"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 18 May 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
The Sleepsons



Matt Groening's upcoming
animated series, "Futurama" [is]
about a guy who is frozen in
time, then wakes up several
hundred years in the future and
travels around the universe with
a collection of oddball
characters on a Fed-Ex-style
delivery rocket. Sources say Fox
is considering launching
"Futurama" after the Super Bowl
next January.

- Daily Variety, 4/21/98


Jaded types at the end of the

19th century believed that art

and literature had met with an

insurmountable obstacle: the

finite number of subjects and

plots. All the possible pictures

and stories were already spoken

for, it seemed, leaving nothing

new to paint or write. Woe

betide future generations, fated

to churn out endless variations

on the same themes!


Today our very own jaded types

chuckle with fond condescension

at such quaintly gloomy

prophecies of yesterday's

tomorrows. Oh ho ho, how droll!

And yet who can blame our

starch-collared forebears for

not anticipating such

20th-century originals as

Duchamp and Duras - if not

Vargas and Vonnegut? Who knew?


Turns out, the old-timers knew

plenty. As we commence the final

countdown to our own

fin-de-siècle blastoff,

the cloud cover lifts and the

rays beam down a pitiless

verdict: There really isn't

anything new under the sun.

Worse: Our great-grandparents

were right.


Consider, for instance, what

promises to be the last major

new hit TV series (phew) of the

1900s, from one of the most

unpredictable yarn spinners of

our time. As shopworn plot lines

go, Groening's Futurama setup is

second only to the

brain-switching hi-jinks of Mary

Shelley - spiritual progenitor

of Freaky Friday, Big, and that

scary scene in The Muppet

Movie, among far too many

others. Shutting down in one era

and rebooting in another is

always good for a wheeze, or at

least a gee-whiz.


If he has any respect for

History, Mr. Groening will spare

his audience all the trouble of

getting to know pesky new

versions of stock characters,

enacting yet another thinly

veiled rehash of an oft-told

tale. That's not to say he

should scuttle the project

entirely, but rather just be

honest about materials. Go back

to the original texts, Matt.

There's plenty of life left in

our pop-cultural senior citizens

- they're just waiting to be

given some meaningful work!

Herewith, four episodes offered

to the Futurama crew, completely

free of charge:


The Sleepsons, Episode One:

"Washington Irving's Rip Van



While wandering in the

Kaatskills seeking respite from

his nagging wife, the henpecked

Van Winkle quaffs a stranger's

microbrew possessing "much of

the flavor of excellent

Hollands." He promptly catches

40 winks for some 20 years,

missing the whole Revolutionary

War and then some.




The Sleepsons, Episode Two:

"Edward Bellamy's Looking



Boston, 1887: With the aid of a

hypnotist, insomniac Julian West

beds down in a subterranean

sleeping chamber built to keep

out street noise, awaking in the

year 2000 to a socialist utopia.




The Sleepsons, Episode Three:

"Woody Allen's Sleeper"



Miles Monroe is transported into

the 22nd century, where he is

called upon to settle matters of

weighty historical import.




Sleepsons, Episode Four: "Marco

Brambilla's Demolition Man!"


Cryogenically frozen since 1996,

Sylvester Stallone is thawed in

the 21st century to help nab

master criminal Wesley Snipes

and have hands-free sex with

Sandra Bullock.



courtesy of Ersatz