|"Fear of a Bot Planet"|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||Peter Avanzino|
|Written by||Heather Lombard|
|Original air date||April 20, 1999|
|Opening caption||Featuring Gratuitous Alien Nudity|
|Opening cartoon||Porky Pig and Bugs Bunny in "A Corny Concerto" (1943)|
"Fear of a Bot Planet" is the fifth episode in season one of Futurama. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 20, 1999. The episode was written by Heather Lombard and Evan Gore and directed by Peter Avanzino and Carlos Baeza. The episode focuses on a delivery the Planet Express Crew must make to a robot planet named Chapek 9. The robot inhabitants hate all humans and Bender decides to join them because he is tired of robots being treated like second class citizens. The episode is a light-hearted satire on racism, an idea reinforced by the title, a reference to Public Enemy's 1990 album Fear of a Black Planet.
While attending a New New York Yankees blernsball game at Madison Cube Garden, Bender is offended that humans will not let robots compete in the game. Hermes calls and tells the crew to report back to the office for a delivery mission. The delivery is to Chapek 9, a planet inhabited by human-hating robot separatists who kill humans on sight, so Bender is assigned to deliver the package. Bender claims that it is a robot holiday, Robanukah, and refuses to work. Hermes, however, insists that Bender must go, on the grounds that Bender has already used up all his time off. Upon arriving at the planet, a resentful Bender is lowered to the surface. Meanwhile, Fry and Leela decide to throw a Robanukah party for Bender to show their appreciation.
They receive a rushed message from Bender: the robot separatists found out he worked for humans, and he has been captured. In order to avoid being killed on sight, Fry and Leela disguise themselves as robots and infiltrate the robot society. Fry and Leela discover Bender is alive and playing the robots' prejudice for his own benefit, claiming he has killed billions of humans on Earth. Fry and Leela reunite with Bender in an abandoned robot porn shop, but he refuses to be rescued. Before Fry and Leela can leave, the other robots arrive, and the two are placed on trial for being human. They are immediately found guilty of the charge and are sentenced to a life of tedious robot-type labor. A trapdoor opens and they fall into a room where they meet the five Robot Elders. The Elders reveal that the trial was merely a show trial for the masses, and command Bender to kill Fry and Leela, but Bender refuses, stating that the pair are his friends, and that humans pose no threat to robots.
The Robot Elders reveal that despite being aware of this, humans provide them with a useful scapegoat to distract the population from their actual problems: lug nut shortages and an incompetent government of corrupt Robot Elders. The Robot Elders decide the three know too much and must be killed. Fry threatens to breathe fire on the Robot Elders, throwing them into a state of confusion. The crew flees, pursued by a horde of robots. As the crew escapes on the winch, the robots stack on top of each other, keeping pace with the winch. Bender remembers that he never actually delivered the package, and puts it into the hands of the robot on top. The unbalanced tower topples to the ground. The package bursts open, showering the robots in much-needed lug nuts. The robots then renounce their human-hating ways. The crew, headed back to Earth, celebrate Robanukah with Bender, who confesses the holiday is fictitious.
Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode an A-, stating, "While the show would go on to create more consistently well-considered worlds, the depth of its cleverness is on fine display. Even better, Fry, Leela, and Bender all behave in consistent, and even somewhat illuminating ways. [...] While Futurama's storytelling is still in its most rudimentary form, it has its central trio down cold."