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Why Fry's Employment Had Futurama Fans Scratching Their Heads

In 1999, Matt Groening and David X. Cohen presented television audiences with a humorous look at the world of tomorrow with "Futurama." Throughout its time on the air, the series was often noted for its foundations in math and science. "Futurama" predicted real-life future events and even inspired the creation of a mathematical theorem with one of its episodes (via Cut The Knot). Given all this, it's certainly no surprise that "Futurama" puzzled its fans from time to time.

However, there is one episode that confused fans even more than the other scientifically convoluted entries in the series. In "Futurama" Season 3, Episode 3 ("The Cryonic Woman"), Philip J. Fry (Billy West) is fired from his job after a disastrous joyride with the Planet Express ship. The rest of the episode portrays Fry's humorous stint working at Leela's old cryogenics job, a trip to "future" Los Angeles, a reunion with an ex-girlfriend, and a cameo from comedian Pauly Shore. Each of these disparate pieces of the story flow together well enough, but it's the final status of Fry's employment that leaves fans scratching their heads.

Fans noticed it's never shown how Fry gets back with Planet Express

By the end of "Cryonic Woman," Fry is definitely down on his luck. After breaking up with his ex-girlfriend once more, Fry wanders through the streets of Los Angeles before he is reunited with Professor Farnsworth (Billy West), Leela (Katey Sagal), and Bender (John DiMaggio). It doesn't take long before Fry begs the Professor for his job back, which the Professor refuses. This ending is confusing to fans because Fry returns to his job at Planet Express in subsequent episodes with little-to-no explanation as to how he convinced the Professor. 

Of course, Reddit users have come up with a few theories, including one amusing idea that enjoys some genuine basis in the "canon" of the series. "From my understanding of the show, if you're fired, you are shot out of a cannon into the sun," Redditor u/Wrathofbong_7 wrote. "Since Fry was just jettisoned from the ship, he wasn't actually fired." Of course, this comment references a scene in the first episode of the series when Fry suggests to Leela that he could refuse the job he's assigned through his career chip. Leela responds that doing so would literally get him fired into the sun. 

Other fans, such as u/Voxael, suggested that the show's creators are simply unconcerned with the continuity of "Futurama" and adhere to it only in exceptional cases. As this user reasoned, Fry's re-employment probably wouldn't be nearly as entertaining as his unemployment. Despite this omission, another Reddit user presented two of the most likely off-screen scenarios. "I guess I'll just assume Fry begged again and the Professor gave his job back off-screen," u/NicolasDracul wrote. "Or better yet, Fry just showed up and took advantage of the professor's senility."