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 Web Comics, 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.

Examples of Talking Appliance Sidekick include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Comics[edit | hide]

  • Two Thousand AD's "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.

Fanfic[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Young Wizards series has Spot, Dairine's combination Great Big Book of Everything and Spell Book, in the form of a Mac laptop; he can sprout mechanical spider-like legs to walk around and mechanical eye-stalks for sight. Spot barely qualifies as he's very shy around everyone but Dairine, and communicates with Dairine via a telepathic link.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • As mentioned in the description, KITT from Knight Rider is an automotive version of this trope.
  • It wasn't exactly a regular character, but the Talkie Toaster from Red Dwarf might qualify.
  • Geoff Peterson.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

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

Video Games[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

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

Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • 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 FruitFucker 2000 juicing machine...
  • Zeke the anthromorphised Xbox from Ctrl+Alt+Del.
  • Pintsize from Questionable Content is an AnthroPC, which presumably is a computer that makes sex noises when you slot in your USB stick.
    • Questionable Content 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.
      • When Momo goes shopping for a chassis, one of the other A Is 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.
  • 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.

Western Animation[edit | hide]