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Forty Percent Leadbelly

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Forty Percent Leadbelly
Image 4
Episode 128
Production Code 7ACV14
Season 10
Air date July 03, 2013
Directed By Stephen Sandoval
Written By Ken Keeler
Preceded by "Naturama"
Followed by "2-D Blacktop"

Forty Percent Leadbelly is the 128th episode and was broadcast in Season 10 (broadcast), and premiered on July 3, 2013.

Synopsis Edit

Bender meets his favorite folk singer, and decides to become a folk singer.

Plot Edit

The Planet Express crew arrives at Elevenworth Variable Security Prison to deposit Dr. Brutalov, a supervillain encased in carbonite. As Bender and Fry take the prisoner to be checked in (leaving Leela to get hooted at) Bender spots Silicon Red, and identifies him to Fry, then suddenly remembers his life-long dream to become a folk singer. He chases off after the famed artist, leaving Fry with the slightly thawing criminal.

Silicon Red, meanwhile, pics up his personal effects which include his still loaded gun and his guitar, named Salmonella. Bender catches up with Red at the bus stop and asks him to teach him everything he knows about folk singing and give him the guitar. When Red refuses, Bender takes a picture of the guitar.

Later, back at Planet Express, it's revealed that Dr. Brutalov escaped his carbonite and managed to freeze Fry into it while Bender was off with Red. "You're always getting frozen in things," says Bender. "It's your thing, man."  He then tells the rest of the crew about his plans to become the world's greatest folk singer. He analyzes every folk song ever written, surmising that the heros are all named "Big Something," that they usually hook up with a bad-hearted woman who does them wrong with a sleazy rambler and then someone kills somebody. He then deduces that all he needs is a guitar to fulfill his dreams. To get this guitar, he goes to Dr. Ben Beeler, who now in addition to being a paleantologist is operating a 3D printing business.  Dr. Beeler locates the picture of Salmonella in Bender's Hard drive (among folders containing a penguin personality and over 100Tb of Porn) and connects Bender wirelessly to the printer, which then takes 4 or 5 hours to print the guitar out of nano-plastic (giving Ben and Bender some time to adjourn to the porn folder.)  

Bender names his new guitar Bender Mae and in his first gig attempts to steal the show from Silicon Red at a T.G.I. Folky's, where he's immediately booed off stage for singing an insincere song, "The Ballad of Me, Ramblin' Rodriguez."  Zoidberg suggests that in order to authenticate his music that he work on the railroad, so he makes his way to the wrong side of the tracks where he meets Big Caboose in a bar. 

Caboose begins to introduce Bender to the world of interstellar railways, though Bender essentially watches Caboose and others do the work he writes into his song from a lawn chair.  Fry and Leela meet him at a railroad camp to deliver some dynamite, and he sings them his song about Big Caboose, inserting a lyric about Caboose meeting a bad-hearted woman named Jezabel, which Caboose points out didn't happen.  Fry complains about the lyrics, still upset that Bender left him alone with the super villain.

Later, as Bender is alone in his shack writing lyrics, Big Caboose comes in to announce that he has indeed met a fembot called Jezabel, whom he introduces to Bender, then leaves with Bender.  After Caboose leaves, she laments that she's so lonely and easy, and predictably, she and Bender get busy.  He writes the escapade into the song, then writes Caboose's revenge into it, but decides to make it take place in New New York instead of the Rail Road Camp.

Meanwhile, in New New York, Fry and Leela are watching a movie at Fry and Bender's apartment when Big Caboose knocks at the door looking to take his revenge on Bender.  They tell Caboose that Bender isn't there, and Caboose admitted that he knew that, but felt compelled by some strange force to look there anyway, so he leaves.  Fry and Leela realize at this point that Bender's song is coming to life, and Fry accuses reality of infringing Bender's intellectual property.

Back at the railroad camp, Bender kicks Jezabel out of his shack and continues to write his ballad, deciding that Caboose will seek his revenge by running Ramblin' Rodriguez down with a train.  Predictably, Caboose shows up in an engine and chases Bender back to NNY on a push cart.  Bender makes it to his apartment, but Fry, still angry about Dr. Brutalov, refuses to let him in, quoting lyrics to Bender's song back to him.  Still pursued by Caboose, Bender escapes to Planet Express, where he again encounters Fry and Leela, who explain that they've been trying call him.  Bender acuses Fry of selling him out to Caboose, and Fry and Leela argue that it was a copy of Fry that sold him out-at which point Bender realizes that the copy must have been made by Dr. Beeler's printer.

Bender, Fry and Leela go back to Dr. Beeler's lab where Dr. Beeler realizes he left Bender's wireless connection open.  As Big Caboose's train whistle is heard in the distance, Leela suggests that instead of disconnecting Bender, they use the printer to solve their problem by having Bender write his way out of the situation in his song and having the printer (which is now much faster) create the solution, possibly using a giant octopus.  Bender objects, but of course he ends up creating a group of giant octopuses that attack the group.  Bender escapes to verify that the plural of octopus is octopi instead of octopuses, but discovers both are acceptable.  Leela then suggests that he create an alternate Bender for Big Caboose to kill, but Bender objects to this on the grounds that it violates his artistic integrety.  However, this is his downfall-Big Caboose crashes through the wall and runs over Bender with his train engine.

A funeral for Bender is held at the Temple of Robotology, wherein Bender's body is so flattened that he is placed in a large manilla envelope.  Silicon Red eulogizes him by singing the last lyrics of "The Ballad of Me, Ramblin Rodriguez" in third person.  As he finishes the song, the real Bender bursts in the back door of the temple and reveals in song (double time now) that he indeed created a fake version of himself while the others were fighting the octopi, a version with the fatal flaw of artistic integrity which he introduced to make sure that the copy of himself wouldn't try to get out of getting killed by Caboose.  He then suggests to Silicon Red that they sell out together.

Red, Bender and Caboose embark on a hip-hop career, telling their story in rap on stage at the Wong Casino in Mars Vegas, ending the show with an epic mic drop.

References Edit

When Caboose passes the sign to New New York, the typeface is in New Yorker Type, used by The New Yorker magazine.

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