There are a lot of words that can be used to describe Dr. John A. Zoidberg: Decapodian, Earthling, physician, savior, scapegoat, genius, moron. No matter what hat he wears, Dr. Zoidberg on Futurama never fails to add to the chaos of Planet Express. Whenever we least expect it, Zoidberg always manages to surprise us, whether it's with a bizarre anecdote about his past, his surprising aggressive tendencies when backed into a corner, or the revelation of another organ or appendage no one knew he had.
The exploits of the beloved (by fans, not so much his colleagues) yet supremely underqualified crustacean doctor during his travels with the Planet Express delivery crew never fail to provide a laugh. Here are the best Zoidberg moments on Futurama.
After a botched date with his online girlfriend of four years, the smelly Zoidberg returns to the Khaleesi of flower maidens, Marianne, for a refund on the flowers he bought. In a wild turn of events, the two find themselves attracted to one another, but the doctor harbors heavy doubts due to the fact that Marianne was born without a sense of smell. He knows that if she ever smells his horrific stench, their relationship will be over.
As the episode unfolds, their relationship blossoms and Zoidberg faces a moral dilemma: should he tell Marianne that he can give her a nose transplant that will allow her to smell or should he keep the surgery a secret so their relationship can continue? After Marianne tells Zoidberg that all she's ever wanted to do is smell the flowers she sells, he tells her about the surgery and agrees to give her a nose transplant. After the operation, Zoidberg is ready to say goodbye, only to learn that Marianne finds his odor beautiful and the two remain together. This is not only one of the few occasions where Zoidberg doesn’t mess up a medical operation, but it’s the moment that all hardcore Zoidberg fans have been waiting for: a long-awaited, well-deserved shot at true happiness.
Until this episode, Dr. Zoidberg was commonly known for being meek, submissive, and lacking any competitive qualities. That all changes once mating season for Decapod 10 gets underway; the doctor goes from a doughy Curly to getting his alpha on, complete with a randomly appearing fin atop his scalp.
This was also our first look into Decapod 10, complete with sunny beaches all day, errday, a thriving civilization, and, of course, crab cars. Unfortunately, this was also a confirmation that even on his own planet, Zoidberg is considered an outcast - the women of his species would rather die than mate with Zoidberg (which is literally what happens), seemingly leaving him as the last remaining adult Decapodian on the planet.
Not all is lost, however; we also learn that he has the potential to practically kill off every member of the Planet Express when he performs his gladiator throwdown against Fry, resulting in the latter losing his arms almost immediately against the claws of alpha-Zoidberg.
Perhaps our earliest introduction to The Purge, “A Taste of Freedom” takes place on Zoidberg’s favorite Earth holiday: Freedom Day. For one day, everyone on Earth is allowed to do whatever they want without suffering any repercussions - that is, until Zoidberg, getting caught up in the excitement, eats an Earth flag in front of everyone. Led by the outraged head of President Nixon, Zoidberg is ostracized by the citizens of Earth and chased into the Decapodian embassy, where he is provided shelter. One Supreme Court hearing later, Zoidberg is sentenced to death.
The sentencing incurs the wrath of his brethren, and after the Earth’s refusal to stand down from the embassy, the Decapods unleash their war machines and quickly enslave the Earth and all its citizens. Zoidberg ultimately feels remorse after seeing his friends enslaved, and with the help of a burning Earth flag, directs a heat-seeking missile into the Decapods's giant crab-walking fortress and frees humanity from its crustacean clutches.
The members of the Planet Express delivery crew find themselves hurled back into the 1940s after a mingling of supernova energy and poorly followed microwave instructions causes spontaneous time travel. While Fry is off figuring out the origins of his grandfather and grandmother’s union, Zoidberg winds up getting snagged by the government and unwittingly becomes the first alien to be autopsied at Area 51.
There’s one thing that’s made certain, no matter the era: no one is ready for Zoidberg. While researchers are busy studying him, the crustacean clown can be seen wolfing down an entire table of free food in a horrific fashion, making playful chit-chat while being opened up, and paying no real heed to his disposable organs being thrown everywhere.