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John A. Zoidberg

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John A. Zoidberg
Dr. John A. Zoidberg
Gender Male
Species Decapodian
Age 86
Planet Formerly: Decapod 10
Currently: Earth
Profession Planet Express physician
Relatives Father:Norm
Mother: Sam
Adoptive mother: Sadie
Brothers: Norman, several unnamed
Sistеrs: Several unnamed
Uncle: Harold Zoid
Cousin: Zoidfarb
Status Alive
First appearance "The Series Has Landed"
Voiced by Billy West

John A. Zoidberg, better known as Zoidberg, is one of the main characters in Futurama. He was born on the planet Decapod 10 and moved to Earth to practice medicine after giving up comedy once. Despite being a self-proclaimed expert on humans, he called Fry "young lady" when they first met, and has confused Fry and Bender. He speaks, as all Decapodians do, with a heavy Yiddish accent. He is the nephew of famed eccentric movie celebrity Harold Zoid. On a number of occasions, Zoidberg has made mention of Bender being his best friend.[1]

Zoidberg is actually the alien discovered in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947.[2] He seems to live in various places around the Planet Express building, notably the dumpster, in which he has been seen numerous times looking for food and shelter. Zoidberg himself confessed to "living in a dumpster" in 3011, presumably the Planet Express building dumpster.[3] A conversation Zoidberg has with the Professor suggests that he is only staying with Planet Express because he is a slave, and must "earn his freedom."[4] He is technically homeless, and very poor, being a very unsuccessful "internal medicine doctor". In fact, it is revealed that Zoidberg does not actually have a medical degree (his doctorate is in art history).[5] Despite his professional incompetence, he has been drafted into the DOOP army as a MEAT surgeon.[6]

He is extremely poor and has stated several times that he has no home. Even worse, he is even treated like a social pariah by mostly everyone around him. Hermes Conrad considers him as practically a slave and does not hesitate in treating him like one. He usually eats from the trash or a dumpster, mistaking the trash for food and is envious of even the smallest amounts of money due to his lack of knowledge in currency and economics. Another factor of his poverty was mainly the fact that Hermes kept cutting Zoidberg's paychecks for no reason. He is excitable about his friends and is very trusting with the crew. He appears to be rather fond of all of them, only really disliking Bender. Most of the crew (except possibly Fry, Farnsworth, and Amy ) finds Zoidberg (or at least his species) to be disgusting as he will eat almost anything, and his extreme "incompetence" as a doctor has done nothing for his popularity. Although, sometimes the rest of the crew will be nice or care for him, except maybe Hermes.

A composite of numerous sea creatures, Zoidberg's features have been myriad. The most unique feature is his inability to feel physical pain. An example is in the episode "Roswell that Ends Well", Zoidberg is aware that he is getting dissected without anethesia but he doesnt feel any type of pain as he gets dissected. His known attributes include a removable exoskeleton, a retractable head fin that indicates arousal, aggression, or fear, an ink gland, a "stink gland", a gland that emits foul odors when he's bored, an empathy bladder, a freshwater stomach, a saltwater stomach, four hearts, a throat that apparently produces psychedelic blue pearls, and a "wazoo". This last item is apparently some sort of sex organ, the place where the "male jelly" comes out for the mating of his species. It has been revealed that passing on genetic material is a life terminating event for these lobster people, so while the good doctor once informed Leo Wong that he "took the liberty of fertilizing his caviar" for him, it remains ambiguous as to what, exactly, transpired. Along with a "wazoo", Zoidberg also has gonopores, as revealed in Neutopia when everyone's gender is taken away, when he looks in his pants and promptly yells "My gonopores," and then tells everyone to "look it up."[7]

Zoidberg reverted through several of the early "larval" life cycle stages of his species after being exposed to a youth tar. He seems to have started off as a small immobile creature from which asexually fragmented "brothers" could separate (each with a distinct personality). A later stage was a parasitic lamprey, followed by a large clam inside which his head was visible. The next oldest form resembled a trilobite. Other stages included a sea urchin and a cuttlefish.[8]

Zoidberg is indirectly and unintentionally responsible for a number of disasters and misfortunes which befall Earth's people, including their enslavement by the Decapodians due to their overreaction of Zoidberg eating a flag and sentencing him to death after giving him an unfair trial. Due to his alleged overacting in a TV series finale, the people of Earth are denied the Omicronian secret to eternal youth. He is also partially responsible for the near sale of Planet Express to MomCorp, due to foolishly trading all of his stocks to That Guy for nothing more than a sandwich, which grew moldy because he never ate it. However that near sale was mainly Fry's fault.


Edna pic


Even though Zoidberg is usually disliked by everybody he comes into contact with, he did manage to find a little romance with a Lobster at the Hipster Club when Amy took Leela out to find a man, walking out with the lobster in his arms after the bar closed.[9] He also had fallen in love with Edna, but the feelings weren't mutual; Edna fell in love with Fry instead. He and the Jellyfish Monster (who also served as his field nurse during the war) were seen sharing a glass of wine on the Titanic.[10]. He is ultimatley revealed to be currently married to an unknown wife in "Benderama" when Professor Farnsworth shredded his wedding album to make two small sweaters. It is unknown who Zoidberg's wife is but possible candidates are Grrl, Candy, and the Jellyfish Monster.


Out of all the Planet express crew members, Zoidberg is considered to be the most caring and innocent member of the crew. He is a sweet and lovable guy who just wants a friend to hang out with but for some reason most people dislike him, especially Hermes. Despite this, Zoidberg considers everyone to be his friend. He is portrayed as a dumb, incompetent doctor due to his frequent surgical mishaps and misdiagnoses but he shows he is far from stupid as he shows he has knowledge in alien anatomy (not human, though he is a self-proclaimed "human expert") and has a P.h.D. in Art History. He does not even have the guts to stand up to bullies and instead acts in a cowardly fashion towards them. He tries his hardest to prove that he is a trustworthy guy and he is constantly nice towards other people. The ostracism he receives from the Planet Express crew and society causes him to be a very lonely person. He is even very unaware that Hermes bullies him constantly and he does not dare to ask Hermes why he hates him so much. Despite this heavy unawareness, Zoidberg like any other employee, has a fear of getting fired. However in a recent episode it is shown that he is a long time friend and crew member of Professor Farnsworth's and the Professor won't fire him even though he has shown to be vastly incompetent at his job and is hated by most of his co-workers.


  • At one point, it was revealed that Dr. Zoidberg always thought that Fry was a robot and not Bender
  • His catchprase is "HOORAY!"
  • Zoidberg has been betrayed several times on the show, usually by his co-workers and sometimes by the Earthican government in the episodes "The Tip of the Zoidberg" and "A Taste of Freedom" respectively.
  • Zoidberg's birthday is the day after Amy's.[11] but the Planet Express Crew always forgets his birthday.
  • Zoidberg is one of those who went inside Fry's body in "Parasites Lost".
  • Zoidberg's medical speciality is declaring people medically dead, whether they are or not. He is also very skilled in suturing hands back together, especailly with human hands.
  • Zoidberg is somewhat of an actor and played a minor role in The Magnificent Three.
  • His uncle, Harold Zoid, is a legenday movie director and actor and an oscar winner.
  • Even though he is poor, he somehow obtained the money to buy the new eyephone in "Attack of the Killer App".
  • Zoidberg often mispronounces words due to his accent, such as on several occasions, he calls Bender "Robot" but pronounces it Row-bit or Row-but.
  • It is revealed in "Bendless Love" that he has a pet Slinky, which is actually his favorite toy.
  • Zoidberg is made to clean up messes around the Planet Express building by the other employees, even when the mess was made by everyone, and that is supposed to be Scruffy's job.
  • When Zoidberg received $300 from the mass tax refund, he thought he was rich. This shows that Zoidberg is bad at economics. Also in "Viva Mars Vegas", he was shown to have collected and saved several pennies in his jar which he thought would be enough for him to do gambling, even though this only amounted to perhaps only a few dollars. Amy has known Zoidberg to have primitive habits on managing money and this leads to Amy ripping on Zoidberg for being poor, though she apologizes to him for that later on. Part of the reason why Amy ripped on Zoidberg for being poor was because Amy herself was the daughter of a rich couple.
  • He is an honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters along with Professor Farnsworth, Amy, and Hermes.
  • In the episode "The Silence of the Clamps", it is revealed that the only reason he is a member of Planet Express is to snip and cut, and is extremely sensitive about this role. However it was also revealed in "The Tip of the Zoidberg" that he was a member of Planet Express for the sole purpose of performing euthanasia on Professor Farnsworth because Farnsworth was sick with yetiism, which was mistaken for hypermalaria.
  • He once managed to beat the ever-loving daylight out of a Mob Enforcer with his bare claws.
  • Zoidberg and Professor Farnsworth have been friends since 2927.[12]
    Young zoidberg and professor

    John Zoidberg and Hubert Farnsworth working for MomCorp in the year 2927.

  • As of the statement above, it is indicated that Zoidberg is older than 80. Presumably in his 100's as Zoidberg in the photo looks in his 20's
  • Zoidberg is a competent physician, but not for humans. He is competent in the anatomy of aliens, and even Mom recognizes his skillfulness with aliens.[13]
  • In addition to his fake medical degree, he says to have mail-ordered murderology and murderonomy degrees (non-canonical).[14]
  • He is the only known being to be deemed "good" by Robot Santa Claus as he was given a pogo stick as a gift. The reason for this could be an error in the Santa Claus or because of his kind and innocent personality.[15].
  • It was once revealed that he lives in one of Professor Farnsworth's inventions. However, he officially lives in his dumpster due to his poverty. The closest he ever got to having a real home was when he made one out of a seashell only to have it burned down by Bender despite the fact that, humorously, it was underwater.
  • Despite his poor skills as a comedian, he is shown to be very skilled at ventriloquism.
  • Zoidberg is one of two characters who are known primarily by their surname; the other is Fry. Leela doesn't count as it's revealed in Less than Hero that Turanga is Leela's surname.

Behind the Scenes

In the development process for the show, David X. Cohen looked to the original Star Trek series for inspiration. Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy often operated on alien species, so they decided to have an alien doctor that served the human crew, and as the series unfolded it became clear that Zoidberg's medical ability was lacking with humans but highly skilled with aliens, which makes him a spoof of Dr.McCoy. Additionally, Zoidberg's character also took on other running jokes; he became poor, lonely, and a failed comedian in addition to being a horrible doctor.

The name "Zoidberg" comes from a game for the Apple II, that Cohen developed when he was in high school. Although Zoid was never picked up, it became the basis for Zoidberg's name.

The voice for Dr. Zoidberg was developed by Billy West, influenced by actors Lou Jacobi and George Jessel.[16]



Main Characters
Amy Wong - Bender Bending Rodríguez - Hermes Conrad - Hubert J. Farnsworth - John A. Zoidberg - Philip J. Fry - Turanga Leela

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