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Futurama Wiki

If we can hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes will fall like a house of cards. Checkmate!

–Zapp Brannigan

"When Aliens Attack" is the twelfth episode of Season 1 of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on November 7, 1999. It also introduces Lrrr, a recurring character who is an alien ruler of Omicron Persei 8 who approaches Earth along with his kind when the show they are watching is turned off by a signal distress.

Opening Sequence[]

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


The episode opens in the year 1999, with Fry making a pizza delivery to the control booth of WNYW, New York's real-life Fox affiliate. While there, Fry spills beer on the console, interrupting the broadcast of Single Female Lawyer, a spoof of Ally McBeal. As the technician panics and tells Fry, "Oh, my God! You knocked FOX off the air!" Fry ominously states, "Like anyone on Earth cares." The camera pulls back from the broadcast tower, away from Earth, and through the depths of space, settling on Omicron Persei 8, a thousand light-years away and a thousand years later. Incensed that they do not get to see the end of the episode, the Omicronians launch an invasion fleet. Back on Earth, the Planet Express crew decides to take a trip to Monument Beach, where most of the world's monuments have stood since the 27th century. A spaceship then lands on the beach as Lrrr, ruler of Omicron Persei 8, demands that the Earth produce "the one called McNeal". President McNeal, fearing for his own safety, orders Zapp Brannigan to lead an assault against the alien invaders. Instead, the Hubble Space Telescope gets blown up.

After the attack ends in disaster, Earth's government hands President McNeal over to Lrrr. Lrrr announces that he is the wrong McNeal, and vaporizes the President. Lrrr shows the world a photo of the McNeal they want, and Fry recognizes her as Jenny McNeal, the title character of Single Female Lawyer.

The Omicronians demand the broadcast of the television show, or they will destroy the Earth. Unfortunately, most videotapes were destroyed in 2443, during the second coming of Jesus. The Planet Express crew decides to fake the show in order to save the world.

Fry's script comes up short, and Leela, as Jenny, is forced to improvise. She proposes marriage to the judge (played by Professor Farnsworth). An aggravated Fry tells Bender, who is the camera, to go to commercial. Fry tells Leela that people don't watch TV for clever and unexpected situations because they scare them, and Lrrr makes a public statement backing up Fry's assertion.

Fry quickly writes an ending where the judge dies, leaving Jenny McNeal as a single female lawyer. The Omicronians, satisfied with the ending, leave Earth to watch a one thousand year old Jay Leno monologue, saying the show was good enough for them to spare the planet, though not good enough for them to give humans their secret to immortality.

Fry states that the secret to a successful television show is that everything ends up back to normal at the end of each episode. Ironically, the camera pans out to a view of New New York burning in ruins.

Ongoing Themes[]

Fry & Leela[]

  • When the professional beach bully destroys Fry's sand castle, Leela - despite protestations to the contrary - is attracted by his physique.
  • Fry, for his part, shows no jealousy here, and doesn't seem to mind if Leela goes off with him.
  • When interacting with the professional beach bully, Fry considers $50 to be too high of a price for making Leela swoon, even if she had been his girlfriend.
    • Leela is somewhat offended by the rather low value that Fry places on her. She is also very clearly interested in the professional beach bully.
  • Fry's casting of Leela as the attractive, sexually open, female lawyer, might indicate his attraction to her.