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Talking Appliance Sidekick

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A subtrope of Non-Human Sidekick, normally a Snarky Non-Human Sidekick, that has become very popular in Webcomics, 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.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • 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 (Archie Comics) has Sally's handheld computer Nicole. Nicole eventually gets upgraded to have a holographic avatar, but she spent a good chunk of the series' run as just a talking box.
  • In the early issues of Transmetropolitan Spider had a mafia-made Maker that talked back to him often, and made his trademark mismatched sunglasses. But it stopped making witty comments after the second time Spider ripped out its' hallucinogen simulator and got left behind when Spider went on the run, though he gave it orders to fabricate a Martian venereal disease for the cops.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • 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.
  • Subverted in Beauty and the Beast where all of the talking furniture characters are actually humans under a magic spell.


    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Box, a talking, sentient computer rigged up by Dr Smith for his old companion Liz Shaw in the Doctor Who spin-off P.R.O.B.E..
  • A TV adaptation of The Marriage Of Figaro had the Count having a conversation with himself, using his dictaphone.
    Dictaphone: An anonymous letter. Rosina, guilty as hell about something; Susanna, locked in the bathroom. A man jumps out of the window, who turns out to be Figaro.
    Count: Well, so he says.
    Dictaphone That's right.
    Count: It just doesn't make any sense! Rosina must have thought the whole thing up. I can't believe she'd do that: she has far too much respect for me.
    Dictaphone: Figaro hasn't, though.
    Count: You're right.
  • Another talking sentient computer named Box accompanied Commander Nathan Spring in Star Cops

    Tabletop Games 
  • The card game Super Munchkin has "talking car" as a possible sidekick.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue has both Sheila, the artificially intelligent M808V Main Battle Tank, and Andy the talking bomb, a possible homage to Dark Star.

    Web Videos 
  • Paw Dugan can talk to machines. You can learn this apparently.

    Web Comics 
  • 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.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Pintsize is an AnthroPC, which presumably is a computer that makes sex noises when you slot in your USB stick.
    • The comic 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 A.I.s 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.

    Western Animation 


Video Example(s):


Red Dwarf: Lister's toaster

If Rimmer isn't around to keep him company, Lister can always look to his toaster.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TalkingApplianceSidekick

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