|Monsters at Work|
|Based on||Characters created|
by Pixar Animation Studios
|Developed by||Bobs Gannaway|
|Theme music composer||Randy Newman|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10|
|Executive producer||Bobs Gannaway|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company||Disney Television Animation|
|Distributor||Disney Platform Distribution|
|Original release||July 7, 2021 –|
|Infobox instructions (only shown in preview)|
Set the day after Henry J. Waternoose III is arrested in Monsters, Inc., the Monsters, Incorporated factory is making the transition to laugh power. Tylor Tuskmon, a recent Scare Major graduate from Monsters University, working as a mechanic in the factory's facilities team, dreams of working alongside Mike and Sulley. Meanwhile, Mike and Sulley encounter the trials and tribulations of running the company.
With the exceptions of the first and tenth episodes, every episode concludes with a mini-segment titled "Mike's Comedy Class" where Mike tries to teach other monsters about comedy topics, usually with some unexpected results to him.
Cast and characters
- Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski: The self-appointed Senior Co-President of Monsters, Incorporated and Chief Executive Vice-Deputy Administrative Director of Comedy Resources Management, and Sulley's best friend. He is also Tylor's teacher in comedy and a top jokester.
- John Goodman as James P. "Sulley" Sullivan: The CEO of Monsters, Incorporated.
- Ben Feldman as Tylor Tuskmon: A mechanic on the Monsters, Incorporated Facilities Team who graduated from Monsters University as a scarer but is now taking part-time classes to be a jokester.
- Mindy Kaling as Val Little: Tylor's acquaintance from Monsters University who shared a single class with him before she dropped out. She is also an enthusiastic mechanic.
- Henry Winkler as Fritz: Tylor's friendly and scatterbrained one-eyed Tapir-nosed boss.
- Lucas Neff as Duncan P. Anderson: A cunning, self-absorbed winged four-eyed plumber who is obsessed with getting Fritz's job, and has a rivalry with Tylor.
- Alanna Ubach as Katherine "Cutter" Sterns: the officious crab-like rule follower.
- Ubach also voices several minor characters, such as Carla "Killer Claws" Benitez, comedy student "Roaring" Rosie Levin, a human mother in "The Damaged Room", and the narrator of the outdated orientation film in "Welcome to Monsters, Incorporated".
- Bonnie Hunt as Ms. Flint: A monster who runs the simulation room at Monsters, Incorporated.
- Curtis Armstrong as Mr. Crummyham: A monster with Gecko-like abilities who is a supervisor at Monsters, Incorporated.
- Jennifer Tilly as Celia Mae: Mike's one-eyed and snake-haired girlfriend who has been promoted from Monsters Incorporated receptionist to Laugh Floor supervisor.
- Bob Peterson as Roz: The leader of the CDA (Child Detection Agency) who previously was undercover as a secretary, at Monsters, Incorporated.
- Peterson also voices Roze, Roz's twin sister who takes over Roz's old job, as well as a blue monster who shares his name.
- Stephen Stanton as Needleman and Smitty: Two workers of Monsters, Incorporated that operate the Door Shredder. They were both originally voiced in the film by the late Daniel Gerson.
- Stanton also voices George Sanderson, an unlucky scarer who was the victim of the code "23-19", a role played in the original film by Sam Black.
- Christopher Swindle as Jeff Fungus and Thaddeus "Phlegm" Bile, roles played in the original film by Frank Oz and Jeff Pidgeon, respectively.
Other cast members include Bobs Gannaway as Otis, the Monsters, Incorporated receptionist, and Roto, Duncan's pet, Gabriel Iglesias as Gary Gibbs, Mike Wazowski's arch-nemesis in "The Big Wazowskis" and "Bad Hair Day", and Dee Bradley Baker as Winchester: the non-verbal member of the Monsters, Incorporated Facilities Team, nicknamed "Banana Bread".
Alfred Molina reprises his role as Professor Derek Knight from Monsters University in "Welcome to Monsters, Incorporated". John Ratzenberger reprises his role as Adorable from the original film and Monsters University in "Adorable Returns" and "Little Monsters". Ratzenberger also voices Tylor's father, Bernard, who appears in "Adorable Returns".
Aisha Tyler makes a guest appearance in "Meet Mift" as Tylor's mother, Millie and John Michael Higgins as Argus Blinks in "The Cover Up". Bob Uecker makes a guest appearance in "The Damaged Room", as a parody of himself named Bob Yucker. Gannaway's daughter, Hadley, makes a guest appearance in "Little Monsters" as Ms. Flint's daughter, Thalia.
|No.||Title ||Directed by||Written by||Original release date |
|1||"Welcome to Monsters, Incorporated"||Kaitlyn Ritter||Bobs Gannaway||July 7, 2021|
|Monsters University scare graduate Tylor Tuskmon receives a letter of acceptance from Henry J. Waternoose III to be an official scarer at Monsters, Incorporated. However, Tylor arrives at the factory the day after Waternoose's arrest for his plot to kidnap human children to forcibly extract their screams for energy.[a] The Board of Directors put Sulley and Mike in charge of the factory and give Roz's old position to her twin sister, Roze. Under Sulley and Mike's new management, the company is revamped and the scarers are now jokesters. Having studied for a discontinued job, Tylor is transferred to MIFT (Monsters, Incorporated Facilities Team) as a maintenance worker, a position he dislikes and is eager to leave. He runs away from his new co-workers, bluffs his way onto the Laugh Floor and attempts to make a child laugh. Because of his lack of experience, his attempt backfires and results in a major accident. Nevertheless, Sulley believes in him and Tylor reluctantly accepts his position in the facilities crew while Mike decides to teach a comedy class.|
|2||"Meet Mift"||Shane Zalvin||Bart Jennett||July 7, 2021|
The MIFT team puts Tylor through an initiation ceremony, but his lack of enthusiasm and skill make his future with them seem uncertain. Meanwhile, Mike is struggling to keep up with his positions as both a jokester and a comedy teacher, and the energy crisis begins affecting Monsters, Incorporated. While Mike is making a child laugh, an outage causes the door to deactivate, trapping Mike in the human world. Thanks to Tylor's first successful repair job, Mike is saved. The other members of MIFT learn Winchester's actual name (they had all nicknamed him Banana Bread) when he resigns to be a jokester after impressing Ms. Flint; giving Tylor hope that one day he will be a jokester.Mike's Comedy Class: Mike sings a song concerning the possible dangers of comedy.
|3||"The Damaged Room"||Shane Zalvin||Bobs Gannaway and Evan Gore & Heather Lombard|
Based on a Premise by: Travis Braun
|July 14, 2021|
Phlegm damages a wall in a baby girl's bedroom, forcing MIFT to enter and quickly fix it. The child needs to be removed during the repair, so Mike decides to look after her and ends up naming her Snore, due to her snoring. Sulley reveals he got tickets to a baseball game and Mike takes Snore with them to see it. Val tries to remind Tylor of their time together at Monsters University, but he does not recall spending time with her. They manage to fix the wall, but accidentally get trapped. Val admits to Tylor that her time at Monsters University was special to her because he was the only one who spoke to her. Cutter gets them out of the room and Mike brings Snore back and sings her a lullaby to put her back to sleep. As they leave, Tylor gains a greater appreciation for Val and reveals that he recalls speaking to her at Monsters University.Mike's Comedy Class: Mike teaches his class how to use a Whoopee cushion and accidentally sets it off.
|4||"The Big Wazowskis"||Kaitlyn Ritter||Bobs Gannaway||July 21, 2021|
At Monsters, Incorporated's annual bowling tournament, Mike gets into a heated bet against his charismatic rival/doppelganger Gary. Taking the opportunity to impress Mike, Tylor offers to assemble MIFT into a bowling team to compete on Mike's behalf. An ecstatic Fritz appoints Tylor the team captain, but Tylor is dismayed when he realizes that he is the only one who can play well. Competing as "The Big Wazowskis", MIFT fumble their way to the top of the tournament by a series of accidents. Duncan secretly meets with Tylor to replace MIFT in the final match with a more skilled team: Tylor misleads MIFT into thinking the match has been cancelled. On the day of the match, the MIFT team confront Tylor over his lie. Duncan's team abandons Tylor for his selfishness, but Tylor takes responsibility and leads the MIFT team by turning their lack of skill into brilliant plays, much to Duncan's dismay. However, the match ends up being a tie, forcing Mike and Gary to share the grand prize of a dinner for two at Harryhausen's, much to Mike's chagrin.
Mike's Comedy Class: Mike attempts to teach the class about how to deal with hecklers, only to be constantly heckled by Gary.Note: This episode is dedicated to story artist, Robert Gibbs (father of Mary Gibbs, who voiced Boo in Monsters, Inc.) who died in 2020.
|5||"The Cover Up"||Shane Zalvin||Ricky Roxburgh and Bobs Gannaway||July 28, 2021|
When Fritz takes an impromptu vacation to the human world, he spins a wheel to decide who will be temporary supervisor in his absence. The wheel lands on Val, but Duncan guilts Val into allowing him to be temporary supervisor. Duncan abuses the position with outrageous demands, particularly of Tylor. When Tylor engages in a prank to get even, however, Duncan retaliates and the pair accidentally cause a citywide blackout. MIFT reluctantly agrees to cover up the incident, but things get tense when an inspector from the Monstropolis Energy Regulatory Commission arrives and discovers the truth. When he confronts the team, he is accidentally knocked unconscious by a canister and Duncan and Tylor throw him through Fritz's vacation door. Two weeks later, Fritz and the inspector emerge and the inspector, having enjoyed his own impromptu vacation, decides to let everyone off with a warning. As it all happened on Duncan's watch, Mike and Sulley confront him over his fireable offense, but are convinced by Fritz to let it slide when both Tylor and Duncan take responsibility for the accident.Mike's Comedy Class: Mike tries to explain the concept of knock-knock jokes but two monsters fail to understand and Mike, visibly stressed, is carried out on a stretcher.
|6||"The Vending Machine"||Kaitlyn Ritter||Michelle Spitz and Bobs Gannaway||August 4, 2021|
Tylor accidentally damages Vendy, the MIFT vending machine. At the same time, profits and morale are down at the company and Fritz is asked to fire one of the members of the team due to budget cuts, leaving Tylor worried about being fired due to his lack of repair skill. When Mike hears of the situation, he decides to improve company morale by making several outlandish and expensive upgrades to the facility, starting with a brand new vending machine for MIFT. However, an argument between Duncan and Tylor leads to the new machine being damaged and Duncan's attempts to repair it causes it to severely malfunction. When the machine attacks Duncan, Tylor destroys it to save him. A stressed Fritz announces that, rather than firing one of his team, he will retire. Though it turns out that Mike's ideas to boost morale have worked, increasing productivity and profits and Fritz stays on. The next day, Tylor surprises the team by repairing the original Vendy.Mike's Comedy Class: Mike instructs the class to dress-up as clowns. However, one monster comes across as scarier in clown makeup.
|7||"Adorable Returns"||Shane Zalvin||Bobs Gannaway and Ethan Sandler||August 11, 2021|
Tylor gets a chance to become an official jokester when Mike summons his comedy class to the Laugh Floor to help generate power during a heatwave. However, Tylor must first help fix the door rails. In his haste, he accidentally gets caught in one and ends up through a banishment door to the Himalayas where he meets Adorable, the Yeti who helped Mike and Sulley to return to the monster world. Val brings Tylor back, but they accidentally bring Adorable along who reminisces on his past at Monsters, Incorporated. Everyone is afraid of him due to rumors over why he was banished. Val decides to find out why Adorable was banished while Tylor opens up to him about how he wants to be a jokester. After convincing him go back through the door, Val informs Tylor that Adorable was banished after he discovered a letter from Waternoose in regards to plans for his scream extractor. Tylor gives up his chance to be a jokester so that he can bring Adorable back to Monstropolis where Mike and Sulley formally un-banish him and make him the official Monsters, Incorporated snow cone vendor.Mike's Comedy Class: Mike tries to explain the use of a sting, but gets interrupted by his assistant Kaitlyn, who then stalls when Mike is hit with a boxing glove.
|8||"Little Monsters"||Shane Zalvin||Ricky Roxburgh and Bobs Gannaway||August 18, 2021|
After several failed jokester auditions, Ms. Flint tells Tylor that he is not funny and will not be offered any more auditions. However, Tylor sees an opportunity to redeem himself during Monsters, Incorporated's annual 'Mini Monsters Day' when he attempts to impress Ms. Flint's daughter Thalia with his jokes. He briefly gets along with her when MIFT rescues a baby monster from the door shafts. Though she later tells him that he is not funny. While ranting to Val about Ms. Flint, Thalia overhears and says that she will go tell her mother. While chasing after Thalia, Tylor crashes into a coffee cart and inadvertently ends up making others laugh. He admits to Thalia that he wanted to make her laugh in the hope of becoming a jokester. His honesty earns him her respect and she tells MIFT that she enjoyed her day with them and that they are the unsung heroes of Monsters, Incorporated, including Tylor. Later, she tells her mother that she found Tylor funny.Mike's Comedy Class: With the help of Sulley, Mike explains the concept of a comedy duo, and thinks himself as the straight man while demonstrating why he is actually the goofball of the pair.
|9||"Bad Hair Day"||Kaitlyn Ritter||Michelle Spitz and Bobs Gannaway||August 25, 2021|
Due to his previous failed auditions, Tylor believes that he will never become a jokester and decides to instead focus on being a perfect MIFT member. The other MIFT members are celebrating former employee David who was sucked into a shredder shaft and killed, aside from a lock of hair that they keep in a jar to honor him. To prove himself, Tylor offers to do tasks for the other MIFT members while they are out of the office. However, things go wrong when Duncan's pet Roto eats David's hair. Tylor eventually goes to the shredder shaft to find more of David's hair, and accidentally turns the shredder on. He manages to stop the shredder, but gets knocked out and dreams that he meets David. When he awakens, Tylor returns to the office and ends up admitting what happened. The others commend Tylor for his honesty and assure him that he is a good MIFT member, and it is revealed that they have a bag of David's hair to replace it.Mike's Comedy Class: Mike explains improvisation and asks for suggestions. However, he can only imitate round objects.
|10||"It's Laughter They're After"||Kaitlyn Ritter||Bart Jennett and Bobs Gannaway||September 1, 2021|
|Mike and Sulley are told by Roz that the Monstropolis Energy Regulatory Commission had found that Monsters, Incorporated is not generating enough power. Unless the factory can generate one million gigglewatts in one day, laugh power will be considered unreliable and the factory will be shut down, with power needs transferring to business rival Fear Co. (which has retained the scaring method, much to Sulley's disgust). Since laughs provide ten times more power than screams, Tylor reasons that they need to make larger canisters. While Cutter works on a prototype, Tylor is summoned to Ms. Flint's office where she tells him that his humor comes from physical comedy. Mike then makes Tylor a jokester-in-training to help the factory generate enough power. As he begins on the Laugh Floor, MIFT arrives to cheer him on. The power deadline is almost not met, until Cutter brings in the larger prototype canister and attaches it to Mike's door. After Monsters, Incorporated is saved from shutting down, Tylor is transferred to the Laugh Floor as an official jokester. As he begins his first day with Val as his assistant, the epilogue from Monsters, Inc. is seen.|
During The Walt Disney Company's earnings call, in November 2017, CEO Bob Iger announced that a new series set in the universe of Monsters, Inc., was in development for their planned streaming service Disney+. The series is produced by Disney Television Animation. Longtime Disney Television producer Bobs Gannaway serves as showrunner. He was asked to work on the series after development began, due to his experience on both TV animation and films, having directed the Cars spin-off Planes: Fire & Rescue.
During the 2019 D23 Expo, Gannaway and producer Ferrell Barron revealed that employees from Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar were also involved in the production, to create a series that Barron described as "unique and special". Monsters, Inc. filmmakers, including director and Pixar's chief creative officer Pete Docter, provided the team with both used and unused concept art from the film, with the unused concept art being recycled for the series. Gannaway stated that the creative leaders at Pixar were, "very supportive of the show" and additionally stated, "they were also very much like 'Go out and create new characters and have fun.' So, it wasn't by any means any kind of policing situation. It was go have fun in the world with your new characters."
In February 2020, Stephen J. Anderson revealed that he would serve as one of the directors on the series. Anderson joined the series eight months before Disney Television Animation was temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after being approached personally by Gannaway. In early 2021, Billy Crystal revealed that production had slightly slowed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that it should be released later that year.
According to Anderson, Pixar assisted the producers on the series by providing notes during its writing and early storyboarding process in order to "keep [them] on track as far as the legacy of the project". He also said that the series would differ from the films by further exploring "different areas of Monsters, Inc.", and that the series would further explore the transition in the company from screams to laughs seen at the end of the first film. Anderson also said that the series would feature an overarching story, but certain episodes would focus more on character development than the overall arc.
The series expands the role of the female characters in the original film, with receptionist Celia Mae being promoted to Laugh Floor supervisor in order to "move a female character up into a leadership role", as well as featuring trainer Ms. Flint's reaction to the transition from scares to laughter. The series also features a new character named Roze, who is Roz's twin sister, as the producers felt that, due to the latter being revealed as the head of the "Child Detection Agency" at the end of the first film, "she wouldn't be back outside the laugh floor". In addition, Bob Peterson, story supervisor on Monsters, Inc., serves as a creative consultant for the series.
According to Gannaway, it took the producers almost a year to conceive the series' premise. He also compared Tylor's struggles with the transition with the current world status due to the COVID-19 pandemic, feeling that both the character and the audiences had "the universe [throw them] a curveball", which he felt made Tylor a more relatable character by having flaws the audience could connect with. Gannaway also said he wanted the series to have "the sort of feel of a Pixar story" by making the audience care about Tylor and his personal journey.
Gannaway originally was not going to include the characters of Smitty and Needleman out of respect for their voice actor, the late Dan Gerson. However, he eventually incorporated them into the series when he felt Gerson would want the characters to continue even after his death. Gannaway paid an homage to Gerson by including a "Gerson Industries" logo in the trash cans the duo push.
In order to get a sense of what it was like working in a factory, the production team visited two power plants and would interview the workers about their day. Gannaway stated, "You want to tether everything to truth. You can't make a movie about a power plant if you haven't walked one; otherwise you're just making stuff up."
Casting and recording
John Goodman and Billy Crystal reprise their roles for the series alongside John Ratzenberger, Jennifer Tilly, and Bob Peterson, with the new cast including Ben Feldman, Kelly Marie Tran, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach, Stephen Stanton and Aisha Tyler. In February 2020, director Stephen J. Anderson revealed that recording for the series had already begun. In March 2021, Mindy Kaling and Bonnie Hunt joined the cast, with Kaling replacing Tran as Val Little and Hunt reprising her role as Mrs. Flint from the original film. In an interview with The New York Times, it was confirmed that Boo, the human child that Sulley and Mike befriended in the original film, would not be making an appearance. Bobs Gannaway stated that he had discussions with Monsters, Inc. director Pete Docter, and they both agreed that they wanted to keep the relationship ambiguous, and said, "Everyone agreed that we wanted to leave it to the world to decide how that relationship continued."
Animation and design
Animation for the series was produced by ICON Creative Studio, in Canada. Animation work on the series began shortly before Disney Television Animation was closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the producers to continue work remotely. According to director Stephen J. Anderson, work on storyboards and layouts for the second and third episodes were done remotely during the pandemic.
British composer Dominic Lewis (who previously scored the 2017 reboot of DuckTales) was announced as the series composer. Lewis said the score was mainly inspired by Randy Newman's jazzy score from the first film. Lewis also performed the theme song, which is an a cappella rendition of Newman's opening credits music from the first film. The soundtrack album was released digitally and on streaming on July 9, 2021.
|Monsters at Work|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||July 9, 2021|
|Label||Walt Disney Records|
All tracks are written by Dominic Lewis, except where indicated.
|1.||"Monsters at Work Main Title - A Cappella"||Randy Newman||2:09|
|2.||"Comedy Can Be Dangerous" (Performed by Billy Crystal)||Randy Rogel||0:48|
|3.||"Don't Stop Now"||1:08|
|4.||"End of the Line"||1:21|
|6.||"World on Fire"||2:12|
|7.||"I'm Not Gonna Sing You a Song" (Performed by Billy Crystal)||Danny Jacob (m) & Bobs Gannaway (l)||1:04|
|8.||"Scarer Cum Laude"||2:19|
|10.||"36 1/2 Hour Energy Drink"||1:13|
|11.||"Googly Bear Trapped"||3:48|
|12.||"I Know Bowlers"||1:06|
|17.||"Monsters at Work Main Title - Instrumental"||Newman||2:17|
|18.||"Monsters at Work Main Title - Toy Piano"||Newman||0:47|
Monsters at Work debuted on July 7, 2021, releasing weekly on Wednesdays, and consists of 10 episodes. It was previously set to release sometime in 2020, but then changed to early 2021, then to July 2, 2021, then finally to its current date, with a two-episode premiere.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 65% approval rating with an average score of 6.20/10 based on 26 critic reviews. The website's critics consensus reads, "If Monsters at Work doesn't quite capture the magic of the original film, it's charming and silly enough to entertain fans of all ages." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 55 out of 100 based on 9 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Alan Sepinwall of Rolling Stone rated the show 3.5 out of 5 and stated, "Combine them with some well-executed slapstick set pieces that evoke the two movies without feeling like rehashes, and the early episodes set up the foundation for a solid all-ages comedy." Chris Vognar of San Francisco Chronicle rated the show 2 out of 4 and wrote, "This is a solid effort, even if it doesn't quite shimmer like your top-of-the-line Pixar favorites." Brian Lowry of CNN gave the show a positive review and said, "The show doesn't deliver belly laughs, but it nimbly slides into the Monsters [Inc.] timeline and cleverly builds on a particularly fertile Pixar concept." Ben Travers of Indiewire gave the show a 'B-' score and stated, "If you love original movies and were expecting a third, Monsters at Work might be a bit disappointing. But if you can still appreciate the world-building, [the] series might still hit its laugh quotas." Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun-Times gave the show 3 out of 4 and stated, "Monsters at Work isn't on the same level as the two feature films, but it's miles ahead of the likes of The Return of Jafar or Kronk's New Groove."
Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the show a negative review and stated, "Any hope that the Pixar charm would rub off on a Pixar show like Monsters at Work doesn't pay off in the first two episodes." Lucy Mangan of The Guardian gave the show 2 out of 5 stars and stated, "It feels like a long wait at times. The first two half-hour episodes (the only ones of the 10 that were available for review) are extraordinarily slow." Anita Singh of The Daily Telegraph gave the show 2 out of 5 and stated, "Bafflingly, it's a workplace comedy. Note to Disney: children don't go to work." Scott Bryan of BBC gave the show a negative review and stated, "As someone who loves the films, I wonder ... do we need more of it? The films are so well self-contained. This feels like an excess of something we don't really need."
- As depicted in Monsters, Inc. (2001).
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