For the most part, the Planet Express crew seems to actively dislike Zoidberg, and Professor Farnsworth and Hermes aren't exactly warm fuzzy balls of sympathy and compassion. They have to be employing him for a specific purpose - Amy is there for her blood type, the three main crew have their purposes given in the first episode, Hermes to run the company, Scruffy to clean (presumably) - but what is Dr. Zoidberg's actual job at Planet Express?

  • 1
    Beyond this: "where he works as the staff doctor for Planet Express" there isn't much to the question en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoidberg Dec 23, 2011 at 23:16
  • @EightDaysofMalaise - a) I can't think of any point in the series when anyone states that he is employed as their doctor, b) the Wikipedia page cites no sources both times it claims he's their doctor, and c) he isn't terribly competent (which I suppose is the joke).
    – Chris Lutz
    Dec 24, 2011 at 0:00
  • 15
    Why not Zoidberg?
    – loghaD
    Jan 11, 2013 at 15:49

8 Answers 8


The Wikipedia page appears to be out of date.

The latest season reveals that Zoidberg is in fact employed for a very specific purpose:

To kill Dr. Farnsworth should he develop symptoms of hypermalaria, due to the gruesome death it entails otherwise. While this proved ultimately unnecessary, due to the Professor not being infected with hypermalaria at all, but rather with Yetiism, he is likely kept on even after this, out of gratitude.

Besides all of this, he is a moderately competent knower of non-human biology, which is occasionally useful.

  • The Wikipedia page doesn't appear to cite any sources about his actually being "the Planet Express doctor."
    – Chris Lutz
    Dec 24, 2011 at 0:03
  • If you're looking for a good reference link, here's one from The Infosphere.
    – gnovice
    Dec 24, 2011 at 0:39
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    @ChrisLutz while I am not going to go look up the specific quote, I am positive that Zoidberg is introduced to us in the first or second episode as the company doctor when he gives Fry his first company physical.
    – abcooper
    Dec 24, 2011 at 1:04
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    @abcooper - That's what I was looking for. I didn't remember his physical, but I went back and watched it and you are correct.
    – Chris Lutz
    Dec 24, 2011 at 7:16
  • @ChrisLutz Oh good! :) Glad I could help.
    – abcooper
    Dec 24, 2011 at 7:52

The very first episode gives ample evidence that he is employed by Planet Express.

We know that he is very poor, and expects doctors to be poor (From the episode where Leela begins dating a doctor). Thus, he's not very well paid.

I suspect, but have no canon confirmation, that he is employed by Planet Express because he will give the results the management wants from any given procedure (his extreme pliability is demonstrated in How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back).

It is likely FAR easier for this interstellar shipping company, which most likely must keep all medical records up to date and provide documentation of things like immunizations, biohazard clearance, etc to have a doctor on staff rather than bribe a different one each time they need falsified paperwork.

  • 1
    The "very first episode" doesn't have Zoidberg at all. The second does, and does have the scene mentioned in a comment above where Fry gets a physical that I hadn't remembered.
    – Chris Lutz
    Dec 24, 2011 at 21:03
  • @ChrisLutz: Perhaps I was mistaken. Were those two a two-parter?
    – Jeff
    Dec 25, 2011 at 4:47
  • I don't know if it was broadcast as such, nor do I recall ever reading that it was, but it very well could have been. The second episode is also the first appearance of Amy and Hermes, so it's still somewhat "pilot-y."
    – Chris Lutz
    Dec 25, 2011 at 5:18

Season 6, episode 18, "The Tip of the Zoidberg" explains how the Prof and Zoidberg met and why Prof Farnsworth won't fire him.

  • S6E23, but you got the name right.
    – Chris Lutz
    Dec 25, 2011 at 8:09

As explained in the episode titled "The Tip of the Zoidberg," he has a pact with the Professor to kill him once the effects of hyper-malaria set in.


I thought it was just a spoof on Star Trek, where a medical officer figures prominently in the cast of characters.


Zoidberg and the Professor are old "war" buddies, and the Professor thinks himself to have caught Tritonian Hyper Malaria. Because of this, he wants Zoidberg to kill him when the symptoms begin (as shown in "The Tip of the Zoidberg). However, the Professor really just has Yetism, so Zoidberg is really kept around from then on because he saved the Professor from that and cured him.


zoidberg did say in an episode something along the lines of printing a medical degree.....and in the episode where leela suffers "squidification" zoidberg says "lets get you to a real doctor"......though when they're hunting the tritonian yeti mom says "you want an alien hacked to pieces, he's the best we,ve got....in the budget category" which makes me think the med school was probably a not good one and in the same episode Conrad suggested that if zoidy was to inject the toxin from the yeti that it would make him a double yeti......guess what Conrad was right.

  • 1
    How does this explain what Dr. Zoidberg's job is? This seems to be mostly commentary that doesn't really answer the question.
    – Null
    May 8, 2015 at 15:47

Zoidberg is the cheapest (free) doctor available and Planet Express is required to have one doctor on staff.

  • 1
    Do you have a reference for this? Jun 28, 2012 at 18:41

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