|“||Space. It seems to go on and on forever and then you get to the end and a gorilla starts throwing barrels at you.||”|
–Fry [first words of the series].
"Space Pilot 3000" is the pilot episode and the first ever broadcast episode of Futurama. It was originally broadcast on March 28, 1999. The episode introduced pizza delivery boy, Philip J. Fry and the story of how he came to the year 3000.
The series premiere opens on December 31st 1999, with pizza delivery boy Philip J. Fry playing the video game Monkey Fracas Jr. He loses the game and is then sent out to his next delivery at Applied Cryogenics. On his way, he sees his girlfriend Michelle in a cab with another man, Charles Constantine. Michelle, proclaiming she's left Fry's stuff on the sidewalk, speeds away with Constantine with his car. Fry keeps riding his bike, saying, "I hate my life. I hate my life." He makes it into the lab where a guy outside says, "Happy New Year!" and rides away on Fry's bike. Upon arriving at the Cryogenics chamber and trying to find I.C. Weiner, the pizza's intended recipient, Fry realizes he's been duped and was sent on a prank delivery. Sitting down in a chair, he balances onto its back legs, cracks open a beer and says, "Here's to another lousy millennium." The entire world is counting down on New Year's Eve and as the countdown hits "one", Fry blows a party horn to celebrate the millennium. As soon as he blows it, Nibbler pushes Fry's chair and Fry falls into the Cryogenic Pod. The freezer freezes Fry and he is frozen and stuck there for 1000 years. Over the course of the next thousand years, the Planet Earth is repeatedly destroyed by invading aliens and rebuilt as Fry waits in stasis.
In the year 2999, Fry is released from his cryochamber and wakes up on New Year's Eve. With a shock, he realizes he is in the future and laments the loss of his family and friends but quickly dismisses his sadness with a loud "YA-HOO!" Terry, a worker at Applied Cryogenics welcomes him to "the world of tomorrow". Fry is escorted to the fate assignment officer's office, where he meets Leela, a beautiful woman with a huge eye in the center of her face, who explains that it is December 31, 2999. Talking things through with Leela, Fry confesses that the 20th century didn't hold anything for him and he feels optimistic about the future. After an encounter/examination with the Probulator, a DNA scan reveals that he has only one living relative in this time period: his many times great nephew Hubert J. Farnsworth.
Fry starts to make himself a promise that, with his "second chance", he's going to make the most of his life and not mess things up again. A menacing chime brings him out of his reverie as Leela reveals she's found him his permanent career assignment: delivery boy. Fry begs for any other job but Leela says that everyone, even herself, has to do a job whether they like it or not, citing that, in the future, "you gotta do what you gotta do". She tries to implant a Career chip that will label Fry as a delivery boy forever, but Fry runs away. Giving chase, Leela ends up falling into one of the cryogenic tubes, which sets itself for 1000 years much like Fry's tube. Fry then leaves her to be frozen there but, out of the goodness of his heart, decides to reset the tube to thaw in 5 minutes, says "You owe me one." and leaves the lab.
Walking around New New York City and seeing how much it has changed, he decides to call his relative Farnsworth. He gets in line for what he thinks is a phone booth and meets Bender waiting in line. It turns out the phone booth is actually a suicide booth and that Bender is eagerly awaiting his death. After accidentally activating the machine, Fry pushes Bender to the other side of the booth and they survive.
Having failed at killing himself again, Bender invites Fry to get drunk with him at a bar. Meanwhile, Leela's stasis chamber is timed out and she is unfrozen, Terry again appearing and being told to shut up. After being yelled at by her boss for losing Fry, Leela is forced to continue her pursuit of Fry. Fry finds out that Bender wants to kill himself because of his programming as a girder-bender for suicide booths. Fry convinces Bender to abandon his plans of suicide and the two become friends. Leela spots them inside O'Zorgnax's Pub and after requesting backup, chases them into the Head Museum where Fry encounters the head of Leonard Nimoy. Fry asks Nimoy to do "the thing" (the Vulcan salute) but being a head in a jar, naturally he can't. Leela catches up with them and Fry and Bender run for it but knock over the shelves, on which sat Richard Nixon's jar, which breaks. The backup Leela requested earlier arrives and they start beating up Fry. Leela sees the officers are out of control and helps get them off Fry. Hiding in the back room of the museum, Bender's programming prevents him from bending some bars to aid in his and Fry's escape. However, Bender is then able to bend the bars after getting electrocuted by a light bulb socket.
Bender and Fry run into the ruins of Old New York, where Fry has a flashback of ice skating with Michelle at Rockefeller Center on their first date. The memories of Fry and Michelle dancing fade into a two finned beast which bursts out of what used to be the ice rink, now a fetid pond. After realizing that everyone he knows is gone, Bender points out that he can see someone Fry knows: Leela has found them. Giving in, Fry resigns himself to becoming a delivery boy and readies himself to have his career chip implanted but Leela instead removes hers and declares she's quitting.
They finally track down Professor Farnsworth, who clarifies that Fry is indeed his uncle. After being given a tour of Planet Express, his delivery company, all four are shocked as the police knock on the door having tracked them down. They plan to get away on the ship at the same time as the Earth counts down to the year 3000. As they prepare to take off the police have a cannon aimed at the Planet Express Building, ready to fire at them should they try to take off. As the take-off countdown and the planet countdown both reach zero, they blast off under the cover of fireworks celebrating the new millennium.
Fry, Leela and Bender realize they're all fugitives as they now no longer have career chips. Professor Farnsworth reveals he has kept the career chips from his old crew (in an envelope marked "Contents of Space Wasp's Stomach") and invites them to join his company. When Fry asks what his job title will be, Farnsworth tells him his job is to transport the cargo safely to its destination. Fry clarifies that he's a delivery boy, which Farnsworth confirms. Overjoyed with his new job, the Planet Express ship flies off into the cosmos.
Fry & Leela
- Fry, and Leela meet for the first time in this episode. Fry is attracted to Leela from the start, though initially he is freaked out by her having only one eye. For her part, at first, she sees Fry as little more than a client, and she is annoyed by Fry's fixation on her eye.
- Leela is initially uncomfortable with physical contact with Fry.
- After tricking her into freezing herself, Fry takes pity on Leela. Freezing her for only five-minutes.
- When telling her boss about the Fry incident, Leela refers to him, with some disdain, as 'some kid from the stupid ages'. However, she does sympathize, to an extent, with his situation, and is unwilling to force him into being a Delivery Boy.
- When the police use undue force against Fry, Leela tries to stop them, even going so far as to attack them.
- Although her motives for attacking seem to be more rooted in the officers' insulting of her.
- Fry, and Leela sympathize with each other's loneliness.
- Fry helps Leela to realize her wish to quit her current job.
- Fry, and Leela hold hands, and look upon each other with understanding, signifying the start of their friendship.
- In piloting the Planet Express Ship through the hailstorm of lasers, Leela saves Fry's life for the very first time.
- Fry is apparently yet to fall in love with Leela, though he would later go on to claim that he'd always loved her, as he openly mentions his hope that part of his job aboard the Planet Express Ship would be 'teaching alien women to love'.