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Futurama episode
"Xmas Story"
Robot Santa
Episode no. 17
Prod. code 2ACV04
Airdate December 19, 1999
Writer(s) David X. Cohen
Director Peter Avanzino
Opening subtitle Based On A True Story
Opening cartoon Elmer Fudd in Fresh Hare
Guest star(s) John Goodman as Robot Santa
Conan O'Brien as himself
Season 2
November 1999 – December 2000
  1. I Second That Emotion
  2. Brannigan, Begin Again
  3. A Head in the Polls
  4. Xmas Story
  5. Why Must I Be a Crustacean in Love?
  6. The Lesser of Two Evils
  7. Put Your Head on My Shoulder
  8. Raging Bender
  9. A Bicyclops Built for Two
  10. A Clone of My Own
  11. How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back
  12. The Deep South
  13. Bender Gets Made
  14. Mother's Day
  15. The Problem with Popplers
  16. Anthology of Interest I
  17. War Is the H-Word
  18. The Honking
  19. The Cryonic Woman
List of all Futurama episodes...

"Xmas Story" is the fourth episode in the second production season of Futurama. It originally aired as the eighth episode in the second broadcast season in North America on December 19, 1999. The episode was written by David X. Cohen and directed by Peter Avanzino. John Goodman guest stars in this episode as Robot Santa. The plot of the episode focuses on the first Xmas that Fry spends in the future.



While on a ski trip, Fry begins to feel nostalgic for 20th century Christmases. To cheer him up, the rest of the Planet Express staff decide to decorate for what is now called Xmas (pronounced as it is spelled, "eks-mas"), which includes cutting down an "Xmas tree" (which are now palm trees, since fir trees are extinct). Meanwhile, at the ski resort, Bender has a verbal sparring match with the head of comedian Conan O'Brien.

Fry decides to venture into the city to buy Leela a present, although she hadn't felt happy about Xmas when she was an orphan. The others warn him to be back before sundown, or else he will be killed by a murderous robotic Santa Claus. In the year 2801, Mom's Friendly Robot Company had made up a robotic version of St. Nick himself to determine who's been naughty and who's been nice. Unfortunately, due to a programming error, the jolly robotic saint soon turns into a mad murderer when his standards are set too high and he will kill anyone who has been naughty (which by his standards, is almost everyone) at sundown. Meanwhile, Bender befriends several homeless robots and goes on a robbery spree.

Fry buys Leela a parrot, which escapes. Leela heads out to rescue Fry before Robot Santa arrives. After pursuing the parrot to the top of a tall building, Fry is saved from plunging to his death by Leela. Unfortunately, Fry and Leela's safety is short-lived, as sundown finally comes and the robotic Santa Claus makes his appearance and attacks the two friends.

Fry and Leela take refuge in the Planet Express building after being saved by Bender and his homeless robot friends, but Santa breaks in through the chimney. Thanks to some quick thinking by Doctor Zoidberg, Santa is forced back into the chimney, where an explosion sends him and his mechanical reindeer tumbling into the stratosphere.

Everybody celebrates by singing "Santa Claus Is Gunning You Down". However, Santa promises that "I'll be back when you least expect it: NEXT XMAS!".


The plot for this episode was one of the first storylines that Matt Groening and Cohen came up with aside from the series pilot. They had the basic idea before they pitched the show to Fox although they did not develop the detailed plot until much later.[1] The episode ended up being controversial although those involved with the show didn't expect it to be. Fox was concerned that advertisers would find the episode too controversial for the time slot. When they made a second episode featuring Robot Santa it was delayed for nearly a year before being broadcast in a later time slot.[1]

John Goodman guest stars in this episode as Robot Santa however he was unavailable to reprise the role in the later episode "A Tale of Two Santas".[2] Conan O'Brien makes an appearance as his own head in a jar. In order to make a visual joke that O'Brien has a large head in real life the head was drawn sticking out the top of the jar.[1] This choice caused many difficulties for the animators because it did not work with the animation layers typically used for other head-in-a-jar characters.[3] Frank Welker voices Fry's parrot and created the annoying squawk used. The initial squawk he made was considered to be annoying but according to Cohen they had him continue to make the squawk more annoying until he had done nearly a hundred different parrot squawks.[1]

In this episode Bender receives a card from the machine that built him, referring to him as "Son #1729", a reference to the Hardy-Ramanujan number. According to Ken Keeler, co-executive producer of the series, they could have chosen any number but chose to include an interesting one instead. Many of the maths and science jokes in the series found their way into Futurama in this way.[4] Another small visual joke that was added was that the clock tower is shown at the end of the episode and the time on the clock is the same as the actual time that scene would have been shown in its original airing.[5]


  • The other Futurama Christmas episode, also dealing with Robot Santa, is "A Tale of Two Santas" (though the Robot Santa is not voiced by John Goodman in "A Tale of Two Santas").
  • Robot Santa also appears in "Bender's Big Score".
  • In this episode it is stated that global warming occurred but was cancelled out by nuclear winter. In "Crimes of the Hot", it's revealed that global warming is still around (and has been quelled by putting a large ice cube in the ocean ever since 2063), while in "A Big Piece of Garbage" the mayor calls global warming a hoax (just like secondhand smoke).
  • Zoidberg claims to be cold-blooded (even though he shivers, which cold-blooded animals are unable to do), this fact caused the heat seeking missile to not attack the Decapodian oppression palace in the season four episode "A Taste of Freedom".
  • Although it is stated by Professor Farnsworth that French is a dead language, a sign on a store reads "Joyeux Noëx," in Alienese, keeping with the theme of referring to Christmas as Xmas and also in "Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles", Pazuzu, The Professor's Gargoyle, speaks French.
  • When the characters go to cut down Xmas trees, they only find palm trees. Fry asks why, and Professor responds by telling him that pine trees have been extinct, yet in the scene before, there were forests of pine trees (though those most likely are artificial and only there for skiiers), since they can be hidden and unhidden by spoken command.


Bongo, from Matt Groening's Life in Hell, is one of the animals being sold at the pet shop that Fry goes to.


  1. ^ a b c d Cohen, David X. Futurama season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Xmas Story". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  2. ^ ""Meet the X-man who keeps Futurama's future secure"". Sci Fi Weekly. October 30, 2000. Retrieved 2007-06-18. 
  3. ^ Calder, Paul D. Futurama season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Xmas Story". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 
  4. ^ Greenwald, Sarah J (2007). "Klein's Beer: Futurama Comedy and Writers in the Classroom". PRIMUS: Problems, Resources and Issues in Mathematics Undergraduate Studies (Philadelphia, PA: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC) XVII (1): 52–66. doi:10.1080/10511970601126894. 
  5. ^ Avanzino, Peter. Futurama season 2 DVD commentary for the episode "Xmas Story". [DVD]. 20th Century Fox. 

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