Isn't it interesting that we automatically
associate poverty with markers that
are not economic? I definitely agree that
Sid's family is clearly marked as "low class":
but it's a moral deterioration that is indi-
cated, because, as was pointed out, the family
is clearly not poor. But I think the film exploits
the association of lower moral status with lower
economic status which is deeply embedded in our
(Compare this with the film--I forget the
title, with John Turturo as mad scientist
wife is dying of cancer and the son is
dealing with it-- where the same kind of
dark, unkempt interior is associated with a
liberating departure from "normal" behavior.
Athough even in this film, the wacko brother
gets institutionalized, i.e., "normalized", in
In "Toy Story" Sid's family is unkempt, the father
drinks, the mother is unavailable (doesn't appear
once whereas Chris' Mom appears often, always
sympathetic and attentive). Sid's sister
gave me the creeps, I couldn't help
but think she had been (sexually?) abused: something
haunting in her expression and her victim status.
The different lighting in the two homes was also
evocative of the different moral status, and I
suspect there were different color schemes used
as well to convey different moods.
One departure from family stereotypes was that the
single mom household was the "good" household
whereas the nuclear family was the "bad" family.
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