Posts tagged haircuts
Posts tagged haircuts
With what was, perhaps optimistically, titled Android Week now coming to a close, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve hashed out the theory:
Androids, being those robots designed specifically to emulate humans, tend to have pretty normal haircuts (appropriate to the time the production they’re found in was made).
Cyborgs, by contrast, being humans who have taken on robotic aspects (often with no choice in the matter) seem almost overwhelmingly to be bald.
That said, there are always going to be exceptions to the rule, and where I encounter those I’ll be sure to throw them up on the blog for the requisite analysis.
There is one element of the Android/Cyborg conundrum we haven’t yet addressed. The truth is, couldn’t really find anything at all to correlate facial hair among androids and cyborgs. In fact, despite Star Trek's Data's propensity to don a moustache or even a full beard, there's precious little content featuring facial hair bedecked robots (or partially robotic humanoids) that I could find.
While Data’s moustaches seem to fit quite neatly into the almost comical categories offered by villains in old Westerns, the beard itself is a little more of a conundrum. It seems, at first glance, to be some sort of a cross between Abraham Lincoln’s beard (which suits the honesty Data espouses in the series) and Riker’s exemplary beard (which we can only assume Data admires).
With all that out of the way, I can say that I think the shot of the T-800 with a beard is actually Osama Bin Laden’s beard. For reasons I can’t possibly explain, that makes me profoundly uncomfortable.
Goodbye, sweet Android Week. Maybe next year…
Continuing on from the previous posts on the haircuts found across the Terminators built by Skynet to be sent back in time, we turn this time to the T-X.
Where the T-800 had been a technologically advanced killing machine with a ruffle of eighties hair, the T-1000 was a liquid metal killing machine with a slicked back haircut suited to its construction; do you have any idea how difficult it is to make hair (and not just any hair, but eighties hair) out of mercury? The computation would be outrageous.
In Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, a new model was introduced; the experimental T-X was a solid core surrounded by a liquid metal exterior which served to ease the disguise process, but also maintaining the durability of the T-800-style machines.
The T-X extends the established gradual evolution of the Terminator-series machine haircuts. The evolution begins with Schwarzenegger’s T-800, whose ruff of eighties hair looks almost primitive compared to what was to follow. Patrick’s T-1000 boasts what seems to be a primitive version of the SLICKED BACK MALE 02 (for reasons we’ve already discussed). This line of evolution continues right up to Loken’s depiction of the T-X, whose blonde hair is matted so tightly to the cold metallic skull beneath that it might as well not exist (as you can see in the photo above)
I was initially surprised that the successor to SLICKED BACK MALE 02 would be SLICKED BACK FEMALE 01, but once you take into account the harsh logic of an incalculable machine intelligence like Skynet it certainly seems to make a lot of sense.
The Terminator (that is to say, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s depection of the T-800 model from the 1984 movie, The Terminator) sports another truly excellent case of humanising haircut. It’s a haircut that says,
"Hey, I may very well be a walking wall of muscle and metal endoskeleton that clocks in at more than a metric tonne, but underneath all that we’re all the same. Check out my hair; it’s just such a mess today, there’s nothing I can do with it. God, isn’t life terrible?”
It’s the kind of haircut that makes you sit back and think,
"You know what? Maybe he is a cold, unfeeling killing machine without even the barest understanding of what it is to be human, but on some level, I can relate to that. Who hasn’t had a bad hair day?”
At the same time, he eventually loses his skin and is revealed to have the cold, unadorned skull of that most nightmarish of humanity’s enemies, the
bald man machine. Of course, this happens to coincide with his eventual destruction. He’s succeeded by a far scarier entity in the form of a man with perfect hair.
In many ways, the T-800’s hair is the most intelligent piece of design that Skynet ever managed to deploy. There’s no more sympathetic than a figure with that sort of style in an age before the advent of Surf Hair products.
By contrast, the T-1000 (as portrayed in its primary incarnation by Robert Patrick) features a haircut that communicates an abject lack of humanity. This might seem to run entirely opposite to Star Trek’s Data (who features a near identical haircut, in the form of MALE SLICKED BACK 02), but it seems pertinent to point out that in Data’s case the haircut is the most human feature of an otherwise entirely mechanical character. In the case of the T-1000, it’s the most mechanical portion of an otherwise very human appearance.
What a difference that contextual shift makes; the same haircut can be so cold and sinister on one scalp, but so human on another. Truly a semiotic conundrum… though the case could well be made that the T-1000’s hair is a rendering issue; it seems as though it would be far easier for liquid metal to form itself into slicked back styles than eighties hair.
Data sports another android haircut that seems to have been designed specifically to help him blend in. It’s a simple, straightforward haircut that, among other things, covers all the makeup necessary to hide LED-addled props in his hair. In a break from the examples offered by androids like the Terminator and Ash from Alien, Data wasn’t designed with a human haircut to surrepticiously blend in so much as to help him acclimatise himelf as a human being.
As a result, there’s a certain uncomfortably mechanical feel to the style. In discussions around Star Trek Online’s character creation options, Data’s haircut has been referred to as “Slicked Back 02” (as opposed to “Slicked Back 01,” which we’re told is “a great Major Kira look).
Data’s physical strangeness (his twitchiness, yellow eyes and skin) is curious precisely because it is his hair that humanises him, in precisely the same way as the Borg Queen’s cyborg baldness sets her apart. Consider the freakiness of a bald Data… it doesn’t even bear thinking about. I can’t help but feel they missed a trick not making Lore bald.
Moreover, it’s interesting to note that Data owns a cat, just like the cat in Alien. Coincidence? Probably, but that’s life.
With the beginning of a new month, and the return of wintery weather, I’ve decided that it’s time to give the blog a bit of a theme. Today (April first), marks the beginning of the first time I’ll try to chain a few posts together.
The main point of this is to see how well a pet theory holds up. I’d been considering the prominence of androids and cyborgs in science fiction, and a couple of things occurred to me all at once:
Androids: It seems almost universally the case that androids are either made to be as human as possible or deliberately made to look as human as possible so that they can blend in with humans. As a result, they should have really down-to-earth hairstyles that will help them blend in.
See: Data, The Terminator, Ash (Alien), human-form-cylons (not pictured due to spoiler-risk) and Roy Batty (Blade Runner).
[Much as Roy Batty might seem an exception, we must remember him as a product of the eighties]
Cyborgs: Being a mixture of man and machine, cyborgs don’t have to try and look human. For reasons I can’t begin to imagine, they’re often bald.
See: Robocop, Darth Vader, Cyborg (Justice League) and Lobot (Star Wars).
Over the next week or so, I’ll look into some of the more interesting haircuts that mechanical and partially mechanical characters have.
The first of these, pictured above, is Lobot. Lobot is fairly straightforward, being an administrative aide whose mind is linked directly with the network of computers that operate the cloud city. As in the case of Robocop, Lobot had cyborgdom (and the accompanying cyborg-pattern-baldness) thrust upon him, poor lad.
At the same time, I bet he gets killer bass with that biotech-headband.