Western Animation: The Brave Little Toaster

The Brave Little Toaster is a 1987 animated film produced by Hyperion Pictures, distributed by Disney, and based on a children's novel by Thomas M. Disch, which was subtitled, A Fairy-Tale For Appliances.

The film centers on five appliances — the eponymous Toaster, Lampy (a desk lamp), Kirby (a vacuum named for a vacumn company), Radio (a radio), and Blanky (an electric blanket) — who live in a old cabin out in the woods. The appliances have been left behind by their Master, a young boy, and have been waiting for him to return for years. When the cabin is put up for sale, the appliances determine to go find the Master (who, unknown to them, is now a young man getting ready for college) by making a journey to the city.

It should be noted that some of the people behind this film (such as John Lasseter and Joe Ranft) went on to work for Pixar. (In fact, Lampy may be based on the same lamp used for the design of Pixar's first CGI short - which became the studio's logo!)

The original film was followed by two sequels. The first sequel was The Brave Little Toaster Goes To Mars. The second sequel, The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue, actually takes place between the other two films.

This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: In the book, the new appliances that Toaster and the others meet in Rob's apartment aren't nearly as mean as they are in the movie. They are actually quite helpful, aiding the old appliances in finding a new owner, and even a little guilty about their part in the replacement of the old appliances.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: The balloons in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars seemed like a giant Big Lipped Alligator Moment, right? In the book, they actually served a purpose: The balloons helped push the laundry-basket spacecraft to Mars, and one mylar balloon, who became friends with Toaster because they were both reflective, decided to accompany the group to Mars and proved to be a reasonably competent navigator.
  • A Dog Named Dog:
    • A toaster named Toaster, a lamp named Lampy, etc.
    • Subverted with Kirby though his name references the real life brand of vacuum cleaners.
    • Elmo names his dog "Quadruped", which, of course, means "having four feet".
  • Adorkable: Rob and Lampy both fit this description to a tee!
  • The Alleged Car: "Worthless"- one of the more memorable songs in the movie is sung from the perspective of several of these.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Toaster. In the book Toaster is explicitly without gender, in films Toaster is referred to as "he"/"him" but director Jerry Rees and Toaster's own voice actress, Deanna Oliver, refer to Toaster as "she" and "her" here starting at 53:30.
  • And That's Terrible: Mack in To The Rescue, who even states he's "so bad".
  • And This Is for...: Played for laughs by Radio:
    Lampy: Hey, come over here. I'm gonna...
    Radio: Why, do you dare to cross foils with the greatest Saxon swordsman in the land? Haven't you the slightest idea who you're dealing with?
    Radio: If your sabre wags as loosely as your Norman tongue, you'll be run through in an instant. Defend yourself, Sir Lampy of Locksley!
    [Radio continually whacks Lampy with his antenna, Blanky falls on them]
    Radio: A blow for Richard! A blow for Marion! A blow for Mario, the garbage man! And for Carl and all the boys at the delicatessen! And here's one for the guys on 5th street!
  • Animal Talk: Suddenly possible between the appliances and Rob's pets in To the Rescue. Carries over in Goes to Mars.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Type 1. They even provide the page image.
  • Argument of Contradictions: Blanky accusing Lampy of stepping on him triggers a back-and-forth chorus of "Did not!" "Did too!" between Lampy and the rest of the group. Even Kirby the vacuum cleaner gets in on the action.
  • Art Evolution: The sequels look somewhat different to the original. Switching over to another studio from Wang and being made over a decade after the first one also made this rather noticeable.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror:
    • The idea of anthropomorphic electronics sharing a world with humans is Deconstructed with themes of materialism and abandonment.
    • During the "Worthless" scene, set in a junk yard, there's a huge magnet seeking out the toaster and crew, to throw them all into a compactor - essentially attempting to murder them as they run away from it and hide in fear for their lives. Meanwhile, it actually is throwing cars into the compactor. The cars are singing a song about how helpless and worthless they feel. Some attempt to escape the magnet, which is pretty horrifying in itself, but even more disturbing is others convey that they want to die and fully understand the concept of death, even though they are objects.
    Personified hearse: I took a man to a graveyard. I beg your pardon, it's quite hard enough just living with the stuff I have learned.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Kirby eventually loses patience with the other appliances and flat out tells them he'd be better off without them. In the next scene Toaster, Blanky, Lampy, and the Radio fall into the waterfall, leaving Kirby all alone.
  • Berserk Button: Don't remind the air conditioner that he's stuck in a wall.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Lampy gets a collective "shut up" after the third time he fails to come up with a good method of transportation.
    Radio: Shut up! Shut up!
    Toaster, Kirby, and Blanky: SHUT UP!
  • Black Bead Eyes: Blanky
  • Black Comedy: How the appliances at Elmo St. Peter's shop have chosen to deal with their situation, and the basic idea behind the "B-Movie" song.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Elmo St Peters is just an electrician doing his job... but from the characters' (and audience's) view, he's... horrifying.
  • Bolero Effect: Used in the more overwhelming scenes. At times, the orchestra sounds like it's practically screaming.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In a Literal-Minded sense. During "Worthless" a headlight falls on the "screen," breaking it. Turns out to be just a windshield, though, which Lampy then looks through.
  • Captain Obvious/Sarcasm-Blind: Lampy, when Air Conditioner denies laughing at them.
    Lampy: I think he was laughing at us.
    Lampy: Oh thanks! (Beat) Heeeeeyy....
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • Toaster within the first movie: at first, he too isn't above putting Blanky down about what a wimpy crybaby he can be, but he starts sticking up for Blanky, and takes on an almost parental role towards him. Lampy even finds this odd at first, but Toaster explains he just felt like he needed to be nicer to Blanky, and it made himself feel better.
    • In the first movie, Kirby is quite the grouch, who is annoyed by the mere coexistence of the others - even going so far as to say they're a bunch of dead weight he'd be better off without; he maintains this attitude for the most part until the very end, where he finally lightens up. In the sequels, while not exactly an upbeat character, is far more considerably mellow, and any traces of his grumpiness are virtually non-existent.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Subverted, mostly in the way the TV tries to get Rob and Chris's attention to direct them to the appliances' whereabouts by inventing commercials and breaking news reports while on in the background.
  • Cool Car: The red car (people are split as to whether its a Corvette or a Plymouth Superbird that's been rear-ended) during "Worthless".
  • Companion Cube: This film is based around this trope.
  • Contemptible Cover: As mentioned by the caption above, the cover art depicts this movie as a light-hearted family flick. The actual film is a far cry.
    • Averted by the British cover art: [1]
  • Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: Which leads to a crusher that mashes you into a cube.
  • Corrupt Hick: The toaster oven during "Cutting Edge". She has a southern accent, and offers a bit of back-handed "Southern Hospitality" to Toaster in the form of some muffins, while flaunting how much more advanced she is and zaps him a second later.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: If the appliances had simply stayed at the cottage, the Master would've come back to get them for college. They never learn that though.
    • Fridge Brilliance: It's better that they don't. Until they go on this journey, they're constantly bickering. Enduring the journey helps them see each other's true colors and helps them to bond as a family. If they took the easy way out, they'd be with The Master, but they'd still hate each other.
  • Covers Always Lie: Do. They. Ever. If you think the one above is bad, the European cover shows the main five characters and the younger master skipping down a yellow road surrounded by twinkling stars. About the only thing it does better than the American cover is actually showing pictures from the movie (the ones on the American cover were pretty blatant mock-ups; one of them featured the Toaster high-fiving the master, despite the fact that it's supposed to be a secret that they're living in-universe).
  • Crapsaccharine World
  • Cultural Translation: During the "Worthless" song, the Indy 500 car instead mentions running the Nürburgring in the German dub.
    • In the Icelandic dub for "Worthless", the surfer car mentions being at Heiğmörk, which is a popular recreational area in Iceland.
  • Cute Machines: So very much.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The appliances in Elmo Saint Peter's parts shop may be broken, tinkered with, and twisted by the events they have seen, but they are by no means evil. You COULD say that they're resigned to their fate in a fairly unhealthy, EXTREMELY macabre way, however...
    • Actually, their sense of humour on the situation is similar to the way Real Life comedians use misery as a source for their jokes. Notably, a lot of Real Life comedians star in this film. As for whether catharsis is healthy or not, that's largely a matter of personal opinion. The existence of the Catharsis Factor trope at least shows lots of people do the same to feel better about painful experiences.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The film has a significantly darker tone than the book, which is an interesting inversion to what usually happens to animated adaptations of books.
    • The first film in comparison to the sequels.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Much of Lampy's dialogue consists of this.
    Lampy: You can't even hear your own thoughts around here with all the racket around here.
    Lampy: How exactly do you propose we're gonna do this, exactly?
  • Determinator: The magnet crane is a terrifying example of this.
  • Deranged Animation: This movie is full of it, appearing in the Nightmare Sequence, "It's a B-Movie", "Cutting Edge", and the junkyard scene.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The appliances of Elmo Saint Peter's parts shop have been convinced that being able to escape is all a joke. As for the cars of "Worthless," however, the name says it all.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Cutting Edge (More More More)".
  • Disney Death:
    • The Toaster. This might also apply to Lampy and the air conditioner.
    • In the first sequel, Radio.
    • In the second sequel, Tinselena.
  • Dissimile:
    Radio: We're trapped here like rats! Small, little rats with no hair and one leg.
  • Double Entendre: The below quote speaks for itself. Possibly accidental.
    Air Conditioner: What're you going to do, suck me to death?
  • Down in the Dumps: the setting of "worthless" is a scrap yard.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • The Air Conditioner in the first movie.
    • In Goes to Mars, Tinselena becomes this after her Heroic Sacrifice, and decides to throw herself into the garbage can. She is ultimately saved when Chris finds her and decides to give her a makeover.
    • There is a literal example in the original where a green truck drives himself onto the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom instead of letting the magnet crane get him.
  • Dying Alone:
    • There is one scene when the poor little flower realizes that it was loving its own reflection on Toaster after he runs away (or at least is upset that the "other" flower is gone), and as he peeks into the bushes, he notices that the flower is losing its petals as it dies emotionally alone and brokenhearted. So disturbing... and heart-breaking!
    • The last vehicle to be crushed in the song "Worthless." He worked his tires off on a reservation his entire life, and then was abandoned and called worthless by his owner. It affects him so much that when the crane comes for him, he instead drives right onto the conveyor belt.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: And how.
  • The Eighties: Especially with the new appliances and electronics that appear in the movie.
  • Electrified Bathtub: Naturally, how Toaster's horrific dream ends.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: "You're all a bunch'a junk!"
  • Evil Brit: The ridiculously large projector/stereo/mainframe/entertainment-system/generic high-tech device (possibly a Beeping Computer) seen in the apartment and "Cutting Edge" has a somewhat vague British accent, but like all the "Cutting Edge" appliances he is definitely an evil Jerkass.
  • Evil Laugh: The clown in Toaster's dream puts all other evil laughs to shame. Arguably, the laugh done to start "It's a B-Movie," though not done by anyone evil.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • Both the "It's a B-Movie" and "Worthless" numbers. And in a particularly horrific scene, Rob just misses being added to this list.
    • The air conditioner getting worked up to the point of aneurysm, and dying... on camera.
      Blanky: Poor Air Conditioner...
      Toaster: I didn't think he'd take it so hard.
      Kirby: Eh, he was a jerk anyway.
      • He got better.
    • Toaster jumps into the gears of the crusher to save Rob. They fully show him being crushed and horribly bent out of shape as the gears grind him up.
    • We also get to see a blender, shown as sentient and fearing for its life, before the parts shop owner literally rips it apart, yanking off its cord and cutting out the motor (the electronic equivalent of a human heart).
  • Fat Bastard: Mack in To The Rescue.
  • Failure Montage: The movie has a montage of the appliances' failed attempts at finding ways of traveling out of the cabin.
  • Fingore: The Master almost goes into the compactor hands first.
  • First Time in the Sun: When the appliances first leave the cabin.
  • Five-Man Band: In the film:
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Lampy (choleric), Kirby (melancholic), Toaster (leukine), Radio (sanguine), and Blanky (phlegmatic).
  • Forced to Watch:
    • The most logical reason for why the lamp, the only appliance in the junk shop not clearly abused/reassembled, is as insane as the rest. He got to help with most or all of the other ones. And he's a light, so he had a good view...
    • A quite probable explanation for the cynicism of the cars in the song "Worthless." Since most of them are in no condition to start, let alone move, all they can do is sit where they are as they are crushed one by one.
  • French Jerk: The food processor in "Cutting Edge". Also, implied to be a Supreme Chef.
  • Gilligan Cut: When making travel plans, Radio takes over from Lampy in finding a mode of transport on the grounds that he has a better idea. Cut to Radio trying to turn Blanky into a magic carpet.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In To the Rescue when Sebastian shows what the animal testers did to his arm.
  • Gossipy Hens: The sewing machine.
  • Gratuitous Disco Sequence: (sort of) It's a B-Movie is done very much in a disco style.
  • Hammerspace: The appliances' cords tend to disappear when they aren't being used.
  • Happiness in Slavery: Not truly slavery per se. The appliances know that some day they will wear out, but they will go with the knowledge that they were useful and loved.
  • Heroic BSOD: Both Kirby (who starts chewing on his cord at the sight of the waterfall and river) and Toaster suffer their own BSODs.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Hey, there's a reason this movie's called the Brave Little Toaster....
    • Again, Lampy gets one of these too.
    • Radio gets one in one of the sequels.
    • Tinselena in Goes to Mars.
  • The Homeward Journey
  • Hope Spot: The song "City of Light." Things go pretty downhill for a while after that.
  • Huddle Shot
  • Humans Are Special / Humans Are the Real Monsters: One of the main themes throughout the films. Some humans use machines well and treat them kindly, but others are willing to toss out faithful ones in pursuit of newer models. Comes to a head in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In the third movie, when arguing about what the hearing aid is useful for, this exchange occurs:
    Lampy: Yeah, none of us needs a hearing aid.
    Kirby: What did you say?
    Lampy: I said none of us needs a hearing aid!
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Lampy uses himself as a lightning rod to recharge the battery the appliances are using to keep alive.
  • Insane Proprietor: Done by the TV to get the Master to go to the junkyard.
  • Irony / Ironic Echo: Tons. Examples:
    • Elmo St. Peters, after the radio hides, says "What did it do? Just get up and walk away?"
    • After the appliances' journey, it is revealed that Rob/The Master actually was coming back for them. Kirby suggested that they just stay in the cottage. Only that someone will buy the cottage and have a new master.
    • It is ironic that Lampy, who is physically bright, is not that bright mentally. And yet it is he who figures out a way to save Radio's life.
    • In the first movie, Radio almost gets his tube taken out at Elmo's and barely gets saved before that can happen. In To The Rescue, it does get taken out.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kirby.
    • Ratso the rat in the sequels.
  • Karma Houdini: The electromagnetic crane. It shows no compunctions against killing a human just so it can finally eliminate a few very evasive appliances, and suffers no visible consequences for doing so.
  • Kill 'em All: The aforementioned cars in the song "Worthless." All of them are crushed, and one even commits suicide by driving himself into the crusher.
  • Large and In Charge: The Supreme Commander in Goes to Mars thinks that he should be voted for simply because he is bigger than everyone else.
  • Leitmotif: Each character has their own theme.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Like recharge a battery.
  • Lighter and Softer: The sequels.
  • Literal-Minded: From Goes to Mars:
    Balloon: Howdy y'all! Where ya headed?
    Toaster: Mars!
    Balloon: (Laughing) You're pulling my string!
    Blanky: No we're not, we're way over here, and you're way over there.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain / The Reveal: The Supreme Commander in the third movie turns out to be the hearing aid's long lost brother.
  • Meaningful Name: The appliance shop owner is named Elmo St. Peters—as in "Saint Peter", as in "the guy you see shortly after your death". Fitting for a man who runs a store where everything's on its last legs, and alluded to in "B Movie Show" ("You just tell St. Pete/That you got cold feet"). Also, "St. Elmo's fire" is an electrical aura that sometimes appears around pointed objects (like ships' masts) in stormy weather. So "Elmo" is a meaningful name for an electrician.
  • Monster Clown: One shows up in the Toaster's brief Nightmare Sequence. Run!
  • Mood Whiplash / Shoo Out the Clowns: From silly animal antics to a Narcissus flower dying of a broken heart in a heartbeat...until one of the clowns returns.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted outright in the first movie.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The VHS trailer for the movie didn't do too much better than the cover on making it look like it was a very Dark and Edgy movie.
  • New Technology Is Evil: Literally. The "cutting edge" appliances try to off the main characters.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • The air conditioner (a Jack Nicholson sound-alike) and the hanging lamp (a Peter Lorre sound-alike). Of course, what did you expect, what with impressionist extraordinaire Phil Hartman doing their voices?
    • The can opener/lamp/shaver is an obvious Joan Rivers sound-alike, so it's only appropriate that it makes a self-deprecating quip. The reel-to-reel player is also an obvious Mae West caricature.
  • No Name Given: The radio's name is never revealed nor is he addressed by any name in the first movie. However, in the sequels, he has been addressed by the other appliances as "Radio".
  • Not So Above It All: In the opening "whistle while you work" montage where the appliances clean the cabin to Little Richard's Tutti Fruiti, Kirby, who'd been haranguing the others about working, finds a quiet spot to dance where no one can see him. Lampy comes upon him, and starts dancing with him. Kirby doesn't notice at first, but when he does, he's shocked and embarrassed to be caught in the act and saunters off. To Lampy's credit, he doesn't care. He keeps dancing and enjoys the fact that Kirby let his "hair" down too.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: During the "Its a B-Movie" sequence, there are disembodied cords that drag characters away into the darkness.
  • Obliviously Evil: Elmo St Peters.
  • Off Model: The first movie has quite a fewnote . Especially with the shrinking and disappearing cords.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • Kirby freaks out upon reaching the waterfall.
    • The whole crew gets a epic one during the shadow play in ''It's a B-Movie''.
  • One Mario Limit: Averted with Kirby, who debuted before the video game character. (He's named after the vacuum company, which also debuted before the video game character.)
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The one used in the intro for "It's A B-movie", an homage to the classic monster movies.
  • Only Sane Man: Kirby and the Toaster.
  • Out of Order: To the Rescue was produced in 1997, and Goes to Mars in 1998; To the Rescue was, indeed, released in 1997... in all but North America, for whatever reason, where its release was delayed for two years. Goes to Mars was still released everywhere, including North America, in 1998. This, understandably, results in confusion among people as to the timeline of the trilogy, as to why the events of what seemed like the third installment took place before the events of what was assumed to be the second installment.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Radio, at least in the first film. His moments are rarely played for drama, and he contributes little to the story other than providing funny lines.
  • Product Placement: In the first movie, during the scene when the appliances are first seen within the city, a large TDK billboard can be seen.note 
  • Pun: Lampy has watts of 'em!
  • Punch Clock Villain: The mechanic is just doing his job.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Air Conditioner: "IT'S MY FUNCTION!!!!!"
  • Put on a Bus: A very Literal-Minded example of this is the green pickup truck in the "Worthless" scene. He has literally been Put on a Bus (as in literally sitting on top of a bus) and left to rot, even though he is still in perfect working order (his engine is already running when the magnet comes for him, and he drives himself away, only for the camera to cut to him sitting on the Conveyor Belt-O-Doom, not even trying to struggle despite being perfectly capable of out-running the magnet, implying he committed suicide, averting the trope, but still implying it).
  • Quicksand Sucks: Mud in a swamp works just as well.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: Toaster, after the waterfall incident.
  • Rainbow Motif: The five main characters are primarily colored red (Radio), orange (Lampy), yellow (Blanky), green (Kirby) and blue (Toaster).
  • Recycled In Space: The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars is The Brave Little Toaster... ON MARS!
  • Refrain from Assuming: The song sung by the modern appliances is called "The Cutting Edge", its common for fans to think it's called "More" or "More More More".
  • Regional Bonus: A very rare movie example — the PAL transfer is far cleaner than the NTSC version, lacking the very noticeable wobble at the beginning of the movie and having much less film grain. One has to wonder why this transfer has never been used on later American releases.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Averted with Murgatroyd the snake in To the Rescue. He is polite, generally good-natured, and a friend of Toaster and the others.
  • Ripped from the Phone Book
  • Rousing Speech: In the first book Toaster gives one of these to the rest of its True Companions.
  • Say My Name: "TOASTER!!!" "BLANKY!!!"
  • Setting Off Song: "City of Light."
  • Shaggy Dog Story
  • Share the Male Pain: An appliance variation: when Elmo snaps off an appliance's electric cord and plug, the gang pulls their own cords back in silent terror.
  • She's a Man in Japan: The German, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese (1989 version), Serbian, and Czech (1992 version) dubs made Lampy into a female. (In the 1st Brazilian Portuguese dub she's a Tomboy and in the German dub she's a Girly Girl, with the Polish version fitting nicely in the middle). Blanky also counts, because 'blanket' is female in some countries.
    • The Toaster has a gender confusion controversy, causing many fans to think the Toaster is either male or female. Ironically, while the Toaster is referred to as "he" in the movies, "his" voice actress Deanna Oliver calls the Toaster "she" and "her." The gender also varies in several countries, as most dubs have him voiced by women, with the exception of the Latin Spanish, German, Finnish, Russian, and Serbian dubs, which have him voiced by a male actor.
    • Also in the Polish, German, Russian, and Latin Spanish dubs, the 'Mish-Mosh' (a Joan Rivers parody) is male.
    • In the Hungarian and Brazilian Portuguese dubs, the Hearse in the 'Worthless' segment is female. Also, the Tan Car is female in the Latin Spanish, Russian, and Hungarian dubs, while in the Danish and Brazilian Portuguese dubs, the Wood-Sided Wagon is male.
  • Shout-Out: Radio suggests going North By Northwest while trying to find the city.
    Radio: Watch out for low-flying aircraft.
  • The Song Remains the Same: In the French, Italian, and Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese) dubs, all the songs are left in English. (In fact, right before "City of Light", the French dub has the characters literally saying, "Let's sing in English!")
    • The Serbian dub also does this, with the exception of "Worthless".
    • In the Russian dub (EA version), "City of Light" is the only song left entirely in English, while the rest of the songs vary between a mix of dubbing a few lines, using a Voiceover Translation, and leaving some parts in English.
  • Space Does Not Work That Way: Expected in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars. But then it's a kids' movie, and they are appliances.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: After Air Conditioner angered himself to death:
    Blanket: Poor, Air Conditioner.
    Toaster: I didn't know he'd take it so hard.
    Kirby: Well, he was a jerk anyway.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Radio.
  • Sphere Eyes: Lampy has these, though it is inverted with Toaster and Kirby.
  • Spiritual Successor
  • Staggered Zoom
  • Stealth Pun: There is a talking faucet in The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars. See "Hey, It's That Voice!" on the Trivia tab.
    • At the start of the first one, the characters are miserable after being stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere for who-knows how long just waiting for their master to return. They've got cabin fever! Subverted in that it's actually important to the plot.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Murgatroyd from To the Rescue.
  • Take That: "The Cutting Edge" scene is an absolutely scathing satire on the then-current glorification of money and mass consumption in 1980s: the appliances overbearingly boast about their many, many state-of-the-art features and how they represent "an ultra-nylon life of ease" (in other words, "a synthetic world of instant gratification"). They also scoff at our heroes (all presumably made between the '40s and '50s) being "old stuff," which tells us that they know this.
  • Taps: Radio starts playing it when one day they see someone hammering a "For Sale" sign into the ground in front of their house, making them realize that any hopes for the Master's return just died.
    • In the Czech (1st dub) and Dutch (2nd dub) versions, Radio plays Chopin's funeral march instead.
  • Tears of Joy: Air conditioner after the Master fixed him. AC recognized the Master and realized he was wrong about him and really does care. Also that the Master can finally use him after all those years.
  • Thank the Maker
  • That Poor Plant: The saddest example of this trope ever done.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur:
    • The Air Conditioner becomes hot-tempered literally and figuratively, as he irately turns red after the other appliances offend him with mentioning that he's incapable of mobility unlike the others, and he becomes so heated he breaks down.
    • The Giant Magnet from the junkyard turns gold (or yellow) with fury rather than the normal red, trying to attract and collect the appliances.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: All of the songs contain at least one instance.
  • Unbuilt Trope: As mentioned under Older Than They Think in the YMMV tab, this film was already taking apart the concept of living inanimate objects well before Toy Story 3.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Plugsy. Oh so very, very much. He may be a Talking Purple Lamp, but its still applicable. His voice, his facial features, his mannerisms... if Uncle Tom were a real character, and that character was a lamp, that lamp would be Plugsy.
    • Seems more likely to be an Italian-American stereotype, especially with the gangster-esque nickname and mob-like conspiring with the entertainment center. Either way...
  • Undying Loyalty: Rob's appliances, and how. Blanky is by far the most attached, since s/he was literally the closest to him, every night.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Can be observed with Lampy. Near the beginning of the film, he explains his ideas of how they can travel before they're implemented, with hilarious (but failed) results. When they're trying to come up with a plan to save Radio from having his tube taken out, he simply says he has a plan — which then works. Earlier, due to the group being distracted, Lampy didn't tell anyone he was going to use himself as a lightning rod. He just did it. And it worked.
  • Villain Song: Both of which are Crowning Moments of Awesome:
    • While they aren't exactly villains, the insane machines in "Like A Movie" (aka "It's a B-Movie") do a wonderful job of showing the horror of waiting to be taken apart for spares. And they aren't bad shadow puppeteers either.
    • A more directly evil example is "Cutting Edge", where the new appliances sing an egotistic preview of their superiority to the main characters.
  • Wasn't That Fun?: Kirby throws out a sarcastic quip as the entire party is sinking helplessly into a mud puddle, with him being the first to go.
    Kirby: "Oh, this is great fun! Let's make these outings a regular thing!"
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Don't. Get us. Started.
  • White and Grey Morality: Elmo St. Peters is really not evil or anything. He's a regular guy who takes apart appliances and sells the parts.
    • What he does to the appliances is justified since he's unaware they're sentient but he is still is shown as not being very ethical at least as a businessman. He lies to customers and rips them off, telling them that he receives shipments of new appliance parts when he's really just taking used parts out of abandoned appliances he finds in the wilderness.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The appliances have a fear of water, Kirby and Toaster more than the others.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: In the 2nd movie, Wittenstein said he was down there for 4,999,450,852,312 nanoseconds, or "since that awful day when transistors were invented." The thing is, the number he gives is only about 83 minutes, and considering that the internet's already invented, this really makes the gap between the two dates really doesn't feel like only an hour.
  • Yellow Peril: Look closely at the blue boombox during "Cutting Edge" and tell me you don't see it. All its missing is is a Sony or Panasonic logo! It even has slanted eyes! Well, slanted, notches on its knobs, which are implied to be its eyes.
    • Its cassette deck mouth even has buck "teeth".
  • You're Insane!: Invoked by Kirby when Radio hints at leaving the cabin to find The Master. He adds "You're all insane!" when the others start agreeing with him.
  • You're Just Jealous: The air conditioner ridicules Toaster and the others for their optimism that their Master/Rob will come back one day. Toaster thinks its just a defense mechanism to hid the fact he's jealous of them because the Master never gave him much love as them. At first he denies it, but when Kirby points out he's stuck in a wall, his repressed rage kills him. (He's repaired later in the movie, though.) His real repressed rage was that The Master never played with him because he was too high on the wall. What Do You Mean It's Not Symbolic?
  • Zeerust:
    • Averted with the main characters, who are based on contemporary designs of the 50's. Despite their age, they are perfectly functional and have not been made obsolete, even as of 2012 (mostly). These two factors make the main characters somewhat timeless.
    • Played straight with the appliances in the apartment Rob lives in. Though some of them are functionally timeless, their 1980's designs have a more zeerust feel by modern standards. They are currently in the uncanny valley of design, essentially. It doesn't help their case that they chant about being on the cutting-edge. In song, no less!