Monsters at Work

a monster at work





Lauren Cook

TV Series Review

We can name a myriad of iconic monsters from various myths and legends—the Minatour, the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, to name a few—but how many of them work a 9-to-5 schedule in an office cubicle?

In case you happened to miss Pixar’s classic 2001 film Monsters, Inc.,  here’s a quick rundown: Mike Wazowski and James “Sulley” Sullivan are employees at Monsters, Incorporated, a company that uses portals into children’s closets to scare the kids and collect their screams. These screams provide power for Monstropolis, the city of monsters in which they reside. After a toddler escapes into the monster world, Mike and Sulley realize that maybe traumatizing children isn’t the best way to go about powering their city. Instead, they switch to using their laughs. The kids get to hear a good joke, the monsters get an easier conscience, and Monstropolis gets to keep the lights on. Everybody wins, right?

Turns out it’s not exactly that simple.

See, monsters aren’t exactly used to making kids laugh. So turning an entire company’s business model on its head isn’t as easy as Mike and Sulley might have hoped. Monsters are running around trying to adapt to the sudden change and dealing with sporadic power outages, all while trying desperately to learn how to be funny.

It’s into this chaos that Tylor Tuskman, who just graduated top of his class at Monsters University, arrives.

Monsters of Comedy

Monsters at Work follows the almost immediate aftermath of Monsters, Inc., as Mike and Sulley are promoted to running the company and a new employee, Tylor, shows up to work, teeth bared and ready to scare. He’s got undeniable talent—he broke the scaring record at Monsters University previously held by Sulley himself—which earns him a job at Monsters Inc. straight out of college.

Tylor has wanted to be a Scarer since he was a kid, so this is a dream come true for him—only he doesn’t exactly have the best timing. He shows up for work on his first day to find that the position he was offered no longer exists. Scare Floors are now Laugh Floors, Scarers have become Jokesters, and Mike is racking his brain trying to think of a new company slogan.

Since Tylor wasn’t exactly prepared for this sudden change, and he’s a little rusty in the comedy department, he’s bumped down Monsters Incorporated Facilities Team (or MIFT). There, he meets a group of eccentric maintenance workers all too excited to have a new member join their team. They’re energetic, optimistic, incredibly passionate about facilities maintenance, and they’re completely deaf to Tylor’s protests that he’s not actually supposed to be there.

While Mike and Sulley try to navigate their way around making the biggest company shift since Netflix switched from hard discs to streaming, Tylor starts taking comedy classes, determined to make his way from the dingy MIFT office all the way up to the Laugh Floor.

He’ll just have to figure out how to deal with his bizarre coworkers first.

Family Friendly Frights

Pixar has built a rock-solid reputation on the foundation that they produce family-friendly content without compromising on quality. Monsters, Inc. was so successful not just because of the ingenuity of the concept, but because it appealed to parents as well as their kids. Monsters at Work attempts to continue this trend; parents will enjoy the nostalgia of seeing Mike and Sulley again (complete with their iconic voices from Billy Crystal and John Goodman, respectively), while the almost squeaky-clean content makes it ideal for kids as well.

Almost is a key word there. Obviously, our cast of characters are all monsters, each one varying in design. Some have horns, spikes, multiple eyes, or other features, though they’re all intended to look relatively friendly rather than terrifying. We see monsters scaring young children on occasion, and some slapstick comedy that varies in intensity is featured. Mild toilet humor also crops up occasionally.

Monsters at Work is also a direct continuation of its predecessor, Monsters, Inc., so parents should be ready to introduce (or re-introduce) the original film to their kids—along with its similarly mild content issues—before they dive into the sequel series. Monsters University, a prequel film that explores Mike and Sulley’s college adventures, isn’t as necessary to follow the story, but it may help kids further understand the world and the friendship between the central characters.

All in all, some mayhem and mildly fear-inducing content aside, Monsters at Work could be a more than suitable option for what to watch next as a family—and one that parents won’t necessarily have to suffer through for the sake of their kids.

Episode Reviews

Jul. 7, 2021: “Meet MIFT”

Tylor attempts to adjust to working in MIFT while taking comedy classes (hoping to earn a promotion to the Laugh Floor), and Mike struggles with working overtime to compensate for the lack of monsters who can successfully make the children laugh.

The MIFT team tries to initiate Tylor in a vaguely cult-like ceremony in which they chant in unison while he turns a lock nut with a wrench. He obviously does not want to participate, since they frame it as an “eternal commitment,” but he is forced to anyway. Cutter uses a blowtorch, but he claims that they can no longer use actual flames in the initiation because of a previous employee who took a step to the left and “lit up like the sun.” She also tells Tylor about another monster, “Flat Rodney,” who was crushed by a hydraulic tube. Mike electrocutes his foot on a control panel.

Fritz, the supervisor of MIFT, innocently flirts with Tylor’s mom, making the latter extremely uncomfortable. The only language concerns include one use of “heck”.

Jul. 7, 2021: “Welcome to Monsters, Incorporated”

Mike and Sulley are promoted to Vice President and CEO of Monsters, Inc., and try to make the transition from scares to laughs as smoothly as possible. Meanwhile, Tylor Tuskman arrives to work as a Scarer, but is instead assigned to work with the facilities management team, MIFT.

In the opening scene, we see Tylor at school scaring an automated dummy that looks like a child; he does so well that it short-circuits and breaks. We see Tylor creeping around in the shadows before roaring loudly at the dummy, though he transitions immediately afterwards into his normal friendly demeanor. Cutter, one of Tylor’s coworkers in MIFT, tells a story about a previous employee who was pulled into a shredder shaft and died; they keep a piece of his hair in a jar next to a candle in his memory. Tylor sneaks into a child’s room in an attempt to make him laugh, but instead accidentally knocks the ceiling fan out the window, making the boy scream in fright. The child escapes onto the Laugh Floor and Tylor causes chaos and mayhem trying to get him back into his room. Scream cannisters fly around, knocking monsters around the floor, and doors fall and crash.

Mild toilet humor is used; Cutter tells Tylor he should “stay close to the bathroom” after drinking a disgusting beverage. Tylor, forgetting the words to “Rock-a-Bye Baby”, sings “When the wind blows/Your nose fills with snot” while putting the escaped child back to bed. A monster claims that touching a human child will make you “burst into flames and die of barfing.” Another says “we’re screwed” after learning that the company is no longer using Scarers, and two monsters tell each other to “shut up” repeatedly.

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Lauren Cook Bio Pic
Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is serving as a 2021 summer intern for the Parenting and Youth department at Focus on the Family. She is studying film and screenwriting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. You can get her talking for hours about anything from Star Wars to her family to how Inception was the best movie of the 2010s. But more than anything, she’s passionate about showing how every form of art in some way reflects the Gospel. Coffee is a close second.

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