Since it came out five years ago, Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out has been a critically and commercially beloved animated film. Its genius is that it uses kid-friendly imagery to explore themes of mental health and the emotional changes that come with growing up. The story follows 11-year-old Riley Andersen and the personified emotions in her head as they attempt to navigate new and complex feelings brought on by a move from her home in Minnesota to San Francisco.
Despite the heavier themes, Inside Out has the fun characters and light-hearted jokes that Pixar films are known for, and this includes all the trademark Easter eggs and hidden references. To celebrate Disney’s re-release of Inside Out, I’d like to highlight some of these more subtle jokes.
‘Find Me’ Clown Fish Board Game
Some of the best sight gags of the movie take place in Imagination Land, a representation of all the things Riley thinks about. When Bing Bong guides Joy and Sadness through Imagination Land, there are several small visual jokes hidden in the scene.
In the background of this scene, there is a pile of large board games arranged like construction materials. One of these games has a picture of a clown fish on the box and the game is called “Find Me”. This is a reference to Pixar classic Finding Nemo.
‘Forget It, Jake, It’s Cloud Town’
In the Classic 1974 film Chinatown, the final, tragic scene is punctuated by the famous line, “Forget it, Jake, It’s Chinatown.”
In one of the later scenes of Inside Out, as Joy chases after Sadness through Imagination Land, they run through an area called Cloud Town. In Joy’s haste, she accidentally runs through one of the cloud people which causes them to dissipate instantly. Two nearby cops witness this crime unfold. One of the cops tries to chase after Joy, but the other cop stops him and states “Forget it, Jake, it’s Cloud Town,” a reference to the final scene in Chinatown.
A113 is a somewhat well-known Easter egg in animated media, especially in Disney and Pixar films. It refers to a classroom at California Institute of the Arts where animation and graphic design classes are taught. Several famous alumni like Brad Bird and Tim Burton include this code in the backgrounds of their work, and it can be seen somewhere in nearly every Pixar film. In Inside Out, A113 can be seen briefly, spray-painted on a wall as Riley walks home from the bus station.
A Teaser For Pixar Movies To Come
In a scene where Joy is reviewing Riley’s happy memories of her family’s trip to San Francisco, she comes across a memory of Riley’s family stopping to pose for a picture with some dinosaur statues that serve as a road-side attraction. While the family is taking the picture, their car starts to roll forward and hits one of the statues.
The dinosaurs in this scene are drawn in the same art style as those in the Pixar film The Good Dinosaur. While the triceratops doesn’t appear to be based on any specific character, the dinosaur their car rolls into appears to be the back half of the main character, Arlo. At the time Inside Out was released, the audience didn’t realize this was obviously a reference as The Good Dinosaur had not yet been released, but we know it is now.
Sid’s Shirt Comes In Different Colors
On Riley’s first day of class at her new school, she watches her new classmates trying to figure out where she’ll fit in. The emotion characters in her head notice some “cool girls” and try to determine how to behave towards them to convince them to like Riley. One of these characters is wearing a tee-shirt that may seem familiar to fans of Toy Story. This is the same shirt Sid wears except the colors are reversed; Sid’s shirt is black with a white skull whereas the girl’s shirt in Inside Out is white with a black skull.
Waiting For Dave Goelz
In a scene where Joy and Sadness attempt to free Bing Bong from the subconscious, there are two cop characters guarding the door. These characters have a discussion about whether or not they had switched hats.
If the guard characters sound familiar, that’s likely because these guards are voiced by legendary Muppet performers Frank Oz and Dave Goelz. Oz originated roles like Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear, and Goelz is known for his roles as Gonzo the Great and Bunsen Honeydew.
Given the absurd nature of this scene, it’s possible their interaction about their hats is a reference to the hat scene in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot.
This is just a small sample of the Easter eggs in Inside Out; there are definitely many more hidden gags to find. If you’d like to challenge yourself to spot these Easter eggs and others I missed, Disney is re-releasing Inside Out in some theaters this Friday, July 10.