Crying Boo from ‘Monsters Inc.’ Memes Express Stress And Anxiety
It’s almost impossible to believe this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Disney-Pixar animated film Monsters Inc., released in the US on November 2, 2001. The film centers on two monsters, James P. “Sulley” Sullivan (John Goodman) and Michael “Mike” Wazowski (Billy Crystal), employees of the titular factory that propels the fictional city of Monstropolis with the cries of children. But because time is fluid on the internet, a pivotal scene from the beloved classic recently manifested itself as an online reaction meme: “Crying Boo.”
The meme is typically used to convey feelings of anxiety in stressful situations, such as while driving or playing video games. Here’s what you need to know about “Crying Boo” and why she keeps showing up behind the wheel or playing video games.
Origin of ‘Crying Boo’
Boo is the precocious toddler who inadvertently returns to Monstropolis with Sulley one evening at Monsters Inc. Before he can successfully dismiss her, however, things go wrong and Sulley is forced to flee with Boo in a duffel bag. It doesn’t take long before news of the breach breaks, and Mike and Sulley are stuck in illegally harboring the child until they can bring her back to her own world.
Audiences quickly fell in love with Boo, so named by Sulley for his courageous exclamations of surprise, and voiced by a three-year-old girl, Mary Gibbs. In the scene in question, Sulley and Mike managed to smuggle Boo back to their apartment. But still believing that children are mortal to monsters, Mike and Sulley are initially terrified of her. When Sulley throws Mike’s soft toy away to occupy the child, he quickly removes it.
Of course, anyone familiar with toddlers could anticipate the crisis that followed, as Boo’s crying exposes almost all three of them.
‘Crying Boo’ memes
Crying Boo memes were first uploaded among Spanish speaking Facebook users in 2017. Entire pages have been created to share them, like Boo Llorando’s Memes group which was established in 2018.
But it wasn’t until early 2021 that Crying Boo memes made their way to English speakers on mainstream social media platforms. Know Your Meme credits the example below posted on Reddit’s r / memes subdirectory as one of the popular early English versions, which avoids user fatigue of “misleading a movie plot”. The post quickly garnered nearly 25,000 upvotes in just a few months.
‘Crying Boo’ car memes
From there, the Crying Boo memes evolved rapidly, as the next iteration featured the character pictured driving a car. The first known example was shared on Paraguayita ÃaÃ±ala’s Facebook page on January 20. Twitter, where he has accumulated nearly 200,000 likes and over 25,000 retweets in just a few weeks.
Others have used the meme to express the stress of driving, learning to drive, or other anxieties while driving. Some variations also feature the Mike Wazowski in the passenger seat, as shown below.
Crying Boo’s driving antics can also be metaphorical. In another popular example, program developer James Tucker used the Crying Boo driving meme to joke about learning new framing tools.
Gamer Boo Memes
In early March 2021, Crying Boo memes evolved again. This time, players photographed controllers and helmets on the character to react to spooky or touching video game scenes.
The first appeared on Twitter on March 1, when Twitter user @FioralX posted a meme in which Boo plays the 2017 action role-playing game. Nier: Automata. “Deny fans on Route C be like, âtweeted @FioralX, conveying the feelings of regret that a player on this route must be feeling. The tweet, below, received over 12,700 likes and 2,600 retweets in just over a week.
Others also added contributions. A popular meme shows “Every PlayStation 2 user’s worst nightmare,” a disc read error. Others posted trying to beat Metal Gear Solid 3 and PS4 Spider Man.
If it’s any consolation, Boo’s stark mood didn’t last very long, and – spoiler alert – the monsters are learning that crying isn’t the only powerful source of energy in the world. The film’s brief moment, however, will live on the internet as a Crying Boo meme indefinitely.
A more essential culture reads on the Daily Dot:
This ‘Monsters, Inc.’ even to people looking for their favorite songs
Pixar’s Soul is a thoughtful examination of appreciating the smallest parts of life
The ‘Monsters, Inc.’ Goofy’s version is pure nightmare fuel
* First published: March 12, 2021, 10:50 a.m. CST
Stacey Ritzen is a West Philadelphia-based journalist and writer with over 10 years of experience in pop culture, web culture, entertainment, and news. You can follow her on Twitter @staceyritzen.