Professor Farnsworth sends the Planet Express crew on a mission to tow the Juan Valdez, (reference to the Exxon Valdez), “an orbiting supertanker full of rich Columbian dark matter.” Leela refuses to go on the mission because she concerned that the tanker will leak dark matter oil into a penguin preserve on Pluto that the tanker must pass by.
Leela: “Dark matter oil? What if we hit something? The tanker could leak.”
Professor Farnsworth: “Impossible. The tanker has 6,000 hauls. So unlike me, it’s entirely leak-proof.”
Leela decides to join a group of protesters instead of captaining the mission, leaving Bender in charge. Naturally as a result of Bender’s inferior piloting, the tanker catches on an iceberg, which cuts through all 6000 hauls and causes dark matter oil to leak into the penguin preserve.
Bender is ordered to five hours of community service to clean up the oil spill. In addition, the dark matter oil causes the penguins to greatly increase their reproduction causing overpopulation.
Just like the episode in my last post, “Birdbot” uses extremes to point out the ridiculousness of how governments and corporations handle oil transportation, spill prevention and spill management. Granted, this episode also pokes fun at environmental groups as well. However, a supposedly unleakable tanker leaks into an animal habitat (adorable penguins instead of fish, gulls and other ocean dwelling creatures) due to lack of corporate and government oversight. The environment is severely damaged and is unable to be cleaned up and the animals suffer horrible consequences, just like in the event of a real oil spill.
Energy narrative characteristics found in this episode: life= energy, environmental degradation and destruction, corporate ruthlessness, nomadic existence.
The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz Episode highlights