7

Bender Bending Rodríguez is a Robot, he was built as Bending Unit 22.

But what was he built for? I mean, did Mom's Friendly Robot Company sell him to another organization for profit? This is what a company usually builds stuff for, no?

I don't think his behavior could imply he is a actually slave in any way. So, did he have to do something to buy is freedom? Or is he still legally the property of someone or something?

8

In Futurama, the freedoms/rights of robots in general is a bit confusing. Robots seem to occupy some middle ground between autonomy and property. Here are some examples of their apparent freedom to make independent choices:

  • In the pilot episode "Space Pilot 3000" Bender chooses to quit his job bending girders for suicide booths. He is then hired to work for Planet Express.

  • In the episode "Bendless Love" Bender recounts his earlier years. Right after graduating from "bending school", he says:

    Hooray! I graduated! Time to bend around Europe for a few months, then get a job bending.

    This implies that a job isn't provided immediately after being built, and that work has to be found. Although, this could just be an example of Bender shirking his responsibilities and slacking off.

  • In the same episode, robots are shown striking, implying they have some form of union and workers' rights. After finding out that the company is hiring scabs (not buying them) at ten times the normal wage, Bender chooses to break the picket line and work for them.

  • In the episode "A Head in the Polls" robots are shown to have the right to vote, which helps Nixon get elected as president of Earth. ("ARROOOOOO!")

  • In Bender's Game, Nibbler makes this comment:

    To reduce cost she started a new enterprise, Mom's Friendly Robots, to build robot slaves. Remember this was back in the days before Robot Lincoln.

    This implies that robots were once slaves, but have gained some measure of freedom.

There are, however, instances of robots being treated as property:

  • In the episode "Obsoletely Fabulous" robots are bought and sold at the Roboticon 3003 robot trade show, which is where the Professor purchases a 1-X robot.

  • In the episode "Lethal Inspection", Bender is found to have a fatal defect. When he complains about this to Mom's Friendly Robot Company, she promptly sends Killbots after him since, as Hermes says (emphasis mine):

    You dumb cocktail shaker! Mom won't allow a defective product to tarnish her good name! She'll kill you.

  • In the episode "Overclockwise" Bender is stated as having a warranty and a license agreement, which are voided and violated, respectively, when Cubert overclocks his processor to make him a better video gamer.

So, it would appear that Bender (and robots in general) can't really be called either entirely free or entirely enslaved since they have some control over their employment. Perhaps it's closer to some form of indentured servitude, or maybe robots have to repay the debt for their "creation" in the same way that college graduates have to pay back student loans given to them for their education. Alternatively, Mom could have created robots that were not sold to anyone and simply released into the public so that they might fill out the ranks of her "army".

  • 1
    In the pilot there is also a brief Short Circuit style indication that the only way he can break his programming and thus have a personality involving free will is to have an electric shock through the head; this seems to be one of those ideas that appears in pilots and is never mentioned again. – Whelkaholism Aug 19 '15 at 10:19
3

Well, Bender's background is a bit confused. Going by memory I seem to recall him spending his pre-Planet Express days as both a girder bender in a factory and as a soldier.

"Currently" I believe he is still technically property of Planet Express. The professor had agree to some kind of EULA when he first acquired Bender (which resulted in Mom trying to have him destroyed since Cubert overclocked him).

Of course, Bender has always been pretty bad at following directions and mostly seems to just do whatever he wants to do.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.