John A. Zoidberg is an alien doctor who works on humans but has a Ph. D. in Art History. Though he is not human, he continues to practice on a small group of humans working for Professor Farnsworth in the 31st century on “Futurama.” Zoidberg is a lonely alien. He has no real friends, and almost everyone treats him as a nuisance. He eats out of dumpsters and squirts ink at people, too. The creature, by all accounts, should be unlikeable, even abhorrent. Some fans may not like Zoidberg, and there are several reasons not to like him or look down on him.
First, he is a terrible doctor. He’s incompetent to the point of ridiculousness. When Fry gets impaled by a pipe, Zoidberg considers it normal. In the same episode, Fry is infected with worms, and the crew travels inside him to defeat them. Zoidberg travels with them but doesn’t know the human body (e.g. he thinks the heart is where food is digested), yet he is aware of the testicles. These failings of Zoidberg are disturbingly hilarious, but it’s also important for Zoidberg’s back story.
Second, Zoidberg is a failed comedian. Before he became a doctor, he followed his dreams of becoming a comedian until he failed once and gave up on it. These dreams haven’t entirely died. Zoidberg once sought out his celebrity uncle, Haroid Zoid. After finding him in Hollywood, Zoidberg helped his uncle to make a film. It, like everything else in his life, was an utter failure.
Third, Zoidberg is poor. This, if unjustifiably so, makes him a point of ridicule,and it’s okay. It serves as a basis for many jokes. For example, Zoidberg thinks that most doctors are very poor. He also has terrible financial skills. He believes that possessing $300 makes him rich, and, on Mars, he believes he can gamble for pennies. While this may make him seem stupid, this is probably a cultural difference, but this could actually be stupidity because Zoidberg doesn’t seem to understand anything.
Finally, Zoidberg is a representation for how aliens are treated in the 31st century, and he is also similar to Jews, as his entire race speaks with a Yiddish accent. In this society, he is a second class citizen, even behind robots. There is little sympathy and even discrimination against Zoidberg from humans and robots, alike. The best example of this is when Zoidberg eats Earth’s flag on Freedom Day, a day where anything goes. When Zoidberg does this, he is arrested and put on trial, even though it was legal. These examples suggest that aliens are relatively new to Earth, and people aren’t acquainted to them, yet. It also shows, as one of many problems, that Earth is still far from perfect.
Still, there’s something about Zoidberg. These aspects of Zoidberg seem like reasons the audience shouldn’t like him, but, over the course of the show, they’ve become Zoidberg’s strengths. It helps us feel for Zoidberg, so, instead of being annoying, the audience begins to feel for him. When things don’t go his way, we feel for him while also laughing at him. So, why not Zoidberg? Well, the audience is happy to have him.
“John A. Zoidberg” Futurama Wiki