Pixar IRL is a hidden camera reality show that takes characters and concepts from Pixar movies and brings them into physical reality. Think Wall-E crossing a busy street, a trick that makes it seem like a kid dressed as Dash Parr has superhuman speed, an Inside Out-style control panel that cues actors to display emotions when buttons are pressed. You get the idea.
It’s definitely an original idea, and it’s definitely something beyond a sequel, spin-off, or remake, a different way to leverage Disney’s massive library of intellectual property into something new.
The problem with Pixar IRL is the huge gap between it and its source material.
Its progenitors, shows like Punk’d and Candid Camera, are fine for laundry folding television, but they aren’t exactly the most interesting shows to watch.
Pixar movies are some of the most interesting movies to watch. The majority of them have complex storytelling compelling visuals that reward thoughtful and repeat viewing. Their massive commercial success is founded on their ability to appeal to adults and children simultaneously, which any parent who’s suffered through interminable episodes of Paw Patrol can tell you is no small—and not an underappreciated—feat.
It’s hard to imagine that hidden camera show like this one, despite its shallow connection to the rich world of Pixar movies, will offer anything close to that kind of experience.
So while we’ll get a chuckle out of seeing a real-life kid cosplaying as Russell from Up, watching that bit will be an easily forgotten stunt that won’t, as the film did, make everyone who sees it bawl like a baby ten minutes into the film.
All we can hope for is that Pixar IRL is, like its hidden camera forebears, mostly harmless and that whatever mileage it gets out of Pixar classics doesn’t change how people see those beloved films.