While Pixar’s animated film about toys who have a life of their own and AMC’s gritty show about the zombie apocalypse may seem to have nothing in common, there are actually many similarities. Like, a lot of similarities. One Redditor named JimmyLegs50 actually took the time to pick out all of the connections between the two stories and it’s a little insane, especially because I’ve never been watching an episode of The Walking Dead and been like, “Wow, this really reminds me of when Woody and Buzz did that thing.”
Of course, some of the connections extend from the fact that Toy Story and The Walking Dead have western style elements to their storytelling. That’s a little obvious though, as their main characters are both a sheriff. However, some of the other connections are very specific and odd. I’m serious – #7 is a crazy connection.
This piece is in no way suggesting that Toy Story and The Waking Dead have in any way straight-up ripped off of each other or influenced each other at all. It's just suggesting that there maybe be a bizarre amount of similarities between the two, which can happen between two works of art without either creator trying.
Forewarning, there are obviously spoilers for both Toy Story and The Walking Dead below so, uh, don’t read ahead if that’s an issue.
The first and most obvious connection is that the protagonists in Toy Story and The Walking Dead are sheriffs. They even look a little bit alike, or they do when Rick has a razor at his disposal, which is not often. This is the easiest connection, as any story about a small group acting as a mini-society will usually have a sheriff as their leader. Well, that or the doctor character will be the leader, as in Lost.
When we meet both Rick and Woody, they are idealistic in completely different ways. Woody has been the favorite toy of Andy for, like, ever. He also seems like the most popular toy in the bedroom. Nothing will ever change and life will always be like this. Rick, too, has an idealistic version of his life, as he is married and has a son. Both characters will soon have their innocence knocked out of them.
3 Groups Must Hide To Survive
Many of the following similarities will come from the fact that Toy Story and The Walking Dead are both about tiny groups who must hide in order to survive in their world.
In The Walking Dead, they stay quiet in order to not draw attention from the walkers. In a few sticky situations, Rick and other have even worn zombie guts in order to pretend they were straight up dead. In Toy Story, they play dead in front of the humans.
While the threats they hide from are completely different, err zombies vs humans, they are both hiding in order to keep their small group safe. On The Walking Dead, they would clearly be zombie meat but in Toy Story, exposing the fact that toys have their own actions would mean a certain death. I mean, if we all realized that toys can walk and talk, there would totally be mass bonfires where we would get rid of the toys.
Ah, and the heart of both Toy Story and The Walking Dead: the relationship between the main character and the boy. In Toy Story, Andy is Woody’s owner and they love each other dearly. Woody is Andy’s favorite toy and Woody basically lives for the fact that he’s Andy’s favorite toy.
In The Walking Dead, Carl is Rick’s son and at this point in the series, it seems that he is the most important living person to Rick. Sure, Rick has Judith around but she more or less shows up every couple episodes so we can all remember that Rick has another kid. Also, Judith could totally be Shane’s baby. It’s not like they have done DNA testing on The Walking Dead. Don't you think Rick totally has to have that in the back of his mind?
Either way, it seems that both Woody and Rick find the will to live from their love for their kid.
Admittedly, these relationships have completely different trajectories but the characters do have similarities. Both Shane and Buzz Lightyear are officers of the law and share many character traits. They both live their life according to a certain set of rules, which they judge others for not living up to – of course, Shane and Buzz have a different set of rules, as Shane is more Darwinian and Buzz is more idealistic. They both can also be impulsive and unpredictable at times as well.
While they provide great foils for Woody and Rick, the relationships took different paths. Shane and Rick began as good friends, which turns after Rick learns that Shane had an affair with Lori. It also didn’t help that Shane was going bat-shit crazy too because of the zombies. Buzz and Woody, on the other hand, started off as foes, who grew to be friends because, ya know, it was a children’s movie.
Ah, and this is where some of the conflict is exactly the same. In the beginning of The Walking Dead and in Toy Story, Woody and Rick must both deal with feeling that they are losing their ‘kid,’ Buzz and Shane, respectively. Spoiler alert: Woody and Rick do not take that lying down. In fact, they are pretty angry.
Of course, this begins in different fashions. Andy is given Buzz as a toy for his birthday and is drawn to Buzz, as he is a shiny, new toy. In TWD, Shane takes over as a father figure in Carl’s life when Rick is believed to be dead. This crack the group of members leads to some big consequences for both.
As the tension between Woody/Buzz and Rick/Shane comes to ahead, there is even a scene that is basically the same thing. Both sets of men get into a physical fight right beneath a truck. It’s, like, literally the same thing, minus the zombies in TWD that rear their heads.
Also, both protagonists go on to kill their respective enemy. While Woody only pushes Buzz out the window, the toys all do accuse Woody of having murdered him. Rick, on the other hand, for real kills Shane, which was obviously something that would never really go down in a Pixar movie. Actually, I’m not sure about that last statement. Pixar can be dark as hell sometimes.
In the first Toy Story, Woody and Buzz are introduced to Sid’s disfigured toys, who are seriously like zombie boys. They look horrifying and, though they don’t want to eat Woody or Buzz, they are about as close to zombie toys are you will ever get.
It is at this point where Woody and Buzz actually act similarly to Rick and Shane, respectively. Buzz becomes despondent and while Shane doesn’t necessarily react in the same way, he certainly goes off a deep end too. Woody, on the other hand, is shocked, as his innocence has been whipped away, but he continues to fight on in hopes of being reunited with Andy, as Rick did in the beginning of The Walking Dead. Like Rick, Woody is able to come up with a plan to rescue them both from certain death at the hands of Sid.
Ah, as we move on to Toy Story 2, there are even more similar characters. Specifically in Toy Story 2, we are introduced to Jessie and Stinky Pete. Jessie is an energetic, yoodling cowgirl and Stinky Pete seems to be a wise, mentor-like prospector. These two characters are much like Beth and Hershel.
First of all, Stinky Pete looks a lot like Hershel and even more so once Hershel is on crutches, as Stinky Pete uses a walking stick. Stinky Pete’s character turns out to be villainous, as he has come to the wrong conclusion of children being evil. This actually isn’t too different from Hershel’s first wrong conclusions about walkers, as he was keeping them alive in the shed. They were both pretty firm in their opinions, though Hershel did finally see the light.
Beth, like Jessie, seems to be a character full of light. I mean, any cheery character who takes to singing songs is basically a beam of light.
2 Somebody Did Poison The Waterhole!
Of all the connections, this one is so weird and so spot on. Woody has several catchphrases, like ‘Reach for the sky!’ and ‘There’s a snake in my boot!’ The latter is my personal favorite because, uh, having a snake in your boot is, well, I don’t know if you live through that. One of his other phrases is, 'Somebody’s poisoned the waterhole!' If you think back to season two of The Walking Dead, someone totally did poison that water hole!
When the group arrives at Hershel’s farm, there’s a walker in the waterhole, which becomes a whole issue, as they don’t want to just shoot the walker and poison themselves with Walker Water. By the way, AMC totally needs to market Walker Water.
They concoct a plan to send Glenn down into the well to get the walker, mostly because Glenn just loves to be put in situations where he can die. Since the plan was pretty flawed, it didn’t work out and the water ended up with zombie guts in it anyways but the point is… Somebody poisoned the waterhole!
In season three of The Walking Dead and in Toy Story 3, both groups stumble upon a seemingly perfect shelter… but it’s not so perfect after all.
In Toy Story 3, the toys are under the impression that Andy intends to throw them away as he’s leaving for college, but in reality he planned to have them stored in the attic. The toys instead jump into a donation box to be taken to Sunnyside Daycare. The toys meet Lotso, but we’ll talk about him more later. Lotso gives them the tour and it all seems wondrous, until it’s not. The toys are played with by young toddlers, who play a little too rough, and when Buzz requests they be sent to the young children’s room, Lotso says nope. You can't get out.
Similarly, Andrea arrives in Woodbury and thinks it’s a paradise, while Michonne has her doubts and for all the right reasons. The seemingly perfect town turns out to be anything but and is more like a prison. Again, you can't get out.
Obviously, the leaders of Woodbury and Sunnyside are pretty similar. I mean, you have to be one sick individual to create a military-grade enforced community. Okay, Sunnyside wasn’t really military-grade but it was about was as military-grade as Pixar will ever get.
The obvious similarity is the way in which both The Governor and Lotso come off like friendly, charismatic people, when underneath, they are ruthless rulers. On an even more less important scale, both guys have southern accents (duh, because southern accents make bad guys very approachable) and ride around on the backs of trucks. Oh, and there is another similarity… See the next point.
Both Lotso and The Governor have crazy similar backstories: they were both driven into their insanity because of their love for a little girl. In Lotso’s backstory, he was given to a girl named Daisy for Christmas and quickly became Daisy’s favorite toy. When her parents took her to a picnic, they packed up the car left her toys behind. Lotso convinced the other two toys who were left that they have to get back to Daisy. After a long journey back to Daisy's house, Lotso sees that Daisy was given another Lots-O’-Huggin’-Bear and just like that, he was irrelevant. Lotso then discovered Sunnyside and turned it into his interment camp of sorts.
The Governor’s daughter, Penny, died before we ever saw her in the series and he keeps her around as his zombie daughter… because that’s totally normal. He even brushes her hair and feeds her bowls of meat. It’s actually impressive the way he has it set up, so as to keep her as a pet zombie baby, but yeah, he’s still totally insane.
Because what else would happen if you were stuck in an enemy area? Of course, both the group in TWD and in Toy Story were tied up and interrogated. And also of course, the interrogations in TWD were a bit more brutal than those in Toy Story because again, Pixar.
Actually, on second though, the Toy Story interrogations were pretty bad as well. In this scene, Ken questions Buzz and tries to get him to come over to the dark side, but Buzz refuses. Ken then uses a screwdriver on Buzz's back, which actually looks painful. Ken then switches Buzz's settings, making him a prop for the bad guys to use.
In The Walking Dead, when Glenn refuses to answer questions, he is tied to a chair and a walker is place in the room. Glenn actually kicks the walker's ass but it's still a pretty sick form of torture. Oh, and then Maggie is forced to strip and almost raped when she won't cooperate. So, yeah, that stuff generally wouldn't appear in a Pixar film.
No one really misses The Walking Dead's Andrea, but she certainly does share some parallels with Barbie in Toy Story 3.
In Toy Story 3, Barbie is with the gang in Sunnyside, where she meets Ken. When Barbie and her group are assigned to the toddler room, Ken asks if she wants to come live in his house in the older children's room. When her group tells her to go, she leaves them behind and joins Ken. Upon realizing that Ken has her friends locked up to be questioned, she becomes disillusioned with their relationship and realizes that Ken is the bad guy.
Much like Barbie, Andrea leaves her group and ends up in the idealistic Woodbury, where she begins sleeping with The Governor. Despite Michonne's worries, Andrea doesn't questions their safety there. Eventually, her alliance with The Governor leads to her death in his torture room.
At least Barbie and Ken get a sweeter ending, as they reconcile and turn Sunnyside from a prison into the paradise it seemed to be.
1 Hero Orchestrates A Prison Break
Ah, and of course because the hero is the hero, he orchestrates a prison break for his friends. This happens in Toy Story 3 when Woody helps the gang escape from Sunnyside and also in Toy Story when Woody rescues Buzz from a trip on a rocket launcher. It kind of comes with the territory of being the sheriff character in the gang, though. Rick, like Woody, rescues his companions over and over again from Woodbury and from Terminus.
Because of the nature of stories about sheriff characters and a small group of characters acting as a society, there are a ton of connections but you have to admit that the 'Somebody's poisoned the waterhole' is a pretty crazy connection. Perhaps in the Toy Story 4 film, due out in 2018, they will carry on this tradition and have a crazy toy named Negan, who beats other toys to death with bat wrapped in barbed wire. That isn't necessarily representative of the Pixar brand but hey, Pixar can get pretty dark sometimes, too.
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