The Monsters Have Returned

NOTE: I occasionally post pieces which reflect my interests outside of Jewish texts, tradition and issues. This is one of those pieces. (Please note the comment and reply at the end of the posting.) Please also listen to my podcast at This week’s episode discusses the use and misuse of the terms Bar and Bat Mitzvah. For now, the piece below reflects my commitment to finding joy in the world- even in unexpected places. Enjoy!

\I have to admit, I am really happy this morning.

I just read an article in the New York Times about a TV series which recently premiered on Disney+ network. (We don’t have a subscription to the network but thankfully our daughter does!) The series is called Monsters At Work and it is a sequel to the 2001 movie: Monsters, Inc. And, Monsters, Inc. just happens to be one of my all-time favorite movies.

If you’ve never seen Monsters, Inc., you are missing a great treat. The movie features one of the most elaborately creative stories and some of the most endearing characters you will see in a movie, animated or otherwise. The monsters are voiced by many well known actors including John Goodman and Billy Crystal.

The story concerns the city of Monstropolis, populated by monsters of all different sizes, shapes and colors. The energy source which powers Monstropolis is the screams of scared children which are obtained by the monsters who appear in the kids’ room at night and bottle up the energy of the screams.

I can’t even begin to unravel the entire wonderfully complicated story. But, the new TV series picks up where the movie left off. Through a set of circumstances, it is discovered that the laughter of children is a more efficient energy source so the monsters all reinvent themselves to being slapstick comedians and rather than scaring the children, they elicit great peals of laughter.

Does the movie have any lasting significance? Beyond the beautiful idea that a laugh has more energy than a scream, probably not. But, it is such a lot of fun.

If you’ve never seen it, you absolutely must. And, when you do, hang around for the “outtakes” at the end which are an absolute riot.

We took our kids to see many movies when they were young and I must admit that I slept through some of them. But, I loved the Toy Story movies (I previously posted a blog on these movies), adored Shrek and absolutely loved Monsters, Inc.

I can’t wait to watch Monsters at Work and I promise a review very soon!

2 thoughts on “The Monsters Have Returned

    1. Rob Dobrusin

      Laurel, You are so right. Honestly, it was not my intention to mislead anyone although perhaps my title was a bit of a subconscious comment on the state of the world. There are many ‘monsters” that have reappeared recently, including certainly as I discussed in my podcast a few weeks ago, anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions as well as so many other old hatreds which are resurfacing. These are to be taken seriously of course, and lamented and opposed strenuously. But, this morning, I had something much lighter on my mind as you can tell from the posting and it’s always been a practice of mine to try to find the joy in the world and make sure we celebrate it even as we deal with the very serious issues around us. So, thanks for calling attention to what, as I said, was probably sitting in my subconscious when I wrote the title. I hope that I don’t give the wrong impression when writing pieces like this that I am ignoring the serious issues in the world. We all need a bit of escape at times! Thanks for your comment. Rabbi Dobrusin

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