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The What-If Machine was an invention created by Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth. The device resembled a television set and could predict the outcome of any "What if?" phrased question, though it can only do this three times a year. The machine is made of gold and the method of activating it is nеver the same. Its key components are a bowl, a coil, a cog, a transistor and a motherboard. It is unknown when the professor invented it, but its first appearance was in "Anthology of Interest I".

In the Futurama comic book "Twice Told Tales of Interest" it is Bender's poker buddy for a while, but it destroyed itself and the professor says that it would take a year to rebuild. It is again shown in the comic book, "Anthology of Interest II" (comic issue).


Futurama, the TV show

Futurama, comic book issues

Futurama/The Simpsons crossovers

Questions Asked in tv show

Terror at 500 Feet

A 500 foot tall Bender fights off a 500 foot tall Zoidberg

"As a robot living among humans, I've never really felt accepted at parties or nude beaches. So I've always secretly wondered: What if I was 500-feet tall?"

If Bender had come to Earth 500 feet tall to "kill all humans", he would again befriend Fry. But would meet his end after fighting an enlarged Doctor Zoidberg, who pushes him onto the Empire State Building which would kill him.

Dial L for Leela

"Alright, Professor! Let's do it. Make that machine show me what would happen if I was a little more impulsive. Just a little... Not too much."

A slightly more impulsive Leela would start her day by buying new boots with a crazy green stripe, however since there is no real difference between being a little and very impulsive she would eventually murder the Professor after he names her his heir. She then would be forced to slaughter most of the Planet Express crew to keep them from turning her in and would end up sleeping with Fry for the same reason.

The Un-Freeze of a Lifetime

"What if I never fell into that freezer-doodle and came to the future-jiggy?"

If Nibbler was unable to push Fry into the cryogenic tube and he remained in the year 2000, the universe would rip open and even the intervention of the Vice Presidential Action Rangers would be unable to keep the tear from undoing existence as we know it. Fry and the VPAR would then play Dungeons & Dragons for the next quadrillion years.

The Fing-longer

A Fing-Longer

"So that's what things would be like if I'd invented the fing-longer. [Sigh]. A man can dream though. A man can dream..."

The Professor uses the what-if machine to see what would happen if he had invented the Fing-Longer, which would have resulted in the crew seeing the three what-if scenarios mentioned above.

I, Meatbag

"I wanna know what would happen if I were human. I mean, being a robot's great, but we don't have emotions and sometimes that makes me very sad."

If the Professor invents the process of reverse fossilization, Bender would have the opportunity to become human. Bender's robot lifestyle of partying and drinking combined with new-found pastimes of eating, going to the bathroom, and dancing would lead him to become grossly obese and though he would be awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry after showing the Earth's scientists how to have a good time, he would die after a mere week of life as a human.

Raiders of the Lost Arcade

Fry consults with General Pac-Man

"I'm good at video games and bad at everything else. That's why I wish life were more like a video game"
"Can you put that in the form of a question?"
"Uh, what if that thing I said?"

If the universe worked more like video games, the planet Nintenduu 64 would declare war on Earth and would invade to secure Earth's quarters (so they could do their laundry) It would fall to Fry, as an expert on video games, to fight off the invaders from space. Despite a valiant effort, Fry would be unable to destroy all of the Nintendians and Earthicans would be forced to let the invaders throw their laundry in with their own.


"What if I found my true home?"

When Leela and Nibbler are caught in a tornado they are transported to the Land of Oz (or a land closely resembling it). As she travels to see the Professor, she would meet Fry, (a scare-crow who needs some brains), Bender, (a metallic man that needs alcohol and a heart to pump a lot of blood), and Zoidberg ("the other guy, courage. Not enough of it. Need some from whatshisname"). Leela is nearly adopted by Mom, (the wicked witch), before a tragic champagne accident melts Mom and the group continue to see the Professor. In the end, Leela would decide to become a witch instead of returning home to Kansas but would also meet her end when a malfunction with the upstairs toilet melts her.

List of all What-If Questions in both tv show and comic books

"Anthology of Interest I":

"Anthology of Interest II"

  • Professor Farnsworth (for Bender): What if Bender was human?
  • Professor Farnsworth (for Fry): What if life was more like a videogame?
  • Leela: What if I found my true home? (Leela get knocked out by the What-If Machine, so the scenario that followed was not actually shown by the What-If Machine. So we do not know what it showed. )

"New Year's Rockin' Evil"

  • Bender: What would happen if I went back in time to 1999?

"Twice Told Tales of Interest"

  • Fry: What if it was Christmas every day?
  • Bender: What if we skip Leela's question?
  • Fry: What if life was like a sitcom?

"Anthology of Interest II (comic book)"

  • Bender: What if ruled the world?
  • Bender: What if I hit it [the What-If Machine] with a hammer?
  • Hermes: What if the world was perfectly organized?
  • Fry: What if there was a machine that could grant wishes and I wished for a what-if machine that showed what it would be like if I asked it: What if Leela fell in love with me?
  • Amy: What if we were all poor stinking lobsters for just a minute?
  • Leela: What if I had a normal childhood?
  • Lrrr: What if Omicronians took over Earth?

"Follow the Reader"

  • Professor Farnsworth and Ethan: What if Nixon watched the TV news?

"The Read Menace!"

  • Marge Simpson: What if you [Homer] actually tried to help us?
  • Homer Simpson: What if Flanders was a monkey?
  • Lisa Simpson: What if we knew how to stop the fictional characters?


  • People only ask questions about themselves, with the exception of Fry asking to review Benders what if?
  • Leela's what if isn't technically a what if, as it happened when she got knocked out