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In Battlestar Galactica (2004) - a common derogatory term for a cylon is a "toaster" (as in implying they are nothing more than simple common machines). However, since the characters are in a futuristic civilisation that does things a little different to we do here on Earth, I have often wondered - should they even know what a toaster is? I know the obvious answer could be "Why wouldn't they?" but I'd still like to know:

Is there any evidence of a toaster, or a character eating toast in Battlestar Galactica?

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    I’m curious why having a word for toaster isn’t enough evidence for having toasters. Jan 23 at 12:16
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    It could be that toasters are archaic technology, but the term has stuck around. Maybe people are saying "toaster" without knowing where the term originated
    – T Hummus
    Jan 23 at 17:59
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    We say "upper case" despite the fact that approximately no one keeps their letters in cases anymore.
    – Plutor
    Jan 23 at 19:05
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    In cases like this I always assume that the language spoken in-universe is not mutually intelligible with present-day English (even if descended from it) and the dialog is a translation that captures the spirit of the word more than its literal meaning in the in-universe language.
    – Theodore
    Jan 23 at 19:13
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    Howdy doodly-do! Talkie's the name, toasting's the game. Would anybody like any toast? (maybe in BSG, Talkie Toaster - from Red Dwarf, which constantly badgers people into eating toast - is a thing. In that case, calling someone a toaster would be a perfectly derogatory term)
    – user25730
    Jan 23 at 21:35

2 Answers 2

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Season 1, Episode 5 you see Agathon make breakfast for Boomer, this includes a toaster seen about 1 minute in to this clip:

enter image description here

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    I am sure that somewhere (director's commentary maybe) it's stated that they deliberately chose a particularly chrome-y toaster for that scene to bring to mind a cylon.
    – Darren
    Jan 23 at 10:50
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    For those not in the know - that is the famous [& very expensive] British-made Dualit Classic toaster, with a clumsy bit of card stuck over the rather large logo - dualit.com/products/2-slice-newgen
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 23 at 14:32
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    This may be a spoiler, but Helo is not making breakfast for Boomer. He’s making it for Athena who is impersonating Boomer.
    – Ben Murphy
    Jan 24 at 5:59
  • @BenMurphy May be? I don't know what the feeling is for spoilers on this site (and yours is not the only one I've seen even on this page), but that's definitely a spoiler. But perhaps I shouldn't be reading this page if I haven't seen it yet. Jan 26 at 9:45
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    @bornfromanegg- It's not a spoiler, we know this isn't boomer as she's still aboard Galactica, and she can't be on Caprica and Galactica at the same time.
    – Charemer
    Jan 26 at 11:24
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I want to tackle a different route than the given answer which found a toaster in the set. Not because that answer is incorrect (because it does solve the issue), but rather than I think your question derives from how you've defined your own words.

should they even know what a toaster is?

You've sidetracked yourself into defining a "toaster" to very specifically use our real life technology, which is leading you to assume that a more futuristic version of the same device would not be a "toaster".

Bread exists. Bread can be toasted. The machine that toasts bread is called a toaster. This remains true regardless of the technological level of this machine. Whether it uses heated coils, kyber crystals, miniature dragons, nanotechnology, or opens a microportal to the sun.

Unless you are alleging that toast (whether bread or anything else that can be toasted) does not exist in the Battlestar Galactica universe, I see no reason to infer that toasters do not exist.


What's more important to understanding the insult is what a toaster represents relative to a Cylon.

The reason "toaster" is an insult is not because it's referring to a device with heated coils (i.e. how we build toasters in real life), it's because a toaster is a common everyday machine incapable of any other purpose other than what its designer intended for it to be capable of, which is significantly simpler than the capabilities of a living machine, which would be able to learn new things and through its learnings start to self-identify.

The word "toaster" debases the Cylons and devalues any shred of capability or identity that they have. This is no different from calling a human a meat sack or a knuckle dragger. This is the same principle as e.g. referring to women as cooks or maids or mothers, i.e. stating that they are limited to a small scope and either incapable of achieving other things or willfully ignoring any of their other achievements.

The reason "toaster" is used here is because of the dime-a-dozen nature of the device. If toasters were expensive state-of-the-art machines that are considered to be a impressive technological feat, it would not be an insult.

For example, if I were to refer to a Cylon as a Ferrari, that is technically still the same insult (because it's still a machine built for a single purpose), but it doesn't quite cut the same way because a Ferrari is an exceptionally well-made machine, hard to come by, and revered by many.

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    Yesss, but... it's also quite clear the insult "toaster" also refers to the appearance of the chromed Cylons as compared to the look of a classical/retro toaster (you can still get them chromed, too). It's not ANY expensive single-purpose device, it's specifically a device that looks like a chrome toaster. The heated coils themselves don't matter, but the specific look does.
    – Andres F.
    Jan 24 at 18:17
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    @AndresF.: "Toaster" is a very common insult hurled at machines in real life and other fictional worlds; this is not unique to BSG by any stretch. Example 1 Example 2 I do agree that they likely picked a toaster in BSG (shown in the other answer) that resembled a Cylon. Whether that's an in-joke or a serious justification for the origins of the insult is arguable.
    – Flater
    Jan 24 at 22:22
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    I understand why it's an insult, and also that even a futuristic toaster is still a toaster, but I don't but I don't recall seeing a character eating toast (at least I didn't prior to A.bakker's answer). While to us, the notion of having a single appliance for grilling bread seems obvious, we are talking about a civilisation from a completely different planet. e.g. I recently heard that many Americans don't have electric kettles (as inconceivable as that seems) so a Sci-Fi with Americans calling robots 'kettles' would be inappropriate. Is 'toaster' just for the audience's benefit?
    – komodosp
    Jan 25 at 9:40
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    @komodosp: A "toaster" could be a translation convention for the audience. Perhaps this society doesn't have Earth-style "bread" produced by grinding Pooideae-family grains into flour, mixing it with water, kneading the dough, and baking it. But it's not too far-fetched that they'd have some staple food that is browned by a heat-induced Maillard reaction, a process which can reasonably be called "toasting". Which makes the machine that produces it a "toaster".
    – dan04
    Jan 25 at 19:18
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    I must disagree with the concept that the existence of toast implies the existence of toasters. Star Trek--food made by replicators. Yes, the pattern had to come from somewhere but that could have been long ago, toasters now being extinct. And you can toast without a toaster. Jan 25 at 19:37

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