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05 March 2016

The Biblical Connotations of Futurama

Leela Turanga, the space pilot of futurama is probably the cartoon character who has the most biblical prophecies loaded into her character.  Interestingly, she also combines the scientific archetype of creation - the first living cells, with many of these traditional bible stories.  The rich heritage that Leela hides is easy to miss, hidden in esoteric imagery.   
The reason I say that Leela Turanga is connected to the first cellular structures is because she has one eye.  Her parents are subterranean dwellers, frequently associated with mutants.  It is with the idea of mutation that we see the struggle for evolutionary advancement from cellular life into advanced land dwelling creatures. 
Like Moses, Leela Turanga carries the Levitical tradition, of having a hidden identity.  In the world of Futurama in the 31st Century, "upper" manhattan has created lays that forbid Leela's parents, or any mutants,  from partaking in surface society.  She her parents are much like the Hebrews who lived in the ghettoes of Aegypt, under tight suppression.  When the parents recognised that Leela were the "least mutated mutant", they shrowded her in a basket, and left her at Cookieville Maximum Security Orphanage.  

The classic metaphor of Moses being "sold down the river", to be claimed by the Wife of Pharoah is only one biblical reference that Leela Turanga holds for futurama.  

The most interesting thing about Leela Turanga's parents is the way that they accept Philip J. Fry.  Although Fry has had romances with other women, he had only met Leela's parents.  Fry is considered "sub-intellectual" in the 31st Century, lacking the Delta-Brainwave.  Most of the other surface dwellers discriminate against Fry (except Jon Zoidberg the Lobster), and there are few places that he fits.  Probably he fits in best at Leela's parents' house.  The reason is that Leela's parents would be happy for her to marry any man for the surface, as social advancement was a big goal for their daughter.

The sewer city of mutant inhabitants is indicated as being one level below "old new York" in the story.  This places Philip J. Fry's origins as born one level below "new new York", whereas Leela Turanga was born two levels below "new new York".  This makes Fry an interesting medium on the show, being in love with Leela and having more loyalty than any other woman in "new new York".  Philip J. Fry appears to be below her from her own perspective, but her parents see him as above themselves.
Of course, we know that Leela Turanga is not interested in Philip Fry.  She originally wished to be from an extra-terrestrial world.  She would rather live on a world where every being has only "one-eye." And of course, we remember the time she added an extra eyeball in order to appear as a regular human being.  The abnormalities have always been something that have created challenges for Leela, and this left her wanting to change her appearance.  The acceptance of other people is probably what gives her the most satisfaction.

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