“Toy Story 3” as a Socialist Parable, Take 2

“Toy Story 3” as a Socialist Parable, Take 2 (photo)

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A month ago, novelist Andrew Klavan wrote a wild-eyed editorial at the LA Times claiming that “Toy Story 3” was a “rebuke, not perhaps to the Obama White House specifically but to its underlying ideas.” A major foundation of his argument was the point that Sunnyside Daycare Center stood in for a socialist society.

At the time, I wrote that “you’d be hard pressed to find another human being, American or otherwise, with any kind of interpretation of the film in the same ballpark as the one offered by Klavan.” Well, allow me to eat those words, as The Stranger‘s Charles Mudede (who, incidentally, co-wrote the films “Zoo” and “Police Beat”) offers a similar read on the film, this time as a complaint:

Things go dark almost immediately. The socialist utopia is not even given one chance to shine. A door opens and a bunch of noisy, dirty, ugly kids run into the play space (the site of production) and mob the toys. They are pulled, thrown, crushed by the rage of the multitude. The toys then learn that Lotso is not a benevolent leader but a malevolent dictator, who maintains power by force (a secret police), camera surveillance (screens monitored by a cymbal-banging monkey), and mind control (the heartbreaking desubjectification of Buzz Lightyear). The rest of the movie is about escaping this totalitarian state and returning to the much less oppressive ownership society.

As evidenced by his suggestion that “Toy Story 3” would more accurately be titled “Tea Party People Story,” Mudede’s take is more tongue-in-cheek than Klavan’s (as is basically everything in the world — Klavan’s absolute humorlessness is his article’s most impressive quality), but also thoroughly reasoned. To a point. If I may play along: The daycare is depicted as becoming a socialist utopia once Lotso is ousted. The toys that stay there come up with a system in which they share the labor of having to be played with by the toddlers. If Sunnyside is a metaphor for a socialist society, it’s meant to be a corrupt one in which a dictatorial leader has used the language of socialism to enforce a system in which privileges are saved for those in his cadre.

Anyway, enough! Only literal interpretations from here on out for me. A cigar? Just a cigar. But I do recommend, for further reading, Mudede’s very enjoyable Marxist take on tapas.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”

Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”

But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.


It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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