The Problem with Popplers

The Problem with Popplers

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"The Problem with Popplers" is the 15th episode in the second production season of Futurama
Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

. It originally aired in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 on May 7, 2000.The title is a reference to the Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek: The Original Series
Star Trek is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry, produced by Desilu Productions . Star Trek was telecast on NBC from September 8, 1966, through June 3, 1969...

 Episode "Trouble with Tribbles", in which "tribbles" (very similar to popplers) infest the USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise may refer to the following vessels:-United States of America:In watercraft, the prefix "USS" or "U.S.S." is applied to ships commissioned by and for the United States Navy. Private citizens also use the name unofficially...



When the Planet Express crew lands on a previously undiscovered planet
A planet is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, science,...

, they find that it abounds in a new and delicious animal life-form which they call "popplers". (Fry
Philip J. Fry
Philip J. Fry, known simply as Fry, is a fictional character, the main protagonist of the animated science fiction sitcom Futurama. He is voiced by Billy West using a version of his own voice as he sounded when he was 25.-Character overview:...

 chose the name from a list of the two remaining non-trademarked names on Earth; the second was "Zitzlers". This naming also followed the rejection of the unsuitable name "tasticles" as too similar to an existing product: "Those frozen Rocky Mountain Oysters
Rocky Mountain oysters
Rocky Mountain oysters are bull calf testicles used as food.They are often deep-fried after being peeled, coated in flour, pepper and salt, and sometimes pounded flat...

 on a stick—you know, 'test-sicles'?".) The edible and highly addictive "popplers" soon inspire a new business-venture for the crew, for Earthlings just cannot seem to get enough of these delicacies. Unfortunately, after popplers become an incredibly popular food item and the organization MEAT (Mankind for Ethical Animal Treatment) begins to protest against them, it is learned that they are the larval stage of the Omicronian race. Leela, the first to discover this when a Poppler awakens in her hands, leads the charge to stop the eating of Popplers. This mostly fails, partly due to Bender's subversive actions. The warlike natives of Omicron Persei 8, led by Lrrr, arrive to seek justice for humans devouring billions of their young. The Omicronians demand that they be allowed to eat the same number of Earthlings as "popplers" which were eaten. Since there are fewer humans on Earth than the number of popplers, and since Lrrr filled up on nuts during the negotiations, the Omicronians choose instead to eat the first Earthling to eat their young: Leela.

In order to fool the Omicronians, Zapp Brannigan
Zapp Brannigan
Captain Zapp Brannigan is a fictional character in the animated sitcom Futurama. He is voiced by Billy West, but was originally intended to be voiced by Phil Hartman, with West taking over the role after Hartman's death. Brannigan is a 25-Star General in the Democratic Order of Planets, and captain...

 brings a female orangutan
Orangutans are the only exclusively Asian genus of extant great ape. The largest living arboreal animals, they have proportionally longer arms than the other, more terrestrial, great apes. They are among the most intelligent primates and use a variety of sophisticated tools, also making sleeping...

 dressed and styled as Leela. The Omicronians are initially fooled because they have difficulty recognizing individual humans; however, the Earthlings' luck runs out when hippie
The hippie subculture was originally a youth movement that arose in the United States during the mid-1960s and spread to other countries around the world. The etymology of the term 'hippie' is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco's...

 Free Waterfall Junior exposes the sham to protect "one of mother earth's most precious creatures" (who is eaten, anyway). After realizing the trick, Lrrr demands the real Leela. Just when he is about to eat her, the small Omicronian, Jrrr, whom Leela had been nannying since birth, arrives. Jrrr jumps into Leela's mouth and convinces the Omicronians that it is wrong to eat other intelligent/sentient life out of revenge
Revenge is a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance, be it real or perceived. It is also called payback, retribution, retaliation or vengeance; it may be characterized, justly or unjustly, as a form of justice.-Function in society:Some societies believe that the...

. The Omicronians leave, but not before Lrrr devours Waterfall Junior, more to the entire crowd's satisfaction. The amount of drugs in Waterfall's system causes Lrrr to get stoned.

The episode ends with the Planet Express Crew eating a smorgasbord buffet of unintelligent animals, including a suckling pig
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...

 and a dolphin who wasted all his money on instant-lottery
A lottery is a form of gambling which involves the drawing of lots for a prize.Lottery is outlawed by some governments, while others endorse it to the extent of organizing a national or state lottery. It is common to find some degree of regulation of lottery by governments...



This episode was ranked number eleven on IGN
IGN is an entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. IGN's main website comprises several specialty sites or "channels", each occupying a subdomain and covering a specific area of entertainment...

's top 25 episode list, particularly noting its great premise. In Doug Pratt's DVD Pratt calls this episode "original and inspired".


  • This episode establishes that Leela's family uses the name-order convention (surname
    A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

    , given name
    Given name
    A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

    ) common to countries such as China and Hungary. This is also the first episode where Fry is referred to (by Amy) with his first name, Philip.
  • This is the first appearance of Phil Hendrie
    Phil Hendrie
    Philip Stephen Hendrie is an American radio personality. He is best known as the host of The Phil Hendrie Show, a comedy talk radio program that is syndicated throughout North America on Talk Radio Network...

     on Futurama as one of his Waterfall characters. He later appeared as Free Waterfall Sr. in "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz
    The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz
    "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz" is the fifth episode in the third production season of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on March 4, 2001 as the ninth episode of the third season. The episode was written by Dan Vebber and directed by James Purdum...

    " as well as both Old Man Waterfall and Frida Waterfall in "A Taste of Freedom
    A Taste of Freedom
    "A Taste of Freedom" is the fifth episode of the fourth production season of Futurama.-Plot summary:The crew celebrates Freedom Day, a day where you can do anything you want, regardless of the consequences. Dr. Zoidberg seems passionate about the holiday, as he loves the idea of freedom, something...

    ". He reprises his role of Frida in the fourth Futurama movie "Into the Wild Green Yonder" along with her newly introduced brother, Hutch.
  • In this episode, Joe "Fishy" Gellman says, "The reason we don't eat people is because they taste lousy." In a separate episode, "Fry and the Slurm Factory
    Fry and the Slurm Factory
    "Fry and the Slurm Factory" is the thirteenth episode of the first production season of Futurama. It originally aired in North America on November 14, 1999 as the fourth episode of the second broadcast season. The episode was directed by Ron Hughart and written by Lewis Morton...

    ," there exists a soda in the future called "Soylent Cola"
    Soylent Green
    Soylent Green is a 1973 American science fiction film directed by Richard Fleischer. Starring Charlton Heston, the film overlays the police procedural and science fiction genres as it depicts the investigation into the murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution,...

     (whose taste varies from 'person to person').
  • In the episode Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences
    Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences
    "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences" is the eleventh episode of the sixth season of the animated sitcom, Futurama and is the 99th episode in production and broadcast order. It aired on Comedy Central on August 26, 2010. In the episode, the ruler of the planet Omicron Persei 8, Lrrr experiences...

    , the human woman at Comic-Con
    Comic-Con, Comic Con or ComiCon may refer to any of the following Comic book conventions, none of them affiliated to any other:*San Diego Comic-Con International, annual fan convention in San Diego held since 1970, also known as Comic-Con or San Diego Comic-Con*Dallas Comic Con, annual fan...

    dressed as an Omicronian says, "I want to have your popplers!"

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