Created By: Aminatep on February 14, 2010
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Good Old Robot

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A character has an old robot and deliberately keeps him in spite of new models being around. It can be done for pratical reasons or just for money-saving. If it's not, it's always a trait of good characters, or, when villains do it, a Pet the Dog kind of trait. This is often An Aesop (and not even a very hidden one) where the old robot will be shown to have a much more developed (and human-like) personality, while the new models will be more able and better looking but unfeeling.

Examples:

  • Anachronox
  • Pluto Nash
  • In the play within the manga Kare Kano Steel Snow, the main character keeps 'Antique' an old robot around because it resembles his first love.
  • Dexter's Laboratory certainly doesn't do this. Dexter just keeps right on building - nothing is ever good enough. There is one episode in which he rediscovers an old part of his lab, along with a group of "primitive" robots, who lament, "We were all your best work..."
  • Helper from Venture Brothers is certainly of the money-saving variety. Dr Venture prefers to repair or reuse his father's old tech than invent his own.
  • In Blade Runner, the character played by William Sanderson has a house full of "misfit toys" so to speak.
  • C3PO and R2D2 from Star Wars. Especially C3PO in the prequels.
  • More or less the premise of The Brave Little Toaster. More or less.
  • Happens on an episode of The Jetsons, when Rosie is apparently outclassed by a later model of robot.
  • Asimov likes this trope.
    • From Foundation: R. Daneel Olviaw, even before he aged 20,000 years
    • In "The Bicentennial Man", which was made into a movie, Andrew (later known as Andrew Martin) is owned by the Martin family. Most other robots are leased and recycled after a number of years. After Andrew's "individuality" annoys the CEO of U.S. Robotics, the company buys back all old robots (the Martins refuse to sell) and destroys them. The company even later begins to reduce the intelligence of the robots, with all higher functions being done by central computers in communication with the robots. Sort of like PCs today, where you can buy netbooks and/or browser OS.
    • In short story Light Verse, a wealthy socialite and artist refuses to fix her old robot butler, finding his eccentricities charming, but it turns out that it was the malfunctioning robots who were creating her art.
  • This comes up in Ghost in the Shell a few times. The first season of Stand Alone Complex has an episode revolving around an old model of android gynoid which were still popular because they were easy to customise. Another episode has the CEO of a company use what is essentially a box with four legs as his body, as he likes the old fashioned style.
  • DC Comics' Star Hawkins - Space Detective! His robot secretary, Ilda, is very much an antique model - Star admittedly can't afford better, but he wouldn't get rid of her even if he could. (Except in Twilight [or "Let's make all our goofy sci-fi characters Darker and Edgier"], where he says he'd have junked her if he'd had a chance. But that wasn't the real Star Hawkins.) An even better example is Stella Sterling in Whatever Happened To ... Star Hawkins, who can certainly afford a top-of-the-range robot bodyguard, but prefers Automan, a robot who dates back to the 1960s.
  • Old Bob in The Black Hole.
  • The Robot from Meet the Robinsons is the lowest tech thing the family has, apparently built when Lewis was just a kid. His son inherits it.
  • The last part of the Red Dwarf episode The Last Day centres on this.
  • Other than C-3PO and R2-D2, there are several examples in the Star Wars universe. One I know of is Wee-Gee, the Katarn family droid in Jedi Knight.
  • In I, Robot, only the newer models of robot begin attacking humans. The older models actually fight against the new models briefly due to their unupdated programming.
  • Another one that those of you who have no shame might remember is the show Cubix: Robots for Everyone that was on the WB network back in '98-'99ish. the main robot, Cubix was a pile o junk that the main human started tinkering with.
  • Bender of Futurama is obsolete as of the debut of Robot 1-X in "Obsoletely Fabulous." Not that he did much anyway.
  • Bollux in the Star Wars ''Han Solo Adventures" trilogy by Brian Daley.
  • This was the plot of Cherry 2000; the male protagonist accidentally breaks his Robot Girl, and her model's out of production. Instead of getting a new model, he hires an Action Girl to take him to the abandoned factory in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, so he can find another Cherry-model to install the backup memory chip into.

Needs a Better Title, Rolling Updates.
Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • January 27, 2010
    duralict
  • January 27, 2010
    Duncan
    In Isaac Asimov's short story Light Verse, a wealthy socialite and artist refuses to fix her old robot butler, finding his eccentricities charming, but it turns out that it was the malfunctioning robots who were creating her art.
  • January 27, 2010
    animeg3282
    In the Show Within A Show... I mean..play within the manga Kare Kano Steel Snow, the main character keeps 'Antique' an old robot around because it resembles his first love.
  • January 27, 2010
    BrainSewage
    Dexters Laboratory certainly doesn't do this. Dexter just keeps right on building- nothing is ever good enough. There is one episode in which he rediscovers an old part of his lab, along with a group of "primitive" robots, who lament, "We were all your best work..."
  • January 27, 2010
    Ub3rD4n
    Helper from Venture Brothers is certainly of the money-saving variety. Dr Venture prefers to repair or reuse his father's old tech than invent his own.
  • January 27, 2010
    ParaDiddle
    In Blade Runner, the character played by William Sanderson has a house full of "misfit toys" so to speak.
  • January 28, 2010
    random surfer
    R. Daneel Olviaw, even before he aged 20,000 years
  • January 28, 2010
    Fanra
    Isaac Asimov likes this one and has used it a few times. In "The Bicentennial Man", which was made into a terrible movie, Andrew (later known as Andrew Martin) is owned by the Martin family. Most other robots are leased and recycled after a number of years. After Andrew's "individuality" annoys the CEO of U.S. Robotics, the company buys back all old robots (the Martins refuse to sell) and destroys them.

    The company even later begins to reduce the intelligence of the robots, with all higher functions being done by central computers in communication with the robots. Sort of like PCs today, where you can buy netbooks and/or browser OS.
  • January 28, 2010
    Tannhaeuser
    Happens on an episode of The Jetsons, when Rosie is apparently outclassed by a later model of robot.
  • February 3, 2010
    Bisected8
    This comes up in Ghost In The Shell a few times. The first season of Stand Alone Complex has an episode revolving around an old model of android gynoid which were still popular because they were easy to customise. Another episode has the CEO of a company use what is essentially a box with four legs as his body, as he likes the old fashioned style.
  • February 3, 2010
    Aminatep
    This trope is in a great need of a better title.
  • February 3, 2010
    DaibhidC
    DC Comics' Star Hawkins - Space Detective! His robot secretary, Ilda, is very much an antique model - Star admittedly can't afford better, but he wouldn't get rid of her even if he could. (Except in Twilight [or "Let's make all our goofy sci-fi characters Darker And Edgier"], where he says he'd have junked her if he'd had a chance. But that wasn't the real Star Hawkins.) An even better example is Stella Sterling in Whatever Happened To ... Star Hawkins, who can certainly afford a top-of-the-range robot bodyguard, but prefers Automan, a robot who dates back to the 1960s.
  • February 3, 2010
    BOFH
    Old Bob in The Black Hole.
  • February 3, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • The Robot from Meet The Robinsons is the lowest tech thing the family has, apparently built when Lewis was just a kid. His son inherits it.
  • February 3, 2010
    arimareiji
    I actually got the impression, from its style of dress and the way he treated it like a child, that the Inventor (Ren Crawford) in Kare Kano's "Steel Snow" kept Antique around because it reminded him of his adopted daughter May, not his Forrest-Gump-ian ho first love Rose. He even says "That girl is like a daughter to me." Visual confusion is absolutely understandable, though -- Tsubasa plays all three roles.
  • February 4, 2010
    Aminatep
    This is often An Aesop (and not even a very hidden one) where the old robot will be shown to have a much more developed (and human-like) personality, while the new models will be more able and better looking but unfeeling.
  • February 4, 2010
    halfmillennium
    • The last part of the Red Dwarf episode The Last Day centres on this.
  • February 8, 2010
    BaronGrackle
    • Other than C-3PO and R2-D2, there are several examples in the Star Wars universe. One I know of is Wee-Gee, the Katarn family droid in Jedi Knight.
    • In I, Robot, only the newer models of robot begin attacking humans. The older models actually fight against the new models briefly due to their unupdated programming.
  • February 8, 2010
    sweeneysjoking
    Another one that those of you who have no shame might remember is the show "Cubix: Robots for Everyone" that was on the WB network back in '98-'99ish. the main robot, Cubix was a pile o junk that the main human started tinkering with.
  • February 8, 2010
    Durvin

    Bender of Futurama is obsolete as of the debut of Robot 1-X in "Obsoletely Fabulous." Not that he did much anyway.
  • February 9, 2010
    Arivne
    Literature
  • February 9, 2010
    binaroid
    This was the plot of Cherry 2000; the male protagonist accidentally breaks his Robot Girl, and her model's out of production. Instead of getting a new model, he hires an Action Girl to take him to the abandoned factory in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, so he can find another Cherry-model to install the backup memory chip into.
  • February 14, 2010
    Aminatep
    Oh, this trope is more popular than I thought.
  • February 14, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Not being much of a Star Wars fan, I'm probably missing something here, but didn't Anakin build C-3P0 himself?
  • February 15, 2010
    Aminatep
    Well, C-3P0 and R2-D2 are still around in the original trilogy, despite technology marching on.
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