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Episode Recap: When Aliens Attack

Fry and his friends fight off an alien invasion of Earth by recreating a television drama from the 20th century featuring a sexily-attired single female lawyer.


In the year 1999, Fry enters a television station control room and
delivers a pizza and a six pack to an engineer. The engineer invites Fry
to take a seat and watch the final episode of Single Female Lawyer,
featuring a young woman attorney clad in a revealing miniskirt suit. Fry
takes him up on the offer, but he accidentally spills some beer into the
console, causing it to short circuit. A million years later, the
broadcast single reaches the planet Omicron Persei 8. As a male and
female alien watch the program, the picture suddenly breaks up and fills
with static. The male alien grows enraged, pulls out a ray gun, and
vaporizes the television. Back in the future, Fry announces that Labor
Day has arrived. He and his colleagues head for the beach—a crowded
seashore in Iowa that features the White House, the Sphinx, Big Ben, the
Leaning Tower of Pisa and other classic landmarks from throughout the
world. During their stay, Hermes and Bender play hide-and-go-seek using
a metal detector; Bender barbecues using his built-in grill; Nibbler
pulls off Amy's bikini top while trying to reach a fallen hamburger
patty; and Fry builds an incredibly ornate sand castle. Everyone gathers
around the castle for a group photo. But moments before Bender's
automatic camera snaps a picture, a huge shadow passes over the land. In
the sky, a flying saucer drifts over the White House and demolishes it
with a laser beam. Other intergalactic warships then destroy the other
monuments. And finally, a tiny spaceship passes over Fry's sand castle
and demolishes it as well.

The aliens interrupt a televised meeting of the World Congress as
President McNeal addresses terrified delegates. Commodore Lrrr demands
that "the one called McNeal" be turned over at once. If his demand is
not met, the aliens will lay waste to more cities. President McNeal
responds by proudly introducing the man who will save the planet…General
Zapp Brannigan. Zapp orders every available spaceship to report for
duty. He also activates emergency patriotism circuits in all robots,
causing Bender to periodically recite heroic phrases. Zapp then
addresses his troops inside an amphitheater, outlining his attack on the
alien ships. As the battle gets underway, the Planet Express ship swoops
down on an enemy vessel, blasting it into oblivion. But the crew later
realizes that what it really destroyed was the Hubble telescope. A short
time later, a massive enemy ship begins decimating the Earth fleet.
Leela grabs the control stick and heads the ship back to Earth as laser
fire rupts and other vessels explode. The crew makes it back to the
Planet Express lounge, just in time to see another address from
President McNeal. But this time, Brannigan throws a burlap sack over the
President and drags him to the door of an Omicronian ship. When Lrrr
examines the President, however, he declares that he is not the McNeal
he seeks. Lrrr vaporizes McNeal with a ray gun, then holds up a photo of
Jennie McNeal (the heroine of Single Female Lawyer). Lrrr threatens to
raise the Earth's temperature to a catastrophic level unless the "real"
McNeal appears at nine o'clock the following day.

Amy's research reveals that the final episode of Single Female Lawyer
was interrupted by technical problems. Fry, who viewed the first thirty
seconds of the show, believes that he can dream up an ending, something
he and his colleagues could then act out. Working quickly, the crew
assembles sets and costumes. Leela dons a miniskirt suit and assumes the
role of Jennie McNeal. But as the show is being broadcast, the actors
realize that Fry only wrote only a short amount of dialogue. As the
actors nervously improvise, Leela asks the Professor, in the role of a
judge, if he will marry her. Fry panics and quickly cuts to a
commercial. He tells Leela that Jennie's character can never marry, as
people who watch television are scared by the unexpected. As if on cue,
Lrrr appears on television and announces his displeasure with Jennie's
proposal. Fry quickly cobbles together another script and jots the
dialogue down on some art cards. As the performance continues, Jennie's
marriage proposal is quickly squashed. With the show having ended, Lrrr
makes another appearance on television. Rating the show a "C-plus," he
agrees not to destroy the Earth. But he also refuses to provide
earthlings the recipe for immortality. With that, the saucers fly back
into space.