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Episode Recap: Attack of the Killer App
The latest trend in social networking and having no life takes over Earth; and Fry posts an embarrassing video of Leela on-line.
It's the annual e-waste recycling festival, and the populace is encouraged to recycle their old, outdated, computerized devices. A reporter asks if all this e-waste is dangerous, but the mayor says no: not after it's all hauled off to the third world to be melted down by minimum-wage nobodies. On the third world (of the Antares system), the Planet Express crew finds a dirty, toxically polluted planet, where the sickly mutant natives burn the e-waste, "safely releasing the toxins into our air and drinking water." Back on Earth, Leela resolves to use her electronics as long as possible, no matter how outdated. After a television ad for the new eyePhone from Mom Industries, Leela tosses her old cell phone. The crew buys their new eyePhones on-line... or rather, on line. The line to the Mom store stretches across town. Getting to the store takes hours, maybe even days. Once there, they find that eyePhones are installed directly in the eye.
All eyePhone owners beam a small computer readout from their eyes to right in front of their faces. A video of Mom explains that eyePhone supports an app called "Twitcher," which allows users to send super-short videos, called "Twits." Since they can now record with their eyes, they can send videos of anything they see to their followers, instantly. It's the killer app: gloating in her lair, Mom says she really means "killer," laughing evilly.
At Planet Express, the crew enjoys their Twits. Fry's surprised to find that the eyePhones are also phones. Leela calls while she's flying. It's hands-free: that's how she made the taco and spaghetti she's eating. She proceeds to crash the ship into the Planet Express building, where Bender immediately Twits a video of the crash to everyone as "a video of some idiot crashing her spaceship," adding a laugh track and sending it to his 10,000 followers. Fry sends a boring hourly "Twupdate": "Burpin' eggs. Scratchin' my underarm fungus. Lookin' for love." Is this too much information? No, says Mom at her lair. Now, millions of morons are directly sending her all the information she needs to exploit them. She fires a direct-marketing algorithm at Fry, selling him an underarm fungus cream he can charge to his eyePhone for an additional fee, as well as pizza ads sent to Hermes every time he gets hungry. He sends the ad to all his followers, which results in the crew having lunch at the pizza place. Fry's upset that Bender has 50,000 followers now and he only has three; wait, two… Leela unsubscribed. Bender says he gives the people what they want, like a video of Fry doing karate in his underpants. "Since when," asks Fry, "is the Internet about robbing people of their privacy?" He makes a bet with Bender that he can get as many followers as him without sinking to his level. The loser has to do a double-somersault into a tub of alien goat vomit and diarrhea. Bender is winning the contest handily with his lowbrow videos, soon reaching 800,000 followers. Mom is monitoring, and is thrilled. As soon as anybody reaches a million followers, her evil plan will enter Phase II: she'll use that person to transmit the Twitworm, which will turn the followers into an army of zombies, eager to obey Mom's every command.
Leela tells a despondent Fry that to win, he'll have to sink to Bender's level. Suddenly, a voice is heard singing. Leela excuses herself. Fry follows her to the showers, where Leela is singing "I Dreamed a Dream" with the voice... which is coming from a boil on Leela's butt... a singing boil named Susan. Leela lances the boil, and the singing stops. Leela's ashamed. She's a freak, and she's been hiding Susan all her life. She lances Susan every few months, but she always grows back. It's hard enough being a cyclops, but if anyone found out about Susan, she'd be devastated. "Gross," says Fry... "A million-follower gross." He promises Leela he'll delete the video, but when he sees Bender continuing to win, he secretly sends the video instead, claiming he deleted it. Leela tells Fry that he's a good friend. His subterfuge doesn't last long, as the video goes viral... and Fry quickly gains on Bender. Leela's devastated and humiliated, dodging mockery, Susan's autograph-seekers, and paparazzi all over town.
Bender and Fry end up hitting a million followers simultaneously. Since nobody lost, nobody has to jump in the vat. Mom's thrilled: now she'll have two million zombies. One of her sons points out that Fry and Bender may share some of the same followers; okay... an unstoppable army of between one and two million zombies. The Twitworm is powered up. Meanwhile, Leela learns that her Internet fame is yesterday's news. Today, everyone's watching a brand-new video. Her humiliation is over; nobody even remembers her. As the Twitworm beams itself out via Fry and Bender's eyes, Leela comes to talk to Fry. He apologizes, but Leela says she wants to thank him. Everyone knows her secret, but nobody cares. She doesn't have to hide anymore. A terrible weight is lifted from her heart, and she's no longer ashamed of who she is. She hugs him... and realizes that he stinks. What gives? Fry says that he knew he could never make it up to her, so he did the next best thing: he put himself through the same humiliation he put her through. He voluntarily dived into the vat of effluvia, and the video of it is the new sensation. Leela is touched. Throughout their conversation, the populace of Twitworm zombies marches behind them in their million-or-twoness, all converging on the Mom store to fulfill her diabolical plan: they're all going to buy the all-new eyePhone 2.0. "Dumb bastards," gloats Mom.