This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the TV show being covered here wouldn’t exist.
Two episodes in, it is abundantly clear that the primary goal of the Hulu season of Futurama is to remind fans of Futurama that they like Futurama. That’s not exactly the best reason to revive the series, as was demonstrated last week. This strategy does offer Futurama the chance to pay off things that it couldn’t have imagined it would get the chance to two decades ago, though. That’s the case of “Children of a Lesser Bog,” and as a result the episode is a vast improvement from the season premiere.
Where the premiere acknowledged the passage of time in the series and then proceeded to do nothing with it, “Children of a Lesser Bog” is the complete opposite. Picking up off of the season five episode “Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch,” which ended with a joke about Amy being ready to parent children with Kif in 20 years, this episode decides to call her bluff. The Planet Express crew flies out to Kif’s home world to watch his tadpoles crawl up onto land, complete with a dark joke about a majority of them getting eaten by predators. As a result, Amy and Kif return home with three new bundles of joy. Well, one of them is an angsty teenager, but still.
The bulk of the episode follows Amy and Kif adapting to parenthood and its various exhaustions, made more complicated when resident himbo Zapp Brannigan calls him on a mission full of puns that also ties into the side plot of Fry and Bender trying to recreate a candy from the 2000’s. It shouldn’t all fit together, but bringing Zapp back into frame injected a lot of absurdity this episode – and season – needed. There’s still a lack of proper belly laughs from any of these jokes, they still need more bite, but what’s here does a much better job overall. Giving Zapp the heavy lifting on humor allows “Children of a Lesser Bog” tell a much more earnest A plot as Amy deals first with motherhood she thought she was ready for, and then with jealousy when Leela takes the kids to give her a break and becomes jealous.
Things escalate when Amy’s parental rights come into question, as in the original episode it was Leela who accidentally impregnated Kif, giving life to Amy’s paranoia. A weaker episode might have pitted the two women against each other but in fact Leela doesn’t really have interest in taking away Amy’s kids. If anything, she gets the shortest stick here as the episode basically doesn’t bother asking Leela how she feels being roped into this conflict; though Amy does apologize for her lashing out and that does create a sweet moment between the two.
“Children of a Lesser Bog” has a pretty saccharine and easy ending, but it’s an earned one as it reflects something that series like Futurama usually don’t get afforded: growth. Amy Wong started this series as a wild-living eternal college student slacking off around Planet Express, but has now grown into a loving partner and parent doing her best. By being honest about the struggles and validity of parenthood in equal measure balanced with jokes that don’t mock either, “Children” is getting this new season much closer to what makes Futurama so beloved by its fans.
Futurama is available on Hulu.
Featured image via Hulu
‘Futurama’ 11x02 - 8/10