"Pixar in Real Life": Disney+ Reality Show Embraces (Intentional?) Existential Horror [OPINION]

Disney+ has launched with Disney's archive of movies, recent television shows, and new original shows as well. It's all to reinforce the Disney brand and Disney as a lifestyle. That's well and good. Disney has a image for fun and wholesomeness that kept the brand in good stead for decades.

Pixar is another brand under Disney's umbrella. It stands for quality animated movies that are frequently funny, heartfelt and insightful. The movies are massively popular, of course, and for good reason.

So somebody decided that a reality show where Pixar shows up in real life would be cool: Pixar in Real Life.

According to the trailer, New Yorkers are presented with a real-life version of the robot from Wall-E, the boy scout kid from Up in Candid Camera-style formats. So far, so good, right?

Then I watched the first episode…

…It's really a horror story!

In Washington Square Park, they placed a real-life version of the console from Inside Out. In the movie, the console is a panel in Riley's brain that's used to control her basic emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.

And Disney+ gave New Yorkers a life-size version of that console.

What happens next is moments of pure existential horror.


Tourists, kids, and students got the chance to press the buttons that changed the emotions of some planted actors who wandered in front of the console. They would then react to each other in the emotion prompted by the button presses. You got two guys talking to each other but running a gamut of emotions. There's the dreaded mother-daughter outing where the daughter goes from joy to rage to crying. They're torturing these actors!

You should never give New Yorkers a panel that controls and manipulates people's emotions.


It's like a public outdoor Milgram Experiment. Can you imagine if someone was remote controlling  your emotions while you're just trying to get through the day? It's like a Twilight Zone episode come to life.

This is the first existential horror show on Disney+. There really is something for everyone on the streaming service.

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.