- Awesome Music: "Holding Out for a Hero" is the classic heroic power ballad of the era, helped tremendously by playing in the climax of the second film. Never has a battle between a ratty old TV antenna and a tubby old man been so epic.
- Ear Worm: "'Who's Johnny', she said, and smiled in her special way!"
- Hilarious in Hindsight:
- In the Parental Bonus, the old couple worries about the "grass" they might have left in the glovebox. The state of Oregon has now legalized recreational marijuana as of 2015.
- Another one is Stephanie's "roach coach" all-natural food truck being treated as something a bit silly. Today, Portland, Oregon is world-famous for its wide variety of food trucks and the stiff competition among them.
- Michael McKean probably shouldn't be hanging around with a robot, especially fixing it in a Radio Shack, all things considered...
- Memetic Mutation: "Number Five alive!" and "Need input!" most famously.No disassemble, nooo disassemble, nooo-o-o disassemble Number five!...
- Moe: To make a not-quite-humanoid robot this trope is an achievement, but Johnny Five is just that for fans.
- Mondegreen: Courtesy of Ben in the sequel. The scene where Benny gets mad at Fred for letting Johnny Five out has him saying "Now you stop backing up, you untrustworthy person", but "backing" sounds more like "fucking up". Though because Benny has a thick accent and an earlier scene had a black guy saying "motherfucker", you really can't blame it.
- Moral Event Horizon: If using Johnny 5 to steal the Vanderveer collection isn't enough for Oscar Baldwin and his men, they certainly crossed the line beyond the point of redemption when they brutally smash him to near death.
- Narm Charm: Both movies. No one's ever gonna put them on the same level as ET or anything, but despite a lot (and we mean a lot) of corny humor and questionable casting (see Values Dissonance below), the films remain popular guilty pleasures and beloved nostalgia pieces.
- One-Scene Wonder: The Los Locos gang from part II:
- Spiritual Adaptation: The movies give out a vibe that they were either produced by Steven Spielberg or distributed by Disney (WALLE would later take inspiration from the films' character Number Five for the main character of the Pixar film), even though they weren't.
- Values Dissonance:
- Fisher Stevens - a white actor - is playing Ben, an Indian character. Not much thought would be given to that in the 80s, of course, but try making that casting choice in the 2010s. Aziz Ansari pointed this out on his show Master of None, and then had an amicable talk with Stevens on the subject for the New York Times.
- The Turing Test that Crosby gives Number 5, which is a joke used to exhibit "spontaneous human response" is a bad Jewish joke. And the fact that Number 5 gets the joke despite never having met or interacted with Jewish people.
- Visual Effects of Awesome: The animatronics used for Johnny Five are still quite impressive, and they reportedly took up nearly all of the film's special effects budget on their own.
- The Woobie: Johnny 5, at times, particularly the scenes following him making the connection between "disassemble" and "dead".
- WTH, Casting Agency?: Both Austin Pendleton (Howard) and Fisher Stevens (Ben) have gone on record as saying that while they enjoyed working with him, they thought Steve Guttenberg was miscast as Newton Crosby; in the script, the character was written as an awkward introvert who is more comfortable around machines than people, but the amiable and outgoing Guttenberg simply didn't match this description.
YMMV / Short Circuit