Seeing all the advertisements over the past few months about Toy Story 4 after the franchise had been thought of to be finished with the third movie (and several television specials) lead me back to the movies I loved in my youth once more. Without taking into account the fourth movie (as I haven’t seen it yet), this series of films (Toy Story 1,2 and 3) is considered one of the great animated film trilogies, that keeps getting better with every film. There are several famous scenes that has been taken into the popular culture osmosis, “Infinity and beyond”, the “You are a toy” scene, that scene in the third one about the garbage dump which I dare not to remember again. There is one particular scene that is relevant in the age of ASMR.
Toy Story 2 came out in 1999, a few years after the first movie, which was haled as a wonder and a successful way of utilizing the then-new CGI animation. At the time that it was showed in theaters, none of the animated Disney movies (as Disney does own Pixar) has ever gotten a sequel released to theaters, with the exception of the The Rescuers Down Under, which was released about 9 years prior. This film, after having the first movie introduced the concept of toys having a mind and independent thoughts, plays into the world and the underlying implications of abandoning your secretly alive toys.
In the second film, after one of the main protagonist, Woody (as voiced by Tom Hanks), had, over the course of the film, gone through significant trauma to his body, which would have caused permanent damage if he was a real man. Since he’s a toy, in this world, the human man who toynapped him from his home, hired a toy restoration clearer in order for Woody to look presentable for a Japan museum he was being shipped off to with the rest of a toy collection from an old television show.
Geri, voiced by the wonderful Jonathan Harris, had a box of tools with him with several body parts for the occasion, an apparatus to help with giving Woody a dye job, a chair for the toy (in this case woody) to sit down on. He even cleaned his ears for him! That’s dedication right there! The soundtrack that accompanied the scene married it well together. For me, this is a scene that’s worth watching over again and over again. It felt so satisfying, up until Geri cleaned up Andy’s mark from Woody’s boot, but it doesn’t deter from the scene.
Geri even had a Pixar short to himself, which was released in 1997, a few years before Toy Story 2’s release, but given how long it takes to develop and create an animated movie, especially for the how rough CGI animation was in those days, it’s safe to assume that the short was made to complement Toy Story 2.
This scene was of all of 2 minutes, in a runtime of 95 minutes. It left quite a impression on me, and several others who grew up with the films or are just now discovering it due to the recent movies that have come out in the last decade. It was years later until I fully realized why it had such an effect on me.
ASMR( Autonomous sensory meridian response) is a relatively new term, coined in the late 2000s by Jennifer Allen, who wanted to create a legitimate term for sensations that people felt after listening to certain types of noises, after being inspired from an online forum on SteadyHealth.com. These sensation run through clicking your nails, purring, whispering and other miscellaneous noises that offers a delicious pleasing cadence.
It eventually grew traction to the point where several Youtube personalities created their channels based on the concept, in different tiers of ASMR, from audio scenes, elaborate role-plays, several hours of someone holding different props to the microphone, celebrities having ASMR interviews and participating in other mediums that includes ASMR . Nickelodeon even created a series of shorts based on it - though after watching a few episodes it’s more of a show where the actors are silent save for making loud noises in their tiny classroom. More people in the industries are creating works like this as there is a huge demand. It might speak to the idealistic inside of me, but perhaps someday they’ll be a full show or movie based on the concept (and doing it successfully).
When I first heard about ASMR, I thought it was a fad, similar to when Fidget Spinners exploded in popularity when it was considered a stimming toy. But the more I got into it, the more I realized how many scenes from media that I enjoyed had several scenes where it was expressed.