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Who Is Andy's Mom in the "Toy Story" Movies?

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire February 25, 2014 at 10:08AM

Is every Pixar movie connected, or do their preoccupation with the same themes just make it seem that way?
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Toy Story

If you're taking a break from trying to suss out the identity of "True Detective"s Yellow King, you may want to spend some time poring over Jon Negroni's "Pixar Theory," which puts forth the idea that all of the animation studio's movies are secretly connected. There's a long history of animators salting their movies with intertextual references, and Pixar's become famous for in-joke nods to the CalArts classroom where many of the animators learned their craft and squeezing the Pizza Planet truck from "Toy Story" into (nearly) every successive movie:


But for Negroni, this is more than just the work of animators trying to leave an individual stamp on a mass-produced medium. It's evidence that the Pixar movies form a continuous timeline, one in which, among other things, animals evolve from brute beasts to sentient creatures and eventually take over from the human race. The reason there's so little evidence of human existence in "A Bug's Life" is because humanity has all but died out, and a fleeting glimpse of a wood carving resembling Sully from "Monsters Inc." in "Brave" is proof that, as Rust Cohle might have it, the Pixarverse is a flat circle.

Right, and "The Shining" is Stanley Kubrick's confession that he faked the moon landing. But Negroni's latest investigation is a little more convincing. Through close comparison of the cowboy hats worn by Andy in "Toy Story" and Jessie the cowgirl in "Toy Story 2," Negroni puts forth the theory that Jessie's former owner and Andy's mother are, in fact, the same person. Click through for the full arguments, which involves a combination of close reading and (semi-)plausible speculation.Eeven if you don't buy how Negroni connects all the dots, the connections point to the thematic richness and consistency of the Pixar canon. (Matt Singer argued on this very blog that every Pixar movie is essentially about the same thing.) Now watch the "When Somebody Loved Me" scene from "Toy Story 2" and have a good cry.


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