Open thread: Robot Roll Call

finished Tom Servo lantern, lit by a 9-volt battery, on our windowsill

my new lantern

This thread is open for geek feminist introductions, speculations, reminiscences and chatter. Please see our commenting policy guidelines.

brainwane makes Tom talk

brainwane makes Tom talk

Conversational seed, in case you need one: in my recent sewing, software packaging, and lantern-making crafty/make-y/learn-y binge, I put some LEDs inside a gumball-dispensing toy my partner had found.

The toy looks exactly like Tom Servo, one of the robots from Mystery Science Theater 3000.


  • Favorite robot, fictional or real?
  • Crafted/made anything you like recently?
  • Movie you can only stand by talking back to the screen, MSTK3K-style?

24 thoughts on “Open thread: Robot Roll Call

  1. brainwane

    I’ll start.

    Favorite robot: for sentimental reasons, Data from Star Trek, although a few characters from Greg Pak’s film “Robot Stories” are a close second.

    Movie I need to shout at: The original “Drunken Master.” I couldn’t stand the main character — what a jerk! (For at least the first half hour. I stopped watching.)

  2. Kaonashi

    My heart goes bleep bloop over the robots in Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky. I’m also secretly robosexual for Bender.

    I have this amazing ability to shut my brain off when I see movies, but even I can’t suffer silently through Battlefield Earth.

  3. Julia Rios

    I’m a lurker who enjoys reading all the posts here, but secretly doesn’t feel geektastic enough to join the conversation most days. Still, delurking is good sometimes!

    Favorite robot? That’s tough! For today, I’ll go with MST3K’s Crow, but that’s subject to change without notice.

    Crafted things lately? No, but I do intend to get back to altering books soon.

    Movies: I confess I really enjoy a good Twilight heckle.

  4. Kristin King

    Just now – my favorite robot is Zoe on the TV show Caprica. Dead girl’s avatar gets merged with robot body and camera juxtaposes her robot body with her girl self-image. Creepiness in the most recent episode when her dad (not knowing she is inside the robot) asks her to tear her own arm off, and she does. It didn’t seem to hurt, but it got me wondering: did she choose to tear it off in order to stay undercover, or did she have to obey orders? All in all, the Cylons in BSG and Caprica are really thought-provoking.

    Favorite movie to heckle: Independence Day.

    Made lately: first publication in some time – my essay “Fall of a Superhero in Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars” is up on Strange Horizons today, at

    1. Kat

      I too am really enjoying Zoe the Cylon and her story. Caprica is sort of a weird mix of genres, all over the place, but so far I’ve appreciated what it’s been doing, and love the girl-robot theme after having a long series of discussions along the lines of, “If you could transfer your consciousness into a robot body, would you do so, and what sort of body would you want?”

  5. angelpoop

    Summer Glau makes an awfully good robot in the Sarah Connor Chronicles.

  6. Erika

    You know that scene in the movie when John Constantine unrolls his sleeves and matches his forearms together so his tattoos line up, and commands Gabriel to appear? I knit some mittens that do that:

    Although they were slightly doomed by my less-than-stellar embroidery skillz.

    I looooove your Tom Servo, and now I have the theme song stuck in my head!

    Robot roll call!
    Cambot! (Pan left)
    Gypsy! (Hi girl!)
    Tom Servo! (What a cool dude)
    Crooooooow! (Wisecracker!)

  7. Laura

    Ray from Blade Runner, because he learns to love life and saves Deckard’s life in the end. I don’t know if we can call him a robot, though. I suppose so.

    HAL, because he’s so creepy and right up there with movie villains.

    R2D2, because he just does it, doesn’t wait – he’s always ahead of the game.

    The Robot in Lost In Space, because he was such a spaz waving his arms shouting “Danger Danger!”

    Why are all the robots women? The only female robots seem to be “fembots” like from Austin Powers 2. Unless we go back to Metropolis. Or we’re talking woman-objectifying Heineken commercials.

    1. brainwane

      There are a bunch of fictional robots whom the creator or author genders as female, some mentioned in this comment thread. Lal (Data’s daughter), Vicki from Small Wonder, various Battlestar Galactica/Caprica robots, some replicants from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Gypsy from MST3K, Summer Glau’s character in Sarah Connor Chronicles…

      1. Laura

        Thanks for those reminders (though I never heard of most of them). I suppose we have to count Cylons. (Actually, I think Caprica is shaping up to be pretty interesting, and almost certainly is leading up to how the first Cylons came to “decide” to attack the colonies.)

        Summer Glau was fabulous! I loved that show, and was so sad when Fox canceled it.

      1. Laura


        Words are words and have different meanings in different contexts, imho. Perhaps some would prefer that I say the robot waved his arms “hysterically” … but of course that refers to radical surgical procedures used on “over-emotional” women. And sometimes a word means just what it’s intended to mean. But I’m one who grew up with “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me,” and came to believe that self respect and self esteem come from the self, not others.

        I’d say you’d have a point if I were talking about a person with a disability. Or a person, period. But as this is your site, you can waggle your finger at me. I’m duly chastened and will take my bigoted self elsewhere. Cheers!


        1. Melissa

          I’m rather a fan of the word “flail”, to be honest. For example: “[…]because he flailed his arms hilariously while shouting “Danger Danger!”[…]”

          We’re a really broad community here, and we do have some who are quite sensitive to ableist (or racist, or religiously persecuting, etc) terms given their own situations or those of friends and relatives. Feminism is not, and should not, be just for able-bodied (or white, or christian, etc) women. Please try to respect that.

  8. PharaohKatt

    Oooh, robots!! I’m a huge Transformers fangeek so I have a few favourite robots :)

    (First, confession time, I kinda sorta really like Black Arachnia… ^_^”)

    * Sideswipe
    * Bumblebee
    * Perceptor (a robot AND a science geek? WIN!)

    * Megatron

    Ok, so most of the decipticons were a little… well… weak, on the character side. Feel free to debate me in the comments!

    As for movies, I’ve yet to find one where I don’t talk constantly through it. An urge I fight to suppress when I’m in the cinema :P

  9. Mackenzie

    I’m going to answer the “crafted” question. On Sunday I went to Target with the aim of finding a button-up shirt that has the mid-chest button (not just a collar button and a boob button as is common). I found a cute pink one that fit my waist if I tried on a XS but then I couldn’t move my arms. So I tried a small and finally a medium to get the shoulders wide enough. Of course, going two sizes up meant the waist changed, so I resigned to having to tailor it myself (I kind of expect this to happen often now that I want my clothes to actually fit). What I discovered during tailoring was that my natural waist is about 4 inches below where the shirt’s narrowest part was originally placed.

    Anyway, here’s the finished product:

  10. lsblakk

    Favorite robot, fictional or real?
    The Guardian from “Guardian of Isis” books…ya, I reached way back for that one.

    Crafted/made anything you like recently?
    In fact, I did – I made gnocchi from scratch on Saturday night, and last night I did some hand sewing of this beautiful skull broccade fabric and turned it into 3 little bags for some tarot cards decks that I’m gifting.

    Movie you can only stand by talking back to the screen, MSTK3K-style?
    Showgirls – it’s not only awesome to yell at the screen, but there’s a DVD release with an audio commentary track that gives hilarious running snarks at the film.

  11. Tim

    This page misses a proper background-color, also the forms should have set a proper color:

    To fix this you would need to add background-color: white; to the body part in the css master.css on line 31 and color: black; in the same file on line 556.



    1. tigtog

      Thanks for the heads-up, Tim. Because this site uses a child-theme for custom-tweaking the parent Vigilance theme, it’s not quite as simple as your recommended changes (edit – to be precise, the first one’s easy – for the second one I need to know which form you’re referring to, because I don’t have server access, so I use the inbuilt WP theme-editor, which doesn’t count lines). I’ll go through and work out exactly what I need to add to the custom tweaks to fix it though.

      What browser were you using when you captured that screenshot?

        1. tigtog

          Interesting – so am I and I was getting a white page before I added in the extra line specifying background color to the custom stylesheet for the child theme.

          I just edited my comment above, but I’ll repeat the Q here – which particular form needs to have the color set to black? The native WP theme editor doesn’t have a line-count.

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