We’re in the midst of some crazy times right now, times that were just unfolding when I made my last post on here. We all have our own ways of dealing with the stress, but for me, I’ve been letting myself get lost in the Toy Story things that make me the happiest. It’s no secret that Buzz Lightyear and Jessie hold a special place in my fangirl heart, and it’s been quite some time since I did one of my throwback posts, so I thought I’d take a look back at them – more specifically, the moment I went from simply being a Pixar fan who was excited to see Toy Story 3, to falling hopelessly in love with these two characters, both as a couple and for who they are individually. And it all started with Dancing with the Stars…
I’ve watched Dancing with the Stars for years – some seasons draw me in more than others, but it’s entertaining to watch the different dances, especially when they do a Disney Night. So back in 2010, I was already watching when, one night, a special appearance by the Gipsy Kings announced that they had a new song in Toy Story 3:
Set against a backdrop of purple and green lights, the Latin paso doble routine featured two couples following some of the steps from what would become the movie’s choreography, and some that were added for the show, accompanied by the band’s live performance of “Hay Un Amigo En Mi.” But that wasn’t all. A commercial aired during the following break, showing the first romantic clips of Buzz and Jessie (at least the first I’d seen up to that point):
This was the precise moment I fell in love with them.
We soon learned more about Dancing the Stars‘ work in helping Pixar create this paso doble for Buzz and Jessie. A wonderful spot (that if I recall correctly aired on the Disney Channel) focused on Spanish Mode, which showed cast and crew interviews, Dancing with the Stars pros Cheryl Burke and Tony Dovolani (who were responsible for creating the choreography), as well as some behind-the-scenes animation clips:
More videos came out as well, like this one looking specifically at the dancing aspect of things (some of it repeats footage from the previous one, but there’s some different stuff, too):
How cute it is that they had to consider her hat? I’ve always loved that little detail. And there’s something really neat about watching actual people perform the same steps that are so ingrained in my memory now, from watching Buzz and Jessie do them.
There was even a special look at the work of Toy Story 3 animator Carlos Baena, and how his work on Spanish Buzz was inspired by flamenco dancers:
I love Jessie snatching Buzz away at the end of the animation test! They’re just the cutest.
Lastly, this “Video Surfers” Disney Channel segment had the best interview quote from Lee Unkrich about their dancing:
Does Buzz have a favorite dance move?
You know, I think any dance move where he gets to just have his eyes locked on Jessie’s makes him happy.
In the years since Toy Story 3, Buzz and Jessie’s paso doble has made one more appearance on Dancing with the Stars, back in 2015. This time, two of the pros performed much of the dance from the movie, in character-inspired costumes, with clips of Buzz and Jessie opening and closing the routine. In it, we even got to see a different angle of one of their poses from the film! I couldn’t find a shareable video to post on here, but I’ve shared it on my Instagram account if you’d like to look it up it on there.
Every time I watch Buzz and Jessie’s paso doble, even after all this time, I can’t help but grin. It’s their happily-ever-after, and shows not only their joy of being together, but also the happiness the other toys share for them. We haven’t seen Spanish Mode since the “Hawaiian Vacation” short in 2011, and while I completely respect and admire Pixar’s decision to show Buzz and Jessie as a couple without any Spanish influences in later material – they really don’t need it anymore, it was just the push that brought them officially together – I would love to see them dancing again someday! I’d like to think that it’s a hobby of theirs, when they get time to themselves in a quiet house, to turn on some romantic music and practice different dances, Spanish or otherwise.
That summer of 2010 will always hold special memories for me. Besides the release of Toy Story 3, and all the enjoyment that came along with it, it was also an especially happy time in my life. And these videos are all a big part of those memories, when everywhere you looked there was something new with the toys. I know I’m always saying that I hope we get to see the Toy Story gang again – and get to see Buzz and Jessie share some sweet moments together again – but I’ll never stop hoping for that. Until then, I’ll just keep rewatching their paso doble.
Images and videos © Disney/Pixar and ABC.