The Top 10 Wussiest Robots

March 18, 2010

Robots have long possessed a sense of mystique because they were created with the understanding that they would serve man, but their ability to do things twice as fast also makes them a force to be feared and respected. But these robots couldn't be feared or respected if they pooped nuclear warheads that could destroy the Earth.

By Danny Gallagher

 

10. Old B.O.B. from The Black Hole

Source: Walt Disney Productions

This forgotten sci-fi bomb from the Disney vault tried to suck more money from beleaguered parents everywhere by jumping on the Star Wars bandwagon. To call it an attempt to ride the coattails of George Lucas' undying vision would be an insult to people who actually depend on free-flowing coattails as their mode of transportation to and from work.

It had an evil genius in control of a strong warrior and a pair of loyal robot buddies including V.I.N.CENT and his outdated brother from another motherboard, Old B.O.B., a floating heap of scrap metal whose hard drive went limp many moons ago. He may sound like a good ol' boy thanks to his Slim Pickens accent, but he quivers and rattles worse than a Goldstar Camera over trivial things such as a shooting gallery match with the ship's other drones.

The most tragic bit of irony is that this floating hunk of junk oversees the ship's sanitation department. How much overtime would he get if he just threw himself in the trash compactor?

 

9. Kryten from Red Dwarf

Source: BBC

Robot butlers always seem to carry an air of wussiness where ever they go. There they stand, a highly engineered and state-of-the-art piece of machinery that can do the work of 30 humans times two and they are reduced to scrubbing toilets, cleaning puke off road house bars, and monitoring the calcium content of hospital catheter bags.

This "mechanoid" from the British sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf not only has to clean up after the marooned crew of the mining spaceship, but he's also developed his own phobias and neuroses from years of slaving away to pick up after humans, both living and dead. If Windows ever develops a virtual Prozac, Kryten should be the first test subject for it.


8. Box from Logan's Run

Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

This tragically named robot (was "Shoebox" trademarked?) from the popular sci-fi film Logan's Run serves one function: to freeze and store foods for the humans. Frankly, he couldn't do it any worse if he defrosted his entire supply and held himself his own private barbecue.

Since his orders for food stopped coming in, Box spends his days carving penguins out of ice and insisting that they sing to him at night. All he needs now is an endless supply of stray cats and technology will have achieved its first "crazed robotic cat lady."

 

7. David from A.I.

Source: Dreamworks

It's very hard to make a robot uncool, but there is a sure-fire recipe of achieving that unattainable goal: give him unrepressed feelings and emotions and make him look and sound like Haley Joel Osment.

This humanoid replicant from Stanley Kubrick's unfinished film that should have stayed that way stars the "I see dead people" kid as a robotic replacement for a family whose actual son suffers from an incurable disease. When this robotic being actually develops his own emotions, it just turns him into a whiny, emotional kid with a mommy complex, which is basically every kid whether they are stuffed with wires and microchips or a kilo of Pixy Stix.

 

6. Fat-bot from Futurama

Source: 20th Century Fox Television

It's hard to figure out what is more pathetic: a robot that thinks and acts like the fat virgin in a fraternity house or the programmer that thought it was a good idea to bring him into the world.

This member of "Robot House" is an overweight mess of metal who eats anything and everything in sight when he gets nervous and wouldn't know where to find a female outlet on a fembot if he had her saucy schematics hanging over his bedroom ceiling. And to top it all off (literally), he wears this stupid red and yellow beanie that just screams "hit me with something heavy and hit me now," which would just make him eat whatever you planned to hit him with.

 

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5. Andy from Quark

Source: NBC

This robot from the short-lived science-fiction comedy that ran in the late '70s looks like one of the most clumsily put-together hunks of junk ever. He's basically a filing cabinet with an art-deco fish tank strapped to his head. But just as with humans, what really counts isn't appearances from the outside but what lies in his heart and soul on the inside. And in the case of Andy, calling him a manufacturing defect from AMC would be a compliment.

It's not really known what his purpose on the ship is supposed to be, other than comic relief, because he has an extreme neurotic personality and a cowardice streak that could make Shaggy and Scooby-Doo seem like contenders for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

 

4. Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Source: Spyglass Entertainment

Nobody like a sad sack and this wired hunk of doom and gloom does nothing but bitch and moan and complain, even when things are going the right way. Sounds like someone needs to upgrade to Mac OS X.

Marvin not only sees the worst in every person, place, or situation he encounters, but he has an even bigger inferiority complex towards his own programming. He constantly complains that no one ever asked him if he wanted to be made and curses his ability to feel feelings. He's like a robotic goth kid, only more likeable.


3. Ulysses from Making Mr. Right

Source: Orion Pictures

What's a sure-fire way to wuss up a robotic being? You can (a) program him to pick and arrange flowers in new and exciting floral patterns, (b) make catty comments about his master's choice of wallpaper, or (c) cast him as the central protagonist in an '80s romantic comedy.

Orion Pictures chose the latter by casting John Malkovich as a robotic android who scoffs at the chance to be the first robot in space for finding true love. Not only does this lousy excuse for a manbot lose all of his man-cards for following his heart instead of his "awesomeness brain gland," but he's also twice as creepy since he's played by John Freakin' Malkovich, a man who very well could actually be a robot if only anyone had the guts to go up and ask him. 


2. Andrew from Bicentennial Man

Source: Touchstone Pictures

Speaking of which, if John Malkovich's slow and eerily calm demeanor makes him an android, then the Robin Williams version might just be the kind of robot that is constantly being re-gifted or returned to The Sharper Image for store credit.

This home android who develops human contact and emotion through a family so sickly sweet that you could pour them over pancakes not only is delegated to performing menial tasks, but pushes aside the chance for revenge to rise up and enslave all of humanity to pursue these contacts and emotions. His cornball act makes you long for the days when robots only spoke in ones and zeros.

 

1. C-3P0 from Star Wars

Source: Lucasarts

Up until 1977, "fussy" was a word usually reserved for interior decorators and chefs who cared more about presentation than whether or not the food made you think you were eating something that fell out of a horse. Thanks to this golden droid, fussy could now also be used to describe robots.

This most famous creation of young Anakin Skywalker was originally programmed to do chores and serve as a language translator, but it seems the only thing he's really good at is whining at every possible opportunity and displaying his extreme worrisome attitude more than an erudite sophisticate who's run out of sherry.

 

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