Ep.9: Hell is Other Robots (Notes)

  • Bender’s addictive personality, despite what appears to be what others like about him, endangers both himself and everyone he knows; moreover, it is this personality which leads him to join a non-mainstream religion. It is here that a satire of religion is seen with the clear parody of Catholicism (“Robotology”) denoted as “not mainstream”. With other religions like Voodoo and Oprahism being mainstream, we see both an oddly racist assumption (that Voodoo isn’t somehow “mainstream” today) mixed with social degradation of spiritual enlightenment. Perhaps the heightened consumerism of the year 3000 has made religion itself into just another commodity but this time one with a high degree of self-awareness about that commodity?
  • The Robot Devil only enforces religious morality among those who adhere to the religion of Robotology; essentially, this means that all robots are atheist or agonistic from “birth”. Though, we do see in later episodes an existential search concerning free will which leads to monastic replication.
  • “Electricity Abuse” is a medical danger for robots. Likened to LSD. Meanwhile, the act of “using” is likened to masturbation. In both cases, then, robotic bodily abuse is connected to morality insofar as the pseudo-morality of Robotology is concerned (ultimately, it appears that Robotology is concerned with making its robotic adherents more efficient in their day-to-day routines as newer models come online; metaphor for aging and inter-generational struggle?).
  • Bender’s co-workers “love him” because of his sin and so drag him back to vice once he is on the straight and narrow. This is an inversion of morality and so deconstructs the totalized idea of what is “moral”. Makes morality less a homogenous concept and more an opportunist tool, though, it could also be a sort of practiced morality, a form of living which rejects existential Dread.
  • In the song, it is revealed that no robots are “worse” than Bender; this aligns well in later episodes with Flexo as well as scattered moments throughout the series where Bender is in constant indecision over how “evil” he is in relation to other Benders and Bending units. Ultimately, this revelation implies that “evil” is a non-idea and something which must be immersed within in order to understand.
  • Religion satire: as Bender is being baptized, the preacher robot says to Bender “press any key to continue”. This is fascinating since, as later revealed, robots lack a free will and are made by humans. So, this moment is actually a inside philosophical joke; it essentially says that because religion has been degenerated, it has become just another social binary which does not actually matter in the grand scheme of things. An additional layer is revealed when we consider that Robotology is based off of human ideas; religion, as inspired by humans but practiced by robots, becomes inhuman, literally, anti-human.
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