Ok, this is where I make a confession: I’ve never really liked Monsters Inc. I get why the people who love it love it, but I never have. I never watched Monsters University because the world doesn’t hold a lot of interest for me.
When I heard about Monsters at Work I thought that television might actually be the perfect place for a franchise like this. A workplace comedy about monsters in the laugh factory is probably the best possible way to explore these characters and this world. It turns out that’s probably true, even if it’s not for me.
The series follows Tylor Tuskmon, a tall, purple monster who just graduated from Monster University with scaring scores higher even than Sully Sullivan, only to show up on his first day at Monsters Inc to find the factory being re-tooled for laugh power. Not having any comedy skills, he’s assigned to the maintenance team and starts taking comedy classes.
Hijinx, of course, ensue. Tylor is loath to be on the maintenance team and takes every opportunity he can to get to where the real action is and writes off the team of ridiculous weirdos despite their obvious and uncomplicated enthusiasm for their work and for him to be on the team.
The whole cast is equal to the task, with the standout for me being Henry Winkler as Tylor’s boss Fritz. Fritz walks the line between smart and dumb, competent and incompetent, and his sunny disposition never fades. He’s the perfect cartoon boss in a kids show, and Winkler really shines in the role.
John Goodman and Billy Crystal are back as Mike and Sully as well, now in charge of Monsters Inc following the revelation of laugh power in the first film, and while they don’t have a ton of screen time their presence is welcome and helps connect these episodes to the films.
Monsters at Work is a fine show. If you loved Monsters Inc or Monsters University (or both), then there’s a good chance you will love this too. The design of the world and the characters are unique and interesting, and the voice cast is top-notch. It is, however, for better or for worse, more of the same.
Monsters at Work premieres on Disney+ on July 7th 2021, with new episodes following weekly