Every now and then I love hearing an alternative take on something I thought I knew inside and out. You know the feeling of thinking you understand a film or book completely, and then having someone point out this whole other aspect that you never even considered?
Well today, Reddit user isitstill2012 did that for me when they added a whole other level to the Toy Story movies. Now, this theory doesn't change what we already know about Woody, Buzz, and the gang - it's not a game changer, but it adds a really nice, new layer to the films that gave me warm fuzzies.
The Parent Theory
All throughout the Toy Story films it's very well established that the toys always 'play dead' around people. I think the only exception to this rule was in the original Toy Story when the toys taught the naughty neighbor Sid a lesson he wouldn't forget. The theory from isitstill2012 explores the reason why the toys in the film play dead around people.
The toys are symbolic of parents
When you're an adult you obviously have your own life with hobbies, goals, careers, relationships, etc. However, when you become a parent, your whole reason for existing suddenly shifts - you are responsible for little humans and everything else gets put on hold, or becomes secondary.
Much like the toys' lives in relation to their owners.
In the film, Woody often talks about how he and the gang need to be there for Andy, much like a parent would be for a child. The toys themselves are there for their owners to love and play with. While they have their own lives, making sure their owner is happy is their ultimate goal - everything else is secondary.
Unfortunately though, as the kids grow older, their toys, as well as their parents, see that they are growing more independent, phasing out the importance of their roles in the children's lives.
Finally though, the story might come full circle when the toys are given to new children; or for the parents, when they one day become grandparents and get to dote on a whole new generation.
It makes sense for the viewers
As well as this theory being incredibly sweet, it's also a nice touch from the writers, as reddit user icaruspage42 pointed out:
Although many animated films contain the odd adult joke, this touching child and toy/parent relationship comparison actually engages adults with the film and the characters on a subconscious level. Perhaps this is why all three Toy Story films are in the top 50 highest-grossing animated films of all time, (including Toy Story 3, which is in place number 2). Toy Story not only engages its target audience, the kids, but also adults on a subconscious level with it's subtle, smart writing.
Who is your favorite Toy Story character?