“Meet Mift” sees Tylor trying to find his place as Mike takes on a little too much responsibility.
This recap of Monsters At Work episode 2, “Meet Mift”, contains spoilers.
As I mentioned in my recap of the premiere, the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team is a diverse bunch, so “Meet Mift” understandably works as a getting-to-know-you for both Tylor and the audience. Shane Galvin directs from a script by Bart Jennett that further solidifies comedy as the primary output of Monsters, Inc., and what all that means for the monsters – Tylor especially.
Mike is predictably positioned – admittedly by himself – as the steward of this big directional change, but it’s a company-wide effort, requiring new signs and slogans and everything. Meanwhile, Tylor begins his second day of work, and his first as a fully-fledged MIFT member, beginning with Fritz openly flirting with his mother (Aisha Tyler) in a scene that reminded me of The Inbetweeners, which is a comparison I’m confident Disney weren’t aiming for. At least Tylor gets a warm, enthusiastic initiation, even if the role isn’t exactly what he had in mind.
But roles change, as Monsters At Work episode 2 showcases by swapping around Sully and Mike’s responsibilities from the 2001 film, having the latter play superior of the former when it comes to generating laughs. It’s a funny switcheroo and symbolic of the company’s – and the show’s – new direction, even if Mike requires some chemical assistance to keep going (don’t worry, it’s just an energy drink – this is still Pixar, after all.)
Tylor’s antagonistic relationship with Duncan continues to develop in “Meet Mift”, mostly as a way to push Tylor towards Mike and his comedy class, which is beginning to form not just a thematic through-line but also a structural one given the cutaway at the end of the episode. It’s a useful concept because it isn’t just a vehicle for gags but a container for a theme. What’s being toyed with is Tylor eventually making his way from MIFT to the Laugh Floor, like Banana Bread does in this episode, but the likeliest outcome is that he learns to enjoy and accept the place he has, which is put across here by him helping to save Mike from his door after a power outage leaves him stranded.
Monsters At Work season 1, episode 2 still has plenty going on then, fulfilling an important long-term storytelling purpose while also working as a standalone little story of togetherness and not overreaching. For a family show that could have gotten away with being low-effort, this is surprisingly good stuff.