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.