Futurama Season 11 Episode 4 Recap – “Parasites Regained”

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 22, 2023
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Futurama Season 11 Episode 4 Recap - "Parasites Regained"
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Summary

Futurama sends up Dune in “Parasites Regained”, which has a nice focus on Leela and Nibbler but spends too much time on its mixed-bag parodying.

This recap of Futurama Season 11 Episode 4, “Parasites Regained”, contains spoilers.

Another week, another parodical Futurama episode, although this one admittedly feels like a bit of a step down after the Old West send-up of Episode 3.

This is perhaps because satirizing Western tropes is a broader, more malleable premise than satirizing Dune, and both versions – David Lynch’s from 1984 and Denis Villeneuve’s from 2021 – get a thorough kicking in this half-hour.

But the episode’s writers, Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, and Maiya Williams, at least try to ground the comedy in the unique relationship between Leela and Nibbler, though they sometimes lean too heavily into the piss-taking to a bit of a detriment.

Futurama Season 11 Episode 4 Recap

As is obvious from the title, “Parasites Regained” is actually a sequel to the Season 3 episode “Parasites Lost”, but it’s obvious the Dune send-up is taking more of a precedent.

This, obviously, isn’t the first time Futurama has made fun of Dune, but it’s a sci-fi classic, so that’s to be expected. I wasn’t an enormous fan of the tortured gag of pronouncing “dung” in such an elongated way as to evoke the film’s title, but there are better references and nods, including obvious ones like sandworms and messiahs.

This aside, the show’s focus on Leela and Nibbler is the more interesting material, so it’s a shame it gives so much ground to the parody.

Nibbler becomes dumb in this episode in a roundabout way, which is an inversion of a previously used trope of making everyone but Fry dumb, even though Fry himself being dumb is one of the show’s easiest and most overused gags. (Futurama has always loved stupidity as a punchline.)

But Nibbler’s pet-like qualities are low-hanging cute fruit for a snack-size outing like this, and that kind of relationship dynamic is easy to make engaging (even if Leela forgetting Nibbler can speak is past its use-by date as a joke.)

Like usual, “Parasites Regained” pokes its fair share of fun at modern trends and technologies, the best idea probably being a throwaway Wordle gag, but it doesn’t have the same kind of specific contemporary throughline as streaming Episode 1 or crypto in Episode 3.

This is probably what makes the overdone Dune stuff feel like too much, as there’s little to the episode without it. It’s a fun way to continue “Parasites Lost”, but it gives a little too much ground to a pastiche that doesn’t always work and lacks some of the cozy nostalgia of previous episodes in this season.

You can stream Futurama Season 11 Episode 4, “Parasites Regained” exclusively on Hulu.


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