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How The Plot Of Monsters At Work Was Influenced By Real Life

Movies and TV shows are almost always influenced by real-world events, sometimes directly and sometimes in subtle ways. Even a franchise as seemingly fantastical as "Monsters, Inc." still reflects the realities of the time when it was made. That's definitely the case with the upcoming TV series "Monsters at Work," which premieres on Disney+ on July 7, 2021.

"Monsters, Inc." premiered in 2001, starring John Goodman and Billy Crystal as Sully and Mike, two monsters who work for the Monstropolis energy factory, which generates power by scaring children. Twelve years later, Pixar followed that film with "Monsters University," a prequel that explored how Sully and Mike met and became friends.

"Monsters at Work" will be a bit of a departure for the franchise. Not only will it be a TV series following a whole new group of characters, but the entire focus of the Monsters, Inc. business has changed. In an interview with Comic Book Resource, "Monsters at Work" executive producer Bob Gannaway talked about the differences between the show and the films, as well as how a highly unusual 2020 affected the final product.

Like it did with many TV shows and movies, COVID-19 influenced Monsters at Work

"Monsters at Work" has been in development since at least as early as 2017, but once it premieres, it will still have a very 2020 feel. While the show doesn't directly address the COVID-19 pandemic, the main character's struggle is something that most of us can still understand.

The biggest change in "Monsters at Work" is that the Monsters, Inc. factory has just made the switch from fear-based energy to laughter-based energy, which forces its employees to adapt or lose their jobs. The show's main character is Tylor, a new employee who idolizes Sully and wants to follow in his footsteps to become a scare master. The switch to laughter forces him to completely rethink his life plan.

According to Gannaway, Tylor's predicament mirrors what the world went through in 2020. "We have this COVID situation, which is all about the world's universe throwing us a curveball, and how are you going to deal with it?" Gannaway said. "And that made for an interesting character, because now the character, our main character, can be flawed in the sense that the thing I wanted gets taken away from me, and that's not fair. And the audience, therefore, hopefully, connects with that."

Having your life thrown into disarray is never fun, but one thing that can help is a healthy sense of humor. "Monsters at Work" should definitely help in that department.