From its very beginnings, the Toy Story franchise has been willing to embrace more complex human emotions than almost any other entry in the Disney and Pixar canons. It's pretty remarkable, really, that they're able to tackle such complicated human feelings as anxiety, jealousy, inferiority complexes, and depression - considering the series' primary characters aren't humans and are, well, toys. But it's only in the latest and fourth entry in the series, Toy Story 4, that they tackle perhaps the most complex feelings yet: an existential crisis.
From the moment he is "born," Tony Hale's Forky - an adorable craft project turned toy made of a spork, clay, a popsicle stick, piper cleaners, and googly eyes - is all about questioning his existence and his identity. As a result, the film is able to go to places both shockingly dark and truly hilarious, and with Hale's expert comedic voice work and timing, the film reaches new heights in terms of Forky's characterization and dialogue. We recap Forky's ten best lines from the film here.
10 "So he thought Andy's room was a planet? Wow, that is messed up. I mean, how is that not annoying?"
Toy Story 4 contains plenty of fun callbacks to prior Toy Story films, and previous Pixar films at large. But one of the cheekiest such references comes during a montage of Woody and Forky traveling together, in hopes of catching up with Bonnie and her family at the next RV rest stop. Woody is explaining his past experiences as a toy to the curious and talkative Forky, and as a result, he winds up basically retelling the plots of the past Toy Story films.
Forky's snarkiest comment about these stories comes when he's remarking on Buzz's original status as a member of Andy's toy family: "So he thought Andy's room was a planet? Wow, that is messed up. I mean, how is that not annoying?" Buzz Lightyear was originally pretty annoying and clueless, believing himself to be the real Space Ranger and not just a toy. It just took Forky to be brave enough to say it.
9 "He is terrifying!"
Because of Forky's childlike nature and bubbly personality, even in his moments of true terror, he always manages to sound impossibly cheery and optimistic. When he's trapped inside Second Chance Antiques, at the behest of the complex villain Gabby Gabby, Forky finds himself coming face to face with Gabby's creepy henchmen - a group of ventriloquist dummies, including the leader, Benson.
Forky wastes no time in making his thoughts known, giddily opining, "He is terrifying!" as soon as he lays googly eyes on the head dummy. There's just always something creepy about these types of dolls, but in the world of Toy Story - where almost all toys have voices - finding a group of toys that are silent and yet expressive is truly unnerving.
8 "Carry me?"
Woody is directly responsible for Forky's creation, considering the fact that Bonnie builds him from the pile of thrown out crafts supplies that Woody provides for her. As a result, Woody and Forky wind up having an incredibly close bond, almost as though father and child, with Forky as a newborn inquisitive baby and Woody as his patient but struggling dad.
When Woody and Forky are walking along the side of the road, trying to catch up with Bonnie's family and their RV, Woody is forced to drag Forky along, since his popsicle sticks aren't exactly equipped for a long journey. Forky asks Woody to carry him, and Woody at first refuses, but soon enough, Woody is carrying the little spork along and Forky is happily snuggling him in return.
7 "I was meant for soup, salad, maybe chili. And then the trash! I'm litter! Freedom!"
As part of his ongoing struggle with his identity as a toy, Forky repeatedly attempts to throw himself out, hoping to return to the trash where he came from and where he feels he belongs. Woody tasks himself with keeping that from happening, and a hilariously adorable montage of Woody rescuing the little spork from the trash follows.
But once the toys are on the RV, all bets are off, and all things go out the window - including Forky himself. In his pursuit of returning to the trash he believes to be his home, Forky passionately proclaims, "I was meant for soup, salad, maybe chili. And then the trash!" It's then that he launches himself out of the window, gleefully exclaiming, "I'm litter! Freedom!" as he flies off onto the highway.
6 "It's warm. It's cozy. And safe. Like somebody's whispering in your ear, 'Everything's gonna be okay.'"
During Forky and Woody's adventures along the side of the freeway, the two share more about each other, with Woody in particular telling Forky his whole life story, dating back to his time with Andy. But while Forky is basically a one day old newborn at this point, he does have something to share with Woody: his views on trash, why he feels like he's part of it, and why he loves it so much.
"It's warm. It's cozy. And safe," Forky explains, and it's not hard to picture the moment when Forky happily slept snuggled inside the trash bin in Bonnie's room. "Like somebody's whispering in your ear, 'Everything's gonna be okay.'" Forky is a character riddled with anxiety from the moment he enters the world, so it makes sense that he would try and find the place that represents the exact opposite of that.
5 "Woody, I know what your problem is: you're just like me. Trash!"
As a consequence of Woody sharing his life story with Forky, Forky decides to do some psychoanalyzing of his own when it comes to figuring out the root of Woody's perceived problems. His expert opinion? Woody is just like him - someone who belongs in the trash. He tries to spin it a positive way, but it's hard to find any real merit to Forky happily proclaiming that they're useless and belong in the garbage.
Woody, clearly, doesn't agree with the assessment, no matter how unappreciated he may be in Bonnie's possession. But it's clear that, by film's end, Woody sort of takes Forky's assessment to heart, choosing to become not trash, but a happily lost toy, living a mobile life with his newfound family.
4 "She thinks I'm warm and cozy and sometimes squishy?"
There isn't really anything in the world that Forky loves more than he loves trash. So when he learns that there's nothing in the world Bonnie loves more than him... well, the equation of the two different kinds of love isn't really all that far-fetched. As soon as he realizes Bonnie loves him and considers him her favorite and most important toy, he giddily asks Woody, "She thinks I'm warm and cozy and sometimes squishy?"
He's previously expressed his love of trash in terms of the security it provides for him, so knowing that he provides those same feelings of safety and warmth for Bonnie clearly moves him profoundly. We're not quite sure what to make about his excitement regarding trash, and himself, being "sometimes squishy," but some things are better left unexplained.
3 "I will explain everything." "How am I alive?" "I don't know."
It's one of the film's biggest surprises when, in the mid-credits scene, Jessie returns home from Bonnie's first day of first grade and reveals that Bonnie has made another friend. Literally made a new friend, once again, the way she did with Forky. The new friend - a femininely designed and dressed knife - is immediately the apple of Forky's eye, as he promptly finds himself swooning and approaching the newcomer.
Since he can see that the new girl is just as confused as he once was, Forky assures her, "I will explain everything." But as soon as the new toy, named Knifey, asks, "How am I alive?" - what can Forky possibly say, but "I don't know." The film never really answers the question of how these craft projects come to life, but that's part of the magic and wonder of childhood.
2 "Oh, yeah, Woody! I've known that guy my whole life: two days."
When Forky is being held captive by Gabby Gabby and her henchmen, he somehow forges a real connection with Gabby Gabby herself, and never really seems to find her to be threatening. As a result of his googly-eyed innocence, he happily shares information about Woody with her, even though it comes back to hurt him when Gabby Gabby uses that information against Woody in their later confrontations.
But before Forky shares all of that info, he enthusiastically lets Gabby know that of course he knows Woody, he's known the cowboy his whole life: two whole days. It further reinforces the hilariously fast-paced nature of this movie's timeline, and once again reinforces Forky's own adorable naivete.
1 "I'm trash!"
Forky's first word is "trash." So are most of his other first few dozen or hundred words. Forky loves trash, and from the moment he is born into this world of toys and humans, he believes he belongs in the trash. For the film's entire first act, he believes he's trash, and proudly declares this fact, going to great lengths to try and throw himself out over and over again, to Woody's loving frustration.
Even when Woody and Forky arrive at Second Chance Antiques, Forky decides to introduce himself in a truly unique way. After Woody first introduces him as Forky, Forky clarifies: "I'm trash!" By the end of the movie, he's clearly accepted his role as a toy, even counseling Knifey of their identity as toys. But for most of his time in the film, Forky is a proud member of the trash club - and we love him for it.