That Sucks Thursday: Pixar*


* This is an odd post to write, because I really do love Pixar’s films (feature and short).


I say this with love: When it comes to your female characters, you suck. Not only have you never had a female lead character, but you have comfortably rested on some pretty archaic stereotypes in your short history. Is your memory failing you? This calls for a chronological rundown! To the Batcave!

Toy Story: The Groupies
–Bo Peep– A lamp! She’s not even a fracking toy!? When she’s not tending to her sheep, she’s busy smooching Woody to calm him down. Boo Peep is more like it.
–Mrs. Potato Head– Noisy, nagging wife of Mr. Potato Head.
–Jesse (TS2)– A larger role than the other two, but she is still a sidekick (literally in her backstory and figuratively), dependent, tomboyish, and cheerleader-y
–Other minor characters– Andy’s mom and drooling baby sister, Hannah; Tour Guide Barbie (if you make the comedic effort to make the ladybug in A Bug’s Life a man, why not make Barbie intelligent?)

A Bug’s Life: The Slave Drivers
They may boss everyone around, but at the end of the day they’re powerless over the male characters
–Old Queen– “Poor” Flick spends the entire film taking orders and trying to get back in the good graces of the monarchy
–Princess Atta– negative, can’t see herself as a leader without Flick’s help
–Dot– baby princess, naive, helper
–Other minor characters– Gypsy Moth and Rosie the black widow…need I say more?

Monster’s Inc.: The Scary Ladies
Who would’ve thought that these three were the most frightening thing in the monster universe.
–Roz– Crotchety, old, hag-style file room troll/slug. Oh yeah, and voiced by a man
–Celia– Receptionist, Medusa head, concerned with being treated right by her man (aka expensive date night)
–Boo– Human child, alien/freakish, poisonous monster in their world, basically no vocabulary, crippled by fear, victim

Finding Nemo: The Angel Fish
They all give or risk their lives for either Marlin or Nemo
–Coral– Maternal, dies saving her babies in the first five minutes
–Dory– Sidekick, dependent, naive optimism, brain doesn’t function when she’s not with Marlin. Muddled and befuddled
–Peach– Kind of helpless starfish
–Deb– Crazy, spastic, talks to her sister/own reflection, Flo (good thing she wasn’t talking to her Aunt Flo…)

The Incredibles: The Sub-Parr
–Helen Parr– Can’t even best her own baddie in the beginning, instantly married, gives up her career to be a full time mom, uses her powers to vacuum
–Violet Parr– Wallflower, insecure, meek, doesn’t want to be seen as different; much like Ally Sheedy, slap a headband on her and all of her issues disappear
–Edna Mode– Why she’s the eccentric (read: cuckoo) clothing designer, darling! Fabulous!
–Mirage– Busty, temptress, drawn to men with power, puppet
–Other minor characters– Let us not forget the feeble old woman in the insurance office; Honey, the nagging wife of Frozone; and Kari, the idiot babysitter

Cars: The Booty Bumpers
–Sally– Sassy little luxury car (Porsche) in a BFE town, can’t handle the hustle and bustle of city life (read: her legal career), SHE HAS A FRICKING TRAMP STAMP! Also, light blue
–Flo– Manager of the local diner (aka she serves a mean gasoline–aka a glorified coffee slinging waitress) complete with her own ghetto boyfriend/tattoo artist. Also, light green
–Other minor characters– swooning redneck pit hoes
I mention the paint jobs on the cars, because all of the male cars have darker, bolder, and more vibrant colors

Ratatouille: The Friend with Benefits
–Colette– The only woman in the kitchen, she shows up first and leaves last, dedicated, smart, professional…and then she trains the novice who quickly becomes her boss/lover and she, his second fiddle. At the end, even the rat gets a better job than she does!
–Other minor characters– Mean, crazy, old cat lady in the beginning

WallE: The Saving Grace
–Eve– Feminine robot (with curves), job-oriented until Wall•E broadens her horizons…then he gives her the seed of life (plant) to hold in her belly chamber. Hmm.
–Other minor characters– Chubby lady that “wakes up” after Wall
•E busts her Hulu chair. Note: she gets a boyfriend right away and saves all of the babies.

UP: The Mothers
–Kevin– She loves chocolate, maternally taken to Russell, and is just trying to get back to her babies
–Ellie– Spunky, creative & lovable, unable to have a child or fulfill her dreams–she replaces those dreams with enjoying her marriage, also she dies in the first five minutes and is represented as the house and the feminine chair

–Other minor characters– Russell’s severely absentee mother; someone call child protective services on that lady!
Also, not one of the evil dogs could be a lady? Come on! How the hell does Muntz get more puppies?

Pixar, throw us a frickin’ bone here, and I don’t mean make your first female lead a dog (read: bitch).


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11 thoughts on “That Sucks Thursday: Pixar*

  1. spitfire says:

    ….and that lamp that makes the “I” in Pixar is probably a dude too.

    I was thinking about this exact thing when I went to see UP, when I realized that the assertive, adventurous, and exciting female character that they had created in Ellie would be dying momentarily to be replaced by the domestic symbols you mention above. Gah!

    It didn’t stop me from loving the movie– but I noticed as I watched the credits of UP that the writer, directors, music composer, cinematographer, producers, production designer, and art directors were ALL men. every one! what glass ceiling?! where?!

    perhaps they make the stories they know, as men. and they just don’t know how to make a vibrant female character without putting a crown on her head, a father over her shoulder, or death lurking around the corner… perhaps if there was better representation of women in the higher echelons of hollywood, we would get more, and more believable, storylines about women. MAYBE.

    • Junkie1 says:

      The lamp’s name is Luxo Jr. Pixar has a whole story and short about HIM and his FATHER. grr

    • Lawrence says:

      I wasn’t enjoying UP at all, not able to feel the point of those charters, I have to say it is not a bad movie per Se, but it is a very strange story? Dots are not connected through boy, dogs and that Kevin Bird, very strange environment for the whole story, and I simply don’t understand the grandpa, a guy had all the dream but never put into action when he was with his wife, and the person who he admired as a kid and inspired by his adventure turned out to be the bad guy?

      Finding Nemo has a much better setup, even they are all animals, the story just works and connection between characters emotion are good.

  2. Junkie1 says:

    Also I should mention Pixar will debut it’s first female lead in 2011: Her name is Brooke
    What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other? That’s the problem facing Newt and Brooke, heroes of “newt,” the Pixar film by seven-time Academy Award(R) winner for sound Gary Rydstrom, and director of Pixar’s Oscar-nominated short, “Lifted.” Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science.

    See Disney’s original press release

  3. Junkie1 says:

    Also, Reese Witherspoon will be the first SOLO lead in Pixar’s first fairy tale. Imagine that, a princess!

    “A rugged and mythic Scotland is the setting for Pixar’s action-adventure “The Bear and the Bow.” The impetuous, tangle-haired Merida, though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels Merida to make a reckless choice, which unleashes unintended peril on her father’s kingdom and her mother’s life. Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right.”

  4. Zrose25 says:

    Sounds like she is a live but perhaps as a harpie? 😀

  5. DinaLove says:

    I have been wanting to write something like this for ages. Thank you!

    And don’t even get me started on Disney movies, what with all the distressed princesses needing to be saved and dead mothers. Even Mulan had to pose as a boy to be respected.

    • Junkie1 says:

      Tell me about it! Plus almost every single Disney princess has to wrap her feature film with a wedding! Don’t hold out any hope for something different for Disney’s first black princess, Tiana (Due out December 2009 in The Princess and the Frog) Grr…sigh

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