Futurama The 8th season relies heavily on timely references to recent real-life events, such as the cryptocurrency trend, the rise of streaming platforms like Hulu, and much more. Season 8 Episode 3, “How the West Was in 1010001,” focuses on the rush to mine Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies, but with a rustic twist. Professor Farnsworth is determined to mine not real Bitcoins, but valuable thallium, the metal used to make computer parts for Bitcoin mining.
This wacky premise and classic Wild West setting make “How the West Wast 1010001” one of the most stylish and memorable films. Futurama episodes in recent years. The episode includes a variety of fan-favorite characters like Hermes’ son Dwight, the Borax Kid and even the vicious Roberto, as well as the Robot Mafia. Along the way, this episode introduces a handful of tried-and-true Wild West tropes that are sure to please any 31st century “spaghetti western” fan.
ten The California Gold Rush
In the years leading up to the American Civil War, gold was discovered in what is now California, leading to a massive gold rush that helped fuel the future state’s population growth. Gold panning and mining brought many people to the West, braving harsh terrain and vast distances to become wealthy. Hence California’s nickname, the Golden State.
“How the West Was 1010001” hastily parodied this not for gold, but for Bitcoin, which brought people en masse via high-speed tubes snaking across the American West. Humorously, Amy Wong found a lot of gold while panning for thallium, but she looked down on it as worthless.
9 Traveling in Conestoga wagons
At first, the Planet Express crew was able to fly their trademark ship across the continental United States from their base in New York, but when they approached the Bitcoin mining region, they had to to change direction. Professor Farnsworth commented on the whole ionization of such concentrated Bitcoin mining, which is why his ship was converted into an oversized Conestoga wagon.
The ship was equipped with wooden wheels and a covered roof, and Turanga Leela drove the ship’s oxen. Farnsworth didn’t like low-tech solutionsbut he knew he had no choice and he was determined to extract enough thallium to repay his debt to the robot mafias as soon as possible.
Even in the 31st century, the Earth’s surface was not yet fully mined for precious metals, ores, and other treasures. Thus, Farnsworth had a chance of extracting enough thallium to repay his debts. Unlike everyone chasing Bitcoin, Farnsworth directed his team to properly mine thallium with conventional tools.
Lazy robot Bender neglected to bring the shovels, so Amy borrowed Bender’s famous shiny posterior to dig for thallium in a stream for hours. Amy made fun of all the gold she found, but when she came across a huge piece of thallium, everyone was delighted. It was an example of technology so advanced that some parties could turn to the most basic things to make their fortune.
7 The wanted outlaw
The Wild West was indeed a wild place because everyone was very far from Eastern civilization and frontier justice ruled the country. It was a great opportunity for criminals and other outlaws to establish their own rules by force, and Futurama obliged with the familiar Roberto.
Roberto usually behaved like a street thug in New York, but in “How the West Was 1010001” he was an outlaw dressed in black, antagonizing everyone and causing chaos wherever he went. Roberto even invented a knife gun to keep the Wild West theme going while expressing his undying love for stabbing objects.
6 The local hero
Every genre needs its heroes, and for the Wild West, these characters are usually local heroes like a kind-hearted sheriff or even a traveling vigilante who thinks taking down violent outlaws is its own reward. In Futuramathis “hero” was not a member of the Planet Express crew, but the famous Borax Kid, an extraterrestrial mineral.
The Borax Kid had an excellent reputation, but Fry soon realized that he was a big fraud and a card game cheat to boot. The Borax kid simply ripped works out of the public domain and put his own name on them, and when Fry challenged him, a shootout ensued. In this future Wild West, there were no heroes, just rich Bitcoin miners.
5 The isolated mining town
The Wild West genre has a strong theme of isolation, with most stories taking place in isolated mining towns and the like. Even fledgling cities like San Francisco were too far away to help if problems were brewing in an isolated city, so it was up to residents to solve their own problems.
Futurama‘s Wild West episode played this theme well. Even in a century where spaceships were everywhere, the Bitcoin mining town felt isolated, in part because of the ion field that interrupted air travel. When Roberto causes trouble, FuturamaThe heroes had to take matters into their own hands with reckless abandon.
4 The saloon and the pianist
Even in a harsh, pragmatic place like the Wild West, miners and cowboys needed a break from all the hard work and some fun, and saloons were ready to accommodate them. Saloons were like 19th century taverns, offering music, food, drinks, an opportunity to socialize, and other entertainment.
In Futurama, a mandatory lounge appeared almost immediately, and almost every member of the Planet Express crew found something to do there. Fry stupidly challenged the Borax Kid to a game of cardsfor example, while a ragtime-playing robot played music in its corner of the establishment.
3 Sex work and brothels
Some establishments of the real Wild West offered rather X-rated entertainment to paying customers, including in brothels. These brothels have actually played a major role in the West, and that’s a topic in its own right. Futurama also approached this topic with good taste.
Turanga Leela was asked to become a bartender and a sex worker, and she accepted. However, the episode paid lip service to the idea and clearly Leela did not perform any X-rated acts with any clients. This helped keep the show family-friendly, relatively speaking, and allowed Leela to not jeopardize her romantic relationship with Fry.
2 Gunslingers and shootings
Revolvers and rifles are iconic of the Old West and served many purposes. In this remote region of the country, many people have had to take the law into their own hands and defend themselves, far from the police forces of eastern states. Firearms were also useful for hunting wild game and protecting livestock.
Of course, six-shooters were ideal for midday duels, although such events were not necessarily common in real history. Always, Futurama had some fun with this trope and depicted Fry and the Borax Kid getting into a shootout, and several other characters quickly intervened. Halfway through, Dwight walked into limbo under bullet trajectories to comically save his father.
1 Stetson cowboy hats and outfits
Aside from their six-shooters and lassos, the most iconic part of a cowboy was the outfit. Cowboys wore sturdy and practical outfits and work accessories including Stetson hats, durable leather boots, button-down shirts, vests and more. Even today, many modern cowboys wear most of these clothing items.
In Futurama, the Planet Express crew members dressed the part, especially since they were out in the wild doing mining and not harvesting Bitcoin in a server room. Most characters don at least one hat, and at one point Bender rode on his donkey in full cowboy attire, and Fry also dressed the part.