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Why Zoidberg Is The Saddest Character In All Of Futurama

For a comedy show set in a distant future where cancer is cured and robots do half the work, Futurama is a remarkably sad show. Entire planets are destroyed, evil corporate moguls exploit alien races, and thousands of innocent military men die due to the negligence of Commander Zapp Brannigan. There's no shortage of dark twists in the sci-fi animated show's stories.

Yet, there is one character that takes the cake when it comes to sadness. Sure, he has his cheery moments, but his life is still a mess. Seriously, if the Olympics held a competition for being the most pathetic, he would win.

Of course, we're talking about none other than Planet Express' resident doctor, the loveably detestable humanoid crustacean Dr. John A Zoidberg. This man-lobster has been around since the series' second episode, and did nothing but make himself seem more and more pitiful across the ensuing eight seasons.

Here are just a few of the reasons why Zoidberg is Futurama's saddest character.

He is homeless

It's no secret that Zoidberg is a penniless bum. He may be a doctor, but he makes almost no money (mostly due to the abysmal salaries at Planet Express). It's not certain where exactly Zoidberg finds shelter for the night, but it appears to be one of several dumpsters around New New York.

Zoidberg became a homeowner very briefly in the Season 2 episode "The Deep South." In this episode, the crew journeys to the bottom of the ocean where Zoidberg stumbles upon a cozy shell to settle down in as any hermit crab would. He even plants a garden. Unfortunately, his time as a homeowner is short lived as Bender inevitably burns down his aquatic abode with a cigar. How this happened underwater is a mystery that stumps even the sharp mind of Planet Express' bureaucrat, Hermes Conrad. Since then, Zoidberg has had nary a roof over his crustacean head.

He is a terrible doctor

In Zoidberg's own words, pronouncing the time of death is his specialty. Zoidberg's MO is basically to misdiagnose his patients and then call a coroner. In the episode "War is the H-word," Zoidberg even managed to pronounce an injured soldier dead before the patient even lost consciousness. There's even a basic diagram depicting human anatomy which has been hanging upside down in his office for the past decade.

The strangest thing is that this only applies to humans. Zoidberg is actually an incredibly gifted xenobiologist. In the episode "The Tip of the Zoidberg," it's revealed that the Professor and Zoidberg met on a mission hunting Tritonian Yeti for Mom, the CEO of Earth's largest company. During that time, the Professor contracted what they believed to be hyper-malaria, but Zoidberg somehow manages to diagnose the Professor's true ailment — yetiism — and cure it. Still, that doesn't change the fact that Zoidberg is the last doctor any human would typically want to visit.

He has a horrible love life

This may go without saying. What human would want to shack up with a six-foot-tall crawfish from another solar system? But Zoidberg is just as much of a romantic outcast on his own planet as he is on Earth. In the episode "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?" Zoidberg travels to his home world to participate in their mating season. Despite spending an entire day performing his species' mating call, he is left empty handed. Even Fry somehow managed to attract a decapodian female.

In an even more dire twist of events, it's revealed that Zoidberg's species dies shortly after mating. By the end of the episode, Zoidberg has very few potential mates on his planet. He is virtually alone until their next mating season. Evidently, this is a very long time because it never happens again in the entire rest of the series.

He's a revolting monster from outer space

Obviously Zoidberg is disgusting, but it's important to explain the exact depths of his absolute foulness. As a giant lobster, he constantly smells of rotting seafood. The fact that he often sleeps and eats in dumpsters only adds potency to his naturally odious musk. Furthermore, his shell (which he also found in a dumpster) is frequently depicted as being infested with barnacles or other parasites. He's like a petri dish containing the universe's most nauseating creatures.

Besides that, his decapodian anatomy contributes to his overall level of repulsion. He has the ability to ink like a squid, and doesn't hesitate to cover anyone he deems a threat in the foul black substance. In the first movie Bender's Big Score, Zoidberg revealed that he has a special organ that emits "a foul odor" whenever he gets bored, adding more to his unbearable stench.

But that's ok -- he gets his due rewards

In the end, however, even Zoidberg has his moments of happiness. For instance, he does eventually find love on Earth (though it takes finding a woman who has no sense of smell). Likewise, he becomes a national hero and a symbol of freedom after saving the planet from an overwhelming decapodian invasion. And, of course, he's actually medically competent when it comes to alien races.

He's also somewhat satisfied with being broke, even if it does have its drawbacks. In the episode "Viva Mars Vegas," Zoidberg stumbles on millions of dollars after the Robot Mafia dumps it in his dumpster/house. He travels to Mars Vegas and bets everything, winning billions more at a roulette table. Unfortunately, his win streak doesn't hold out and he eventually loses everything. However, Zoidberg remains unfazed by this turn of events. In his mind, he already got to enjoy the finer things in life. He doesn't need to be rich all the time. Credit where it's due — years of horrible poverty have made Zoidberg one humble lobster.