Snarcasm: The Cars in ‘Cars’ Aren’t Really Cars. Obviously.


Snark + Sarcasm = what you’re about to read

I’ve always liked MatPat’s “The Film Theorists” videos, because they’re entertaining, fun, and have a great energy. For that reason, I don’t usually criticize their theories, but that’s all about to change.

One of MatPat’s latest videos involves Cars, and it directly calls out my timeline for Pixar movies, assuming they all share the same universe. This was embarrassing on my end because Mat worked off of old Pixar Theory material without fully researching how it’s changed over the years, so his new theory about Cars is…well…let’s just say it could use some Snarcasm.

Oh, and here’s an important note. If you want to check out the better version of this “cars are alive” theory, check out the video SuperCarlinBros already did for it seven months ago…which MatPat doesn’t reference at all or give credit to in his video. And…well, he should have.

The Cars in the Cars Movie AREN’T CARS!

I don’t know if I’m ready for this.

Are the Cars in Cars really cars?

{Raises hand}

I mean sure, it’s the title of the movie.

[Raises hand more}

and they look and behave like cars

{hand floats away}

I mean they have eyes and tongues

Right. So there’s no way they’re cars with eyes and tongues. Eh, yeah that’s weird, but we’ll get to that.

How does a society of cars come to be in the first place?

Well, the Pixar Theory states that—

What are these creatures? I am 100% confident I figured it out.

Like I was saying. I outlined all of this in my book about how—

what started as a simple, stupid question led me down the rabbit hole of this bizarre car-themed universe, and the answers I found will upend everything you thought you knew about Mater and the gang.

Mat then cuts to an image of my Pixar Theory Timeline. Well, the old one at least. See when this video first came out, a lot of people asked me what I thought, and I felt guilty for not updating the timeline since I did the book, which is a small reason why Mat ends up working off of old information (we’ll get to that).

See, the theory itself was certainly at its most plot-holey when I did the first draft of the timeline in 2013. I haven’t even updated it with the newer movies. To rectify this, there’s a new timeline in place of the old one, but as you can tell, the damage is done.

and the details I find here pose some interesting questions about that infamous Pixar Theory


a theory that you all have wanted me to cover for quite a long time

Spoiler alert: MatPat is working on his own “mega” Pixar Theory. Well…bring it on?

it probably merits taking a second to acquaint you with that Pixar Theory. A theory that started with, as far as I can tell, online movie blogger Jon Negroni.


which aims to unite all the Pixar movies to not just the same universe, but also come up with a cohesive timeline of events where one movie leads to the next, leads to the next.

Mat shows an image of the actual blog post for the theory itself, which begins by telling you that the theory has been updated. So why didn’t Mat “start up his search engines” then?

He does go on to talk about how he won’t be getting into the “nitty gritty” of the theory, but offers an example of how Buy n Large plays into multiple movies.

now the reason I wanted to start talking about this today is because I have a few problems with the Pixar Theory timeline. 

So Mat then goes on to recite some big elements of the theory that, again, are ancient history. And he gets some basic stuff wrong, like this:

that’s why you don’t see humans or animals in either car movie

Except we do, actually. We see the birds from For the Birds (a Pixar short) in the first Cars.

this whole Pixar Theory is an interesting explanation, but there are a lot of assumptions

So why didn’t you research the updated one? And spoiler alert: his entire theory is nothing but assumptions, starting with Mat’s assertion that they aren’t sentient machines brought to life like the toys from Toy Story.

The cars are actually organic creatures. Living creatures with the car body of the top exoskeleton, but containing some sort of internal organs. A soft and squishy inside like the center of a Tootsie Roll pop.

I get it. So Mat took all of the clever revelations SuperCarlinBros already figured out months ago…then made it worse. Neat.

First, they breathe oxygen. 

And they also drink oil. And we see they have engines multiple times in the movie. How does that make them organic?

See, Mat goes on to point out how the cars must be organic because they basically act like humans. They eat “food” and one car wears an underwater “breather” like in spy movies. I contend that they do this because they think they’re the humans who owned them. Multiple Pixar movies point out that human emotion (a la Monsters Inc.) is the source of energy that can bring inanimate objects to life (like in Brave and Toy Story). And in movies like WALL-E, we see that the life of these machines is sustained by interactions with human belongings, like the movie Hello Dolly that WALL-E watches all the time.

I’m sorry I have to keep saying this, but Mat is completely missing this stuff because he didn’t even seem to look for it. And now we have to suffer through what is at best an amusing sideshow full of weird body horror jokes.

Mat then goes on to say that because of a “studio stories” video by Pixar, this is all confirmed in addition to McQueen having the hiccups in a “Tales from Radiator Springs” short. He quickly cuts in and out of a quote that McQueen can’t open his doors because “that’s where his brains are.”

they have a brain! A giant, pink, pulsating brain hidden behind those car windows!


This is terribly misleading because Mat leaves out the fact that this same animator was trying to think of ways to make Lightning capable of producing a map to Sally. He mentions that using the doors wouldn’t make sense conceptually because that’s where his “brains” would be. He also proposed that maybe a monkey drove the car and showed the map, and many more examples that are nonsensical.

So none of this comes close to confirming anything about cars having organs. Rather, it’s just an animator discussing the challenges of making the Cars world a believable one that isn’t gross or creepy. That includes avoiding this kind of “brain” implication in the first place.

so it would appear that the cars are actual living creatures and not just some highly advanced driverless cars.

“Appear” is a strong word. If anything, there’s far more evidence that the cars are, in fact highly advanced driverless cars compared to this idea that they’re animals. But Mat ignores all of that inconvenient evidence so he can champion his own theory.

Like I said before. Bring it on.

there’s an actual evolutionary chain present throughout these films. 

Go on.

[In Cars 2] we see birds. Except they’re not actually birds. They’re actually mini planes. 

Oh boy.

In another of the Tales from Radiator Springs animated shorts, you get VW beetle beetles. Tiny cars with insect wings.

Which is why the theory states that the cars work off of an unreliable narrator. Which means that to them, organic creatures on Earth look like cars to them, but elsewhere we see real birds, and we know from WALL-E and A Bug’s Life that birds and insects are still around in this post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Have you noticed that for a Pixar theory about Pixar movies, Mat doesn’t seem to include a lot of the other Pixar movies?

Mat goes on to talk about how the alien stuff from “Mater’s Tall Tales” is totally real rather than…a tall tale. And their tires being independent from their bodies must “prove” his theory rather than support the idea that they are, in fact, machines with tires. Good stuff.

these are living creatures with internal organs that are protected by a car-like exoskeleton.

Did they grow this exoskeleton themselves? And where do their engines (which we see) come from?

and with multiple differentiated animal-like species that have evolved over time from literal boats, planes, and cranes to bug-like and bird-like animals

But The Pixar Theory has too many assumptions? And my main problem with this is that Mat goes into zero detail over how and why machines would suddenly turn into bugs and insects. Or why the personified cars don’t. He just drops that evolution part in and moves on. You know, like in the original Pixar Theory!

In short, when you look at all of this evidence, there is only one possible conclusion:

Mat put as little effort as possible into tackling the Pixar Theory? Because this is just sloppy, and a bit uninspired.

the cars in Cars aren’t really cars at all, but are much more likely a highly evolved form of insect.

Remember kids: “this whole Pixar Theory is an interesting explanation, but there are a lot of assumptions.”

Mat’s entire argument here is that because cars have a metal “skin”, that must mean they’re evolved from insects, which (whoa!) also have an exoskeleton. Ignoring literally everything about science that has ever been known about how insects, you know, have evolved and are composed biologically.

Remember when Mat said, “Oh they have brains! Confirmed!” Well, he even shows diagrams of insects that don’t have brains (or eyes or tongues or teeth) like what he describes, yet that doesn’t matter because this is my life now.

I get it. The Pixar Theory is about having fun, not being scientifically accurate. But this is just weird for the sake of it and not at all informative of what the theory’s really about: telling a grander story behind all of the movies and characters.

the cars aren’t cars! They’re insects!

I mean come on, does anyone else think Mat is just spoofing at this point? He literally has to say “The cars aren’t cars.”

that does some really interesting things for the Pixar Theory

At best, it ruins the Pixar Theory and undermines everything we actually know about the Cars movies.

First and foremost, it removes Cars from the era of humans

Thus making it completely implausible. The point of Cars is that the machines are brought to life through memories of humans. Taking that out to make room for some random insect nonsense adds literally nothing to the theory. It only takes away evidence that brings everything about the machines together for what happens in Monsters Inc.

that sort of evolution is going to take a really long time, so get it away from the WALL-Es, Nemos, and Incredibles of the world.

So then what’s the point? And how would human civilization be what it is in the Cars universe if this was so far in the future? Where are the monsters? Why are the cars remembering events from the 20th Century, like the Piston Cup? If they’re so far removed from the Pixar timeline, why even suggest that the timeline is even purposeful?

but surprisingly enough, we do happen to have one film in Pixar’s lineup that does follow super intelligent bugs in their quest for survival

What about the birds? If we’re bringing A Bug’s Life into this, then you also have to point out that the birds are primal and “dumb” compared to the insects.

in a world where there are remnants of human society but you see no humans present

But we do know they’re still around because one insect had his wings clipped by a kid.

what I propose to you is that Cars isn’t so much its own entity, but rather A Bug’s Life 2, 3, and coming up on 4. The natural progression of insects evolving and taking over the planet Earth. 

So insects naturally evolve…into cars? That explains the millions of years established by the Pixar timeline (starting with Good Dinosaur) where they, you know, didn’t evolve into cars. But don’t worry, because all of these theory holes will be solved (maybe!) next time.

and with that we have the first puzzle pieces in place as we all start to build our own Film Theorists approved mega Pixar Theory!

Go for it. Seriously. These are your movies too. Just don’t be surprised when the Snarcasm rolls around, because if you’re going to build off of my initial ideas and timeline without fully looking into them for your own purposes, plus rip off another YouTuber’s theories without giving them any credit for it, then this is a Pixar Theory war. 

Thanks for reading this. Seriously. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. 

Or just say hello on Twitter: @JonNegroni


23 Replies to “Snarcasm: The Cars in ‘Cars’ Aren’t Really Cars. Obviously.”

  1. Damn. I mean the theory itself is fine, but ripping off SCB is just messed up. Great Snarcasm.

  2. I’ve always liked the “Cars are Alive” theory as a sort of aside. Jonathan Carlin almost presented it as an “Elseworlds” theory that tries to add logic to a chaotic world. But his whole effort to mash it up with the Pixar Theory timeline is pretty weak, tbh, even though the video itself is funny and harmless. Glad you finally addressed this, though.

  3. Well then. Let’s see where this Pixar Theory War goes. I did like the “Cars are Alive” theory from SCB, but this “Film Theorists mega Approved Pixar Theory” does not make very good use of it. For now, I’m on the side of the original Pixar Theory and I’ll most likely stay that way.

  4. I was waiting for you to mention this! You make some pretty great points, and there was stuff that I didn’t even think about. I think that MatPat making his OWN Pixar Theory is absolutely ridiculous. But I am intrigued by what he’ll manage to cook up.
    Just for the record, if this war escalates, then I’m staying neutral. I admire both of you guys—you’re both really good theorists, and I’m not going to bother with leaning towards one or the other. Just saying.

  5. If this Pixar Theory war is actually coming, then we are going to have some epic times ahead. It appears that Jon Negroni is not happy. I support both theorists and don’t wish any ill will towards anyone, but be warned that there will be people who will accept one side or the other and may misunderstand what each person is saying.

  6. This post embodies everything wrong with Film Theory: Making assumptions, skipping over relevant details, taking other relevant details out of context, and (for shame!) not citing sources. And then there’s the part about his theory being “not at all informative of what the [Pixar T]heory’s really about: telling a grander story behind all of the movies and characters.” Like, fine, the cars are insects. So what? What does that add to the story? From a writer’s perspective it doesn’t matter if the cars are cars, insects, or even humans. But (from my overview of the brief timeline on this website) fitting the story into a time line where the cars are acting out human society based on leftover memories? That might be a new angle on the story of Cars and its development. So yeah, if it’s war happening here, I know whose side I’m on. I should check out that book of yours too.

  7. I thought of a way that would fit in the pixar theory, what if the Cars are really encased humans that decided to hybernate but then woke up in an era where there were no humans. In other words they hybernated during the extinction of humans and woke up to with only organs. This means that humans found a way to hybernate human organs but not bodies. Then programmed robots when the humans woke up, encased them in cars. I mean I am sure there would be plentiful supplies of the afterr mass extinction. They would have originally been put in human bodies but due to an apocalyptic event there were none left in a good state.

    This is just a bit of FUN so please do not take this seriously but I am sure some loyal theorists like Jon Negroni or SCB will be able to improve on this idea or prove it completely wrong.

    • Sorry about all the typos and parts that do not make sense.

  8. I’m looking forward to the war! This could be fun! You guys need a cool poster. And all this while I’m making a side project. (Mango? T? It’s me P1XRK1NG. If you’re still interested in making that giant theory meet me back at the home page for the original Pixar theory. I’ll see you there friends.)

    • (T. As in T. Rooney)

  9. Hey, it’s me. Been a while. 2015…Um, since when have the animals in ‘Cars’ been exemplified as ‘working off an unreliable narrator’? I’ve honestly have never heard of that theory from you before now . It works (sort of), but it’s kind of a dick move to act like that’s how it’s always been. Maybe I missed it (apologies if that’s the case), but who knows?However, I do acknowledge that Snarcasm is jus a satire characterization thing you do (So it’s probably not that serious anyway)

    Also. That’s just the way he tells theories. He uses science and logic to rationalize fictional worlds. That’s his thing (doesn’t always work, though). At best he put A Bug’s Life before Cars. The tiny insect car in Cars could tie into that, but who knows. Organic creatures probably had to adapt to the environment when humans left and machines took over (something you’ve claimed). The only difference is that he says that the bugs evolve into cars while you claimed (at one point) that they evolved into Monsters (which you’ve since updated by citing the Mans and Mons DVD extra). It doesn’t matter how long the events of Cars occurs after Humans leave the Earth, it probably was a long time. Enough time for Cars to evolve maybe. And whatever machines were left after they sent away the humans would’ve likely remembered and kept up human culture.

    I’m not 100% on his theory. I’m not entirely with a few of his theories. The point is that they’re just theories. It would’ve been nice if he had cited SuperCarlinBros, but they used the same evidence for their respective theories of how and why the cars are alive (i.e. Cars having brains). He definitely would have to cite the Bros if he regurgitated their theory for his own (or if he used it as a source for his own theory), but if he just hadn’t seen their video there would’ve been no need to do so. I don’t know for sure what research he conducted or what sources he used so I can’t vouch for him for sure.

    Olson had commented earlier that the CarlinBros did it as an ‘Elseworlds’ type theory and I see it that way for MatPat’s. It’s inconsequential, but still entertaining and works by it’s own applied logic. At this point however (at least for right now) I believe that Cars and other vehicles have tongues and teeth and stuff for the same reason Toys (from Toy Story) have them. They weren’t born or built with them, but maybe that’s just an effect of life-granting whatever energy have on inanimate objects.

    The Pixar Theory isn’t ‘ruined’ because someone’s suggestion doesn’t match your overall vision of the theory. It’s just a different interpretation of the evidence provided (outdated or not). He wasn’t even attacking the original theory, he just took a different spin on it. Same thing goes for the time you got on Cinemasin’s case for ‘The Good Dinosaur’. The reaction was a bit much. Besides, I remember the video from Cracked that actually conceptualized The Pixar Theory and ( though you’ve cited that as the initial reason you elaborated and expanded upon the theory in the first place) you’ve neglected to mention that in this article. I like the Pixar Theory, but I still have my interpretations on how things work that I want to explain to people.

    • P.s.I’ve been here since this site started so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about.

      • P.p.s. I’ll still be following the theory as future movies are added

    • “since when have the animals in ‘Cars’ been exemplified as ‘working off an unreliable narrator’?”

      Since I released the book that debuted this theory. I’ve stated both in this post and in numerous others (including the original theory) that the book contains updated information. If MatPat had done his due diligence, he would have found this out quite quickly, but instead he just glanced at the timeline.

      “That’s just the way he tells theories.”

      I don’t dispute that, and I don’t usually Snarcasm his stuff for that reason. My issue with this latest post, though, is how he plagiarized SCB and is trying to commandeer the popularity of the Pixar Theory for his own purposes. It’s just gross and as you state earlier “a dick move.”

      “It doesn’t matter how long the events of Cars occurs after Humans leave the Earth, it probably was a long time.”

      It does because this is all related to a central theme of the Pixar Theory “story,” in that machines need human energy to survive. Adding that cars have gone from inorganic to organic “just because” is just an enthusiastic guess, not anything that reasonably fits into what the Pixar Theory already is.

      “The point is that they’re just theories”

      Sure. And this is just a Snarcasm.

      H”e definitely would have to cite the Bros if he regurgitated their theory for his own”

      He did regurgitate this theory for his own. That’s 100% clear because almost all of his evidence is exactly what SCB has already pointed out. There’s no conceivable way they were ignorant of the exact same evidence, down to SCB citing a featurette as evidence.

      “Olson had commented earlier that the CarlinBros did it as an ‘Elseworlds’ type theory and I see it that way for MatPat’s.”

      That’s not how MatPat sees it. He wants this to be the “new” Pixar Theory. That’s what he said he’s trying to do. He wants to “fix” The Pixar Theory in a way that’s demonstrably worse, confusing, and disconnected from the whole purpose of the theory. To provide a backstory narrative for why the movies are connected, not just how.

      “The Pixar Theory isn’t ‘ruined’ because someone’s suggestion doesn’t match your overall vision of the theory.”

      I agree. But that’s not what’s happening here. This isn’t a suggestion — it’s an attempt to take all of my ideas and rewrite them as his own, making them just different enough for his channel to become the new authority on the theory itself. Again though, bring it on. When I mentioned that the theory is “ruined,” I didn’t mean it’s ruined because someone disagrees. I said that his “rewrite” would ruin the theory if accepted. The theory is more than easter eggs, it’s also about a grand narrative that flows between the movies, and MatPat is trying to remix that for the sake of appearing original.

      “Same thing goes for the time you got on Cinemasin’s case for ‘The Good Dinosaur’. The reaction was a bit much.”

      Sorry if it comes off that way, but it’s not as if I spend all my time dwelling on other people’s interpretations of Pixar movies. The fact that I do this sparingly and with a satire column should tell you that I only do it when the people behind them know better and deserve scrutiny.

      “I remember the video from Cracked that actually conceptualized The Pixar Theory and ( though you’ve cited that as the initial reason you elaborated and expanded upon the theory in the first place) you’ve neglected to mention that in this article.”

      Why would I have to mention it again? This isn’t a post that explains the Pixar Theory or how I came up with it. And 99% of the ideas behind the Pixar Theory are my own. They only inspired me to start thinking about it, they didn’t come up with everything.

      Thanks for commenting, and I appreciate any and all dissent with this post. But I hope you also take a moment to think about why I’ve reacted they way I have to this entire situation, and why it was chosen as Snarcasm, not a self-serious post.

  10. so i think that you are giving matpat to mouch critisium he just made a couple mistakes that i think he should bring up in a later video but dont give him as hard of a time i have a feeling that he will make a ask for forgiveness to you and to super carlen brothers.

    • I don’t think MatPat deserves the benefit of the doubt here. He’s had numerous chances to apologize and make this right, but he’s completely ignored everyone who has called him out on this. He deserves all the criticism he gets.

  11. I would like to say that in the “For the Birds” short film, we never actualy see these cars. I’m not saying that what your saying is wrong I just wanted to say that that is not evidence that birds are alive during the cars movies

    • I agree, I don’t think “For the Birds” is really connected much to Cars, it just happened to be released at the same time as Cars.

  12. Any one else notice that matpat hasn’t been super strong with his Disney/Pixar theories lately? The wally theory had a lot of assumptions, moana theory has the time frame problem, and now this. I like the idea of a Pixar war but I’m worried on matpats side, he’s not/(can’t? He’s a busy guy) going to put enough work into this for it to be good

    • Yeah, MatPat’s theories could use some work in general. I love his energy, but lately he seems to be coming up with the most unlikeliest theories that he possibly can. As for the Pixar War, I doubt it’ll ACTUALLY go through, but it’s fun to pick sides!

  13. agree but he forgot one thing….. boats!!!

  14. Pingback:

  15. The boats have to fit in somewhere right? I NEED ANSWERS!!

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