Well Internet, JJ (JJ!) will tell ya, when he saw Toy Story 3, the allegorical undertone smashed JJ over the head. Big time! Which is surprising, because while I might be smart enough, I am a guy who thought an allegory was some sort of aquatic reptile until I was about 25. (BTW, spoiler alert! If you are one of last people on earth not to see the movie!)
Even now, the first vision that pops into my head....
Awwwww...... (right? am I right? I'm right)
But was I gonna write about it? Especially because if it was so obvious to me, it must have been obvious to everyone, right? But then if I check and some literary asshole has done it better than me, where does that leave me? I won’t write it at all. Well, Internet, JJ just has too much respect for you not to check it out before hand, so he took the plunge. First sign of trouble? I type in “toy story 3 all…” and it is happy to suggest “allegory”. And not the reptilian kind.
But what do I get when I press “Enter”? Well, most folks seem to think that there is some sort of subtext. But not the subtext I am thinking of. Which is to say that they got it wrong! Ha ha, ok, ok, they probably didn’t get it wrong. Odds on ole’ JJ did. Lots of folks think it’s about the Holocaust. Which, ok, I totally get. I mean, the furnace? ‘Nuff said. Others thought it was about hell or something? And others compare it to Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.
Like, Oink, man
Quick tangent? I still remember when I read Animal Farm for the first time. Ok, first and last time. My family was staying at my mom’s friend’s cottage on Lake Winnipeg. My bro and I were in one of the bedrooms in bunk beds, me, as younger bro, on bottom bunk (of course!). What I remember from the book? Really, the only thing? When Napoleon had Boxer, the horse, carted off to the glue factory. I just remember sobbing uncontrollably (but quietly! can’t have one’s older bro lying in the bunk above you seeing you cry at a fucking book!) at the vision of that beautiful, noble creature fighting heroically yet ultimately futilely against his unjust fate. And then reading it again. To be honest, it still gets my blood boiling! And then I turned 17. (God what a cry-baby!)
Anyhoo, Toy Story 3. Recap! Andy’s toys (hereinafter referred to as the “Andy Toys”) (Lawyer speak! Just feel lucky I didn’t call them “the party of the first part”!) get donated (accidentally! oh no!) to a day care. Sunnyside Daycare. But it’s ok! A Utopia! And they meet the leader of the Sunnyside toys, Lotso Bear. They arrived at the day care in one room, but are told they have been assigned to another room. So they go, and find out…uh oh…they aren’t in the older kid room, they are in the toddler room! The toddlers come in and kick…the…crap out of the Andy Toys! What a crappy job! So the Andy toys go to Lotso Bear and say, “hey, can we go in the older kid room?”
Lotso says “no, you need to do your time in the toddler room, because someone needs to do it, but newer toys will come and then you can move to the older kid room.”
Ok, JJ’s take? Are you sitting down? Because you might wanna sit down…although, why would you be reading this standing up, I suppose…Of course, you might have a reason. I don’t want to pry. Ok, forget I said anything.
The Andy Toys? They are first generation immigrants to western society. And the toddler room? That is the cab driver jobs and fruit picker jobs, etc. i.e. the shit jobs in capitalist society.
Like can it not be argued that the western countries have an unspoken pact with first generation immigrants (other than the rich ones, of course): “We will let you in, and yes our society is more comparatively affluent than yours, but capitalism does create some shit jobs and, well, we’re gonna need you to do those jobs. But your kids!? They are in, man!” Sunnyside daycare? Same thing. Doesn't work in the same way across generations because toys don't procreate, and appear to be immortal, but the message is the same "all the riches will be yours, but you gotta do your time."
Then the Andy Toys run away and they all end up on this conveyor belt to an incinerator, including Lotso. No comments on the symbolism of this stuff (JJ’s too dumb!). But I will say, on the non-symbolism front, that when they boosted Lotso up to the shut off button, I was sure (sure!) he was going to press it. Even when he fucking ran away, I was sure he would reconsider and come back in the nick of time. I have to say, I have rarely been more disappointed in a purple stuffed bear.
But yes, the day is saved, etc. But not before there is some toy hand holding and possibly a little JJ runny eyes (it’s touching, dammit! Plus: crybaby!).
And the kicker! The socialist kicker!? At the very end, the toys at Sunnyside now have NOT gotten rid of the cab driving and fruit picking jobs, i.e. the toddler room. Those jobs are still there. But instead the toys take turns, handing off! Like wrestlers! Holeee Sheeeeiiit, what could be more socialist!? Let’s all take turns driving the cabs! “Hey there fella! Let me take off my suit and go pick some apples!”
But what the hell do I know? This dude thinks it’s a “conservative treat!”
Done-zo! You can now stand up!