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Why Fry's unfreezing in Futurama puzzles fans

The world of animated science-fiction comedy is all the better for a little series called Futuramaabout a delivery boy named Fry (Billy West) from the year 2000 who ends up frozen until he's thawed out a thousand years later in 3000. Fry acclimates quickly to his new world — making friends with a robot called Bender (John DiMaggio), a cyclops named Leela (Katey Sagal), and a host of other colorful characters as the crew travels around the galaxy making deliveries. 

While most fans tuned in to Futurama for the jokes and references to classic sci-fi properties like Star Trek, there were also plenty of background details that eagle-eyed enthusiasts could discover. The supply closet at Planet Express alone contains a famous theoretical science problem you'd need a Ph.D. to pick up on. The creators even developed an entire language, known as Alienese, that pops up as graffiti throughout the show, and you can actually decipher what each phrase means.

However, having smart, subtle details doesn't mean everything within the world of Futurama was necessarily thought out perfectly. Something that continues to puzzle fans regards Fry's unfreezing. Fry gets frozen a little after midnight on January 1st, 2000 — but when he gets thawed out, it's the middle of the day on December 31st, 2999. Story-wise, it works because we get to see Fry interact with New New Yorkers in the middle of an average day, so you don't really think about the inconsistency, but plenty of people have taken to Reddit to question whether or not this is a plot hole.

There are several explanations for the time discrepancy on Futurama

One fan, Redditor u/Stormblade73, goes into great detail about how it would be possible for Fry to become unfrozen a day in advance, bringing up how the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems adds "leap seconds" at "irregular intervals." This is done to account for the slowing down of the Earth's rotation, but it's unlikely a 20th-century freezing pod would account for any extra seconds added throughout the centuries. Additionally, as the user notes, it's unlikely that things would "slow down enough to add almost a whole day"

They also mention the possibility that New New Yorkers use the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar that most of the world currently uses, and that "the timekeeper on the cryo unit used the revised Julian calendar for some reason." As u/Stormblade73 details, "The Revised Julian Calendar skips a leap year around 2800, so it would be 1 day ahead of the original Julian Calendar in the year 3000." The Futurama writing staff had plenty of smart people on board, so it's not outside the realm of reality to theorize that someone would be aware of this and use it as justification to unfreeze Fry early. 

Of course, not every explanation gets so scientific. Redditor u/Raising_some_Cain offers their own theory: "I figured people just didn't want to work on new years eve night so pulled a sneaky and twisted his time down." Another Futurama fan, Redditor u/MoreBaconAndEggs suggests, "I figured pods weren't set to unfreeze until staff hours to avoid people waking up in the middle of the night." Considering how no one in the Futurama universe seems to be particularly good at their jobs, it would make sense for employees to fiddle with the exact timing for their own gain. 

Regardless of the exact reasoning, one small inconsistency is nothing in comparison to the years of smart jokes and solid continuity Futurama provided. All we can do now is hope we get another season to see what Fry, Bender, and the Planet Express crew get up to next. 

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