A Taste Of Freedom (Futurama)
"A Taste of Freedom" is the fifth episode in the fourth season of the American animated television series Futurama. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 22, 2002. The episode was directed by James Purdum and written by Eric Horsted. The plot centers on Zoidberg's experience with the concept of freedom on Earth.
After eating a flag, Dr. Zoidberg is accused of desecration and sentenced to death, prompting his people to invade Earth and enslave its people.
Why It Doesn't Taste of Freedom At All
- This episode is a hateful and mean-spirited Zoidberg torture episode. Zoidberg gets branded a traitor, chased and almost lynched by a mob, gets constantly and viciously insulted, treated like a war criminal, put on trial, convicted, and then sentenced to death all because he ate a flag. While Zoidberg has been the main butt-monkey of the show, this is where the abuse and mistreatment of Zoidberg are at one of their absolute worst.
- There is a lot of desperation this episode tries to do to touch upon the flag-burning controversy. However, it is poorly executed due to the mistreatment of Zoidberg and how the Earthican flag is “desecrated” as it was eaten, which is something very unusual for someone to do.
- At the end of the episode, Zoidberg expresses the thought of tasting the Shroud of Turin. While the line is meant to be played as a joke, the Shroud of Turin is a historical piece of art, and eating a part of the artwork is arguably worse than "desecrating" a nation's flag.
- The episode chooses to depict Zoidberg as the one in the wrong just because he is an alien, whose home planet, Decapod 10, is less democratic than Earth’s.
- Many of the people of Earth are at one of their absolute worst because they try to lynch Zoidberg and demand that he dies even though he meant no harm in eating the flag. Zoidberg ate to flag out of euphoric patriotism for Earth and stated that to these people. Even worse is that the episode tries to force viewers to sympathize with them and depict them as the ones in the right because they get enslaved by Decapod 10.
- Nixon’s head is also at one of his absolute worst in the episode because he brands Zoidberg as a traitor and instigates a mob to try to lynched Zoidberg. Nixon is never punished for this.
- This episode had its plot rehashed a year and a half later in the Simpsons Episode “Bart-Mangled-Banner”, which handled the flag desecration controversy just a badly.
- The Planet Express crew is unlikeable in this episode because they do not do much to help Zoidberg out with his problem. All they do is hire an attorney for Zoidberg and that attorney failed to defend Zoidberg.
- Zoidberg’s attorney, Old Man Waterfall, is also unlikable too as he is shown to be a selfish person who cares more about having polygamous marriage legalized than defending Zoidberg.
- The episode teaches some bad morals such as standing up for yourself is wrong and criticizing your government is wrong. This is shown when Zoidberg tries to stand up to the people tormenting him including the Earthican Government and criticize them during his trial only to be depicted as in the wrong for it. Realistically no government is perfect and even the U.S government has some problems that people have legitimate criticism towards.
- Despite the Shroud of Turin line, the ending is decent as Zoidberg does get treated better.
- It was interesting to see Zoidberg’s backstory more thoroughly in this episode.
The episode despite getting a 7.8/10 on IMDb, was criticized by AV club reviewer Zack Handlen as he criticized the episode for it’s execution towards touching upon the flag burning controversy and for the mean spirited nature of the episode.