bird face

A Pharaoh to Remember

"A Pharaoh to Remember" is episode seventeen of Futurama's third season. It originally aired on March 10, 2002.


Bender grows concerned that he will be doomed to obscurity, and sets off to rectify the situation. One of these schemes includes spraying graffiti on the side of a building, saying "Bender Lives Large and Kicks Butt." The building is demolished, and his phrase is reduced to "Bender Licks Butt" in the style of a MAD Magazine fold-in page. Bender returns to the office to find out that the crew had staged a "funeral" for him, to show that he will be remembered, but it ends badly. The Professor assigns the crew a new mission: to deliver a giant sandstone block to the planet Osiris IV.

Upon their arrival, Fry and Leela find a desert world whose society is modeled after ancient Egypt and who they claim introduced interstellar travel to them. The crew is enslaved to work on the building of the funeral pyramid of Pharaoh Hamenthotep. Their job is to work alongside the other slaves, moving heavy stone blocks manually. Bender, impressed by the Osirin Pharaohs' method of ensuring their place in history, becomes a workaholic, working so fast the slavedrivers can't even keep up with him.

Pharaoh Hamenthotep arrives to inspect his newly completed pyramid, and as he was about to set everyone free, he is killed when the nose falls off a giant statue of himself. The priests entomb Hamenthotep, and the next day they consult their wall of prophecy to select the new pharaoh. While the slaves celebrate over their few hours of freedom, Bender sneaks out and makes a few surreptitious modifications to the wall, therefore, declaring him the new pharaoh. As Bender becomes the new Pharaoh, he says that Osiris IV's bad old days have come to an end, but the bad new days are beginning.

Newly crowned Pharaoh Bender demands a statue of himself, one billion cubits tall, so that he will be remembered forever. Construction proceeds, with Bender quickly establishing himself as an excessively dictatorial and ruthless pharaoh, and the massive statue is soon completed. Nonetheless, when it is unveiled, Pharaoh Bender announces that he is displeased with it, and wants it to be torn down and rebuilt. The High priests, disgusted and tired with Bender, wrap him for burial, and entomb him, declaring that their leader has died, along with Fry and Leela for human sacrifices, at Bender's request.

With a limited oxygen supply running out, Fry and Leela want to blast their way out using the explosive Schnapps from the tomb's distillery; but Bender objects, worried that he won't be remembered if the statue is destroyed. After Fry and Leela make a show of not remembering Bender, he finally agrees to let them destroy his work. After blasting a crack in the statue's foot, Fry, Leela, and Bender escape and run back to the ship. As the ship departs from Osiris IV, the statue explodes in a gigantic fireball. Bender is distraught, but Leela consoles him with the knowledge that his reign of terror will be remembered longer than any statue. Satisfied, Bender tells the crew to set course for Earth. As the ship approaches an Earth-like planet, Bender begins to laugh evilly. Leela points out that the planet isn't Earth and Bender stops laughing. The ship flies away from the planet, ostensibly towards Earth.


Cultural references

  • The title is a reference to the 1957 film An Affair to Remember and also recalls the title of series 2 episode "A Flight to Remember".
  • The wall message "Bender Lives Large and Kicks Butt" being turned into "Bender Licks Butt" is a parody of the fold-in joke pages seen at the end of every issue of MAD Magazine.
  • There are a number of references to the 1994 film Stargate including the beast-headed guards and priests, the Osirians past connection with ancient Egypt and a direct visual quote at the finale where Bender's statue explodes as it leaves the planet.
  • The arrival of the Pharaoh's boat at the building site parodies a similar scene in the 1955 Howard Hawks epic Land of the Pharaohs - and Bender's megalomaniac obsession with building a gigantic monument to himself matches that of the Pharaoh Khufu in the film.
  • The singer at the previous Pharaoh's funeral greatly resembles Elton John, who emotionally sang at Princess Diana's funeral. The songs he sings are parodies of the songs "Daniel", "Benny and the Jets" and "Crocodile Rock", spoofing John's reworked version of "Candle in the Wind".
  • Fry says "I've got a bad feeling about this", a common reference to the Star Wars series.
  • The Osirians mention being taught space travel and pyramid building by Earth's Egyptians—the book Chariots of the Gods suggests that the Egyptians were taught both by aliens.
  • The comedians referenced in what the Osirians learn from the Earth Egyptians are Abbot and Costello, in particular their movie Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy - and Fry's cowardly reaction when he sees the mummified Bender closely imitates Lou Costello's in the film.
  • Bender's tomb is completely sealed off, except tunnels through which thousands of snakes may enter — a reference to the Indiana Jones film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The coronation ceremony of the new Pharaoh is a parody of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas at night.
  • After being named Pharaoh, Bender "walks like an Egyptian," a reference to the dance/song "Walk Like an Egyptian" made popular in the 1980s by the The Bangles. His entrance (and the musical cue used) is also a slant reference to Steve Martin's 1978 cult hit "King Tut".
  • One of the slave masters is wearing a shirt that says "What would Pharaoh do?" in reference to the popular "What would Jesus do?."
  • The man with the bird face is in similar appearance to Thoth. The guards which Bender distracts by making them chase an object while barking like dogs look similar to Anubis. The Prophet-Reader is also wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt.
  • At Bender's "funeral", Zoidberg sings "Danny Boy".
  • The fall of Hamenthotep's statue's nose might be a reference to the missing nose of the Great Sphinx of Giza.

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