Despite its on-again-off-again run, Futurama, an animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening, made a name for itself in the world of popular culture, thrusting iconic characters like Phillip J. Fry, Leela, and Bender to the forefront of meme culture and bringing plenty of laughs and heart to the small screen. The series released 140 episodes throughout its lifespan, but Futurama‘s story is far from over. Fry, Leela, and the gang are gearing up for more wacky adventures in 2023, so I thought it was a perfect time to revisit the series I love so much and discuss my favorite underrated characters.
Futurama is bursting at the seams with wacky and iconic characters besides the main cast. Most of them pop up for multiple episodes, and even if they don’t have speaking lines, their characters are there for the drama and always make their presence known. Without further ado, grab your can of Slurm, and let’s dive into my five favorite underrated characters from Futurama.
Hattie McDoogal is a hilariously bad-tempered cat lady who doesn’t give a flying f*ck about anyone besides herself and many four-legged companions. She often carries around a cat in her purse and is prone to phrases like “whatyoucallit” and “kajigger.” She’s a landlady who once rented to Fry and Bender, but my favorite episode with Hattie is Season 3, Episode 21: “Future Stock.”
In the episode, Hattie uses her one company share of Planet Express to help unseat Professor Farnsworth (with whom she is occasionally romantically involved). Hattie makes several appearances throughout the series, and I’m hoping we’ll see her in the revival with all her cats. Tress MacNeille voices Hattie, a similar character to Eleanor Abernathy from The Simpsons.
Sometimes I’m afraid there’s a Hedonismbot in all of us, threatening to come out and indulge in all of life’s vices and pleasures. Is that a bad thing? Maybe. Maybe not. But I will say one thing about Hedonismbot: for a robot, he knows how to LIVE! Every moment of every day is all about self-care and indulgence for Hedonism Bot. The finest wines, the most handsome and oiled-up men, the wild parties, the never-ending feasts…Hedonismbot knows what he wants and takes it all. He first appeared in Season 4, Episode 8: “Crimes of the Hot.” He never fails to make me laugh and his pompous accent only adds to his charm.
The foul-mouthed bad-tempered Mom is one of the cornerstone villains of Futurama. She’s the wealthiest and most powerful woman in the galaxy and is the chief executive officer and primary shareholder of MomCorp, the largest conglomerate in the universe. Mom (and by extension her on-again-off-again lover, Professor Farnsworth) is responsible for the creation of Earth’s robots and secretly plans to use them to take over the planet. Mom’s evil schemes are usually defeated by Fry and the gang, but that doesn’t stop her from popping up time and again to wreak havoc.
One of the most hilarious aspects of Mom’s character is her duplicitous nature. She maintains her public image as a loving matron, but when the doors close and the gloves come off, Mom’s evil and greedy nature bubbles to the surface. I also love her unlikely friendship with Dr. Zoidberg, despite them frequently being enemies. Mom debuted in Season 1 Episode 6, “A Fistful of Dollars,” and is voiced by Tress MacNeille.
Ethan Bubblegum Tate is the loveable and tough-as-nails leader of the Harlem Globetrotters. Bubblegum Tate always projects a tough exterior, but deep down he is a thoughtful and romantic individual. He is also one of the smartest men in the universe next to Professor Farnsworth and helps him figure out a crisis with chronitons that cause time to keep jumping forward. My favorite moments with Bubblegum Tate in the series are when he declares a basketball war against Earth, when he flirts with the Head of Martha Stewart and when he trolls Bender and dangles membership in the Harlem Globetrotters over the poor robot’s head. Phil LaMarr provides the voice for Bubblegum Tate, who debuted in the third season episode “Time Keeps on Slippin'”.
Linda and Morbo
For this final entry, I wanted to include two characters. Linda and Morbo are the news anchors of Channel √2 News and often relay the wackiest stories from across the universe. Linda is slightly ditzy and obsessed with alcohol. She has some of the funniest reactions in the series, like when all the alcohol disappears from Earth and she screams that she will no longer be able to face her children, or when Morbo exposes his torso to her and she screams hysterically on live television, no doubt traumatized for life by what that fierce alien packs around. Linda laughs loudly at all of Morbo’s outrageous statements, often echoing the sentiments of the audience.
Morbo is a reptilian alien with a large brain who is constantly vowing to unleash chaos on Earth and subjugate all humans. He never follows through with his dastardly plans, but his exclamations of rage and impatience are some of the funniest moments of the series. I would love a spinoff anthology series featuring Linda and Morbo reporting on the wild events of the Futurama universe. Maurice LaMarche provides the voice for Morbo and Tress MaacNeille voices Linda.
Who are your favorite underrated Futurama characters? Let me know in the comments. For all things pop culture, check out my website. Stay nerdy!