The movies have generally been good about the tricky balance between kid-friendly jokes and adult-friendly pop culture references, at least when compared to something like, say, any Dreamworks animated movie, but it’s hard to see the latest Toy Story 4 casting announcement as anything but an attempt to appeal to a much older demographic than the usual Pixar audience. According to USA Today, comedy legends Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett, Carol Reiner, and Betty White have all joined the film, and they’re all playing characters with extremely ridiculous pun names.
The characters will all be baby toys that reminisce about the “good old days” while living in the closet of new kid Bonnie, with Woody fighting against their insistence that he should commit to living a boring life in storage. As for those pun names: Carol Burnett will be a chair named Chairol Burnett, Carl Reiner will be a rhinoceros toy named Carol Reineroceros, Betty White will be a tiger named Bitey White, and Mel Brooks will be an elephant named-of course-Melephant Brooks. Now countless adults will have to explain to their children why they chuckled when the chair character introduced herself as Chairol Burnett, but at least this could introduce some kids to a handful of funny people they’d otherwise never hear of.
The USA Today story has a photo of Woody meeting these new friends, but they just look like a chair, a tiger, a rhino, and an elephant.