Annecy 2023 Recap: Pixar Presents Full Episode of Original Series “Win or Lose” Before “Elemental” Premiere

It’s a big day for Pixar Animation Studios. Not only is Elemental now playing in theaters, but they also just screened the first episode of their first original long-form animated series, Win or Lose, at Annecy Festival. Directors Carrie Hobson and Michael Yates were joined by producer David Lally to introduce the episode, which also came with a bit of news.



Prior to today, Will Forte was the only casting reveal. We received a few character descriptions, two voice reveals, and news about the score. Milan Ray from ABC’s The Wonder Years is the voice of Rochelle, who is described as a “Teenage CEO.” She’s an excellent student who takes the initiative in everything in her life, including helping to keep her single mother, Vanessa, on task and helping with her baby brother. Vanessa is voiced by Rosa Salizar (Alita: Battle Angel). The show’s score is composed by Ramin Djawadi, whose work includes the first Iron Man film, Eternals, A Wrinkle in Time, Disneynature’s Elephant, and HBO’s Game of Thrones.

What we saw wasn’t the first episode, so Carrie, Michael, and David had to set the scene. The series follows the events leading up to the Pickles softball championship, with each episode offering a different point of view. It follows not only students like Rochelle and the umpire Frank (Will Forte), but also the parents. The episode we saw was titled “Vanessa: The Cool Mom.” Having already been told that Rochelle sometimes has to help keep her mom organized, it gave insight into a hectic life of a single mother, trying to balance a career, a biting toddler, and a middle schooler facing life’s biggest turning point.

Pixar’s Win or Lose embraces a TV cartoon esthetic, with the studio’s closest frame of reference being Turning Red. Character designs are exaggerated, with big eyes close together as an example. While there’s plenty of fluidity to be found, the animation also embraces jerky moments, often played for comedic effect. Speaking of comedy, the episode we saw was hilarious, while also being profound. And it is specifically set in the present, with fun cellphone interactions such as the likes on a social media post coming out of the screen to physically lift up the characters.

Coming to Disney+ this December, I can’t wait to see the fun in store with all eight episodes of this Pixar original series. The episode shown at Annecy clocked in right around the 21-minute mark. The series is clearly designed for the whole family to enjoy, but “Vanessa: The Cool Mom” is one that parents and adults will really resonate with. “Adulting” can be hard, and the episode has a lot of fun with that concept.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).