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Robotic Spouse

"Ah, a match made in heaven is nothing compared to a match made in the lab."
Doctor Ivo Robotnik, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

An extreme form of Kiss Me, I'm Virtual, in which a (usually male) character, often a Mad Scientist, is married to a Ridiculously Human Robot. If the character does happen to be a Mad Scientist, expect him to have created his robotic wife specifically for this purpose.

Such a marriage is usually portrayed as sexist, void of any real love, and often downright squicky, unless you're into that sort of thing. In most of these marriages it's implied that the primary factor in their "relationship" is sex, unquestioning servitude on the robotic partner's side of the equation, or both. Ergo, most men with robot wives are usually portrayed pretty darn unsympathetically.

Sometimes touches upon the themes of a Replacement Goldfish, and can even involve Robosexual. Robo Ship often ends this way.

Note: Most of the Unfortunate Implications of this trope are reserved for when the human deliberately builds or purchases the Robotic Spouse; if the human had to court the robot, it's A-OK.

The title is the politically correct version of this trope; robotic spouses are usually robot wives.

For examples not involving marriage, see Kiss Me, I'm Virtual, Robosexual and Sex Bot.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime / Manga 
  • While Manager Ueda of Chobits did marry a persocom, it's revealed that he originally bought her to do finances at his bakery, but eventually fell in love with her. He also truly mourned her death when she got run over.
    • Even before that, it broke his heart when her mind began to decay due to hard drive corruption (in other words, she was suffering from robot Alzheimer's). He refused to attempt a data transfer to a new drive due to the significant possibility that data would be lost, thus changing her personality and memories - which would mean she would not be the woman he fell in love with.
  • Deconstructed in Ghost in the Shell. Gynoids, (and in one instance, an android) when used as "spouses" are viewed as a sign of perversion, extremely sexist, and it's mentioned that if the parents of a character ever found out, they'd "die of a heart attack or suicide." Reasons for why people would ever buy one include social ineptness and in-universe Fetish Fuel, as well as a status symbol within certain groups. Insofar as the gynoids have intelligence and "awareness", some are also aware they are mass-produced and a replacement for the real thing, with interesting effects on their "self-confidence" and "love" of their creator.
  • Armitage III spoiler: The Third-type gynoids are essentially mass-produced house wives, complete with the ability to become pregnant. This is meant to allow a disproportionately male Mars to cut ties with Earth.
  • Defied in the original Astro Boy's Blue Knight Saga. The evil Count Burg marries BK's "sister" thinking he'll get a completely subservient Stepford Wife, but when he learns she has a real personality he has her scrapped.
  • After the Cell arc ends in Dragon Ball Z, Krillin and Android 18 get married and have a daughter. Subverted in that Android 18 is more accurately a cyborg.

    Comic Books 
  • The Scarlet Witch married The Vision, an android, and while she was completely insane, it had nothing to do with her robotic love interest. Her insanity happened later, largely because of the Diabolus Ex Machina that destroyed her marriage. She and Vision were an adorable couple while it lasted. True to this trope, she was criticized for it. Especially by her brother, who was furious. (His argument that "robots aren't real people!" when his family have been targets of Fantastic Racism all their life was hypocritical, sure, but he made it.)
  • The Red Tornado and Kathy Sutton. They have an adopted daughter, Traya. In general, comics go for the "if the human had to court the robot it's A-OK" version of the trope, since the robots are main characters themselves.
  • Having said that, Toyman's wife in Superman is a straight example.
  • A Public Enemy story in Marvel 2099 Unlimited featured a man who was worried his robot wife would be the target of prejudice, so bought her synthetic skin. She refused to wear it, saying she was proud of who she was and their relationship, and if other people were prejudiced that was their problem. They have to be protected from a hate mob by the Public Enemy. We don't get much more details on the relationship, but since she was clearly capable of expressing an opinion and overruling his, it was presumably the "A-OK" version.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • The classic (1938) short story Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey. A medical student (Phil) and a mechanic (Dave) modify a household robot to have emotions. While Phil is away Dave activates Helen, who learns about love (from watching soap operas!) When Phil comes back home Dave has already fled from her affections, but changes his mind and marries her. On his death Helen requests that Phil shut her down and bury her with Dave. Phil does so, even though it's revealed that he'd fallen for Helen too.
  • In the Apprentice Adept series, Stile receives an unsolicited gift consisting of a human-looking, self-willed robot named Sheen, whose core programming includes an instruction to "Love Stile." Sheen is a kind of robot who is just as intelligent and free-willed as a human, but has trouble believing it herself. By the end of the trilogy, Stile has proposed marriage to Sheen, and this marriage sets a precedent in favor of granting civil rights to self-willed robots.
  • Hari Seldon, the creator of the Foundation, has a robotic wife named Dors Venabili. However, Dors is ridiculously human, and Asimov never portrays the relationship as in any way disturbing.
  • The Lake House by James Patterson. Dr. Ethan Kane, the head of the hospital where Max and the other children were kept, has a robotic wife that is "honored" to perform oral sex on him at any time and any place and even has a perfectly measured vagina.
  • In For Your Safety Anna Quisling is rewarded for her efforts to propagandize the Groupmind's cause with a fully intelligent robotic companion willing to fulfill all her needs

     Live Action TV 
  • Juliana Tainer, wife of Noonien Soong 'mother' to Star Trek's Data has no clue she was gynoid, no body else knew either thanks to systems designed to mimic human bio readings. An accident that knocked her offline provided a Robotic Reveal but it was decided not to tell her of her android nature. Note however that the Android Juliana had the original human Juliana's memories copied over.
  • Depending on your definition of "robot", the new Battlestar Galactica has the human Helo being married to the (very humanoid) Cylon Athena. Of course, it took a lot of effort on both their parts to make it work. And if you accept that example, both Cally and Starbuck had robotic husbands.. And by the same definition, Saul and Ellen Tigh are a robotic couple.
  • The series finale of Star Trek: Voyager showed the Doctor with a human wife, making him a robotic husband. Since he's the hologram we've grown to know and love, it's plain she had to court him. Unfortunately, the relationship was probably erased when Admiral Janeway went back in time.
    • The episode "Life Line" has the Doctor's creator, Dr. Zimmerman, cohabiting with a foxy holographic assistant. While the physical nature of their relationship is unclear, their dialogue is indistinguishable from an old married couple.
  • One fantasy bit on Scrubs had Elliot imagining what she would do if she won the lottery: use the money to have the perfect android husband built. Then she kicks herself for making him Jewish too: "My parents will be pissed!"

    Music 

    Tabletop RPG 
  • One module for the game Unknown Armies involves a robot spouse as a playable character. In fact, she is a Replacement Goldfish for her inventor husband's original wife who was killed. Of course, she doesn't know she's a robot, and her husband used the memory of her death in order to power her creation (it's how Mechanomancy works), so they are both quite shocked if/when her Robotic Reveal happens.

    Theater 
  • The conclusion of the Team StarKid show Starship features a wedding between the robot Ultra-Beam Megagirl and Tootsie Megagirl making the former a robot spouse.

    Video Games 
  • In The Sims 2, you can build a humanoid robot with the "Open For Business" expansion pack, and then woo it like you would any other sim.
    • This has carried over into The Sims 3 with both Simbots, and Plumbots.
  • Mega Man Zero had a minor character Andrew who was the robotic husband. He even changed his appearance to look like an old man so she wouldn't resent him as they got older. Aww. And after she died, he kept his old man appearance as a way to remember her. Double aww.
  • To a degree, Xenosaga has this through Realians.
  • A Dating Sim Let's Meow Meow! has Koboshi — a police catgirl robot from a parallel worldfun fact  — as a possible love interest. One of happy endings has her quitting her job and living with the protagonist for the rest of their lives.
  • From the Mass Effect series, Joker and EDI. EDI is the AI from the Normandy (the Cool Starship commanded by Shepard) itself.

    Web Comics 
  • Robotija, the Serbian robot bride from Legostar Galactica, sent to Johnny Danger by his mother.

    Western Animation 
  • Robotnik creates a robot wife for himself in an episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • On Archer, Dr. Krieger designed an artificially-intelligent anime hologram girlfriend so realistic the State of New York was allowing him to marry her. Too bad her files were wiped out. For a while, anyway.
  • Futurama has a few cases of "metal fever." A post-Un-Cancellation episode is about a campaign to legalize human/robot marriage.
  • Played for laughs with Plankton's "computer wife", Karen, on Sponge Bob Square Pants. There's not really any physical component since she's a giant flat screen, and there's certainly no unquestioning servitude either. She wasn't programmed to be his wife. When Krabs and Plankton were children, they opened up a burger stand together and Plankton installed a security system. And began to date said security system (which he and Karen both remember fondly).
  • It's heavily insinuated (and in one case, said outright by Sigmund Freud) that if Larry and Tuddrussel in Time Squad aren't actually a married couple they at least function like one, with Otto as their adopted child.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Heartbroke Kid", Homer has an Imagine Spot of what it would be like of Marge was a robot. She kills him with a shotgun.
    Homer: Oh, why did I give her a gun?
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Jumba once got a visit from his future self, who told him not to build a robot wife because they can easily hack into his bank accounts.

    Real Life 
  • A 33 year-old from Georgia, Zoltan, has married a robot. He's not sure if it's legal, but he still went through with it.
  • The futurists who lean towards transhumanism predict that human/android marriages will eventually become commonplace. At least in their predictions the artificial human is a sentient, equal companion, not just a toy. Only time will tell...
  • Canadian inventor Le Trung created Aika, a robotic spouse (pictured above).


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