Philip J. Fry is the central character in the Futurama
universe. He is the perennial slacker
, yet he always manages to get things done and shows a great propensity for self-improvement... but only if it doesn't involve much work. The TV series revolves around this 20th
century pizza delivery boy
in his exploits in the 31st
century with his robot buddy
and one-eyed would-be girlfriend
. Beyond this, however, is his even greater purpose: he is the only one who can save the universe.
Fry (as he is commonly called) was born to Yancy Fry, Sr. and his wife in 1974. As a baby, young Fry slept in a crib that sat underneath a swinging mobile of planets and a rocketship. It was this mobile that began his love of space and space-related things. This mobile was also a source of jealousy between Fry and his older brother Yancy Fry, Jr. Yancy, jealous of all the attention his new baby brother was getting, broke the rocket off of the mobile and threw it out the window. As the years went by the brothers continued to spar over attention and possessions and, like with the rocket, Yancy did not actually want what Fry had, but merely wanted Fry not to have it. Yancy commonly stole his younger brother's break dancing routines, basketball moves, and he even tried to steal Fry's lucky seven leaf clover. In fact, Fry hid the clover, wrapped in a plastic baggie, inside his Ronco Record Vault. As Fry grew older he stopped attending school (his parents felt trying to educate him was a waste of public funding) and took a job delivering pizzas at a local pizza restaurant, Panucci's Pizza. It was during a delivery run in August 1997 that Fry came across a stray puppy whom he named "Seymour" after the prank call he'd been sent to deliver to, Seymour Asses. Fry and Seymour were inseperable, and Fry even taught the dog to sing his favorite song: "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves.
On the closing hours of December 31, 1999 Fry was called upon to deliver a pizza at the Applied Cryogenics building to a "I.C. Weiner". Unaware that the call was a prank, Fry rode his bicycle to the facility (passing by his girlfriend Michelle who broke up with him as he rode by) and, while consoling his dead end life over a beer, he fell backwards out of his chair and landed in a cryogenic tube where he was frozen within seconds. The next day Seymour tracked his scent to the tube and eventually led Fry's family there. Unfortunately the elder Frys were too dense to notice their frozen son and left the building, commanding the dog to find Fry.
Sometime after Fry's disappearance Yancy Jr. married and, while searching for music to play at the wedding, found the lucky clover that Fry had hidden away. He, in turn, gave the clover to his baby son (whom he named Philip after his missing brother) who then, in turn, used it to live a long and successful life as both a wealthy musician and a space hero. Also, during some time period not exactly disclosed, Fry's ex-girlfriend Michelle froze herself in the Applied Cryogenics building in an effort to get a fresh start on life in the future.
On December 31, 2999 the timer on Fry's cryogenic capsule finished counting down from 1,000 years and, with a ding, thawed Fry and opened up. Fry was taken to a cryogenic counsellor, a one-eyed cyclops by the name of Turanga Leela, and she assigned his new job: delivery boy. He resisted and fled from the facility, causing Leela to give chase. It was during this chase that Fry met and befriended a bending robot, Bender, and by the end of the day the three of them had become friends and taken jobs with Planet Express, the delivery company owned by Professor Farnsworth. Fry took a position as executive delivery boy.
During his first year in the future Fry learned his way around a strange new world and began to establish a life for himself. He and Bender began sharing an apartment at the Robot Arms Apartments (Fry lives in the closet (which is actually much more spacious than it sounds)) and when a giant ball of garbage threatened to rain down on New New York from space, it was Fry who first detected it with the Smelloscope and who taught the city how to pollute in order to save themselves. In 3001 Fry saved Earth from Lrr and the Omicronians after he made the connection that the aliens were looking for Jenny McNeal, a 1000 year old TV show. He also participated in trying to end Richard Nixon's presidential comeback and briefly fell in love with a real live mermaid, Umbriel. He was also on hand at the "discovery" of popplers, which in reality were Omicronian young.
Fry joined the military briefly in 3002 and fought in the war against the brainballs of Spheron One. He left the service after the battle and only survived the adventure thanks to the help of Bender and Leela. Fry's ex-girlfriend Michelle was defrosted from her own cryogenic tube around this time and the two resumed their relationship briefly until she left him to begin dating a reanimated Pauly Shore. Fry was also committed to a robot mental institution during this year and briefly suffered from delusions that he was a robot as a result of his time at the asylum. Other experiences Fry would gain this year include his time dating a robotic Lucy Liu and the time he moved the stars themselves to write Leela a love message in the sky. The message was, unfortunately, destroyed by a doomsday device before Leela could see it.
The first part of Fry's awesome destiny also occured in 3002 when the mighty brainspawn attacked Earth. Known only to Leela's pet, Nibbler, Fry's brain lacked the delta brainwave which allowed him to resist the stupifying effect of the giant flying brains. After the rest of New New York was paralyzed with stupidity Fry took on the big brain leader and trapped his intellect in a poorly written book of his own creation, a world full of plot holes and spelling errors. The brains left Earth, Nibbler and his species ate the dead brains, and nobody except Fry retained any knowledge of the event. In September 3002 Fry and the Planet Express crew were hurtled back in time to 1947 Roswell, New Mexico. While trying to keep his grandfather Ennis Fry safe from hazards, he accidentially exposed his relative to an atomic blast. By killing his grandfather Fry should have ceased to exist. However, since he did not he assumed that Ennis was not his real grandfather and proceeded to sleep with the woman he had been dating... his future grandmother. As a result of "doing the nasty in the pasty", Fry became his own grandfather, and this action explains why he lacks the delta brainwave; it's a genetic defect brought about by inbreeding so far up the family tree.
3003 saw Fry participating in more adventures. He helped to trap the evil robotic Santa Claus in Neptune's ice, he exposed the true identity of Leela's parents, and was briefly a slave to Pharoah Bender. He also fell under a 1980s stock market shark's spell and wound up as the CEO of Planet Express after his mentor died of boneitis. He handed control of the company back to Professor Farnsworth, however. Fry also got to meet his heroes when he helped the cast of Star Trek escape from the evil space entity Melllvar. Seymour, Fry's long-dead dog, was nearly reanimated this year as well. He became a superhero (taking the name "Captain Yesterday") after being exposed to miracle cream. He was also caught in the de-aging accident that befell the Planet Express crew and had his nose stolen by aliens for use as a aphrodisiac by Lrr. In another incident he arranged to trade hands with the Robot Devil which he then used to compose a holophoner opera to show his love for Leela.
Fry was called upon by Nibbler and his people once again in this year to once again battle the brainspawn. Once again his lack of a delta brainwave allowed him to sneak inside the giant InfoSphere in which the brains were collecting all of the information about everything from everywhere. Once the brains had collected this information, they planned to destroy the universe to prevent new knowledge from coming into being. Nibbler sent Fry into the sphere with a special bomb that would blow the vessel into a parallel universe. The equipment they sent him in with malfunctioned, however, and Fry chose to trap himself in the other universe in order to save the world and beyond. While trapped with the brains he learned that it was Nibbler who had arranged the prank call delivery and who had knocked him into the cryogenic tube way back on December 31, 1999. The brains sent Fry back in time to prevent himself from being frozen, but Nibbler persuades him to allow himself to be frozen so that he can meet his destiny. When time repeated itself a thousand years later Nibbler sent Fry off on his mission with better equipment, resulting in a successful mission. Before wiping Fry's memory of the event Nibbler promised that Fry would be needed again one day to save the universe.
It's a shame that Futurama was cancelled, bringing an end to the adventures of Philip J. Fry and friends. The writers had many other dangling plot threads that could have been tied up, plus we have that whole business with Fry needing to save the universe again. Perhaps one day all will be answered in some format, be it television, movie, or comic book.
The following episodes of the series are key episodes in the "Fry saves the universe" story arc:
The following episodes of the series are key episodes in the Fry/Leela relationship story arc: