"The Fault, Dear Leela..."
Author's Note: Same time-frame as There's Something About Amy. The year is 3003, and Amy is now the full-time engineer at Planet Express.
Leandro's bit of useless trivia: In case you're not a fan of Shakespeare, the title derives from "Julius Caesar", act one, scene two, where Cassius says to Brutus: "Men, at some times, are masters of their fates. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars; but in ourselves, that we are underlings".
Opening credits. Caption: Subliminally Corrupting the Younger Generation.
Planet Express Conference Room.
Hermes: Now, you're probably wondrin' why I called you all 'ere this morning.
Fry: Because we've had a meeting every morning for the past three years?
Hermes: (pause) Yes. Now (indicates a chart) I'm sure you're all as appalled by dese expenditure reports as I am. We exceeded our budget by nearly %.0003 last month. Dis is completely unacceptable, and I'm placin' de blame squarely on... Zoidberg.
Hermes: So, from now on, I'll be watchin' our expenses very closely. Now den, anyone have any questions?
Fry raises his hand.
Hermes: Fry? Dis better not be a stupid question, mon.
Fry lowers his hand. Leela raises hers.
Leela: Why isn't the Professor at this meeting?
Hermes: 'E locked 'imself in de lab last night, mutterin' sometin' about radioactive man-eating turnips.
Scruffy raises his hand.
Scruffy: Scruffy needs a new mop. The old one got eaten by the turnips.
Hermes: All right, I think we can swing five bucks. But not a penny more! Amy?
Amy: According to this memo, you scrapped my plans to make the ship's reactor fault-tolerant.
Hermes: Your plan to add a second reactor was redundant.
Amy: Sn'uh, that's why it's called REDUNDANCY.
Hermes: Nevertheless, in light of our grave financial situation, I cannot justify de expenditure.
Amy: Well, can I at least get a new roll of duct tape?
Hermes: We'll discuss it. Zoidberg?
Zoidberg: Why do you hate me?
Hermes: Dere are so many reasons. So, so many reasons Bender?
Bender: Gimme money.
Hermes: No. And dat concludes dis meeting. Let's do dis again sometime.
Fry (sarcastic): How about tomorrow morning?
The doorbell rings.
Leela: I'll get that.
She answers the door. Standing there is an attractive, well-dressed woman in her late twenties. Leela gasps. She obviously recognizes this woman.
Bonnie (fake cordiality): Toronga? You work here?
Leela (fake cordiality): Bonnie? I haven't seen you in years!
Bonnie (really fake cordiality): Oh, we must get together sometime.
Leela (amazingly obvious fake cordiality): So, what are you doing these days?
Bonnie (seriously fake cordiality): Oh, nothing, except I'm the president of Kender Industries, the galaxy's largest manufacturer of noseplugs, earguards, eyesheilds, and other protective equipment. I'm sure it's not nearly as intersting as working for a delivery service.
Leela (by this time, she's so cordial that the hate rays from her eye could punch holes in steel): We have so much to catch up on.
Bonnie (fake cordiality, yadda yadda yadda): Oh, I know! I'm free two weeks from Saturday. We could play tennis together!
Leela (fake you-know-what): I wouldn't miss it for the world.
Hermes: I know you two 'ave a lot o' catchin' up to do, but I don't really care. Did ya come 'ere for a reason?
Bonnie (all business): Yes. I need someone to fly thirty gross of nose plugs to the sulfur mines on Stenchtron 5. I checked with over a dozen delivery agencies, and yours was the only one that would go anywhere that unlivable. At least, according to your latest commercial.
Fry: I broke eight bones filming that commercial, and five were mine!
Hermes: Yes, Fry, we're very proud of you. Now, when do you need dat delivered by?
Bonnie: Can you do it by tomorrow morning?
Hermes: Don't worry, miss. If we can't, everybody gets fired.
CGI: The Planet Express Ship takes off. Cut to interior shot of the bridge. Leela's at the conn, evryone else at their respective stations (Fry at tactical, Amy at engineering/communications, Bender just lounging around).
Amy: So, what was that about?
Leela (evasive): What was what about?
Amy (prodding): You know, that whole Bonnie thing.
Leela: There's no "thing" there. Bonnie and I are old friends and we haven't seen each other in years. That's all.
Amy: Give it up, Leela. You could cut the karma with a knife.
Fry: Yeah, Leela! Spill it!
Bender: No! Keep it bottled up until you explode in a fit of violent psychosis. That's what gets me through life!
Leela: (sigh) All right. It all began when I was growing up at the orphanarium.
Bender: Ah, crap, it's one'a those. I think I'll just turn myself off for a while.
We flash back to the orphanarium, when Leela was a geeky little girl with braces, glasses (glass?) and pigtails.
Leela (narrating): Bonnie Kender was my roomate, and she did everything she could to make my life a living hell.
We see a young Bonnie secretly sprinkling something unseen into Leela's underwear while Leela's back is turned.
Leela: She was always coming up with new ways of embarrassing me. Like the time she put Imskian beetleslugs in my underwear. Those are the kind that are too small to see, but they cause terrible itching. Then there was the time she glued me to my desk. And the time she had me framed for drug possession. And she was always slipping lemongrass into my food.
Fry: That's not so bad.
Leela: I'm allergic. VERY allergic.
Leela: I'd be gasping for air, and my eye would be bulging out, and she'd just laugh her little head off.
Amy: Do you think she held some grudge against you?
Leela: No, I'm sure she was just a little bitch.
Fry: Well, you'll be able to show her up when you kick her ass on the tennis court in two weeks, right?
Leela: Sure. I just need to learn how to play tennis. See, the whole reason I got into physical activity was to show Bonnie up. But the one sport I was never able to master was tennis. And she knows that.
Bender (waking up): Wha'.....zit over?
Leela: Of course, you could help me out with that, Amy.
Amy: I dunno... it would dredge up some bad memories.
Fry: Am I missing something?
Amy: It all started when I was five...
Bender: G'night. (shuts off again)
Flashback: The Wongs at a tennis match. Amy, five years old and excited as all hell, is sitting on Leo's shoulders, cheering as various aliens play each other on the field.
Amy (narrating): ... My parents took me to the Mars Open. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen, and I wanted to be a part of it.
Flashforward: Amy at eight, then at eleven, then at fourteen, training, competing and getting better and better.
Amy (narrating): From that day on, I lived, breathed, and peed tennis. By the time I was sixteen, I was the best player on Mars. It wasn't long before I had a shot at a galactic championship.
Flashforward to the opening ceremonies at the 2996 Olympics on Antares II. Amy, at sixteen, is wearing the Mars colors (red and black), and clutching her racquet in nervous anticipation, Next we see Amy in action again, defeating a Trisollian, a Wormulan, a Yarn Person, and a Lizardman.
Amy (narrating): I worked my way up through the rankings, until finally, I made it to the finals. That's when I met my match: Humonga of Amazonia.
Amy's final match is against a massive ten-foot woman in leopard skins, who effortlessly defeats her. Cut to the awards ceremony. A female of Elzar's race gets the bronze, Amy takes the silver, and Humonga climbs up onto the platform to accept the gold, causing it to collapse.
Amy: I never even had a chace against her. After that, I never played again.
Fry: Hey, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Take it from a guy who's never been any good at anything. I would kill to be the second-best tennis player in the galaxy. Or even the billionth-best.
Leela: Fry's right. You earned that silver medal, not because of your parents or your blood type, but because you had the skills to do it. Nobody can ever take that away from you.
Amy: You guys... Okay, Leela, I'll do it! We're gonna show Humonga...
Amy: ...Bonnie who's boss!
Leela: Great! When do we start.
Amy: I may come for you when you least expect it. Maybe even in the middle of the night. But probably at 6:45 tomorrow morning.
The next morning. Montage of Leela's workout, to the tune of the theme from Rocky. Pushups. One-handed pushups. No-handed pushups (don't ask me how). Situps while hanging from the ceilling. Weight-training. Nautilus. Step-aerobics. Ladder-robics. Uneven parallel bars. Finally, we se Leela repeatedly punching an enourmous slab of meat.
Leela: Here, Nibbler! Breakfast! Mommy tenderized it, just how you like it, yesssss. (Nibbler scoots into the room and immediately begins devouring it)
Doorbell rings. Leela answers it. Amy's standing there, wearing workout clothes and carrying two racquets.
Amy: Hey, Leela. Ready to start training?
Leela: Sure, I'm just finishing up my morning routine.
Rocky theme resumes. Leela is running up seemingly endless flight of stairs.
Amy (yelling from the bottom of the stairs): Quit stalling!
Leela (Who is now clearly shown to be running up the stairs to the main post office): I just have to buy stamps, I'll be right down!
Cut to the health club from Episode 18. Amy's playing an opponent, pointing out the different moves to Leela.
Amy: This one's the backhand... this one's called the lob... and THIS one's called the POWER SPIKE!
As she says it, she sends the ball home, sealing her victory.
Amy (dripping with satisfaction): Still got it. Okay, let's see your technique.
She heads over to the controls for the holographic opponent, dialing it down from "Olympian" to "Novice". As she does so, the holographic opponent changes from lean and athletic to short, pudgy and red haired. In short, unusually Cubert-esque.
Leela: That's one wierd coincidence.
The holographic Cubert tries to serve, misses. It tries again and misses. This goes on for a while.
Amy: I think we'd better let you serve, otherwise we could be here all day.
Leela tries to serve, but misses.
Amy: Okay, see, it looks like your whole problem comes from your inability to judge where the ball is. Which is understandable, with your depth perception problem. But I've seen you play softblern, and you don't have a judgement problem there. How do you handle that.
Leela: I don't know. I guess I just stop trying to hit the ball and just go with my gut instinct.
Amy: Then do the same thing here. Bond with the racquet. Be the ball. Just do it.
We see she's reading from the "Big Book of Sports Clichés".
Leela serves again, and is succesful. Holo-Cubert scrambles to hit the ball, and trips over his own feet.
Leela: It's a start.
Amy: Do a few more serves, and I'll move you up to the next level.
A few hours pass. Leela has picked up the game really fast and has moved past "Beginner" and "Mediocre", to "Pretty Good".
Leela: Looks like the only thing keeping me from being good at this game was a mental block.
Amy: Great! A couple more sessions like this, you should be able to handle Bonnie with no problems.
Leela's communicator goes off.
Hermes (over the communicator): We got an important delivery in. Be ready to go in fifteen minutes.
Leela: But it's Saturday!
Hermes: Sorry, but due to our grave financial situation, we've 'ad to start doin' weekend deliveries. And dose hamburger's aren't gettin' to Brando 7 by demselves.
Amy: Oh, well. I guess we can pick this up tomorrow morning.
Aboard the Planet Express Ship.
Leela: What a weird planet.
Amy: I know. I finally find an all-male planet, and they're all the same ugly fat guy.
Bender: Is it normal fer humans ta look like geography? Cuz, y'know, I thought youse guys was ugly before, but now...
Leela: You said they had Brandos in your era, Fry?
Fry: I think there was only one. It just seemed like there were more.
The incoming message chime goes off. Leela hits the "talk" button, and Bonnie comes up on the screen.
Bonnie (smarmy): Toronga! You're working on a Saturday? That must be so horrible for you! I hope it doesn't mean we'll miss our tennis date in two weeks.
Leela: Don't worry, there's no way I'm gonna miss it.
Bonnie: Would it be too much trouble for us to make it... a doubles match?
Leela (surprised): Uh, no. No problem there.
Bonnie: I know you had trouble making friends at the orphanarium. If you can't find a partner, I'm sure I could scrounge one up for you.
Leela: Oh, I already have a partner. (smug) She's an Olympic medal winner.
Amy does a spit take, then frantically tries to mop it up before it shorts out her control panel.
Bonnie: Well, I don't know if I can match that, but I'll try. See you in two weeks.
The transmission cuts off.
Amy: Warn me the next time, okay?
Leela: Please, I need you to do it.
Amy: Of course I'll do it, but you should've asked me before you put me on the spot like that!
Leela: I'm sorry, I just HATE HER HATE HER HATE HER!
Bender: Attagirl, Leela! Work that mindless rage.
Fry: Bender, you're not helping.
Bender: I'm just givin' her the benefit of my years of experience. Mindless rage made me what I am t'day.
Leela: A lazy, drunk, worthless robot?
Bender (oozing satisfaction): It's a life I wouldn't trade for anything. Except maybe for money, booze, and porno.
More scenes of Leela and Amy training, including the obligatory shot of Leela silhouetted balancing on one foot, on a wooden post, performing intricate kata movements, with a racquet in her outstretched hand. Finally, the big day arrives.
Leela and Amy exit a tube somewhere, dressed in tennis whites and carrying racquets.
Amy: Are you sure this is where we're supposed to have the match?
Leela: This can't be right. This is Madison Cube Garden.
They look up. There is a banner hanging at the top of the stairs, promoting "THE FIRST ANNUAL PLANET EXPRESS OPEN". Hermes comes out to meet them.
Hermes: What in de name o' Zion kept you? We got de match startin' in less than 'alf an hour.
Leela: Hermes, what is all this?
Hermes: When I 'eard dat Amy was comin' out o' retirement, I knew dat we 'ad a publicity goldmine 'ere. We rented out de stadium, sold de broadcast rights to ESPN37.5, an' even got us a celebrity announcer.
Cut to the broadcast booth.
Dennis Miller's Head: We got us a sell-out crowd here, people, there's more people here than there were in Horrible Gelatinous Blob's last stool sample.
Leela: But how were you able to afford all this? I thought that we were over budget.
Hermes: Not a problem, after I lined up a corporate sponsor.
Inez: Yoo hoo! Amy!
Amy: Gah! Mom! Dad!
Leo: We figured, if we're not gonna get any grandchildren out of you, we can at least live vicariously through your athletic acheivements.
Amy: Dad, I'm not coming out of retirement, I'm just doing this to help out a friend. Okay?
Inez: Then I guess we'd better get back to nagging you about grandchildren. (Pause) Where are our grandchildren?
They enter the tennis arena in MCG (if they don't have one now, they will by then).
Groundsman: So, will you be playing classic tennis, or (creepy) Death Tennis?
Leela: Much as I enjoy a good death sport, I think we'll stick with classic tennis.
Groundsman: Fine, just give me a few minutes to deactivate the landmines and perimeter lasers and get the giant flesh-eating sandworms back in their cages.
Bonnie (smarmy): Toronga! You showed up! And I see you brought your little "friend". It's nice that she was able to take time out from walking the streets of Triton.
Amy (whispering): Can I kill her if you don't?
Bonnie: Anyway, I'd like you to meet my doubles partner, Humonga.
Humonga: Humonga remember you. You totally choke in final round at Antares. You choke now.
Amy (angry but contained): You're goin' down, Humonga.
Cut to booth.
Dennis: We're just about to get underway here, and I'm seein' more bad blood here than Dracula at a dialysis convention. Hey, watch those stray hate rays, spanky, you could put someone's eye out, and some of us are more a target for that sort of thing. That was funny in rehearsal, I don't know what happened there.
Cut to VIP stands. The whole crew is here. Front row: The Wongs, Hermes, and LaBarbara. Second row: Professor, Fry, and Bender. Back row: Zoidberg, Scruffy. and Cubert (who is trying vainly to see over Bender's head).
Zoidberg (ecstatic): I'm at a sporting event vith friends, vatching other friends. This is the happiest day of my life...
Prof: I resent being dragged away from my lab at such a critical juncture. (to himself) Soon, my pretties, soon.
Fry: Come on, Professor, we have to show our support for Leela and Amy, and besides, we get free soda refills.
Bender: So, what does the winner get again?
Fry: Dignity and self respect.
Bender: Oh, that crap. I have no use for dignity, and self-respect is over-rated, and don't get me started on simple human compassion....
Dennis: Leela has the first serve, and she hits off to Kender, who hits it to Wong, who hits it to Humonga, who hits it back to Leela. Folks, I've just been reminded just how boring this game is, and as a perserved head in a jar, boredom is pretty much the sine qua non, baby. Now I don't wanna get of on a a rant here, but here we are in the thirty-first century, and who do we have for a President. Nixon! Are we losing our collective planetary mind? Are we condemned to infinitely repeat the hideous mistakes of past? This could lead to horrors untold, and you know exactly what I'm talking about. That's right. Clamato. I'm sorry, I-I have to stop now, I'm staring into the abyss, and it's staring back...
The game continues: Rapid montage of hits back and forth, to the tune of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger". The scores build but remain close. Finally, we get to the final game of the final match. Score is 40-all. Bonnie serves, Amy returns, Humonga hits it high into the air. Time seems to slow down. Leela keeps her eye on the ball. The ball's descent begins, Leela's eye narrows. She leaps into the air and drives the ball home for the winning point.
Leela walks up to a fuming Bonnie.
Leela: Good game, Bonnie. And don't worry, I'm not the gloating type. (Pause) Hah! I beat you! I kicked your ass, which is, incidentally, HUGE! HAH! I win, and you lose! WOO! Yeah!
Amy: That was a pretty good game.
Humonga: You defeat Humonga in fair combat. Now Humonga Amy's friend for life.
(Humonga squeezes Amy's hand, possibly crushing a few bones)
Dennis: Ladies and gentlemen and everyone her who doesn't fit into one of the two convenient categories, As I look out onto the field, I'm reminded that the two constants in our universe are pointless competition and friendship. One makes life as unbearable as a sitz bath in the boiling lead oceans of Mercury, the other reaffirms our faith in existence. And I'm not sure which one is which, 'cuz fiendship can be a pain, and competition is what makes life worth living, and.... shit, I have no idea, I'm just some sarcastic hood ornament. Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
The PE crew erupt onto the field to congratulate Leela and Amy, except for the Professor, who has difficulty erupting. Fade to black and white. Black and white still photos follow, with respective captions, to the tune of Queen's "We Are the Champions" (the third song that's de riguer in any sports-themed story).
Still photo of Leela, Amy, and Humonga.
Caption: LEELA, AMY AND HUMONGA DECIDED TO HIT THE TOWN AFTER THE GAME. ALL HAD SUCCESSFUL ONE-NIGHT STANDS.
Still of Bonnie.
Caption: BONNIE'S CORPORATION WENT BANKRUPT WHEN THE MINERS ON STENCHTRON 5 FOUND OUT HER NOSEPLUGS WERE DEFECTIVE. SHE IS CURRENTLY SELLING HER BODY ON THE STREETS OF TRITON.
Still of Hermes.
Caption: THE PLANET EXPRESS OPEN WAS A COLLOSSAL RATINGS FAILURE AND IS NOT LIKELY TO BE REPEATED IN THE FUTURE.
Still of Zoidberg.
Caption: HERMES LAID THE BLAME SQUARELY ON ZOIDBERG.
Still of Scruffy.
Caption: SCRUFFY NEVER REVEALED THAT HE CAME IN 17TH IN THE SHOT-PUT IN 2942.
Still of Bender.
Caption: BENDER WENT OUT WITH THE BALL MACHINE A COUPLE OF TIMES, BUT WAS NEVER ABLE TO GET PAST SECOND GEAR.
Still of the Professor.
Caption: PROFESSOR FARNSWORTH'S MUTANT TURNIP CREATURES RAN RAMPANT THROUGH THE CITY FOR NEARLY THREE DAYS, BEFORE THEY WERE SUBDUED BY ELZAR, WHO USED THEM IN WEDNESDAY NIGHT'S ANDROMEDAN STEW.
Queen takes us into the credits.