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The One-Off Robot From Futurama That Means More Than You Think

Futurama may have had wacky sci-fi plot lines and some of the smartest writers in the history of television to create their very own mathematical formula that would henceforth be known as the "Futurama theorem," but at its core, it was your average sitcom. Throughout all the madness, the show followed three people you wouldn't expect to be friends — Fry (Billy West), Leela (Katey Sagal), and Bender (John DiMaggio) — as they work, find love, and take time to party in the far-off year of 3000. It's hard to imagine that central trio working any other way.

However, as is the case with most shows, the initial concepts in Futurama were ... different, compared to how the series really ended up. We know that Amy (Lauren Tom) wasn't always so free-loving and cuddly, for instance, with her original design making her the equivalent of a car mechanic, with a gruff attitude. This was later changed when both her and Leela started coming across too similarly. 

Fans of the 31st century may also be surprised to learn that Fry may not have initially met Bender when he was unfrozen 1,000 years in the future. He could've had a very different robot friend, and this concept actually made a brief appearance in one episode. 

Fry was originally going to get a Pocket Pal

As you should remember from the pilot, after Fry is unfrozen, he goes on the run from Leela, who wants to install a career chip in him with a dangerous-looking mechanism. Through his escape, Fry meets Bender at what turns out to be a suicide booth, and the two team up to get him to safety. They go to the Head Museum and escape into Old New York underneath New New York, allowing both Fry and the audience to better understand this strange world he's been sent to. 

The information Fry learns comes across organically, but originally, the creators wanted a much more direct way to inform viewers of what was going on. In the commentary for season 5's "The Beast With a Billion Backs," co-creator David X. Cohen explains how they planned on giving Fry a "Pocket Pal," which would've been a tiny robot that serves as Fry's guide to the future (via CBR). Basically, it sounds as though it would've been an exposition machine, kind of like Ash's Pokédex on Pokémon, that does all of the heavy lifting in terms of explaining what exactly is going on. 

Still, the character at least got a little time in the sun, thanks to an all-too-brief appearance in "The Beast With a Billion Backs." In this episode, the tiny robot says, "Play time is fun time" before being thrown into an anomaly to demonstrate how robots can't go through the portal. Professor Farnsworth (West) and Professor Wernstrom (David Herman) proceed to throw a bunch of the Pocket Pals into the rift, destroying them instantly.

The professors did exactly what the creators of Futurama did — throw Pocket Pal in the trash.