Original Airdate: November 24, 2014
Written & Storyboarded by: Seo Kim & Somvilay Xayaphone
The Futurama Reunion Special – er, I mean, Everything’s Jake is a relatively enjoyable episode the centers around a wildly creative premise. Granted, I don’t think it’s a story that is executed in the funniest or most entertaining way possible; for an episode that utilizes Magic Man as an instigator of the main conflict, the stakes feel generally low. Though, it has its shining moments, mostly on a visual aspect.
I do like how Magic Man is used in a similar way in which he appeared in All the Little People. He sets up the main conflict, though he has virtually no role in the rest of the episode. His riddle in this one is as follows:
“The waffle doll shall fall
Lest you eat the yellow dough.”
It’s probably his most nonsensical brain teaser to date, though it’s pretty obvious what its message is: unless Jake eats the yellow dough (a bagel?), the waffle doll seen within the store in his belly will continue to fall, due to his stomach quakes. It’s notable as well that the doll within the store is the only thing NOT yellow, or any variation of the color.
And this episode is certainly swamped with the color yellow, but in a surprisingly pleasant way. The Jake city itself is pretty damn detailed, and I appreciate this was fleshed out in such a way that makes it feel relatively huge. It would have been so easy to keep the visual appeal of Jake’s insides as simplistic as possible, but there are buildings, highways, laboratories, and fields galore. I also like the bit of choppiness in the linework that makes the area feel more like Jake, as well as the way characters interact with their surroundings. The stickiness with each character’s steps is really a nice detail, showing that they aren’t really able to function without their connection to Jake’s body.
The characters themselves all look really bizarre and unique! I was actually under the impression that this episode was boarded by Cole and Andy, though I was surprised midway through when I realized that it’s a Somvilay and Seo episode. They both did really great with this one! I’m typically fairly critical of their drawings, even in better episodes like Blade of Grass, though aside from their signature chubby cheeks, you’d hardly even guess that it’s them behind the scenes.
As for the major characters of the episode, I think it’s impossible to discuss them without noting that they’re all portrayed by legendary voice actor, Billy West. Referencing my earlier gag, he carries over three of the voices he used in the series Futurama when performing as Goose, the Mayor, and Dr. Adamkinson. West is one of my all-time favorite voice actors, so his presence is certainly welcomed on my all-time favorite show, but I think his potential is actually a bit squandered by the fact that he’s only using pre-disposed voices. I mean, it’s cool to see West and DiMaggio reunite again in the voice acting world, but I feel like the characters aren’t really able to be fleshed out because they merely feel like references. Granted, I think anyone unaware of Futurama’s existence will be able to enjoy this one just fine even if they aren’t in on the joke, but I just felt like I witnessed West playing different characters throughout the episode than actually watching authentic, interesting characters. It’s one of the few times in this show that I find the voice acting quite distracting from the actual story, and I feel bad because I do love West’s inflections. Regardless, I think said characters have their moments.
Goose is a cute character. I appreciate his overly melodramatic relationship with Jake (I actually would have thought it was funnier if Jake completely forgot about Goose by the end of the episode, though his traumatized exterior is still amusing), and he has a pretty irresistibly adorable design that almost makes him appear as an off-brand version of Jake. Dr. Adamkinson is, as mentioned, a pretty direct reference to Professor Farnsworth, though he’s still quite amusing to watch. I love the hilarious fake-out interaction he has with his “dad” before he leaves (who is voiced by Tress MacNeille; it really is a reunion special!!) and his heady surface-world interaction with a Cthulhu impersonating Finn.
I think the other issue with this is that the focus never really feels like it’s on Jake, and I don’t believe the characters are especially strong on their own to hold up the episode. This episode could have been a lot stronger, in my opinion, if the conflict of Jake being trapped in his own body was emphasized more heavily. I think Magic Man’s role seems somewhat pointless in the aftermath; he always appears to fuck shit up or teach some kind of lesson, and it doesn’t seem like either really came into play. Jake briefly is imprisoned, though it only takes a mere distraction from Goose to actually get him out. Just seems like a misuse of Magic’s character. Though, Jake destroying an entire civilization for the sole purpose that he was hungry could be an underlying result of his shenanigans. Only Jake would be able to pull off such a motive.
But I’ve ranted long enough, because I’m being way too harsh on this episode. It’s a light, harmless Jake adventure. I think the problems I do have with this one are more on the personal side, and the only general complaint I do have is that I think there could’ve been more opportunities for humor. Otherwise, it’s a casual and fun visual journey into an interesting new realm, with some mildly interesting and quirky characters Jake meets along the way. Also, almost forgot to mention that Jake was knitting a hat for Finn and a sweater for BMO at the beginning of this episode, that BMO is later seen wearing in the episode. Cute!