Futurama always felt like it was several years ahead of its time, which makes sense for a show that took place 1,000 years in the future.
In addition to its memorable characters and loose continuity, Futurama was an undeniably quotable show. And since the show’s run coincided with the rise of internet meme culture, we’ve been gifted a legacy of Futurama memes that have long outlived the Planet Express crew.
Here are some of the best Futurama episodes from throughout the entire series, and their memorable Futurama memes.
The Devil’s Hands Are Idle Playthings (Season 4 Episode 18)
This episode follows Fry’s attempts to woo Leela using the holophoner, an instrument introduced in a past episode (“Parasites Lost”). When Fry’s squishy human hands prove insufficient to the task of creating the music in his head, he acquires the Robot Devil’s hands.
When this episode aired in August 2003, Futurama fans had no idea it would be the last new material for over four years.
The episode was nominated for multiple awards, and for good reason. Not only is the writing fun, but the song at the end is among the best in the series. In classic Futurama fashion, it acknowledges its cliches with a wink, before going in a different direction.
When Zoidberg calls out words of encouragement for Fry upon getting his own hands back while performing on stage, only to counter it with the above meme? That’s in step with Futurama’s unique humor.
Attack of the Killer App (Season 6 Episode 3)
A lot had changed between Futurama season 4 (2003) and season 6 (2010). When the show first went off the air, Apple was only a computer manufacturer—but by the show’s return, Apple had changed the smartphone industry with the iPhone.
So, it makes sense that the show would tackle this startlingly new technology, as well as the recent-at-the-time rise of Twitter as a cultural force with its usual chaotic brand of commentary.
This episode is difficult to appreciate with hindsight. We’ve long since accepted that social media will not only elevate viral posts to instant fame, but also discard us just as quickly when a new trend arises.
But the phrase “Shut up and take my money!” has become one of Futurama’s most iconic quotes. Ironic, given that an episode about the dangers of viral notoriety spawned such a viral moment.
A Clockwork Origin (Season 7 Episode 9)
For a show that centered so much on exploring the relationship between science and religion, it’s surprising that it took until season 7 to give us a creationism-versus-evolution plotline.
The episode ultimately avoids picking a winning side by presenting a compromise between the two arguments—even if that compromise is in the form of robots evolved from nanobots that the Professor dumped into a lake on an uninhabited world.
But the famous quote of the episode—and possibly the most popular Futurama quote of all time—happens when the Professor sees his work presented as an argument for creationism, spurring him to blast off with the rest of the crew and leave the world behind.
It’s a sentiment I think a lot of us have felt over the last few years, which explains how this quote became so widely used as a meme.
Love and Rocket (Season 4 Episode 4)
Many of the best episodes of Futurama focused not on the absurdity of humanity in the 31st century, but rather on the relationships between the characters of the Planet Express crew.
This episode from 2002 shows some of the slow-building romance between Fry and Leela, while also giving their spaceship a personality and having it fall in love with Bender.
“Love and Rocket” features numerous references to 2001: A Space Odyssey and other classic sci-fi movies, as well as a brief callback to Bender’s relationship with Lucy Liu’s head along the way.
It’s an episode that I personally quote on the regular, but the most enduring meme spawned by the episode is Bender’s reaction to Leela when she asks if he has any guilt about running around behind his girlfriend’s back.
By this point in the show, it’s hard to be surprised by anything Bender does, but cheating on his partner seems like a new low, even for him.
The Peaks of Animated Comedy TV
While Futurama has a legacy that’s much more than the memes it spawned, these reaction images have helped it to live on in popular culture long after its second—and seemingly permanent—cancelation.
There’s always hope that we’ll get more Futurama one day, but for now we’ll have to make due with an impressive collection of memes from one of the best animated comedy TV series of all time.