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Top eleven robot buddies from TV - VIDEOS

by Annie Wu, posted Nov 25th 2008 1:59PM
Butlertron and Scudworth I'm sure at one point or another in every little kid's life, he or she has wanted to have a robot BFF. All the potential for wacky fun and scientific misadventures would make up for the inevitable human/binary language barrier, and, when I think about it, I still totally want a robot buddy. I mean, from my time on this Earth, of two things I am sure: Lists are fun and robots are awesome. So, despite the fact that my age numerically suggests I shouldn't be thinking about this sort of stuff, I am all over this list.

I should also note that, upon completion of this depressingly nerdy post, I am legally obligated to punch myself in the face for a solid fifteen minutes and then steal my own lunch money. Let's just get this over with, shall we? Here are the top eleven robot buddies from TV, in no particular order, because each robot is special in its own way. Also, I don't want any readers to kill me for not ranking to their liking.

Optimus Prime (Transformers): Well, most ladies, including myself, could do without a talking, transforming semi-truck in their lives. However, I'm sure there are grown men who cry themselves to sleep at night because they lack that very thing. Boys love cars, boys love robots. Because of this, robots that can turn into cars are known to trigger early puberty. Scientific fact.

Mr. Lynn Butlertron (Clone High): Ever wonder what Mr. Belvedere would be like if he were robotic and extra-adorable? Of course, everyone has, and that's why we love Mr. Butlertron, Clone High's metal VP and dehumidifier. Maybe it's that charming red sweater vest or his inexplicable need to address everyone as "Wesley", but Mr. Butlertron seems like a swell robo-friend. Somehow, he's managed to put up with Principal Scudworth's evil scientist shenanigans all these years, all the while serving as the clone students' shoulder to cry on. Plus, he makes croissants. I am known for befriending people solely for their croissant-making abilities.

Bender Rodriguez (Futurama): While it's nice to have a cold, metal shoulder to cry on, what should meatbags turn to when it's time to light up some illegal Cuban cigars and take a trip to the android strip club? I'm not the drinking type, but man, I would get so wasted with Bender and let him squander my friendship.

The Buffybot (Buffy the Vampire Slayer):
Sometimes, the aforementioned android strip clubs and Real Dolls simply aren't enough, so here's something special for the Buffy-obsessed vampire gents (I know my reader demographic). I suppose Buffybot saved some lives or whatever in the series, but you guys are all about Spike's original intention. No point in denying it. Wouldn't this be a useful "friend" to have around?

Marvin (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy): Misery loves company, even when he says he doesn't. The paranoid android was my favorite character from Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy "trilogy" of books, and this didn't change when I saw the delightful BBC series. This was partly due to the fact that Zaphod's second head weirded me out, but mainly because Marvin is the ideal mopey buddy. Since I occasionally play the black cloud of self-deprecation within my own social circle, it would help to have someone/something teeming with so much self-loathing that I automatically feel fantastic just by being near him/it. Compared to the dreary life of a manic-depressive robot, the world looks beautiful.

KITT (Knight Rider): Yeah, KITT has done a lot of cool things, whatever, but let's talk about that voice. I must confess, my dream is to own a vehicle that talks like Mr. Feeny, because I need that voice to accompany me on my driving adventures. I don't care what I have to drive to make this happen. It could be a station wagon, a moped, or the most suspicious-looking unmarked white van in the history of all kidnappings. Won't someone please get me this for Christmas? I won't ask any questions, even if it turns out to be a shady car with a confused William Daniels tied to the passenger seat. The only thing that could have come close to topping the original KITT would have been a car that sounded like Will Arnett, but GM just had to ruin everyone's fun.

Rosie (The Jetsons): Who doesn't like a little robotic sass with their clean house and breakfasts in pill form? A few years ago, I stumbled across a series of essays from children in the 60s who were imagining life in the early 2000s. Most of them mentioned a motherly, Rosie-like cleaning bot in their future households, along with the usual jetpacks and talking houses. I like to pretend these children are now fifty-somethings that harbor both a terrible lack of fulfillment and burning "Why couldn't you be her?" disdain for their Roombas.

HELPeR (The Venture Bros): The strangely maternal HELPeR has taken care of two generations of Ventures, sharing advice and comfort, despite being a robot of few beeps. He is also the only robot I can think of that rolls around on what looks like the bottom of an office chair. What HELPeR lacks in kick-ass power, he makes up with loyalty and strangely human-like affection. Plus, he makes a pretty good drum machine.

Larry 3000 (Time Squad): When I time-travel, I like to have a really effeminate robot nearby; it's just the way I work when I'm patrolling time for historical discrepancies. Although my five o'clock shadow isn't quite as impressive as that of Tuddrussel, I figure I would make a fine human companion to Larry 3000. My laid back slang and Larry's uptight Mark Hammill voice would be the perfect foils to each other. I could spend this entire post ranting about how horribly underrated the cartoon Time Squad was, but I won't. It's as if the animated world can't handle wacky historical figures, because the previously mentioned Clone High was axed far too soon as well. Well, for what it's worth, I personally love George Washington Carver jokes.

K-9 (Doctor Who, The Sarah Jane Adventures): Although he's not quite as effeminate as my first-choice time-traveling robo-partner, K-9 would also make a fine companion. He's considerably less whiny and he's already proven himself loyal to his owners and willing to sacrifice for the team. After many, many years of adventuring with the Doctor, the new and improved K-9 joined Sarah Jane Smith in her spin-off. More loyal acts and all-around cute robot-dog-ness ensued. Apparently there's enough K-9 love to even launch yet another Who spin-off, all about the robot dog's adventures. It looks like he's gone through a dramatic make-over for the role, too. Oh, K-9, you're so vain.

The Shadowrama gang (Mystery Science Theater 3000): I know this technically throws off my nice number of "eleven", but let's consider the gang just a single robotic silhouette. When most people talk out loud at a film, making sarcastic remarks about the special effects and dialogue, I'm more likely to smack the back of their head than laugh along. However, it'd be a whole other story if these weren't just obnoxious high schoolers but really hilarious robots, snarking it up with their human buddy. Let's go to the barely bearable and unintentionally hysterical movies!

And yes, there are plenty of other robots that could sort of be suitable for friendship, but only with a little work. Like, Data (Star Trek: TNG) would probably give me a weird uncanny valley freak-out in real life and that Lost in Space's "Danger, Will Robinson!" thing... well, he just annoys me. Who would you recruit to be your personal robot buddy?

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What about Gir (Invader Zim)? Surely the cutest, most advanced robot ever.

November 28 2008 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ed Venture

You really want KITT with you on your driving adventures, pick up one of these. http://www.knightridergps.com/

Problem solved. :o)

November 26 2008 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget Muffit, from Battlestar Galactica.

November 26 2008 at 12:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The B9 Robot from Lost in Space annoys you??? Then I have no use for you. He is the most awesome robot of all time....even over R2D2!!!! How could he annoy you....to quote Dr Smith "Oh the Pain!!!"

November 25 2008 at 9:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, this is for the really old timers...

What about Julie Newmar (later to be a Catwoman to TV's Batman) in the 1960's one-season flop, "My Living Doll" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057774/)? Maybe he character doesn't exactly qualify as a "buddy" in this context but she certainly made this show worth watching at least a few times.

November 25 2008 at 9:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't forget about AWESOM-O, Butters' loyal robot friend on South Park who made him a fortune coming up with hollywood movie plots :) AWESOME-O was Butters' BFF.

November 25 2008 at 6:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ron P

How could you forget about Hymie the robot from "Get Smart"??

November 25 2008 at 5:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your Transformers pick should have been Bumblebee. On the original show, he and Spike (the human kid) were best buds.

November 25 2008 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You totally missed a couple, but I won't kill you!

Vicki from Small Wonder: sure the voice was annoying, but she could do anything!

Cameron from Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles: she is practically human, but has amazing robotic powers! She'd be the perfect BFF for a girl. You go out to a club. She's hot so the guys all flock around the two of you. Once they realize that she has no interest in getting in bed with them and that her personality lacks a little something, they will turn to you! Then, if any of your suitors try getting fresh, she will gladly pick them up and throw them out the window!

November 25 2008 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

When I started reading the list I was thinking, "Man, Larry 3000 better be on this."

Time Squad was a damned good show

November 25 2008 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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