Cambot is one of the Bots created by Joel Robinson that appears in the series Mystery Science Theater 3000. He is unique among the Bots as it is through Cambot's "eye" that viewers watch Joel, and later, Mike Nelson and the other robots watch the movies that are sent to the Satellite of Love each week. Cambot also frequently provides music, video clips, and other enhancements to host segments.
When Joel or another character requests to see Rocket Number 9 (the ship-mounted camera that supposedly allows the crew to see the ship's exterior and anything in its vicinity), it is Cambot who provides the image.
Cambot is only seen during the "Robot Roll Call" portion of the opening credits, often with his name reversed, presumably to imply he is shooting his own image in a mirror. His appearance was changed with almost every reshooting of the opening credits, most likely since there was little need to keep the puppet around once its one appearance had been shot. While originally being shown as a separate robot operating a camera during the original KTMA season, Cambot would later be changed to a robot with a built-in camera during the show's national run.
Season one Cambot only vaguely resembled a camera, having been built from the KTMA season's Gypsy puppet. When the opening was reshot for season two, Cambot was redesigned to look much more like a video camera. In a drawing fellow 'bot Gypsy once presented in episode 507, I Accuse My Parents, of the Satellite of Love crew (her "ideal family"), Cambot's body was shown as long and snakelike, not unlike Gypsy's. Midway through the fifth season, the opening was once again reshot and Cambot was again redesigned, this time given a more compact shape, becoming a round hovering ball with a camera lens for an eye. He would keep this form for the remainder of the original run of the series despite having a color change from grey to blue. Although the blue tone was likely hue from the darker lighting aboard the SOL the show adapted in the Sci-Fi era.
With the relaunch of the series with Season 11, Cambot underwent another radical redesign, now appearing much more like a giant lens now with mock studio lighting camera reflectors. He appears to be attached to the ceiling by some kind of long mount.
From time to time, the characters on the show interact with Cambot in a Brechtian fashion. Cambot is apparently the conduit whereby the SOL crew and Deep 13's denizens communicate via a forward viewscreen (not unlike those of various Star Trek starships) that the characters look at, when they are in fact "looking into" the living rooms of the viewers. This screen should not be confused with the Hexfield viewscreen, which usually only receives transmissions from non-Deep 13 sources.
Cambot also watches the movies while recording the guys watching the movies. Although a number of episodes depict Joel/Mike, Crow, and Tom reacting as if traumatized by a particularly bad movie, Cambot suffered a severe reaction only once, weeping when several security cameras were systematically destroyed by the hero in episode 620, Danger!! Death Ray. (This was signified by a watery effect over the camera lens.) Another rare case of Cambot interacting during a movie segment came in episode 202, The Side Hackers, when Cambot added an ESPN-like mock scorecard on one side of the screen during one of the movie's race scenes. At the end of episode 401, Space Travelers, a letter suggested Cambot be featured more; Joel said this would be impossible as Cambot nodded agreement (the camera moved up and down).
When the Satellite of Love crashed on Earth in the show's final episode, Cambot lived with Tom, Crow, and Mike in their one-bedroom apartment, and viewed them watching the first part of The Crawling Eye. The Cambot character was inferred in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, but is never spoken to by any of the characters.
During the online Turkey Day '13 Marathon, Joel (appearing as Joel Hodgson rather than in character as Joel Robinson) addressed Cambot frequently, asking the robot to help with the clues to what the next movie would be.
|Primary Residents||Joel Robinson • Mike Nelson • Jonah Heston • Tom Servo • Crow T. Robot • Gypsy • Cambot • Magic Voice|
|Minor/Other Residents||Timmy • Mike's Robot • Clayton Forrester and TV's Frank (mirror) • Eddie Nelson (Alternate universe) • Gypsy (mirror) • Tom Servo (mirror) • Nanites|
|Visitors||Kenny and Helen • Kitten with a Whip • Nuveena • Enoch • Two White Devils • Demon Dogs • Monad • Phantom of Krankor • Ortega • Henry Kissinger • Goosio • Mikey the Mike sprite • J.C. • Gooch • Jan in the Pan • Glenn Manning • Valeria • Hugh Beaumont • Bruce • Pearl Forrester • Professor Bobo • Gamera • Yakov Smirnoff • Earl Torgeson • Lydia • Dolphins • Mothra • Brain Guy|
|Terminology||Hexfield Viewscreen • Rocket Number 9 • Umbilicus • Movie sign • Manipulator arms • Deus ex Machina • Hyper-warp escape ships • Airlock • Whirlpool • Jet Screen • Tube|
|Locations||Bridge • Theater • Theater hallway • Mike's room • Tom's room • Crow's Room • Joel's room • Kitchen|