A Conversation for 'Futurama' - the TV Series

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 1


Does anyone find it strange that Dr Zoidberg, a character that is in part a blatant parody of jews (in that he speaks similar to jews in shows such as Nanny and Seinfeld), is a member of an alien race that is responsible for the extinction of another race? Do the makers of Futurama imply that jews are responsible for the extinction of some race? In that case, what race? Some might subtly nod their heads in the general direction of the Palestinians, hoping that the moderators won't delete the post. Others would probably say "Lighten up, man, it's just a joke!"

But why does Dr Zoidberg exclaim "I'm not on trial here!" as soon as Prof Farnsworth mentions that the anchovies disappeared when Zoidberg's race came to Earth? I keep getting the unnerving feeling that the people behind Futurama are implying something.

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 2


I am reminded of another odd stereotype in space:

Short, bald, viscious, ugly, big-nosed men who value profit above all else. Ferengi, a race of aliens from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

I'm not even going to draw any comparisons, but if you can imagine a stereotype that jibes with the above description, then we both have overactive imaginations.

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 3

Twenty-First Century Schizoid Man

Either you're very observant, iaoth, or very paranoid. smiley - winkeye

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 4


Probably both. smiley - smiley

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 5


Zoidberg, I don't think, is a parody of Jews.

Billy West, the voice actor, states in the DVD commentary that he based the voice on two radio personalities (I can't remember who or whether they were in radio or not).

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 6


I'm pretty sure Zoidberg is a parody of Jews, or at least the Jewish stereotype. Not ENTIRELY (I doubt Matt Groening is suggesting that a Jew would gobble spaghetti off the floor, or that Jews were responsible for the extinction of anchovies) but his accent IS generic Jewish, as are his speech patterns (ending sentences with 'already' and 'even' - "get to the point, already" you may be saying)...

Somewhat similar in that respect to the slave-owner mechanic wasp chappy from the last two Star Wars episodes. Forgotten his name, but the heavy accent and the finger-rubbing, money-grabbing attitude etc are all classic Jew stereotyoes. However I found the wasp character rather more offensive to Jews than benign old Dr. Zoidberg.
Oh well.

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 7


Come to think of it, unless someone has seen a script that says this character must have a yiddish accent, it's also quite possible that the voice actor applied an accent without any instructions from the writers. Using an existing foreign accent for an alien is a common shorthand, and keeps getting George Lucas in trouble for the latest Star Wars episodes. Lilo and Stitch features a totally generic Russian accent for the character of Jumba (Juumba?) the evil genius mad scientist. I don't know if the script called for that, or if they just wanted an alien sounding accent, and the voice-actor decided to put zero imagination into it, just started spouting Russian.

But it's hard to judge without knowing more about the scripts or the process of developing the characters.

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 8


It is never explicitly stated within the TV show itself that Zoidberg is Jewish, but it is brought up in the audio commentaries in passing. However, if you do listen to said commentaries, it's obvious the creators are very relaxed and groovy, so it's very unlikely that any ill-will is projected onto Jewish people via Zoidberg's traits.

Sorry, I'm a total Futurama nut!

smiley - biggrin

Dr Zoidberg, jews and extinction

Post 9


Since the original post, it has been explained that Zoidberg's people are NOT Jewish as shellfish isn't Kosher.

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