If Futurama Comes Back, What Arch Meta-Joke Will It Open With?

It’s going around, based on this item from Collider.com, that Comedy Central might pick up additional episodes of Futurama after the success of the four direct-to-DVD movies (which were also shown on Comedy Central).

My only really big problem with Futurama is the joke writing, which I think has always relied too heavily on arch, comedy-insider jokes that are (as a commenter once put it) a parody of bad writing. A typical Futurama joke is a bit of dialogue that is deliberately “off” in some way, or someone questioning his own choice of words, or pointing out that a joke is stupid (“My name is Ranger Park, Park Ranger.” “I get it!”) We’re undoubtedly in for a lot more of that if the show comes back, but Bender, Leela et al are always worth encountering. I just wish they would more frequently say jokes that are straightforwardly funny, without some kind of ironic detachment. It was created at a time when George Meyer was rewriting every script on The Simpsons, and it it always feels to me like Futurama went too far with that kind of humour, where every joke sounds like no human in the world could ever have said it. But that’s a personal opinion, and it’s never bad to see an unfairly-canceled show with a big fan following get renewed.

Be interesting to see what kind of budget cuts Futurama would have to make to be a direct-to-cable series, and whether any of that will be visible in the episodes themselves. Futurama is  heavy on special effects, has relatively few recurring backgrounds, and has to literally create whole worlds in each episode; there’s no way they can make it a truly cheap show. This will make it an odd fit on a network whose most poular cartoon is literally meant to look like a bunch of cardboard cutouts. But if Comedy Central does bring it back, it will presumably be because they figured out a way to make it work economically.

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