Are the ‘Inside Out’ Parents Shameful Stereotypes?

After I watched the first trailer for Inside Out yesterday, I noticed a pretty alarming trend in the trailer’s discussion. People are complaining that the characters (Riley’s family) are gender stereotypes and one-dimensional caricatures.

Some are even claiming the movie is sexist…against both genders.

Specifically, people are whining about how the mother is a typical “sitcom” mom who is in touch with her emotions, while the dad is distracted by sports and is inattentive.

Fair enough, let’s talk about this. First, we should watch the trailer again to review (and because it’s awesome):

Is this a typical “sitcom” family?

Well, yeah. That’s the entire point.

This isn’t even all that different from the dinner scene in The Incredibles. You know, the scene where Bob could barely pay attention, while Helen was trying to sort out the problems Dash was having at school?

But this time around, we’re actually in their heads. So it’s a problem now. You see how that’s just a bit unfair?

If we judged The Incredibles the same way from just that one scene, we’d have to say that Bob and Helen Parr are just stereotypical characters, even though that’s completely not the case if you actually watch the whole movie.

The same goes with Inside Out.

Guys, it’s a trailer. We’re supposed to be able to relate to each of the characters, and the reality is that in real life, parents tend to be like this. Deviating from this narrative formula is what dramas do, not comedies.

If the dad was the one being all touchy feely in this scene, you know what would happen? You wouldn’t believe it. There’d be no immersion. Sorry, but guys tend to be oblivious and in their own little world after a long day.

“Well Pixar is lazy for relying on these stereotypes,” you may argue.

But you have to start somewhere.

Pixar isn’t “lazy” for writing these characters in this way. They’re smart. If you start with a character who is already an enigma, who is supposed to be the film’s center, then there’s no possible way for that character to grow. With Riley and her parents, we’re seeing them in the early stages of the film’s narrative, and it’s nonsense to criticize Pixar for not doing something you’re not even sure they’ve done yet.

So the real question isn’t “Are they stereotypes?” The question should be, “Are they interesting?” And after watching that trailer, I believe that’s a solid yes.

What do you think?

“Inside Out” opens in theaters June 19, 2015.

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17 Replies to “Are the ‘Inside Out’ Parents Shameful Stereotypes?”

  1. Brilliant. Everyone needs to read this.

  2. I’ve read these same comments all over the place. It’s so stupid it’s like they’ve never seen a damn movie before.

  3. THANK YOU for saying something about this. This whole non-issue has been seriously annoying. You know that it’s the would-be critics who won’t shut about this. Oh and people who hate Disney channel and think this is more of the same. Ridiculous!

  4. I love the whole idea of the committees in their heads. So true!

    Sounds like this going to be another ground-breaking Pixar hit!

  5. I’m 100% with you on this.
    Inside Out presents such an outlandish and original premise it needs something grounded and familiar to make it palatable. The whole point of this trailer was to show you what happens in your head during a TYPICAL family scenario; How the emotions react to a situation we’ve seen time and time again. It was imperative so that people could grasp the concept and how the film would work. It wouldn’t have worked without the stereotypes. And it’s also pretty freaking hilarious. It’s ridiculous that people would freak out over this.

    • ExACTLY my thoughts. It IS the typical family scenario. This is NOT sexist and/or stereotypical. Ecpicaily for “the second first day.” for kids who move.

  6. The people who say that Inside Out’s parents are stereotypes and will be that way did not see a single Pixar Movie.

  7. I think it’s far too early for people to make those kinds of judgements. All we’ve seen of the film is a short teaser. It’s not indicative of how the entire film will be. I found the exaggerated stereotypes rather amusing and think they’ll work well with the film’s concept.

    • My thoughts exactly

  8. The people who are going around saying this movie is “stereotypical”, don’t you think you are being stereotypical? Think about it, now a days everyone has one subject that a group of people can bitch about! Take Harry potter for instance, it was once one of the top novel series and one person had to start a huge hoot blah over nothing. The same thing is happening here, one person didn’t like the fact the they probably seen their family 100% while watching the trailor and got an attitude just for attention. Then everyone else just had to follow in there footsteps.
    One. Everyone has an opinion and an imagination, to go out of your way just to talk about how you are completely against these is pretty childish.
    Two. If your opinion is that you don’t like something or disagree with something then don’t have anything to do with it! If you don’t like how this new movie is portraying the family then just simply don’t watch the movie and move on with your life.
    Three. Why dont you actuallu try giving something a chance before completely judging and starting to gripe about it. It’s as simple as that!!

  9. I think you may be right but I also think that you’re biased because you love Pixar so much.

  10. Where would this fit in….
    The Pixar Theory?
    I know there isn’t much to go on from the trailer, but we could at least speculate about when it takes place, right.

  11. Pixar has never been lazy. They shape their charcters in different ways, yet trying to make them as real as possible. Now, I LOVE your comparison with the Incredibles. Helen is sorting out Dash’s visit to the principal’s office while Bob is reading the paper. We also cannot forget how he broke the plate, like how Riley’s father’s emotions took over and ‘put down the foot’. insert uncontrollable laughter here. I’m also pretty sure fathers can replay football games in their head while they’re eating. Her mother is exactly like a mom in the real world. Involved, and tried to get her husband involved as well. The question is: Should the father be more involved? Most likely. Are we taking a PG/G movie to seriously? Probably yes.

  12. “My god, how I’m tired of these repeated claims that guys are less sensitive than women. Some are, many aren’t. I have been with so many girlfriends that were so less sensitive than me. Men are not insensitive louts. That’s the skinny on dumb shows like Oprah. “but guys tend to be oblivious and in their own little world after a long day.” Women are not superior to men in their feelings. And I can’t tell you the number of women I’ve been with who hate me crying. It’s all a bunch of out and out bigotry. I’m really tired of it. But the best thing that I can do is put up with it, because it ain’t going to change. Many women love to hate men. I’ll stick with those that appreciate a sensitive man, and one who can more than give them a run for their money in that department.

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  14. After seeing the movie, the answer is no. Super Boeing characters.

    • *boring. Nice auto completion.

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