jokes about them that only podcast creators would find funny, this radio drama revival rounds out to okay at best.