In Pixar’s 2001 film Monsters, Inc., there’s a brief exchange that goes like this:
Mike: I’m telling you, Big Daddy. You’re gonna be seeing this face on TV more often.
Sulley: Yeah, like on Monstropolis’ Most Wanted?
Mike: Ha, ha, ha. You’ve been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade, pal.
Wait, they’ve known each other since the fourth grade? But… but… they meet for the first time in Monsters University! Stop the presses! Hold the phone! Compose disparaging tweets! Assemble an unnecessarily long YouTube clip! Monsters University is now a completely invalid movie!
Several interviewers have brought this up with Monsters University director Dan Scanlon, and at this point, he has a standard, odd response:
Scanlon says that now the employees joke that “You’ve been jealous of my good looks since the fourth grade” is just a “monster expression” in that world. “That’s what monsters always say to each other,” Scanlon says sarcastically. [From PixarTimes.com]
I think they could’ve just explained it by having a simple line in Monsters University which casually mentions that the first year of college in the Monster world is called “Fourth Grade”. But I guess explaining that might have caused more confusion than its worth, especially for children.
Here’s an easier suggestion: Don’t take it so seriously, or so literally. Consider it just another variant on the old “I was an expert at this before you were a gleam in your father’s eye” quote. It’s a casual put-down between friends who are bantering with each other. Fussing over it is like pausing Point Break when Gary Busey tells Keanu Reeves, “I was takin’ shrapnel in Khe Sanh when you were crappin’ in your hands and rubbin’ it on your face!”, and checking with various parents to see whether children really do such a thing, and at what age they might have stopped, and then doing the math on the age differential between Busey and Reeves to see whether the discrepancy is possible. I’m not normally a continuity apologist, but this strikes me as a pretty light barrier to belief.
Now maybe if Mike had told a lengthy, specific, detail-laden story about their time together in fourth grade, that would be more of an issue. Or if he’d accused Sulley of crappin’ in his hands and rubbin’ it on his face. Just think of the mess that would make of his fur. —Tasha Robinson