Otherwise Known As: Lotso
Premiered in: Toy Story 3 (2010)
Voiced By: Christopher Plummer
Like Charles F. Muntz, Lots-o’-Huggin’-Bear, or Lotso for short, is something of a tragic hero but unlike the old-school adventurer, this pink-furred bear was nowhere near being in the right for any of his actions whatsoever. Like a precious few Disney Villains, Lotso doesn’t necessarily have an end-goal in the film proper as he has already achieved what he wanted prior to the arrival of Woody and friends. He was, for lack of a better comparison, something of a mob boss for the toys at Sunnyside Daycare, guarantee that only the toys whom he favored were allowed in the room where older, gentler kids would play with them while those whom either angered him or had not yet earned his favor had to suffer the rough and uncaring hands of babies and toddlers.
Again considering that toys in this world can feel pain, that’s nothing short of outright sadism on the bear’s part let me tell you.
Like most mob bosses, Lotso has his own mafia of underlings with a wide array of abilities and functions in his group. In point of fact, Lotso is distinct amongst all villains in that his minions are all unique and each serve an individual purpose that equates them to each other but also differentiates them at the same time.
In no particular order we start with Lotso’s second-in-comman Ken. Ken, of the Barbie doll series, is Lotso’s top minion and whom all the others, teasingly and begrudgingly, listen to despite his being a doll. He is the first to go against Lotso when his feelings for Barbie become so strong that he is willing to risk his own life to see that she is kept safe from harm despite, as Lotso said, there being hundreds of other such Barbie dolls.
Then there’s Stretch, a purple somewhat gelatinous octopus whose tentacles are sticky enough to let her climb almost any surface and are stretchy enough for her to grapple a large number of rebelling toys at once. She serves mostly as Lotso’s reluctant jailer, showing many an instance of hesitance in doing his violent orders and even flinching when his true character is revealed.
The Bookworm, a toy with a working flashlight, serves as Lotso’s “librarian,” storing and cataloging the instruction manuals for a surprisingly large number of toys should Lotso ever have the need to “reset” their personalities to their base forms and brainwash them into serving him as he did to Buzz.
The trio of Chunk, Sparks, and Twitch serve as Lotso’s “muscles” and are amongst the stronger toys in a one-on-one fight. Considering that Chunk is a literally two-faced rock monster, Sparks a robot that actual shoots actual sparks from his chest cavity, and Twitch an insect-alien wrestler, that’s not all that surprising really. Though they are each quite strong, they don’t hold the title of “enforcer.” That belongs to the one, the only…
Big Baby whom is a literal baby doll with a slightly droopy left eye. Every bit the baby whom he represents in mannerism and intelligence, Big Baby is the chief enforcer only because he is frankly the largest and likely strongest toy of the bunch and was the second to turn against Lotso after Ken by way of tossing Lotso into a garbage dumpster.
Lastly, there is the creepiest toy of the bunch known simply as The Monkey who serves as “security” what with his ever-staring eyes glued to the security screens of Sunnyside. I shan’t lie, that thing is so freaking creepy that it’s hard to believe that it is one of the few toys of Lotso’s crew that is based on an actual toy, excluding Ken of course.
In a way, Lotso is something of a tragic hero considering that he and a few other toys that were forgotten not by their child but by their child’s parents. The same parents who, after realizing their mistake, chose to simply replace the then-lost Lotso with another. Seeing that he had been replaced by what was essentially a clone of him shattered something inside Lotso broke and the pieces were buried underneath a layer of darkness that no child could ever hope to alleviate with their love.
Again though, considering how outright cruel and inhuman he was to other toys, even going so far as to let Woody and friends die though they had risked life and limb for him mere moments earlier, showed that there was no redeeming this strawberry-scented bear. Rather funny then that he ends up in the hands of the Toy Story franchise’s first villain, Sid, and much like his childhood toys, is forever tormented by being permanently strapped down to the front grill of a garbage truck.