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The 'Saturday Morning Fun Pit' (Season 8, Episode 6) episode of Futurama has three different segments. The second is set in a 'Purple Cartoon' that is made to push a breakfast cereal made from Purpleberries. Most of the usual characters are used as the residents of Purpleville(?), while the professor is the bad guy, and Zoidberg is his side-kick. A typical exchange between them goes like this.

Professor Hubert Farnsworth: I must get my hands on those healthy Purpleberries!

Doctor John Zoidberg: Bort!

Given the Futurama writers are known to throw in many 'in jokes' into the series (it was only recently that I discovered the connection between Futurama's constant depiction of owls and Blade Runner) I was wondering:

Is there any special significance to the word "Bort!"?

I thought he might be saying "Bought!", but that ..is just not especially funny. Also it is said as a longer, more drawn out word, and he seems to emphasize the 'R'.

  • BTW - I added the 'plot-explanation' tag though I am unsure if it is appropriate for the explanation of a single word. If anyone can think of (or create) more appropriate tags, be my guest.. – Andrew Thompson Jan 6 '14 at 5:12
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    Given that the series was created by Matt Groening, I wonder if it has any tie-in to the Simpsons mention of "Bort". – gnovice Jan 6 '14 at 6:03
  • It could possibly be related to Snarf in Thundercat. Here is the first clip I could find, youtube.com/watch?v=IO3ZbQiGNkk. His name is Snarf and AFAIK he only says his name. Similar character types are found in Game of Thrones like Hodor and Groot in Guardians of the Galaxy. – 1.21 gigawatts Dec 24 '15 at 3:44
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There are two possibilities.

It could a Simpsons tie-in, albeit a very loose one. It's used in an episode of The Simpsons that parodies the old Adam West Batman series. "Bort" is one of the words that pops up while Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy are fighting villain The Scoutmaster. It could also be just another case of Matt Groening making fun of the Batman series.

It is also used by The Brain in an episode of The Pinky and the Brain, as he impersonates Pinky, badly. Saying "bort" prompts the planet Earth, made sapient by one of Brain's inventions, to proclaim "Pinky no says bort" and turn on Brain. Maurice Lamarche was the lead in that television show, portraying Brain, amongst others.

I don't know why either of those would be referenced in a Strawberry Shortcake/ The Smurfs parody, but that's why I don't make the big bucks. "Bort" certainly isn't used in either of those shows. Being the father of a toddler has made me sure of that.

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    Matt Groenig sure likes the word 'bort'! I am beginning to suspect that is the start and end of it. – Andrew Thompson Jan 6 '14 at 7:12
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    You're forgetting the MOST notable Simpsons "Bort". youtube.com/watch?v=VakEHKq5y1g – Plutor Jan 6 '14 at 13:13
  • @Plutor Please forgive my 'low technitude' but I have neither the internet speed nor bandwidth allowance to check tubes. Was it the episode where a pseudo Bart and Lisa save the Itchy & Scratchy show? I vaguely recalled it after James mentioned so many different uses of the word Bort, but dismissed it as 'feverish imaginings' when it did not make the list.. – Andrew Thompson Jan 7 '14 at 5:11
  • @AndrewThompson - yup, the one where Bart is in a gift shop looking for a license plate with 'Bart' on it, but can only find 'Bort'. Upon proclaiming who could possibly be called 'Bort', both a child and a grown man pipe up about it – Robotnik Nov 27 '14 at 14:14
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I'd forgotten about James Sheridan's instance from the Radioactive Man episode, but I remembered another time that it popped up in Simpsons.

During the episode where they go to Itchy and Scratchy Land (Season 6 Episode 4), Bart is looking for a personalized license plate, and there is no space for "Bart", but they're sold out of "Bort" plates.

This would lead further credence to it being a long-running Matt Groenig in joke.

enter image description here

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    Thanks for that! Well spotted and liking the screen-shot. – Andrew Thompson Jun 11 '14 at 22:27
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    I always loved that scene. "Awww, they don't have any Bart. What the hell is Bort?" "Come on Bort, hurry up get your license plate so we can get out of here." – krillgar Jun 11 '14 at 22:28
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    "Were you talking to me?" "No, my son is also named Bort." – Michael Itzoe Jun 12 '14 at 13:52
  • Later in the episode - "We need more Bort license plates in the Gift Shop. Repeat, we are sold out of Bort license plates." – DavidS Dec 5 '16 at 17:49

protected by Community Aug 10 '14 at 19:01

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