5 ‘Futurama’ Jokes That Show Their Age

Many pop-culture punchlines that played in 3000 are hilariously passé in 2024
5 ‘Futurama’ Jokes That Show Their Age

All topical comedy is doomed to one day date itself. At least Futurama’pop-culture jokes stayed fresh for a good millennium first.

Anyone who returns to a comedy series that’s older than a decade has had the quaint experience of seeing what was timely when that specific episode first aired — painfully passé pop-culture references always seem to play like an unironic Neil Hamburger bit when it’s been 20 years since anyone last thought about Napster. Invariably, the merciless passage of time will eventually render every comedy writer’s trendy punchline stale as the zeitgeist continues to phase out the old blood for new material. And, as Abe Simpson so eloquently stated in 1996, “It’ll happen to you.”

Naturally, the Futurama gags that were fresh and funny in 3001 aren’t nearly as punchy in 2024 — some egregiously so. As such, here are the most dated jokes from the distant future, starting with….

s Both Disgusting and Inspiring, Like Jared From Subway”

Pretty much the entirety of Futuramas satire of the early iPhone craze in the 2010 episode Attack of the Killer App could make the list now that nearly everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. However, the line uttered by this construction worker watching Leelas embarrassing viral video takes the cake for the worst-aged joke in the entire episode now that we know exactly how disgusting Jared Fogle really is.


In 2001, two things were on everyone’s mind: Napster and Lucy Liu. Okay, maybe there were more pressing world events than just that going on, but the not-strictly-legal, proto-music-streaming service and its downfall definitely attracted attention from the many millions of fans of the Ally McBeal and Charlie’s Angel star. So, when the Futurama episode “I Dated a Robot” aired in May, 2001, it was the perfect pop-culture plot line for the moment. Perhaps Liu could return in Season 13 for a Spotify takedown.

The AOL Dial-Up Gag

The Season Two classic “A Bicyclops Built for Two” starts with a hilariously dated dig at the miserably slow internet connections of 2000 as Professor Farnsworth opens with the “good news” that, after two years of trying to connect to AOL, he’s finally online. This episode is littered with early internet in-jokes, like pop-up ads for filthy chat rooms and a Quake/Unreal Tournament parody where Leela meets a man who she thinks is a fellow cyclops but turns out to be an early internet catfish.

The 2012 Apocalypse Happens A Thousand Years Late

Remember when a large and gullible portion of the population thought that the world would suddenly end in 2012 because of a supposed ancient Mayan prophecy? As it turns out, the end of the world takes decades of gradual degradation, and modern man is better at accelerating the apocalypse than some archaic, cataclysmic calendar. In the Season Seven episode “A Farewell to Arms,” the prophecy returns for its thousand-year anniversary, only, instead of Mayans spelling doom, it's Martians.

Dwight Risks A Penny on Five Shares of Amazon.com Stock

When “Three Hundred Big Boys” aired in 2003, Amazon had just launched Amazon Web Services, and Jeff Bezos company was still expanding its offerings in online retail. Today, thanks in large part to AWS, Amazon is the fifth largest company in the world by market cap. Assuming the 31st century follows the same economic fluctuations as our own, the “risk” Dwight took on his stock would leave his portfolio looking like the second best investment in the series, only beaten out by the compound interest on Frys bank account in the anchovy episode.


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