Paul Verhoeven's RoboCop was mordant critique of Eighties corporate excess, what with its privatized police department and dystopian fake advertisements. But like some sort of cyborg ouroboros, RoboCop himself became a media personality and the pitchman for many a bizarre product. Here are ten times RoboCop has moonlighted as something other than Detroit's finest man-machine. Watch as his dignity is completely disassembled!
10.) Professional Wrestler
To promote RoboCop 2, the hero appeared at the 1990 WCW Capital Combat pay-per-view event, where he saved noted greasepaint aficionado Sting from a metal cage. Wrestling crossovers have not reached such heady apices since the Muppets showed up on WWE Raw last year.
9.) Marvel Comic Stalwart
Before he appeared in Dark Horse Comics' seminal 1992 beat-em-up RoboCop Versus Terminator, Officer Murphy was part of the Marvel stable of characters, thanks to Marvel Productions' RoboCop: The Animated Series and his own comic series. He even appeared on the most eyesore float in Macy's parade history.
8.) Terrible Theme Song Inspiration
But RoboCop's animated adventures didn't stop with The Animated Series. He attempted to bottle some of his former glory in 1998, with RoboCop: Alpha Commando (which is available entirely on Hulu). This series will always be remembered for its intro, which gave RoboCop both rollerblades and the laziest lyrics since Adam West's Batman.
7.) Pee-wee Herman Savior
At the 1989 Academy Awards, RoboCop hobnobbed with the stars to save Pee-wee Herman from celebrated enforcement droid ED-209. If we had to encapsulate the cultural zeitgeist of the 1980s for extraterrestrials, we would simply roll this footage. Of course, Earth would be vaporized 10 minutes later, but at least we'd die honest.
6.) Nemesis of Roaches
RoboCop once enjoyed a lucrative career as a pitchman for products on the Eastern Pacific Rim. Here he demonstrates a hale disregard for insects. I'm assuming this roach killer originated as an Omni Consumer Products face-melting spray that proved too gruesome for street use.
5.) The Muffler Doppelgänger
At the height of RoboCop's popularity, Meineke sidestepped a character tie-in entirely and create their own off-color cyber-sheriff. Note that a ninja also appears in this commercial. Two decades back, business school textbooks contained nothing but diagrams of ninjas, turtle or otherwise.
4.) The RoboCop Ramen Army
Ramen commercials are an underexplored nexus of reality. They're these pocket dimension where Jedi knights and robotic police officers congregate to worship high-sodium pasta that can survive nuclear explosions. Here, a phalanx of RoboCops appeared to chant the praises of Nissin's UFO noodles.
3.) The Fried Chicken Incident
But the shameless promotion didn't stop there — RoboCop also shilled breaded bird in South Korea. He demonstrated his new ability to travel through television waves and ignored his prime directive by stealing that poor woman's refrigerator. The look of terror on the family's face cuts to the bone. Nothing sells poultry like home invasion.
2 & 1.) Japanese Monster Fighter
RoboCop received another Japanese tribute in the form of Kidou Keiji Jiban, a 1989 tokusatsu program that featured tentacle monsters and a whole lot of thematic symmetry. In my mind, this is what happened after the cameras stopped rolling on Robocop 3.
Jiban wasn't the only television program to draw from Paul Verhoeven's well (which I imagine is guarded by the spectral forms of Casper Van Dien and Elizabeth Berkley). Toei also used the "dead cyborg cop" motif for 1993's Tokusou Robo Janperson. I am uncertain if the "I'd Buy That For A Dollar" guy ever received his own cross-cultural spin-off.