Pixar movie hits like Up, Toy Story, WALL-E, and Inside Out are known as much for making audiences cry as for making them laugh. Now, the comic minds behind Above Average take us inside the fictional Pixar Sadness Studios to show us how Pixar researches characters and storylines to “maximize sadness potential.”

“Instead of mapping DNA, we’re trying to make people sob so hard that they lose their shit,” says our tour guide. Test subjects in hospital gowns are asked if these stimuli are sad—a deaf rabbit, a boy reunited with his dog who he thought was dead, a sad balloon, the color yellow.

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The tour guide reveals that Pixar’s secret formula for making audiences cry it to ambush them. “For instance, when you’re watching Up, you’re thinking, ‘This is a kids’ movie, what could go wrong, the balloons and wham… miscarriage and a dead wife.‘ ”

SadLab technicians are proud of what they do, the tour guide says. “When I see someone walking out of a Pixar movie and their face is swollen, their nose is raw, I get to say, ‘I did that to them.’”

[Via Laughing Squid]

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