Weigh In On The Toy Story Debate! (#TBT)

by Brittany Allen

A certain part of the internet has been all a flutter this week for a pet theory about…wait for it…Pixar’s beloved Toy Story movies. Looks like this frigid February has finally begun to drive every sane adult den-ward. Note: none of the following will make sense unless you’ve seen (and enjoyed) most of the Toy Story canon.


Image courtesy of Bindocelebrity.com

The rumpus began on Monday, when Jon Negroni wrote a piece for Movie Pilot in which he alleged that Andy’s mom – who’s little more than a Charlie Brown adult in the first two films – was in fact a secret fixture of the plot all along. He claims in his essay that Andy’s mom originated as Emily, the young girl who appears in Toy Story 2 flashbacks as Jessie-the-cowgirl’s original owner. He trots out more evidence for his point in the form of a cowboy hat that appears in Andy’s possession and in the flashbacks. Here’s a reduction of the rest of the piece, which you can read in full here:

The theory is that in a twist of fate, Emily (Andy’s mom) loved a cowboy toy but gave it away during her adolescence. Her son would grow to love a cowboy toy as well, in a weird way that resembles the strong love she once had. She passed the hat down to him, and as destiny would have it, Andy would one day receive Jessie, as well. This would redeem his mother’s abandoning of her, making Emily’s story come full-circle.

But the plot thickens! Daniel Nasserian of Disney Geekery issued a rebuttal argument this past Tuesday, claiming that certain plot holes in Toy Story 2 defy the Andy’s Mom Theory (AMT). Nasserian claims that Toy Story 2 was an unplanned sequel, and the common use of Easter Eggs (or, red herrings/ inside jokes) in Pixar films isn’t quite enough to substantiate a connection. You can read Nasserian’s points here. 


Image courtesy of JonNegroni.com

If you’re a minutiae-loving movie geek, finding secret character connections can be great fun. And for better or worse, this spirited debate has certainly dredged up plenty of Disney memories for everyone – Disneyphiles should also check out Isaac Butler’s recent essay in Narratively, in which the writer delves into his disturbing childhood memories of the movie Fantasia.

Image courtesy of Narratively, cartoon by Keny Widjaja

So who’s got Disney memories? Theories? Problems? Post below! We’ll keep each other warm this winter with cartoons. 

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