DiMaggio now has “a completely different relationship with the character,” as he told Entertainment Weekly in an interview this July. “When I started this, I was really alone. Like Bender, pretty out of control. But now, Bender’s like my kid. I still love it. I still cherish it. He’s like a best friend. So, it’s a real gift to be able to do this and be better.”
You can sort of see this dynamic play out in season 11 so far, in that Bender has indeed been slightly more childlike lately. His big plots involve him being jealous of Fry giving Leela more attention than him, or goofing off with Zoidberg and panicking when their petty revenge plan backfires. This aspect of his character has always been around, of course, but we’re used to Bender wreaking far more havoc upon the world than he has so far. In seasons of old, Bender would casually do things like enslave his own friends or kick his own son into a pit of hot lava. New Bender feels harmless in comparison; much like with a child, none of the other characters take his misdeeds that seriously.
As Bender evolves, DiMaggio’s still having plenty of fun of fun with the character, and appears to deeply enjoy working on the show even eleven seasons into its run. “It’s just great to get to work with these people again, and I’m grateful for it,” he said. “It’s always exciting to get back on this bike every time. It’s just like, these are new tires.”