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The Yancy Sr. Futurama Fan Theory That Makes Too Much Sense

When it comes to being raised on tough love, it's hard to find someone who's gotten it tougher than Philip J. Fry on the animated sitcom "Futurama." Before getting cryogenically frozen and awakening in the year 3000, Fry's life in the 20th century is far from dandy. He works a humiliating job as a pizza delivery guy for Panucci's Pizza, his girlfriend dumps him on the night of New Year's Eve, and his family life isn't much better. His mother is emotionally neglectful to her kids and his brother, Yancy Fry Jr., is often competitive and rude.

Still, it's his father, Yancy Fry Sr., who takes the cake. Yancy (voiced by Bender's voice actor John DiMaggio) is a rough around the edges, stern, and harsh father. Having served in the Vietnam War, Philip's dad takes a no-nonsense approach when it comes to raising his sons, pushing them through difficulties and hardships to become stronger, at least in his eyes. On top of that, Yancy is incredibly paranoid of warfare or nuclear devastation, fearing Y2K and even building a bomb shelter for the family. 

To most of us, Yancy's paranoia is a bit overzealous and even his backstory doesn't justify why he pushes this mindset on his innocent kids. However, a fan theory regarding Yancy links his fear to another key event in the series that is so on point it's a little scary. 

Yancy doesn't want to end up like his dad

Fry and Yancy's relationship is a little more complex than some viewers might think. In the Season 3 episode, "Roswell That Ends Well," Philip goes back to the year 1947, where he accidentally kills his grandfather after unknowingly leaving him on a nuclear test base and then sleeps with his grandmother, which technically makes Philip Yancy's father. Although the events aid Fry in the future (via the Los Angeles Times), fans picked up on one sour detail that might explain a lot about Yancy's character.

A subreddit created by Redditor u/rudager62369 theorizes Yancy's fear of bombings stems from what happened to (who he believes to be) his dad in the nuclear test base. Users reacting in the thread were practically slapping themselves on the forehead with realization. Redditors like u/Make_Mine_A-Double, u/Saltywinterwind, and u/BigJoey354 were quick to agree. The latter even points out how good the show was at " ... writing normal character quirks early on and then padding backstories around them later as little bonus jokes."

Others questioned the theory, mostly based on Yancy's background in the Vietnam War. u/Few_Sun6871 thinks Yancy " ... sounds more like super Cold War/Vietnam veteran prepper kind and so [is] his mentality. I don't think he'd be that obsessed because of the death of his mom's boyfriend, basically a stranger ... He's more like, watch for the enemy, Cuban-missile-crisis kind of guy."  u/carlsaganblessyou even compares Yancy to Christopher Walken's character from the 1999 film "Blast From the Past." The world might never know, but nevertheless, this simple yet powerful theory communicates quite a bit more than the stoic and thick-skinned Yancy probably ever would.