Created partners are a classic of speculative fiction. Usually a person hurt or disillusioned with relationships creates a new partner. The theme stems from a fantasy of having the perfect romance with the perfect partner. But unlike a romance novel, there’s a whole layer of creepiness in creating a perfect partner. It raises questions about free will and slavery. The reality may not turn out quite the way people were hoping.
‘Coin-Operated Boy’ – The Dresden Dolls
Music Genre: Dark Cabaret
Video Genre: Dark Cabaret
About the Band: The Dresden Dolls consists of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione.
About the Video: The lyrics and video sum up the creepiness of the created partner trope. The coin-operated boy (Brian) is the wish-fulfilment partner who won’t hurt Amanda, but he’s also “just a toy” who doesn’t get a say in anything. It has a stage theme, with exaggerated stage makeup and scenery like a stage set.
(Being coin-operated seems like a hassle to me, as you kept having to unlock his coin compartment to get them out. And he’d rattle. But maybe I’m overthinking this…)
‘The Girl and the Robot’ – Röyksopp featuring Robyn
Music Genre: Pop
Video Genre: Science Fiction
About the Video: There’s nothing idealised about this relationship, either in the visuals or the lyrics. Flashbacks to the first meeting show a relationship that started well, but grew cold. The robot is not under Robyn’s command, and decides to spend all day working instead of spending time with her. The images of Robyn at home and the robot at work share visual elements, which pulls it together nicely.
Also unusually for the created partner trope, the robot is not designed to look attractive. He’s your usual blocky humanoid robot.
The Girl and the Robot (YouTube) – I believe this is the official one, but it’s region locked and I couldn’t check it.
‘Robot Girlfriend Song’ – Rhett and Link
Music Genre: Comedy
Video Genre: Geek
About the Band: Rhett and Link are comedy duo Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal.
About the Video: This video pokes fun at the robot girlfriend idea, and the male geeks who dream of such a girlfriend. One day, they’ll realise that dating a female geek is a better solution (even if she doesn’t come with built-in Solitaire and may steal your comic books).
‘Busy ‘ – Olly Murs
Music Genre: Pop
Video Genre: Fantasy
About the Singer: Olly Murs is a singer from England.
About the Video: For those who like the romantic (if still creepy) side of created partners, this video has Olly creating a dream girlfriend (Rose) out of papier mache. His life with Rose is shown, in a very 70s world (possibly the only time when vomit yellow was fashionable). They hang out reading books, pretending to go for drives and eating popcorn. This one is speculative, but it takes a little while to get there.