Fry Meets Robot Santa
In "Xmas Story" (December 19th, 1999), John Goodman guest stars as a killer Santa Claus robot that's been misprogrammed to invariably find everyone to be naughty. Armed with a "sack of horrors," the bot ventures out after sundown each Christmas Eve (now simply referred to as Xmas Eve) to annihilate everything in its path. When Fry and Leela encounter Santa on the streets of New New York, he bellows a hearty "Ho, ho, ho!" before his eyes weaponize into an evil grimace.
"Robot Santa actually dates to very early discussions that I had with Matt Groening about the development of the series from well before it was on the air," Cohen says. "The eyes rotating – that was, I believe, something [created] entirely by the animators. That's one of those things where, you know, we're just watching the rough animation when it comes in and we see that and go, 'Hey! I wish we had written that. That seems pretty clever, and I'm going to get credit for that later.' I believe that was the director's choice, or maybe the storyboard artist – somebody in the pipeline at Rough Draft Studios threw that in."