The Futurama writers have a rule for the character of Professor Farnsworth

The cliché of the Dirty Old Man archetype is, of course, as old as ancient literature. Charming old men can be found in Shakespeare, Molière, and Commedia dell’arte (in the character Pantalone). Older men constantly saying creepy, sexually suggestive things about young women is a guise to which many writers today belong, and which they still frequently refer to; Remember Herbert the Pervert in “Family Guy?” Many television writers – through no fault of their own – tend to fall back to traditional structures and archetypes as a form of shorthand. Once the easy parts have been communicated, the right story can be told. It was clear that the showrunners on “Futurama” wanted to avoid Dirty Old Man with the Professor, as – as Kaplan recalls – was a specific edict:

“I remember a rule that the Professor is not, not interested in younger women. He can be callous and weird, but he is not amusing. I think that’s a fun rule.”

Professors can actually be callous and quirky. He doesn’t seem to care much about the lives of his employees at Planet Express, and as mentioned, owns a bunch of doomsday gear. He is constantly testing the people around him, swapping their brains, bringing them forward in time or resurrecting them from the dead. Although generally ethical — the professor is at least more moral than the evil corporate mother (Tress MacNeille) – he doesn’t give much thought to tinkering with life-making or killing guinea pigs. The Futurama writers have a rule for the character of Professor Farnsworth

Fry Electronics Team

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