Quick Take: Futurama, "The Silence of the Clamps"
"My name's not Slick, it's Zoidberg. John f*cking Zoidberg!" - Zoidberg
Review: Futurama, "The Silsnce of the Clamps"
(S0618) I don’t even know where to start. This was the episode Executive Producer David. X. Cohen promised us would explain why Zoidberg was kept around the Planet Express for so long! And it’s so simplistically brilliant, so damned hilarious... I need to watch it again, excuse me.
The Planet Express has just completed a delivery to what is arguably the most treacherous planet in Futurama canon: Earth. More specifically, they are delivering a new pair of Clamps to one Francis X “Clamps” Clampazzo, who is attending a wedding at the house of the Don-Bot, leader of the Robot Mafia. Seeing no reason not to crash it, Bender infiltrates the party and runs off to clank with Bella, the Don-Bot’s youngest daughter. While they are, ahem, "ringing bells," Bender witnesses the clamping of robot superstar, Calculon, for not following up on his debt to the robot mafia.
Despite being scared (and great at sex), Bender decides to testify against the Don-Bot for fifty bucks while also being a defendant in his own burgle-arson-arceny case. The mafia has fixed the trial though, and put Calculon on the stand to exonerate the Don-Bot. The trial scene was superb - it's entirely misleading in regards to the rest of the episode, and stlil manages to make you giggle like in grade-school. Despite trying to hide his identity, Bender ends up being exposed and is forced to enter witness relocation, leaving a vacant position at the Planet Express.
Hoping to run into Bender, the Don-Bot has Clamps apply for the open robot position in order to get close to Bender’s friends. After clamping out the competition, Francis infiltrates the Planet Express, making a strong impression with his clamping, crimping and occasional snipping. Snipping, clipping, cutting, or any semblance of the action, as it turns out, is Zoidberg’s great claim to fame; or at least the only reason he’s tolerated around the Planet Express. It’s about time Zoidberg got more than his standard two-line effort; unfortunately, I think Zoidberg is my favourite character for precisely that reason: less is more. And especially with Zoidberg, too much of the “less” can make us question why the hell he’s even around. The answer: for episodes like this.
Clamps soon finds himself on his first delivery with the Planet Express, bringing two-hundred feet of noose rope to the Moon’s Sheriff, (a respectful salute to the late but still great Don Knotts) who asks him, and not Zoidberg, to cut the nooses for him. While on their way back from their lunar escapade, the crew spots a familiar robot named Billy West – I agree Fry, what a stupid phony made-up name. Mr West just so happens to look like Bender, which is enough to convince everyone that he actually is Bender, despite being so immersed in his moon-hillbilly persona.
Clamps, too, is convinced that Billy West is actually Bender, despite having none of Bender’s hard-drive memories. Francis opts to stay behind to take care of him while the Planet Express heads back to Earth. The crew quickly realizes that their new friend Francis is missing – someone else is missing, but no one notices. Just as Clamps takes Billy West outside the moon-saloon, Zoidberg appears, none too happy about Clamps’ threats to clip and cut the could-be Bender: that’s his job.
One of the most hilariously epic scenes in Futurama canon soon ensues, with Clamps and Zoidberg exchanging clamp for claw in an intense robot vs. alien version of “rock paper scissors.” The fight remains fairly even: Clamps falls into a hardware store and gets covered in clamps; Zoidberg falls into a trough and gets covered in crustaceans; and just as Clamps is about to de-shell the crawdad clipper, Zoidberg’s head-fin shoots up! And in all the glory that can only be compared to Goku turning Super Saiyan for the first time in Dragonball Z, Zoidberg reclaims his title as champion cutter! Bask in his glory with me!
Despite his victory, however, Bella arrives on the moon with the Don-Bot, putting three bullets into Billy West before returning to Earth, satisfied with Bender’s death. Not satisfied with Bender's death, the Planet Express crew also returns home. Across the street from the Planet Express, the remaining crew members find that another Bender-lookalike works at the pizza shop... except this is actually Bender! It turns out that the robot on the moon was just an innocent husband and father... time for a celebration! Just as Bender is about to make the first cut into the pizza, Zoidberg reminds us of the real reason why we’re celebrating: because there can be only one!