Western Animation: Toy Story

"Toy Story was the first completely CGI animated film. But that's not why we made it. We made it because we wanted to tell a good story."
John Lasseter

Toy Story is a renowned 1995 computer-animated film from Pixar about toys that come to life when their owners aren't around. In turn it spawned two successful sequels, one in 1999 and the other in 2010. A third sequel, Toy Story 4, is scheduled for a 2017 release.

Toy Story introduces us to a group of toys belonging to a boy named Andy. Their unofficial leader is Andy's favorite toy, Woody, an old cowboy doll with a string. Woody receives some competition when Andy gets a new toy for his birthday, "Buzz Lightyear of Star Command", who thinks he's really a soldier of Star Command rather than a toy. His undoubted leadership qualities (and up-to-date modernity) arouse jealousy in Woody; when Buzz is "accidentally" lost, the other toys think Woody masterminded the disappearance. Hijinks ensue, and Woody and Buzz have a final confrontation that forces both of them to join forces to keep the toy "family" together.

In 2009, Toy Story was re-released alongside Toy Story 2 as a double feature in stereoscopic Disney Digital 3-D, with the two films completely re-rendered to match the level of detail of Toy Story 3 (the UK had to wait until January 2010 for Toy Story 2 to come out in 3D).

The characters will make further appearances in a series of shorts titled Toy Story Toons. The first installment, "Hawaiian Vacation", played at the beginning of Cars 2. The second, "Small Fry", was shown before The Muppets (and shown in some countries with Brave). The third, Partysaurus Rex, was shown before the 3D re-release of Finding Nemo. A fourth in the form of a Halloween Special, Toy Story of Terror, aired on ABC on October 16th, 2013. On December 2, 2014, ABC aired Pixar's first true Christmas Special, Toy Story That Time Forgot, which featured the characters lost in a very 1980s play set of dinosaur warriors.

The film provides examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The names of most of Sid's toys were only in shown in the script, the novelization of the movie, and the roll call at the end of the video game.
  • Always Someone Better: Buzz is a modern, battery-powered, talking toy with pop-out wings, a "lightbulb that blinks", and a retractable helmet. Woody... has a drawstring-powered vocalizer. You can see why he'd feel a bit threatened by Buzz's presence at first.
  • Amusing Injuries: Woody suffers from them in the trunk of the Pizza Planet truck and when Buzz accidentally drops the toolbox on him. Averted when Buzz breaks off his arm. Amusingly, the arm can operate out of the body's control.
  • Banister Slide: Woody is sent on one by Andy near the beginning.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Woody screams this when Buzz accuses him of endangering the universe.
    Buzz: Because of you the security of the entire universe is in jeopardy!
    Woody: WHAT?? What are you talking about?!
  • Bond One-Liner: By Woody, as he uses Buzz's karate action to drive away Sid's toys (who they thought were cannibals at the time).
    "Sorry guys, but dinner's cancelled!"
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: During the "falling with style" climax, Woody cries "To infinity, and beyond!"
  • Break the Haughty: Whilst Woody tends to not rub it in anyone's faces, he's top of the heap and knows it until Buzz shows up and threatens his position as Andy's favourite toy. Then he becomes increasingly jealous and insecure. See Always Someone Better.
  • Brick Joke: What Mr. Potato Head hopes Andy would get at his birthday.
    Mr. Potato Head: [Praying] Mrs. Potato Head. Mrs. Potato Head. Mrs. Potato Head...! [Gets stared at] Hey, I can dream, can't I?
    • The payoff comes at Christmas Time, where Molly gets a Mrs. Potato head, who appears in the following movies.
  • Buffy Speak: Your helmet does that... that woosh-thing!
  • Captain Ersatz: Bo Peep, since Mattel didn't allow Pixar to use Barbie at the time, since they didn't think the movie would get much exposure, among other reasons. The company quickly reversed their decision after seeing the success of the first movie, which is why Barbie is featured significantly more than Bo Peep in the rest of the series.
  • Cassandra Truth: Buzz's Heroic BSOD in Sid's room as Woody is attempting to engineer an escape leaves Woody without hard evidence that Buzz is alive. It doesn't help when Woody accidentally produces Buzz's severed arm. What could have been a simple escape without all the drama of the final action sequence is averted because the toys won't believe Woody and refuse to rescue him.
  • Character Outlives Actor: Hey, Vern! In between Toy Story 2 & Toy Story 3, Slinky Dog's voice actor passed away, so they had to get another voice actor for his part.
  • Characterization Marches On: Seeing as Potato Head is slightly more of a jerk in this movie than in later installments. He gets better after a Heroic BSOD by the little green men.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After being burned by Sid's magnifying glass, Woody is able to burn the fuse to the rocket with Buzz's helmet.
    • Subverted immediately beforehand. The match in Woody's pocket had been blatantly set up for this exact purpose, but as soon as he lights it, Woody and Buzz are run over (as in, a car passes directly over them) and the match blows out.
    • Also RC being remote controlled. First used to knock off Buzz, then used to rescue him.
    • Not flying, but "falling with style".
    • The rocket itself.
  • Comically Missing the Point: During the scene where Sid is decapitating his sister's doll, he is playing "doctor." During the "operation" Buzz says, "I don't believe that man's ever been to medical school."
  • Container Cling: Woody does this to avoid being tied to a rocket by Sid.
  • Covered in Kisses: Bo Peep does this to Woody at the end, courtesy of mistletoe (though it wasn't made apparent that Bo Peep had on lipstick until Woody was later seen with a face full of kiss marks, looking pretty pleased with himself. Rule of Funny, of course).
  • Creepy Doll: Babyface, a head of a baby doll that's missing its hair, an eye, and is connected to a spider like erector set.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Buzz knocks Woody around for most of their brawl at Pizza Planet, par a few mildly uncomfortable looking socks to his squeaker head.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Sid's toys.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hamm and Mr. Potato Head.
    • Woody to Buzz in the first movie.
  • Description Cut: After sending the army men out, Woody says, "Come on! They're not lying down on the job." Cut to the army men (one having been crushed), kicked off to the side by Andy's mom.
  • Destination Defenestration: Buzz falls out the window after Woody's scheme to go with Andy to Pizza Planet goes awry.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Sid's toys scare the tar out of him at the end of the film, though this was done to teach him not to mistreat his toys.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Played with. Lightning strikes when Sid attaches Buzz to the rocket... only for the rain to delay the take-off.
  • Easily Condemned: Most of the toys are quick to believe Woody would try to off Buzz (only Slinky stays loyal, only being convinced after the more plausible display of Woody handling Buzz's discarded arm).
  • Easily Forgiven: Subverted after Woody sends Buzz out the window. For a moment, it seems like he will forgive him...but then he starts to try to beat the crud out of him, thanks to Exact Words.
    "Even though you tried to terminate me, revenge is not something we promote on my planet. [...] But we're not on my planet, are we?"
  • Eureka Moment: "Out the window! Buzz, you're a genius!" Also, when Woody realizes that the sunlight shining through Buzz's helmet is burning his hand, and he can use that to light the rocket.
  • Evil Counterpart: As mentioned before, Sid is the total opposite of Andy.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At:
    Woody: Uh, Buzz? We missed the truck!
    Buzz: We're not aiming for the truck!
  • Exorcist Head: Woody demonstrates this in his fight with Buzz. Later he uses it to scare away Sid.
  • Expospeak Gag: Usually courtesy of Buzz, such as while "repairing" his spaceship box.
    Buzz: Unidirectional bonding strip...
    Robot: Mr. Lightyear wants more tape!
  • Face Palm: Woody, after the other toys panic about the presents' sizes, and after meeting the Little Green Men.
    This is ludicrous...
  • False Reassurance: Buzz gives one to Woody in the van.
    Buzz: I just wanted to let you know that even though you tried to terminate me, revenge is not an idea we promote on our planet.
    Woody: Oh, that's good.
    Buzz: But we're not on my planet, are we?
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The action figure Sid blows up during his introductory scene.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Woody and Buzz note 
  • Foreshadowing: When we first see Hannah in the film in the first scene in Sid's house, Sid asks her if his package has arrived yet. This package later turns out to be the rocket and plays a big role in the film's climax.
  • Forgot I Couldn't Swim: A non-comedic version happens when Slinky Dog attempts to rescue Woody and Buzz by stretching himself onto the moving van ramp. Even if the batteries hadn't run out, it's unlikely he would have had much success.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Look carefully at the box Andy's Mom removes from the closet during the party sequence and you see images of Buzz all over it. Guess what was inside the box.
  • Friendship Song: "You've Got a Friend in Me" is this for the film and its sequels.
  • Funny Background Event: When Woody announces that Andy's birthday party was taking place on that day and the other toys panic, "WHAT????" scrolls across Mr. Spell's screen.
    • Mr. Spell is good at this; His screen reads "HUBBA HUBBA" when the arrival of a Mrs. Potato Head is announced.
    • When Mr. Potato Head and Hamm are drawn away from their Battleship game, we see that Potato Head's board is nearly completely covered in white pegs. Clearly someone isn't very good at Battleship... (Or Hamm was lying and Mr. Potato Head wasn't bright enough to notice.)
    • Many of the arcade games at Pizza Planet count. Combat Wombat, anyone?
  • Get a Hold of Yourself Man: Woody to Buzz — with Buzz's own dismembered arm. It's hilarious.
  • Going Native: Buzz is an odd example, since he was technically a "native" all along, but but he thinks of himself as an outsider who gets accepted into a new culture when Andy writes his name on Buzz's foot. And although "revenge is not an idea that we promote on my planet... we're not on my planet, are we?"
  • Gone Horribly Right: Woody wanted to knock Buzz off the desk so Andy would have to take him to Pizza Planet...and boy did he ever knock Buzz off the desk.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Again, the dismembered arm beatdown.
  • Ha Ha Ha No: Woody to a toy shark when he does a lame impression of him after finding his hat.
    Woody: (gasping for breath} ...finally...hey, who's got my hat?
    Shark: (with Woody's hat) Look! I'm Woody. Howdy howdy howdy!
    Woody: (sarcastically) Aah-hah! Aah-haaa...GIMME THAT! (snatches hat back)
    • Again with Woody after he tells Buzz to "give him a hand", Buzz throws his dismembered arm at him.
    Woody: Hahaha, that's very funny Buzz...(with annoyance) THIS IS SERIOUS!!
  • Hate Sink: Mr. Potato Head is rather unlikable in this film, considering how he treats Woody and the fact that he is the first person to start pointing fingers at him after he accidentally knocks Buzz out the window. He later becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in Toy Story 2.
  • Heroic BSOD: Buzz goes through a very humiliating one after he realizes he is a toy.
  • He's a Friend: Woody to Buzz when several other toys appear.
  • Holding Both Sides of the Conversation: After Buzz's Heroic BSOD, Woody attempts to convince the other toys that Buzz is fine by holding Buzz's severed arm from behind a wall and imitating his voice.
  • Hollywood Giftwrap: Buzz Lightyear arrives in this.
  • "I Am Becoming" Song:"Strange Things (Are Happening to Me)," when it becomes obvious to Woody that he's being replaced by Buzz.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Virtual Realty, the realty company that sold Andy's house.
  • Ironic Echo: "This isn't flying! This is falling, with style!"
  • It Won't Turn Off: Sid is disturbed when Woody begins talking even though his drawstring is not pulled out, although let's be honest, if a talking toy managed to start talking without it being activated, you'd probably assume it was busted too. Now if that toy starts talking directly to you and addresses you with your ''full name'', wouldn't you freak out just a little?
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: The wounded soldier to his Sergeant.
    • Leads to the inevitable response from the wounded soldier's captain.
    • Buzz says something similar to Woody when his rocket gets stuck in the fence. Woody doesn't leave him behind either.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Parodied as Sid attempts to make Woody reveal the location of the rebel base. Buzz congratulates him for not talking.
  • Jerkass: Sid Phillips, Mr. Potato Head and initially Woody with Buzz. And arguably Hamm.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Inverted with Sid. He tortures toys in the most vicious ways, though he has no way of knowing that the toys are actually sentient. Played straight in his relationship with Hannah, however.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Buzz Lightyear sports one quite intentionally.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Mr. Potato Head, being, debatably, the film's other antagonist, gets his pieces sent flying towards the end. He's OK (unfortunately).
    • Sid bullies his little sister by stealing her toys from her and mutilating them — so after his confrontation with the living toys, when he comes across his sister with a doll and reacts with terror towards it, she gleefully takes the opportunity to settle scores.
  • Leap of Faith: When Buzz jumps off the banister in Sid's house, believing that he can fly.
  • Lord Error-Prone: Buzz Lightyear probably counts.
  • Lost In Transmission: "IT'S A WHAT?!? WHAT IS IT?!?"
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Averted. "Buzz, you're flying!" "NOT A FLYING TOY". The closest we get to even a handwave as to how Buzz can suddenly glide with flawless dexterity and accuracy at the end is "falling with style". It's still an awesome ending, but they probably wouldn't have contradicted themselves so boldly if they'd known there'd be a trilogy.
  • Matryoshka Object: One of the toys is a nesting egg, called a Troika doll. Its layers are (from biggest to smallest) bulldog, cat, duck, goldfish, and ladybug.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Andy's toys believe that Woody murdered Buzz after he falls out the open window.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The other toys soon realise their mistake after they finally see Buzz is okay (after throwing Woody out of the moving truck, no less).
      Rex: Great. Now I have guilt.
    • Woody also goes through this a bit, when his plan to knock Buzz between the desk and the wall results in him knocking Buzz out of the window.
  • Necktie Leash: A variant with Bo Peep using her shepherd's crook to draw Woody closer to her.
  • Never My Fault: Woody and Buzz go through a lengthy "You started it" argument after Buzz attacking him leaves them stranded at a gas station. This escalates to Buzz accusing Woody of endangering the entire universe.
    Woody: I'm lost! Andy's gone! They're gonna move in two days and it's all your fault!!!
    Buzz: My fault?!? If you hadn't knocked me out of the window in the first place...
    Woody: (fumes indignantly) Well if you hadn't shown up in your stupid little cardboard spaceship and took away everything that was important to me...
    Buzz: Don't talk to me about importance!
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Done by the plastic toy soldiers near the start of the film.
  • Not in Front of the Kid:
    Woody: The word I'm searching for, I can't say, because there's preschool toys present.
  • Not Quite Flight: The former Trope Namer.
    Woody: That wasn't flying! That was — falling with style!
  • Number Two: Slinky is implied to have been this to Woody before Buzz Lightyear became leader of the toys.
  • Obliviously Evil: Sid to the toys.
  • Oh, Crap: Woody's reaction when he realizes he lit the rocket strapped to Buzz.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: "The batteries! They're running out!"
  • Properly Paranoid: Buzz, curiously enough.
    • When they head to Pizza Planet in a pizza truck, Buzz explains to Woody that they should use seat belts for their own safety. Woody suffers the consequences when he doesn't.
    • After Woody tries to escape Sid's room through the open door, Buzz warns him that they don't know what's waiting for them outside. Woody ends up nearly being mauled by Scud.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Sid is seen by many viewers, including Will Wright, Mike Mozart, and the creators, as a kid with a great imagination. (In fact, many of the things Sid does to his toys were inspired by things the creators used to do to theirs.) Some would argue that the only reason he is given the antagonist treatment is because the movie is from a toy's point of view. However, he apparently wrecks all his sister's toys (the fact that the only dolls Hannah has left to play with are dismembered and/or decapitated, and that several of the mutant toys have doll legs and heads, shows that the pterodactyl thing was not an isolated incident). And a little boy playing with explosives unsupervised is pretty questionable, considering the rockets he was using are not even legal in some states.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "YOU! ARE! A! TOYYYYYY!!!"
    • Also, "I AM MRS. NESBITT!"
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: The film did a shout out to the boulder scene with Buzz being chased by a rolling ball that got knocked loose, not long before he fell out the window. They used the sound effect of the boulder rolling from the original film.
  • Red Alert: Called by the Sergeant during the birthday party.
  • Remembered Too Late: After Woody gets the rocket lit, he and Buzz are ecstatic that they can now catch up with the moving truck... only for Woody to remember seconds before takeoff that rockets explode.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • Scare 'Em Straight: Woody and Sid's toys come alive to provide Nightmare Fuel for Sid before the climax, leading straight to his breakdown. This gives Sid the distinction of being the only human in the entire series to have witnessed the toys' anthropomorphic capacity. Although the outcome implies that he'll just write it all off as temporary insanity.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Woody, when Buzz startles him after saying hello, and before Scud bites his leg.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: It seems to be an unwritten rule that the toys will not walk and talk (other than that their normal toy operation allows) when there are any humans present. Even Buzz Lightyear adheres to the rule, even throughout the time that he believes that he's the real Buzz Lightyear (although this can probably be justified if you consider that he probably went with good old fashioned herd mentality by imitating the "natives" in order to continue surviving in a hostile environment). To save Buzz from Sid, however, Woody decides that it's time to break a few rules.
  • Security Cling: Woody to Buzz when facing the mutilated toys.
  • Serious Business: The filmmakers intended the scene with the toy soldiers making their way to the lookout point to be funny, but when it was shown to test audiences they took it just as seriously as any real war movie.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The series' main cast includes a young boy's toy collection, with predictably male-oriented rather than girls' toys. Bo Peep was the only female in the cast, a domestic woman and Satellite Love Interest with no part in the main action. Toy Story 2 and 3 even out the gender inequality, though not by much. Even though Toy Story 3 had many more female characters than the other two, it should be worth mentioning that Andy got rid of Bo Peep.
  • Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: Sid uses a magnifying glass to burn Woody's forehead while interrogating him.
  • Stock Scream: When Buzz is knocked out of the window it's definitely the Wilhelm Scream that he makes.
  • Strapped to a Bomb: Sid duct tapes Buzz Lightyear to a model rocket and plans to launch him (the rocket will explode when it reaches its maximum height). Luckily, Woody saves him from this horrible fate, but later uses the rocket (with Buzz still attached to it) as part of a cunning plan.
    • There was one earlier example where Andy's Toys spy on Sid in his backyard. They spot a toy soldier tied to a bomb.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Pizza Planet (though much cooler than most examples of the trope).
  • Survival Mantra: Woody.
    "There's no place like home!Theresnoplacelikehome!"
  • Take Care of the Kids: When Woody is grabbed by Sid's dog Scud, he tells Buzz to "take care of Andy for me." Buzz rescues him instead.
  • Take My Hand: Slinky Dog to Woody as he's trying to pull him into the truck.
  • Technobabble: When Sid talks about a "double-bypass brain transplant."
  • Tempting Fate:
  • That Makes Me Feel Angry: Rex's reaction when the toys realize Woody is innocent at the end of the first movie:
  • They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Mr. Potato Head in the first movie after Woody accidentally knocked Buzz out a window.
  • This Is no Time to Panic: "This is the perfect time to panic!"
  • Those Two Guys: Snake and Robot.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Buzz Lightyear genuinely believes himself to be the real space hero, and that he only crash landed in Andy's room. He realizes that he's just a toy when he sees a Buzz Lightyear commercial on the TV, which sends him into depression for a while. This proves that Woody was right about him all along.
  • Under The Mistletoe: Woody and Bo at the end. The mistletoe is held by her sheep.
  • Vader Breath: Buzz's breathing when he first appears on the bed.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Sid, while in the middle of torturing Woody.
    Sid: Where are your rebel friends now? Ha Ha Ha!
    Sid's Mom: (from off-screen) Sid! Your Pop-Tarts are ready!
    Sid: All right!
  • Villainy-Free Villain: Sid mangles his sister's dolls but otherwise doesn't really do anything bad. How was he to know that his toys are alive and can feel pain? Though taking his sister's toys and mutilating them without her permission isn't particularly nice. Hanna doesn't want a tea party with headless ladies...
  • Visual Pun: As follows:
    Woody: Buzz, can you give me a hand?
    (Buzz, without a word, tosses his arm up to Woody and goes back to angsting.)
    Woody:... Ha ha... That's pretty funny... but — but this is serious!
  • Visual Innuendo: When Mr. Potato Head makes a pessimistic statement about Woody not being worried about the move due to being Andy's Favorite Toy since Kindergarten, Slinky defends Woody to which Mr. Potato Head quietly replies by removing his mouth and tapping his backside with it.note 
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Rex gets this after he sees Woody waving Buzz's dismembered arm — a rare example in which it makes sense, seeing as toys can't vomit.
  • We Have Ways of Making You Talk: Sid quotes the line verbatim when he tortures Woody with a magnifying glass (thankfully, without attempting a German accent).
  • What Does This Button Do?: Rex asks this about one of the buttons on Buzz Lightyear's suit.
  • With Friends Like These...: The other toys to Woody towards the end.
  • The Worf Effect: Woody rapidly finds himself outclassed in popularity by Buzz Lightyear after Andy gets him as a birthday present.

    Series wide 
  • 3-D Movie: However, Toy Story 1 and Toy Story 2 weren't 3D until 2009.
  • Adult Fear: Underneath the wackyness the theme of abandonment by the ones you love in the later installments of the series can really hit home hard to children and grown-ups alike.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Justified, since the toys are actually small enough to fit. Happens Once A Movie: Legs and Ducky walk through the vents of Sid's house in the first one, Buzz #2 and the rescue team travel through the vents (and elevator shaft) of Al's apartment building in the second one, and in the third movie Woody and Slinky use the ventilation system to get into the Sunnyside security room and incapacitate the cymbal monkey.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: The original Toy Story was the first feature-length example of this trope.
  • Ascended Extra: Mrs. Potato Head in the third movie, whereas she was only a minor character in the second.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror: The series starts out taking the concept of sentient toys pretty lightly, but as it goes on, it explores the Fridge Horror of the concept more and more thoroughly, eventually to a further extent than most people would probably expect from a children's movie series.
  • Badass Crew: The main group of toys eventually becomes this.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Parodied AND averted in the first movie. Parodied, because Buzz (as a toy) think he's on an alien planet (possibly with no atmosphere). Averted, because he's a toy, AND he's breathing Earth atmosphere. The second movie contains a Shout-Out to this with the Utility Belt Buzz.
  • Big Bad: Sid Phillips in the first movie, Stinky Pete in the second, and Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear in the third.
  • Book Ends: The first shot of the first movie and both the first shot and the last shot of the third movie are of a blue sky with uniquely-shaped white clouds, that of Andy's old wallpaper.
    • Which is pretty odd the second time around, since like on the wallpaper, the entire sky is filled with clouds in only two shapes, repeated over and over.
  • Bottomless Pit: One is seen in the video game opening sequence inside Zurg's fortress, and the elevator shaft in Al's apartment building.
  • Brand X: A few of the minor characters are based off popular retro toys — without technically being said toys (probably due to Executive Meddling). Lotso is essentially a Care Bear with the tags cut off and Stretch resembles a Wacky Wallwalker.
    • Averted with Barbie, Etch-A-Sketch, trolls, and a whole bunch of other toys. The copyrights all get mentioned in the end titles.
    • In fact, Pixar wanted Barbie for the first film to be Woody's girlfriend, but Mattel would not grant them permission to use the trademark. They changed their mind when they saw how the film improved sales of Mr. Potato Head.
  • Break Up Make Up Scenario: in each film, Woody has an argument. In the first film, with Buzz when they are lost, near the end when the other toys think he killed Buzz. In the secound, with Jessie and later when he refuses to follow his friends back home. In the third, when he doesn't want to stay with them in Sunny Side.
  • Butt Monkey: Mr. Potato Head.
  • Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: Buzz.
  • Cassandra Truth: Woody in all three movies. 1: "Buzz is alive!" 2. "Andy didn't break me intentionally!" 3. "Andy didn't throw you away!"
    • The third installment also has Woody's warning about Sunnyside not being as pleasant as they expect it to be, but even Woody didn't anticipate just how bad it would turn out to be.
  • Catchphrase: "To infinity... AND BEYOND!"
    • Woody gets one in the second film: "Hey howdy hey!"
      • "There's a snake in my boot!"
      • "Reach for the sky!"
    • "Yee-haw!" for Jessie.
    • "Run like the wind, Bullseye!"
  • Ceiling Cling: Woody in the first film and Buzz in the second.
  • Cerebus Retcon: What Molly does to Mr. Potato Head at the very beginning of Toy Story 1 is less funny if you've seen how the toys were abused in Toy Story 3.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: While each movie has a fair bit of comedy, each also tops the previous installment in intensity of dramatic moments.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the first movie; Al's Toy Barn is advertised at the end of the commercial for Buzz Lightyear figures that makes Buzz realize the truth about himself. Al's Toy Barn goes on to be a major part of the plot in Toy Story 2.
    • In the truck chase near the end of Toy Story, when Woody is clinging to the moving truck and Scud grabs his leg, we can audibly hear the stitching of his right arm pop. Cut to the beginning of Toy Story 2, where the plot is set in motion when Woody's right arm rips, as the stitching was already weakened tremendously from the tug-o-war with Scud in movie 1.
    • The Potatoes' ability to see though a disconnected eye is something introduced in the second scene of the first movie and becomes a major plot point 10 years later in the third movie, when Mrs. Potato Head uses her missing eye to discover that Andy is looking for them after his mother donates them to the Daycare Center.
    • In Toy Story 2, Stinky Pete asks Woody if he really thinks Andy will take him to college, which is the plot of Toy Story 3.
      • Thing is, had the plot of Toy Story 3 not have gone into motion, Andy would have.
    • Another dinosaur that might replace Rex as Andy's dinosaur toy, which worries Rex. Rex doesn't get replaced per se, but another dinosaur DOES appear in Toy Story 3... in someone else's house. Not only is she also a dinosaur, but she's also a geek like Rex, and the credits epilogue reveals that they get along well.
    • Rex also mentioned wanting to play with a herbivore. In the end credits, he ends up doing just that in a Does This Remind You of Anything? scene.
    • In Toy Story 3, the garbage man wears a familiar-looking skull shirt. It's not just who the garbage man was that makes him significant, it's also what he does later in the movie.
    • In Toy Story 3, The aliens' obsession with The Claw from the first movie becomes a hilarious Brick Joke/Chekhov's Gun/Big Damn Heroes/Deus ex Machina all in one.
      "The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay!"
  • Comically Missing the Point: Makes up most of the plot. No, not the movie itself. Every situation that's ever happened in Toy Story many of the toy characters always assumed the worst, before finding out the real truth. Three hilarious examples include:
    1. Potato Head accusing Woody of murdering Buzz when he sees the broken arm. Buzz was too depressed to get out of his Heroic BSOD to prove he was still alive.
    2. Rex thinking Woody was trying to sell himself at the yard sale. He was trying to rescue Wheezy.
    3. Potato Head thinking that Bullseye and Jessie were torturing Woody. They were really tickling him.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Woody is The Hero, but not the best fighter, so ends up comically getting his ass kicked most times he pisses off another character. Amusingly his beatings in Toy Story 2 even mirror the same manner he is attacked by Buzz in the first movie.
  • Damsel in Distress: Bo Peep in Andy's games.
  • Darker and Edgier: The third is considered a Prison Episode for the series, with sadistic teddy bears, demonic children, Cymbal Banging Monkeys, and all ending with a trip to the fiery gates of Hell. Most notably though is how the movie puts even more emphasis on the toys' fears of becoming disowned by their owners.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Hamm.
  • Deconstruction: Of the more Fridge Horror-y aspects of the original. Heartwarmingly Reconstructed in 3.
    • Annoyingly averted with Buzz Lightyear the doll itself until the latest iteration, even though they spell out exactly what's in him right in the first movie. Every Buzz Lightyear toy to come out for the first two films only had at most three of the features mentioned in the commercial, and missed several from the films. Thinkway's latest attempt neglects only Karate Chop Action, due to the mechanics required necessitating a choice between it and the far more used spring-loaded wings. They did however make a different version of Buzz specifically for the Karate Chop Action.
  • Demoted to Extra: Slinky, in the third movie. He had a fairly sizable role in the first two movies as Woody's best pal, but is merely a background character when the toys head off to Sunnyside Daycare.
  • Deus ex Machina / Ass Pull: Played for laughs every time the Pizza Planet truck appears in the films. In the first, it appears out of nowhere to take Buzz and Woody to Pizza Planet and is done even more so in Toy Story 2.
    • Lampshaded in the commentary to Toy Story 2.
    • Averted in Toy Story 3. The Pizza Planet truck is involved in the Back Story of the film's antagonist, but only (indirectly) leads him to disappointment. It could also be interpreted as a Diabolus Ex Machina, in that sense as it's the reason Lotso ended up at Sunnyside.
    • In the third, the LGM's returning to save the gang with the claw as they're about to be melted down, but the entire scene was done so well, who could gripe? Also, the writers did keep reminding us of their religious fascination with claws throughout the film. As well as have them taken off-screen early on during the dump sequence. Foreshadowing, done right! Straight forward to the fact that it's a machine that is given godlike reverence.
  • Disappeared Dad: There's no Andy's Dad in sight. It's never explicitly brought up but fans like to argue the three possibilities: Andy's mom is a widow; Andy's mom is a divorcee; Andy's mom just happens to be a single mother. In the first two scenarios, many fans in turn assume that Woody is one of the only gifts from his father. The third could be yet another Shout-Out to The Brave Little Toaster, since Rob's mom is single too. Food for thought: so is John Lasseter's mom.
  • A Dog Named Dog: Most striking in the case of Dolly the doll, but applies to the other characters too. Justified in that most of the toys were named by young children.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Invoked in Toy Story 1 and 2, both with the Pizza Planet truck. The first one has the actual driver doing this. The second has the toys doing this after hijacking the Pizza Planet Truck to pursue Al and rescue Woody. Similarly, they also invoke the trope on other drivers in the first and second movie. The first was when Scud was chasing Buzz and RC (although it probably wasn't intentional on Buzz, RC, and Woody's part), and the second movie had Buzz and the toys disguising themselves as traffic cones in order to safely cross the road to Al's Toy Barn, with the results being obvious for the drivers.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A staple of the series. Toy Story nearly ends with Buzz and Woody left alone on the street with Andy's moving van driving away, Toy Story 2 nearly ships Woody and Jessie (not that kind, though) to Japan, and Toy Story 3 has them facing the blazing eternity of Hell Fire and burning alive. Randy Newman was right, the road is rough ahead.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: No boy's toy collection would be complete without a Tyrannosaurus rex, though Rex is actually a bit of a coward, a goofball and a gamer geek. He's not too bright either. The third movie introduces Trixie, whose design seems to imply that they're from the same toyline.
    • It appears that all the dinosaur toys in the series are from the same line, and are in turn based on... Dino-Riders!?!
  • Expy: Sarge, voiced by R. Lee Ermey, is Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in toy form.
  • Fake Action Prologue: Both the second and the third movie.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: For toys, to be loved by children, then forgotten and abandoned is worse than they could bear.
    • As it turns out, having the kids outgrow you and being tossed in the trash is even worse than that.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Genki Girl: Jessie, full-throttle. Trixie and Barbie in the third.
  • Genre-Busting: It's comedy/drama/thriller/horror/action/prison escape/philosophical.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: See this list.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Although it appears to be played straight for the toys, in the end it's averted. The message seems to be "Growing up can be sad, but in the end it's not that bad."
  • Happily Married: Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.
  • Hand Signals: Used in all three films.
  • Helium Speech: The voice actors (not just Jeff Pidgeon, although it was mostly him) actually inhaled helium to make the voices of the Martians.
  • Helping Hands: Mr. Potato Head's body parts are capable of being pulled off him and rearranged. This is sort of a hassle for him to put himself right after the kids are gone. His parts can work on their own even when they're separated from him.
    • The same for Mrs. Potato Head.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Woody and Buzz.
  • Hit Scan: Buzz's laser. Unlike Zurg's Ion Blaster, it hits its target instantly.
  • Idiot Ball/Running Gag: Somehow, a Buzz Lightyear toy holds this in every film, for that Buzz Lightyear who holds it believes he's the real Buzz Lightyear, and not a toy. There are a few Toys who also hold part of it.
    • Toy Story: Buzz; this is a major part of the film. He loses it when he sees a commercial, and then goes crazy and is reduced to drinking tea and... wearing a pink apron. For a while, anyway. This causes Woody much frustration.
    • Toy Story 2: The Buzz Lightyear toy with a belt (whom the Buzz from Toy Story encounters) believes he is the real Buzz Lightyear.
      • Buzz's archenemy — Zurg — as a toy, holds this, too, and engages combat with the Buzz with the belt. A Shout-Out to Star Wars is involved.
    • Toy Story 3: The first Buzz toy seen in the three films holds this again. This time, he gets reset into demo mode and then into Spanish! ¡Buzz Lightyear al rescate!
  • Immortality: Toys can be broken and possibly die when broken beyond repair (we hope), but when taken care of they can live forever, it seems.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Tom Hanks as Woody and Wayne Knight as Al.
  • Interim Villain: Subverted with Sid Phillips, even though he is the villain of the first film and is completely absent in the second, in the third he only appears as a cameo where he is now a garbage man.
  • Interspecies Friendship: While Andy doesn't know his toys are alive, they do care a lot about him. Woody in particular goes to great lengths to return to him when separated. Said toys are also True Companions with each other.
  • Ironic Echo: One within the first movie, another from the first to the second, another from the second to the third.
    • Early in the first movie, when Buzz tries to prove he can fly, Woody says "that wasn't flying, it was falling with style." When Buzz uses his plastic wings to glide in the climax, Woody says "you're flying" and Buzz says "this isn't flying, it's falling with style."
    • The first movie has Woody saying to Buzz "you're a child's plaything; you are a TOY" when trying to explain to Buzz that he's not a space ranger. The second has Buzz saying this back to Woody when reminding him that he's supposed to be Andy's toy, not a collector's item for a museum.
    • The second movie has Mr. Potato Head saving the squeeze toy aliens from falling out of the Pizza Planet truck, and they repeatedly say "you have saved our lives, we are eternally grateful" to him afterwards. The third movie has the squeeze toy aliens operate the claw at the incinerator in a way that rescues all the toys from being burned; afterwards, Mrs. Potato Head says "you have saved our lives" followed by Mr. Potato Head saying "and we are ETERNALLY grateful."
  • Jerkass: Sid Phillips, Mr. Potato Head and initially Woody with Buzz in the first movie, Al and Stinky Pete in the second, and Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear in the third.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Let's face it, Andy was a freak the way he nicely treated his toys. Just look at Sid and those daycare monsters and you'll see that the toys never had it better than with him.
    • The creators of the film completely acknowledged this. The only one who treated his toys nicely was John Lasseter.
    • To be fair, only the toddlers in the Caterpillar Room were monsters because they were, well, babies; the toys they should be playing with are designed to take that abuse. The older kids in the Butterfly Room knew how to play nice.
  • Killed Off for Real: Combat Carl, the action figure Sid blew up during his introductory scene in the first film, is the only character in the entire series to ever be killed off permanently.
  • The Lancer: Buzz to Woody's Hero in the second and third films.
  • Large Ham:
    • Jessie. Joan Cusack chewed miles of scenery in that role.
    • Buzz is also very hammy fresh out of the box.
      • "Fresh out of the box" nothing, even after realizing he's a toy he remains rather hammy, even if to a slightly lesser extent.
      • Spanish Buzz es un Gran Jamón.
    • Zurg. He's an Evil Overlord, he has to be.
    • And a quite obvious one in Hamm. "PIG PILE!"
    • If a small, stuffed hedgehog in lederhosen can be technically called a Large Ham, then Mr. Pricklepants from Toy Story 3 is that small stuffed hedgehog in lederhosen.
    Mr. Pricklepants: Sunnyside is a place of ruin and despair, ruled by an evil bear who smells of strawberries.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Woody and Jessie.
  • Living Toys: The premise.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Pixar is gifted with juggling various side stories that support the main storyline all in one movie with a huge cast. But... Toy Story already introduced a huge cast, and two more films followed, expanding the cast by 300%! By the third film, the supporting characters that were highlighted in the posters and trailers have barely 4 lines each!
  • Made of Iron: Sort of. The toys are capable of withstanding immense amounts of pain and abuse when in their inanimate state without so much as flinching, only feeling the effects after becoming animate. In fact, to an extent they seem to not mind the abuse at all (Woody is tossed around like a... well... toy doll in the opening scene by Andy, and Andy is naturally occasionally rough with his toys, but the toys seem to adore him all the same), much like how dogs will not mind some roughhousing as long as they're getting attention. Only the Mad Scientist machinations of Sid seem to cause the toys any suffering.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: Andy and Bonnie generate this while playing, since the toys are so varied.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In-universe. In the playtimes, Mr. Potato Head, Hamm, and Dolly tend to play villainous characters. Hamm and Potato Head are both Deadpan Snarkers, but still good guys, and Dolly is considered by fans to be the Team Mom of Bonnie's toys.
    • Also Stinky Pete is the villain of the second movie, though shown to be a pleasant (if slightly lustful) guy in the out takes.
  • Meaningful Name: Woody is an old cowboy doll (just how old, we see in the second movie) whose rigid parts are made of wood. Buzz is a modern action figure crammed full of electronics.
    • Also, Buzz Aldrin was the second man to walk on the moon.
    • In the third, Bonnie definitely is a good girl.
  • Men Can't Keep House: As shown with Sid's room in Toy Story and Al's apartment in Toy Story 2.
    • Andy's room, however, is usually quite remarkably tidy considering he's a small boy in the first two movies and a teenager in the third.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Mutant Toys
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal
  • No Flow in CGI: Played straight in the 1st movie, semi-averted in the 2nd and averted in the 3rd.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup is thankfully averted. Pixar had the source files all this time so they could re-render the first two movies for the 2009 3D re-release.
    • Also, a special feature in the 2010 DVD and Blu-ray release of Toy Story 2 tells of how the movie was almost wholly deleted, only to be saved by a staff member's backup.
    • But when they began work on Toy Story 3, they couldn't edit the original 3D models and had to rebuild everything from scratch.
  • Not So Different: Woody and Buzz: Both are toys of officers of the law, produced for a Merchandise-Driven show, they even both have a voice-clip feature with the technology of their day.
  • Obliviously Evil: Any human who mistreats toys, since it's not as if they can know they're alive.
    • Although Sid takes a certain sadistic pleasure in abusing his toys anyway.
  • Oh, Crap: Numerous times... mostly with Woody and Buzz.
    • "Wait a minute... I just lit a rocket... ROCKETS EXPLODE!"
    • When the toys enter the luggage conveyors in Toy Story 2.
      • On the plane:
    Woody: Okay, on three. One, two...
    (plane door slams shut)
    Woody: This is bad...
  • Older Than They Look: Woody and his roundup gang are merchandice for a television show that aired before Sputnik was launched. After that, the show was cancelled and they probably stopped making the merchandise, which might explain why Al had a hard time gathering Woody for a toy collection in Japan. That means that Woody, Jessie, Bullseye and Stinky Pete could be at least forty-nine years old as of the third movie, which is set in 2006.
  • Once per Episode: If you think about it, each movie has a Star Wars Shout-Out to the corresponding Star Wars movie in the Original Trilogy — first movie references A New Hope, second movie references The Empire Strikes Back, and the third movie references Return of the Jedi. See the Shout Out page for more.
    • Every film at one point has toys hiding under something and then walking with it. The first movie had Woody and Buzz underneath the Pizza Planet cup and burger box walking through Pizza Planet, the second had all the toys who went to rescue Woody underneath traffic cones crossing a street, and later walking a dog's travel container through the airport terminal; the third had the toys about to be thrown away hiding under a plastic recycle bin and walking back to the garage.
      • Even more so, every film ends off with a Dance Party Ending. Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3 had the most obvious examples while the original had a brief karaoke dance moment during the Christmas Party.
    • Every film, including the first, features a cover version of the iconic Toy Story theme "You've Got A Friend In Me" in the credits. The first was a duet by Randy Newman and Lyle Lovett[1], the second had an show stopping New Orleans Jazz version sung by Wheezy [2], and the final film had a very flamenco influenced version done by the Gipsy Kings [3].
    • Each film also contains an extended period with a Buzz who believes himself to be the Buzz Lightyear. The first film, obviously, has Andy's Buzz, the second film features the Utility Belt Buzz from Al's Toy Barn, and the third film features Andy's Buzz being forcibly reverted to his old personality and used as a minion of Lotso. In addition, Spanish Buzz also believes himself to be a Space Ranger, though his personality is much friendlier.
  • Parental Bonus: Oodles of it.
    "Why don't I let someone else watch the sheep tonight?"
    "What's with him?" "Laser envy."
    • Without giving away the joke, there's a moment in Toy Story 3 involving Bookworm, Barbie, and Ken, except that Ken isn't present.
      • Practically everything involving Ken. With expected results.
    • It's no accident that Mrs. Potato Head is unusually enthusiastic toward her husband when he becomes Mr. Cucumber Head.
    • Hamm had a few, non-dirty bonuses.
    (reading the Pizza Planet truck's owner's manual) "Oh, I seriously doubt he's getting this kind of mileage" (Who, Buzz or the truck's owner?)
    • "...I don't think those were Lincoln Logs."
    • At the tea party:
    Trixie: And I'm pretty sure I just came back from the doctor with life-changing news!
    • From the first film:
    Woody: Tuesday night's plastic corrosion awareness meeting was, I think, a big success. We'd like to thank Mr. Spell for putting that on for us, thank you Mr. Spell.
  • Le Parkour: Toys in general have to be pretty fast and nimble to avoid detection by humans, but Woody and Buzz in particular could give Altair and the Prince a run for their money.
  • Product Placement: Inverted. Product placement would be if they got paid to include the toys in their film. No, they had to pay for the rights to show any real-world brand of toys. So really, it's the opposite of Product Placement.
    • Though after the success of the first film, most companies approached by Pixar would doubtlessly have very low fees for placement rights.
    • Most of the toys in the first film saw huge jumps in sales. Mr. Potato Head for example was revived nearly from the scrap heap, and the Slinky Dog had been out of production at the time of the film and entered a new giant sales phase when they started making them again. So it can kind of count either way.
  • Pun-Based Title: On the term 'toy store'.
  • Rousseau Was Right About Toys: Played straight in the first two, averted in the third.
  • Rule 63: These livestreamsketches by Youkai Yume
  • Running Gag: Mr. Potato Head falling apart/losing his parts, etc.
  • Scenery Porn: Any visually complex scene could be cited here, but teenage Andy's room comes to mind (All those posters in the third film!).
    • Pizza Planet in the first movie is an especially good example, given both the level of tech and the atmospheric qualities.
  • Series Mascot: Buzz Lightyear, and to a lesser extent, the LG Ms function as this not only for the series, but for Pixar as a whole.
  • Serious Business: A truly interesting case; it's serious business to be and care for children's playthings. Having said that, almost non stop.
  • Shades of Conflict: The most prevalent is White and Grey Morality - Sid and Al are only "villains" from the toys' point of view, and the first movie is driven by Woody's jealousy. The third however has straight-on Black and White Morality given Lotso is evil despite the Freudian Excuse.
  • Shout-Out: Each film has a shout out to the corresponding film in the Star Wars original trilogy:
    • In Toy Story 1 Buzz says the moon is an enemy battle station that can destroy a whole planet and he has the plans showing its fatal weakness.
    • In Toy Story 2 Zurg says he is Buzz's father as they fight at the top of a shaft.
    • In Toy Story 3 Big Baby holds Lotso over his head and throws him into the dumpster, echoing Darth Vader throwing Palpatine in the pit.
  • Show Within a Show: The main characters each have their own fictional franchise: Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (an animated television show and video game series) and Woody's Roundup (an old-timey puppet/marionette serial).
  • Sliding Scale of Living Toys: Level 2 (except for that one scene in Sid's yard, which takes it up to Level 3).
  • The Smurfette Principle: Bo Peep was the only prominent female character in the first film. Although she had potential, she was under utilized. This was remedied with the exuberant Affirmative Action Girl Jessie in the second and third film, as well as Mrs. Potato Head and Barbie.
  • Stealth Pun: In Toy Story 2, Woody has a nightmare about Andy throwing him away. In Toy Story 3, Woody tells the other toys he needs to get to Andy's house, which is on Elm Street. Woody had a nightmare on Elm street.
    • There's another one from Toy Story that elicits a "For Pete's sake, how did I miss that?" Woody is the leader of Andy's room — in the first movie, we see that Slinky is (or used to be) the second-in-command. A cowboy... and a "long little doggy"...
  • That Poor Cat: When Rex points a flashlight in the bushes, he inquires if it's Buzz. Then the responce was that cat screeching.
  • Time Skip: The first one skips five months after Woody and Buzz get back to Andy to the last scene on Christmas Day.
    • The second takes place about one year after the first.
      • And most noticeable is the skip between Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3, which is about ten years.
  • Timmy in a Well: RC in the first movie, Jessie's critters in the second (Although that one was more of a parody)
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Woody goes from a somewhat whiny, selfish wimp in the first movie to a breakout mastermind by the third movie.
      • Woody was already a breakout mastermind near the end of the first film. His epic planning doesn't really shine in the second movie, but every ounce of potential he had is reached in the third film.
    • Buzz starts out delusional, has a breakdown when he finds out he's a toy, then comes right back to save himself and Woody via "Falling! With style!", before going on to rescue Woody in the second movie, and trying to save his friends from the Caterpillar Room, and rescuing Jessie while in the garbage truck
    • The aliens go from gag characters in the first and second movies to Big Damn Heroes by rescuing the gang from the incinerator.
    • Mr. Potato Head transforms from a selfish, distrustful coward in the first movie to a married man and a daring, surprisingly resourceful action hero in the sequels.
      • Resourceful as in Tortilla Head and Cucumber Head. And how did he change forms? He SCATTERS his body parts and finds an inanimate object to use as a body, much like those parasites seen in movies. Points for Woody for coming up with that part in the escape plan.
  • True Companions: Oh hell yes. Especially pronounced in the second and third films.
  • Unusual Euphemism: A handful.
    Woody: Save your batteries! (Chill out!)
    Mr. Potato Head: Son of a building block, it's Woody! (Presumably...you know.)
    Lotso: F.A.O my Schwartz! (Reference to a toy company)
    Woody: Pull my string, the party's today?
    Jessie: Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln! (Also a reference to the fact that Tom Hanks is a distant relative of Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks.)
  • Villainous Breakdown: Stinky Pete, which caught plenty of kids off-guard.
    • Sid after Woody Scares Him Straight.
    • Happens to Lotso in the third movie.
    • This is actually much more predictable after it happened in the second; look what happened to Pete when Woody's friends tried to get him to come back with them!
  • Water Source Tampering: One of Woody's pull string quotes.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Buzz Lightyear flying at the end of the first film, despite being shown numerous times that he can't.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Buzz in the first film who truly thinks that he is the real Buzz Lightyear before his Heroic BSOD. Then, in the second, Buzz himself encounters a doppelganger in a toy store (no pun intended) who acts exactly the same way the genuine Buzz did in the first. Lampshaded by the genuine Buzz himself during the scuffle:
    Tell me I wasn't this deluded!