Matt Groening Explains Why The World Of Futurama Is Overrun With Owls – SlashFilm


Groening explained: 

“Well, they brought the owls in to catch the rats and the owls killed all the rats and became a nuisance. That’s the science fiction explanation!”

Eminently logical.

Groening’s flippant “invasive species” gag is reminiscent of a joke told on an episode of “The Simpsons” which was, not incidentally, written by “Futurama” co-creator David X. Cohen. In “Bart the Mother” (September 27, 1998), Bart (Nancy Cartwright) kills a mother bird with a BB gun. To atone for his violence Bart cares for her unhatched eggs. Shockingly, when the eggs hatch, he finds a pair of baby Bolivian tree lizards instead of birds. It seems that the mother bird’s eggs had already been replaced by a parasitic reptile. There is no such thing as a Bolivian tree lizard, but there are species of birds — specifically the cuckoo and the cowbird — that replace one mother bird’s eggs with its own. 

The Bolivian tree lizards, it seems, are a handy way to kill off the pigeons that have overrun Springfield. Lisa (Yeardley Smith) instantly begins to imagine what might happen when the town is overrun by lizards. Principal Skinner (Harry Shearer) says that the solution is simple: ship in crates of Chinese needle snakes, the lizard’s natural predator. Thereafter, the town will then ship in armies of gorillas “that thrive on snake meat.” Then, he says, just wait for the winter, and the gorillas freeze to death. Easy peasy.

It seems that “Futurama” could have taken their owl joke to that extreme, and had 31st century vermin take the form of gorillas, but that might have been too arch for a background gag. The owls were weird enough. 

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