Hug your dog. Right now.
November 20, 2002
Bender is acting like a magician. Don’t ask me why. He has the cloak, the hat, and is calling himself “Bender the Magnificent,” ably assisted by Fry in an unflattering leotard. I kept feeling there was a part to this joke I wasn’t getting, but soon forgot about it once the main action began to unfold: the pizza place where Fry once worked is unearthed by archeologists, who make some astoundingly bad guesses as to the purposes of the artifacts they find. (Having worked as a cheese-n-dough slinger myself, I can attest that a pizza board is used to convey pizzas to the ovens and almost never against an employee’s backside.) Among the treasures on display is a dark, dog-shaped lump, which Fry recognizes as his beloved dog Seymour. Aghast that a museum is displaying the remains of his loyal buddy, Fry stages a protest—a disco protest. Ignoring Leela’s warning that he can’t boogie forever, Fry persists, and is eventually given the dog’s remains.
What ensues is, quite simply, the saddest television episode I’ve ever seen. I almost don’t even want to describe what comes next. But I press on. Professor Farnsworth explains to Fry that he can actually clone Seymour from his surviving DNA, creating a copy complete with memories. As Fry begins happily planning for his poochy pal’s return, Bender grows increasingly jealous, trying unsuccessfully to bring Zoidberg into his magic act. All the while, we see flashbacks describing how Fry meets Seymour, feeding the poor stray mutt some ‘za and earning his undying loyalty. We see Fry going out on the delivery that will leave him cryogenically frozen, Seymour desperately trying to follow him, and Fry ordering him to stay: “I’ll be right back.” We see Seymour wandering the town later, looking for Fry, eventually finding him frozen in his pod, where he barks and scratches until Fry’s clueless family leads him away.
Back to the present. A jealous Bender throws the fossilized Seymour into a lava pit, then has a change of heart and dives in to retrieve him. At the last second, however, Fry changes his mind. Seymour lived 13 years, he learns, ten years longer than he knew him; Seymour would’ve had other owners and would’ve died a happy old dog, with little memory of Fry. And then, a final flashback sequence shows us the rest of Seymour’s life: waiting at the doorstep of the pizzeria, just as Fry told him to, waiting and waiting for years for Fry to return. We see him at the end, an old, scrawny, sad thing, resistant to all attempts at consolation, grieving for the best friend who will never come back.
Fuck. I’m tearing up just thinking about it. This was a beautiful, amazing episode. I never want to see it again.