Accidental Innuendo: If Sadness telling Joy that being dragged around by her foot "feels kind of nice" wasn't fertile enough for the coarse-minded, the way she drops to the ground and sighs "I'm ready" sounds any awful lot like Lie Back and Think of England.
Riley having two male emotions when most people in the movie have all of their emotions match their gender has sparked a lot of theories from fans. Some people interpret this as Riley being genderfluid, while others believe it reflects her being a tomboy, among other guesses. One answer is that the emotions eventually reflect the person they are a part of as they develop, though seeing as others are shown to have genders differing from the human they're in, and others, including Word of God, state that it means nothing at all and is as random as any childbirth.
Some fans theorize the real reason that Bing Bong is never so much as mentioned again after his disappearance is that he was even erased from the emotions' memories. After all, Riley wouldn't have any more feelings about him. Then again Joy remembers her promise to him after he fades, so this may be unlikely. And if an official Halloween poster on the Disney website can be counted as canon, he's still alive and celebrates the holidays with them.
Joy is portrayed as genuinely wanting what's best for Riley, but perhaps not incidentally views herself having the prominent role out of the emotions, controlling Riley the most and creating most of her memories, as being what's best for her. The other emotions acknowledge the importance of Joy doing her job (indeed, when they are sucked out of headquarters, Sadness expresses the need for Joy to get back) yet Joy's reaction to seeing a core memory that's not one of hers is to eject it and try to throw it away. It's an open question as to how much Joy's insistence that being happy is what's best for Riley is based on her own feelings of self importance. And Joy's insistence on controlling Riley's actions and the way she imitates Riley skating suggest she might be trying to live through Riley.
In "Riley's First Date?", was Riley telling the truth about her and Jordan going to a group activity, or was it an actual date?
Americans Hate Tingle: The film did very poorly in China compared to the rest of the world, where it only made $12 million on its opening weekend and a mere $3 million for the rest of its run. For frame of reference, the next effort to release a Pixar film in China - specifically, Finding Dory - made over $17 million in its first three days, and nearly doubled the total gross of Inside Out by the end of its second weekend.
Despite being popular at the Cannes film festival in the country, the film also failed in France because it was overshadowed by Minions as well as the locally produced One Wild Moment.
Angst Aversion: This movie is well known for being one of the most depressing Pixar/Disney films of all time. Special mention goes to Bing Bong getting Killed Off for Real.
The film failed to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, despite being one of the best reviewed films of 2015. The Academy seems to have something of a bias when it comes to animated films. The film was also ignored in the Original Score category. It did get a Best Original Screenplay nomination, but lost to Spotlight.
The film was nominated for "Favorite Animated Movie" in the 2016 Kids Choice Awards, but surprisingly lost to the critically-skewered Hotel Transylvania 2, a movie that's part of a franchise that's both extremely popular with children and has excellent performance at the box office to the point of beating any competitors that come it's way, like how the third movie outgrossed a film based on a popular cartoon among the same demographic. The snub was somewhat pacified by Amy Poehler winning the "Favorite Voice in an Animated Movie" award for her role as Joy.
Better on DVD: Fans who hate Lava likely appreciate the fact that the home media releases don't automatically play it before the movie (like all non-VHS releases of Pixar movies that originally began with Pixar-produced shorts).
Sadness, too. Plenty of people love her for her Moe appeal and generally for providing the movie's message, others hate her for essentially causing the entire conflict by refusing to follow Joy's orders, ignoring that she had no choice in the matter.
Bing Bong is either yet another unnecessary comic relief, whose presence in the movie is somewhat convoluted and his death scene being so on-the-nose that it qualifies as Narm, others were more willing to relate to his desire to play with Riley again, which understandably leads to his death being an absolute Tear Jerker.
Anger is also divisive. Plenty of viewers love the voice performance of Lewis Black and appreciate him being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, others couldn't get behind his Never My Fault attitude as he drags Fear and Disgust into the mess, even though running away was his idea.
Bing Bong is never mentioned again after he fades away. Though no one thinks that's a bad direction to take, people are split on whether or not the movie should have referenced him in some way instead of just moving on entirely.
The complaints of both Disney and Pixar not being inventive with female character designs compared to male characters have also been applied to this film. Namely, the male emotions, Fear and Anger, have unique and alien designs while the female emotions, Joy, Sadness and Disgust, have the same "round face with a small nose" design and, if not for their colors, could pass for human characters. It has led to people criticizing the animators, with some finding it lazy or outright sexist, while others see it as not a big deal.
Crossover Ship: A lot of folk have been seen pairing off Riley with Hiro from Big Hero 6 due to both movies being set in San Francisconote Though, the San Francisco seen in Big Hero 6 is a fictional city mixed with Tokyo. The shipping usually boils down to Hiro telling Riley that San Francisco is a good town to live in, or giving her a tour of the city.
There's also some people shipping Riley/Miguel, since both are kid characters in Pixar movies that came out within two years of each other. Doubles as a Toy Ship, since both are only 12 years old.
Crosses the Line Twice: Sadness talking about the "funny movie where the dog dies". Double for when Joy desperately brings it up to try to cheer her up. This goes even further in at least one foreign dub, where it's "the movie where the lion's father dies."
Death of the Author: Despite Word of God saying an emotion's gender has no impact on the person it belongs to, some people still insist an emotion's gender is important, particularly in regards to Riley.
For a character who was cut from the story, Gloom gets quite a bit of attention, which is mostly fan art depicting various designs of what the character may look like. In case you're wondering, Gloom was the potential Big Bad for the film. But his/her/its exclusion resulted in its No Antagonist status.
The popular girl with Fear as her leading emotion in the credits. Her obvious insecurities made her sympathetic for some viewers. In one fanfic in particular. she's actually an Ascended Extra and is one of Riley's best friends.
Riley joining NASA when she grows up, due to the line, "Take her to the moon for me okay?", said by Bing Bong, just as he dies. The idea is that Joy will honor the request and campaigns for it as an eventual goal.
Riley being genderfluid for having both male and female emotions, though in the credits this is shown to apply to at least one other person (and Riley's First Date? shows Jordan to have a female Sadness and Disgust), and those emotions were that way at her birth anyway.
Riley's mother and father having Sadness and Anger as their respective leading emotions has led to speculation that, at some point in the past, the mother suffered from depression while the father suffered from anger issues.
Since Riley's First Date? shows that the emotions inside Dad and Mom's mind working in quite precision just for The Big Damn Kiss, some fans like to speculate that an adult's Headquarters must have been pretty busy when they're making love.
Some like the idea that Riley has a sixth emotion, with the issue of other characters only having five being hand-waved as the sixth emotion either dissappearing or quitting once Riley reaches a certain stage in her life (usually finishing puberty). Love/Romance is the most popular option, the character is usually pink and heartshaped note much like the other emotions are formed after the shapes most associated with them. Some also like the idea of "Love" being out of reach for the other emotions, to hilarious results.
With Steven Universe fans on Tumblr. Fans have a lot of fun with the idea of emotions "fusing" the way that gems do, and thus creating more complex emotions. The two shows also have some character types (Hot-Blooded Anger and Ruby) and general themes (exploring emotions in an open and compassionate way) in common. And then there's this crossover comic.
The Inside Out fandom also naturally gets along rather well with other Disney/Pixar fandoms, the Frozen (2013) fandom being a particular example.
Soul is likely the Pixar movie that the Inside Out fandom got the closest with, since both movies heavily feature psychological and philosophical concepts. Some even thought of ideas for a Crossover between the two movies, and made theories to connect them together. Adding to this is how Soul was originally set to be released exactly 5 years to the day that Inside Out was, and features the same director/co-writer (Pete Docter).
Some people in both the Inside Out and Winnie-the-Pooh fandoms feel that Bing Bong looks like he would fit in perfectly with the other characters in the franchise. Most fans seem to pair him with Tigger. Bing Bong fans also seem to get along with Magic Adventures of Mumfie fans due to the two characters' similarities, as well as Yo Kai Watch since Bing Bong is sort of like the Yo-Kai in the show since he's imaginary and can only be seen by one person. There's also some fans of VeggieTales who pair Bing Bong up with Larry-Boy. Also Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, for obvious reasons.
To a lesser extent, some Inside Out fans also like the Trolls franchise, which also used similar expressions when it came to emotional changes and metaphysical depictions. Most of them don't have a habit of crossovering them, though.
"Funny Aneurysm" Moment: When Joy, Sadness and Bing Bong enter Abstract Thought where they start changing shapes and getting their limbs scrambled, Bing Bong comically begins with losing his left arm. The next time he notices the same arm disappearing, it's in the memory dump where he's about to be forgotten by Riley forever.
Genius Bonus: At one point, Riley dreams that her teeth are falling out. A common dream interpretation for teeth falling out is fear of aging/maturing or becoming less efficient or productive. In other words, it would point to the loss of your means to fully bite into life, to break down what life brings you.
Gotta Ship 'Em All: Before the movie had even been released yet, already some people were shipping the emotions together.
When Bing Bong is dragged into the Subconscious, he tries to bribe the guards with candy. Well, there turned out to be something inside that liked his candy alright
Metafilter user Blazecock Pileon's comment on a video where kids did a prank involving Toy Story 3 to their parents mentions the fact that he thought that Woody would sacrifice himself in the incinerator. Five years after the release of the film, Pixar would do the exact same thing with Bing Bong.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: Kyle MacLachlan's performance as Riley's father is even sweeter given that his big role immediately preceding this film's release was a heartbreakingly tragic villain who was desperate to connect with his long-lost daughter on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. It's possible to see this film as poor old Cal getting his happy ending after all.
Phyllis Smith garnered a lot of praise for her work as Sadness; before then, she was mostly known for her supporting role on The Office (US) that didn't ask a lot of her. Critics and audiences were very surprised to hear her give a sincerely emotional performance.
Amy Poehler is mostly known for her comedy skills, but she displays some fine dramatic chops in the Memory Dump scene.
Richard Kind is also a more comedic actor, known for his roles on Curb Your Enthusiasm and Co-Op the Musical - but the Memory Dump scene, especially Bing Bong's sacrifice, showed off a whole other side of his acting abilities.
Props have to be given to Kaitlyn Dias (the voice of Riley) when she breaks down in the hug scene. The same can be said for Diane Lane (Riley's Mom) and Kyle Mac Lachlan (Riley's Father).
Bing Bong hopes Joy and Sadness get Riley to remember him when they ascend, and sacrifices himself for her good. In a way, he wants them to witness him. There's even a mashup on Tumblr.
The conversation between Fear, Disgust and Anger about whether or not there are bears in San Francisco? The movie's story artist Daniel Chong had something to say about that a mere month later.
In one of his routines, Lewis Black complains that a newspaper describing his routines as often including "mental breakdowns" makes it sound like they were marketing his show to the mentally disturbed. He then proceeds to pretend to be a crazy person arguing with the multiple voices in his head over whether or not to see the show. In this movie, Lewis Black is one of the voices in someone's head, and he argues plenty with the other voices about what Riley ought to do in situations. Bonus points for having him frequently reading newspapers.
Lewis Black's title and intro music for his angry rant segments on The Daily Show is AC/DC's "Back In Black", the same song that Riley's dad and her friend Jordan (the panicked boy at the end of the film) bond over in Riley's First Date(?).
In How It Should Have Ended's take on the film, Bing Bong seems to act meaner than he does in the actual movie, even insulting Joy at one point. One of the Deleted Scenes revealed to the public showed a Bing Bong whom acted exactly similar telling Joy to throw a brick at mind workers.
Not quite as noticeable, but the previous year saw DreamWorks Animation release Mr. Peabody & Sherman. The dog's Sadness in the Creative Closing Credits wears glasses that makes it resemble Mr. Peabody's face if it were blue. Also, the dog's Fear wears a bowtie that also reminds one of Peabody.
This educational short film was made using Renderman, the software Pixar uses in all of its movies, in 1994. It concerns how to turn a sphere inside-out. It's title? Outside In.
Iron Woobie: Riley's parents, judging by the emotions that serve as the "leaders" in their minds. Her mother's is Sadness, which implies that she is worried about the state of their family and the big adjustment with the move. Her father's is Anger, which implies that he is under a lot of stress, as seen with the constant phone calls and the fact that he really doesn't know how the family is going to get by. It's a credit to their parenting that they don't drag Riley into their problems.
Les Yay: A fair amount between Joy and Sadness. And then there is this piece from the novelization:
Joy: Sadness smiled at me and took my hand. She led me over to the console and placed my hand next to hers, so we could drive together I rested my head on Sadness, and we both smiled.
On the lighter side, a few people confused this song with a similarly-named one from Peppa Pig.
Also on Tumblr, it's even more popular to edit the trailer's "Do you look at someone and wonder what's going on inside their head?" with some random thing, such asHotel Mario.
Misaimed Fandom: Young kids in the theater wondered why their parents were getting emotional during the film.
Misaimed Marketing: There's a translucent Funko Pop figure of Bing Bong sold exclusively at Hot Topic. Its translucency is supposed to be a reference to him being an Imaginary Friend, but since he fades away by the end, a lot of people have understandably gotten whiplash from it.
Vincent van Gogh said, "Let us not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it." If only he lived a century-and-a-half later than he did...
There have been several earlier works where different aspects of the human mind are portrayed as anthropomorphic characters:
The whole premise of Inside Out is quite similar to the semi-obscure early 90s sitcom Herman's Head.
In this animated short (made by French digital art students), the characters are more like functions of the brain (control center, vocal chords, memory, curiosity, emotions, reason, judgment).
The concept of emotions as personified beings was also featured in The Fairly Oddparents episode "Emotion Commotion", which also stressed the concept of having emotions to get through life, a concept also crucial to Inside Out's plot development. An earlier episode Tiny Timmy had Timmy discovering that Vicky's brain has tiny people controlling her emotions through control panels in front of a monitor that shows Vicky's optimal vision.
On that note, some elements from Warner Bros.'s Osmosis Jones, including dreams being movies in the body and whatnot, were suspiciously similar to some things in Inside Out. The Nostalgia Critic based much of his review of Osmosis Jones (which came out not too long after Inside Out was released) off of these comparisons.
The brain as a control center full of monitors is also explored in the French-Japanese-Swiss-Italian animated television series Il était une fois....
British comic The Beano has characters called The Numskulls, which were little people inside a boy's head and controlling his thoughts and movements. The Numskulls first started in another British comic The Beezer in 1962 before moving to The Beano in 1992.
An indie cartoon that came out in 2013, called "Brain Divided" dealt with the same concept.
Gloom has an Ensemble Dark Horse entry on the movie's YMMV page for a reason. Most of the depictions of the character tend to lean closely towards the original concept; a large male figure with dark sunglasses and a suit, usually stylized after a black stormcloud. They are Sadness' Evil Counterpart more often than not.
Hope is a character that people have latched onto, mostly to fill the lack of an orange emotion. She's Always Female and often stylized after a firefly, usually acting as a Foil and moderator to Joy and Sadness, being more realistic than Joy while more idealistic than Sadness.
Surprise is less popular the other scrapped emotions, but gets recognition for being Adapted Out from the original Six Basic Emotions. Her color is often pink and she's often made to be the Distaff Counterpart to Fear.
People initially disliked Sadness for apparently being the cause of all the conflict of the movie. As the movie shows, not only does she really want Riley to be happy, she's necessary for Riley to be truly happy.
Joy was disliked by some for coming across as a bully to Sadness. The movie makes it clear that she's not intentionally being mean to Sadness, as she just wants to keep Riley happy. Joy also learns that Sadness is crucial for Riley to actually be happy.
The movie itself rescues Riley's father from the initial poor reactions his character received from the trailer, where it was implied he was going to be presented as a stereotypical Bumbling Dad who was self-involved and uninterested in his family. As it happens, the movie presents him as a very good father who in the scene in question just happens to be a bit distracted.
Ron the Death Eater: Some fans have a tendency to exaggerate exactly how selfish, cruel and dictatorial Joy is. While Joy's control over Riley is suggested to be at times unhealthy and she's pretty thoughtless and dismissive towards Sadness, it is made clear at several points that Joy genuinely cares for Riley and believes that keeping her happy is best for everyone. Her actions are not motivated out of malice but from a well-meaning and sincere misunderstanding of what is best for Riley, and while her treatment of Sadness is not exactly nice all of the time she's not nearly as cruel and bullying as these fans tend to make out.
Stoic Woobie: Deconstructed. The movie shows why you shouldn't keep your emotions bottled up when you're suffering inside. It's only when Riley confesses to her parents about her sadness that she can truly be happy again.
Tastes Like Diabetes: The Rainbow Unicorn dream right before Jangles. Dances, ice cream, little fluffy sheep, gnomes, pink sky
Tough Act to Follow: While the film itself was a great success that was viewed as a great step up from Pixar's Dork Age, the film ended up doing this to The Good Dinosaur, whose Troubled Production resulted in it being released shortly after Inside Out was, and it was inevitably viewed as a disappointment in comparison by both critics and the public.
Trailer Joke Decay: Try to find a trailer or TV spot that doesn't show the 'brain freeze' gag.
True Art Is Angsty: As with most Pixar movies, this is considered one of their more sadder films and there's no shortage of people who enjoy it for that very reason.
Uncanny Valley: Baby Riley is designed in an extremely realistic manner, which can look unsettling if you're more used to cartoonishly-proportioned baby characters like Jack-Jack. That said, everyone agrees it looks a lot more appealing than the infamous Tin Toy baby.
Visual Effects of Awesome: The emotions have detailed, extremely fluid movements and effects. It's quite the accomplishment that those can then be put in sequences as expressive and stretchy as a Looney Tunes short without sacrificing quality.
While making the long trek back to headquarters, Joy and Sadness run into workers that send an Ear Worm as a joke through recall tubes. You'd Expect: Joy would send several of the core memories up to tide Anger, Disgust and Fear using those same tubes, as How It Should Have Ended noted, so that the remaining personality islands don't collapse as Sadness and Joy make the long trek back, using the Train of Thought. Instead: Joy insists that she has to personally take the core memories back to headquarters, not even letting the possibility cross her mind since the core memories are too valuable. This oversight ends up costing her and Sadness crucial time; when she thinks to use the recall tubes to transport herself and the memories much later on, they collapse due to Honesty Island collapsing at the same time.
Bing Bong points out a "shortcut" that says "DANGER- Keep Out". Bing Bong can't read, but Joy very well can. Sadness realizes what the danger is and warns Joy not to go in. You'd Expect: Joy would listen to Sadness's worries and bypass the "shortcut," given the sign and all. Instead: Joy and Bing Bong go in, with Sadness reluctantly following to help them out when they get turned into abstract thought. Cessation of Existence nearly ensues.
The Train of Thought stops for the night, since Riley needs sleep. Joy is frantic since without the train they have a long journey ahead of them. They sneak into the dream-making studios to try and wake Riley up. You'd Expect: Each emotion has alternating dream shift duty; Joy in fact was on one, and the dreams tend to be repetitive. Joy and Sadness after crashing the dream could try and send a message to Fear, Anger or Disgust through the images to not do anything rash and that Joy and Sadness are on their way back to headquarters. The dream has a Weirdness Censor, but even Fear can see through most of it and criticize the quality. Instead: Joy and Sadness only focus on waking Riley up, and Fear has no idea what's going on when he sees the strange nightmares that the other two emotions cause. Anger and Disgust chide him for waking Riley up during a nightmare, not realizing Joy's intentions due to miscommunication, and plant the idea for Riley to run away.
Riley. The poor kid has the misfortune to be uprooted from her home, her friends and everything that she loved at an especially turbulent time of her life, and it takes her a while to come around to admitting how bad she feels.
Sadness seems to be made for this. A small pudgy girl with huge glasses and a turtleneck sweater and big, sad, blue Puppy-Dog Eyes; you just want to give her a hug.
Bing Bong, Riley's imaginary friend. The guy was all but forgotten by Riley, but not once does he hold anything against her. And to top it off, he ends up performing a Heroic Sacrifice, with no Disney Death in sight.
Fear. Not only is the poor guy afraid of his own shadow, but he suffers more physical abuse than any other emotion in the movie.