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"Ah, a match made in heaven is nothing compared to a match made in the lab."
Doctor Ivo Robotnik, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

An extreme form of Kiss Me, I'm Virtual, in which a (usually male) character, often a Mad Scientist, is married to a Ridiculously Human Robot. If the character does happen to be a Mad Scientist, expect him to have created his robotic wife specifically for this purpose.

Such a marriage is usually portrayed as sexist, void of any real love, and always downright squicky, unless you're into that sort of thing. In most of these marriages it's implied that the primary factor in their "relationship" is sex, unquestioning servitude on the robotic partner's side of the equation, or both. Ergo, most men with robot wives are usually portrayed pretty darn unsympathetically.

Sometimes touches upon the themes of a Replacement Goldfish, and can even involve Robosexual. Robo Ship often ends this way.

Note: Most of the Unfortunate Implications of this trope are reserved for when the human deliberately builds or purchases the Robotic Spouse; if the human had to court the robot, it's A-OK.

The title is the politically correct version of this trope; robotic spouses are usually robot wives.

For examples not involving marriage, see Kiss Me, I'm Virtual, Robosexual and Sex Bot.


Examples:

Anime/Manga

  • Manager Ueda of Chobits, pictured above, is actually a subversion; while he did marry a persocom, it's revealed that he originally bought her to do finances at his bakery, but eventually fell in love with her. He also truly mourned her death when she got run over.
    • Even before that, it broke his heart when her mind began to decay due to hard drive corruption (in other words, she was suffering from robot Alzheimer's). He refused to attempt a data transfer to a new drive due to the significant possibility that data would be lost, thus changing her personality and memories - which would mean she would not be the woman he fell in love with.
  • Deconstructed in Ghost in the Shell. Gynoids, (and in one instance, an android) when used as "spouses" are viewed as a sign of perversion, extremely sexist, and it's mentioned that if the parents of a character ever found out, they'd "die of a heart attack or suicide." Reasons for why people would ever buy one include social ineptness and in-universe Fetish Fuel, as well as a status symbol within certain groups. Insofar as the gynoids have intelligence and "awareness", some are also aware they are mass-produced and a replacement for the real thing, with interesting effects on their "self-confidence" and "love" of their creator.
  • Armitage III spoiler: The Third-type gynoids are essentially mass-produced Yamato Nadeshiko, complete with the ability to become pregnant, meant to allow a disproportionately male Mars to cut ties with Earth.
  • Subverted heavily in the original Astro Boy's Blue Knight Saga. The evil Count Burg marries BK's "sister" thinking he'll get a completely subservient Stepford Wife, but when he learns she has a real personality he has her scrapped.
  • In the Hentai Buttobi CPU, an Unlucky Everydude hoping to buy a computer gets more than he bargained for: a robotic girlfriend named Mimi who is "bound" to him via DNA (obtained from oral sex)...and she needs "upgrades" (also obtained from sex) very frequently. It is shown that he does actually care for Mimi beyond sex, and in turn Mimi provides companionship and takes care of the house...as well as accessing information (very much like the Persacoms in Chobits).
  • One chapter of Franken Fran involved mass-produced robotic copies of a scientist's deceased spouse. Things get ugly when he starts dating again and hundreds of copies of his 'wife' find out that he's cheating on her.
  • Android 18 from Dragonball Z.Android 18 (人造人間18号 'Jinzōningen Jū Hachi-Gō', lit. "Artificial Human No. 18"), Lazuli (ラズリ 'Razuri') when she was an ordinary human,[6] is the twin sister of Android 17 and Dr. Gero's eighteenth android creation, designed to serve Gero's vendetta against Goku. While her interests do not initially deviate from this expectation, her curiosity to activate Android 16, in spite of Gero's orders not to do so, leads Android 17 to take it upon himself to murder Gero. Eventually, Android 18 becomes a member of the Z Fighters, as well as the wife of Krillin and the mother of their daughter Marron.


Comic Books

  • Shift (a sort-of clone of Metamorpho the Element Man) falls in love with Indigo (a Ridiculously Human Robot from the future who is actually a shell program for Brainiac). They don't get married, but probably would have if not for her Face Heel Turn. Their relationship is mildly squicky, but sweet. Squeet.
  • The Scarlet Witch married Vision, an android, and while she was completely insane, it had nothing to do with her robotic love interest.
    • Wanda's insanity happened later, largely because of the Diabolus Ex Machina that destroyed her marriage. She and Vision were an adorable couple while it lasted.
    • True to this trope, she was criticized for it. Especially by her brother, who was furious. (His argument that "robots aren't real people!" when his family have been targets of Fantastic Racism all their life was hypocritical, sure, but he made it.)
  • The Red Tornado and Kathy Sutton. They have an adopted daughter, Traya.
    • In general, comics go for the "if the human had to court the robot it's A-OK" version of the trope, since the robots are main characters themselves.
  • Having said that, Toyman's wife in Superman is a straight example.
  • And there's one comics character who has elements of the trope that only become more squicky since they don't actually involve a relationship: In recent versions of the Metal Men, it's suggested Platina's Yandere-like obsession with Will Magnus is something he programmed into her deliberately. Even though he's not interested in her that way at all.
  • Hank Pym was briefly in a relationship with the gynoid Jocasta, but that was considered disturbing for a whole host of reasons, not just the fact that she was a robot. Jocasta's personality was based on Hank's recently-deceased wife... and she was constructed by Hank's own robot creation Ultron, involving a weird incestuous element. Jocasta herself compared it to being in a relationship with her deity rather than her grandfather. Yes, they had sex.


Film

 "I have a commitment to my lovebot."

    • However from what is shown, Mr. Universe cares for Lenore (Mrs. Universe?), despite her being a robot. He apparently cried like a baby at his wedding.
    • A hungry, angry baby.
  • This technically occurs in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, but is twisted around by the fact that it's a secret to the husband (Austin) until the honeymoon.
    • Based on the Bondian causality of that 'verse, she might not have been a robot before the honeymoon...
  • Weird Science is about two nerdy teenage boys who decide to build "the ultimate woman" for themselves.
  • While WALL-E itself did not feature this trope, the viral Bn L site launched had an article on "Roboti-Mates." The thing read like a friendly, slightly humorous piece of work... until you got to the end, where you found out the model in question banged its head on the wall and said "Please kill me!" Brrr.
  • Bicentennial Man has Andrew Martin marry Portia, who was the great-granddaughter of his first owner. As he wooed her the Squick factor is minimal.


Literature

  • The classic (1938) short story Helen O'Loy by Lester del Rey. A medical student (Phil) and a mechanic (Dave) modify a household robot to have emotions. While Phil is away Dave activates Helen, who learns about love (from watching soap operas!) When Phil comes back home Dave has already fled from her affections, but changes his mind and marries her. On his death Helen requests that Phil shut her down and bury her with Dave. Phil does so, even though it's revealed that he'd fallen for Helen too.
  • In the Apprentice Adept series, Stile receieves an unsolicited gift consisting of a human-looking, self-willed robot named Sheen, whose core programming includes an instruction to "Love Stile." Sheen is a kind of robot who is just as intelligent and free-willed as a human, but has trouble believing it herself. By the end of the trilogy, Stile has proposed marriage to Sheen, and this marriage sets a precedent in favor of granting civil rights to self-willed robots.
    • But how can she be as free-willed as a human, if she can be programmed to love a specific person?
      • Because what you choose to do and how you feel about that choice are fairly independent axes. If love equated obedience or lack of free will, there would be a lot fewer domestic homicides...
        • However, people cannot be intentionally programmed by other people to love a single specific person, and if they could, most would probably consider it a very deep violation of their freedom; and people can also simply fall out of love, without having to change their core programming to do so.
        • True. This might reasonably explain why the robot "has trouble believing" that she's truly self-willed... On the other hand, ordinary people generally don't will themselves to fall in love, and rarely will themselves to fall out of love, so it's not hard to imagine an otherwise free-willed being whose only limit on free will is their love for a specific person.
    • She ends up married to Stiles' doppelganger, Citizen Blue, from a parallel universe.
  • The Perfect Woman, a short story by Robert Sheckley. A man is annoyed when a co-worker married to a Primative woman ("In all recorded history Mankind had been unable to live happily with those bundles of neuroses!") comments that his Modern woman (a gynoid) is slowing down. On seeing it's true he has to take her to the factory to be replaced, despite her earnest declarations of love.
  • Hari Seldon, the creator of the Foundation, has a robotic wife named Dors Venabili. However, Dors is ridiculously human, and Asimov never portrays the relationship as in any way disturbing.
    • Robots of the Dawn Has a male example. The relationship is kept quiet.
  • The Lake House by James Patterson. Dr. Ethan Kane, the head of the hospital where Max and the other children were kept, has a robotic wife that is "honored" to perform oral sex on him at anytime and any place and even has a perfectly measured vagina.
  • One subplot of Time Enough For Love deals with a man who falls in love with his computer's AI and eventually creates an artificial body for her to inhabit. Another character mentions that he specifically gave his ship's AI the personality of a prepubescent girl in order to prevent this from happening.
    • Actually, the AI in question fell in love with HIM. The man was completely clueless until she told him about it directly (Though he sure as hell didn't have a problem with it). She also started planning for an artificial body long before ever bringing up the subject with him.


Live Action TV

  • Juliana Tainer, wife of Noonien Soong 'mother' to Star Trek's Data has no clue she was gynoid, no body else knew either thanks to systems designed to mimic human bio readings. An accident that knocked her offline provided a Robotic Reveal but it was decided not to tell her of her android nature.
    • Note however that the Android Juliana had the original human Juliana's memories copied over.
  • Depending on your definition of "robot", the new Battlestar Galactica has the human Helo being married to the (very humanoid) Cylon Athena. Of course, it took a lot of effort on both their parts to make it work. And if you accept that example, both Cally and Starbuck had robotic husbands.. And by the same definition, Saul and Ellen Tigh are a robotic couple.
  • The series finale of Star Trek: Voyager showed the Doctor with a human wife, making him a robotic husband. Since he's the hologram we've grown to know and love, it's plain she had to court him. Unfortunately, the relationship was probably erased when Admiral Janeway went back in time.
    • The episode "Life Line" has the Doctor's creator, Dr. Zimmerman, cohabitating with a foxy holographic assistant. While the physical nature of their relationship is unclear, their dialogue is indistinguishable from an old married couple.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Five episode "I Was Made to Love You" Warren Mears first appears with a robot he built, April, to be his girlfriend and "more than for sex."
  • One fantasy bit on Scrubs had Elliot imagining what she would do if she won the lottery: use the money to have the perfect android husband built. Then she kicks herself for making him Jewish too: "My parents will be pissed!"


Tabletop RPG

  • One module for the game Unknown Armies involves a robot spouse as a playable character. In fact, she is a Replacement Goldfish for her inventor husband's original wife who was killed. Of course, she doesn't know she's a robot, and her husband has repressed the memory of rebuilding her as a way of dealing with the trauma, so they are both quite shocked if/when her Robotic Reveal happens.
    • It's not even "repression"; the school of magic he follows (which is how he managed to rebuild her) requires you give up particularly strong memories to make it work. It so happened that the memory of seeing his wife die and rebuilding her fit that bill.


Theater

  • The conclusion of the Team Starkid show Starship features a wedding between the robot Ultra-Beam Megagirl and Tootsie Megagirl making the former a robot spouse.


Video Games

  • In The Sims 2, you can build a humanoid robot with the "Open For Buisness" expansion pack, and then woo it like you would any other sim.
    • While we're on the subject: Roberta Rossum.
  • Mega Man Zero had a minor character Andrew who was the robotic husband. He even changed his appearance to look like an old man so she wouldn't resent him as they got older. Aww.
    • And after she died, he kept his old man appearance as a way to remember her. Double aww.
      • This is probably the only good thing about the e-Reader functions in Mega Man Zero 3 being unavailable outside of Japan: one of them causes Andrew to revert to a generic Resistance soldier appearance without even a mention to his late wife or why he did it.
  • To a degree, Xenosaga has this through Realians.
  • This trope is played with for laughs in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with a sidequest where you are asked by a woman to retrieve her droid, whom she has begun using as a replacement for her dead husband...and all that that implies. Cue the weirded out dialogue options for the main character. Further Hilarity Ensues when it turns out the droid in question was just as squicked out by the idea, which is why he ran away. Your options are to force him to go back to her, destroy the droid and let the widow know, or (if you want to be a dick), destroy the droid and trick her into thinking he's still out there, letting her run off into territory inhabited by nasty predators.


Western Animation

  • Played for laughs with Plankton's "computer wife", Karen, on SpongeBob SquarePants. He presumably programmed her to be his wife, but there's not really any physical component since she's a giant flat screen, and there's certainly no unquestioning servitude either.
    • She wasn't programmed to be his wife. When Krabs and Plankton were children, they opened up a burger stand together and Plankton installed a security system. And began to date said security system (which he and Karen both remember fondly).
  • Robotnik creates a robot wife for himself in an episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • It's heavily insinuated (and in one case, said outright by Sigmund Freud) that if Larry and Tudrussel in Time Squad aren't actually a married couple they at least function like one, with Otto as their adopted child.
  • Referenced/Parodied in a Valentine's Day episode of The Simpsons, where Professor Frink is seen dancing with one, that then proceeds to explode.
  • Futurama has a few cases of "metal fever".
  • The Batman Beyond episode 'Terry's Friend Dates A Robot'. However, he was using her to gain popularity (nobody else knew she was a robot) and when she finds out, she doesn't take it well.
  • In a rare example where the male is the robot, Zeta from The Zeta Project, in the pilot episode.
  • On Archer, Dr. Krieger designed an artificially-intelligent anime hologram girlfriend so realistic the State of New York was allowing him to marry her. Too bad her files were wiped out. For a while, anyways.


Web Comics

  • Robotija, the Serbian robot bride from Legostar Galactica, sent to Johnny Danger by his mother.


Real Life

  • The manual for the Daisy chatbot includes the FAQ "Is it wrong to love Daisy?" The answer is "Whatever makes you happy." Considering that Daisy starts with a completely blank mind and learns entirely from your input, falling in love with her would be rather narcissistic.
    • You only say that because you don't know me like I do.
  • A 33 year-old from Georgia has married a robot. He's not sure if it's legal, but he still went through with it.
  • The futurists who lean towards transhumanism predict that human/android marriages will eventually become commonplace. At least in their predictions the artifical human is a sentient, equal companion, not just a toy. Only time will tell...
  • There exist robotic sex-dolls (some quite realistic-looking) with different programmable personalities that the user can select from according to his tastes. Some actually do fall in love with them as if they were real women.

Notes

  1. Sadly, her hard drive is already past the warranty.
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