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"Damn dogg why as a robot I got to be so predictably susceptible to liquid like this. It ain't cool!!!"
Squarewave, Homestuck

Apparently no-one ever designs any high technology (even sophisticated robots) with any kind of waterproofing. Any and all metals rust at ridiculously high speed when exposed to water, and any high-tech object that is splashed with water will immediately spark, usually explode, and either shut down permanently or perform some bizarre and unlikely action with a waterlogged device producing spectacular effects like time travel or a computer suddenly achieving sentience. Of course, the Real Life examples below seem to show that we don't do much of that sort of thing here in the present.

It is also worth noting the tendency of abandoned spacecraft and high technology that have sprung a leak, drizzling a never ending stream of water on our characters' heads. This is much more likely to do damage in real life. Imagine all that black mold...

Seen primarily in science-fiction and superhero shows, but common in any show featuring high technology.

Directly related to Kill It with Water. See also Explosive Instrumentation.

Examples of No Waterproofing in the Future include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Chachamaru from Mahou Sensei Negima takes a bath shortly after her Mid-Season Upgrade, stating that her new skin can be washed, (and implying her old skin couldn't.)
    • On the other hand, the Negima! anime briefly features a fully aquatic mode for Chachamaru, who operates like a remote controlled boat. Until she activates 'Berserker Mode', anyway.
  • Parodied and then subverted in Hayate the Combat Butler when a robot attacks Nagi; its invulnerability to electricity-conducting water ("The best waterproof coating in Japan!") is quickly defeated when silver dining implements are used to penetrate the skin. Behold the power of conductors.
  • You would think Miyu from Mai-HiME would have to be a lot more waterproof to pass as a human (a schoolgirl, to be more specific). Of course, it is possible that the water in the lake had no effect on her, and instead she deactivated herself in a place where nobody would look for her or Alyssa's body. Given that Mai-Otome Miyu has no trouble staying underwater for long periods of time, and even swimming, the matter is even more dubious.
  • In a few of the Panda Z animated shorts about cute robotic animals, one of their friends gets caught outside in the rain, under a tree. The rest of them attempt to come up with a workable plan to rescue her without getting shorted out themselves. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Generally averted in Ghost in the Shell, where the cyborg bodies and parts of most of the main characters are thoroughly waterproofed, but the danger comes from the fact that they're too heavy to swim if immersed. In the first movie, the Major still goes swimming with the aid of some floatation devices that give her a bit of buoyancy, to provide some real risk in her life; her extreme competence and ultra-durable body leave her in little real danger much of the time.
    • However, this is played straight with their cloaking equipment. The cloaking effects are temporarily disrupted when it comes into contact with water, and is basically useless under constant exposure from sources like rain or fire sprinklers.
      • Though this is portrayed more that the cloak can't keep up with the constantly shifting patterns of water and becoming overloaded trying to mirror it instead of just shorting out and shocking the hell out of the wearer.
  • Armitage III is waterproof, but earns mention after she attempts suicide by jumping into a river whilst riddled with bullet holes. Ross rescues her, saying "Hey, don't short out on me!"
    • Chobits work in a similar manner. (In the anime, anyway.)
  • In the same vein, the titular character of All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku is plenty waterproof but is too heavy to float and she faces a difficult time during the Beach Episode because the monster of the day is aquatic. She eventually gets an upgrade to get around this problem.
  • The heroes' Gunmen in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann aren't initially waterproof, but it only takes an episode to sort out.
  • Nerima Daikon Brothers had a metal arm rust up and crumble because the owner cried on it for all of three minutes. (Then again, you shouldn't think to hard about... Anything in that show.)
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, while the Evangelion itself doesn't seem to be bothered by water (or vacuum, or lava...), early models of its outer armour would jam if submerged, slowing or potentially paralysing the Eva.
    • Doesn't really count since they have waterproof equiptment - they just didn't have it at hand at the time because they were sort of just transporting the EVA in question without planning to activate it. Misato later admits that she should've thought of a possible underwater battle.
    • Also, there is a difference between being submerged in water and sinking to the bottom of the pacific ocean. The problem probably wouldn't have been the water, but the EVA running out of power long before it could walk to the next shore and being stuck at the bottom without any means to raise it.


Comic Books Edit

  • In the old Marvel Transformers comic book series, water was the best way to kill off the tiny robotic pests known as Scraplets. Cybertronian myth about the parasites described water as a "rare compound" which was able to remove the Scraplets without harming the afflicted (as opposed to the only other effective way, powerful acid). This is a case of Did Not Do the Research; water is fairly common in the universe, and a race capable of burning hydrocarbons for fuel would definitely be familiar with it. Averting this trope, the Transformers thus treated with water are completely fine.
    • Played straight elsewhere in the series. An earlier issue featured a fight for Decepticon leadership between Megatron and Shockwave. The fight ends when Shockwave attacks with a water tower, short-circuiting Megatron.


Fanfic Edit

  • There is an Andromeda fic where Rommie decides to take a bath and short circuits. Lampshaded in that Harper did design her to be water proof... except that the component he used for a certain part of her anatomy was only water resistant.


Film Edit

  • The title alien of Predator had a cloaking device which conveniently shorted out whenever he came into contact with water. A little odd when it had been established that their species had been coming to Earth for hundreds of years and thus should've developed an upgrade.
    • This effect became increasingly pronounced, in the first film the Predator wades in a river the device only shorting out when he gets out of the water, in the second film the same thing happens when he steps in a puddle, by AVP 2 (game) a single toe in the water will shut down the cloaking device.
    • It may not be a technical issue - after all, their ships managed to sneak through cloud layers and other water vapor undetected. It's just that the Yautja probably don't see the need for flawless personal cloaking devices, for the same reason they don't just blast everything with plasma from hiding. Where's the sport in that?
  • The aliens in Signs are unable to waterproof themselves despite invading a planet where oceans cover two-thirds of the surface and water falls from the sky. Which raises the question of why they'd invade what, to them, would be equivalent to a planet of acid completely naked.
    • That only scratches the surface of the Fridge Logic: there's also water vapour in the atmosphere (which, carrying on the analogy, would be like breathing acid fumes), not to mention the fact that water (as a chemically-stable compound of two of the most abundant elements) is quite likely the most common chemical compound in the universe (it's certainly more common than scientists once thought, apparently available in some form on virtually every planet and moon in the Solar System from Earth on out). Those aliens really did draw the evolutionary short straw.
    • As suggested in the example for Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory, it's possible that they had a reaction to the water in the house because the main character was a priest, thus making them allergic to Holy Water. This theory also assumes that the aliens are actually demons.
    • The titular character of Invader Zim has a similar problem, but eventually averts this trope by bathing in paste.
      • This instance can also be overlooked because of the fact that Zim is quite stupid. Also, Rule of Funny.
      • Zim also didn't invade Earth on purpose; he ended up there by sheer luck. The Almighty Tallest thought they were just sending him into empty space.
  • Mocked in The Goon when the title character takes down an alien invader by throwing water at him. A man walks up and goes on a rant about how stupid this is and points out the alien would have died just by breathing our air, and then looks at the forth wall
  • The oft-overlooked Deal Of The Century featured a drone fighter with this problem.
  • In Star Wars, lightsabers have to be constructed in a specific way to be able to work when submerged.
    • It's mentioned in EU that there's no point in making waterproof lightsaber for non-amphibious species, as they won't be able to use it effectively underwater anyway. Melee combat underwater certainly would be tricky. ...of course, combat using anything other than explosives and propelled torpedo-like projectile would be difficult underwater... But Star Wars is inconsistent about this. Lightsabers' weakness to water seems to have started with a deleted scene from Episode I, in which Obi-Wan's lightsaber shorted out just after arriving on Naboo; this is why Qui-Gon had to rescue him from the droid on the STAP skimmer. EU materials published before this have lightsabers working perfectly underwater, though these may have been the other style of construction. One of the Young Jedi Knights novels, for example, has the protagonists taking to the water of Mon Calamari to free their submersible by slicing away the polar ice surrounding it.
      • Either way, one would expect a few problems with a lightsaber underwater. Given how much heat their blades appear to give off (they rapidly cauterize wounds as they cut things off) when touching anything except gaseous matter, wouldn't there be loads of water instantly boiling around the blade if it was underwater? Not something you'd want to use at close range, and could conceivably have a water-detection-shutoff-switch more to protect the person using it than because of technical problems.
        • Lightsabers only expend power and generate heat when cutting things. Otherwise, they could be left on forever and not run out of juice. If they're not specially constructed, they just short out when they touch water. It's entirely possible that the special construction is just modifying them to not try to cut water, which is what shorts the circuit. After all, they all seem to work just fine in rain, which doesn't seem to be enough to connect the two parts of the energy circuit and cause a short. The rain, coincidentally, is seen boiling in Star Wars: Clone Wars.
          • Actually, they use a certain (albeit minimal) amount of power all the time they're on, that glow has to come from somewhere after all
          • Rain also hisses and makes steam when it hits your saber(s) in the Jedi Knight games, particularly Academy and possibly Outcast. You also can't use your lightsaber underwater in the later two games, even though you could in the first one.
            • It's specifically a different lightsaber in those games. In the first games it's an older lightsaber made to work underwater. In the newer games Kyle didn't know enough about lightsabers to make one that would work underwater.
    • It's an ambiguous point, since, as mentioned these things do work in the rain, they just don't work when submerged (and even then there's little evidence to suggest that the weapon itself is damaged).
    • In the 2003 Clone Wars Miniseries, Kit Fisto uses his lightsaber as normal whilst underwater, with no more than a slight visual effect ("Blade" not as well-defined, slight fizzing).
  • The robot kid from AI shorts himself out when he eats spinach with his family. The synthetic throat apparently opened right into the sensitive electronics of his chest. He was just fine when he fell into a pool though.
    • David's engineers had the foresight to mostly waterproof him, which comes in handy in two separate occasions: when he falls into a swimming pool and the ocean. However, since he's built out of metal, he still sinks like a stone.
  • Apparently the ultra-futuristic robots of WALL-E are not waterproof. The thing is, the robot they use to demonstrate this is a freaking LIFEGUARD robot! Of course, the blobby humans were completely unaware of the presence of the pool, so the ship's automated systems probably only made something called a "lifeguard" because regulations required it.
    • Wall-E and Eve are probably waterproof, as they stand out in the rain with no problem. Given their specialities, of course, they'd have to be.
      • Which just makes the lifeguard example even worse.
  • In the 2007 Transformers movie, Ironhide complains that Sam's dog peeing on his foot will cause it to rust. This from the robot that had survived atmospheric reentry a couple hours before. And landed in a swimming pool. Granted, urine is generally more salty than water, but he survived re-entry intact. However, given that he is a crotchety old bot, he was likely just looking for an excuse to kill the dog.
    • For the record, urine IS an electrolyte. But not enough to cause immediate corrosion of metal.
    • Apparently in ROTF, the Constructicons are waterproof to the point where they can resurrect and operate on Megatron at the bottom of the Laurentian Abyss. Megatron himself appears little worse for wear for his stay there besides a bit of rust. Although Megatron was dead, which would account for the rust aside from water (i.e. he was a "rusting" mechanical corpse).
  • A coffee spill is determined to give a false alarm in Fate is the Hunter.
  • The Killer Robot in Hardware attacks the heroine in the shower. She kills it by spraying it with the showerhead.
  • At the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the ship lands in water and starts leaking almost immediately. You would think a ship that can keep all the air in out in space and survive all the hits of a typical Klingon firefight would have no problem keeping water out.
    • Somewhat justified, in that it was carrying a lot more mass than it was ever designed to do so, and came in uncontrolled and at possibly higher than terminal velocity. They're lucky it didn't shatter on impact, let alone leak a bit.
    • Further justified in that a space ship would not necessarily be built to withstand external pressure. In the Star Trek universe, all impacts (from things like meteoroids) are handled by energy-based shields. Even when the shields go down, the hull is usually under attack by energy weapons, which presumably do not inflict pressure on the hull but rather break it down with heat. So an unshielded ship with a hull mainly designed to hold air IN would probably fare rather poorly underwater.
    • Hulls are designed to withstand pressure diferentials. It is the same difference for a space-ship with 1 atmosphere of pressure inside (1 atm = 15lb/sq in = 10^5 Pascal) whether the pressure outside 0 atm of space or 2 atm from 10 meters depth of water. Assume they strengthen the Hull to withstand 4 atm difference, then the ship can go down 40 meters etc.
      • Actually, that's not how it would work. Though this is 100% accurate relating simply to the materials used, the design has a MASSIVE effect on which direction pressure can be stronger. It would take much less pressure to blow a submarine UP than to cave a submarine IN (assuming you could create the pressure of deep sea from the interior).

 "How many atmospheres can the ship withstand?" "Well, it was built for space travel, so anywhere between zero and one."

    • Well, aside from the impact from falling from a great altitude, there was the overload, powerlessness, having made two improvised time travels by grazing the heat and gravity of the Sun, having been torpedoed twice in the previous movie...
      • One of the early American rockets would be crumpled by the atmosphere if not loaded with fuel.
  • Westworld -at one point, in Medieval world, a girl in a dungeon catches the hero's attention - "help me" she cries weakly - but as he sympathetically tries to give her water, sparks fly and he realizes she too was a robot
  • In the movie Cherry 2000, the main character's robot wife short circuits and breaks after getting wet. Which only begs the question as to why he would have her wash dishes if she wasn't water proof.
  • In vaguely sci-fi-ish five minutes in the future 80's film Computer Love, a personal computer attains sentience after wine is spilled on its keyboard, and plays matchmaker for its owner and Love Interest[1]


Literature Edit

  • Very much averted in Dark Life. The underwater houses are specifically built so that being deflated and filled with water will do minimal damage (since that's ever-present danger on, you know, the botton of the sea).
  • The Tin Woodsman from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz rusting himself with his own tears. Worked instantly. Tin isn't prone to rust, but tin cans are (because they're actually made out of steel).
  • Included as a detail in the first Red Dwarf novel to explain why the radiation leak that kills the crew in both the TV series and books wasn't detected; an officer knocks a coffee on his keyboard and assumes the warning beeps about the leak on his terminal pertain to his spillage.
    • Both the books and series later mention Kryten isn't waterproof as the reason why Ace Rimmer has to be the one to go out in a storm and fix the ship. Naturally, not a reason Kryten himself sees as at all relevant.
      • Although if an android is designed for service exclusively on spaceships, where bodies of open water are scarce and weather is unknown, it's not unthinkable that they wouldn't bother with all-over waterproofing. (At least some water resistance would seem to be important on a cleaning bot, though -- unless In The Future, All Cleaning Is Chemical.)
        • Kryten has some water resistance, both "Meltdown" and "Krytie TV" show him surviving a shower.
  • Star Trek on the whole's pretty good about this; the only time I can remember something getting in water and malfunctioning was the Klingon Bird-of-Prey in Star Trek IV, and I think there was more than the Pacific messing with it. However, the spin-off novel How Much for Just the Planet? by John M. Ford, which is a bit of a farcical romp, spins an entire subplot out of what happens when someone dumps a milkshake into a computer ...
  • In a case of "No Magical Waterproofing", Laurence Yep's young adult novel Dragon Cauldron features a tiara set with a pearl that causes the wearer to become possessed by the spirit of a long-dead sorceress. The heroes manage to free someone trapped by it by splashing it with wine. Wine is acidic and will dissolve a pearl, but a) not that fast and b) not intensely magical ones, which you'd think would have some kind of protection on them.
  • In Out of Night, a John W. Campbell short story, the occupying Sarn give their outnumbered human supporters personal force fields and energy weapons to use against the rebels. The force field emitters explode, killing the bearer, if the field's splashed with water. Justified, as the Sarn's hidden agenda is to cull strong-willed humans on both sides of the conflict; they intentionally hand out sub par equipment so their supporters don't have a Curb Stomp Battle.
  • In Andrey Livadny's novel The Third Race of The History of the Galaxy series, a female astronaut wakes up from her Human Popsicle state on a deep-space research vessel only to find the crew behaving strangely. She goes to her quarters and sees that her husband is also acting weird. When taking a shower, she decides to try to have sex with him then and there. She pulls him under the spray still in his clothes, only for him to start smoking and short out. Turns out he is a droid with fake skin made to look like her husband. In fact, the entire crew is like that, as all of the real crew except for her were killed as the result of a computer error (the ship's AI was too busy playing a game to notice a meteorite heading the for ship), and the AI was desperately trying to keep her from finding out. Needless to say, this chapter of the book is pure Nightmare Fuel.
    • To note, these droids are supposedly designed to handle any potential planetary environment the ship may (crash)land in, so the fact that they aren't waterproof is major Fridge Logic.
  • In the Russian book series "The Adventures of Electronic" (about a Human-looking robot), it is specially mentioned that Electronic is extremely vulnerable to water. This is presented as unavoidable.


Live Action TV Edit

  • Parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch called "The Pepsi Syndrome" (based on the movie The China Syndrome), where a spilled soda triggers a nuclear meltdown at a power station.
  • Angel shows us that there's no waterproofing in the present, either. A cup of blood spilled on a keyboard causes sparks, smoke, and the immediate destruction of the computer.
    • If an input device was sufficiently messed up and sending garbage input to the computer, it could possibly cause it to crash -- however, the problem could immediately be solved by unplugging the device and rebooting the CPU.
  • Played with in Australian TV series Spellbinder - the titular Spellbinders are the rulers of a post-apocalyptic pseudo-medieval alternate universe, maintaining power by way of advanced Lost Technology that's a sort of cross between the works of Nikola Tesla and Leonardo Da Vinci. One important item is the "power suit", that allows the wearer to throw lightning-balls at people, but is shorted out by water. However, when Big Bad Ashka escapes into our world later in the series and cons a scientist (the protagonist's father, no less) into building a suit with modern equipment, he waterproofs it as a matter of course - much to the heroes' dismay.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, it is revealed that the terminators have a problem similar to the cyborgs of Ghost in the Shell, described above. They are entirely waterproof and can function perfectly well underwater, but what they can't do is float.
  • British Nineties games/technology review show Bad Influence had a Running Gag about yoghurt being the most damaging thing to spill on anything electronic; for instance, particularly expensive computers would have the Tempting Fate like "You really don't want to spill yoghurt on this..."
  • Used at the beginning of the Doctor Who story "The Leisure Hive" as an excuse to leave the Robot Buddy out of the adventure.
  • Goa'uld ships in Stargate SG-1 don't seem to be particularly waterproof, which makes for fun when getting around a partially flooded ship as their transporters only work in certain locations (fortunately the equipment doesn't seem to be too much affected by water).
    • Most of the ships are on the order of 3/4 of a Km long, and so probably a couple hundred metres tall. I can't imagine those seals would be good up to 20-30 atmospheres since they'd be designed for only maybe a couple of atmospheres.
    • The replicators in a few episodes mildly demonstrate this trope, although that's because most of them in those episodes are made of hull-grade steel rather than their normal waterproof material.
      • Mostly subverted in Stargate Atlantis. Atlantis does have the ability to resist immense water pressure, but it relies on power-hungry shields to do so.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • Though in BattleTech, it is a good idea to be standing in water for extra cooling, there are some potential hazards. First the hull breach rule, that states, that every hit on a submerged location has the potential of breaching the armor, and second the flooding rule that says, all components in a location without any armor immediately cease functioning. They can be dried after the battle with relative ease however. So the trope is both played straight and inverted. However, some players complained about the lack of waterproofing below the armor.
    • Justified: Battlemech armour is described as a sandwich of various advanced energy dissapating layers and explosively reactive armour. It'd be fairly safe to assume that any waterproofing underneath would not be likely to survive the sort of damage that completely strips the armour off a segment.
    • One more caveat. If you're staring down an opponent with an array of high-accuracy weaponry, standing partially submerged in water is a terrible move, because it raises the probability of catastrophic head damage from 1/36 to 1/6. Under other circumstances, the accuracy hit that your opponent takes from firing at a partially covered target would be sufficient to balance this out, but when the odds are that you will get hit...


Video Games Edit

  • In one stage of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, two cops fight off a horde of alien robots by spraying them with water, first from squirtguns, then from the hose on a firetruck. The alien spaceships are also vulnerable to water, apparently- they explode when sprayed with water.
  • In Cave Story, the protagonist, an armed scout robot, will die if submerged in water too long. In fact, getting the best ending requires saving another robot from this.
  • Rush in the Rockman EXE anime, on one occasion, is absent owing to rain, as he'd short out. The problem with that is a) Rush is a hologram, and b) he's dipped into onsen repeatedly with no ill effects.
  • Basically the premise of the second X-COM game, Terror From The Deep: the weapons developed during decades of fighting against armies of aliens on land and air, are completely useless underwater, and researches have to restart from scratch if you want to have something better than lame spearguns. The element elerium, a prime power source also becomes inert when submerged in saltwater, making salvaging it from crashed alien ships that much harder.
  • Subverted in most Mechwarrior games. Standing in water is a fantastic idea, because your heat sinks work better when water-cooled, allowing you to ignore your heat gauge. Since heat is the primary limiting factor for energy weapons, can we say Beam Spam?
    • Continuing the subversion, the Ghost Bear's Legacy expansion pack for Mechwarrior 2 had a mission that happened entirely underwater, as well as one in deep space.
    • Except that it wouldn't work too well in real life since most missiles don't work underwater, and that stuff attenuates lasers far more quickly than air (just now quickly varies, blue-frequency lasers would be much less affected than red-frequency ones).
      • This was partially covered in game, with missiles and ballistic weapons not working underwater. Missiles were replaced with specialised torpedo launchers for the one mission. Energy weapons, both lasers and particle cannons, still worked fine, however.
  • Aigis in Persona 3 is perfectly fine with water (she's atleast waist deep in both the Beach Episode and the Hot Springs Episode, though she admits the steam from the Hot springs do interfere with her sensors), to the relief of some of the major characters.

 Fuuka: Is it okay for Aigis to go in the ocean?

Yukari: Oh, I'm sure she's water proof.

  • Portal: "These inter-dimensional gates have proven to be completely safe. The device, however, has not. Do not submerge the device in liquid, even partially." This may be the reason that falling into liquids in the game and its sequel is always fatal.
  • Averted to ridiculous lengths in Final Fantasy X: Cid's airship, the Fahrenheit, was underwater and embedded in rock for one thousand years. The corridor lights and control panels still functioned perfectly fine as Tidus and Rikku swam among them and activated them.
  • Averted hard in the Metroid series. The Wrecked Ship and Frigate Orpheon both still work despite being partially submerged, all suits and weapons (including the Space Pirate's) are not damaged by water, and there was even a plot point in the B.S.L about everything underwater still working and actually electrifying the water. Several areas can be described as Eternal Engine goes Down the Drain. All water ever does in Metroid is slow you down until you get the Gravity Suit.
  • In a complete opposite from everything depicted in the movies and cartoons, every Transformers video-game that has been made with the possibility of being completely submerged by water seemingly has the robots shut down because of it.
  • Blue Dragon. So it's Lost Technology rather than future, but almost all robots in the game are weak to water.
  • There's an item in Mother 3 called the Saltwater Gun that majorly damages mechanical enemies, apparently by causing them to rust. Instantly.
  • Unreal Tournament 3: Driving vehicles into water causes them to take damage if they become submerged.


Web Comics Edit

  • In Freefall, most robots are designed for "indoor use," and are terrified of getting wet. The most notable exception is Sawtooth Rivergrinder.
    • Justified, as it's mentioned most robots are cheaply manufactured as well.
    • Not only is Sawtooth waterproof, he's also lightning-proof (he considers pies-in-the-face to be funnier than lightning strikes though).
  • Parodied in Sluggy Freelance where the Water Cooler Droids are not water proof.
  • In this Real Life Comics strip, Greg is understandably upset with Tony...
  • Also parodied in this PvP strip.
  • Averted in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob when the alien Princess Voluptua provides Bob with Ye Royal Nemesite Waterproof Tarp.
  • Chatin's handheld teleporter in The Cyantian Chronicles once shorted out when dropped in a puddle.
  • Averted in The Kenny Chronicles, as you would expect for a society based on cruise ships all electronics in Tarnation are waterproof. In fact the first thing Kenny orders Funky's robot to do after figuring out the password is to act as an umbrella.
  • It's never actually mentioned in Schlock Mercenary what happens if you try to fire a water-logged Plasma Cannon, although circumstantial evidence would seem to advise against it.
  • Zeke gets a little wet and a little berserk in this Ctrl+Alt+Del story arc from a few years ago. Ethan makes a half-baked attempt to prevent it while working on Zeke's new outer shell in the current arc.
  • In Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, the titular character throws a pitcher of ice water onto the controls for a force field prison he's (momentarily) trapped in, shorting it out.
  • Mostly averted in Bob and George, since most of the robots featured are waterproof. <Auto starts crying, then short circuits> Emphasis on "most".


Web Original Edit

  • In Friendship Is Witchcraft, Sweetie Bot tends to go a bit wonky when she takes a bath. In her words, "The water makes me feel funny."


Western Animation Edit

  • Swat Kats played with the trope in one ep. by having the Big Bad's robot standing knee-deep in water, having the Big Bad say it's waterproof... only for the eponymous radical squadron to shoot a hole in its leg through which the water floods in, short-circuiting the whole thing.
    • In another episode, one of the Metallikats -- an Outlaw Couple mobster team turned into Killer Robots -- laughs when Callie Briggs throws water at him. Next, she throws an ashtray, and the sand at the bottom starts to interfere with his joints -- with results similar to the usual results of this trope.
  • This was parodied in an episode of The Simpsons, where Homer intentionally pours his drink over the safety control panel at the nuclear power plant specifically to destroy it and get a new one shipped out to him. In the flash-forward "Lisa's Wedding" episode, life-like androids on several occasions short themselves out with their own tears whenever they cry.
    • Also "Homer's Enemy" - Frank Grimes is horrified to see Homer pour a bucket of water on his console to shut off a warning alarm.
    • Again when Homer drives an electric car in the ocean "Relax it's an electric car". It comes out clean but then bursts into a cloud of smoke, they still manage to drive it back to the car-dealership.
  • Played with in the 80s cartoon series Bucky O Hare and The Toad Wars, human Willy DeWitt used a squirt gun as his primary weapon after discovering that the evil Toads failed to waterproof their technology. This was mainly an excuse to let the young hero shoot things without using a deadly weapon, however. Predictably, the Monster (or technological terror) of the Week was almost always waterproof.
  • Done epically for the first season finale of Megas XLR. The apparent destruction of the Glorft mothership occurred when Coop accidentally teleported his soda onto the mothership's computer, and it tipped over, setting off a chain reaction that blew up half the ship, and caused them to be sucked into another dimension.
  • Lampshaded in an episde of Richie Rich; after one of Prof. Keenbean's devices succumbed to being spashed with water, he invented a machine to punish himself for not waterproofing it.
  • Parodied in Dexter's Laboratory. One of Dexter's Humongous Mecha steps on a small puddle and completely shorts out.
  • In an episode of Recess, an amulet falls into a manhole, and Gretchen tries to recover it with a robotic crane. As it is about to grab the amulet, a water drop falls into the crane, making it go haywire.
  • In the episode, "Go West Young Scoob," of What's New Scooby Doo, when the gang encounter a Wild West theme park complete with potentially lethal West World robots, tossing a bucket of water on the killer robots will make them spark wildly and go inert.
  • This was actually subverted in an episode of Disney's DuckTales. The episode "Armstrong" involved a robot going on a berserk rampage, and only being stopped by being soaked in water. In "The Giant Robot Robbers," the cast tried to kill the robots using the same method, only for the Bungling Inventor to inform them he had learned from his mistake and waterproofed the new models.
  • In the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, in order to avoid outcries against such a "violent" show, the majority of the turtles' enemies were robots (foot soldiers, mousers.) As a result, nearly every episode featured at least 6 robots exploding after getting wet.
  • XJ-9, AKA Jenny, the titular Robot Girl from My Life as a Teenage Robot. Despite being a creation Twenty Minutes Into A Zeerust Future, Jenny zigzags this trope depending on the plot of the episode and/or Rule of Funny.
    • The title song subverts it; she isn't waterproof when a watertower explodes... but she merely rusts over and her electronics are fine.
  • For being only just upgraded with what's presumably state-of-the-art 31st-century Luthorcorp tech, the Scavengers gang in Legion of Super Heroes are easily taken down with the Legion sprinkler system.
  • In the 1970's animated Godzilla, the Humongous Mecha guardian of Atlantis is destroyed by dropping it into the sea so it shorts out. Repeat, this is a robot guarding Atlantis. (In fairness, the Atlanteans built him before they knew they were going to sink, and he was protected under a dome along with the rest of the city until it resurfaced. But still...!)
  • Subverted in Futurama. Bender can swim, but rusts immediately when exposed to chlorine gas.
    • Played straight when the ship makes its way to the depths of the ocean and finds the fabled Lost City of Atlanta. It starts leaking almost immediately.

 Fry: How many atmospheres can this ship withstand?

Prof. Fransworth: Well it's a spaceship, so I'd say anywhere between zero and one.

    • Truth in Television, as stuff meant to resist internal pressures is built very differently from stuff meant to resist external pressures.
  • Subverted in Whatever Happened to Robot Jones. The title character spends an episode attempting to get out of showering in gym class, only to find when left with no other option that he is waterproof after all.
    • Unfortunately for everyone else in the room he isn't completely waterproof, as while he wasn't damaged he did electrocute them all.
  • Played absurdly straight in the first episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold, where a suitless Jaime Reyes shorts out the console of his prison by spitting on it.
  • Justice League: In "Injustice For All", Batman shorts out Lex Luthor's stasis field by spitting a mouthful of water into it.
  • On The Magic School Bus's swamp episode, the Portashrinker shorted out when it got wet, leaving the class trapped at insect-size.


Real Life Edit

  • In real life, airline pilots and cabin crew are specifically trained to never pass unsealed containers over the pedestal--the center control panel located on the floor between the Captain and First Officer. The controls in this area are not liquid proof and water ingress could cause severe damage to aircraft systems, potentially resulting in loss of control over the aircraft.
    • This was the plot of a movie called "Fate Is the Hunter" (1964). A plane crashed and the only survivor was a stewardess. They can't figure out why it crashed so they reenact the flight having the stewardess do exactly the same things she did before. They find that the cup of coffee she put down on the center control panel for the pilot spilled and shorted out the electronics.
  • The Honda Element is an SUV with removable seats and a wide, flat floor made of rubbery plastic. Some people have reportedly tried to spray the floor clean with a garden hose, only to discover that water seeped through the seams and damaged electrical wiring underneath.
  • iPhones appear to both play this straight and subvert the trope by either turning into a non-functioning brick when so much as a drop of water touches them or being completely unaffected even while standing under a fire sprinkler on full blast. Thus far no one has explained the variance.
    • Subverted by phones made 5-10 years before the iPhone. Older models such as the Motorola Razr or Nokia 3310 are notorious for their utter inability to die, regardless of conditions, including being submersed in water while turned on. A modern smartphone is far more vulnerable to liquid damage.
      • This troper's iTouch (basically an iPhone but without the ability to call people) managed to survive being submerged in water for ~five minutes with minimal damage, which kind of shows how fickle they can be when faced with H 2 O.
  • The Clansman radio system, formerly the mainstay of the British army and still in use by the cadets, is designed to still operate under nuclear attack (uses discrete transistors instead of integrated circuits), and to be resistant to chemical, radiological and biological warfare. But get the thing wet, and it fails to work.
  • The prototype of the M247 Sergeant York anti aircraft gun suffered a case of Epic Fail thanks to this. When demonstrated in front of a group of high ranking officers and Congressmen the system malfunctioned and started aiming its guns at the VIPs. After this was fixed the prototype that was supposed to win a $6.97 billion dollar contract spent the next few hours hitting the ground in front of it rather than the remote controlled helicopter it was supposed to hit. A manager from Ford, the manufacturer, blamed it on the fact that it had been washed the evening before, messing up the electronics. A critical report wondered if it ever rains in Europe, the intended area of deployment.

Notes

  1. This Troper can testify that this doesn't work with vodka.

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