Humans have always been fascinated by the idea of non-human minds.
In her new show, Alice Fraser explores what it really means to be human, joined by a robot sidekick. With that in mind, Alice lists five of her favourite robot sidekicks ahead of her show.
No, not the movie about the dog, K-9 was the on again off again robot dog sidekick to Dr. Who from around 1977. He wasn’t a great robot, and to begin with, he wasn’t popular with audiences, but he grew on people and he eventually was so beloved he was given his own spinoff series. He was one of the OG robot sidekicks.
Marvin The Paranoid Android
'Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy' was one of the first and best mash-ups of science fiction with comedy in the mainstream. Fans debate the relative spectacularness of the books, TV show or radio series, but undoubtedly Marvin The Paranoid Android (whose character does what it says on the tin) was most memorably brought to depressed life by the voice of Alan Rickman. A satire on robotics and humanity, Marvin will always have a place in my robot-loving heart.
R2D2 and C3P0
I know these are two, bouncing off each other with witty bloops and banter, but I feel that their characters act as a unit, with the prim C3P0 being brought to risk and excitement through the unrepentant anti-authoritarian R2. They’re also just a cute couple, you know?
I know it’s cutesie but it’s also a lovely counterpoint to the idea that robots are going to destroy us all. The cushy Baymax only wants to help fix your problems and files out therapeutic hugs with the gentle grace of a slow moving love-zeppelin. I’m a grown-up but I’m not afraid to admit Baymax made me cry. More than once.
This last one was a tossup, because Data from 'Star Trek' has a place in my heart forever, but I think he doesn’t count as a robot. Maybe Jarvis doesn’t either, being probably more of an AI, but he has the ability to make things move (including Iron Man suits and your human heart), so we’ll count him in.
Alice Fraser Dates
Until 22 April – Chinese Museum (Melbourne Comedy Festival)
3-6 May – Enmore Theatre (Sydney Comedy Festival)
10-12 May – Regal Theatre (Perth Comedy Festival)