As traditionally depicted, Santa Claus is a kind of cult leader who runs an enormous factory using slave labor and stolen IP to churn out knockoffs of the latest products. He’s basically Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jack Ma, and Jeff Bezos rolled into one. Which is to say, he should be regulated or put in prison.
Santa the man clearly is bad. But Santa the idea brings joy to millions of children (who are lied to) around the world. So how do we resolve this contradiction? One solution is to celebrate robot Santas.
Here are some mechanized St. Nicks that are better than the real (fake) thing.
Tim Allen ranks pretty low on the list of Santa Claus portrayals, but he ranks pretty high on the list of anthropomorphic toy portrayals thanks to the Toy Story franchise. It’s no surprise then that his performance as Toy Santa—a mechanized Kris Kringle replica that goes rogue and takes over the North Pole—in the second installment of The Santa Claus basically splits the difference. As robot Santas go, it’s fine.
In the final episode of Invader Zim “The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever,” Zim builds a robot Santa suit. He hopes to impersonate Father Christmas so he can win over hearts of humans and enslave them. His plans are thwarted when the suit becomes sentient and turns into a murderous monster.
I have no strong feelings about either Invader Zim or this Santa, which is basically just regular Santa. The art is fun though.
Watching this Santa just makes you feel happier. This is a good Santa.
Futurama’s Robot Santa Claus spends the majority of his time surveilling the people of Earth from his North Pole fortress on Neptune. Then, on Xmas Eve, he goes on a killing spree, punishing both naughty and nice. He is perhaps the most beloved and best-known robot Santa—a superlative status he would absolutely deserve if it weren’t for one thing.
After lording over the State Fair of Texas for 60 years, the original Big Tex died in tragic blaze in 2012. But before he became the iconic giant cowboy of the Lone Star State, Big Tex was actually a 49-foot tall Santa made out of papier-mache and iron who tried to lure tourists and shoppers to Kerens, Texas. In my humble opinion, the best robot Santa of them all.
Are there any other important robot Santas you think should be on the list? Chime in below.