FOUR YEARS AGO TODAY, AND INTRIGUING QUESTION WAS POSED...
BENDER: (standing between Fry and Leela, with their backs turned) Guess who's BACK, baby?
AN INNOCENT QUESTION MET WITH AN INNOCENT ANSWER... SILENCE!
FRY: (coming off the ship into the hangar with Leela and Bender) Where IS everyone?
LEELA: Amy? Hermes?
BENDER: That Professor guy? That crawfish thing? This stinks! I demand a hero's welcome after 72 network episodes!
FRY: “Network episodes”?
LEELA: (opening up a letter in the mail) That's what we call the deliveries we made for the Box Network, a division of Twentieth Century Box.
BENDER: And by my count, we did 72 prime time network episodes.
FRY: “Prime time”?
LEELA: That's what we call deliveries between 8 and 11PM, or 7 and 10 on Sundays.
BENDER: And we made exactly 72 network, prime time, Emmy-winning episodes.
LEELA: (holds up a letter) Hey, listen to this: we've been invited to a Q&A panel at the big delivery and shipping convention.
BENDER: You mean PACKAGE-CON in SPACE DIEGO?!
LEELA: You know it! And they want us to show our favorite clips!
FRY: Clips? We have CLIPS?
LEELA: (holds out a small box of 'Well-bent paper clips') Sure, they hold the manifest to the signature slate, silly.
BENDER: To the space-mo-ship!
MEANWHILE, OTHER QUESTIONS WERE BEING ASKED...
PROFESSOR: (in the Box Network's board room) Good news, everyone?
BOX EXECUTIVE: No, Professor. BAD news, everyone. We're fed up with your ratings.
PROFESSOR: My ratings?
FEMALE EXECUTIVE: The comments from your clients.
EXECUTIVE #3: So we will not be offering you a pickup for next season.
EXECUTIVE #4: Package pickup. And you're off the schedule.
PROFESSOR: (being pushed out of the room) Off the WHAT?
BOX EXECUTIVE: The network delivery schedule. Now excuse us, we're late for a meeting with Simon Cowell's head.
SOON AFTER, MORE QUESTIONS...
PROFESSOR: (sitting on a park bench) Can I help it if so many of our deliveries have been at 7 O'clock when no one is home? Or they're watching football? Lucky for me, I'll be dead soon anyway...
PETER GRIFFIN: This place is freakin' SWEET!
PROFESSOR: (turns around to see Peter Griffin running out of a building labeled 'CARTON NETWORK', holding bags of money) Hmm. Am I even luckier than I think?
THEN, EVEN MORE QUESTIONS...
FRY: (sitting on the sofa in the Planet Express ship, with Bender) What's Package-Con all about?
BENDER: You'll love it, Fry. They all dress up in freaky delivery costumes. And none of them bathe.
LEELA:(piloting the ship) Hey, something's coming at us!
BENDER: What's wrong, big boots?
LEELA: We got snagged on a cable operated by the Carton Network! It's pulling us into a vortex!
FRY: Do something! I HATE vortexes!
BENDER: It's 'VORTICES', meatbag!
FRY: I hate THEM, too! (As the ship gets sucked in, there are scenes of previous episodes flashing in the windows) What's happening now?
LEELA: The computer is bonkers. The read-outs went kerblooie. Even my wrist thingy is acting jiggy.
BENDER: Stop using that science jargon! Just tell us what's happening!
LEELA: We've gone back to December 31, 2999. We're about to relive the last five years all over again!
FRY: I've got a strange feeling...
LEELA: Deja vu?
FRY: Leela! Now's not the time to come on to me in French.
BENDER: OH NO! Reliving the last five years? Do you know what this means for me, Bender? (there is a two page spread, showing every secondary character Bender has ever wronged, including, but not limited to: Preacher-bot, Lucy Liu, Crushernator, Url and Smitty, Wernstrom, Sal, Calulon, Flexo, Destructor, Abner Doubledeal, Al Gore, Fender, Horrible Gelatinous Blob, Lrrr and Ndnd, I-sac, Elzar, Walt, Larry, and Ignar, Monique, The Robot Mafia, Roberto, Mom, Nixon and Agnew, and some Amazonians) I'M BONED!
AND LATER, STILL MORE QUESTIONS...
FRY: (now naked on the probulator, in Applied Cryogenics) So we went back in time?
LEELA: (now in the sewers, tied up as a sacrifice to El Chupanibre)Yes, and we have to do everything EXACTLY the same way.
FRY: (now being carried into a Snu-snu chamber by Ornik) Maybe that's not so bad. I mean there were a lot of GOOD times... (now in the saunu with Amy and Leela) and by good times, I mean NAKED times.
LEELA: (now dressed up like Peg Bundy in Alcazar's palace) This is different from when we used to repeat our missions in the summer. Back then, we always did something new in the fall. (now flying through a space bee hive, holding a baby queen) But that cable is making us re-run all 72 episodes... I mean missions... over and over and over again.
FRY: (now at his opera, playing the holophoner) You mean?
LEELA: Yes... (now back at Applied Cryogenics again) we're living in a world of CABLE RERUNS!
LATER THAT MILLENIUM, THE QUESTIONS MOUNTED...
BILL MORRISON: (on a stage with a large banner that reads 'PACKAGE-CON '04 WELCOMES PLANET EXPRESS!') I'm your moderator, Bill Morrison of Boxco. I know you all have lots and lots of the same questions, so let's meet our panelists... THE PLANET EXPRESS CREW! (the curtains are drawn to show a long table, with only one person sitting at it) First question: who are YOU?
SCRUFFY: Scruffy. The janitor.
BILL MORRISON: So where's the crew?
SCRUFFY: Met their day of reckoning. I reckon.
AUDIENCE: (many nerds consisting of humans, robots, and aliens) GASP!/ ?!?/ WHAT THE...
QUESTIONER: Is there any truth to the internet rumor that I'm starting right now that the Box Network is responsible for what I'm calling the crew's 'cancellation'?
SCRUFFY: Sure, why not?
AUDIENCE: Should we start a protest?/ What about a petition?/ Are you making toys?/ Or a video game?/ Will there be any DVD sets?
SCRUFFY: (thinking) DVD sets? That sets Scruffy to thinkin'... (Scruffy dreams up 'Scruffy's Hidden Camera Tapes, volumes 1-4, with Amy going into a shower, Hermes picking his nose, Zoidberg raiding a dumpster, and Cubert breaking into the Professor's safe)
AND EVEN LATER, AT AN EARLIER TIME, MORE QUESTIONS...
BENDER: (at the carnival asking the Gypsy fortune teller robot) So, for the 93rd time, WHY am I turning into a WERE-CAR?
LEELA: (punches the side of the Gypsy's cabinet) I'm sick of this! Can't you tell us something about the future?
GYPSY: Sure, I'd like a change of pace, too. I see FOUR ADVENTURES... (a scene shows Bender giving an unfinished Mona Lisa to one of the scammers; Leela is wearing a wedding dress) In the first, an alien controls BENDER with cosmic repercussions.
FRY: Is that a wedding dress?
GYPSY: (the scene changes to Fry as Pope to Yivo's 'religion', and Bender is in his smoking jacket and ascot) In the second, an alien controls FRY with cosmic repercussions.
BENDER: Why am I wearing that luxurious ascot?
LEELA: Let me guess. In the third, an alien controls ME with cosmic repercussions?
GYPSY: (scene changes to show Cornwood) No, not exactly...
FRY: What about the fourth?
GYPSY: Even I, with my powers of robo-foresight, cannot see the plot of that adventure as of press time.
LEELA: Oh, it doesn't matter, we're stuck in this rerun loop forever.
NERDS: Never say never!
LEELA: (turns around to see the comic panel shatter, revealing nerds at the 'Package-Con') I didn't. I said 'forever'.
BENDER: Eek! Nerds!!
FRY: What do YOU want?
OMICROMIAN NERD: We used all of our mighty nerd powers to bring you back!
NEPTUNIAN NERD: We watched you on cable every night!
HUMAN NERD: We bought your DVDs!
TRISOLIAN NERD: So thanks to us, you're back for four more epic adventures!
AND SO, THE CREW WAS SAVED, AND THEY RETURNED HOME (AFTER ANSWERING QUESTIONS ABOUT INCONSISTENCIES IN THE FIRST 72 EPISODES AND WHAT PAMELA ANDERSON WAS REALLY LIKE). BUT WHEN THEY ARRIVED, ONE MORE QUESTION WAS POSED...
BENDER: (has his back facing the reader, facing a welcoming party in the hangar) Guess who's BACK, baby?! It's BENDER! That's who!
WE SALUTE OUR INTREPID FANS WHO HELPED MAKE THE RETURN OF 'FUTURAMA' POSSIBLE. THANKS TO THEM, WE HAVE ONE FINAL QUESTION...
… THE END?