When you go see Pixar’s Onward this weekend (in theaters March 6th), you’ll be treated to a brand-new animated short before the film. It’s not a Pixar original but don’t worry, it’s also not a 21-minute Olaf holiday special. While a little incongruous, the second theatrically released short from The Simpsons is called Playdate with Destiny, a showcase of how versatile and entertaining America’s favorite yellow family can be, and it premieres in front of Pixar’s Onward.
Maggie and Marge are having a playdate at Springfield’s finest toddler play park when Maggie becomes smitten with a little boy. It’s love at first *suck suck* and Maggie dreams about seeing him again after a day full of make believe romance. But when Homer is on baby duty the next day and takes Maggie to a different park with food trucks, she worries that she may never see her true love again… until she takes matters into her own hands.
Like the best Pixar shorts, Playdate with Destiny from Matt Groening’s animation team and Gracie films is presented with very little dialogue. It’s the kind of short that all audience members will understand, regardless of age and native tongue. And while every episode of The Simpsons might not be appropropriate for the whole family, this short certainly is. There’s no objectionable content or potty humor to be found and the team has even inserted a few Disney elements. Parents don’t need to fear the prankster influence of Bart Simpson in this short as he’s barely in it.
With The Simpsons in its 31st season on Fox, it’s easy to forget that the series actually started as animated shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. Another fun connection to Onward is that Tracey Ullman provides a voice in the film, playing a fork-tongued pawnshop owner. There’s also a long history of Pixar hiring talented filmmakers who worked on The Simpsons, including Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird. Before A113 was a Pixar Easter Egg, you could find it hidden on The Simpsons.
Season 31 was written and in production before the Fox acquisition was finalized, so Playdate with Destiny is a fun way to officially welcome The Simpsons to the Disney family. I believe it’s the first project started for the brand under Disney’s leadership and they certainly have fun with that. Whether you like The Simpsons or not, you’ll be seeing Playdate with Destiny if you’re heading to theaters to experience Pixar’s latest tearjerking adventure, Onward. For the unfamiliar, the series and feature film are available on Disney+ if you fall in love with Maggie in this short. I grew up with The Simpsons and am excited to see them back on the big screen with this charming short.
I give Playdate with Destiny 5 out of 5 not-so-hidden Mickeys.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.