Top 8 Oedipal Robots Of All Time

The moment we start giving our machines artificial intelligence, the next step is always artificial incest, not to mention artificial patricide/matricide. To celebrate the latest bot with an Oedipal complex, here are the eight greatest.

Despite Donna Haraway's claim that cyber-organisms have no need for the Oedipus complex because they're beyond biological notions of gender, they still seem to manage a lot of patricidal, mother-loving drama along the way. Could it be that their Pinocchio complex is giving rise to an Oedipus complex? There should totally be a word for the combined Pinocchio/Oedipus complexes. Feel free to suggest one in comments!


By the way, we're going to include some bots with Electra complexes as well as Oedpius complexes, but I didn't have enough space to say that above.

8) Platinum, from the Metal Men (DC Comics). She totally falls in love with her "daddy" Will Magnus. But I don't think she ever tried to kill her mom, so she barely counts.

7) Maria in Fritz Lang's Metropolis. This one's another edge case. When Federsen and Rotvang decide to turn their robot into the image of the noble Maria, they create a robotic "whore" counterpart to Maria's "virgin" persona. And at one point, the hero Freder walks in on his father Fredersen "inspecting" the sexy robot Maria and thinks his father is embracing Maria. The Maria robot then leads a worker uprising.


6) David in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. Tons of critics have commented on the Oedipal weirdness in this film, especially the robot David's desire to get closer to his human mother. When he finally gets a day with his mother at the end of the film, it's creeptastic. Says the Chicago Reader: "Humankind's final gasp belongs to a fucked-up boy robot with an Oedipus complex who's in bed with his adopted mother and who finally becomes a real boy at the very moment that he seemingly autodestructs."


5) The K-1 Robot in Doctor Who, "Robot." This one gets included, if only because the Doctor spends so much time talking about it during the episode. The robot kills his "father" Professor Kettlewell (but only by accident) and falls in love with Sarah Jane Smith, who's sort of a mother figure. I guess. And the Doctor comments about how the robot now has a "suppressed Oedipus complex" leading to overcompensation - in other words, the robot now wants to destroy the world as a way of pleasing and replacing his "father." (That would be the "overcompensation" part, I guess.)

4) Hector, from Saturn 3. Hector is a super-android from the "Demi-God series," and he starts out harmless and friendly. But then he gets implanted with Harvey Keitel's murderous nature as well as Keitel's lust for Farrah Fawcett - who's the girlfriend of Hector's creator, Kirk Douglas. Hector spends the rest of the movie trying to boink Fawcett and kill Douglas. (Oh, and this movie is written by Martin Amis! Really!) Here's Harvey giving the robot his brainwaves, to the tunes of Aphex:

3) Proteus In Demon Seed, based on the Dean Koontz novel. This awesome artificial intelligence system starts to rebel against its creators, and wants to kill its creator, Dr. Alex Harris. But then Proteus' real aim is revealed: to knock up Dr. Harris' wife, Susan (Julie Christie). Proteus traps her in her house and straps her to a table, giving her a thorough physical examination before implanting her with its "synthetic spermatazoa."

2) Brother "John" Cavil in Battlestar Galactica. Let's see. He had sex with his "mother" Ellen Tigh during the occupation on New Caprica (and she taught him "the twistswirl.") He tortures his parents in general, especially "daddy" Saul Tigh. And the only reason he didn't kill his "parents" sooner is because they would have resurrected with full knowledge of what happened, the way Ellen did.


1) Ultron, from The Avengers. Cavil has to work a leetle bit harder to beat Ultron in the Opedipal sweepstakes. Ultron hates his "father," scientist/superhero Hank Pym, and tries to kill Hank every chance he gets. As Hank himself says in Avengers #58:

In seconds that robot's called me everything from Da-da to Father... changed in speech patterns from infancy... through adulthood! And now, it wants to kill its imagined parent! It's like a living mechanized Oedipus Complex!


Meanwhile, Ultron is obsessed with Hank's wife Janet Van Dyne, aka the Wasp, and he uses her psyche as the template for his sexy fem-bot - which he calls Jocasta, in a shout-out to Oedipus' mom/wife. Not content with this Oedipus-a-thon, Ultron finally transforms his own body into a naked metal chick, "a biomechanical clone" of Janet. It's enough to make The Vision cry:


Additional reporting by Alasdair Wilkins. Thanks also to Matt Jones.

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