Created By: finbob83August 21, 2011 Last Edited By: IchigoMontoyaAugust 23, 2012

The GLaDOS Effect

Mundane, sadistic, or distasteful lines of dialogue are spoken by a computer and become comedy gold.

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Trope
Needs A Better Title The G La DOS effect is when an the juxtaposition between an artificially intelligent computer's emotionless (or inappropriately emotion-filled) voice and the content of their dialogue makes the lines that they say funnier than they're worth. It works particularly well with lines that would normally be accompanied by heaps of nuance, so that the speakers lack of it is exaggerated. Examples
  • G La DOS from Portal and Portal 2 gets most of her comedy from this trope, unflinchingly saying things like "The floor here will kill you. Please try to avoid it." and "Fun fact: the device is now more valuable than the organs and combined incomes of everyone in the facility."
  • Phineas And Ferb's robot Norm was programmed to talk like a stereotypical businessman, and delivers all his dialogue with the same upbeat, enthusiastic tone (e.g., "We're all very impressed with your numbers, sir!"). This creates a comedic effect when he says things like "Secretly, I'm very lonely!"
  • K9 in Doctor Who, and especially when expressing his opinion of Mr Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures.
    • Also Doctor Who related: a popular bit in UK comedy is Daleks saying things that don't involve the extermination of other lifeforms, in the same electronic screech they usually use. For instance, this Kit-Kat advert.
      "PEACE AND LOVE"
      "GIVE US A HUG"
  • You Find Yourself In a Room is this 100% of the game. The evil computer controls everything, and arbitrarily decides to cut off the player's hands. (You probably didn't deserve them anyway.)
  • Parodied in Superhero Movie every time Stephen Hawking is on screen. His robotic delivered lines are hilarious.
    (while being stung by bees) "Ouch, ouch, ouch. Shit, shit, shit."
    (falling off a skyscraper) "Shit, shit, shit."
    (seeing a girl bend over) "You have one hell of an ass-"(she turns around)"-stronomy career ahead of you."

Community Feedback Replies: 34
  • August 21, 2011
    robybang
    1) Naming tropes after a character is a no-no around here. Not everyone is going to know who G La DOS is, so if they're trying to find it, they won't be able to.

    2) Pretty sure this is covered under Deadpan Snarker BUT WITH ROBOTS! Don't know if it necessitates it's own subtrope, but if it does, it'll need a better, easier to find, name like Robot Snarker.
  • August 21, 2011
    finbob83
    I'm not sure it is just a robotic deadpan snarker- it is more about how an apparent lack of empathy and nuance where there normally is makes the lines seem impossibly to-the-point, it doesn't have to be a snark. But I see where you're coming from. Ad I agree, the title needs changing- but I'm not convinced about Robot Snarker.
  • August 21, 2011
    robybang
    I just suggested the name as a possible alternative, but if this is tropable, I'm sure people will suggest plenty of names to choose from.
  • August 21, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    I know of one other example, I was told of a G La DOS-esque robot girl in League Of Legends.

    That aside, it's named after a character, and I'm not sure there's a third example.
  • August 21, 2011
    TBeholder
    Comedic Sociopathy. There's a lot of ways to turn it into comedy, and not enough differences to warrant splitting into a subtrope.
  • August 21, 2011
    pokedude10
    Never mind. Accidental Post
  • August 21, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    Does This Count?
    • Phineas And Ferb's Norm is a robot who was programmed to talk like a stereotypical businessman, and delivers all his dialogue with the same upbeat, enthusiastic tone (e.g., "We're all very impressed with your numbers, sir!"). This creates a comic effect when he says things like "Secretly, I'm very lonely!"
  • August 21, 2011
    peccantis
    It's just robot-enabled Deadpan Snarker. What makes Deadpan Snarker funny is exactly the cold and/or dry manner they deliver their snark in.
  • August 22, 2011
    finbob83
    That Phineas and Ferb example is great, thanks. Comedic sociopathy isn't the same. It's not their attitude, it's their voice that creates the humour.
  • August 22, 2011
    DaibhidC
    And the P&F example confirms it's not Deadpan Snarker, since in addition to not necessarily being snark, it's not necessarily deadpan, either.

    • K9 in Doctor Who, and especially when expressing his opinion of Mr Smith in The Sarah Jane Adventures.
    • Also Doctor Who related: a popular bit in UK comedy is Daleks saying things that don't involve the extermination of other lifeforms, in the same electronic screech they usually use. For instance, this Kit-Kat advert.
  • August 22, 2011
    TippyToeZombie
    In the video game spiderman friend or foe, Nick Fury's Computer is very sarcastic.
  • August 22, 2011
    terrafox
    • Parodied in Superhero Movie every time Stephen Hawking is on screen. His robotic delivered lines are hilarious.
      (while being stung by bees) "Ouch, ouch, ouch. Shit, shit, shit."
      (falling off a skyscraper) "Shit, shit, shit."
      (seeing a girl bend over) "You have one hell of an ass-"(she turns around)"-stronomy career ahead of you."
  • August 22, 2011
    finbob83
    These are all great, can anyone think of an alternative title?
  • August 22, 2011
    Speedball
  • August 22, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    Maybe something like Robot Voice Dissonance?
  • August 22, 2011
    CptJack
    Does This Count?
    • Andy the android deputy in Eureka, who is friendly and upbeat regardless of imminent danger.
      (looks at his arm, which has caught fire) Hmm, I seem to be conflagrating. Oh dear.

  • August 22, 2011
    jaytee
    • Mr. Butlertron from Clone High certainly has moments of this.... Wesley.
  • August 22, 2011
    CptJack
  • August 22, 2011
    CommanderPanda
    So, is the consensus that this is salvageable?

    Examples using the Microsoft text-to-speech voice LH Michael:
    • While the comedy-value is debatable, every member of The Clock Crew speaks in a synthesized voice, following in the footsteps on Strawberry Clock.
    • Family Guy occasionally uses the ease of impersonating Prof. Steven Hawking's voice to make him say things very much out of character.
      " Oh, Oh. N0w Spit In My M0uth"
  • August 23, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Another Doctor Who: in "Silence in the Library" the computer database tells people messages like "Run. For God's sake, run. No way is safe. The Library has sealed itself, we can't... Oh, they're here. Arg. Slarg. Snick" in a deadpan/cheerful voice.
  • August 24, 2011
    Fanra
    Deadpan Snarker requires that the snarker intentionally snark. If an A.I. states it as a fact, with no intent to snark, it would not be Deadpan Snarker.

    G La DOS would be more of a My God You Are Serious I believe.

  • August 13, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Two Thousand One A Space Odyssey: "Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."
  • August 13, 2012
    cathstuart
    Cpt Jack is onto something... What about Robotic Voice Emotional Dissonance ? (bit technical sounding but... something like that.

    This is definitely a trope that needs a name.
  • August 14, 2012
    NightNymph
    This sometimes happens with Ziggy, the pleasantly-voiced computer who helps Sam and Al in Quantum Leap, especially when she's giving statistics about Sam's chances of survival.
  • August 15, 2012
    nmp303
    I like the Dissonance part for the title, but cannot figure out what should go with it. Robotic Emotion Dissonance? Robotic Emotional Dissonance? One of the already mentioned ones? Something else entirely?
  • August 15, 2012
    polarbear2217
    Dead-pan Digital Dissonance ?
  • August 15, 2012
    DaibhidC
    • Elektra the Mornington Crescen Satnav in Im Sorry I Havent A Clue, who, in addition to tube stations and directions, says things like "Have you never played this game before?" and "I love you, Jeremy. Sing for me."
  • August 15, 2012
    PapercutChainsaw
    Robot Monotone Dissonance?

    Related to Creepy Monotone.

    And, here's a canon Dalek example:
    Dalek: WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA?

  • August 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
  • August 15, 2012
    shastab24
    Jarvis is a snarky computer program in the Iron Man movies.

    The answering machine (voiced by Jason Mewes) from My Big Fat Independent Movie
  • August 15, 2012
    elwoz
    In Red Dwarf, the robot character Kryten is always absurdly cheerful, even when he's detailing just how screwed everyone is (which he does often). Holly, the other AI character, can present more of an emotional range, but I think he/she does this too at times.
  • August 15, 2012
    elwoz
    I just noticed that Creepy Monotone already has a subtrope, Machine Monotone, which covers the core "creepy because it highlights the machine's lack of human emotional reaction to what it's saying" aspect of what I understand us to be going for here. Perhaps it could be broadened to cover cases where the machine has some other fixed emotional tone that it uses regardless of appropriateness (Kryten, Daleks, Jarvis).
  • August 16, 2012
    ACarlssin
    I vote for expanding Machine Monotone to include these examples.
  • August 16, 2012
    TBeholder
    Everything Is Funnier With Robots!

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