Forky’s role in Toy Story 4 was a fresh take on the comedic relief trope because of innocence, ethics and design. In this essay I will elaborate my fixation on Forky.
I’ll admit I’m not, nor ever was a die-hard Toy Story fan. When the fourth installment released its teaser trailer I was confused but not amused about Forky; when the official trailer released I was intrigued.
It didn’t take long to realize Forky was the comedic relief in the movie. Usually I’m not a fan of making a serious or sad scene funny because usually it’s at the expense of someone’s stupidity. But Forky was different, I noticed. It wasn’t so much that he was stupid — Forky’s innocence was at the forefront of his jokes making him more endearing than annoying.
Another significant characteristic from Forky is his compassion and loyalty. This may seem silly since he’s basically trying to run away into the nearest trash bin every scene, but we see a complete 180 turn when Woody explains: the same way trash makes Forky feel safe is how Forky makes Bonnie feel. Forky ran down the street towards the long-gone RV when he understood why Woody needed Forky to stay with Bonnie. Forky’s compassion and loyalty are paralleled to Woody’s with Andy.
Finally, Forky’s brilliantly simple character design is true peak aesthetic. Primary colors (red, blue and yellow) on a white surface is a fantastic color scheme that both depicts child-like design but also speaks to higher design philosophies introduced by the Bauhaus. The dominant colors are red, white and blue but it doesn’t scream patriotism (thanks to the red and blue being less than the white). Forky’s look can be best compared to Kandinsky paintings which are about a universal understanding of feeling portrayed in the visual realm of communication.
In conclusion, Forky has multiple facets that make him the best character. I proudly claim him as my new favorite Pixar character based on his looks, child-like naiveness in an adult world and his loyalty to his responsibilities that have been thrust upon him.