We are coming up fast on Christmas. SET YOUR DVRs: for Tuesday, 12/22 at 8pm and 8:30 pm (EST) for Comedy Central to watch the two Christmas episodes of Futurama.
My TV schedule seems to suggest that the network is broadcasting the 2000 episode, "A Tale of Two Santas" at 8pm and the 1999 episode "Xmas Story" at 8:30 pm--out of order. Let's hope they air them in sequence.
In "Xmas Story," Fry first learns of the legacy of Christmas in the year 3000. Santa is now an evil robot who's naughty/nice evaluator is out of wack and he visits once a year--not to leave toys but to violently punish the naughty. People now spend Christmas Eve barracading themselves in their homes, looking for ways to survive the rampage of Santa Claus! Of course Fry finds himself on the streets after dark on Christmas Eve in pursuit of a gift for Leela unfortunately leading the deadly Santa back to the Professor's place.
In "A Tale of Two Santas" the crew flies to the North Pole of Neptune to deliver children's letters to Santa begging him not to visit and destroy Earth. While there, they incapacitate the evil Santa allowing Bender to take over the role of the generous, toy-deliverying Santa. However, no one on Earth is expecting this good Santa and Bender is captured and sentenced to be executed for Santa Claus' previous crimes and destruction.
These episodes have become Christmas classics, chock full of additional pop culture references. My favorite is the nod to O.Henry's short story "The Gift of the Magi" when the crew all cut off their hair in order to buy combs for each other.