Disney/Pixar and Al-Anon-Style “Meetings”

Let me just preface this to say that I’ve never been to an AA-style meeting, but I would never make fun of them or judge anyone who goes or has gone to them. If they help people on the way to recovery or to get to a place they want to be in life, then that makes me truly happy.

After watching Zootopia (fantastic, by the way) with the mini-me, we went on a kind of Disney/Pixar binge at home. Disney purchased Pixar ten years ago in 2006, and since then, their film-making styles have sort of merged. A large part of this is that John Lasseter, the long-time creative force behind Pixar, became the Chief Creative Officer of both Disney Animation Studios and Pixar as part of the merger. This has kind of put the Lasseter mark over all of the animated movies both studios have made in the intervening period.

So something I’ve noticed is that many of these movies have a very similar sort of scene, where different characters are in an AA-style meeting repeating a sort of mantra. Check out this shark “Fish are friends not food” meeting (starts at 0:55) from the 2003 Pixar film, Finding Nemo.

Now check out the “Bad-Anon” meeting from 2012’s Wreck-it-Ralph.

Now look at the “support group”, starting a 2:00, in the Toy Story short “Small Fry“, and continuing with the mantra at 4:15.

“Small Fry” on Disney Video

I don’t really have a point here, other than this can’t be a coincidence, especially considering John Lasseter is executive producer on all of these films. These style meetings have been lampooned in a large number of movies and tv shows, Blades of Glory’s sex-addict meeting springs straight to mind, so I guess no one should be surprised they show up in the couple dozen or so movies that John Lasseter has done. I think in Disney/Pixar’s case, they serve the role of adding some level of adult humour to the stories. But I certainly won’t be surprised if another “meeting” shows up again in a Disney or Pixar film.

Andrew Smith
About Andrew Smith 42 Articles
Editor-in-Chief Andrew Smith is a Seattle Native and University of Washington grad.

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