Lust in Toyland – A Poignant and Powerful Portrait of Lust in an old Pixar Video

The video below is an old (1989) Pixar “short” reel depicting, in a darkly humorous way, the sin of lust. As is often the case in Pixar movies, toys come alive, and tell us more about ourselves than we might have known. You might want to view it before reading my commentary.

As the video opens we scan the shelf of toys and spy upon a toy woman too good to be true. Indeed, like Barbie, her figure is impossible, or possible only by way of surgery. Yes, here is the woman of Hollywood, or worse, the woman of the pornographers: surgically altered, photographically airbrushed and Photoshopped. She is meant to make normal women feel inadequate, and to make men fantasize about unreality, such that real women seem inferior to them. Yes, here is Satan’s tactic in lust, to shift normal attraction, meant to draw us to one another, into distorted attraction, which turns us inward to fantasy, and away from each other and reality.

Now meet the snowman, cold on the outside but burning with lust on the inside. As we meet him, he is clearly bored with what he has, bored with his reality. Scripture says, All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing (Eccl 1:8).

And then he sees her! Too good to be true (she is in fact not real, not true, as we have discussed). And now the fires of lust are kindled in him, and he engages in a series of destructive, and self-destructive actions, all to satisfy his lust.

Is this not often what lust does? Those trapped by it will often throw everything overboard to possess its object. They will endanger and inflict harm on their very self, they will throw loved ones overboard, they will squander, use up and destroy their wealth and all they have. Some have destroyed marriages and families, forsaken children, and brought disease and poverty on them self, all for what lust promises: the latest voluptuous one, “Baby if you’ve got the curves, I’ve got the angles.”

Not a few of the actions of this toy snowman are of great symbolism:

1. Spying upon her, he fixes his eyes. For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16).

2. Conscience speaks – Suddenly there is a sound from above and he looks up. Is this the voice of his conscience, or the voice of God? Thoughtful, he looks down, and considers for a moment. Scripture personifies lust, and the voice that our snowman must hear as he looks up and down.

My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion, and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to hell, her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not. Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others (Prov 5:2-8)

(Pardon the quote ladies, for it lays the sin sin at the feet only of the woman. But remember lust is being personified here, and it is a father speaking to his sons in the passage).

3. But lust wins, he looks up angry and curses the glass “boundary” that prevents his fulfillment of his lustful desire. The boundary must go! The same Scripture says,  The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. (Prov 5:23-25)

4. Lust, the home wrecker – The first thing he throws away is his home. He hurls it at the glass boundary. With it, we can presume goes his wife and family. Again scripture says,  You give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel. Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer— may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? (Prov 5:9, 15-20)

5. He goes on a reckless path of self destruction. He cuts off his nose to spite his face, literally. We also see his face become increasingly distorted as he wreaks havoc on himself and his world. His whole world, and everything and everyone in it, is shaken. For, like Jonah who brought storms to others when he ran from God, so does this snowman make the world around him shake and storm by his lust. He sows in the wind and reaps the whirlwind. And this is quite literally illustrated as a great storm swirls in his little world.

6. He descends deeper into sin. And because he has affected others, his whole world descends with him. So too for us, whom lust has brought low together. Our whole culture has descended, and lust is a huge reason for this. Scripture says of lust personified: Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to hell (Prov 5:4-5). And so this snowman and his world slide off the shelf and descend deeper into sin, while lady lust looks on.

7. The downward cycle continues and he is imprisoned in his lust. Quite literally drowning in his lusts, our snowman spies on a lusty mermaid and lunges for her. But his prison finds him, and once again, he discovers the truth with which we began, The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing (Eccl 1:8). Indeed he is locked in his lusts. Again as Scripture says,  The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. (Prov 5:22)

And so we leave our snowman locked in his lust. He has lost his home and family, disfigured himself and fallen mighty low, taking his world and others with him. Such can be the toll of lust.

A rather serious post, I suppose, especially given the rather light fare of the video. But I hope you can see that the humor has a dark side, and that this little movie goes a long way in giving a poignant portrait of lust. “Enjoy” the video.

6 Replies to “Lust in Toyland – A Poignant and Powerful Portrait of Lust in an old Pixar Video”

  1. The key is to pray to God for the graces for prudence, temperance, chastity and purity. The key is to ask God for help and to fill that void which lust tries to fill. God heals all and makes all new.

    1. I pray a lot, but I still don’t pray enough. I try to be conscious of this during the day, but I end up being distracted by the world of my job. I pray for patience, understanding, perseverance, etc…individual little virtues like the ones you mentioned. A lot of times, I don’t get the patience, understanding, etc. that I was praying for.

      And then it hit me one day, that I was actually praying for limited little parts of Christ…and I actually need the totality of Him…the whole enchilada.

      Now, when I realize I need a particular grace, it reminds me to pray for all that Christ really is and my immediate need will be addressed. And addressed it is even if I’m not that aware of it.

  2. I agree with Taylor about prayer. I recall St. John of the Cross talking about the the need for interior mortification, covering our inward sense with pitch or tar. I recall Father Benedict Groeschel once giving practical advice about dealing with lust. I remember him recommending watching a screwball comedy, as a way to get out of the temptation. I think he might have given the Three Stooges as an example. I can’t recall for sure. I am sure that he meant some innocent screwball comedy. That is my best recollection.

  3. A very good observation about the video.

    Even further, even the snowman had possessed what he wanted, he still would not be satisfied, but only more distant from happiness:

    “The eye of the covetous man is insatiable in his portion of iniquity: he will not be satisfied till he consume his own soul, drying it up.” Ecclesiasticus 14:9

  4. Perhaps the most telling part of the video is how easily he moves from one woman to the other. He has no “investment” in the first woman, so he can easily forget her to move to one to whom he might have access. I remember how disturbing I thought this video was when I first saw it with my children and would never have shown something like this to them. In a similar way I was irritated at some of the imagery in Aladdin and its objectification of the characters.

  5. Truly it is a great video– in it there are a lot of messages about the sin of lust. Truly lust ruin`s one`s life and only GOD can help you to chain the sin of lust . Thank you Mons Charles for your deep reflections about -LUST.

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