Thursday, November 11

Hey Woody, You Sound Sick

My kids have both Buzz Lightyear and Woody at my parent's house. I think my mom got them at garage sales after Toy Story 1&2, because that's generally how she gets all my kids' toys. These are the foot tall, talking ones, and when you press the buttons on Buzz, Tim Allen's voice says things like, "I'm awake from hypersleep, and ready for action!"

So my four year old pulls the string and Woody says, "Reach for the sky!" Only it's not Woody, it's some other guy. Not to knock the voice actor, but no one can replicate Hanks' southwestern drawl, or his characteristic twang. He has a one-in-a-million sound to his voice, and I'm sorry, but this Woody is not Tom Hanks.

My son says, "Hey, that's not Woody."

I think for a second, and I do what every parent should do in this situation: I lie. "Yeah, it's Woody, he's just sick," I say.

My two year old says, "Woody's sick!"

I say, "That's right. Woody's sick."

She nods sagely and says, "He gotta feel better."

Now I understand that Tom Hanks' time is pretty valuable. Obviously, spending 15 minutes saying 5 lines for a toy is tough when you are a big time movie star. I can see that.

I can also see that whoever made the toy probably didn't have the profit margin to pay Tom Hanks for his valuable time, and so in order to lower the price of the toy, they used some schmuck off the street. Perhaps there was hand wrangling going on, with people in suits haggling over how much that 15 minutes would cost, and buckets of lawyers writing contracts and managers disapproving them. Perhaps there were meetings upon meetings, taking up countless hours of time, with backroom negotiations that fell apart at the last moment, while a guy with a leather chair and an important looking phone screams at an intern to bring him some coffee.

That's all well and good. I'm not really trying to blame anyone. It's not Tom Hanks' fault. It's not the fault of any one business. It's not even the fault of the lady who bought the cheaper toy in the first place, and then resold it to my mom for a fraction of the cost. (It's not her fault either, by the way.)

However, something broke along the way. Somewhere along the line, the system failed, and Woody wasn't Woody for my kids. He was some other dude, some other cowboy that my kids didn't know.

So when my kids left my parents house, my son dragged Buzz Lightyear into the car, and we were off to defeat Emperor Zurg, while Woody was left behind in the big green toy bucket. Neither of my kids wanted to bring him along.

After all, Woody was sick.


  1. I love tripping on Buzz in the middle of the night and having him wake up the kids by saying, "Be alert, adventure can come from any direction." Grrrr battery toys.

  2. I fully believe that all modern toys are designed to assassinate parents, either by inflicting an immediate grievous injury, or by aggravating heart disease or a brain aneurysm.