“Insane in the Mainframe”
is the eleventh episode in season three of Futurama
. It originally aired April 8
While at Big Apple Bank to open a retirement fund, Fry and Bender become involved in a holdup. The criminally insane robot Roberto hands them bags of cash for their trouble, and after he runs off, Fry and Bender are charged for their role in the robbery. At the trial, Roberto surreptitiously threatens to kill Fry should Fry testify against him. After pleading insanity on the advice of their lawyer, both Fry and Bender are sent to the HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots.
Once there, the doctors refuse to acknowledge that Fry is human, due to their use of the logic that, if Fry is a patient in a robot asylum, he must be a robot. Fry is roomed with car-dealer Malfunctioning Eddie, who is undergoing treatment for his exploding problem. Fry perseveres, surviving on food coughed up by a sick vending machine robot.
But just when Fry thinks he is going to be released, he gets a new roommate: the insane bank robber Roberto, who was captured after robbing the same bank again. Shortly after, Fry is released, having been "cured" of his delusion of humanity. Roberto, fed up with life in the asylum, breaks out and takes Bender with him. Back at the Planet Express building, Fry attempts to discover his function as a robot, as he was mentally broken at the asylum.
A newly escaped Roberto robs the Big Apple Bank a third time, and Bender takes him back to the Planet Express building to hide out. New New York police surround the building, and Roberto takes the staff hostage. Fry, now convinced that he is a battle droid, takes on Roberto, who jumps out a window after stabbing a can of oil in Fry's chest pocket (thereby "proving" to Roberto he really is a robot and thus a battle droid) and is apprehended by the police. Fry, seeing that he was cut and bleeding after Roberto threw the knife at him, overcomes his insanity completely.
- Bender says "Je suis Napoléon!" despite the fact that the French language was previously stated as being an "unintelligible dead language" in the episode "A Clone of My Own".
- Perceptron is seen to travel on wheels despite the wheel being totally forgotten about (according to the episode "The Honking") by the 31st century.
- In the institute, you can see Hair Robot combing his hair saying "I'm a pretty girl! I'm a pretty girl!". In the episode "The Luck of the Fryrish" you can see this robot giving Fry his new hair because it was burned off by lightning.
- Malfunctioning Eddie was previously in Put Your Head on my Shoulders.
Characters who first appear in this episode include:
- The opening subtitle of this episode creates a fake Microsoft application called Microsoft Joke.
- The title comes from the song Insane in the Brain by Cypress Hill, in particular, the line, "Insane in the membrane."
- The robot Norm, who hears transmissions from the CIA lunchroom, is a reference to Lucille Ball, who said that in 1942 she heard Morse code signals in lead fillings in her teeth that she reported to the FBI and led to the arrest of a Japanese spy.
- The character Nurse Ratchet is based on Nurse Ratched from the book and film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, who runs the ward, and possibly the Autobot's chief medical officer, Ratchet. The scene where Bender adjusts Norm's teeth to pick up a horse race is also a reference to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, where McMurphy tries to get the television put on to catch the World Series.
- The robot in the cafeteria that constantly tells everyone to "change places" is a reference to the Mad Hatter from the story Alice in Wonderland; his hat displaying the fraction "5/3" is a parody of the tag reading "In This Style 10/6" attached to the Mad Hatter's hat (10/6 is equivalent to 5/3 in fractions, although the original tag referred to the hat's price of ten shillings and sixpence).
- The HAL Institute for Criminally Insane Robots is a reference to HAL 9000, the murderous artificial intelligence in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- Bender claims to have Stockholm syndrome while being held hostage by Roberto.
- Dr. Perceptron’s head resembles a plasma lamp, a device commonly found in novelty shops. Also, a Perceptron is the basic element of an artificial neural network.
- The robotic Abraham Lincoln is partly a homage to the animatronic Lincoln in Disneyland's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction, especially in how Lincoln rises from his chair very slowly.
- Bender references the common stereotype of a mad person pretending to be Napoleon.
- Dr. Perceptron's name could be a reference to another Autobot medic, this time Perceptor. Though primarily a scientist and not a medic Perceptor famously attempted (unsuccessfully) to treat the wounds of Autobot leader Optimus Prime in The Transformers: The Movie.