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.
After one unusual dismissal too many, the crew of Planet Express is finally sick and tired of having Zoidberg as their doctor. Everyone dons their best angry mob face and tries to oust him - everyone, that is, except Professor Farnsworth. The professor may be known to be borderline senile, but carries some sensibility. So why did he allow Zoidberg to stick around all this time?
It’s revealed that in their younger years, Zoidberg and Farnsworth were tasked by the megalomaniacal Mom to hunt down a Tritonian Yeti. The expedition resulted in Farnsworth being exposed to the Methane Swamp, a common cause of hyper-malaria, which can either kill you instantly or remain dormant inside you for an indefinite number of years… and then kill you instantly. Zoidberg makes a pact with Farnsworth where, if the latter were to ever exhibit any symptoms of hyper-malaria down the line, the former will mercy kill him.
In a turn of impeccably timed events, Farnsworth is stricken with a dormant affliction of Yetiism. Zoidberg, who notoriously fails every medical procedure he tackles, is surprisingly able to cure the professor with a Tritonian Yeti’s pineal gland. The crew celebrates the successful surgery with a visit to a tanning salon - and even Zoidberg gets to tag along.