Blog / Topless Robot
"Unofficial Sponsors of Your Inner Childishness"
Topless Robot (which, despite the name
, is usually safe-for-work
) is a Village Voice Media owned blog dedicated to nerdy interests, formerly run by Rob Bricken, a former writer for ToyFare
, Anime Insider
and Anime News Network. The site has become well known for its daily lists, entertaining contests which get hundreds of entries, and the notorious Fan Fiction Fridays, in which Rob gave the MST3K treatment
to incredibly awful fanfic. In November 2012, Rob moved on from Topless Robot to io9, where he writes a column titled "Postal Apocalypse". Unfortunately(or fortunately, depending on your point of view), io9's higher-ups asked Rob to stop doing FFF after some readers complained that the concept was mean-spirited. His replacement as TR head was long-time contributing editor Luke Thompson, who revived FFF as a video series under the name "I READ YOUR FANFIC!".
The site was given a new tagline in 2014, replacing the former slogan "Nerd News, Humor, and Self-Loathing
" for being too dark. The next year, the site received a total overhaul and was renamed The Robot's Voice
, complete with a new URL. Unfortunately, later that year, the site stopped publishing new articles citing financial difficulties
as the reason for the blog's closure.
Tropes frequently found on Topless Robot include:
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Pokémon Story. The fans demanded it, Rob refused to show it for ages. When he finally caved, the fans instantly regretted it.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT bring up Michael Bay's films. Especially Transformers.
- After Transformers: Dark of the Moon came out and was proven to be a very bad movie but not a wretched cinematic atrocity (according to Rob), Bay and his movies just became a punching bag for Rob rather than a satanic abomination that must be wiped off the face of this earth.
- ... and then came Aliengate, after which Rob proclaimed Bay as Nerd Satan.
- Brain Bleach: Chances are you'll need it on Fan Fiction Friday.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Lots.
- Eldritch Abomination: Dr. Abraxas.
- Forced Meme: WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS. Know Your Meme has it deadpooled because it didn't spread naturally.
- It's still popular on TR itself, though.
- Which makes it a Running Gag amongst the readers and staff.
- A Good Name for a Rock Band: During FFF Rob would often stumble upon some combination of the words and comment "Great name for a rock band # XXXX".
- I Need A Drink: Rob's Catch-Phrase.
- There's a tag on the site labeled "things that make me drink." It encompasses about 95% of FFF.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: Abraxas and Sago both indulge in this, often competing to see who can say the most Squick and/or nightmare-inducing things.
- Nostalgia Filter: When it comes to old-school Star Wars, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983), TRON, or Final Fantasy VII, Rob will defend his opinions to the death.
- Running Gag:
- Sanity Slippage: When reading the more horrific FFF entries, Rob tends to lose all coherent thought and just spam Toht/Scanners pictures, with the occasional "WHY GOD WHY?" and "I Need a Freaking Drink" comment.
- When in early 2011 he finally got around to the infamous Final Fantasy VII fic "Beast & The Harlots", he went from typing using Toht's picture with the caption "HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE" in one section to "HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE" in a later one. And yes, the story really is that bad.
- The entire latter half of the MSTing of MILF from UNCLE consists almost entirely of Toht Faces (understandable, since it combined The Angry Beavers with Parental Incest). He finally went mad from the revelation upon realising that the author was too busy masturbating to complete the story and spammed almost a dozen of them.
- Which was latter topped The Fievel Story MST, which required over 50 Tohts to properly express his horror. By the time he's done he's worshiping Darkseid and calling for him to end everything.
THIS IS THE ANTI-LIFE EQUATION
- Schmuck Bait: Admit it, the way in which Rob introduces "The Other Story" (real title: "How Videl Discovered Her Abortion Fetish") just makes you want to read it even more.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: invoked by Rob after a really bad fic regarding Spirited Away''.
- And now, one session of FFF was deleted before he could save it. Rob explains it as either the Internet refusing to upload it, or the fic being so bad it killed his connection.
- Serious Business: The competition in the weekly T-shirt contests can get... intense.
- Sitcom Archnemesis: Abraxas is one of these to Rob, as well as being a Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.
- Spork: Done for all but the most vile of the FFFs.
- Tempting Fate: Done in a few FFFs.
Rob: This cannot possibly get any more awful.
Fic: "I don't think you had enough Arthur, would you like to have some cocktail weenies?" asked Brain.
Rob: *Toht* I STAND CORRECTED
- Up to Eleven: In one episode of Fanfiction Friday, he makes a brief reference to a fic he believes to be worse than The Pokémon Story.