“Futurama” Season 6 Episode 10 “The Prisoner of Benda” takes an old science fiction theme of introducing a new technology and then standing back to watch how people use it to screw themselves up.
There is also an obvious literary/cinematic reference. Spoilers follow.
The technology in question is a new mind transfer machine developed by the Professor. Now our heroes of Planet Express can slake their desires by being someone else.
For instance, the Professor wants to have a young, more vigorous body. Amy wants a scrawny body so that she might indulge her other vice, which is overeating. So the Professor and Amy switch.
And so begins a tale of musical bodies whose switching and reswitching gets to be head-spinning. Bender winds up in Amy’s body so that he can vamp his way past some guards of a robot emperor who thinks he’s a 19th Century Duke, but also has an expensive crown Bender wants. Bender and the Emperor switch so that the Emperor can slum it as a low life and Bender can be an emperor. This goes into the literary/cinematic take-off that involves a faithless fiancé, a greedy relative, and a final confrontation at the UN General Assembly that seems to have been remodeled into something looking like an early 1960s Vegas Casino.
Meanwhile, the Professor winds up in Bender’s body and joins a robot circus.
Amy winds up in Leela’s body and starts to pig out with great gusto. A robot water bucket has Amy’s body and tries to seduce Scruffy the Janitor.
Fry winds up in Zoidberg’s body and Leela winds up in the Professor’s body to prove that their love is more pure than physical lust. It both is and isn’t.
Zoidberg winds up in Fry’s body and burns down Fry’s and Bender’s apartment.
The upshot of the episode is that it takes the help of the basketball-playing physicists to sort things out. One of the side effects of the mind-switching machine is that the same people can’t switch minds back. But, using math, the sequence of mind switching is calculated and executed. Thus, everything is back the way it is, except Leela is a little fatter and Bender, despite his machinations, is just as poor as he was when he started.
Personally, one can see all sorts of other uses for a mind-switching device, many of them a little too kinky to discuss. But “Futurama” is a family show, of a sort, so we’ll pass on that.
Futurama, The Prisoner of Benda, TV.Rage