A Quick Note on How Almost Human Came Up With the Term ‘Sexbots’
Fox’s Almost Human — if you haven’t hit it on the DVR yet, it’s RoboCop meets Blade Runner meets Judge Dredd with his helmet off — debuted its first two episodes on Sunday and Monday night. In the pilot, we’re plunged into a J.J. Abrams–supervised future where hard-ass cops are assisted by “synthetic” partners, constantly bathed in cool-looking blue techno-light, and shown holo-manipulating some Minority Report–quality computer interfaces.
And in the second episode, we meet the sexbots.
What’s a sexbot, you ask, before instantly answering yourself, “Oh, obviously it’s a robot you have sex with. Duh.” And your next question is this: “That’s the best name they could come up with for a robot you have sex with? That seems incredibly lazy.” It’s like someone said, “There should be robot prostitutes in this show, right out of the gate, but what do we call them?” and someone else was all, “Call them sexbots. Easy.” And then they looked over to Abrams, who paused for a second before answering “What?” because he was deep in thought about what kind of creature an aged Han Solo should kill with an unprovoked blaster shot underneath a table in Episode VII, but then they caught him up on the conversation, and he decides, “Just put down ‘sexbots.’ We’ll think of something better later.” Then a quiet voice says, “E-scorts? And should some of them be male?” but nobody hears him, and he’s too ashamed to bring it up again, and “robohooker” and “iStitutes” become writers’ room gags for a month. Abrams decides Han will kill a Greedo-like character with Gungan ears, because it’s his job to heal the entire universe.
And so here we are with “sexbots,” a word that the characters in Almost Human intoned roughly 100 times in Monday night’s episode, and a word that sounded weirder and weirder with each mention. Enjoy these two promo video clips where various cast members do their best to sell the hell out of their “sexbot” dialogue anyway, because they are professionals. Props to Karl Urban’s grizzled delivery, but Lili Taylor’s furrowed brow as she puzzles over how unsatisfying the word feels coming out of her mouth is the real winner.