Western Animation / The Brave Little Toaster
The Brave Little Toaster
"Really, now. Where could I find another toaster like this?"
— Rob (Master)
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 household 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 an 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.
- 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.
- Ambiguously Brown: Chris. Word of God says that she and Rob are a biracial couple, but her race is deliberately undisclosed. It doesn't help that her skin gets progressively lighter in the sequels, or that their infant son Robbie is as white as his father.
- 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 I Must Scream: The broken-down cars in the junkyard who sing "Worthless" certainly qualify. While still completely sentient, they're unable to move, forced to do nothing but watch as a giant magnet picks them up one by one to be crushed to death on a conveyor belt. Some of the cars try to escape even as they're dragged to the belt, only to be trapped.
- The air conditioner before the Master repairs him seems to be stuck in this state. The movie explains that for appliances, nothing is better than working and playing with their owners—but as the Master was a baby when the air conditioner was functional, the poor A/C unit had to sit completely motionless and watch as other appliances became friends with the boy. Is it any wonder he became a little unhinged?
- And the Adventure Continues: The movie ends on Rob driving off to college with his beloved appliances in tow, all of whom are looking forward to joining him in his new life. To emphasize this, the musical score doesn't "resolve."
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 junkyard, 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: The entire scene in St. Peters' parts shop. The owner and his customer make quaint, goofy chit-chat while the appliances watch in rapped horror as a blender is mutilated and has it's vital parts sold off. In-Universe, this is how the broken appliances in the shop cope, leading to the "It's A 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.
- Brick Joke: The introductory scene of Adult!Rob ends with his mother telling him to "take a sweater." Later, when he leaves for college, she calls after him "You forgot your sweater!"
- Captain Obvious/Sarcasm-Blind: Lampy, when Air Conditioner denies laughing at them.
Lampy: I think he was laughing at us.
Oh thanks! (Beat
- 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 after the flower scene 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 when he finally lightens up.
- 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. Radio subverts this a lot as well, where he will often say he's "picking up" broadcasts that just happen to be about exactly what's going on with them at that very moment. It's usually something he wants to snark about, but sometimes he does it to be encouraging.
- 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:
- The cover art depicts this movie as a light-hearted family flick. The actual film is a far cry.
- Averted by the British theatrical poster.◊ Played straight, however, with the international VHS artwork◊ used for the UK and Germany.
- Conveyor Belt-O-Doom: Which leads to a crusher that mashes you into a cube.
- Could Have Avoided This Plot: The gang could've spared themselves quite a bit of Hell if they had stayed put at the cottage just a few more days, as Rob goes back to retrieve them just as they arrived at his apartment in the city. TV very nearly reveals this to them before he's rudely interrupted by the jealous cutting edge appliances.
- 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.
- Covers Always Lie: Do. They. Ever. If you think the one above is bad, the original UK VHS cover◊ shows the main five characters and the younger master skipping down a country 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). Plus, the 2001 British VHS re-issue (as well as the 2003 "remastered" DVD) list two minor songs on their covers: "Tutti Frutti" and "April Showers", with Radio only singing a FEW short lines of the latter song at the beginning.
- 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 Heiðmörk, 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, using black comedy as a coping mechanism.
- 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.
- Digital Destruction: The DVD version of the film was taken from a worn out print used for festival screenings rather than the original negative, resulting in the picture occasionally appearing to wiggle.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: During the Air Conditioner's meltdown, the main characters go from annoyed to completely frightened, and when Toaster pleads, "No, we didn't mean it!", he almost sounds like someone trying to prevent a person from committing suicide.
- 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.
- 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.
- Dull Surprise: Elmo St. Peters' lone customer, complete with wrongly-emphasized words. "Oh boy. Heaven sent you to me."
- 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 '80s: Especially with the new appliances and electronics that appear in the movie and their song, which is supposed to sound futuristic and today sounds '80's as hell.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- Happily Ever After: Radio's closing speech of them having to Earn Your Happy Ending:
Radio: Why listen to this. I'm picking up something. I think its a news flash: President Roosevelt has declared today a national holiday in honor of those five amazing appliances we've all been hearing about. So lock up the office, take down the top and open that rumble seat. Last one to Coney Island is a party pooper. From the starlight roof high atop the Ritz, we wish our intrepid little friends the best of luck and a fond farewell.
- 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 B.S.O.D.: 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.
- Hood Hornament: One of the broken down cars in the junkyard during the "Worthless" number is a long-bodied roadster with hood hornments. It states that it took a Texan to a wedding, one assumes that it was a wealthy Texan if he could afford a car like that.
- The Homeward Journey
- Hope Spot: The song "City of Light." Things go pretty downhill for a while after that.
- Huddle Shot
- Humans Are Special: 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.
- 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kirby.
- 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.
- Leitmotif: Each character has their own theme.
- Lightning Can Do Anything: Like recharge a battery.
- 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: From silly animal antics to a Narcissus flower dying of a broken heart in a heartbeat.
- My Beloved Smother: A light, comical example. Rob's mother is shown to be lovingly worrisome about her son going off to college, and is constantly telling to him "take a sweater."
- 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".
- No OSHA Compliance: The junkyard. While it can be slightly forgiven since Rob stubbornly held onto the magnet which almost no human would ever do before it dropped him onto the conveyer belt, the fact that there were no safety measures in place nor anyone keeping on an eye on the belt to make sure something like crushing a human to death didn't occur raises some valid concerns.
- 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 and all the humans who abandon worn out electronics. They have absolutely no idea that the electronics are even alive, much less sentient, and the vast majority of them would not subject them to the horrible fates the electronics are condemned to if they knew.
- Off Model: Two million dollars isn't going to buy you much in the way of stunning animation. Note the constantly 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.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Radio, at least in the first film as his moments are rarely played for drama. However, while his role mostly consists of providing funny lines, he does contribue significantly to the story as the group's navigator since he can tune into radio signals from the city, using that to point the group in the right direction. The group would have no idea which way to go and likely would have gotten lost without him.
- 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, considering it was because he panicked that the appliances went over the waterfall, not to mention lost their battery.
- Rainbow Motif: The five main characters are primarily colored red (Radio), orange (Lampy), yellow (Blanky), green (Kirby) and blue (Toaster).
- 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
- 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!!!"
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: After Elmo St. Peters faints and the appliances see an opportunity to escape, Peters's dog freaks, jumps into the truck and drives off (but not before remembering his seatbelt).
- "Setting Off" Song: "City of Light."
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: The first movie amounts to this because the journey the appliances go on is unnecessary, as Rob ends up going to the cottage to get them. Furthermore, their master was almost killed because they went on the journey. Granted, the adventure helped them go through Character Development as friends, but a bigger reason than that was needed to avoid this trope.
- 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 (2nd version), Croatian, Russian TV and Czech VHS dubs made Lampy into a female (making his female counterparts varying degrees of Tomboy with a Girly Streak). 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, Persian, and Croatian 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 2nd 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, Icelandic, and first two Brazilian Portuguese dubs, the Wood-Sided Wagon is male.
- In Poland, Plugsy is female (at least, voiced by Wanda Wieszczycka).
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Radio does not appear on the German VHS cover◊, despite it featuring a few more characters, compared to other foreign releases.
- The Song Remains the Same: In the French, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese (both Mainland and Taiwanese) dubs, all the songs are left in English. (In fact, right before "City of Light", the French dub literally has the characters saying, "Let's sing in English!")
- The Croatian dub also uses this trope, with the exception of a horribly dubbed (and mostly instrumental) version of "Worthless".
- In the 2nd Russian dub, "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.
- 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:
- A plot relevant one, at that. At the start of the first film, the characters are miserable after being stuck in a cabin in the middle of nowhere for somewhere around 14 years just waiting for their master to return. They've got cabin fever!
- Towards the beginning, Toaster finally decides he's had enough and pulls out a cardboard box to stand on while declaring his plan on seeking out to find the master. A box of what, you ask? Soap. He is literally using a soap box as a soap box.
- Symbolic Blood: After Elmo St. Peters takes out the motor in his blender, electrical fluid is seen dripping from the table to the floor.
- 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. The best part? The timeless quality of the heroes ensure they'll remain useful, but thanks to Technology Marches On, many of those appliances like the computer will be obsolete and headed for the trash.
- Taps: Radio starts playing it while lowering his antenna like a flag pole 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 VHS and Flemish versions, Radio plays Chopin's funeral march instead.
- Tears of Joy: Air conditioner after the Master fixes him. AC recognizes the Master and realizes he was wrong about him and really does care, and 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.
- 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.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Kirby gives the other appliances a harsh speech in response to their worries about him after he chokes on his cord, saying that he doesn't need them. When the others go over a waterfall, however...
- 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.
- Very False Advertising: Exploited by the TV. Realizing the appliances are at Ernie's Disposal, he tries to get Rob to go there through his over-the-top advertising. When he continuously fails to get his attention, he resorts to more and more desperate forms of this, all the way to calling it "Crazy Ernie's Amazing Emporium of Total Bargain Madness". Lampshaded by Rob when he actually does reach the dump.
Rob: This sure doesn't look like Crazy Ernie's Amazing Emporium of Total Bargain Madness.
- Villain Song: 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.
- Visual Pun: Toaster kicks off the plot from atop a literal soapbox.
- Vocal Dissonance: Toaster is male, but is voiced by a woman.
- The Voice: The Master's mother.
- 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!"
- Weirdness Censor: After all the appliances in Elmo St. Peters's electronic store escape and his frightened dog drives off in his truck, his customer, who was probably waiting in the front the whole time, merely pops up to ask Peter if he has his radio tubes yet.
- 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. He also takes parts from his own working appliances, like the unfortunate blender.
Ceiling lamp: You never quite know what he's going to do! He's so spontaneous.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The appliances have a fear of water, Kirby and Toaster more than the others.
- Yellow Peril: Look closely at the blue boombox during "Cutting Edge" and tell me you don't see it. All it's missing 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 Toaster 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 hide the fact that he's jealous of them because the Master never gave him as 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?
- 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!
- There's some subtle Fridge Brilliance here: the protagonists are all appliances that are timeless and have aged well (for example, a toaster is still perfectly useful as a toaster, no matter the time period). The "Cutting Edge" appliances, by contrast, are meant to represent the folly of consumerism, and will likely be rejected in favor of newer models much sooner than the protagonists.