The word is out: Pixar’s Inside Out is a return to the animation studio’s run of excellence from the mid-to-late 2000s, before the middling Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University cast their supremacy into question. Early reviews delivered the consensus that this is the most audaciously imaginative, moving, mature, and hilarious Pixar film in years, perhaps in their fifteen-film run.#

The film’s ingenious set-up places audiences inside the head of eleven-year-old Riley Anderson, where cutesy manifestations of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust (voiced by, respectively, Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, and Mindy Kaling) work Riley’s feelings like NASA’s ground control, plying her with memories and ideas while keeping her emotional balance in check. It’s a grand comic metaphor, and it only grows more complex and satisfying when a move from suburban Minnesota to San Francisco results in Joy and Sadness being jettisoned from their control chamber. Director Pete Docter spins a yarn fit for children and adults alike# by framing the transitional moodiness as a rollicking adventure through the human subconscious.

With accolades pouring in and an enormous payday not far on the horizon, Pixar executives would have to have their ‘common sense’ dials turned all the way down to pass on a sequel. So I borrowed my local library’s copy of Hacking Studio Databases for Dummies, spent a lot of time typing green text onto a black screen, said “we’re in”, and found myself an exclusive copy of the script for Pixar’s planned follow-up to Inside Out.

Jumping forward, the franchise rejoins Riley in her early twenties as she struggles to get the hang of young adulthood. With new characters and adventures to behold, I don’t have the heart to spoil the whole thing for you. Below, however, I’ve reproduced a short excerpt of the script to make the wait a little easier.


SYNOPSIS: Riley’s twenty-four years old, living in her first apartment and working her first big-girl job. It’s a lot of change all at once, but there’s no life experience she can’t handle with the help of her Emotions. All your favorites from the original Inside Out are back (though, due to her character’s lessened role in this film, Amy Poehler will not return to play Joy, who will now be voiced by Ellie Kemper#), and a few new friends have joined the gang, too! Join Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, Anger, Desire, Anxiety, and Self-Awareness as they guide Riley through the trials of work, dating, and basic self-sufficiency!

A semi-ironic food pun scribbled on a sandwich board invites passersby into the restaurant. Riley chose it; it’s upscale but not too expensive, hip but not trying too hard.


SAM, a nonthreatening young man slightly older than RILEY, sits across from her. He’s chosen to wear sneakers on their DATE.

ANXIETY, a coiled-spring-shaped brown Emotion, elbows her way to the front of the console controlling RILEY’s emotions. She is voiced by KAT DENNINGS#, whom your mother still thinks is so funny on what she refers to as The Broken Girls.

ANXIETY: Excuse me, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, excuse me, sorry. I think I should probably take over? I don’t know, maybe that doesn’t make any sense. This just feels like my time? Unless someone else wants to handle this, I don’t know, I just thought it might help.

DISGUST, FEAR, and SADNESS exchange a glance of resigned agreement. JOY lays reading a dogeared copy of Thoughts Monthly! Magazine on a couch in the background. SHE does not see a lot of play these days.

SELF-AWARENESS, a glowing grey EMOTION, approaches ANXIETY and taps her on the back. He displays little range in demeanor, and is accordingly voiced by JESSE EISENBERG#.

SELF-AWARENESS: Do you mind if I step in to help out? [SELF-AWARENESS steps around ANXIETY, manning the other end of the wide console.] I only ask because Riley should be able to scrutinize her every minute gesture and word down to the smallest detail if she wants to pull off this date.

ANXIETY: Welcome aboard! Just let me know if I’m doing too much, and I’ll step back. Or if you think I’m not pulling my weight, sorry, I’ll do more.

PANIC: Ahh, look! [He gestures to a large monitor displaying RILEY’s point of view, which at the moment is focused on SAM.] He’s about to say something! Oh god, get ready!

SAM, on monitor: So, what do you do for work?

DISGUST#: Ugh, what a boring thing to ask. Does this guy even have an original bone in his body?

DESIRE, a hot-pink EMOTION, perks up and joins the dialogue. She is voiced by AMY SCHUMER#.

DESIRE: He’s gonna have an original bone in my body if he plays his cards right tonight.

ANXIETY: Okay! I’ve got this. This is a simple one, right? I know where Riley works. But what if he thinks it’s boring? Should I gloss over it quickly, or try to show a little passion for it so I don’t seem lame? Maybe we should tell him Riley doesn’t define herself by her work, make her sound mysterious.

SELF-AWARENESS: That only ever makes people sound insufferable.

ANGER#: Are you trying to make Riley sound like some kind of self-important schmuck!?

ANXIETY: I’m sorry, I’m trying the best that I can! We’ve already wasted too much time, uh… [Hits unlabeled button on console.]

RILEY, on monitor: I work at a design firm. It’s kind of lame, you probably don’t want to hear about it.

SAM, on monitor: No way, that sounds cool. What do you do there?

Tiny animated rivulets of sweat are pouring down ANXIETY’s forehead.

ANXIETY: All she does is go on Facebook and send e-mails! Self-Awareness, do you even know what Riley was hired to do, exactly?

SELF-AWARENESS: I know the perfect intervals at which to send e-mails to maximize the illusion of productivity, and that Riley always thought she was cut out to do something more meaningful than this. Does that count?

ANXIETY: No, it does not! [ANXIETY flaps her hands impotently, shutting her eyes tight and making a deep groaning noise.] JOY, can you do something?

JOY: [not looking up from magazine] I think it’s something with design.

ANXIETY: Dammit, Joy!

SELF-AWARENESS: Hang on, I’ve got this. [Turns unlabeled dial up a few notches]

RILEY, on monitor: Oh, same thing as everyone else, slave away to grease the gears of capitalism. [Small, polite chuckle] You know how it is, right?

SAM, on monitor: Not really, I’m self-employed. I’m a metalworker, I weld scrap to make industrial art. It’s a shit living, but I don’t answer to anybody. I’m my own boss.

DISGUST: You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

ANXIETY: He’s an artist? What’s he even doing on a date with us? He probably knows all sorts of cool hip artist girls with septum piercings and ugly glasses and they probably talk about art together and I don’t know anything about art and-

SELF AWARENESS: [slaps ANXIETY] Pull it together. This is not brain surgery. Dumb people go on dates and everything goes fine all the time, there’s no reason we can’t do this.

SADNESS#: No, I think she was onto something. [A cut from SADNESS back to ANXIETY reveals that they’re wearing matching friendship bracelets] She’s on the right track.

ANXIETY: Okay. Okay. [Breathes deeply] Okay. Just play it cool, that’s all there is to it. Dammit, where’s the ‘play it cool’ button on this thing? [Accidentally hits button next to button labeled ‘aloof’. The button she hits is labeled ‘ugly laugh’.]

RILEY, on monitor: [snorts with such gusto that the flapping gobs of phlegm in the back of her nasal passages are individually distinguishable, quickly touches her hand to her mouth]

ANXIETY: WHY ARE THOSE TWO BUTTONS SO CLOSE TOGETHER?! What kind of cruel god designed this thing? [Notices SELF-AWARENESS twiddling with a pair of knobs] What’re you doing now?

SELF-AWARENESS: I just have to make sure Riley recognizes that her lower back is going to sweat through her dress soon, so that she knows to walk slightly behind him when they leave and to angle her body to the side if she gets up to use the bathroom.

ANXIETY: Oh god, this is so fucked, this is all so fucked. I think I can get this under control. Joy, you don’t seem busy. Could you file a request to get maintenance in here to install a ‘polite conversation’ button some day? Think they could swing that?

JOY: What? I… [Trails off] Sure. Yeah, I will do the thing that you just said. Someday, in the future.

ANXIETY: I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t know why I thought I could do this, every time I try to run the board it’s always a disaster. I should just stop trying, I’m obviously in over my head.

FEAR: Run! Just get out of there. That’s the smart thing to do. I read an article the other day on date-rape statistics and-

DESIRE: Offer to bring him home. You’d be shocked at how often that works.

SELF-AWARENESS: [to ANXIETY] I’ve got an idea. It’s a little risky, but you’re kind of a disaster, so it might just be the best chance we’ve got. [Hits multiple buttons in quick succession]

RILEY, on monitor: I know I’m being weird, sorry. Dates just make me nervous, I guess. You seem cool, and I’m having a nice night, really. It’s just that there’s so much pressure to do the right things, you know? It messes me up sometimes.

SAM, on monitor: I’m the exact same way. I think everybody does, but only some people can admit it.

ANXIETY: Jesus Christ, that worked? [Turns to face floor-to-ceiling windows in the back of the control chamber, through which the audience can see activity increasing on Successful Interpersonal Interactions Island] That worked. Wow.