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"One last chance to play if you're not too tired?"
Professor Farnsworth

"Near-Death Wish" is the tenth episode of Season 7.

Opening Sequence[]

Futurama logo with subtitle, Alienese and (often), cartoon.


Fry wins an award for Best Delivery Boy and is disappointed when the Professor doesn't show up for the award ceremony. The next morning, the Professor explains his reason for not being there was that he had come down with "a searing case of 'Who gives a crap?'". Upset with how the Professor treats him, Fry says that he wishes he had more family, to which Zoidberg replies that the Professor's parents are still alive in a returement home called the Near-Death Star.

Fry, Leela, and Bender all go to visit the elder Farnsworths, Ned and Velma, and find that they live in a run-down, virtual retirement home where their bodies are used as batteries (which, Leela says, is an idea they got from the old movie, The Matrix). The crew enters the virtual reality, and Fry connects with his relatives, whom he nicknames "Gram-gram" and "Shabadoo". As they are preparing to leave, Fry kisses them goodbye but accidentally knocks one of the electrical plugs of their life-support system out of its socket. The automated security considers this "Elder Abuse" and begins attacking. Finding the cheap batteries in their vehicle dead, Leela grabs Velma and Ned and uses them as batteries to escape.

They take the elderly couple to Planet Express, where they see their son for the first time in years, but to everyone's surprise, the Professor angrily tells them he doesn't want to see them again. Leela and Amy confront him about his sullen behavior while he's in the bathtub, and he tells the story of his childhood: according to Hubert, his parents never cared about his life, never spent time playing with him, and ruined his dream of going to college at age eleven by moving to a farm and not permitting him to leave. Leela and Amy tell Farnswort to try to reconcile with his parents, but he instead tells them he hates them and runs out into the street in the nude.

Fry, Leela, Bender, Velma, and Ned follow Farnsworth to the farm, Farnsworth's childhood home. Farnsworth's parents tell him that he had an older brother who wanted to be a scientist. Although brilliant, the brother was mentally unstable and had frequent night terrors, keeping the parents up at nights to care for him. This was why they were always too tired to play with their children during the day, as well as why they moved to the farm in the first place. After attempting to run away from home, the brother had been sent to a mental institution ("on a full whack-a-demic scholarship," according to Ned and Velma). However, when Ned mistakenly addresses the Professor as "Floyd", Farnsworth reveals that he's Hubert; his parents had mistaken him for his older brother Floyd the whole time. Farnsworth explains that he left the institution 25 years after he was admitted (according to Farnsworth, "It felt like a minute compared to grad school."). The three finally reconcile and embrace.

Bender mentions that a homeless rodeo clown named Floyd had come to the door of the Planet Express building a few years earlier, but Fry angrily rebukes him for attempting to "be the center of attention".

Reconciling with his parents, Farnsworth offers to accompany them back to the Near-Death Star. Farnsworth enters Ned and Vemla's virtual home with them and shows them that he has reprogrammed it to be an exact duplicate of their farm. At this point, Farnsworth's virtual avatar changes to him as a child, those of Velma and Ned become younger versions of themselves, and the three play together happily.

Ongoing Themes[]