Everyone’s favorite nihilistic garbage utensil is back in the trailer for an upcoming series of Pixar shorts called Forky Asks a Question. Tony Hale reprises his character from Toy Story 4 as the newly sentient spork now interrogates not just his own identity but the very nature of our universe from his new home in Bonnie’s bedroom. But are the other toys even capable of engaging with someone operating on as high an intellectual plane as Forky is?
Take the question “What is art?” for example. Rex, Hamm, and co. might assume that Forky is seeking a definition for the word, but isn’t it possible that he’s actually questioning the amorphous and ever-shifting criteria that determine how creative self-expression is categorized and commodified by the rest of society? Similarly, when Forky asks “What is time?” does he really not know, or is he making a pointed commentary on how time is a mental construct we’ve invented to explain the seemingly inevitable directionality of how we experience events? When Forky asks “What is friendship?” is it not both a rejection of the misleading simplicity of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and a lament over the fleetingness of interpersonal connections and the impossibility of ever truly knowing others or being known ourselves?
When Forky asks “What is cheese?” is he not just scamming to get some free gouda from these rubes?
It’s only a matter of time before Forky figures out that he’s not even made of trash: He’s a computer-animated character created so that a major studio can sell merchandise. Then again, does Forky even buy into Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument, or would he reject that kind of anthropic reasoning on principle? I look forward to all of these questions being answered come Nov. 12, when Forky Asks a Question launches on Disney+.