Doctor Zoidberg: Wikis


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Futurama character
Dr. Zoidberg M.D.
Dr. Zoidberg
Species Decapodian
Planet of origin Decapod 10
Job Staff doctor of the Planet Express Delivery Company.
First appearance "The Series Has Landed"
Voiced by Billy West

Dr. John A. Zoidberg[1] is a fictional character in the television series Futurama. He is a crustacean-like alien. The character traveled to 30th century Earth from the planet Decapod 10. On Futurama, he serves as staff doctor for Planet Express, even though he knows very little about the physiology of humans. Zoidberg is voiced by Billy West, who performs the character with a Yiddish-inflected accent inspired by actors George Jessel and Lou Jacobi.


Character creation

The name Zoidberg comes from an Apple II game that David X. Cohen made in high school called Zoid, similar to the game Qix. The game was rejected by Brøderbund.[2][3][4] One of Cohen's inspirations for the character of Dr. Zoidberg's was the fact that Star Trek character Leonard McCoy frequently administered medical treatment to aliens such as Mr. Spock, so Cohen wished human characters in Futurama to be in the uneasy situation of being treated by an alien doctor.[3]

During the first season, jokes surrounding Zoidberg usually focused on his incompetence as a doctor, his poor understanding of human anatomy, the fact that his friends all hate him, and some of his crustacean characteristics. One of his running traits is his pronunciation of the word 'robot', emphasising the 'ro-' so it sounds like 'roh-bit', an inflection typical among Ashkenazi Jews. As the series progressed, writers gradually introduced the themes that Zoidberg is also poor, friendless, smelly, undignified and repellent.[5]

Billy West came up with Dr. Zoidberg's voice, which is inspired by actors Lou Jacobi and George Jessel.[6] Zoidberg is frequently identified by the writers in episode commentaries as having some Jewish characteristics, though, in the episode "Future Stock", he is barred from a "Bot Mitzvah" (a robot Bar Mitzvah) because shellfish are not Kosher.

Fictional character biography

Zoidberg is the company doctor at Planet Express. Although he claims expertise in human medicine, particularly internal medicine, his knowledge of human anatomy and physiology is negligible. For example, he cannot tell the difference between robots and humans (or human males and females), believes food is digested in the heart and that humans have multiple mouths and a dorsal fin. His only knowledge of humans seems to come from television advertisements, although his skills as a physician generally vary; in "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" he managed to successfully transplant Fry's head onto Amy's body after an accident left Fry's normal body fatally injured, but in "Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder" he incorrectly declared Fry dead only for him to wake up a few seconds later. In the episode "Parasites Lost", due to his incompetence as a physician, he comes to the conclusion that Fry, who is frequently injured, is a hypochondriac, an accusation he makes when Fry sits before Zoidberg with a lead pipe through his chest. He claims he lost his medical degree in a volcano in "A Clone of My Own". He is looked down upon by coworkers, with Bender saying he is "desperately poor and miserably lonely", and Leela disputing this, saying that his loneliness is due to his being "hideous".

Despite his career as a doctor, Zoidberg is repeatedly identified as living in crushing poverty, lonely and desperate for friendship and attention. The crew, especially Hermes, who seem to intensely dislike Zoidberg, are often disgusted by his foul habits, such as squirting ink or eating from trash cans. Fry and Professor Farnsworth are usually the only ones of the group to refer to Zoidberg as a friend, as in "Bender's Big Score", in which Zoidberg says, "He was the only one of you who never struck me!" while attending Fry's funeral. Zoidberg has ambitions to be a stand-up comedian, but is entirely unsuccessful at this endeavour. He has an uncle, the silent hologram star Harold Zoid (a parody of Harold Lloyd), who advises him to give up on comedy and finance a film whose script Zoid is writing.

When frightened or fleeing from danger, Zoidberg makes a high-pitched whooping sound, similar to Curly in The Three Stooges. It is revealed in "The Cryonic Woman" that Zoidberg's fantasy is to become a grandmother. "A Taste of Freedom" and "Bender's Game" indicate that Zoidberg harbored a childhood dream of working in show business as a comedian or song-and-dance man, but that his parents pushed him to become a doctor.

Zoidberg is depicted as being ignorant of human customs, and socially inept, to the point of inspiring great aggravation in others. In "Where the Buggalo Roam" during his stay at the ranch of Amy Wong's parents, he bathes in their champagne, breaks their television, fertilizes the caviar before Amy's father eats it, draws mustaches on several portraits around the house, and refers to the ranch as "Rancho Zoidberg," enraging the Wongs.

Zoidberg's race, the Decapodians (from the sandy planet Decapod 10), are crustaceans, with lobster-like claws, mouth tentacles, a hard exoskeleton, a fleshy, boneless inner body, a fin that appears atop their heads during mating season or during extreme anger, an ink pouch, two stomachs (one saltwater and one freshwater), a gland that stinks when they are bored and a complex system of internal organs, "most of which are either redundant or unnecessary." He is not fazed when one of his hearts is removed by an alien autopsy team of human doctors, saying "Take, take, I have four of them!" in Roswell That Ends Well, and loses various other useless organs in that episode during the autopsy. Zoidberg has been depicted as able to consume things not considered food by humans, such as fish bones, wood and chess pieces. In the episode "Bendin' in the Wind", Zoidberg produces tie-dye blue pearls after consuming large amounts of dirt. Like Zoidberg, most of other Decapodians are depicted as having Yiddish accents and mannerisms. At one point in all Decapodians' lives, they enter a mating phase, or "The Frenzy" as they call it, which causes them to behave in a neurotic and manic way. During this chaotic time, their behavior is dictated by the tiny brain located in their rumps. They also develop incredible above-human strength, their head fin comes out for mating displays, their stink glands increase production and the males become saturated with male jelly as the females become engorged with eggs. In the episode "Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?", it is indicated that once Decapodians pass on their genes, they die. In the episode "That's Lobstertainment!", it is revealed that Decapodians have three parents.

The episode "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles" indicates that young Decapodians progress through various crustacean, invertebrate, and fish-like forms before reaching their adult form. In the episode "A Taste of Freedom", however, Zoidberg is seen as an essentially smaller version of himself as a young boy.

The episode "A Fishful of Dollars" reveals that Zoidberg's people over-fished anchovies to extinction when they arrived on Earth. When Fry buys the last can of anchovies in existence and puts them on a pizza, no one else but Zoidberg and Fry can stand the taste of them. Zoidberg eagerly gobbles down the entire pizza, then flies into a rage when Fry tells him that there are none left.


  1. ^ Futurama: Bender's Big Score. [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 2007. 
  2. ^ Baker, Chris (2007-12-18). "Videogames & Futurama, Part 2: How Zoidberg Got His Name From a Game". Wired. Retrieved 2008-03-28. 
  3. ^ a b Cohen, David X. (2002). Futurama season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "The Series Has Landed". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ Cohen, David X. (2003). Futurama season 3 DVD commentary for the episode "A Taste of Freedom". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  5. ^ Cohen, David X. (2002). Futurama season 1 DVD commentary for the episode "Fry and the Slurm Factory". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  6. ^ Joel, Keller. "Billy West: The TV Squad Interview". Retrieved 2008-01-14. 

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