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The Absolute Worst Things Bender Has Ever Done On Futurama

After creating The Simpsons, one of the most popular and hilarious animated shows of all time, expectations were high when Matt Groening announced he'd bring a second show to the Fox network. Fears were assuaged when that series turned out to be Futurama, an ambitious sci-fi comedy set in the early 3000s. A pizza delivery guy named Fry gets accidentally cryogenically frozen and wakes up in this "world of tomorrow." He quickly finds work at his distant descendant's delivery company/think tank and becomes best friends and roommates with one TV's most beguiling characters: a rough-around-the-edges bending unit named Bender Bending Rodriguez.

Of course a show set in the future is going to have robots, but no sci-fi entertainments ever depicted anyone quite like Bender (voiced by John DiMaggio), a sentient automaton capable of some truly wicked (but hilarious) actions. Bender did a lot of terrible things over the course of Futurama's many seasons and movies, but the following have got to be the absolute worst.

Bender stole from the needy

The 1999 Futurama episode "Xmas Story" introduces the show's hilariously bleak take on Christmases future. In the year 3000, Santa Claus is real, but he's a malfunctioning robot convinced that all humans are on the naughty list, so he spends Christmas Eve hunting down and killing any people foolish enough to leave their homes. The robots of New New York City are exempt from Santa's attacks and can do what they want on Christmas, which for Bender means heading down to the local robot soup kitchen, where homeless and down-on-their-luck 'bots can get a free bowl of booze. (Robots on Futurama run on alcohol; it's their food, or power source.)

Bender tells the Planet Express crew that he's volunteering to work at the shelter, but when viewers see him arrive, he's disguised himself as an indigent robot (smeared with dirt and wearing a moth-eaten wool hat) and tells the robotic minister in charge that he's one of those "lazy homeless bums" who wants some "free booze." After taking the equivalent of food out of the mouths of essentially starving robots (at least eight bowls), he convinces some other homeless robots to help him loot and rob from city stores left unattended because all the people are at home hiding from Santa. Merry Christmas from Bender, everyone.

Bender cheated in the Olympics

In a move that's offensive to women (as called out by Leela and Amy), the 2003 Futurama episode "Bend Her" finds Bender posing as a female robot — and then undergoing a surgical procedure to become a fembot permanently — so as to pull off a number of scams. While watching the 3004 Earth Olympics (where Hermes is competing as a last-minute replacement for the Jamaican limbo team), Bender sees that the robot bending events are about to begin. So the arrogant bending unit theorizes, "Something tells me I could easily beat those trained professionals!"

After witnessing a huge robot twist two "UNBENDABLE" girders, he's devastated that his late-breaking dream of Olympic glory has been dashed, until he gets the idea to game the competition by entering the female robot bending field. He puts on a dress and calls himself "Coilette," hailing from the Grand Duchy of Robonia. Coilette racks up perfect scores and wins five gold medals ... but panics when he has to submit to an "engine oil sex check" to ensure that no male robot winners cheated by posing as fembots. In order to keep his medals, Bender asks Professor Farnsworth to perform a gender change surgery. He goes through with it, passes the test, and Bender uses his newly acquired feminine wiles to seduce celebrity robot Calculon, so as to scam him out of expensive gifts and then marry him so he can then divorce the guy and acquire half his fortune.

Bender enslaved a planet

Futurama's 2002 episode "A Pharaoh to Remember" is all about Bender acting in big, life-ruining ways when he doesn't get the attention he thinks he deserves for his criminal acts: robbing a municipal pool and drawing a graffiti tribute to himself. He gets his chance to leave a legacy when, after the crew delivers a giant block to an ancient Egypt-like planet, he's taken as a slave.

Later, after the planet's cruel Pharaoh is crushed, the Wall of Prophecy determines Bender to be the new leader (thanks to Bender tampering with the Wall of Prophecy). He quickly takes to his new role, and with extreme cruelty, forcing an army of slaves to build a 284,000 mile-high statue in his image. But then Bender fears the statue will overshadow him, and orders the slaves to tear it down and build a newer, smaller one ... leading to a revolt. Bender gets thrown into a tomb and left for dead. His only request: that he is joined in death by Fry and Leela. 

Bender flushed Nibbler

It's not a stretch to call Bender a narcissist. He nearly always acts in his own self-interest and laughs at the misfortune of others. While he says he wants to "kill all humans," he'd probably rather be worshipped (as his time as a dictatorial pharaoh proved). He just can't handle too much positive attention being paid to others — because that's when he gets violently jealous. In the 1999 episode "I Second That Emotion," the Planet Express gang forces Bender to get an "empathy chip" installed following his ghastly treatment of Leela's cute pet Nibbler. 

Leela accidentally leaves on the gigantic can opener she needs to get into a barrel of Kibbles 'N' Snouts for Nibbler, and it's powerful magnet sucks in Bender. Noting that a can opener killed his father, Bender sticks his finger in Nibbler's face and calls him a "dumb animal." After he threatens to strangle the animal, Nibbler makes good on Bender's constant implication to bite his shiny metal a**, but chips a fang. A trip to the vet gets Nibbler sympathy, which enrages Bender, as does the birthday party the little guy gets when the veterinarian speculates Nibbler is five years old. Bender retaliates against that by making a "Bender is Great" cake ... which ravenous Nibbler instantly devours. That's the last straw — Bender flushes Nibbler down the toilet.

Bender told aliens to castrate his BFF

Bender may have never achieved his desire to "kill all humans," but in the 2003 episode "Spanish Fry," he almost caused one human to lose his genitals. During a Planet Express camping trip, Fry goes out hunting for Bigfoot (his favorite celebrity) and is abducted by aliens. The next morning, he stumbles back to the campsite, except that his nose is completely gone. (Bender arrogantly assumes that Fry chopped off his own nose, so as to resemble the noseless Bender.) A news report soon reveals the reason behind the recent uptick in alien abductions: Poachers are hunting humans and chopping off their noses, or "human horns," to sell on distant worlds as aphrodisiacs. The gang tracks down Fry's nose — it was purchased by recurring villain Lrr, ruler of Omicron Persei 8, looking to rekindle the spark in his marriage to Ndnd with this future equivalent of Viagra.

Ndnd returns Fry's nose, and Leela reattaches it with a laser, and it seems like all's well that ends well ... until Bender opens his big mouth. "Why would you use a guy's nose for an aphrodisiac instead of his, you know, wing-dang-doodle?" he asks Lrr, who thought the human nose was a human's phallus. Bender corrects him, and prompts Lrr to capture Fry in order to "harvest the lower horn."

He's ultimately spared when Lrr and Ndnd reconnect emotionally, but still, Bender still very casually almost got his best friend's manhood chopped off.

Bender made Zoidberg homeless again

While doctors are generally well compensated for their expertise, Planet Express staff doctor John Zoidberg is not so lucky. This shellfishy humanoid alien is perpetually broke and starving, and he's essentially homeless, squatting in various areas around the Planet Express building, usually its dumpster. In the 2000 episode "The Deep South," he catches a lucky break, bordering on a miracle. After a series of comical events in which the Planet Express ship and its crew become stuck at the bottom of the ocean, Zoidberg goes out exploring and discovers a large, luxurious shell. He decides that this will be his new home, and that he'll make a go of life under the sea.

Toward the end of the episode, with the ship in working order, the crew prepares to leave. Zoidberg says goodbye (he's met with characteristic ambivalence), only to discover that his beautiful shell has burned down. It's still smoldering and smoking when he rhetorically asks, "How did this happen?" Bender is how it happened. The robot approaches the wreckage and quips, "So that's where I left my cigar." He picks up the still lit cigar and takes a puff with a smirk. His carelessness destroyed his coworker's future, although it's not clear how he managed to burn down a shell that was underwater.

Bender broke the Planet Express ship's heart

After a profitable period of business, Professor Farnsworth pays for some upgrades to the Planet Express ship in 2002's "Love and Rocket," including the addition of a flirty, female-voiced AI. Bender quickly falls in love with the ship, she falls even harder for him, and then almost immediately, Bender grows bored with the relationship and cheats on the ship with a series of "cheap floozies on the side" (and the preserved head of Lucy Liu). The ship gets jealous and clingy as Bender lies about his affairs and remains aloof. Not only does Bender treat the AI poorly, but he dumps her and sends her into emotional meltdown ... during an Omicronian fleet's attack on the delivery vessel and its crew.

That sends the ship into both physical and emotional free-fall. Bender, however, is no worse for the wear, having barely noticed the gun battle and singing "Bender is great!" to himself in his quarters. When Fry angrily points out that Bender "could've picked a better time to dump the ship," the robot replies, "Call me old-fashioned, but I like a dump to be as memorable as it devastating."

Bender put nude photos of his friend on the internet

Professor Farnsworth announces that after several years of trying, his dial-up connection to AOL has finally gone through. He outfits the crew in his "net suits," gloves and helmets which allow them to go online, which is a virtual world allowing the crew to walk around and explore. The gang of course heads for the internet equivalent of a red light district, where all the adult content is kept.

While some "sardine on mackerel action" attracts Zoidberg, Bender, Leela, and Amy walk past a series of doors advertising randy delights, until they get to one marked "Amy Wong Naked." Virtual Amy literally pokes her head through the door and shouts, "Hey, that's me!"

"No, it isn't," Bender quickly replies. "I just took some pictures of your face and stuck them on someone else's body."

Then Leela pokes her head in for a look and remarks, "Hey!" This means the naked body bearing Amy's head is Leela's. This all suggests that Bender owned up, and unashamedly at that, to some sleazy if not illegal activity: He either secretly photographed Leela in the nude or stole pictures from her, then put them up online, but not before doctoring them to invade Amy's privacy, too.

Bender made copies of himself that almost led to the end of life

In 2011, "Benderama" nearly saw bad boy Bender fulfill his often casually stated mission statement to "kill all humans." However, it all went down completely by accident, merely the end result of an entirely different deplorable action committed by the Futurama robot.

Professor Farnsworth invents a duplication machine which creates two perfect, although smaller, copies of an object. As he grows ever older, he grows colder and smaller, so he uses the device to create two smaller sweaters he can wear simultaneously. The Professor asks Bender to fold those new sweaters, and the robot does, but not without whining. Seeking to get out of any more extremely minor chores, Bender uses the duplicator to make two tiny Benders, and orders them to fold the sweaters. They don't do that of course, but instead join Bender in his daily life of low-level nihilism.

When they are later asked to do complete a minor task, the little Benders act like big Bender and refuse, and create clones of themselves to do it for them. Eventually all the clones keep duplicating and adding up, progressively smaller with each generation. Robots need alcohol for fuel, though, and after the many Benders consume the world's entire supply of alcohol, microscopic Bender clones get to work converting water molecules into alcohol ... which gets the entire world of living things absolutely hammered. It all turns out okay in the end, but Bender's reluctance to fold a sweater nearly caused a mass extinction.

Bender's a bad influence

Bender is obviously not a role model. Nobody should imitate the things he does; he's a selfish, callous, calculating madman who manipulates his friends and the world at large alike to serve his various destructive whims. But he's also hilarious, arguably the most memorable and original individual on Futurama, a show full of memorable and original characters. Is there a danger in placing someone like Bender up on the pedestal that is television? Will people naturally imitate and emulate anyone they see on TV just because they like them for whatever reason? That's the thinking behind the 2003 episode "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on TV."

Bender lands a role on his favorite robot soap opera All My Circuits and quickly becomes the breakout star by essentially playing himself: a singing, booze-guzzling, cigar-smoking petty thief. The show surges in popularity, especially as more kids start to watch, transfixed as they are by Bender. As if hypnotized by a hypnotoad, nearly all the show's recurring child characters start to break stuff, abuse people, mouth off, and smoke, just like Bender. Dwight Conrad, Cubert Farnsworth, and Tinny Tim eventually decide that the way to be most Bender-like is to rob somebody ... so they rob Bender, leading him to start a crusade to get himself off television.

Bender blinded Leela

Yeah yeah, "Bender is great," but he's not great at everything. The foul-mouthed, sociopathic robot desperately wants to be an accomplished chef, but every time he tries to make a meal for the Planet Express crew, it goes horribly, and he winds up serving something inedible at best and disgusting at worse. (This all probably has something to do with his lack of human taste buds.) Nevertheless, he persists, harboring a borderline obsession with four-armed restaurateur and celebrity chef Elzar (a blatant parody of Emeril Lagasse).

In the 2000 episode "Bender Gets Mate," the robot, Fry, and Leela get to attend a taping of Elzar's cooking show. Bender is so amped that he behaves obnoxiously, repeatedly interrupting the show by calling out to the man he calls his "god." While making Down-Home Neptune-Style Gumbo, Elzar decides to "kick it up a notch" with a blast from his spice weasel, a kitchen gadget that's just a weasel loaded with spices. Bender bullies Elzar into giving the soup another flavor blast, but he wants to preserve the moment forever. Just as Elzar twists the weasel, Bender yells "Hey, Elzar, think fast!" The flashbulb flash confuses the chef, and he loses control of the spice weasel, delivering a blast of spices right into the Leela's eye. Thanks to Bender's boorish actions, she's blind for the rest of episode.