Futurama Head Writer David X. Cohen's Favorite Episode Isn't A Happy One

There are a lot of beloved episodes of "Futurama," but for co-creator David X. Cohen, it's a season 3 episode that makes the top of his list. "I think of an episode called 'The Luck of the Fryrish' as my favorite," he said during a 2014 interview with Red Carpet News. If the name isn't ringing a bell, "The Luck of the Fryrish" is the episode where Fry looks for his lucky seven-leaf clover from before he was frozen in the cryogenic chamber. Throughout his search, he becomes increasingly suspicious of his older brother, believing Yancy (Tom Kenny) stole the clover and used it to take over Fry's life after his disappearance.

"I don't know if it's actually the best one, but I have such fond memories of it," Cohen said. He continued by explaining the writers wanted to do more emotional episodes on the show but were reluctant if it would be a good fit for the animated sitcom. "We were worried, we gotta keep this funny and, you know, not shoot in too many directions at once," he said. But the temptation was too much to resist because as funny as the premise of "Futurama" is, what happened to Fry is, at its core, a tragedy. From his perspective, Fry lost everyone he ever knew in a single moment, and everyone he knew lost him. As Cohen put it:

"We decided we would try with that episode a touching thing where Fry learns about his brother, who's been dead for 972 years or whatever it is at this point. And it's actually kind of sad, and we didn't know if people were gonna go for it or not."

As it turns out, people very much did go for it. We at /Film have ranked it the 13th-best episode of the whole show, and a lot of lists from other publications rank it even higher than that.

Getting more comfortable exploring tragedy

"It gave us the confidence to do more episodes like that," David X. Cohen admitted to Red Carpet News. "That was a turning point in the show for me." Sure enough, as "Futurama" went on, the series became more comfortable going to darker, sadder places. Two seasons after "The Luck of the Fryrish," the show would outdo itself with "Jurassic Bark," which essentially serves as a sequel to the aforementioned episode. Although Cohen notes that the earlier episode was "very tricky to write, because it had a lot of flashbacks," the latter episode keeps the same structure. It jumps back and forth between Fry trying to reunite with his dog Seymour, to flashbacks showing us his and Seymour's relationship. 

But whereas the earlier episode ends on the heartwarming note of Fry realizing how much his brother missed him after his disappearance, "Jurassic Bark" ends with Fry choosing not to bring Seymour back to life. When he learns Seymour lived for 12 years after he was gone, he assumes his dog must've long forgotten about him. We're then treated to a montage of Seymour waiting alone outside Panucci's Pizza Shop for over a decade, hoping in vain for Fry to return.

It's devastating, but it still has that optimistic message that made "The Luck of the Fryrish" so great. When you're gone, as "Futurama" tells us over and over again, people will miss you more than you'd think. Fry often considers himself a loser, someone who lucked out by landing in that cryo-chamber because his life was so mediocre, but Fry's disappearance haunted his brother for the rest of his life, and poor Seymour never recovered. "Futurama" is a funny show, but when "Futurama" returns with the Hulu revival, we hope it still has the heart underneath it all that made it so special.