Evidently, all the notes Groening and Cohen received re: “Futurama” were about toning down the show’s sci-fi elements, as well as some of its weirder conceits. Fox didn’t like Bender’s constant drinking and kleptomania, nor were they terribly fond of the fact that the Planet Express doctor was a freaky lobster monster. For one episode, perhaps trying to be game or perhaps trying to shut up their bosses, Groening and Cohen followed every note. As Groening said:
“This is the third episode in the series, and this is a series that … It had a troubled beginning with the Fox network, who felt that the show was too outrageous and too much outer space. So this was our attempt, the third episode, to bring the show back to Earth. […] [T]he network really, really was freaked out by the show, with the suicide booths and lobster creatures and Bender being so antisocial. And so, again, this was our show just to tone things down. The script was written specifically to their specifications, and their reaction David?”
Cohen replied playfully: “Worst. Episode. Ever.”
Although writer Eric Horsted did a very good job, Fox hated it. The hatred gave Groening the license to ignore all future suggestions. Groening continued:
“Yeah, they really hated this script — sorry Eric. And this was the point at which we decided that we were gonna do the show that we wanted to do. Their notes made no sense anyway, they were completely contradictory, and so we did what we wanted.”
Sadly, he does not share specifics of what Fox said or what their specific demands were. I would love to know.