Talking Appliance Sidekick
A subtrope of Non-Human Sidekick
, normally a Snarky Non-Human Sidekick
, that has become very popular in Web Comics
, the Talking Appliance Sidekick is an inanimate object, normally a household appliance that talks and... you see where we're going with this. Beyond that, they are very likely to be part of a comic with a technological or a fandom bent; if it's Two Gamers on a Couch
, expect something related to game consoles, and if it's a comic about the Surrey Woman's Institute knitting circle, expect it to be a sewing machine. Such a character will have a lot of similar attributes of the Robot Buddy
, but sometimes is used as a parody or deconstruction of it and, like a lot of webcomic sidekicks, will be the outrageous Comedic Sociopath
Probably codified for its many imitators by Penny Arcade
and their walking, talking DIVX platter, but the trope could well be Older Than They Think
for examples that don't fit into the "Surrey Woman's Institute Knitting Circle" mold. For instance, KITT from Knight Rider
was a talking car who was a very deadpan Non-Human Sidekick
who inspired a number of other talking cars.
Unlike a lot of other Animate Inanimate Objects
, these guys will have no problem acting up around normal people with no sense of Masquerade
Anime and Manga
- Rogue Trooper and his comrades have their memories and personalities hot-synced to chips which can be removed from their bodies when they are killed and plugged into weapons, helmet or backpack to provide advice and extra pairs of eyes (and firing commands in the case of the weapons). Though this isn't an option for Rogue (he's alone on the enemy planet and the last of his kind), he carries some of his comrades with him.
- Sonic the Hedgehog has Sally's handheld computer Nicole. Nicole eventually gets upgraded to have a holographic avatar, but she spent a good chunk of the series's run as just a talking box.
- Robots took a unique approach to this idea. All of the characters are robots, but some are like people and some are more like appliances.
- The Young Wizards series has Spot, Dairine's combination Great Big Book of Everything and Spell Book, in the form of a Mac laptop; he can sprout mechanical spider-like legs to walk around and mechanical eye-stalks for sight. Spot barely qualifies as he's very shy around everyone but Dairine, and communicates with Dairine via a telepathic link.
- As mentioned in the description, KITT from Knight Rider is an automotive version of this trope.
- It wasn't exactly a regular character, but the Talkie Toaster from Red Dwarf might qualify.
- Geoff Peterson.
- The 'Bots in Mystery Science Theater 3000 could count, as they were all made from objects found in thrift stores.
- Also those special parts that control where the movie begins or ends.
- Buck Rogers in the 25th Century has Dr. Theopolis, a superintelligent sentient computer about the size and shape of a Frisbee, who usually rides around strapped to Twiki's chest. Unlike most characters on this page, Theo is relentlessly polite to everyone.
- The card game Super Munchkin has "talking car" as a possible sidekick.
- Red vs. Blue has both Sheila, the artificially intelligent M808V Main Battle Tank, and Andy the talking bomb, a possible homage to Dark Star.
- Paw Dugan can talk to machines. You can learn this apparently.
- Penny Arcade, as mentioned above, turned the relatively obscure and short-lived DIVX media platform into an abusive, foul-mouthed sleazebag. To say nothing of the infamous Fruit Fucker 2000 juicing machine...
- Zeke the anthromorphised Xbox from Ctrl+Alt+Del.
- Pintsize from Questionable Content is an AnthroPC, which presumably is a computer that makes sex noises when you slot in your USB stick.
- Questionable Content also has two other AnthroPCs that are regular characters. None of them is really an appliance, though. Winslow is basically an oversized iPod, but Momo just looks like an anime character.
- They seem to be able to interface with normal computers, and Marten has made reference to Pintsize containing a hard drive (mostly full of porn, natch). The real question is what actual utility they serve re: the letters "PC" in their name, since at least Marigold, and possibly the other characters, appear to use regular computers; Momo attempts to keep Marigold's shut-in-osity under control, but Winslow (as a timid little flower) and Pintsize (as... well... Pintsize) are pretty much useless in such personal-assistant contexts. Pintsize has, however, commented that he was his owner's only friend for a long time, and his successful socialization with the other characters means that Pintsize's job is done.
- When Momo goes shopping for a chassis, one of the other AIs in the shop is installed in a toaster. He seems pretty happy about it. The AI shop assistant also says that her first job was as a sentient forklift.
- David the sentient, surly and snobbish DVD player from Theater Hopper was, on observation of this trope, introduced just to lead up to one panel so that he could act "as a mouthpiece to deconstruct some of the cliches inherent in comics" as the creator puts it before being summarily run over by a truck four comics after being introduced. The creator also phrased his take on the issue in a more self-deprecating manner:
- A talking car, like KITT as mentioned above, but much more snarky and meanspirited Ultra Car from It's Walky.
- Ultra Car's new humanoid chassis no longer counts as this trope
- Tor the Calculate from Funny Farm is a... I think you can guess. Interestingly he is the sidekick of the main villain, who is a talking computer (although you see only a monitor) called PC who, in his first appearances, was a bit more like the other examples before gaining freedom and becoming a Bond villain in a Doctor Doom green cloak.
- Sebastian of True Villains is the proud owner of Augustus, a talking, moving, dueling pocketwatch.