Obviously the situations presented in the episode are very stretched from reality, but it does present an important theme in cybernetic prosthetics and the existence of cyborgs. Mainly this episode focuses on the character Hermes, who after deeming himself ‘too inefficient’ for his own job, fires himself. Later he is accosted by a crazy robot and decides to upgrade himself to get his job back and protect his family. It starts with the implantation of a harpoon into his chest cavity. Again the realism of these implants and the lack of science presented make this a definite work of fiction, but presents the theme of humanity in cybernetic implants. Once he gets a taste of being super human, and superior, he keeps upgrading himself for every little thing, much like that of inspector gadget. Eventually, he is a robot with a human brain, and determines the only thing holding back his full potential is his brain, he determines that he must need a robot brain so steals one from a freshly dead robot. Basically, we see the loss of Hermes’ humanity to materialized upgrades of his body. At what point is he more machine than man? At what point is not a man, but merely a robot? He changes so much that it is hard to define both states of the character as being attached to the same character. Later his brain and organic body are reconstituted and he realizes the errs of his ways. The important take away from this episode is to seriously contemplate what makes us human, and at what point in changing ourselves are we no longer ourself.
Futurama’s Hermes Conrad as a Robot – Picture Linked to URL