"Kif Gets Knocked Up a Notch"
is the first episode in season four of Futurama
. It first aired on January 12
is unhappy with her long-distance relationship with Kif
and wants to see him in person again. When the crew is sent to deliver a giant pill to a planet near where Kif is stationed, Amy stows away onboard the Planet Express Ship
. While the crew is asleep, Amy changes course to meet with Kif. When Zapp Brannigan
sees the ship, the Planet Express crew joins him on the Nimbus
. On the Nimbus
, Kif shows Amy the HoloShed
to show her what life would be like with him. In one of the environments, Kif tries to literally pluck the moon from the sky and give it to Amy, but only succeeds in dislodging it before he falls into a lake. Soon, however, the shed malfunctions and the holograms that invade—Attila the Hun
, Professor Moriarty
, Jack the Ripper
, and an evil version of Abraham Lincoln
—become real. When the holograms reach the bridge, Zapp Brannigan threatens them with a laser cannon, despite a rather accurate warning from Attila—"No shoot fire stick in space canoe. Cause explosive decompression
!" Zapp blasts a hole in the ship, which sucks out history's greatest villains. Everyone else on the bridge is also sucked towards the hole, but they manage to survive by hanging on to each others' hands (until the moon from the Holoshed plugs the hole). In sickbay
later, the doctor looks at everyone and deduces that everyone survived despite minor injuries, and also reveals the unlikely news that Kif is pregnant.
It is initially believed that Amy is the mother since Kif's race reproduces through touch, due to the fact that their skin is a semi-permeable membrane. Kif's race is thus able to conceive whenever they are in love through direct physical contact with another being. Fry points out that everyone on the ship's bridge touched Kif and it is unclear who the mother is. Professor Farnsworth uses an invention of his, the Maternifuge, to determine who is the real mother and discovers, through a process of elimination, removing Fry, Zapp Brannigan (much to Kif's relief), Zoidberg (who was sleeping in the machine) and Amy, it is Leela. Amy is instead the "smizmar" (person whose love inspired the conception) of Kif's children, which nevertheless makes her the "real" mother by Kif's species' standards.
Later on, at Fry and Bender's apartment for the pre-birth celebrations, Amy decides she can't go through with this and runs away, leaving Kif just as his babies are about to be born.
The crew takes Kif to Amphibios 9, his homeworld. They escort him through the jungle after they land. A poisonous Froad (cross between a frog and a toad) begins to eat Bender; but he is saved by Kif, who inflates his head in a manner similar to that of a blowfish and scares the Froad away. Just as Kif is about to give birth, Amy appears saying she wants to be with him despite not being ready for motherhood. After Kif gives birth, the babies, in a tadpole-like state, hop towards the swampy planet's water, nearly attacked by deadly predators that Amy and Leela fend off. The kids are left to swim about until they are able to live out of water, which Kif reveals won't actually happen for twenty years; Amy is thus satisfied that she will be ready to help raise them when the time comes (they are indeed Leela's children, as some have only one eye).
The term "smizmar" was previously used in the episode "Raging Bender
" when the announcer for the Ultimate Robot Fighting match refers to the audience as "Ladies, gentlemen, and smizmars". The same episode also contains a movie poster advertising When a Man Loves a Smizmar
. This episode is the first time the term is explained.
At the beginning of Kif's baby shower, Chef Bender is serving a platter of snacks that are actually edible. This is due to his training in the last episode, "The 30% Iron Chef".
At the beginning of the episode when Professor Farnsworth retreats to the angry dome, there was a long debate amongst the writers about whether the viewers should be able to hear him or not. They eventually decided not to include the audio in that scene and that the angry dome would be more similar to the Cone of Silence from Get Smart
. The writers apparently had an even larger debate about who the second parent of Kif's children should be. The head writer for the episode notes that they felt making Amy the true parent would make her character unlikeable after she didn't accept the children.
In the scene in Kif's room, Bender is seen in Kif's closet with his head and body separated. No explanation for this is ever given. However, on the DVD commentary, it is revealed that it was originally going to be explained that the room was much too small to have everybody fit inside, and that Bender was in the closet out of necessity. The original script also contained a much longer series of events once the characters arrived at Kif's planet. The material that was eventually cut focused on the journey and a series of tasks Kif needed to complete before giving birth. Reportedly the material was enough for an entire second episode.
This episode was rated TV-14, the fifth such Futurama episode.
- The episode appears to be a parody of a Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Unexpected", in which Commander "Trip" Tucker becomes impregnated by a female Xyrillian through physical contact while on her ship's holodeck.
- The animation of the Planet Express Ship entering the Nimbus’ cargo hold is a reference to the film You Only Live Twice, although on the DVD commentary the creators mistake it for Moonraker.
- The HoloShed (and its frequent malfunctions turning holograms "real") are parodies of the holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Among the holoshed characters who run rampant are Professor Moriarty, Attila the Hun, Jack the Ripper and an evil version of Abraham Lincoln. A holodeck incarnation of Professor Moriarty "came alive" in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation - Elementary, Dear Data and Ship in a Bottle - while Jack the Ripper and Lincoln appeared in Star Trek: The Original Series; "Evil Lincoln" is a specific reference to the episode "The Savage Curtain", where aliens pit some of Earth's most storied heroes (including Lincoln) against its most hated villains.
- The HoloShed is programmed in BASIC because the writers were amused by the idea that in the Star Trek universe any simulation one wants to experience has already been painstakingly programmed.
- The sick bay scene is a parody of that from Star Trek: The Original Series, complete with sound effects. The sign references a creature from the series called a Horta that gives severe acid burns. The sick bay's doctor is an obvious parody of Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, and is named "Veins" in a deleted scene.
- The maternifuge is based loosely on the amusement park ride "The Rotor".
- The title of the episode combines a reference to TV chef Emeril's catchphrase "...Kick it up a notch" (or, more accurately, Elzar's version of this catchphrase from the previous episode, "...Knock it up a notch") with the slang term for being pregnant, "knocked up".
- Kif's ability to climb walls is similar to that of several types of gecko.
- The holoshed's final simulation is of a castle atop a cloud with the night sky in the background; this is a reference to the progressive rock band Starcastle and their debut album's cover.
- The mission on which Amy stows away is "delivering pain medicine to the hive mind of Nigel 7." This may be a reference to Rigel VII, a fictional planet used by both Star Trek: The Original Series (in the pilot episode "The Cage" and again in "The Menagerie") and The Simpsons (as the home planet of Kang and Kodos.)
- Amy's calendar lists "Hang with Walter Koening" on Sun 28 before she switches to "motherhood mode". The name is spelled incorrectly on the calendar. Walter Koenig is the actor who played Chekov in Star Trek: The Original Series.
- When the Nimbus undergoes explosive decompression after Zapp shoots a hole in the hull, the door on Bender's torso flies open, and the famous mask of King Tut's mummy falls out and is sucked into space. Bender is later seen stealing it back from ancient Egypt in Bender's Big Score, along with Tut's sarcophagus.
- Kif reflects on the saying "No Glove, No Love", used in his species literally, i.e. gloves should be worn at all times while experiencing feelings of love to protect one's skin from receiving DNA, thereby causing an unwanted pregnancy. In the real world, the saying is used to refer, euphemistically, to condoms and sex.