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Futurama's Connections To The Simpsons: How Deep Do They Go?

Fans familiar with the animated series know the two universes are entwined. The question is, how far do those connections go?

By Allie Z.Published 2 years ago 5 min read
Image Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

Next to The Simpsons, Futurama is arguably one of the — if not the best — animated television series on the air. Matt Groening and David Cohen helmed both series, which we can attribute to the overall success of each respective show. The duo debuted the first episode of their futuristic comedy on March 28, 1999, launching a whole new story set in the year 3000, but that's not technically true.

While Futurama's central premise takes place in the distant future, its' roots lie in the present day on The Simpsons. Several characters who initially debuted on the veteran show cameo on Futurama, too. Even more interesting is the fact distant relatives of individuals from the Simpsons' world have found their way into the Planet Express crew's adventures and not just during the "Simpsorama" crossover episode.

Fans might be surprised by that fact since The Simpsons takes place primarily in the town of Springfield while Futurama's home is New New York, but it's the truth. Look at Mr. Chunks.

Mr. Chunks: The Two-Headed Goat

Image Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

Mr. Chunks, the two-headed goat, initially debuted on Futurama in "Attack of the Killer App." During one of Bender and Fry's wagers, the friends bet each other who can accumulate more Twitcher followers in a set time. The loser having to swim in a pool of Mr. Chunks' diarrhea and vomit. Fry wound up making the dive, by choice, oddly enough.

What's intriguing is that Mr. Chunks isn't an alien goat like Amy purports in the episode. It's an earthly species. The first two-headed goat shows up in an episode of The Simpsons.

In Season 16, Episode 4, "She Used To Be My Girl," an unnamed specimen is depicted as a statue on Evergreen Terrace. The Simpson family casually goes over the goat's origins, explaining that it was born in Shelbyville and inexplicably died in Springfield. Nothing else is said to further this subplot, but audiences know that the species didn't die with Shelbyville's fallen mascot. Mr. Chunks is proof of that.

There's no clear answer to where the two-headed goats came from, though the Nuclear Power Plant may have something to do with it. We've seen strange things come out of the plant before, unexplained phenomena, and these goats could easily be another. A three-eyed fish named Blinky is the most widely known of these radioactive oddities. Ironically, the fish's existence came to light in "Two Cars In Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish," which more than sufficed in emphasizing the effect of Mr. Burns' nuclear power plant on the surrounding environment. That impact also reiterates how mutation plays a part in some of The Simpsons and Futurama's strangest characters.

Humanoid Crossover Characters

Aside from these weird animals, several humanoid Futurama alums also have roots on The Simpsons. Langdon Cobb is a perfect example.

Image Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

Cobb might not be as well-liked as other ancillary characters such as Zapp Branigan, but he definitely makes an impression during his only appearance.

In Season 7, Episode 4, "The Theif of Baghead," Cobb shows up for the first time. He's introduced as an alien of the quantum-Lycan species, a soul-sucker in more practical terminology. Cobb inevitably absorbs the life force from everyone on the Planet Express crew, sans Bender. Being a robot, he's unaffected by Cobb's power and ultimately defeats the quantum-Lycan in a battle of wits.

The noticeable factor about Cobb is his surname. No one else on Futurama shares that with Langdon, but a Simpson character does: Sebastian Cobb.

For those unfamiliar, Cobb has had a handful of appearances. He first showed up in Season 4, Episode 12, "Marge vs. the Monorail," warning the Simpson matriarch of the impending tragedy. He'd experienced one in his hometown and set out to prevent the same fate from befalling Springfield.

There is, however, one disconnect between Sebastian and Futurama's Langdon Cobb. Sebastian is a human from Earth and Langdon is an alien from parts unknown, which begs to ask how he wound up with a human surname. Perhaps Langdon claimed it anonymously, or maybe it's the best translation of his alien name. Either way, he shares something very unique with a Simpsons character.

The Astors' Overlooked Lineage

Apart from two characters with ambiguous connections to one another, there's a family with concrete ties to The Simpsons and Futurama: the Astors.

On the veteran show, the Astors are only briefly mentioned once, although it's long enough to determine a starting point for the family's story.

In Season 9, Episode 9, "Realty Bites," Marge becomes a realtor alongside Lionel Hutz. She's shown listings of potential houses to sell, including one labeled the Murder House. Hutz reveals a newspaper clipping to Marge, which describes how the Astors' home was the sight of several savage deaths.

Image Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

Later in the episode, it's uncovered that a pair of jealous jockeys hacked apart the other people in the home. Mrs. Astor, however, survived the encounter by concealing herself in the mansion's pantry. What transpired afterward is unclear, but the Astors didn't stay in Springfield for much longer. They moved to New York at some point because their next appearance would be on Futurama.

In "Season 7, Episode 12, "The Mutants are Revolting," the Planet Express Crew attends the Astor Endowment Fundraiser at the request of Mrs. Astor. A tribute to the deceased passengers of the Land Titanic takes place where they learn from a film reel that the ship sank after running into a mailbox. Although, not everything is as it seems either.

The episode's climax uncovers that the presumed-dead Mr. Astor survived the crash. He did mutate alongside the dregs that Mrs. Astor herself previously looked down on, though. She inevitably accepts him, which is a striking turn for the posh socialite.

Image Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

What's so remarkable is the Astor family survived a thousand years. Not only that, they overcame their Simpson-related scandal, which would've sent any other family into reclusion. Somehow, the old Mrs. Astor maintained her status as a wealthy heiress and kept her loved ones taken care of going well into the year 3000. How she accomplished such a feat remains a mystery, but it doesn't change the fact that the Astors are practically immortal.

The Simpsons Set The Pace For Technological Advancements

Additionally, The Simpsons sowed the seeds for several inventions featured in Futurama. Head-jars, for example.

The technology's origin is never fully explained despite making prominent appearances in multiple episodes. The head-jars are, however, mentioned in passing on the flagship program.

Image Copyright: Walt Disney Studios

In Season 7, Episode 18, "The Day Violence Died," Roger Myers Jr. talks about his father in cryogenic preservation. He's on the phone explaining how he couldn't afford to keep the Itchy and Scratchy creator's entire body in storage, so Myers Jr. had his father decapitated. That way, he could preserve the head and dispose of the rest.

Doing so implies that cryogenic technology was also in the research phase of developing head jars. Myers Jr. seemed confident that his father's head would remain stable, meaning the potential to revive him was more than a chance. The Simpsons establishing the beginnings of this futuristic technology once again reiterates how the show set up staples of Futurama.

With all these different tie-ins coming to light, it's easy to see how the past put the building blocks in place for the future to take shape. Matt Groening and David Cohen didn't just slap together a universe of characters without origins or histories of their own. They crafted a unique world connected to what came before on The Simpsons and is still going strong a thousand years into the future.

Futurama returns with new episodes on Hulu in 2023.

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About the Creator

Allie Z.

I cover most entertainment related topics and am venturing into journalism.

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    Allie Z.Written by Allie Z.

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