“You think you’ve got problems? What are you supposed to do if you are a manically depressed robot? No, don’t try to answer that. I’m fifty thousand times more intelligent than you and even I don’t know the answer. It gives me a headache just trying to think down to your level.”
The robotic successor to A A Milne’s Eeyore character, Marvin (from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers series) never looks on the bright side of life. As he would say, “don’t talk to me about life.” Other robots are happy to serve and Marvin views them with contempt. The failure in his programming makes him an interesting character. He obeys orders but very unwillingly and always with complaints about the menial tasks that don’t fulfil his potential. Humorous but this also makes you think. As artificial intelligence is further developed, the possibility of robots having mental health problems doesn’t seem far-fetched.
In the 1981 TV series, Marvin was a typically boxy-looking robot, silver-coloured and moving stiffly. In the 2005 film, he had an updated look, with an oversized globular head and short white limbs. The book describes his shape as ‘more or less humanoid.’ I think if he’d been just a box or something, the impact wouldn’t have been the same. The point is that although he’s a robot, sometimes he seems more human than the humans do…
Image taken from the Hitchhikers Fandom Wiki.