Even if Monsters Inc. is not your favorite Pixar film, it is arguably derived from the most unique proposition. The concept of monsters is an ancient one, but exploring a world where they live in a developed society—and are funny and relatable—was a brilliant concept. While the two movies in the Monsters Inc. franchise were extraordinary, they left many fans wanting to learn more about its unique universe.
Those fans will be happy to hear that Disney+ has released an exclusive series called Monsters at Work. The computer-animated show takes place directly after the events of Monsters Inc. and follows Tylor Tuskman, a wildebeest-like monster who is fresh out of college and excited to become a scarer at Monsters, Inc. There is a problem, though: On his first day, he discovers that the whole company is no longer scaring children, and he must retrain to become a “jokester.”
Like Mike and Sully in Monsters University, his dreams of becoming a legendary scarer are snatched away from him. But there’s no exciting fraternity competition that can put him on the scare floor if he wins. The entire scarer industry ceases to exist. So Tylor must start at the bottom at Monsters, Inc. aka MIFT: Monsters Inc. Facility Team. The department oversees fixing whatever goes awry and employs a band of zany workers that reminds me of the members of Oozma Kappa.
With this, there is room for a lesson on how to best deal with your dreams not coming true (at least not right away). But with episodes that are only about 20 minutes long, there is not enough time for a true reflection. Disney could have easily mended this by making each episode an hour long—especially since Tylor is very relatable. Everyone can empathize with his situation even if they have not walked in his exact shoes. Also, he copes with his situation without being annoying or coming off as too preachy.
A strong positive aspect of this show is that fans will be glad to see Mike, Sully and other familiar faces. Quality voice acting is on display with both the original and new cast, with John Goodman and Billy Crystal reprising their roles. Crystal does not miss a beat with his comedic timing, and Goodman portrays a scary-looking monster that you want to a hug in a way that only his voice can.
With its watered-down animation and its abandonment of the mature topics that made Pixar films also appeal to adults, Monsters at Work does not capture the magic of its source material, but charming writing and likable characters make it a worthwhile watch.