Culture

‘Transphobic as f**k’ Futurama episode left a sour taste in fans’ mouths

Maggie Baska February 10, 2022
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Futurama Bender trans 3004 Olympics

Robot Bender undergoes surgery in order to compete as a female robot in the 3004 Olympic Games. (20th Century Fox Film Corporation)

Futurama is to be revived on Hulu, it’s been announced – but it was only last year that the series’ arrival on sister streamer Disney+ sparked controversy.

Almost 10 years after it wrapped its second run (Futurama was cancelled in 2003, and revived from 2008-2013), the Matt Groening animation is to return for 20 new episodes on Hulu.

Most of the original cast will return, with John DiMaggio (Bender) reportedly still in negotiations.

Last year, Futurama arrived on the Disney+ Star imprint, its international alternative to Hulu, including one episode that left a sour taste in fans’ mouths.

The “transphobic as f**k” episode follows Bender, a male robot, transitioning to compete as a woman in the 3004 Olympics.

What’s the ‘transphobic’ Futurama episode all about?

In Futurama‘s season four episode “Bend Her”, Bender attends the Earth 3004 Olympic Games. He feels that he should compete as well, but feels emasculated by the male Olympic robots. So he decides to pose a “fembot” named Coilette to compete.

Coilette easily defeats the female competitors, winning five gold medals.

However, the medalists are called in for gender testing before the awards ceremony, and Bender decides to undergo an operation that will turn him into a fembot. As the fembot Coilette, Bender starts dating robot actor Calculon, who falls for Coilette instantly.

Bender originally wants to rob Calculon of his money with a divorce settlement, but he is moved by Calculon’s deep love for Coilette. Ultimately, he stages Coilette’s death and undergoes a second operation to return to his male identity.

At the end of the episode, Bender claims to not have been changed at all by the experience, but he whispers a heartfelt goodbye to Calculon.

While the cartoon was meant for comedic purposes, one person on Twitter rightly pointed out: “Harmful stereotypes are still harmful regardless of what it is”.

 

One fan of the show admitted there is “problematic content” in Futurama which he was “not sure why it was ever considered acceptable”.

One viewer, who is trans, said it was “baffling” that another episode of Futurama featured a “tentacle monster that used neopronouns, and they didn’t make fun of that at all” but that “every trans person in the show is a hideous caricature”.

More: Futurama, matt groening

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