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15 Fun Facts About Rocko's Modern Life

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Rocko’s Modern Life hasn’t been on the air since 1996, but that doesn’t mean fans aren’t still nostalgic for the residents of O-Town. Here are some facts you might not have known about the classic Nicktoon.

1. The creator had an early altercation with a television.

Show creator Joe Murray had a television fall on his head when he was 5. The cartoonist said there was no physical damage, but it may have explained his "slightly dislodged view" of the world. The end of the show's theme song features a television falling on the cartoon's characters—a possible callback to the real life event. 

2. Rocko’s Modern Life was created at the beginning of Nick’s golden era.

Nickelodeon opened Nickelodeon Studios in 1990, and the following year started producing its own cartoon shows (known as Nicktoons). The fledgling kids' channel was aiming to produce edgier, higher quality content than what other networks were creating for kids. The first three shows in development were Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Rugrats.

At the same time, Murray was creating short animated films and sending  copies to various people in the media. A copy of his film My Dog Zer—about a man with a dim-witted dog—found its way to the desk of Linda Simensky, the head of animation development at Nickelodeon. Simensky and the Nickelodeon team were enthralled by the movie and asked Murray if he would like to develop an original series. The newbie animator was hesitant, because children’s television was not very good quality in the '80s, but reluctantly agreed.

“There were no rules. Nothing held us back," Murray said in the book Not Just Cartoons. "Once we did a four-minute episode. Another one had no dialogue, just pantomime … so Steve Hillenburg, Doug Lawrence, and I were able to do a lot of weird things we couldn’t have done today.”

3. The show was Put together by an all-star team.

When Murray opened his new studio in Los Angeles to start Rocko’s Modern Life, he brought in talented animators from The Simpsons, Cool World, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He also worked with many newcomers, who eventually moved on to other amazing cartoons. Some notable examples are: Steve Hillenberg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants; Nick Jennings, art director for SpongeBob and Adventure Time; and Jeff Marsh and Dan Povenmire, creators of Phineas and Ferb.

The voice acting was also top notch: Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) played Rocko; Doug Lawrence (known as Mr. Lawrence by his fans) doubled as director and voice of Filbert; and Tom Kenny (best known for his role as SpongeBob) portrayed Heffer. Prior to the cartoon, neither Alazraqui nor Kenny had any experience voice acting.

4. There’s a funny story of how Mr. Lawrence came to play Filbert.

Originally, Lawrence had only come onto the show to direct one of the storyboard teams. After feeling a kinship with the character Filbert, he decided he wanted to voice the neurotic turtle. The actor snuck his audition tape into the box of submissions. Without knowing whose tape he was listening to, Murray immediately decided the voice was perfect. “After nearly dozing off listening to audition after audition, I put in one more tape of someone voicing Filbert and quite literally jumped up, yelling ‘THAT’S IT!’" Murray recalled in Not Just Cartoons. "I didn’t find out until later that it was Doug Lawrence, so I can’t be accused of playing favorites."

5. Rocko is based off a Wallaby Murray saw at the zoo.

In the original pitch to Nickelodeon, Murray described his character as a 20 year old male scrub wallaby, who was “a young anthromorphic Woody Allen, who has just moved away from home into a surrealistic adult world.” In this sketch, he described the character as somewhat spacy and “naïve to the new chores of life.”

The creator can thank a trip to the zoo for this character outline. The little kangaroo seemed oblivious to the chaos around him; Murray liked the idea of a character “set within the eye of a hurricane called life.” He created a character called Travis, who starred in a comic strip that later went on to inspire Rocko’s Modern Life. Travis’ name was changed to Rocko because he sounded more like a fighter.

6. The theme song is by the B-52’s.

Kate Pierson and Fred Schneider from the B-52’s sang the theme song for the show from the second season on. They were actually the second choice: Murray originally wanted Danny Elfman to create the theme, but he was booked.

7. The office was very relaxed.

Often referred to by Murray as the “Wild West,” the cartooning world in the early '90s was a bit of a free-for-all (one crew member once brought an unloaded gun and holster to work for show and tell). Children were often invited into the studio, and Mr. Lawrence could often be found in pajamas, eating cereal on a fold-out couch. Afternoon breaks consisted of headstands, workers posing as bowling pins, or singing Brady Bunch songs. Pranks were also rampant—think gym socks in the coffee filter. Despite the shenanigans, all the cartoons were produced on time.

8. Rocko was originally yellow.

Characters often undergo many changes during production, but the wallaby’s color swap still bugs creator Joe Murray. During the pilot, Rocko was a bright lemon yellow. Nickelodeon approached a toy company to make stuffed animals of the character, but the company said they already had a toy with similar coloring. In order to avoid confusion, Nick was asked to change Rocko’s color. Murray fought to keep the yellow, but eventually had to change it to the beige color we know today. In the end, the switch was for nothing; the toy company pulled out of the agreement.

9. Rocko’s Modern Life is an outline-driven show.

This means that the creation process starts with a premise. Writers laid out the story beats in an outline, and artists fleshed out the story with gags. Dialogue and jokes were written during storyboarding, taking advantage of visual storytelling. After the storyboards were completed, a recording script was typed up, and the voice acting was added.

The other kind of scripting for cartoon is script driven, where everything is written at once right into the script. Dialogue-heavy shows like American Dad and The Simpsons use this method.

10. The characters are designed to be easy to draw.

Murray wanted it to be easy to teach others how to draw his characters because he knew he would have to train a lot of people to recreate them. He needed to teach 200 people in Korea and 50 people in the United States how to draw each character, so they had to be easily replicated. He released several YouTube videos—like the one above—explaining the process for drawing his characters.

Some tips include: Heffer’s body resembled a hamburger, while his mouth is like a hotdog. Rocko’s feet are the same shape and size of his head cut in half. Bev and Ed Bighead share the same shape and outline (they also share the same voice actor, Charlie Adler).

Murray said that by the end of the show, the artists in the crew were drawing the characters even better than him; eventually, the crewmembers even started correcting his versions.

11. "Leap Frogs" was taken off the air.

A lot of inappropriate jokes slipped past the censors (including a scene where Rocko literally spanks a monkey), but one episode pushed it too far. In “Leap Frogs,” a neglected Bev Bighead decided to seduce Rocko. The episode ends with the Bigheads reconciling and breaking plates with their tongues. Angry parents found the episode to be too sexual, and the network pulled it.

12. Rocko almost had a sister.

In the original pitch to Nickelodeon, Rocko had a sister named Magdalane, who had two children. After going into production, the character was dropped because Murray felt the story worked better if Rocko was on his own. Then, in the season 2 episode "Wake Up Maggie," Murray added Magdalane back in. The general premise was that she was a narcoleptic. The network was found the plot a little strange and was on the fence about the character.

During a press conference, one reporter asked Murray why he didn’t have more positive female roles in Rocko. The creator rebutted that the show didn’t have any positive male characters either, and that the show was not made to have role models. Immediately after the event, Nick executives asked Murray to add Magdalane to the show and make her a strong character. Feeling unwanted pressure, the creator dropped the female character entirely.

13. This led to the creation of Dr. Hutchinson.

Nick continued to push for a strong female character on the cartoon even after Murray rejected Magdalane. They wanted a positive female character with a strong hook, so Murray and his team made one who literally had a hook for a hand. The new female “role model” was Dr. Hutchinson, a dentist who lost her hand to a crocodile patient.

14. Some of the characters were inspired by Murray’s childhood.

Rocko’s best friend Heffer was inspired by the creator’s own childhood friend. Like the cartoon cow, Murray’s friend is adopted and enjoys bologna sandwiches.

Ed and Bev Bighead are based off two cankerous neighbors Murray had growing up. “Whenever the baseball fell on their lawn, they would never give it back,” the creator explained. He made the characters cane toads because Australia was having trouble with the animals around the time of the cartoon’s conception (a problem that continues today). Bev’s hair is based on Murray’s mother’s hair in the ‘60s.

15. The "Wacky Delly" episode mirrored real life.

Just like the character Ralph Bighead, Murray wanted to get out of his job. He was nearing the end of his contract and wanted to move on. Someone brought in an old Dole promotional film about putting pineapple on meatloaf. They wanted to use the footage, but could not get permission. Murray made do and created his own pineapple meatloaf that you see in the "Wacky Delly" sequence.

BONUS: You can follow Joe Murray’s latest work on his blog.

Rocko’s Modern Life may be over, but the creator is still working on various projects and animations. You can see what he’s up to by reading his blog here.

Additional sources: Creating Animated Cartoons with Character: A Guide to Developing and Producing Your Own Series for TV, the Web, and Short FilmNot Just Cartoons: Nicktoons!

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14 Fun Facts About A Charlie Brown Christmas
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

More than 50 years since its premiere on CBS on December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas remains one of the most beloved holiday specials of all time. Like Charlie Brown himself, the flaws—scratchy voice recordings, rushed animation—have proven endearing. Take a look at some facts behind the show that killed aluminum trees, the struggles to animate Chuck’s round noggin, and why Willie Mays is the unsung hero of Peanuts.

1. CHARLES SCHULZ WASN’T REALLY INTERESTED IN GETTING INTO ANIMATION.

Since the debut of Peanuts in 1955, Charles Schulz and United Press Syndicate (which distributed the comic strip) had gotten a steady stream of offers to adapt the characters for film and television; the artist was also directly petitioned by young readers, who would write Schulz asking when Snoopy would come to some kind of animated life. His stock reply: “There are some greater things in the world than TV animated cartoons.”

He relented for Ford Motors—he had only ever driven a Ford—and allowed Charlie Brown to appear in a series of commercials for the Ford Falcon in the early 1960s. The spots were animated by Bill Melendez, who earned Schulz’s favor by keeping the art simple and not using the exaggerated movements of the Disney films—Bambi, Dumbo—Melendez had worked on previously.

2. WILLIE MAYS PLAYED A PART IN GETTING IT MADE.

Schulz capitulated to a full-length special based on the professional reputations of his two collaborators. The cartoonist had seen and enjoyed executive producer Lee Mendelson’s documentary on baseball player Willie Mays, A Man Named Mays; when Mendelson proposed a similar project on Schulz and his strip, he agreed—but only if they enlisted Melendez of the Ford commercials. The finished documentary and its brief snippet of animation cemented Schulz's working relationship with the two and led Schulz to agree when Mendelson called him about a Christmas special.

3. CBS AND COCA-COLA ONLY GAVE THEM $76,000 TO PRODUCE IT.

When Coke executives got a look at the Schulz documentary and caught Charlie Brown on the April 1965 cover of Time, they inquired about the possibility of sponsoring an hour-long animated holiday special. Melendez felt the short lead time—only six months—made that impossible. Instead, he proposed a half-hour, but had no idea how much the show should be budgeted for; when he called colleague Bill Hanna (of Hanna-Barbera fame) for advice, Hanna refused to give out any trade secrets. Melendez wound up getting a paltry $76,000 to cover production costs. (It evened out: Schulz, Mendelson, and Melendez wound up earning roughly $5 million total for the special through 2000.)

4. IT WAS GOING TO HAVE A LAUGH TRACK.

In the ‘60s, it was standard procedure to lay a laugh track over virtually any half-hour comedy, even if the performers were drawn in: The Flintstones was among the series that used a canned “studio audience” to help cue viewers for jokes. When Mendelson told Schulz he didn’t see the Peanuts special being any different, the artist got up and left the room for several minutes before coming in and continuing as if nothing had happened. Mendelson got the hint.

5. SNOOPY’S VOICE IS JUST SPED-UP NONSENSE.

The early Peanuts specials made use of both untrained kids and professional actors: Peter Robbins (Charlie Brown) and Christopher Shea (Linus) were working child performers, while the rest of the cast consisted of "regular" kids coached by Melendez in the studio. When Schulz told Melendez that Snoopy couldn’t have any lines in the show—he’s a dog, and Schulz’s dogs didn’t talk—the animator decided to bark and chuff into a microphone himself, then speed up the recording to give it a more emotive quality.

6. SCHULZ HATED JAZZ.

The breezy instrumental score by composer Vince Guaraldi would go on to become synonymous with Peanuts animation—but it wasn’t up to Schulz. He left the music decisions to Mendelson, telling a reporter shortly after the special aired that he thought jazz was “awful.”

7. CHARLIE BROWN’S HEAD WAS A NIGHTMARE TO ANIMATE.

Because Melendez was unwilling to stray from Schulz’s distinctive character designs—which were never intended to be animated—he found himself in a contentious battle with Charlie Brown’s noggin. Its round shape made it difficult to depict Charlie turning around; as with most of the characters, his arms were too tiny to scratch his head. Snoopy, in contrast, was free of a ball-shaped cranium and became the show’s easiest figure to animate.

8. SCHULZ WAS EMBARRASSED BY ONE SCENE.

Careful (or repeated) viewings of the special reveal a continuity error: in scenes where Charlie Brown is standing near his tree, the branches appear to grow from moment to moment. The goof annoyed Schulz, who blamed the mistake on two animators who didn’t know what the other was doing. 

9. IT ALMOST GOT SCRAPPED BY COKE.

Mendelson recently told USA Today that an executive from McCann-Erikson—the ad agency behind Coke—paid him an impromptu visit while he was midway through production. Without hearing the music or seeing the finished animation, the ad man thought it looked disastrous and cautioned that if he shared his thoughts with Coca-Cola, they’d pull the plug. Mendelson argued that the charm of Schulz’s characters would come through; the exec kept his opinion to himself.

10. CBS HATED IT, TOO.

After toiling on the special for six months, Melendez and Mendelson screened it for CBS executives just three weeks before it was set to air. The mood in the room was less than enthusiastic: the network found it slow and lacking in energy, telling Melendez they weren’t interested in any more specials. To add insult, someone had misspelled Schulz in the credits, adding a “T” to his last name. (Schulz himself thought the whole project was a “disaster” due to the crude animation.)

11. GOOD THING HALF THE COUNTRY WATCHED IT.

Viewers weren’t nearly as cynical about Charlie Brown’s holiday woes as his corporate benefactors. Preempting a 7:30 p.m. EST episode of The Munsters, A Charlie Brown Christmas pulled a 50 share, meaning half of all households with a television turned on were watching it. (That amounted to roughly 15 million people, behind only Bonanza.) CBS finally acknowledged it was a winner, but not without one of the executives getting in one last dig and telling Mendelson that his “aunt in New Jersey didn’t like it.”

12. IT KILLED ALUMINUM TREE SALES.

Aluminum Christmas trees were marketed beginning in 1958 and enjoyed fairly strong sales by eliminating pesky needles and tree sap. But the annual airings of A Charlie Brown Christmas swayed public thinking: In the special, Charlie Brown refuses to get a fake tree. Viewers began to do the same, and the product was virtually phased out by 1969. The leftovers are now collector’s items.

13. THERE’S A LIVE-ACTION PLAY.

Up until 2013, anyone staging a live-action rendition of A Charlie Brown Christmas for their local school or theater had one thing in common: they were copyright infringers. The official rights to the story and characters weren’t offered until recently. Tams-Witmark fields licensing requests for the play, which includes permission to perform original songs and advertise with the Peanuts characters—Snoopy costume not included.

14. THE VOICE OF CHARLIE BROWN WAS ARRESTED.

Peter Robbins continued voicing Charlie Brown until he turned 13 years old, at which point puberty prohibited him from continuing. In November 2015, the 59-year-old Robbins pleaded guilty to making criminal threats against a mobile home park manager and a sheriff. According to CBS News, the troubled former actor claimed that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder led him to make the threats. He was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison.

Additional Sources:
The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation
Schulz and Peanuts
A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition
.

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10 Far-Out Facts About Futurama
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20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

In 1999, Matt Groening followed-up the monumental success of The Simpsons with an idea for a sci-fi comedy that he’d been tinkering around with for years. With influences ranging from groundbreaking sci-fi movies like Blade Runner to shows like The Jetsons and pulpy ‘50s comics like Weird Science, Futurama proved to be yet another winner for the cartoonist. Characters like Fry, Bender, and Leela quickly became fan favorites, rivaling Homer, Marge, and the rest of Springfield for quotability. The show was also a hit with the critics, winning plenty of Annie and Emmy Awards along the way.

Never a ratings juggernaut to a larger audience, the show only lasted four seasons on Fox before being cancelled in 2003. Neither the production staff nor the series’ loyal fan base would give up on Futurama, though, and the series was revived for an additional three seasons on Comedy Central from 2008 through 2013. Here are 10 things you might not know about Futurama

1. THE SHOW’S NAME COMES FROM AN EXHIBIT AT THE 1939 NEW YORK WORLD’S FAIR.

Though Matt Groening’s Futurama takes a comedic look at what the future might hold for us, the name is based on a very real-world version of the world of tomorrow. At the 1939 New York World’s Fair in Queens, GM built a mammoth attraction called Futurama, which was a scale-model city showing off the predicted wonders of 1960.

The model was the brainchild of industrial designer Norman Bel Geddes and his team of hundreds of artists and builders. It spanned an impressive 35,000 square feet, and gave audiences a glimpse at what a city might look like in the next 20 years, with the highlight being a monolithic utopia peppered with mountainous skyscrapers and a web of superhighways for futuristic GM cars to travel on. Visitors would sit in chairs that moved on a conveyer belt around the model, showing off all the wonders they could look forward to.

To pay homage to its namesake, the first thing Fry hears when he’s defrosted in the future during the pilot episode is the bellowing sound of a lab worker proclaiming “Welcome to the World of Tomorrow,” which was one of the heavily advertised themes of the fair.

2. THE THEME SONG WAS INSPIRED BY A TUNE CALLED “PSYCHE ROCK.”

Futurama’s main theme, composed by Christopher Tyng, bears a striking resemblance to the song “Psyché Rock" by French electronic artist Pierre Henry. The songs are so similar that the Futurama theme basically acts as a remix to Henry’s work. The song has also been remixed by Fatboy Slim, which is even closer to the Futurama version. 

3. GETTING THE SHOW ON THE AIR WAS A DIFFICULT PROCESS FOR MATT GROENING.

Though Matt Groening and the team over on The Simpsons have the freedom to mostly govern themselves, getting Futurama off the ground was a different story. When asked by Mother Jones in 1999 about getting the show on the air, Groening said, “It has been by far the worst experience of my grown-up life.”

He further explained that, “The second they ordered it, they completely freaked out and were afraid the show was too dark and mean-spirited, and thought they had made a huge mistake and that the only way they could address their anxieties was to try to make me as crazy as possible with their frustrations.”

Despite the battles with the network, Groening and his team didn’t cave, saying, “I resisted every step of the way. In one respect, I will take full blame for the show if it tanks, because I resisted every single bit of interference."

4. CO-CREATOR DAVID X. COHEN IS A MATH WHIZ.

When Groening was developing Futurama into a pitch, he had one key Simpsons writer in mind to collaborate with: David S. Cohen. Cohen (who is credited as David X. Cohen for Futurama) was known for some of the most popular Simpsons episodes of the mid-‘90s, including "Itchy & Scratchy & Poochie," "Lisa The Vegetarian," and "Much Apu About Nothing."

“After I assembled a few hundred pages of ideas, I got together with David Cohen, one of the writers and executive producers on The Simpsons, who is also a lover of science fiction and has a great knowledge of science and mathematics,” Groening told Mother Jones.

The emphasis on mathematics may sound odd, but it became a hallmark of the series. Dealing with sci-fi plots allowed Cohen to bring a certain authenticity to some of the more complex episodes; he was also able to sneak in all sorts of esoteric mathematical jokes for the like-minded viewers. This is similar to how math played a role on The Simpsons for years without ever becoming distracting to casual viewers. 

Cohen’s mathematical background goes far beyond the norm. He graduated from Harvard with a degree in physics, and from the University of California, Berkeley, with an M.S. in computer science. This knowledge gave way to plenty of in-jokes, including the creation of a numerical-based alien language and countless background gags that only the brainiest viewers would have a shot at deciphering.

5. ZAPP BRANNIGAN WAS GOING TO BE VOICED BY PHIL HARTMAN.

The character of Zapp Brannigan was originally written with actor Phil Hartman in mind for the voice, but he was tragically killed before he would have begun recording. The role then went to Billy West, who also voices Fry and Professor Farnsworth. In an interview with The New York Times, West says he based his Brannigan on disc jockeys from the ‘50s and ‘60s. There's also a bit of Hartman's signature, Troy McClure-esque sound in there. 

6. JOHN DIMAGGIO ORIGINALLY AUDITIONED FOR PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH USING BENDER’S VOICE.

Figuring out what Bender would sound like wasn’t an easy task for the folks in charge of Futurama. Would it be a human voice, or something more synthesized like Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet? The crew auditioned dozens and dozens of voice actors in an attempt to find the perfect Bender, with no luck.

At the same time, voice actor John DiMaggio was auditioning for a role on the show against his agent’s wishes, who worried about both the money and contract being offered. At first he auditioned for the role of Professor Farnsworth, using a boorish, drunken voice he partially based on Slim Pickens. The voice didn’t work for the professor, but according to the DVD commentary for the show’s pilot, the producers asked him to try it out for Bender. The voice instantly clicked, leading to the creation of the show’s breakout character.

7. THE NIXON LIBRARY EVENTUALLY CAME AROUND TO HIS HEAD BEING IN A JAR.

Richard Nixon famously proclaimed that the media wouldn’t have him to “kick around anymore” back in 1962; little did he know the jabs would keep coming for decades in the real world, and centuries into the fictional future as a nightmarish version of the former president with his head preserved in a jar was proclaimed President of Earth in Futurama.

With Billy West providing the jowly voice of the former Commander-in-Chief, Nixon became a villain for a whole new generation. And the Richard Nixon Library wasn’t very happy about it at first.

“[E]arly on in the show the network got a letter from the Richard Nixon Library saying they weren’t pleased with his portrayal and would we consider not doing it,” Cohen told WIRED.

But a few years later, things changed.

“We didn’t really stop, however, because we liked it, but the strange thing is that … a few years later we got another letter from the Nixon Library saying can we provide some materials because they’re going to do an exhibit about Nixon in popular culture and they’d like to include Futurama, so they came around.”

8. WRITER KEN KEELER INVENTED A NEW THEOREM JUST FOR THE SHOW.

In addition to Cohen, Futurama is staffed by a roster of Ivy League graduates with backgrounds in science and math. But while writing one episode, the staff had created a plot so complex that the crew soon found itself stumped.

The episode was “The Prisoner of Brenda” from the sixth season, and it involved a brain-switching machine that could swap the minds of any two people that stepped into it. There was only one problem: once used, the machine couldn’t be used twice to swap the same two minds back to normal. This means numerous pairs of other characters would have to use the machine in a roundabout plan to restore everyone’s mind to their proper body.

Though the idea sounded like a winner to the writers, Cohen recalled that they soon realized they had to create a mathematical explanation that could get everyone’s mind back. It was like a nightmarish SAT problem for the staff. That is until writer Ken Keeler, who has a PhD in mathematics, created a completely unique theorem that proved this plot was possible.

“Ken comes in the next morning with a stack of paper and he said, ‘I’ve got the proof,’ and he had proven that no matter how mixed up people’s brains are, if you bring in two new people who have not had their brains switched, then everybody can always get their original brain back, including those two new people,” Cohen told WIRED. “So I was very excited about this, because you rarely get to see science, let alone math, be the hero of a comedy episode of TV.”

In the episode, the mathematical heroes that solve the problem are none other than the Harlem Globetrotters, who are among Earth’s elite intellectuals in the 31st century.

9. THE SHOW’S USE OF FORESHADOWING IS INTENSE.

Futurama touts more than just science and math cred; the show is also one of the more intricately plotted animated series of the past 20 years. The show is notorious for leaving morsels of foreshadowing in episodes that pay off weeks, months, or even years down the road.

Plot points like Fry being his own grandfather and Leela’s mutant heritage were all hinted at before they became reality, but the most obscure piece of foreshadowing came right in the pilot episode. It happens right as Fry is leaning back in the chair that would “accidentally” topple over and send him into the cryogenic chamber, leaving him thawed out in the 31st century. For a brief moment, a shadow flashed across the screen with no explanation—at the time, it likely went unnoticed by many viewers.

Fast forward to the season 4 episode “The Why of Fry,” and we learn that the shadow belonged to Nibbler, who had traveled back in time to 1999 to push Fry into the chamber because he was the key to stopping an alien invasion in the 31st century. It's just one example of the type of intricate world-building that the writers of the show poured into every episode.

10. EACH EPISODE TOOK ABOUT A YEAR TO COMPLETE.

Every episode of Futurama is a labor of love, with each joke and frame of animation put under intense scrutiny. Because of this, there is a lot of work involved in the show—about a year’s worth for each episode.

“It's usually somewhere in the vicinity of a year from the beginning of a Futurama episode to the day when you can see it on TV,” David Cohen told The Atlantic.

This starts with a story idea, which is then assigned to a writer for an outline and first draft. From there, the first draft is dissected in the writers’ room on a “word-by-word, scene-by-scene basis.”

Then it’s recorded by the actors—like an old-timey radio show, according to Cohen—and then it’s given to the animators. That process involves animatics and final animation, which can take around six months to finalize. 

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