The Futurama writers had a rule that the show’s more obscure jokes couldn’t be central to the plot. So the background is stuffed with nods to mathematics, science, history, and literature. Numbers are often translated into math problems (instead of Studio 54, the crew visits Studio 1²2¹3³). Robot information is conveyed in binary (”The Honking” references the ”Redrum” scene in The Shining, when Bender is perplexed to see ”0101100101” written in blood on a wall, but then realizes that it reads ”1010011010” in the mirror, a series of digits that translates to ”666”). And of course, there’s the Alienese language. But the writers also built entire episodes around the Banach-Tarski paradox and the premise of three-dimensional characters entering two-dimensional space.

» Lauren Davis |