"The Enrichment Center is required to remind you that the Weighted Companion Cubewill never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.... In the event that the Companion Cube does speak, the Enrichment Center urges you to disregard its advice."
Take an otherwise uninteresting object, and have the other characters (or at least one character) interact with it as if it is a real character, and you have a Companion Cube. Sometimes, the object blurs the line between real and imaginary by apparently doing things which would be hard for an inanimate object to do or telling people things they shouldn't have been able to already know, but the defining characteristic is that we the audience never, ever see it move of its own volition on camera, even if it clearly must've done something.
For some reason, Companion Cubes tend to become very popularwith the audience. Something to do with the Uncanny Valley, probably. Or simply because the idea of having an inanimate object being a character is funny. Or maybe because it's easy to project the best traits you can think of onto the object. Or because you can make yourself a replica at home ...
Dolls and teddy bears are especially common examples, probably because they're humanoid, friendly looking, and meant to be bonded with. Typically the owner will treat it as their Confidant. Security Blankets are also common in this regard.
If a character gives a weapon this treatment, expect him or her to give it a name.
This can go wrong in fandom. Horribly, horribly wrong.
If the object is clearly not alive but the character is particularly insane, they may talk to it for advice.
As a frightening and interesting aside, it has been demonstrated in US Army experiments that people kept in isolation have a tendency to form attachments to inanimate objects (this is why this tends to show up in Speculative Fiction a lot, where the crew personifies their starships and other objects). Sweet dreams!
If an inanimate object DOES move onscreen, it slides from this trope to Through the Eyes of Madness or Magic Realism in general. (Unless it's designed to move, like a Roomba or something.)
The opposite is Living Toys.
Geico's "money you saved from using Geico" which is a stack of money with eyes. They have been known to do things off camera like texting.
Anime & Manga
Seems to be quite common in the Gundam series. Particularly, in Gundam Wing, all of the characters who pilot Gundams will talk to their machines at least once every couple of fights. In an early episode, when Quatre's about to blow up his own Gundam, Sandrock, the cockpit opens by itself, causing Quatre to wonder: "Are you telling me to get down, Sandrock?" A few of the suits also have the ZERO system, which tends to inspire insanity in the pilots who use it. That sure doesn't help.
Mazinger Z: Several times the characters talk to or about Mazinger-Z and Fem Bot Aphrodite A like if they were sentient beings. Sayaka actually had a Heroic BSOD when Aphrodite A was destroyed. She even hallucinated Aphrodite was calling her. And then you have Minerva-X, an actual sentient Fem Bot and Humongous Mecha could act, think and feel on her own and was programmed to be Mazinger-Z's Battle Couple, and considered Mazinger was meant to be HER Companion Cube (as Sayaka protested only Aphrodite was allowed to be Mazinger's partner).
Yamada the rock in Minami-ke has gained a lot of respect for a small stone.
Also, Chiaki's teddy bear Fujioka (at least in the first season). She talks to it quite often and viewers can only hazard a guess as to whether its reactions are real or all in Chiaki's Ahoge.
The lizard Ellis picks up in episode 3 of El Cazador de la Bruja is hardly an inanimate object, but the only thing it does in the entire series, aside from belch in Nadie's face, is crawl away in the end of the said episode. Nevertheless, it immediately became target of wildest Epileptic Trees and gained an affectionate Fan Nickname "Squenchy". And there is also another matter with the Sniper Cat in the ED video, too...
Played for horror in Neon Genesis Evangelion, with Asuka's mother having an Asuka doll that she cradles and talks to, to the exclusion of her own daughter, because she thinks the doll is her real daughter and doesn't recognize Asuka as being her child thanks to having half of her soul torn from her body to make the second EVA. She then asks the doll to commit suicide with her, despite Asuka begging her mother to let her die with her instead of the doll. Later Asuka walks in to find both her mother and the doll dangling from the ceiling.
Then there's the Vulcan 300, a "toy robot" made from a pocky box, in Konjiki No Gash Bell!! Then again, only Gash considers it an actual person...
Or maybe not. Tio has her own pocky box toy, named "Valunlun". In some endings, Kanchome and Umagon are shown with green and orange pocky box toys as well, although God only knows how Umagon made his....
The houseplant in Noir (which may be a reference to Leon below).
Strawberry Panic!'s Kagome has a teddy bear named Percival that she treats like it's alive. Being very shy, she tends to channel her feelings through the bear. After a random act of kindness from Nagisa, Kagome asks Percival "Was that a friend of yours?" (Side note: You may know the bear as something like "Oshibaru", as it was a hard name for the subbers to make out.)
In one episode Full Metal Panic!, Sosuke was coaching the lousy school rugby team. He made them go through physical and mental training from hell. At the end of the training, he gave each of them a football and made them assign female names to them. Cut to one of the football players caressing his ball saying, "Don't worry, baby. I won't be rough. I won't hurt you" with a mentally disturbing smile and crazy eyes.
In the earlier parts of the Golden Age Arc, we see Guts as a child being taught how to use a sword. He uses a two handed blade which is considerably oversized for a kid. We later see him hugging that sword like a teddy bear while he's going to sleep. Considering that he was raised in a mercenary band, blamed for the death of the only mother figure he ever had, and the abuse he suffered from the guy he considered a father figure, it's not too far fetched to believe that for Guts the sword was his only friend at that time.
Guts is often visibly shown having trouble sleeping without a sword and claims he can't relax without it on hand. Considering the dangers he faces this concern is probably for more practical reasons, but who's to say whether the possible emotional and practical reasons can't complement each other?
Played for laughs with Puck and the Behelit Guts carries around. Despite being an Artifact of Doom, he affectionately calls it "Betchi."
For as much as she treats it like an actual guitar, Yui in K-On! treats her guitar more like a pet dog. She gives it a name, sleeps with it, and dresses it up. The only reason she went with it was because it was "cute". Yui's never been totally right in the head to begin with.
In Sumomomo Momomo, Tenka has a soccer ball that he named Becky. She talks to him, and he often asks her for advice. She actually gives pretty good advice, too, considering she's a soccer ball...
Something of a subversion with the Soul Reapers' Zanpaku-to swords. Each sword is part of the Soul Reaper's being, but also has its own spirit and name. We rarely see a Zanpaku-to's spirit (Ichigo's Zangetsu usually only speaks to him in his own mindscape, and Renji's Zabimaru only appears a couple times), but all the principle Soul Reapers have learned their swords' names. While the swords are rarely treated as characters, in one episode Yumichika gets so mad at his he beats it against a rock. Rangiku's sword kind of rubs her the wrong way, too.
Any remaining elements of this are thoroughly thrown out the window in one the anime's filler arcs, where all the zanpakutou spirits are materialized in humanoid forms and wreaking havoc.
In the same arc, the zanpakuto are given even more human traits; like Yumichika's Fuji Kujaku refusing to reveal its true power because it feels insulted when he calls it that. (For reference, its actual name is Ruri'iro Kujaku.)
Played straight in a newer arc in which having a companion cube causes it to have certain powers. Such as a dollhouse which lets you trap people inside of it or boots that make your kicks increasingly lethal as they get dirty.
Seravy from Akazukin Chacha has a ventriloquist doll named Elizabeth. They're a couple.
Ikaros and her watermelons in Heaven's Lost Property. She is fascinated by watermelons and tends to carry one around with her. It's gotten to the point where she is growing a watermelon patch in her backyard and taking care of it like one would take care of a litter of puppies or kittens.
Done very creepily in Saiyuki with Dr Nii's rabbit toy.
Rurouni Kenshin: Saitou, during his (manga) fight with Kenshin, evades Kenshin's attempt to break his sword, stating that his sword had kept him safe since the revolution, and that he wasn't about to let anyone break it. Later in the fight, Kenshin tries again, and lops it in half.
The mascot of the Pokémon anime, Ash's Pikachu, loves his...ketchup bottle. No, really. This seems to be taken to an extreme by fans, though, since Pikachu only demonstrated a love for ketchup in one episode, "Showdown at Dark City".
In Gravitation, there's Ryuichi's Kumagoro, a stuffed pink rabbit that he treats like a person, and even provides a voice for. There's some speculation, though, as to whether this is real or simply an act put on by Ryuichi.
The sword Wado seems to fill this role for Zoro. It used to belong to his childhood friend Kuina—she died very young, so he carries it for both of them.
And for Nami, her adoptive mother's orange trees. Also notable that all three objects/types of objects are important because they were left behind by loved ones.
The Going Merry is treated as another member of the crew by the Straw Hats. It later turns out to be semi-sentient, as it's inhabited by a Klabautermann (a water spirit that aids sailors,) which causes its eventual destruction to be one of the biggest Tear Jerkers in the series.
In Carnival Phantasm during the Grand Prix episode, Assassin displays extreme affection for the shrine, even towards jumping out of the truck in a vain attempt to save it when Berscar knocked it over the cliff.
Mako: You gave your uniform a name? Boy, you must be pretty lonely to do that!
A Running Gag in Gintama is for the characters to act as though Shinpachi isn't a human wearing a pair of glasses, but rather a pair of glasses wearing a human (Which is taking a jab at his status as The Generic Guy). If his glasses are removed, it's practically guaranteed that everyone in the vicinity will start paying attention to them instead of him. It's actually worked to his advantage on a few occasions, allowing him to escape notice from enemies and sparing him from a genderbending satellite (It only targeted his glasses, which turned pink), though he complains about it regardless.
Hasegawa also gets this treatment with his sunglasses from time to time, though not nearly as often as Shinpachi.
The Ventriloquist, aka Arnold (not Albert) Wesker is a Batman villain whose multiple personality disorder led him to carry around an aggressive mafia-esque dummy named Scarface — which became the dominant personality of the duo, abusing Wesker and ordering him around. This made Wesker a rather tragic villain, because his core personality is mild-mannered and doesn't like what Scarface is doing or the abuse Scarface heaps on him, but cannot seem to break with the idea that he and Scarface are separate individuals. In one instance, Wesker actually shoots Scarface while the dummy is still on his hand, then proceeds to not notice that his hand is bleeding.
The second Ventriloquist was much the same, except we were told why she'd had a mental breakdown and taken over Wesker's schtick. Unless, of course, Scarface really is the combined ghosts of all the murderers hanged on the gallows he was carved from.
The Doomguy in the Doom comic treats his BFG-9000 as a Companion Cube.
The Mother Box is a series of devices used by the characters of Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" comic books. Each Mother Box is actually sentient and super-powered; the Forever People share one (and use it to merge into the Infinity Man when things get desperate), and another is built into the costume of Mister Miracle, who often has conversations with "her".
Orion the Dog of War has an even closer connection with his Mother Box. Its been shown that without the calming influence of the Mother Box not only does Orion's physical appearance start to deteriorate to match his father's looks but he also loses the ability to control his inner rage. In the Bad Future series Kingdom Come Orion has usurped his father's throne and has managed to keep his temper down even without the Mother Box. But he is by no means doing well.◊
In Seven Soldiers, Shiloh Norman reveals that he can't actually understand what his Mother Box says, but he tries to talk to it anyway to keep himself calm.
Shmee, the creepy teddy bear carried by perpetual victim Squee in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac. Both Johnny and Squee refer to the toy speaking to them, and the things it tells them are rather disturbing (enough to get Johnny to take a knife to the toy at one point). In the follow up comic, there is a dream sequence where Shmee reveals that he is Squee's own personal trauma sponge, possibly an analog to the thing behind Johnny's wall, but this is open for interpretation since this IS All Just a Dream, Or Was It a Dream?
Cheeks, The Toy Wonder, Ambush Bug's trusty young ward is... a stuffed animal. Even when turned into an OMAC, all he does is sit there. This is made especially clear when he's cast in the role of "Sgt. Cheeks, Frontline Medic." Yeah, that was a dark time for everyone involved.
Though perhaps a marginal example, given the object in question acts as the face of the character's split personality, just try to tell Batman villain the Ventriloquist that Scarface is just a puppet.
Actually, Batman once defeated him by telling the puppet that the Ventriloquist had betrayed him. Cue the guy attacking himself.
It has been suggested however that Scarface houses a demonic power and really is alive. This is typically considered even sillier than the alternative and tends to not be depicted as the case these days, though.
In Transmetropolitan, Spider Jerusalem briefly but memorably made use of the "wise and terrible" Chair Leg of Truth while interviewing Fred Christ (with extreme prejudice). The Chair Leg was quite a fan favorite.
Also, Bucky and his little toy bear, Smacky.
World manga Hollow Fields has Lucy's stuffed dinosaur (later converted into a grappling hook) Dino.
Spider-Man villain the Looter thinks the meteor that gave him his powers is alive and can talk to him; According to Spidey, he even watches TV with it.
Deadpool has the same one that every comic book character has: his text boxes. The differences are 1. Deadpool's are yellow and 2. Deadpool often references, and occasionally speaks to these boxes as though they were not, by default, a part of him.
This has further evolved - there are now two differently colored text boxes which converse with Deadpool. And occasionally refuse to speak to him.
X-Statix's El Guapo was a mutant with the power to telekinetically control his skateboard. But when nobody else is around, he talks to it and it appears to move of its own volition; at one point they get into an argument and the board beats him. Whether the board is actually semi-sentient or he's a lunatic and doing it himself is never established.
In a bizarre variation on the typical usage of this trope, Sykes from The Intimates is actually a living human being... but one who's never heard to speak and shows no real signs of consciousness ever. His fellow Seminary students theorize his mental powers may be at the root of this, that he's so advanced he operates at a different level that they can't understand. In any case, he's in a permanent state of catatonia.
Mafalda often makes sarcastic comments to her terrestrial globe - once even tucking it in bed and acting as if it's sick! It's a tad deeper than most examples seeing as she talks to it as a stand in for the world. It can get quite Anvilicious sometimes, such as in the "sick" example.
The poor thing has frequent sharp pains in its democracy.
Hobbes of Calvin and Hobbes, depending on your interpretation. Aside from Calvin, the characters treat Hobbes as inanimate (though Susie has occasionally interacted with Hobbes similar to how Calvin does). When Calvin's mom laundered Hobbes, he stumbled around a bit after coming out of the drier. The creator of the strip, Bill Watterson, has stated that he does not believe Hobbes is either truly alive or a Companion Cube- and as there is no Word of God saying otherwise, it seems that Hobbes' Companion Cube status is entirely dependant on the reader of the comics.
On occasion, Susie treats Mr. Bun, who is always depicted as a stuffed rabbit, as real.
And Hobbes is at one point disturbed by the fact that Mr. Bun appears to be in a coma.
Susie plays with toys like a normal child. Calvin brings the nature of reality in the comic into question. (Not an exaggeration. Word of God states there will never be an official explanation regarding Hobbes's nature.)
Calvin's evil bicycle ambushed and assaulted him several times.
The television in Calvin's house has occasionally had thought bubbles of its own, which no one else seems to notice.
There was a storyline where Calvin took a series of pictures of Hobbes making faces. He laughs at the developed pictures and shows them to his dad. Calvin's dad sees only the same shot of the motionless Hobbes, over and over again.
But in one comic on transmogrification, Hobbes claims himself to be Calvin, or so we thought.
Quincy from FoxTrot, despite being a live iguana, fits this trope perfectly. When Jason uses Quincy (and some old clothes) as part of a "Lone Iguana" persona, the effect is that of a guest character.
In one storyline of My Cage, Norm, the main character spent a week out sick, but no one noticed, as his secretary placed a potted plant with a face and the word "Norm" drawn on the pot at his desk instead. The plant later showed up as a member of the company's softball team.
In Peanuts, Linus's security blanket, but not exactly to Linus himself. In one week-long sequence, Lucy became convinced The Blanket had sentience and was out to get her, refusing to be in the house alone with it. One strip even shows The Blanket leaping from Linus' hands to pounce on Lucy. No one else witnessed anything of the sort; as Charlie Brown commented during the riff, "I never thought she would be the first of us to crack." (Interestingly, this was the only sequence of Schulz's strips ever to be rejected by his syndicate. They have turned up in collections, but never had a newspaper "first run.")
Sally used to have conversations with the school building (or at least one wall of it). Eventually, the wall began to produce thought balloons expressing opinions and making observations on life and its philosophical approach to wall-ness. (When the building collapsed, Sally interpreted this as the school "committing suicide.") Occasionally Charlie Brown's pitcher's mound would have thoughts and opinions as well.
Funky Winkerbean, in the days before Cerebus Syndrome took over, would often have various inanimate objects in and around the school (desks, computers, a pair of leaves on a tree, even the school rock) making comments via thought balloons.
Even more disturbing is a set of three strips that have lead many to believe that the entire series are the fevered hallucinations of a housecat as it starves to death in an abandoned house. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW ALONE YOU ARE.
The brick in Krazy Kat was, at times, presented as a character with a mind of its own; this was not unexpected in such a surreal series.
Get Fuzzy's Satchel has taken time to name just about everything in the apartment, though usually Mr. Hands (his wristwatch) and Mr. Bones (chewtoy) appear most often.
Beetle Bailey has an odd example: Sarge's stomach. When it's growling, Sarge often treats this as a verbal demand for food, sometimes talking to it as if it were his best buddy and sometimes arguing with it.
Mellow Mister Monkey from Empowered. Emp claims that he protects her from bad dreams.
Marv has his colt 45 which he names Gladys in Sin City. When "she" first appears, Marv talks to her and we get a full backstory about the gun.
An obscure British comics hero named Dolman fought crime using remote controlled mechanical puppets. The puppets had no minds or autonomy of their own whatsoever, but Dolman would frequently use his ventriloquism skills to throw his voice and hold conversations with them, even when no-one else was present.
In one Dilbert strip, a woman had a baby that looked like a loaf of bread, which turned out to be an actual loaf of bread.
In the Danish comic Valhalla, Thor has a tendency to treat Mjolnir as a pet rather than a weapon; this is most evident in the second album, when the hammer is stolen by Thrym, and Thor is close to panic because the hammer "isn't used to being alone." Of course, Mjolnir is a magical hammer, and on one or two occasions does display something resembling sentience (like when Thor tries to throw it at the Fenris Wolf, and the hammer turns around in mid-air and flies back to Thor rather than face the open jaws of the wolf).
One of Bill Maudlin's most famous 'Up Front' cartoons is of a cavalry sargeant about to mercy kill his mount... a jeep with a broken axle.
Naruto The Abridged Series has "The Log" as Sasuke's invincible rival. In fact, the only creature who might have a shot at beating him is Clucky... who is a chicken! Also the "One-Foot-Tall Brick Wall" which was Naruto's response to The Log, though not a bitter rival so much as an occasional cameo sidekick and a way to keep Konohamaru and his tag-along buddies out of the story as much as possible.
And Kakashi has his milk carton from time to time. "Heh-heh...moo."
Aside from Shinji himself, the first recurring characters in Shinji And Warhammer 40 K were the four miniatures with whom Shinji has several character-building conversations (a Space Marine Captain, an Eldar Farseer, an Ork Warboss, and a Chaos Lord). Then they develop their own personalities against Shinji's will. Then he starts having conversations with them entirely in his mind. Then they develop their own independent existences to the point where other characters have conversations with them (granted, those characters are Rei and Kaworu, who aren't exactly normal to begin with).
In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Progress, Princess Luna is rather attached to an antique abacus; in one chapter, her maid Sundance claims that Luna made pajamas for it and reads it bedtime stories. It became popular for a while for writers of other fanfics, especially (but not limited to) more light-hearted ones, to depict Luna with an abacus companion.
Another fanfic had Applejack comment that accidentally tearing her Nice Hat felt like injuring a close friend.
In Brainbent, the Fucking Ugly Stuffed Bee (aka FUSB) gets passed around to various people, with Sollux being the current holder. Also has undergone a bit of Defictionalization since several real life people have made their own.
Scrat's acorn gets this treatment in the third Ice Age movie. When he drops it in favor of Scratte, it "sings" a sad ballad as if it has just been dumped. At the end, Scrat leaves Scratte and runs back to his beloved nut.
Subverting this is the entire point of Pinocchio// The title character is a wooden marionette that can walk and talk.
At the start of Rango, the main character, a pet chameleon, treats the toys, fake palm, and dead bug in his cage as his friends and fellow actors.
Films — Live Action
In Cast Away, the stranded Tom Hanks finds a Wilson volleyball and draws a face on it to give himself a companion, which he calls "Wilson." The ball was inspired by the screenwriter's experience stranding himself on a beach and discovering a volleyball that washed ashore. Wilson is basically the only justification for the main character's dialogue through most of the film.
Lines were even written in the script for it, so Hanks would know exactly how to play those scenes.
... Not unlike Mr. Universe and his LoveBot companion, Lenore, from Serenity.
In The Professional, Léon's only friend has been a small houseplant, which he carefully waters with a squirt bottle and sets outside his windowsill each day. He says he likes the plant because it has "no roots," like him.
In the film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, Natalie Portman's character is presented with a literal block of polished wood that her mysterious, eccentric employer calls the "Congreve Cube", which he indicates is extremely significant and powerful, although we're not sure how seriously to take anything he says. In at least one scene, we see her (skeptically) trying to talk to it as though it could understand her. It may or may not be a Magic Feather.
In 1959's The World, the Flesh, and the Devil, with Harry Belafonte's character acquiring a mannequin and dubbing it "Snodgrass".
In the 2007 film I Am Legend, Robert Neville sets up several department-store mannequins around the video-rental shop and talks to them as if they were people to maintain some semblance of human interaction. As a sign of his degrading sanity, he begins begging a mannequin to answer him back.
Fred, if you're real, you'd better tell me right now! If you're real, you'd better tell me RIGHT NOW!(gunshots)...Damn it, Fred! DAMN IT!
In a way justified because he didn't move the mannequin Fred to that location.
Hedley Lamarr: Daddy loves Froggy. Does Froggy love Daddy? (squeak squeak) Hedley Lamarr: Aaaaaahhh.... ribbit... ribbit... ribbit...
In Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman orders all of the Marines to personify their rifles with a girl's name. The rifle creed is "My rifle is my best friend. It is my life." Pvt. Lawrence/Pyle takes this a little too far and is later seen whispering to it like a lover... before he snaps and kills the Gunny and himself.
In The Pink Panther, a really drunk princess talks with the tiger carpet on which she's lying.
In Scavenger Hunt, the servants' first item retrieved is a toilet from a fancy hotel. The ditzy maid nicknames the toilet after the hotel, and makes such a fuss over it that the team adopt the thing as their "mascot".
A rather sad example in May. May's only friend is a china doll called Suzy, in a little glass display case. She talks to Suzy, gets advice from Suzy, tries to surprise Suzy when she gets contacts to fix her lazy eye... As the movie goes on and the already unstable May's attempts to find a real friend fail miserably, she starts to genuinely think Suzy is actually alive, and starts to hate her sometimes, blaming Suzy for her own social mishaps. Eventually May, otherwise completely alone again, decides to make it up with Suzy and be best friends again... Only for Suzy to get accidentally broken by some blind kids the next day.
The title object in Albert Lamorisse's 1956 short film The Red Balloon sort of combines this with Magic Realism, in that it does seem to have a definite mind and will of its own.
The Maiden Heist, being about three art museum security guards who have over the years fallen in love with one particular art piece each, brings this trope to mind.
The dancing hula girl toy is the good luck charm of the Space Cowboys. Shown at the beginning during the failed test flight, then in a church, and finally in the shuttle.
Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), Memphis treats one of the cars he's stealing (a make and model he has a previous history with, and has the reputation of being finicky) as a Tsundere woman, addressing her as "Eleanor".
Knowing Stark, and with the evidence of J.A.R.V.I.S., it's entirely possible "Dummy" is also an example of A.I. Is a Crapshoot - with the result being 'bumbling and vaguely incompetant', instead of evil.
Although he doesn't actually converse with it, Stanley from UHF has an extreme attachment to his first mop, claiming they've never been apart. He nearly panics when it's confiscated after he loses his janitorial job, and the scene where he finds it again is shot and scored like a reunion between long-lost loved ones.
The green M&M plushie becomes this for Grouchy in The Smurfs.
Oblivion (2013): Harper's Bubble Ship has a bobble-head figurine glued to the instrument panel that Jack calls "Bob" and occasionally talks to. He makes a point of gluing it to his fellow clone's replacement Bubble Ship's dashboard after his first one gets wrecked.
The Bowler's ball in Mystery Men not only serves as a focus for her power, but also provides curmudgeonly advice that only she can hear and occasionally checks corners for her... or maybe she's insane.
Another example from Discworld, and probably one of the weirdest ones. Hex the calculating machine has a Teddy Bear after the events in Hogfather. Any attempts to remove the teddy bear results in Hex refusing to work.
Which leads to the wizards saying that one of the requirements for Hex to work is that it is FTB Enabled, which stands for Fluffy Teddy Bear.
"I don't actually think," Ponder Stibbons said gloomily, "that I want to tell the Archchancellor that this machine stops working if we take its fluffy teddy bear away. I just don't think I want to live in that kind of world." "Er, you could always, you know, sort of say it needs to work with the FTB enabled."
Any time the question of why Ankh-Morpork doesn't have a king anymore comes up, it's likely that a past monarch's habit of appointing trees, flowerpots, and decapitated bodies as Privy Councilors will be cited as a reason.
Of the various troll street gangs from which Brick (from Thud!) has been excluded, the most abysmally stupid is Tenth Egg Street's Can't-Think-Of-A-Name gang. Allegedly, they consider a lump of concrete on a piece of string to be a gang member.
The Thing in The Bromeliad Trilogy. It reveals itself early in the first book to in fact be a sentient supercomputer, but the nomes had it for centuries before that.
Mason & Dixon has a scene in which a pair of clocks have a conversation, although it could just be the narrator (who is a weirdo) speculating on what they would be saying. Somewhat more notably, there is Robert Jenkins' Ear, which, although severed and pickled in a jar, is still alive and has magical powers derived from its enormous historical significance. Did I mention that Thomas Pynchon wrote this book?
In the Norwegian children's series Knerten by Anne Cath Westly, one of the main characters is a stick that looks like a human. The other main character, a little boy, treats him like his best friend and has apparently not realised that he's inanimate. Sort of like Calvin and Hobbes, although this one is older.
The very first Winnie-the-Pooh story makes it quite evident that Edward Bear (aka Pooh) and all of his friends are actually Christopher Robin's stuffed animals. (Entirely justified since A.A. Milne invented the stories for his son, who had a teddy bear named Winnie, who was — incidentally — named after a real (female) bear at the zoo.)
By the Light of the Moon by Dean Koontz has Jilly and her potted plant, Fred. Fred is a stalwart, if silent, companion on whom Jilly practices her stand-up comedy routines.
Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls by Jane Lindskold has an interesting twist — inanimate objects constantly talk telepathically to the autistic main character, Sarah. And no, she's not imagining it: they sometimes tell her useful things, like the combinations to locks and safes, or the location of hidden items.
In Etgar Keret's short story Breaking the Pig, a boy becomes emotionally attached to his piggy-bank. When the bank gets full, he "sets it free" in the field so he won't have to break it.
Warrior Cats: Jayfeather and his stick. To the point where he always looks for the stick when he needs answers, and was horrified when he almost lost it in the lake. Feeling it also seems to calm him down (Is anyone thinking what I'm thinking?). JayxStick is also a very popular Cargo Ship within the fandom.
The authors took notice of the Cargo Ship and killed it dead: the stick is broken in The Fourth Apprentice, by Jayfeather himself.
In the Star Wars anthology Tales from Jabba's Palace, Dumb Muscle Gartogg hauls around and talks to the dead bodies of the cook's assistant and a B'Omarr monk after stumbling onto the mystery of their murder and being tasked with solving it. Even though he did solve it eventually, he kept hauling the bodies everywhere he went because he'd gotten attached to them; they were the only people who didn't seem to mind his company.
Anne McCaffrey's book The Rowan has the title character treating her Pukha this way. The Pukha is essentially a child monitor and stuffed toy in one, but Rowan has one-sided conversations with it, even as she's clearly aware that it's an inanimate object.
"You'd scorch your fur and blow your circuits!"
In the original novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Sara gets a doll named Emily from her father. Sara conceives of Emily as a listening companion, even a protective good witch, who moves around and does things when no one's looking. In the original novel, Sara's father dies in India, and Sara's attachment to Emily becomes one of her few escapes from her horrible situation. Until she breaks down and screams at it "You're just a doll!" and slaps it out of its chair. Later movie adaptations cut that scene out allowing Emily to be an expression of Sarah's imagination throughout.
The girl in Enid Bagnold's National Velvet wants to own a stableful of horses, so she has a boxful of cutouts from magazines. She pastes them to heavy cardboard, makes saddles and bridles for them out of embroidery thread, and "rides" them on back country roads, then carefully rubs them down and puts them away. They all have names and histories.
In Robert A. Heinlein's Juvenile novel Have Spacesuit Will Travel, the main character, Clifford "Kip" Russell, names his eponymous suit Oscar and has conversations with it. In one particular case, it even gives him a pep talk as he lays dying on the surface of Pluto. Note that though it's never mentioned outright, there's no indication that he actually believes he's talking to his suit.
But Patricia Wynant Reisfeld, aka "Peewee", remarks that when Kip was delerious while recovering from injuries, sustained while nearly being killed on Pluto, he frequently talked to Oscar, and then answered himself, leading her to suspect he suffers from multiple personality disorder.
Mercy Thompson is shadowed by an ancient magical walking stick whose initial purpose was to keep sheep healthy and ensure that all expectant sheep produced twins. Having developed a will of its own it tends to vanish and appear in places important to Mercy such as her home, office, car, and even in her hand when she really needs to hit something.
Older Than Radio: A Tale of Two Cities: A somber example Played for Drama: The shoemaker's bench and tools are this for Doctor Mannete, having being incarcerated alone by the Evremondes for 18 years, he begged for something to do, when he received it, he was so grateful he form an attachment with him. Years later, Mannetes daughter Lucy marries Darnay who is an Evremond and the doctor feels the compulsion to work with the shoemaker’s bench. When Mr. Lorry talks about destroying it, Mannete refers to him as a friend but it accedes. And in the last chapters of the books, Manettes will ask for his friend again when he crosses the Despair Event Horizon. When Lorry and Miss Prost destroy the shoemakers’s bench, they also treat him like something alive:
On the night of the day on which he left the house, Mr. Lorry went into his room with a chopper, saw, chisel, and hammer, attended by Miss Pross carrying a light. There, with closed doors, and in a mysterious and guilty manner, Mr. Lorry hacked the shoemaker's bench to pieces, while Miss Pross held the candle as if she were assisting at a murder — for which, indeed, in her grimness, she was no unsuitable figure. The burning of the body (previously reduced to pieces convenient for the purpose) was commenced without delay in the kitchen fire; and the tools, shoes, and leather, were buried in the garden. So wicked do destruction and secrecy appear to honest minds, that Mr. Lorry and Miss Pross, while engaged in the commission of their deed and in the removal of its traces, almost felt, and almost looked, like accomplices in a horrible crime.
Angerman of The Fire-Us Trilogy carries a mannequin with him, calls it Bad Guy, talks to it, beats on it, and is absolutely frickin' terrified of it. He even believes it is actively trying to hurt or kill his friends.
The bomber crews in The Big One name their aircraft (which is Truth in Television) and talk to them, believing that the aircraft talk back. It's unclear whether the aircraft are really supposed to be talking back or whether the crews simply imagine they are, with the "aircraft saying" what the crews might expect them to say if they were human. It should be noted that aircraft crews talking to their planes is commonplace and a surprising number of pilots think their aircraft do respond on some level to that courtesy.
The title character in Russell H. Greenan's The Secret Life of Algernon Pendleton treated a china pitcher called Eulalia as if it were his best friend, frequently talking to it and acting on its "advice."
In the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce, ambient mages develop this kind of relationship with whatever material their magic comes from. Evvy, for instance, knows when rocks are "happy" and Sandry apologizes to wool fibers for frightening them—except that the inanimate materials do actually have feelings. In a more conventional example, Daja talks to the survival kit she recovers from her family's shipwreck while she's still adrift and later turns it into her mage-kit.
Scrubs has Rowdy (and, in the later series, Stephen), the stuffed yellow labrador owned by JD and Turk.
Also, the Janitor's "squirrel army". The Janitor is a skilled taxidermist and has other animals he talks to including Bingo, a stuffed bunny who doubles as a salt and pepper shaker.
JD has also made a friendship bracelet that he wears for Sasha, his motor scooter.
Abby from NCIS has her mass spectrometry machine ("Major Mass-Spec") and Burt the Farting Stuffed Hippo.
MythBusters gives us Buster, an oft-destroyed and rebuilt crash test dummy that the crew uses in most of their experiments. Most of the cast (and quite a few of the show's fans) jokingly treat him like a real person.
Including when he takes more damage than they intended. In "Escape Slide Parachute" Buster was reduced to little more than scrap metal and flesh-colored chunks when a quick release failed and he fell the full distance without his safety equipment. The reaction of the crew (especially Adam and Grant) was one of abject horror, as if a flesh and blood crew member had been severely injured.
It gets worse for the myth where they needed to test possible brain injuries to Buster and added a destructible blood packet inside his cranial cavity to simulate lethal brain hemorrage if the damage was too great.
Not to mention Earl, the car they dropped from a crane to test "Buster 2.0". And several one-time ballistics gel dummies they named.
It also doesn't help that almost all of the ballistics gel busts they use in experiments are molds of Grant.
Or that they devote entire montages to lovingly dressing the busts up in a wig, glasses, bandana, whatever's in-character for the myth's scenario.
Kari's ballistics gel "Zombie Dogs." Which she was actually baby-talking to. "Aw, whosa sweet widdle doggy? Mwa!" *kisses nose*
In the Dynamite Surfing episode, Kari wonders if anyone else has noticed the disturbing amount of Grant robots that have been built over the course of the series.
During the Supersized Myths Jet Taxi segment, to make him even more animate than usual, they added a voiceover of Buster's thoughts just before they pulled his taxi behind the jumbo jet's engine exhaust: "I wonder if Mike Rowe is hiring."
Lucy the Moose, a 600lb rubber moose that they crashed cars into (To test the myth that speeding up before hitting a large animal will reduce the damage done to the car and driver. Busted).
In the short-lived cult TV show Sledge Hammer!, Sledge has a habit of talking to his gun.
In an unusual Panel Show example, after the third time Roy Hattersley MP cancelled his appearance as a guest on Have I Got News for You at short notice, his place on Paul Merton's team was filled by "The Rt. Hon. Tub of Lard MP" "imbued with much the same qualities and liable to give a similar performance", which Merton would confer with during the show. They won, in spite of the Tub being unable to confer with Merton for any questions aimed at it, and all of their team's questions in the final 'missing words' round being in foreign languages, and, in the last case, with the entire headline blanked out.]]
Ian Hislop: It is getting rather sad that I can't win against Paul when he's accompanied by a tub of lard and his questions are in a foreign language.
In a parody of Cast Away, an episode of Being Ian has Ian trapped on a sandbar and talking to polystyrene coffee cup.
While a semi-intelligent killing machine and thus not very inanimate, Rover from The Prisoner is a large, white bouncing ball. Needless to say, he is a favorite among fans and a common icon of the series.
Firefly's Jayne Cobb treats his very favorite gun, Vera, as if its a real person — so much so that he's willing to trade it for Mal's Accidental Wife.
And telling Vera that getting dressed up means she gets taken out special-like - while putting her in a spacesuit to fire at a target in hard vacuum.
Also, the ship's mechanic, Kaylee, often talks about the ship Serenity as if its a real person. In the pilot movie she strokes the inside wall of the engine room and coos, "That's my good girl" after a jury-rig allowed Serenity to pull off a difficult maneuver. Mal treats her like a person occasionally, as well.
Oliver, Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond's beloved 1963 Opel Kadett. Despite his age and third-hand ownership, Oliver survived a one-thousand mile cross-country trip straight across the spine of Botswana, including the entirety of the Makgadikgadi Pan, the largest salt flat in the world. Hammond loved the car so much that he bought it with his own money and paid to have it shipped to Britain. To prepare to cross the Makgadikgadi Pan, the presenters were advised to remove as much weight as possible from their cars. May and Clarkson undertook the task with relish, but Hammond refused to remove anything from Oliver. After a while, May and Clarkson joked that it would be like asking him to cut pieces off his wife. (It should be noted that Oliver had almost no problems the entire trip, compared to the other two presenters vehicles, which sank in the mud on the Makgadikgadi Pan even after removing practically everything but the frame and engine.)
Oliver was endangered again in the first episode of Season 12, in which the presenters did challenges in transport trucks (obUK/Commonwealth: "lorries"). One of the last ones was a hill start — starting the trucks (with their cargo in tow) on a hill without rolling backward. To inspire each other to do well, their most prized items were placed behind them. Richard's was...Oliver (with a smashing new "OLI V3R" Vanity License Plate). Hammond forfeited the challenge rather than risk his precious car.
Oliver is now a supporting character in the children's science programme Richard Hammond's Blast Lab, where 'he' has a Herbie-esque personality.
Mr. Bean's Teddy, and to some extent his car. Much of the humour comes from the inconsistent way in how he treats them — one minute gently lowering Teddy into his own miniature bed, the next absent-mindedly ripping his head off so he'll fit in the drawer. Then when his car gets run over by a tank, he kneels down in front of the wreckage as sad music plays — only to retrieve the lock and seem perfectly happy with this.
Captain Oats and Princess Sparkles of The O.C. fame. When you start warning your plastic horse of possible overtures to rape, you know you've got yourself a Companion Cube.
The Impala (known to fans as Metallicar) in Supernatural is considered by some to be the third main character. It features prominently throughout the series, and Dean is occasionally found to be whispering sweet nothings to it.
Chuck the prophet who is heavily implied to actually be God outright calls it the most important object in the universe.
One episode of The Mighty Boosh has them stranded on an island, talking to women they've made out of coconuts.
Margaret Lanterman (aka "The Log Lady") on Twin Peaks always carried around a small log in her arms. She seemed to share a psychic connection with it, sometimes dispensing advice and visions which she claimed came from the log itself.
Parodied in the "Twin Beaks" episode of Darkwing Duck, with Launchpad talking to a log-reduced Bushroot.
In Farscape, John Crichton's favourite weapon is a Peacekeeper standard issue pulse pistol, he will risk his life to retrieve the weapon he calls Winona: "Winona would never have let me down". Similarly, when D'Argo gets a ship, he names her Lo'la in memory of his wife and becomes quite fond of her. Moya is a subversion, as she's an actual living organism.
Doctor Who, The Chase: companion Steven Taylor goes back into a burning city/building to rescue Hifi, the stuffed panda ("my mascot") which has been his only company for two years of captivity.
The Doctor himself is very closely attached to his sonic screwdriver. When it was destroyed in a 1982 episode, he remarked "I feel as if I've lost an old friend." The Tenth Doctor reacts similarly when his sonic screwdriver gets destroyed in the episode "Smith and Jones". Martha is trying to tell him the identity of the evil old alien woman they are looking for, and the Doctor totally ignores her, aghast at the death of his sonic screwdriver.
Immediately subverted when she gets his attention and he tosses the "dead" — and therefore useless — screwdriver carelessly over his shoulder.
Subverted with the TARDIS. Its just an old ship, right? Sure, the Doctor calls it 'dear' and 'sexy', and companions joke that he likes to stroke it, but that's just a laugh, right? Wrong. The TARDIS is alive, and its a she, thank you very much. She even became a human for the episode "The Doctor's Wife". See here. She even said that he can call her "Sexy".
It should be noted that the TARDIS believed "Sexy" was actually her name, and the Doctor allowed her to continue believing that because he didn't want to explain what the word really meant, lest she take it entirely the wrong way
In "The Girl Who Waited", Amy, who has been alone for 36 years, disarms (literally) one of the hand robots, painting a smiley face on it and calling it Rory. While it's initially taken as a sign of how distant she has become to Rory, a younger version of herself is able to remind her that it's actually because Rory is the love of her life.
In "The Time of the Doctor", the Doctor owns a battle-worn Cyberman head, which he calls "Handles". He can talk and presents helpful information, including translating Gallifreyan and lives with the eleventh doctor until his, and the eleventh Doctor's, demise.
Both the Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon are known to have computers capable of interacting with people but of course, none of them are sophisticated enough for you to hold a conversation with. When it comes to Star Trek ships, though, Fridge Logic or even Fridge Brilliance applies: we know from holodecks, and fully sentient mechanical characters such as Data and the Doctor, that a computer with much more personality is not hard to create in the Trek Verse. If, in a world where any AI-run hologram left running long enough becomes a real person, the best the ship's operating system can do is "* Beep!* Unable to comply. Applied Phlebotinumconveniently offline," it's by design — possibly to keep it out of the Uncanny Valley.
In Th Ultimate Computer they tried to automate the Enterprise using AI. The developer who designed the computer treated in like it was his kid. Of course, it went insane and Kirk had to talk it to death, because A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
Scotty The Original Series has been known to lament about the engine as if it were his child. And one episode has Kirk tell him to do anything to keep an air filter running, including coddling it and talking to it, if need be.
Another (not completely different) sketch had a round-table discussion on customs enforcement with a duck, a cat and a lizard. The duck, cat and lizard were obviously played by wooden models, so their inability to respond to questions is unsurprising.
And another sketch had a panel discussion with various pieces of wood. Oddly, they could talk.
And then there's Spike's Buffy dummy, shortly replaced by the Buffybot.
Kendra has her favorite stake, Mr. Pointy.
Kendra: Here... In case the curse does not succeed, this is my lucky stake. I have killed many vampires with it. I call it Mr. Pointy.
Buffy: You named your stake?
Buffy: Remind me to get you a stuffed animal.
Buffy apparently held onto Mr. Pointy for some time, name-dropping "him" occasionally over the next couple of seasons.
One of Mad TV's sketches includes a fake commercial about a woman in an abusive relationship with a bottle of shampoo.
An odd variation appears in Soap with Bob, Chuck's ventriloquist dummy. Originally Chuck was only supposed to be a temporary character but he and Bob were so popular that the writers had to keep them. It gets to the point where all but a few of the characters forget Bob isn't a separate person, the audience will always refer to Bob as a separate character as well. All of the characters dislike Bob because of his rude behaivour but like Chuck because he's very well-mannered (the except is Benson as he's one of the few sane ones; Mary, while sane, just considers Chuck as troubled).
In LOST, John Locke, in no uncertain terms, talks with the island and believes it has a will. Though, depending on further reveals, there may be a significant element of truth to this.
Claire's Squirrel Baby was outright conceived as a Take That to Wilson from Castaway.
Arkwright's till from Open All Hours is an inversion. Arkwright and Granville treat it as though it's alive, but it's a malevolent being that does its best to trap your fingers every time you use it.
The trope is discussed in Community where Jeff gives a pencil a name before breaking it two and shocking the study group as a result to show people make bonds with inanimate objects too easily.
There is an episode in Malcolm in the Middle when Malcolm's mom has a mental breakdown and starts making little pigs out of balloons and paper-mache. Dozens of them. And she gives each and every one a name and background.
In Deadwood, Al Swearengen receives an Indian man's head in a box, which he doesn't want. He first makes use of the box as a prop in a ploy, describing his plan to the head beforehand. Subsequently, he takes to delivering Surrogate Soliloquys to the head, and addresses it as "Chief." As time goes on, he treats it more and more like a friend and confidant, and at one point brings it out onto the balcony and opens the box so it can "watch" the events on the street. Eventually Al's dragon Dan Dority confronts him about the issue, and Al has to assure him that he's not going crazy.
Ashes to Ashes had Gene's Audi Quattro. It even got its own He's Back moment in season 3 opening and the scene when it was destroyed in the last episode in a hail of gunfire it arguably had more emotional depth than Viv's death in a previous episode.
Rex from Victorious is Robbie's ventriloquist dummy. Despite Robbie controlling him, he seems to have a mind of his own, and the other characters, while at first humoring Robbie by pretending he was a real person, eventually start believing it themselves. If Rex says or does something rude, they get mad at him and not Robbie. And the reactions they all give when he is sucked into the Turblow Jet were as if one of their closest friends was being maimed.
On Fist Of Fun "Lifestyle Expert" Peter's only friend was a small green toy called Donny Oddlegs. Unfortunately after Peter accidently ate the remains of Rich's father, Donny ended up in a bin and on fire.
Also, Janet has a mannequin named Jonny 2, which she has dressed exactly like Jonny. This is only featured in one episode, in which she uses it as a source of comfort when she's in labour.
An unsettling number of grieving pet-lovers on American Stuffers commence petting and fussing over their preserved pets when they collect them from the taxidermists'. Granted, this trope is the whole point of that side of the business.
Parks and Recreation: DJ Roomba, Tom's combination of an mp3 player and a Roomba. At one point it's destroyed when Jerry steps on it causing Tom to expel grief stating that DJ Roomba was like a son to him.
Pixelface: In "Out of Sight", a glitch in the system renders Claireparker unable to be detected by the rest of the occupants of the console. Starting to crack up, she begins talking to the rubber duck she picked up in the last session of her game.
In the first Halloween Episode of The Office, Michael jokingly pretends to start taking advice from his fake second head on who should be fired. Dwight starts arguing with the fake head because it is suggesting maybe Dwight should be let go.
On Card Sharks, host Jim Perry referred to the prop that held the question cards as "G2-T2", both in reference to Mark Goodson-Bill Todman productions and R2-D2. The prop was often treated as if it were a living thing, as seen here.
In The League of Gentlemen, the only friends Pauline has are pens. She is quite proud of this, because she is a saddo.
On 30 Rock James Franco enters into a fake relationship with Jenna to cover up his actual relationship with a body pillow.
On Friends Joey and Chandler have named all the foosball players on their foosball table. Pheobe has created 3D paintings which terrify everyone else and named them as well. Rachel convinces Joey that the paintings are haunted.
From Game of Thrones king Joffrey and his crossbow. Granted, it is a state-of-the art piece of weaponry, but Joffrey's affection to it is still disturbing, such as how he is much more excited about it then about his bride. It's telling, however, that fawning over a crossbow is the least creepy thing about the brat.
Neil Diamond's "I Am...I Said" has in its chorus the line And no one heard at all / Not even the chair. While this is usually dismissed as being just an incredibly Painful Rhyme, Diamond himself has stated that the song was written at a time when he was in a hotel room feeling incredibly lonely, to the point where he really did regard said chair as his sole companion.
In the Japanese professional wrestling promotion Dramatic Dream Team (DDT), several inanimate objects have held the promotion's "Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship" (a joke title defended any time at any place during any match against anyone or anything, in a parody of WWE's retired Hardcore Title and its infamous "24/7 Rule"). Several of these inanimate "performers" include Kitty-Chan (a Hello Kitty plushie), a wooden baseball bat, and — most memorably — Ladder. All of these "wrestlers" were treated by actual wrestlers and DDT performers/crew as if they were any other human competitor.
In fact, not one, not two, but three different Ladders have held the belt. And the baseball bat lost the title by a "KO" decision after being broken in half.
Note that the WWE's Hardcore Title received this treatment at least once itself — one of the most prominent members of the Hardcore division was Al Snow, a Cloudcuckoolander who carried around a mannequin head and treated it as if it was alive, and, in Al's mind at least, Head once held the Hardcore Title after she turned on Al.
Perhaps the ultimate version came with Internet wrestling parody Brawlers on a Budget, where the You Gotta Be Kidding I Ain't Doing That Are You Out Of Your Fricking Mind title belt won itself on three separate occasions. On one occasion winning it from another title belt.
Wouldn't that have been a Head Heel Turn?
If we're bringing up e-Wrestling in any form, Premier WC deserves a mention. The first tag team champions were a 6'8" powerhouse and his faithful colleague and tag partner, a common wrench known as Wrenchie (who could pull off a mean 630 Phoenix Splash if given the right push).
Of course, the WWF of the 90's and early 2000's loved this trope, too. Several wrestlers utilized Companion Cubes, such as Mankind (Socko!), Al Snow (Head!), and Perry Saturn (uh... mop with a wig!).
Steve Austin's watch, which, I guess, was broken because it was always the same time.
Chavo and his hobby horse that he called Pepe.
Rick Stenier often talked and listened to his own hand for awhile. If I remember correctly, he also had a bulldog that he talked to as well.
Puppet Shows/Ventriloquist Acts
The entire premise behind ventriloquist acts.
Jeff Dunham frequently lampshades it during his routines. In "Arguing With Myself", he relates a story of taking his "helpers" through airport security:
"He could've swabbed Peanut on the head, on the foot... no. In front of God and everybody, he swabs his butt, just like that! I know it's only a puppet, but... I work with the guy! There's a relationship there!"
Zoe of Sesame Street has a pet rock named Rocco, which she treats as alive. It is often scorned by Elmo, though he sometimes goes along with the charade just to get it over with.
Big Bird had his teddy bear, Radar (a Shout-Out to the Mash character).
Ernie had his rubber duckie.
Amy, The Dancing Brick in It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. In theory, not totally dissimilar from Gonzo's usual acts (Yollanda, The Dancing Cheese, for example), except that "she's" not a Muppet brick; she's just a brick.
The Adeptus Mechanicus "Machine Cult" of Warhammer 40,000 treat all machines as if they contain sentient "machine spirits". Interestingly, actual artificial intelligences are considered anathema by the Cult Mechanicus, as it's believed that "thinking machines" nearly destroyed humanity at one point.
Though, it is notable that Titans, The Giant Mecha of the Warhammer universe, are Semi-sentient, with each having its own mind. On one occasion, the mind of a Titan commander is also resident inside the machine, after he dies while still linked up to it.
It should also be noted that Machine Spirits seem to be real, particularly in more advanced machines; Land Raider tanks in particular have a reputation for continuing fighting long after their crew has been killed. Either the vehicles genuinely are possessed, quite possible in the demon and god filled setting, or the Techpriests are building AIs into their machines without realising it, since many machines are made by creating exact copies of ancient designs that nobody really understands anymore.
Some 40k media state that instead of AIs the Adeptus uses the brains of large, predatory animals as organic computers, which explains why a tank can go "feral".
The closest things to being "cute" in a non-ugly way in that world are the drones the Tau use.
In GURPS handbooks, the example given for Delusion is "all purple things are alive." How big the Delusion is (how many points it's worth) depends not on the nature of the Delusion, but on how much it affects your character's behavior. In practical terms, this Delusion could range from saying hello to purple objects and patting them (Quirk or Minor Delusion) all the way up to attacking purple things on sight (Major Delusion) and refusing to talk until all of them are taken from the room.
Dungeons & Dragons has a feat named Familiar Item. The Item actually can be alive and have personality and ego only for the owner... and just because the owner likes it so much.
The Prestige Class Kensai forms a bond with a specific weapon strong enough to imbue it with magical powers. There are also ceremonies that most any character can undergo to magically/spiritually bond with the weapon of their choice. Not to mention Intelligent Items, which, being sentient, can actually form friendships with characters.
Occasionally subverted in that the owners find the intelligent items so annoying, given that they do not need to sleep, eat or take breath to continue talking, that they tend to be found in unfortunate places like sewers or active volcanoes.
Promethean: The Created has a power that allows the Promethean to create an intelligence in any inanimate object. It's mentioned that the intelligence can survive indefinitely as long as the Promethean keeps funneling a single point of Pyros into it, and that Prometheans will sometimes do this so that they don't have to be alone. Only rarely does any of their kind deride this. (In situations where loneliness isn't a concern, Prometheans sometimes use the power to create subtle spies.)
Several characters in Sunday In The Park With George are played by cardboard cutouts. Most seem to be products of George's imagination, though other characters seem to interact with them. In particular, one of a pair of soldiers:
Celeste #1: He's very quiet. Soldier: Yes. Actually he is. He lost his hearing during combat exercises. Celeste #1: What a shame. Soldier: He can't speak either. Celeste #2: Oh. How dreadful. Soldier: We have become very close, though. Celeste #1: So I see.
Paul Hindemith's opera Cardillac is about a goldsmith who treats his creations like his own children: he sings to them, swears to protect them — and murders his customers to regain them. Indeed, he treasures his handiwork more than his life-and-blood daughter: his dying glance falls not on his heartbroken daughter, but on the beautiful gold chain hanging on her neck.
The famous scene in which Hamlet picks up a skull and laments about the friend it used to belong to ("Alas poor Yorick...") can border on this trope, depending on the performance.
As written, it does not fall under the trope. Hamlet is talking to Horatio, not the skull. This monologue is frequently taken out of context and turned into a soliloquy that is performed on its own. Since the soliloquy version usually does not have Horatio present, it comes off as Hamlet talking to the skull, which is a borderline invocation of the trope.
In Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo, according to the author's stage directions, the dummies should be posable to make it look as if they were carrying on conversations with each other and Serafina.
In Pokémon Live!, while the characters generally treat MechaMew2 like an actual Pokemon, Giovanni speaks to it as if it were alive at some points. His comments range from innocuous to parental to outright disturbing.
A man in England took the Hans Bellmer route with his RealDolls and actually gave them fully fleshed-out personalities, occupations, and histories. A photo of one such doll named "Rebecca" by Bay Area photographer Elena Dorfman was featured in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Since RealDoll's invention in the early 90's, this obsession has been more common than you'd think. There have been full webrings dedicated to the fictionalized characters the owners have written for their dolls, with extensive bios, journals of their lives, and galleries featuring the dolls in a variety of fashions.
Furbies - Designed to emulate a plush pet with a personality, they were in fact popular enough to warrant a revival after disappearing from the market. And though they've never threatened to stab anyone (AFAIK) others find them horrifically repulsive, even to the point of reacting to them with violence. Like this.
Let's face it- most toys in general, even if they're not in the shape of a living creature. Dolls and stuffed animals especially.
The Trope Namer, the Weighted Companion Cube from Portal; while the player doesn't treat the Cube as a real person, GLaDOS and the unseen previous escapee certainly do. Which makes the cruelty of GLaDOS forcing you to "euthanize" it all the more bizarre, doubly so when she later guilt-trips you over it during the final battle. In the commentary, the developers explain that, by making GLaDOS talk about the cube as if it were alive, players went from abandoning the cube and trying to solve the puzzles without it to always keeping it by their side. One of the developers has stated that this was based on a declassified CIA document which stated that people in isolation would bond with inanimate objects.
In the "Lab Rat" tie-in comic to the sequel, the Cube serves as the schizophrenic Doug Rattmann's spiritual advisor of sorts, giving him advice and moral support.
The cube makes a couple of reappearances in Portal 2 itself, first in the early test chambers, where GLaDOS taunts you by fizzling one, then reveals that she has "entire warehouses full of them", and then fizzles another yet again when you try to smuggle it out of the test chamber, which you would never think to do if she weren't giving you hints about it. Oh, and she again claims that it's sentient. Yank the Dog's Chain indeed. And lastly, at the very end, she gives you back the original Cube, charred from its trip to the incinerator but otherwise apparently intact. Likewise, the Cube has several less noticeable cameos, including the occasional cube flying through pipes and one falling into the incinerator after GLaDOS's reactivation. You can't save it. If left to its own devices in the second game, the cube actually starts to "sing" to Chell, putting weight behind the sentient theory (developers said it's because all of Aperture is glad to have Chell back)
In the otherwise unrelated game The Stanley Parablenote which runs on Source, the same game engine the Portal games ran on, it's possible to spawn the Weighted Companion Cube note specifically the original design from the first Portal game, not the updated design from the sequel with the use of console commands. However, it's possible it may be because one of the endings brings you to the first test chamber from the first Portal game, which involves a Weighted Storage Cube, and its Weighted Companion Cube counterpart was included along with it in the game assets.
In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, in the Laboratory Room (Door 8), examining the testing dummy enough times will result in Junpei feeling sorry for it, and giving it the name 'Science Boy.' Similar to the Portal example, to solve the room you have to burn the mannequin. Examining it again before letting Clover out of the room (which is pouring with smoke from the burning dummy) will result in Junpei caring more about Science Boy. And upon leaving, you have to enure another of Junpei's puns:
Junpei: (So long, mannequin... You may not have been a real man, but I always thought of you as kin...)
The L-Block from Tetris won the November 2007 GameFAQs character battle. And the day after its victory, the site's daily poll was a "bonus" battle between the L-Block, the Companion Cube, the Paddle from Pong, and the [?] block from Super Mario Bros.Question Mark Block won.
For the 2008 contest, the Weighted Companion Cube itself is an entrant in the main battle, along with L-Block aiming to retain its title. There was a rally for the Surveillance Camera from Shadow Moses heliport in Metal Gear Solid, but it didn't get enough nominations.
Mr. Bear, Penny's teddy bear, from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin. Since Penny is utterly, utterlyAx-Crazy, Mr. Bear comes off as rather... sinister in the process.
Earlier Crimbo seasons offered the Pet Rock and the (non)functionally identical Toothsome Rock.
The Sombrero and Bloodfaced Volleyball as well, though they do do things...somehow. (though at least Sombrero is partially justified by being combined with a chicken's ghost.)
The Blood-Faced Volleyball is a direct Shout-Out to Cast Away. Though the game will reject any attempt to name your volleyball companion any form of "Wilson".
The Teddy Bear (and its Borg version) may qualify for this, since they don't actually do anything except block hits and get the stuffing knocked out of them. And you can name them endearing names.
Sasha, the Heavy Weapons Guy's minigun in Team Fortress 2, as seen in the Meet The Heavy video. The ingame taunts involve him hugging the gun saying things like "Kiss me!" and "You did well!". There is also a similar unlockable gun, Natasha. It is heavily implied that the Heavy is having an affair with this gun. Seriously.
The Sandvich, which comes from the same update as Natasha, appears to be getting the same attention as well, with lines such as; "What's that, Sandvich? KILL THEM ALL!? GOOD IDEA!" It even got its own video.
Meta-example and not to the same degree, but frequent Engineer players will often grow attached to buildings that manage to survive multiple player deaths.
It is also revealed that the Heads in meet the Soldier are the Soldier's companion cubes.
One Valve-made comic has a photo of the Heavy sleeping in his forest cabin, with Sasha layng next to him on a smaller bed. The Scout lampshades this odd situation.
Trilo from case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All is a ventriloquist's dummy who seems to have a mind of his own. He may have been derived from the Batman character The Ventriloquist, as he also abuses his handler.
The series also has "Charley", a potted plant in the main character's office. It's one of the few characters from the original series to show up in the fourth and fifth games. "Charley" could also be a reference to "Chuck the plant", from Maniac Mansion, which became a running in-joke and appears in many adventure games afterwards, such as Day Of The Tentacle and Enclosure.
This shows up in Devil May Cryfanfiction with the Devil Arms, but since those bear the sentient souls of the defeated demon in question, it's something of a Justified Trope. More straightforwardly, in an early scene of the fourth game, Nero and Kyrie talk about Nero's "Red Queen" sword as if discussing a female.
Two of the Devil Arms, Agni and Rudra, can even talk, although Dante would only take them with him if they kept silent. They start laughing during one of Dante's flashier combos with them, forcing Dante to yell "SILENCE!" as a reminder of their agreement.
The cardboard box from Metal Gear Solid is referred to repeatedly as if it were a person.
"Take care of your cardboard box, and it'll take care of you."
In the world record attempt on the largest number of video game cosplayers in one area, at London Expo 2008, the Box (brought along by a Metal Gear cosplay group) was counted by the Guiness team as a character.
In the fourth game hiding in the box increases the rate at which Snake's psyche meter refills, implying that he finds it comforting to be in there. The trophy for it in Super Smash Bros. Brawl even notes that Solid and Liquid Snake have "a deep affection for cardboard".
Boo, the Miniature Giant Space Hamster of Baldur's Gate fame, served as a biological version of this trope for the brain-addled Minsc. Although it's also entirely possible Minsc was right. It has been implied by what may count as Word of God that Boo was bought from Elminster himself.
It's also worth noting that canonically, Giant Space Hamsters do exist in the Forgotten Realms Settings at that point.
The Modron toy in Planescape: Torment. Initially you just start playing with it, but then you can talk to it, much to Morte's irritation. It gets better from there, to the point where Morte's final irritation is actually worth a voiced line. Also makes your character alignment more Chaotic.
New Vegas also gives us ED-E for the player. It's a floating robot ball that doesn't talk or have personal problems to solve like the other companions. But it has a fun nickname, plays a jingle to alert you to enemy presence, increases your detection range, has a zappy laser weapon that sets enemies on fire, and is generally adorable to watch just floating around. If you complete ED-E's sidequest, his slide in the ending notes that it stays with the Courier as a loyal companion.
In the Lonesome Road DLC, ED-E becomes much more emotive, revealing a deeper backstory. He was the prized creation of Dr. Whitley, who fawned over ED-E, but was unfortunate enough to have been created in the Enclave. ED-E was forcibly upgraded by another Enclave researcher, a process as painful to ED-E as anesthetic-free vivisection to a human. The last straw was when Colonel Autumn, commander of the Enclave, ordered Whitley to destroy the Duraframe Eyebots for use in the Hellfire Armor project. ED-E was forced to flee from the one man he loved to escape death, who was likely killed in the Enclave-Brotherhood of Steel war. Essentially, ED-E's story is both remarkable and tragic.
Cute little boy Carl Clover from Blazblue has an automaton named Nirvana that he talks to and treats like his older sister, Ada. It's animate, and is implied to be sapient... but isn't actually capable of talking. He acts like it is, anyway. Various characters can't decide if Carl's just crazy. Well, he is probably crazy, but, as it turns out, the automaton IS his sister. His father finally alluded to killing Carl's sister and using her soul to power the automaton.
Marky Dubois's (of Backyard Sports) frog, whose name is Frog. Also, Luanne's teddy bear.
Aida, of Unreal II: The Awakening fame, has a magnum pistol which she calls Grace. She's even more emotionally attached to the ammunition, judging by how few bullets the game gives you for the damn thing.
League of Legends has Annie's stuffed bear Tibbers. Overlaps with Pet Monstrosity since he's actually a flaming demon bear who was transformed into a teddy bear by Annie's magic. Her ultimate ability lets her turn Tibbers back to normal and unleash him on her enemies.
Oriana's ball is a straighter example.
There's also Rumble's battle suit, Tristy.
In BioShock 2 you can get the Handyman Gene Tonic, which lets you spend EVE to repair friendly bots and turrets. In true mechanic fashion, it also gives names to the bots you've hacked to fight alongside you. It kind of gives you an incentive to keep those bots active given that it's you versus a city full of Splicers.
Bionic Commando 2009. Man... Okay, so, pretty much, his arm is his wife. Good lord, what else is there to say? Near the end of the game, it is revealed that Spencer's missing wife was killed and her brain was integrated into his one companion for the whole game, his bionic arm. He is in severe denial after this reveal, probably because he sees it as ridiculous as it is. The twist was severely criticized by multiple reviewers, and thus is a perfect example of handling a Companion Cube poorly.
In Silent Scope EX, one of the bosses is piloting a helicopter with a human-sized stuffed bear in the gunner's seat (named Teddy). The game gives you an obvious weak spot, the boss's head. However if you get a headshot on the bear instead, which you have 3 second window of opportunity in the beginning and the bear's head is a bigger target than the boss's, the boss instantly dies. Also instead of the shot-through-the-skull image, the image is of the bear's head.
Borderlands has Tannis becoming attached to her tape recorder as she descends further into madness. In the sequel, she fell in love with two ceiling chairs and opposes Handsome Jack because Hyperion destroyed one of them while they were torturing her.
Also in Borderlands 2, Tiny Tina has two stuffed bunnies rigged with explosives whom she affectionately refers to as Mushy Snugglebites and Felicity Sexopants. Her comments regarding them are disturbingly, explicitly sexual. Also, two of the guests for her tea party sidequest are Sir Reginald, a jar with a varkid in it wearing a top hat with a monocle and mustache taped to the front, and Princess Fluffybutt, a doll with a grenade for a head.
Also in the sequel, Axton the Commando is in love with his Sabre Turret. He calls it "honey" and variously refers to it as his wife or girlfriend.
Shotgun-wielding bandit Marauders are best pals with their big, powerful shotguns, which they call "Shotty" or "Bucky." When injured they'll even assure the gun that they're alright.
Dragon Age: Origins's 'feast day' DLCs adds special gifts to give to your companions, more specifically 'special gifts' and pranks. Shale's special gift is a pet rock called "Herbert". The insulting one? An uncrushable pigeon.
Bianca of Dragon Age II is an even more apparent instance of this trope. Varric actually holds conversations with Bianca. Bianca is a crossbow, by the way.
The Touhou character Alice Margatroid and her army of dolls. She is even attempting to make them sentient, though hasn't had much success so far.
Though fandom sometimes makes her Shanghai doll and less often Hourai doll somewhat sentient. And then there's Medicine Melancholy, a sentient doll youkai. She and Alice have yet to meet in canon, but fanon has them meet a lot.
The Male Undead Merchant in Dark Souls has a wooden basket named Yulia, which he constantly pets and talks to.
Deirdre's ship in I Miss the Sunrise. Justified for a number of reasons; its stasis chamber kept her from going insane from emitter radiation, she was naturally inclined towards science and technology to begin with, and the other members of Purity Point shunned her, leaving her with little other companionship.
Silent Hill 4 - Serial Killer Walter believes that Apartment 302, where Henry lives, is his mother, and that he has to kill 21 people to "wake" her.
Jinx in League of Legends has some sort of relationship with Fishbones the rocket launcher. Her Joke involves her talking to it and her talking back.
Jinx (as fishbones): You should save up for your retirement ,yada yada yada.
Jinx:You're so boring! You're the worst weapon ever!
In the Killzone Shadow Fall, although it is not mentioned outright, the Assault Class has an automaton combat assistant named the "Buddy Drone". In addition, in the previous installments, some other automatons, particularly the Air Support Drone (especially the Helghast variant) have designs somewhat similar to faces (as in cars, in real life). In Shadow Fall's campaign mode, the OWL also has many "pet" characteristics, with some forums on Reddit dedicated to fandom of it.
Larxene from Ansem Retort has a skull she named Skull-Fucky. She uses Skull-Fucky in Pokémon battles (where it uses Mega Punch) and is implied to be in a relationship with the skull.
Fluffy, Roger's pet rock (not the sort described below, but a rather large rock specimen from a museum) in College Roomies from Hell!!! The weird part is that while Fluffy is never shown to move, Roger claims he followed him home, and Mike later complains that Fluffy had tried humping his leg. Occasionally, Roger claims that Fluffy wants a hump massage, and describes violence as 'erosive behavior'.
Poodle the Beating Stick, weapon of convenience wielded by Nanashi in Earthsong.
So far, the taxidermied corpse of Jade Harley's grandfather fits this trope in Homestuck. Lil' Cal also fits to some extent, although it now appears that Dave's bro was just moving him around all the time.
Homestuck also gives us the "scalemates": stuffed animals that Terezi treats as alive. Of course, she then proceeds to pass judgement on them, and her home is littered with their "corpses."
Sluggy Freelance: Torg has been known to start referring to things like a glow necklace and a serving tray as if they were persons, though those occasions did not last long.
Plant from Station V3 is a character in his own - he comments on stuff, people know he's there and he has his own thought bubbles. But he's just a potted plant. Besides getting watered, cynically thinking about things (and talking whenever it would creep members of station v3 out), he's just a part of the scenery.
The eponymous Moo from The Wisdom Of Moo is a cow hand puppet which character Emm speaks through. The human characters understand what's going on... but the toys treat Moo as if he's his own character, even when Emm is clearly visible — or even actively brought to their attention.
In this strip of Loserz, Jodie does this with two dolls representing her friends who have been absent. It's somewhat disturbing...
There are a lot of examples in lonelygirl15, most notably the purple monkey puppet, P. Monkey.
Subverted in the Whateley Universe, where Generator (Jade Sinclair) has a toy rabbit, a stuffed toy lion, and what looks like a Hello Kitty compact. But Jade's superpower is the ability to cast a psychokinetic copy of herself into objects, so they really are temporarily alive, and intelligent, and often very dangerous.
Survival of the Fittest has this with Hannah Rose and her "magic hat". Alice Jones and her stuffed rabbit (complete with a Shout-Out to Paranoia Agent) could have been counted as a borderline example, too, until she discarded it in favour of Guy Rapide's head.
Back in v1, we also had Cody Jenson and Loretta, a motorcycle.
Shawn Morrison in the Spin-OffSOTF-TV uses, of all things, a dead baby boa constrictor as one (he named it Brian Eno).
From another Spin-Off, we have Sycanus Appletin and Tobeyn (her teddy bear) from Virtua. It's also a rare canonical example of Cargo Ship, as she's explicitly in love with it and at one point is shown making out with it.
In Overthegun's Let's Play of Half-Life 2, he befriends a circular blade named "Sharpy" during the Ravenholm section. He carries it around with the gravity gun for at least half an hour, eschewing (the faster, easier) explosive barrels littered around, in favour of bisecting every zombie individually. He even has a brief panic attack when he thinks he's lost Sharpy.
Sharpy's just an all-round really cool fella. You can either shoot him, like that... or stuff'll jump at you, and he'll absorb a hit for ya. How great of a guy is he, really? These fuckin' washing machines wish I'd carry them around for three loads in a row.
In Baman Piderman, Baman and Piderman's friends Pumpkin and Tuba... except they appear to actually be alive and at least as intelligent and Baman and Piderman themselves.
Actor and blogger Wil Wheaton frequently posts conversations with iTunes on his Twitter feed
Several inanimate objects from Homestar Runner are treated as characters, like The Stick. Some of them, like Strong Bad's computers, seem to actually have minds of their own!
Paper actually "talks" to Strong Bad. Once, it admitted that it liked hushpuppies.
This was also parodied in the Strong Bad Email "Original", in which Strong Bad tells the tale of "Original Bubs", who supposedly left the series on unfriendly terms and whose absence was excused through a series of increasingly ridiculous tricks and guest stars, the most popular of which was "Onion Bubs" (just an onion with Bubs' face drawn on it).
Hell, even the sound made by Strong Bad's chair when he gets up has been turned into a character. Two characters, actually (The Geddup Noise and "his cousin, Chairscoot").
Hubert Cumberdale from Salad Fingers. In fact, it's used an awful lot to emphasize just how messed up Salad Fingers really is.
Subverted in Red vs. Blue since, though characters interact with Andy the Bomb, who is an actual bomb, he is given a voice (and quite a nasty personality).
Happy Tree Friends: In "Sucker for Love", Nutty's obsession with a heart-shaped box of chocolates on display in a candy store window causes him to imagine himself marrying the box, making it breakfast, riding with it in an ambulance as it breaks water during its pregnancy (implied by the bulge in its center), and having three small boxes of chocolates as his children. Then he finds the box cheated on him, discovering the affair after seeing Lumpy (who's now a milkman) leaving their house with chocolate smeared on his lips. A quick scene shifts to Nutty in jail, where it's implied he killed Lumpy out of jealousy. When he walks in the visiting area, he meets the box of chocolates (now sporting a scarf and pair of glasses) with a dent on its side (which he may have caused after beating it in his rage from its affair with Lumpy), and expresses to it his regret for treating it. After his release from prison, they both live happily together until their old age, when the elderly box of chocolates dies by falling over and spilling its contents. Before returning to reality, the elderly Nutty stands in the rain, mourning over the box of chocolates' grave.
Ol' Lynchy in Comic Fury Werewolf is this. The villagers are very affectionate of it, and there were riots when it was replaced with a typical lynching platform in Game 11. It was brought back as of Game 12
A strange justification in the second episode of "Perverts On The Internet:" After raiding large amounts of Mike Gibbons' booze, Kunt winds up believing that a Girl's World doll is possessed by the spirit of his dead ex-girlfriend.
In We Are All Pokémon Trainers, Vlad and Dintel's misadventures earn the Gliscor a Salamence-shaped Pokédoll. His Trainer gives it to Nadia the Salamence, who starts talking to the plushie about her issues and her lack of confidence after being hurt and rendered unable to fly. Eventually the plushie, nicknamed "Toothless", starts answering back and providing counsel. And it's not the only one.
The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Downplayed example is Jane's toy plushy cat. Jane introduces her as such: "She's not a real cat, which makes her far more superior to any real cats." Considering Jane's lack of friends, it's understandable she bonds and still relates to her toy, but she only showed her twice and she doesn't really talk to her.
When there's an odd number of players for The Sharkasm Crew's Doubles tourneys, the odd player out plays with a computer-controlled player. This CPU is represented by a piece of paper with a face on it, named Sonjai.
Ever since Sonjai's death, a new Companion Cube named Mogo (not to be confused with the original identity of Cephalo the Pod) has replaced him.
Plank from Ed, Edd n Eddy. A very creepy one at that as its drawn-on expression would regularly change to display various emotions and could appear in places that Johnny 2x4 would not have had time or ability to access including one notable occasion when it set off a Rube Goldberg Device setup by the Eds causing them to be affected rather than their intended target.
Kevin's treatment of his bike is sometimes shown as this. The Movie takes it to the point of being a Cargo Ship, with him repeatedly showing more concern for it than his sort-of-girlfriend Nazz.
Also, Sheldon, Ed's stinky hunk of cheese.
The Little Wooden Boy from The Tick lasted only one episode as Arthur's replacement; his fate is unknown after he rashly attacked the Swiss Army and aided the heroes' escape from Blow Hole. He presumably burned.
In an incredibly literal case of this trope, the Eliacube in Wakfu is this for Nox, who is heartbroken and obssessive enough to hear it talk back. In the end, this relationship turns ugly.
Though at this point its rather ambiguous whether the cube spoke to Nox, or whether he was just that insane. It's possible that Quilby whose was actually inside the cube was speaking to Nox.
The Simpsons once had Mr. Burns give an employee of the month award to... an inanimate carbon rod. Later in the same episode, a second inanimate carbon rod is hailed as the one who saved a space mission from disaster, and said rod ends up on the cover of Time, with the title "In Rod We Trust!" Homer is not happy.
In a Continuity Nod, a much later glimpse at the nuclear plant employee chart gives us just enough time to see that Homer is right at the bottom... and the rod is his immediate superior.
Are you kids hugging the TV?
When Marge throws Homer out of the house he creates a replacement version out of a plant and a paper plate. He then freaks out when it falls out of the tree house.
Mr. Hat and Mr. Twig on South Park. At least, Mr. Garrison treats them as real characters. To the point of rushing Mr. Twig to the hospital and accusing Mr. Hat of trying to kill him. It doesn't make things much clearer when Mr. Hat, despite being an inanimate doll who never moves onscreen at all, manages to drive a truck into the side of the jail to break Mr. Garrison out.
"How the hell did he reach the pedals?!?!?"
Mr. Hat also manages to vanish from Mr. Garrison's hand when Garrison refuses to take him to a Klan meeting. Mr. Hat is then seen sitting on the ground of the meeting later in the episode, though he doesn't do anything.
Subverted by a single instance of seeing him move by himself; his eyes turn in "Summer Sucks."
If you pay attention to Mr. Hat, the pupils in his eyes do change position fairly frequently.
Mr. Hat also managed to beat up Mr. Mackey whilst removed from Mr. Garrison's hand in "Worldwide Recorder Concert". Not bad for a hand puppet.
He also shows up in a sauna with John Elway, showing signs of life.
Mr. Hat is also a boss in the South Park video game, seen piloting a Giant Robot. Mr. Hat is a two-timing whore.
Cartman's toys in 1% are a much darker example, showing his twisted, schizophrenic mind.
Rupert, Stewie's teddy bear, from Family Guy. Stewie evidently views him as... a big, muscular thong-clad man with a teddy bear head.
Although only shown for a few seconds in a flashback vignette, Chris' Christmas present from Brian, namely a long-dead cat, buzzing insects and all. "I'm gonna call you Sticky Head. I love you Sticky Head."
"More tea, Mr. Bike?"
Peter's pet rock urinates on the carpet.
In the The Venture Bros. episode "The Revenge Society", the villain Revenge AKA Phantom Limb is completely insane, and the rest of his organization consists of various inanimate objects that he believes are people: Lady Nightshade, a woman's shoe, Chuck, a toaster, and a coffee mug named Wisdom, who he believes is a traitor and executes.
Cynthia, Angelica's tattered fashion doll, from Rugrats.
In Phineas and Ferb Dr. Doofenshmirtz's only childhood friend was a balloon with a face drawn onto it, which he talks to and calls "Balloony." In a later episode, he gets another one he names "Balloony 2."
In "Meapless In Seattle", Baloony returns. Apparently, he really is sentient and cares for Doofenshmirtz. Or maybe it's just his super-suit.
In "No More Bunny Business", Doofenshmirtz is upset when Perry the Platypus doesn't show up on schedule, and creates a new nemesis by putting a hat on a potted plant, which he dubs "Planty the Potted Plant". It defeats him.
One of Darkwing Duck's Rogues Gallery, Quackerjack, had Mr. Banana Brain, a doll which he treated as completely real, despite speaking the doll's side of the conversation also.
This reached a particularly strange point in the episode "The Haunting of Mr. Banana Brain" in which Mr. BB becomes possessed by a demonic spirit. Even though the doll was actually moving and talking on its own for once, Quackerjack never seemed to notice much difference besides commenting on how Banana Brain's voice was deeper than usual.
In the revival comic, after Negaduck destroys Mr. Banana Brain, Quackerjack goes completely Ax-Crazy in response and suddenly becomes incrediblydangerous.
Another villain, Megavolt, is either insane or an electrical empath (both have been implied). He considers all electrical devices to be sentient beings, and many of his crimes revolve around "rescuing" or "freeing" his electrical brethren. He also gets rather upset when he goes through all the effort of setting them free and they just sit there doing nothing.
Megavolt:(to light bulbs) Run away! Runawayrunaway! Oh no, they can't move! They've been weakened by the long servitude!
Slightly weird preschool TV example: Little Bear has a human friend named Emily, who in turn has a doll named Lucy, which she treats as sentient. Her intelligent talking bear friend and his likewise chatty forest buddies think talking to a doll is hilarious.
Also, Trixie is paired with a rock for a class project when her and Timmy are the only living beings in the room without partners.
Recurring villain Dark Laser (a parody of Darth Vader) has Flipsie, the flipping toy dog. Every single episode he's in, he spends at least one scene talking to Flipsie, and actually seems to take advice from him. In a recent episode, Foop told him to seek help - and since Foop himself isn't exactly the poster boy for sanity...
In another episode, Pinky's actor is "married" to a sock puppet. When Brain's actor's wife kicks him out, Pinky said that his "wife" did the same... "or maybe she just fell behind the dryer."
A variant in the crime "duo" of Scarface (a ventriloquist's dummy) and Arnold "The Ventriloquist" Wesker in Batman: The Animated Series. Wesker suffers from multiple-personality disorder, but Scarface comes up with all the evil schemes, and ruthlessly bullies his alter ego (whom he calls "Dummy", just to hammer home the point of who is really in charge). Even the other members of the gang fear and respect Scarface.
When the Scarface doll is destroyed, Wesker uses a sockpuppet that he called Socko in his therapy. Socko is a lot nicer.
In Justice League, there's a quick, creepy visual gag that implies giving the puppet a lobotomy with heat vision is all it takes to cure Wesker.
One episode of Gargoyles features an Unknown Rival of Goliath's who wanted revenge. He was a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of John Travolta, and talked to his bazooka, naming it "Mr. Kotter". He spends the entire episode talking about how Goliath is going to "get creamed". The bazooka? Shot pies.
Actually it was scripted as "Mr. Carter," but because of the character's accent, it sounded identical to "Kotter."
Over the course of the episode, the character flashes back to other episodes when Goliath inadvertently cost him a string of jobs, and he appears at least once more as a Quarryman (his work with Mr. Carter evidently made him feel better at the time but in the long run didn't help his grudge), but he doesn't seem to have bonded with his hammer the way he did Mr. Carter, and he does a Heel-Face Turn after Goliath saves his life. He eventually decides to go to Japan, where he thinks he can get away from Gargoyles.
Spat from "All That Glitters", thought it also seems to be sentient.
In the episode "I Had an Accident", SpongeBob shuts himself in his house with his three "new friends" Penny (a copper one-cent piece), Chip (a potato chip), and Used Napkin (take a wild guess). He acts as though they can speak, and carries on one-sided conversations. ("I could do without your sarcasm, Used Napkin!")
Patrick at least treats them as being real, tearfully commenting on Penny's beautiful singing voice, as well as thanking Chip when he 'showed them the door', an act apparently done by Spongebob tossing it at the door. Patrick is a complete idiot.
Mr Krabs treats his money like they're his friends, but when the Flying Dutchman gave him the ability to talk to money, they didn't like him because he never spends them.
Squidward affectionately calls his clarinet "Clarie", he also sleeps with it in his bed and says good night to it.
Stump from The Angry Beavers. Stump is clearly a sentient being. He just never shows any signs of life onscreen.
And unfortunately was forced to burn him in order to escape the belly of a whale.
There was also Arthur's nemesis Handy, a hand puppet belonging to The Human Ton.
In the live action adaptation, The Tick converses and attempts to reason with a clogged toilet.
Tire and Feather Duster from Ellen's Acres.
Although he's capable of creating other sentient robot minions, Grizzle from Adventures in Care-a-lot prefers the company of Mr. Beaks, a completely inanimate bird made from scrap metal that he treats as a living being.
In Get Ed, Loogie has a sock puppet named Dr. Pinch who is a good deal saner than the hand that he sits on. The other characters treat him as if he's perfectly normal (Dr. Pinch, not Loogie - they know Loogie's insane). He's also capable of carrying on a full conversation while Loogie is soundly asleep, and will even maintain his voice and personality if one of the other characters picks him up... In fact he was once able to enter a computer simulation when the mind scanner was on his head.
Mister Pück is Aelita's doll in Code Lyoko, first introduced as a living elf in her dreams. It is also the basis for her Lyoko Avatar.
The teddy bear from the first episode, "TeddyGozilla", might also count... until it is possessed by XANA.
Code Monkeys has this with Todd's on again, off again girlfriend, a doll named Tiffany, who in recent episodes comes off as rather abusive.
Mr. Buns from Ruby Gloom is a weird sort of cross between this and a Living Toy; when he's on-screen, he seems totally inanimate, and just to be treated as though he's a character by the other characters. But the moment he's off-screen, he seems to be genuinely animate, doing things like stealing buns or, in one case, fencing with Poe.
This is highlighted in "Missing Buns", when Misery shocks everyone else by claiming that Mr. Buns is just a stuffed sock and therefore irrelevant to their game of hide-and-seek. By the next morning, she concedes defeat to Mr. Buns and goes to bed.
In Moral Orel, Nurse Bendy has a teddy bear family at home she treats as actual family figures, up to making meals and talking broken child-talk with them. This is due to her loneliness and her feeling that men only want her for sex. Which is why she doesn't take it well when the Hubby teddy accidentally falls on her behind. Later on she is reunited with her real son and chooses to abandon the fake teddy-son for the real thing.
In one episode of Total Drama Island, Owen has a very intense emotional bonding experience with a coconut. Later, the other campers vote it off the island. The last scene of the episode shows Mr. Coconut floating out to sea.
Meatwad has other "friends" including Dewey (a paper towel tube), Vanessa (an apple), and Jeffy (a garden hose). However, Boxy is the only one that the audience can hear speak, even though he's just a box.
In one episode of The Brak Show, Zorak finds Brak talking to a lobster doll named Hippo ("He's a hell of a guy!") and throws it away because he's just mean. Brak gets a replacement, Dr. Grumbles, who actually can talk, but in something of a subversion, only Zorakand Thundercleese can hear him.
Sammy, a dead rat, in Wayside. Miss Mush seems to be able to interact with him with no problem, and he routinely beats her at cards. "How you do that? You dead!"
DeeDee: What was that, Monkey? (listens intently) Yes, Monkey! I too can see into the future! Mom: DeeDee! Time to go! Have you seen your brother? DeeDee: What was that Monkey? (listens intently) Monkey says that Chubby Cheeses took him into the deepest, darkest shadows!
Naturally, this is completely accurate.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Lolly Poopdeck is a recurring minor character on the show who is always seen carrying two buckets. Originally being his ongoing job on the harbor, each new episode has him acting as if his buckets are his best pals. Ironically, he is one of the residents who appears to regard Peppermint Larry's candy wife as an inanimate object when hanging with Knuckles in the episode, "Candy Cassinova": "Hanging out with inanimate objects is ridiculous and embarrasing. Right bucket?"
There are times in Danny Phantom when Tucker shares special bonding moments with his PDA, sometimes with the former treating the latter like a lover.
Tucker: If I don't make it, tell my PDA I love her. The cell phone meant nothing to me.
Other technology, too.
Tucker (Talking to a security camera in a loving voice): Hello special new friend.
Ivan Dobsky from Monkey Dust has his space hopper which he calls Mr Hoppy. It was implied that Mr Hoppy was the force behind some of Ivan's crimes; having said that, the results when the prison staff took Mr Hoppy from Ivan definitely count as Squick and probably count as pure terror: Ivan fashioned a new space hopper out of some dead guards. Needless to say, people weren't laughing at him then
Timon & Pumbaa: In one episode, Pumbaa ditches Timon in favor of a meteorite that fell from the sky. It ends up becoming a better friend for Pumbaa (despite being a space rock) and this causes Timon to get jealous and find a new friend. The friendship is only temporary, since Timon and Pumbaa reunite again and the meteor strikes a new relationship with a cheetah.
Freakazoid!: Freakazoid once had his own sidekick named Handman in "The Sidekick Chronicles", which happened to be his own hand with eyes drawn on it, and a voice provided by his ventriloquism. What's more, Handman then had an affair with Freakazoid's other hand, who both shared a long, kissing sequence (which was graphic even for a kids show) and married among a wedding made up of the cheering, dressed hands of the guests. Despite losing his sidekick, Freakazoid hopes to gain a daughter... or an upper hand. Unlike his hand couple, however, his feet are in a very rocky relationship.
While martial arts training, Johnny Bravo befriended a pebble. It was surprisingly touching.
Computer from Courage the Cowardly Dog. While he, if his speaking isn't just Courage's delusion, may be treated as a living character, it's still a computer.
I'll go against this. Unless you have ever watched the episode "Mega Muriel the Magnificent", then you should now that the Computer is treated as a living computer; since a lightning storm made him a sentient being, and he took over Muriel's body. Muriel and Eustace even acknowledge his existence.
Stan from American Dad! seems to have a rather intimate relationship with his gun. It "laughs" by shooting.
In an episode of American Dad! featured Steve dating a girl who had a doll as a companion whom she believed was alive and could talk to her, she sets up a date with the doll and Steve's friend Snot who is not amused, angered by this he tosses the doll on the bed and uses the restroom and the girl seeing the doll with her legs spread apart and him emerging from the bathroom believes that he raped her, she goes as far as taking the doll to a hospital because she believes that it's "pregnant", eventually Steve and Snot write a suicide note and hang the doll from the ceiling fan, but she thinks the doll was "murdered" because it wasn't "her handwriting".
"Over a Barrel": Applejack's apple tree Bloomberg gets this treatment. She buys it a private sleeping car in a train and reads it bedtime stories. Spike gets into the act when he bunks with Bloomberg to get away from the girls' night-time chatter, and apologizes in advance to the tree if he starts snoring. (This may be justified if he snores fire, however.)
"Party of One": Pinkie Pie has a nervous breakdown when she thinks her friends don't want to come to her parties anymore. She sets up a pile of rocks ("Rocky"), a sack of flour ("Madame Le Flour"), a bucket of turnips ("Mr. Turnip"), and a piece of lint ("Sir Lintsalot") as her new friends, and tries to throw a party with them. Pinkie Pie does their voices so well that she even gets Rainbow Dash to argue with the rocks. The most noticeable sign of Pinkie's deepening depression and insanity is that at first, she pretends that "Rocky", "Madame Le Flour" and the rest are talking to her by nudging them back and forth to create the illusion of movement. When they give her the Armor-Piercing Question, she loses any sanity she had left and her party guests seem to start moving on their own. And then the camera zooms out to reveal that the "party guests" are still inanimate, as always...
In "The Returnof Harmony", Rarity is brainwashed by Discord into thinking a boulder is actually a giant diamond. She becomes increasingly obsessed with and protective of it, and starts calling it "Tom".
In "Lesson Zero", Twilight Sparkle introduces her cherished childhood toy "Smarty Pants": a raggedy old stuffed pony doll with a notebook and quill. Twilight casts an enchantment spell that makes everypony in town to be attracted to the doll, leading to a large fight between all of them over it. After the spell is lifted, every pony loses interest and leaves the doll behind, except for Big Macintosh who is (for some unexplained reason) still attracted to it and ends up running away with it.
In "Pinkie Pride", Pinkie's rival Cheese Sandwich has a rubber chicken he calls "Boneless", which he talks to and carries with him on his travels around Equestria.
Adventure Time Almost all of the residents of Ooo are composed of sentient candy, mountains, teddy bears, etc. However, in the beginning of 'The Jiggler', Finn and Jake are rescuing a 'family' consisting of seemingly random food, although one, a watermelon, is named Stanley. None of them are sentient, and yet they have a house and apparently they get into danger constantly.
Bob in Bob's Burgers does this on a fairly regular basis, ranging from a cutout of Keanu Reeves to a night light to the Thanksgiving turkey. It's later explained that this stems from Bob having no friends as a child, and his only toys were a bar of soap and a scrubbing pad.
The Pet Rock, a 1970s phenomenon, was based around this idea.
The digital pet craze of The Nineties could be seen as a variant of this.
As people who have witnessed isolated orphans with stuffed animals (or any object they can personify) or even grown people in some pretty tough circumstances can tell you, the declassified CIA study referred to in the trope namer's entry is pretty much valid.
In 2000, a ficus tree ran against incumbent Rodney P. Frelinghuysen for the 11th district New Jersey house seat... and won the election by a 4:1 ratio before being disqualified. The Ficus campaign was masterminded by Michael Moore for his TV show The Awful Truth.
Campaign ad: Rodney wouldn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, Ficus' ass IS a hole in the ground.
A New Scientist article on human interactions with robotics and attempts to bridge the Uncanny Valley notes incidents of US troops in Afghanistan seeking counseling after their bomb disposal robot was destroyed by an I.E.D. Other incidences include a report that an bomb disposal robot had been stolen, in Helmand, only to find the Commonwealth solders had taken advantage of its dexterous remote control arm to take it fishing with them. Here is Washington Post article covering human-robot interactions in the military and the aforementioned incidents.
This is basically why ships and other craft are always referred to as "she" and why men are compelled to paint naked ladies onto warplanes. The practice of personifying ships goes back so far it's very deeply rooted in tradition, and has since spread to other forms of transportation. Figureheads and eyes are painted on the front of ships.
Of course, the fact that a lot of languages which assign genders to words typically have 'ship' as a female-gendered word, doesn't help. Starting with 'navis', a third declension female Latin noun meaning 'ship'.
During WWI and WWII almost all aircrews named their birds, as they were assigned to fly only one. In those days production standards couldn't be as high as they were today, so every airplane had its own ticks and tricks with it. This was more noticeable in bombers. Nearly every B-29 bomber ever produced had its own unique flaw that would have made it inoperable. One of the design engineers, Victor Agather, had to fix 600 of these fatal flaws in a three-day time period. Every bomber's crew were the only people who could keep it flying, so they would only be paired with that aircraft, kicking off the relationship between crew an machine. Most of them even made their own extensive modifications to keep their birds flying, like waxing the props. Many bomber crews would not only refer to their airplanes as she's, but went so far as to refer to the airplane's model as if it were the airplane's ethnicity.
US Marines are made to memorize an oath that basically personifies their rifle. Presumably so that they remember to take care of the firearm and have it at their side whenever possible.
It is very common for tabletop RPG players to attribute personality traits to their dice and give them names. Stories of gamers punishing bad dice are reasonably common. The usual method is to line up all the other dice to watch as the offending die is destroyed with either fire or large blunt object as a warning to start rolling better.
In software development, when trying to fix a stubborn bug, it is sometimes considered helpful to discuss the bug with another developer. The practice is considered useful even when the other person is completely unfamiliar with the code, perhaps not even a developer at all. The reasoning is that the act of having to explain it to another person forces you to step back from the problem a bit and challenge some of your assumptions. Lone developers will sometimes resort to discussing the problem with an inanimate object, a practice which has come to be called "talking to the Furby." And then there's rubber duck debugging...
One university's engineering department has a teddy bear sitting in the dean's office. If a student comes in with an engineering problem that they can't handle, they are first urged to "talk to the bear". Often, after they go over the problem with the bear, they do actually come up with a solution.
Computers are prone to get named. Especially, but not exclusively, by geeks.
Electronics like external hard drives and MP3 players or things like bicycles- basically anything that can "exhibit a personality" regarding its performance. Note that naming computers can be really helpful when you have a lot of them hooked up to a network, and making those names somewhat specific to the machine in question helps the users keep track of which one is which.
Windows XP and most Linux force you to fill in a name for your computer as a part of the installation process. The intention was probably to give the computer a meaningful hostname for private networks (e.g. home LAN), but that's not the way it comes off to even experienced home users.
People are supposed to name iPods. By default their name is "[your name]'s iPod", but you can change it to whatever you want.
The action figures, character models, statuettes and transformer figures the owner of the computer keeps around them will be named.
Serge Kahili King in his book Urban Shaman explains that he named his personal computer and speaks to it. "All things have their own spirit. They cooperate better if you can relate to them well."
It's not entirely uncommon for musicians to name their instruments, especially adolescents in high school band.
B.B. King's guitar Lucille may be the most famous example.
Willie Nelson's guitar Trigger is at least a close second.
Andres Segovia at times ended up with rumors of a woman in his life after booking transit tickets for his guitar — by name.
Stevie Ray Vaughan played a Strat which he named "Lenny" after his wife Lenora.
Often professional musicians who play a large instrument (cello, double bass, etc.) travelling by plane will book a separate seat for the instrument (mainly to avoid it getting damaged in the hold). Owing to one or other of many absurd airplane regulations, they are consequently obliged to give the instrument a name so that all seats have a corresponding name on the flight manifesto. Most just name it "Mr. Cello" or "Ms. Bassoon" or what have you, though some are inclined to have a little fun with the concept and put down the instrument's name as "Dr. Stratovarius Cello" or something.
Steam Locomotives are always refered to as she, even if they have a male name. This often causes... confusion to the punters.
Joe Duddington apparently gently encouraged Mallard to help her break the World Steam Speed record.
Champion Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark Fidrych talked to the ball before throwing it, among other eccentricities. Proof that the Bunny-Ears Lawyer exists in Real Life.
Hockey goaltender Patrick Roy was famous during his active career for naming his goalposts and talking to them, thanking them when a shot bounced off one of them instead of going in. Considering his highly successful career, he was probably on to something.
Build-A-Bear Workshop is a company that basically caters to this trope, where children (or even grown-ups) go to the workshop and pick the skins of their stuffed animal, fluff it up themselves, put a heart in it, and proceed to give it a birth certificate and even enter it in a system quite like Amber Alert.
This was done to a lesser extent with adopting Cabbage Patch Kids. It's played out completely at the official Cabbage Patch Museum. Hundreds of dolls are arranged in theme rooms. The main room is the actual cabbage patch, where several times a day visitors can witness the labor and birth of a real doll out of one of the cabbages. The audience is then asked to help name the new "baby" and she is immediately put up for adoption in the gift shop.
Who hasn't gotten angry at and started screaming at, calling names or even threatening their television, car, computer or any machine that suddenly refused to work, as if it was sentient and was doing it on purpose? There's a theory that machines, or generally all inanimate objects, are all out to get you.
Some people who own robotic vacuum cleaners such as Roombas get very attached to them, to the point of treating them like pets.
Every single person alive has had an emotional attatchment to a stuffed toy, household appliance, inanimate object, or imaginary friend at some point in their life. Some people grow so attached to their stuffed toy/inanimate object they would never get rid of it, even including the object in question in their last will, sometimes even requesting it following them to the grave.
In a crossover with Cargo Ship, assigning names and personalities to sexual aids is incredibly common. Even on this very wiki the term Battery Operated Companion has been used.
The Inanimate Object's Party, a joke political party at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that has an inflatable whale run for the position of Grand Marshall (read: Student Counsel President) every year.
Many smokers will name their pipes and paraphernalia, even going so far as calling the first time the piece is used as its "christening".
A more serious example would be the Holy Crown of Hungary, which was assigned legal personhood and is considered the sole holder of all state powers of the monarch.
Delusional Misidentification Syndrome is a series of mental delusions where the identity of a person, place or thing is different or has been altered. One such delusion is called "Delusional Companions Syndrome", a condition that mostly affects Alzheimer's patients who believe inanimate objects are actually sentient.
With the dramatic increase in the use of robotic drones in the US military, there were a variety of concerns including the idea that soldiers might be more removed from battle or otherwise not want to use such things due to their inherent complexity in a chaotic environment (i.e. they'd be more trouble than they're worth). Well, as it turns out, this isn't exactly true...
One EOD squad ended up taking their bomb defusing robot out drinking with them.
A soldier was in tears when he brought in his squad's robot drone (nicknamed "Scooby Doo") for repairs. When told he'd just get a new drone, he replied that he didn't want a new one, he wanted Scooby Doo.
A soldier ran 84 yards through enemy fire to rescue a drone that had been downed by said enemy fire. The human mind is wired for basic morality. If someone is downed saving your life, you'd want to go the distance to make sure he/she recovers based on the beliefs of "I owe you one".