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MONSTERS AT WORK - “A Monstrous Homecoming”
Photo: Disney

Television

‘Monsters at Work’ season 2 first impressions: Behind the silliness and gags is a compelling personal conflict

Get ready to hit the Laugh Floor for another season of Monsters at Work.

Marvel and Star Wars weren’t the only universes Disney+ hoped to expand with their original streaming programming. Monsters at Work looked to further explore the popular Pixar franchise picking up after the events of Monsters Inc. A new season of the animated series recently premiered making the move to Disney Channel.

The story continues its world’s transition from scare energy to laughter through the lens of recent graduate Tylor Tuskmon. He was one of Monsters University’s top scarers but must pivot careers as Monsters Incorporated looks to explore an alternative energy source. Much of Monsters at Work’s first season showed Tylor’s journey to become a jokester while the new season focuses on his growing pains in the new profession.

One aspect you can appreciate from Monsters at Work is that it draws upon parallels between its laughter with real life alternative renewable energy sources. It’s able to breakdown the nuances, intricacies, and reservations of turning to something new into palatable and relatable stories that younger audiences can grasp. It’s also nice, in true Disney fashion, that the series can appeal to all ages. The writing and humor can be elevated for parents to enjoy, but the reliance on toilet humor and overall silliness can be too much at times. 

MONSTERS AT WORK - “The C.R.E.E.P. Show”
Photo: Disney

The most compelling part of this season is how the show portrays Tylor’s internal struggle to adapting to working as a jokester and finding his comedic voice. Particularly with all the reminders of how great a scarer he was. A profound line that sticks with you is “You can’t escape who you are, so just embrace it.” Tylor’s personal conflict might not be anything new, but its execution is done in compelling ways. All these forces such as the skepticism to laughter and his lack of being funny are all working against Tylor’s dream, and it could be easy for him to slip back into what comes easy.

A big part of what makes Tylor’s story so interesting is the reemergence of Johnny Worthington III who we first met in Monsters University. This version is a more mature, grounded family man running the rival energy company through conventional means. Nathan Fillion gives the character so much charisma, confidence, and empathy he doesn’t feel like a conventional antagonist. Worthington is so amiable and convincing that it lends more credibility to Tylor’s personal struggle.

Monsters at Work tries its best to cater to audiences young and old with mixed results. What’s more effective is the tension caused by the protagonist’s emotional conflict being pulled in different directions keeping the viewer on their toes.

New episodes of Monsters at Work air Fridays on Disney Channel.

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