Family-friendly movies often try to sneak in some adult jokes to keep the parents suffering through children’s movies a little more entertained. Like when Anna tells Kristof that foot size doesn’t matter in Frozen. Shrek is famous for all of its risky jokes. Shaggy tells a woman who introduces herself as Mary Jane that that is his “favourite name” in the live-action Scooby Doo. Some bugs in A Bug’s Life ask the ladybug if they want to “pollinate with a real bug”. But no kids’ movie really crosses the line and says any swear words. That was at least until people heard something a little different in one DisneyPixar movie.
But did Toy Story really drop an F-bomb?
The Pixar movie starring Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear has been a fan favourite for ages. However, during a particular scene, there has been a lot of speculation that there was a choice word said by Ken to Barbie that had a lot of people raising an eyebrow. While Pixar and Disney have never been scared of throwing in a couple of risqué jokes, viewers are starting to think that they might have pushed it a little too far this time in a short scene.
Ken is voiced by Batman actor Michael Keaton in this scene, with Jodi Benson voicing Barbie alongside him. In the scene, the two lovebirds quarrel about the fact that Ken is loyal to the antagonist, Lotso. Barbie has Ken tied up to a paddle in his underwear (already a bit of an odd situation), and Barbie is tearing up some of Ken’s clothes to get her point across. Barbie reaches for one of Ken’s favourite pieces of clothing, tearing it in half, to which Ken exclaims, “Oh Barbie!” and complains that the piece she just destroyed was vintage.
A now viral TikTok posted by @kittyfeeley showed the mentioned scene, asking her followers what they hear in the background. Depending on what followers were thinking when they watched the Toy Story clip, some heard the original “Oh Barbie!” while others heard an F-bomb.
Sound like a familiar phenomenon? Harken back to the “Yanny or Laural” moment in internet history.
What Actually Happened
It is suggested that followers hear different words because of a phenomenon known as the McGurk Effect, which indicates that the brain is tricked into attending something different based on the presented visual information. Because the TikTok video has a visual element to it and captions that say f**k rather than Barbie, the brain is tricked into hearing that. If you are primed for a specific phrase, that’s what you will hear. If you listen to just the audio and think “Barbie”, that’s what you will listen to, and on the other hand, if you think of the f-bomb, that’s what you will hear.
Thanks to the brain’s incredible power, we can conclude that Pixar didn’t push the envelope and drop an f-bomb in their family-friendly Toy Story movie. Try listening to the audio for yourself!