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August 31, 2015

The Five: Bots

by Adam Finley, posted May 25th 2006 7:06AM

GIRThey are programmed to serve man, but only if they aren't programmed to kill man. They clean our homes, pilot our spacecraft, and battle our aliens. Today we honor that metal pal of ours, the robot. Here' s a few of my faves from television, share a few of your own in the comments:

Crow T. Robot: This robot, like his fellow automatons on Mystery Science Theater 3000, was created by original host Joel Hodgson ("Joel Robinson" on the series) using random objects. Crow consisted of bowling pin, a soapdish, lamp parts, and a lacrosse mask. He also penned the lovely holiday ditty, "(Let's Have) A Patrick Swayze Christmas," which I personally like to sing every year, even if my family insists on "O Holy Night."

Bender: While most robots in movies and television are essentially shackled to logic and science with no real trace of human emotion, Bender is "human" to a fault. He's definitely a favorite among Futurama fans, and for good reason. He's not a servant, and he answers to no one, man or machine. Also, I've used his line, "bite my shiny metal ass" on more than one occasion. Sometimes it's the only way I can express my feelings on a subject.

Vicki: I'm not sure how they managed to stretch a cheesy sitcom about a family trying to raise a robot daughter as a real girl for four seasons, but that's how long Small Wonder stayed on the air in the late 80s. Actually, I enjoyed the show as a kid, and who wouldn't want a sister like Vicki (a sort of acronym of "Voice Input Child Indenticant")? She could clean the house in no time flat and beat bullies to a pulp. Tiffany Brissette, who played Vicki, did occasional guest roles throughout the rest of the 80s but faded into obscurity soon after.

Thundercleese: Thundercleese was Brak's next door neighbor on The Brak Show and resembled Voltron or the Transformers, or any number of large, complicated-looking killing machines. While Thundercleese could destroy entire city blocks without blinking a mechanical eye, he also had a soft spot for the finer things, such as looking after his goldfish or tending to his garden. His voice was provided by Carey Means, who also voices Frylock on Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

GIR: The not-always-reliable robot companion/slave of Zim on the totally awesome Nickelodeon series Invader Zim. In order to take over the Earth, the alien Zim would dress himself as a human while GIR tried to blend in using a zippered dog suit.

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I'd swap Kryten from "Red Dwarf" for most of the names on your list. Robert Llewellyn's prissy bot with the square head was a much needed addition to what, at the time, had become "The Odd Couple Lost in Space". And wouldn't Doctor Who's Cybermen be more pure-robot than the Daleks? Of course, the best Whovian robot has to be K-9!!!

'60s TV had a lot more good robots than just the Jetsons' Rosie...

Julie "Catwoman" Newmar played Rhoda, a very female bot in "My Living Doll", a short-lived series from the creators of "My Favorite Martian."

"The Twilight Zone" gave us "The Mighty Casey", the baseball-playing robot, "I Sing the Body Electric's" automated Grandma and "The Lonely's" Alicia, played by future "Upstairs Downstairs" star Jean Marsh.

"The Outer Limits" had Adam Link of the REAL "I Robot" story and "The Thing With the Glass Hand"... oops, I may be giving away the ending.

More recently, Data pales (well, he already is awfully pale) next to his 'brother' Lore... think about it, an evil twin robot! It's two... two... two cliches in one!!!

May 26 2006 at 3:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What, no Rosie from the Jetson's? She was the best! I wanted a Rosie growing up and now I would kill for a Rosie to handle my household.

May 25 2006 at 4:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I liked Larry from the Cartoon Network show "Time Squad." Plus, I second the nomination for Red Dwarf's Kryten. I dunno, I think it's great sci fi satire to have effeminate robots with a "kiss my grits" attitude.

May 25 2006 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Daleks weren't robots, they were mutants inside armoured battle tanks.

May 25 2006 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Props for Gir, you have earned my respect.

May 25 2006 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
matthew m. barnes

wouldn't KITT be a robot?

May 25 2006 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jordan Running

Some more notables:

- Data (Star Trek: TNG)
- The Cylons (Battlestar Galactica)
- The Transformers
- Rosie (Jetsons)
- Robot (Lost in Space)
- The Daleks (Dr. Who)
- The Borg (half-robots, Star Trek: TNG)
- Battlebots
- Kevin, Screech's robot (Saved by the Bell)
- Kryten (Red Dwarf)
- Linguo the grammar robot (The Simpsons)
- Robo-Urkel (Family Matters)
- Muffit, the robot-dog thing (orig. Battlestar Galactica)

I can see how it couldn't have been easy to choose just five...

May 25 2006 at 11:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about Twiki from Buck Rogers?

May 25 2006 at 10:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ha! I love GIR! Thanks much for using his picture out of all five of the bots.

For anybody not familiar with "Invader Zim", most episodes are available on YouTube, so check 'em out before the copyright Gestapo takes them down ...

May 25 2006 at 9:47 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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