Being a 13-year-old franchise, Borderlands isn't without its fair share of running gags. The characters, writing, and humor pretty much beg for memes to be made about them. While not all of Borderlands' jokes land, most of them have a tendency to stick in players' minds because of how often they are used.
And yet it is also because of the franchise's age that certain Borderlandsgags tend to fly over newer players' heads. Jokes from older games sometimes make their way to newer titles, and it can feel like players missed out on an inside joke or two. A prime example of such a recurring gag is Claptrap's dislike of stairs.
Claptrap: The Annoying Talking Robot
Claptrap is a CL4-TP robot manufactured by the Hyperion company. He is also the unofficial mascot of the Borderlands franchise. Sporting an annoying robotic voice that spouts never-ending dialogue, Claptrap has become a character both loved and loathed by the community. Claptrap's product line was originally created to assist Hyperion with operations on the planet Pandora. Unfortunately, the robots' design and personality malfunctions meant that they were relatively useless when it came to performing even the most basic tasks. Because of this, Handsome Jack had all the CL4-TP robots decommissioned once he took over the company, with the only surviving CL4-TP robot being the yellow Fyrestone Claptrap that players know best.
One good look at Claptrap reveals his many design flaws. His thin, lanky arms are compounded by the lack of fingers on his hands. This means that he can neither lift heavy objects nor daintily pick up sensitive materials. His large, singular eye tucked inside his boxy body severely limits his field of vision (it also is easy to steal, as a wild bullymong called Knuckle Dragger was able to nab it from Claptrap in Borderlands 2). Being an old robot model doesn't do Claptrap any favors either, as he is prone to malfunctions and constantly needs repairs. Lastly, Claptrap's only method of locomotion is a singular wheel affixed to his frame.
What's Claptrap's Deal With Stairs?
This one wheel severely limits the areas Claptrap can access. It makes it difficult for him to cross rocky terrain and even harder to balance himself due to how heavy his body is. But most obvious of all, Claptrap's wheel means he can't climb - a fact he points out early on in Borderlands 2 as players come across a flight of stairs leading to one Captain Flynt's ship. Instead of accompanying Claptrap through a bandit-infested shipwreck, players have to go up the stairs by themselves and activate a switch. The switch activates an elevator for Claptrap, whereupon he loudly rejoices at his ascension to a higher plane.
Because the gag takes place so early in Borderlands 2's main campaign, most players will have experienced Claptrap's struggle with stairs. The gag is revisited towards the very end of the game, which further cements it in players' memories. Despite this, Borderlands 3 subtly retcons Claptrap's feud with stairs, as the robot can be found navigating them with ease aboard the Sanctuary 3 ship.
Borderlands 2 players tend to be at odds with those who haven't played the game whenever they point out the various instances where Claptrap can, in fact, climb stairs. This leaves the other players confused for a split second, as they try to decipher the relationship between the robot and stairs. Thankfully, Borderlands likes to make its jokes easy to understand, and one look at Claptrap is all it takes to understand his disdain for elevation.
Borderlands 2 is available now on PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Switch, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.