From Scary to Funny

by courtvanhaaren

I spent some time watching Monsters University today with my siblings, and it once again got me thinking about the social implications and social change that takes place in the Monster universe due to Mike and Sulley.

(Yes, this is a legitimate post about Monsters Inc.)

I mean, think about it, really think about it. In the Monster universe, their entire existence revolves around the idea of scaring children. Their energy comes from the screams of children, and the screams of children rely on fearsome monsters.

So, because of this fact, their entire society is formed around the idea of instilling fear in children. Not only does their energy rely on it, but their schooling and other miscellaneous industries rely on it. Multiple jobs and degrees are based off of directly or aiding in the job of fear.

Since they are so reliant on scaring, it seeps into their ideas of what a true monster is. This idea is made evident with Dean Hardscrabble’s statement on the first day of class: “If you’re not scary, what kind of monster are you?” Their measurements of worth is based around the concept of scaring, building a social hierarchy based off appearance and attitude instead of worth, evident in the ascension of Sulley but the defeat of Mike as far as being scarers. Yes, it was proved that Mike was unable to scare children, but he had been mocked all of his life on the basis that he was not considered scary.

Taking all this in account, I really want to know how society is constructed after the idea of laughter for energy is implemented. I think this is probably one of the setbacks to creating a sequel to Monsters Inc. The entire fabric that held their society together is unwoven. Multiple industries and sciences had to adjust to the new development, for example creating canisters compatible for holding laughter instead of screams. New energy conversion had to be developed.

Not only that, hundreds of degrees became useless. Every single scaring degree was no longer necessary. School programs had to be discontinued and new programs had to be created. 

Plus the entire concept of what makes a monster has completely changed. A monster’s merit is no longer based on their scariness. These mindsets are extremely hard to reconstruct; they are changed an entire universe’s schema of standards and worth of monsters.

Finally, the toxicity of humans is no longer valid. They not only have to reconstruct what monsters are, but they have to reconstruct what humans are. Which is a good thing, because it’s just plain silly to scare beings who completely terrify you.

I feel like I could genuinely write a psychological/sociological essay based of these movies. No joke. I’ll just leave it with this post, a general thought post touching slightly on the topic of this particular story line.

I love dissecting movies.

~C M VanHaaren