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Near-Death Wish

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Near-Death Wish
Near-Death Wish
Episode 124
Production Code 7ACV10
Season 9
Air date August 15, 2012
Directed By Lance Kramer
Written By Eric Horsted
Opening subtitle There's No Bismuth Like Show Bismuth
Opening cartoon TBA
Preceded by "Free Will Hunting"
Followed by "31st Century Fox"

Near-Death Wish is the tenth episode of production season seven and season 7 (broadcast).


Fry wins an award for Best Delivery Boy and is disappointed when the Professor doesn't show up for the award ceremony. The next morning, the Professor explains his reason for not being there was that he had come down with "a searing case of 'Who gives a crap?'". Upset with how the Professor treats him, Fry says that he wishes he had more family, to which Zoidberg replies that the Professor's parents are still alive in an old-age home called the Near-Death Star.

Fry, Bender and Leela all go to visit the elder Farnsworths and find that they live in a run-down, virtual retirement home where their bodies are used as batteries (which, Leela says, is an idea they got from the old movie, The Matrix). The crew enters the virtual reality, and Fry connects with his relatives, whom he nicknames "Gram-gram" and "Shabadoo". As they are preparing to leave, Fry kisses them goodbye but accidentally knocks one of the electrical plugs of their life-support system out of its socket. The automated security considers this "Elder Abuse" and begins attacking. Finding the cheap batteries in their vehicle dead, Leela grabs Gram-gram and Shabadoo and uses them as batteries to escape.

They take the elderly couple to Planet Express, where they see their son for the first time in years, but to everyone's surprise, the Professor angrily tells them he doesn't want to see them again. Leela and Amy confront him about his sullen behavior while he's in the bathtub, and he tells the story of his childhood: According to Hubert, his parents never cared about his life, never spent time playing with him, and ruined his dream of going to college at age eleven by moving to a farm and not permitting him to leave. He runs off into the street completely nude and returns to the old farm where he grew up.

Fry, Leela, Bender, Gram-gram, and Shabadoo follow Hubert to the farm, and the Professor's parents tell him that he had an older brother who wanted to be a scientist. Although brilliant, the brother was mentally unstable and had frequent night terrors, keeping the parents up at nights to care for him. This was why they were always too tired to play with their children during the day. After running away, the brother had ended up in a mental institution ("on a full whack-a-demic scholarship"). However, when they finally mention the brother's name, Hubert, it becomes clear they were talking about the Professor himself, having mistaken him for his younger brother, Floyd. Floyd had left home to pursue his dream of being a rodeo clown. Gram-gram and Shabadoo never knew that Hubert had gotten out of the mental institution 25 years later.

Reconciling with his parents, Hubert offers to accompany them back to the Near-Death Star. Bender mentions that a homeless rodeo clown named Floyd had come to the door of the Planet Express building a few years earlier, but Bender is interrupted, and no one hears him. Back at the Near-Death Star, Hubert enters their virtual home with them and shows them that he has reprogrammed it to be an exact duplicate of their farm. At this point, Hubert's virtual avatar changes to him as a child, those of Gram-gram and Shabadoo become younger versions of themselves, and the three play together happily.

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