"Love's Labours Lost in Space" is the fourth episode of production Season One and the fourth broadcast episode of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on April 11, 1999. The episode was written by Brian Kelley and directed by Brian Sheesley. This episode introduces the recurring character Zapp Brannigan when he attempts to prevent the Planet Express crew from completing their mission. It also introduces Nibbler, whom Leela adopts as a pet.
Minutes after an unsuccessful attempt by Amy Wong to introduce Leela to eligible bachelors at The Hip Joint, a New New York nightclub, the crew gets sent on a tax-deductible charity mission. The uninhabited PlanetVergon 6 has been mined hollow for more than 25 years and is about to collapse. The crew is sent to recover two of each kind of animal native to the planet for breeding purposes.
Unfortunately, Vergon 6 has been declared restricted due to its undeveloped status, under Brannigan's Law. The Planet Express crew are arrested by the legendary space captain Zapp Brannigan, who immediately attempts to seduce Leela. Leela initially rebuffs Brannigan, but eventually succumbs to pity for the desperate fool, a fact that Brannigan brings up in every later appearance in the series.
The sexually-satisfied Brannigan allows the Planet Express crew to depart for Vergon 6 and the crew proceed to collect the strange animals. While working on their checklist, they discover a small black and white creature with a third eye on a stalk. Leela decides to rescue it as well, names it Nibbler and places it in the cargo hold with the other animals. When Bender, Leela and Fry return with the last animal, they discover that the mystery creature has devoured all the other animals.
The planet begins to collapse and break apart. When the crew try to escape, they discover that the ship is out of fuel. Leela refuses to beg Brannigan for assistance and the crew settle in for their inevitable deaths. The ship shifts to one side and the crew discovers that Nibbler has defecated a small pellet of dark matter, which is the fuel the ship runs on. Bender tosses the ultra-dense pellet into the engine and the crew returns safely to Earth.
Leela is looking for a date and shows no interest in Fry. Fry doesn't really show any interest in her either, but it's somewhat hinted at when he says she shouldn't rule out a man with a low IQ, seemingly suggesting himself. Fry has sex with the 21st-century woman he meets at The Hip Joint. The episode introduces the Brannigan-Leela plotpoint, which is used in later episodes in the series such as "A Flight to Remember" and "War is the H-Word".