“The Problem with Popplers” is Futurama’s episode that keeps on giving, not just because it’s a season two classic, but because it lays the groundwork for many recurring jokes to follow in subsequent seasons. From giving real life to the overlords from Omicron Persei 8, to featuring the first appearance of the Waterfall family, to simply having some stellar interaction between the Planet Express crew. Lrrr, Ndnd, and the rest of the warlike Omicronians are Futurama’s answer to Kang and Kodos from The Simpsons, only more involved in the comings and goings of New New York and Earth at large.
The episode manages to reflect the sensitive real-world quandary of eating creatures that might actually be sentient beings, while also not coming to any real moral conclusions, another staple of great Futurama episodes. For this blog, let’s skip right on by any ethical pitfalls and learn how to make an approximation of Popplers, the world of Futurama’s irresistible snack that just happens to be Omicronian children!
Chicken grease salt! No, wait. That’s the Colonel’s secret Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe, as revealed in the movie “Bender’s Big Score”. But now that I look at the actual ingredients, I see that it’s not too far off:
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken (I was cleaning out my freezer, so I used both drumsticks and chicken breast)
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- Oil (for skillet)
Combine the Poppler seasoning ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, mix water and eggs. In a third bowl, combine flour and pepper. Season the chicken, dip in egg mix and coat well in the flour mixture. Note: Since these ingredients will be used to coat the chicken, it’s easy to change the proportions as you see fit. As I have it, you’ll get a week’s worth of sodium if you dredge your chicken in the seasoning. Sometimes less is more.
Heat oil in electric skillet (or deep fryer) to 350 degrees. Cook chicken for 15-20 minutes, turning with tongs every few minutes until golden brown. Dark meat can take slightly longer to cook than white meat. Cut a piece of chicken to check that it’s cooked all the way through before serving.
Morbo Gives It: 9/10 Delivery Boys. It’s hard to mess this recipe up…just make sure you have lots of cold drinks on hand. There are several Poppler recipes online that are more adventurous than this one, though I don’t know that you’ll find one that’s tastier.
Tale. Of. Interest!
The tiny Poppler that was the focal point of “The Problem with Popplers” – that is, the one that jumped in Leela’s mouth, offering her a stay of execution, is the same one that grew up to be Jrrr, son of Lrrr and Fry’s secret friend in the episode “T: The Terrestrial”. This raises, as Hermes would say, some very interesting questions, namely, how Jrrr has been allowed to grow up on a show where characters like Cubert and Dwight have stayed the same age since their first appearance. Now that I think about it, Fry doesn’t seem to age, either, while Lars (his doomed-to-die clone) did once he returned to the New York of the past in “Bender’s Big Score”. I suppose the answer might lie in the same place that allows characters to lose appendages and even heads without dying or bleeding out. I guess I’m thinking too much into this.
“T: The Terrestrial” is also where we get this recipe’s sweet garnish, Poppler turds, or as Fry calls them, “feces pieces” (you can figure out the Earth substitution). Fry managed to survive for quite a while on just those alone, though I wouldn’t recommend trying it for yourself.