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"This is the worst part...the calm before the battle."
"And then the battle's not so bad?"
"Oh, right, I forgot about the battle. [Whimpers]"

"War is the H-Word" is the seventeenth episode of the Season Two of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on November 26, 2000. The episode parodies several war films and shows, including Starship Troopers, Full Metal Jacket, Patton, and M*A*S*H.

Opening Sequence[]

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


As part of an attempt to scam a 7¹¹ store, Fry and Bender enlist in the Earth Army with the assistance of the Recruiting Sergeant. However, before they can use their 5% military discount to buy chewing gum, Earth declares war on Spheron I - a planet that commanding General Zapp Brannigan says, to his troops, is devoid of any natural resources and possesses no strategic importance whatsoever, but is willing to put troopers' lives at risk for no reason.

Concerned for her friends' safety, Leela attempts to enlist, but the Army has a men-only policy. While Earth's flagship, the Nimbus, makes its way to the enemy planet, the soldiers undergo training. Leela has sneaked aboard disguised as a man, under the name of Lee Lemon, to whom Brannigan finds himself strangely attracted.

They arrive and discover the enemy is a race of pink, sentient, ball-like creatures. In their first battle Fry fails to stop an attack and instead blows a hole in the ground to hide. Bender manages to stop an enemy bomb by covering it with himself. For his act of cowardice, Brannigan sentences Fry to a demeaning punishment that is more gruesome than being his assistant - being Kif's assistant. Kif takes this opportunity to be very strict towards Fry.

After the initial battle with the balls, the soldiers regroup at camp. The Commander-in-chief, President of Earth Richard M. Nixon's head, sends Bender and Henry Kissinger's head to negotiate with the Spheron leaders, the Brain Balls.

War is the H-Word - Official Promo

Promo image for this episode.

Brannigan, however, tells everyone the true plan. A voice-activated bomb has been planted inside of Bender and will detonate, destroying the whole planet, when Bender says his favorite word: "ass". As the Earth forces evacuates, Fry thinks up a plan to steal a helicopter and knock out the guards, only for "Lee Lemon" to act out his entire plan. "Lemon" asks Fry if he recognizes "him" but Fry incorrectly thinks Hermes. Zapp spots them and seeing them holding hands and angry at their betrayal, prepares to arrest them. When "Lemon" beats him up and reveals "his" identity as Leela. Both Fry (who realizes his error) and Zapp utter "Leela!" Zapp is overjoyed and remarks "So it's you I've been attracted to. Oh God, I've never been so happy to be beaten up by a woman." Leela states they could do it again later.

The two fly to the negotiating-hall. Fry, pushed out of the helicopter by Leela, is determined to prove that he is a man. He hops on one of the balls towards the conference. He manages to inform Bender of the plot just in time before he utters his favorite phrase: Kissinger congratulates Fry for his bravery. However, Bender, who has gotten bored with the ball leaders talking about bouncing, realizes that he now has the power to make the Brain-balls surrender. Though Spheron I is actually the brain balls' homeworld and it is the humans who are the "evil invading aliens", Bender simply demands that they "get the hell off my planet!", and they all evacuate, bouncing into space. A New New York Post headline reads "War Over! Balls Thoroughly Licked!".

Back at the Planet Express office, Professor Farnsworth cannot remove the bomb from Bender's body because it is stuck with glue. Instead, he resets the bomb from a list of words Bender hardly ever uses. Bender asks what it is but the crew refuses to tell him. The word is "'antiquing'", which Bender successfully guesses.


  • At 10:00 on the roof of the army tent - "M*E*A*T".

Ongoing Themes[]

Fry and Leela[]

While eating in the mess hall, Fry mentions that he "has a thing" for a girl back home. Leela is touched by this and asks for more details to make sure that Fry is talking about herself. She doesn't show any sign of being interested in Fry: she just seems touched by the sentiment.

Deaths, near-deaths, mutilations[]

Numerous injuries occur during the battle.

Bender is seriously injured by jumping on a grenade.

Doctor Zoidberg loses a patient in the operating room.

Surrounded by the Planet Express crew, Bender detonates the planet-destroying bomb inside his body. Everyone survives.