“How the West Was 1010001” is a classic Futurama episode in many respects, with some familiar faces and a funny juxtaposition between old-timey cliches and obvious commentary on modern technology and trends.
This recap of Futurama Season 11 Episode 3, “How the West Was 1010001”, contains spoilers.
Reminiscent of many previous parody episodes, “How the West Was 1010001” – such a great title – sends up Western genre tropes while using the old-timey context to poke fun at contemporary technology and fads.
And, yes, cryptocurrency gets both barrels.
Futurama Season 11 Episode 3 Recap
Futurama isn’t subtle, and neither is the commentary on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in this episode, penned by Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, and Ken Keeler. As with Episode 1, “The Impossible Stream”, the obviousness is kind of the point.
However, unlike that premiere, the Old West setting really adds something to the overall effect, with the half-hour working as a pastiche as well as a commentary on the silliness of invisible robot money. Plus, it’s a great excuse for payoffs to longstanding character quirks, like Bender’s folk singing.
Who cameos in “How the West Was 1010001”?
The third episode features guest appearances from some old faithfuls, including Roberto, the Borax Kid, and the Robot Mafia.
Roberto is attending anger management now. Fry ends up being the Borax Kid’s sidekick for most of the episode, and the Robot Mafia only really shows up at the beginning and end.
However, these are smart cameos that really fit into the setting and play off the exaggerated genre cliches, and the animation goes all-out for a late stand-off and some violent sight-gags that I was entertained by.
Thematically, this episode calls back to the season’s second, “Children of a Lesser Bog”, in its theme of family presented through Hermes and his apathetic son, Dwight. It isn’t especially heartstring-pulling or even surprising in its beats, but it does make for a solid throughline that gives the season overall some storytelling coherence.
The primary downside of the episode is its demotion of Fry, keeping him hemmed in by the sidekick role and cracking jokes at the expense of his intelligence, which feels one-note. His relationship with Leela is also fuzzy here; he’s jealous of her flirtations with the Borax Kid, but their romantic connection is kept at arm’s length otherwise.
All in all, it definitely works. There are some zinging one-liners, the setting is fresh and fun, and the commentary on modernity is scathing – if a little on the nose. Plus, there’s plenty of nostalgia in familiar faces showing up, and the consistent theming gives us hope that the season overall really has something to say about these characters and their dynamics.
You can stream Futurama Season 11 Episode 3, “How the West Was 1010001” exclusively on Hulu.