Mr. Potato Head (often referred to as simply Potato Head) is a supporting character in the Disney/Pixar Toy Story series. He is a moody, Brooklyn-accented toy based on the Hasbro and Playskool doll of the same name.
A potato-shaped toy, his patented design allows him to separate his detachable parts from his body by removing them from the holes on his body. He also has a compartment on his lower back to store extra appendages. He is the only toy shown to be capable of retaining control over his parts even if they are several centimeters/inches away from his main body, most likely because his toy is designed to be taken apart, unlike many other types of toys — who are typically and effectively "mutilated" when it comes to that. For example, he can still see if his detachable eyes are removed (through the eyes, of course), as well as being able to move his hands and legs if they are detached.
- Mr. Potato Head is a wisecracking, hot-headed spud, complete with angry eyes. He's the eternal pessimist with a tough plastic exterior, but his total devotion to his "sweet potato," Mrs. Potato Head, reveals a softer side.
In the original story pitch for Toy Story, he had largely the same personality as the final film, with his cynicism also being highlighted by his remarking, regarding Buzz potentially falling into the street (after Woody pushed Buzz out of the window, deliberately in this version) that "[Buzz] ain't going to Pizza [Planet] now!" He was also shown to be very defensive of his fellow toys, as evidenced by his telling Woody, after the latter viciously insulted Slinky Dog and threatened to throw him off the bed for not willing to obey him in throwing them off the bed, that he might as well throw him off as well, with Hamm and Rex joining in.
Potato Head is a rather cynical Mr. Potato Head doll, of the common design of Playskool. Andy often casts him as a villain in his games, which seems to be the reason he can be so cynical and irritable, being cast as the bad guy so often. Although he's sarcastic, cynical, rude, and has an acerbic point of view, deep down he has a heart of gold, he loves his wife and is prepared to go to limitless lengths to save his friends. In the second movie, when Woody was kidnapped, he showed some shock and later he showed some sadness when Woody refused to go back with Andy's Toys. Potato Head appears to be partners with Hamm as they are seen high-fiving each other whenever something exciting or victorious happens.
Despite being antagonistic in Toy Story, Potato Head becomes much more amicable after the arrival of Mrs. Potato Head.
Mr. Potato Head first appears in Toy Story playing One-Eyed Bart. After Andy leaves his room, Potato Head wakes up to find a number of his parts scattered to the floor (Molly has earlier drooled on him, and also smashed him apart), also expressing irritation that Andy has had to place him in Molly's crib during their "playtime," as he is supposed to be only playable for children of ages three and up. He then shows Hamm his messed-up face (with all his facial pieces, except his mustache, in the wrong slots), pretending to be Picasso, but Hamm has no idea, and Potato Head berates Hamm for being uncultured.
When Woody holds a staff meeting, Potato Head asks if they have to hold hands when Woody tells everyone to get a moving buddy. Potato Head points out that Woody is, of course, not worried when he tells everyone not to panic when Andy's birthday has been moved to that day, only for Slinky to speak up to Potato Head when he has complained about that, and when Slinky is not looking, Potato Head takes off his mouth and "kisses" his butt, while Slinky keeps talking. When Woody sends Sarge and his Green Army Men, Potato Head prays for Andy to get a Mrs. Potato Head.
During most of the first film, Potato Head is very rude, unfriendly, and mean to Woody, mostly because he's jealous of Woody being Andy's favorite toy. For example, when he becomes fascinated with all the features of the Buzz Lightyear action figure that Andy has received for his birthday, Mr. Potato Head also makes fun of Woody by accusing him of not having a laser like Buzz, describing Woody's sampled voice "like a car ran over it," and suggesting an attic as a special place Andy will have for Woody. One evening, after Woody accidentally knocks Buzz out the window, Mr. Potato Head is quick to accuse Woody of being a murderer, having witnessed the chain of events that led to Buzz being knocked out the window, interrogates Woody as to if he will do the same to him as well if Andy started playing with him more, and leads a mutiny with the other toys to attack Woody. But before the toys can do so, they all retreat when they hear Andy approaching the room. While Andy searches the room for Buzz, Mr. Potato Head quietly gets Woody's attention and has Etch A Sketch draw a hangman's noose, threatening to hang Woody for harming Buzz, before Andy leaves with Woody for Pizza Planet.
That night, when Andy and his mom return home, Mr. Potato Head, along with Hamm, is feeling somewhat content when he learns about Woody's disappearance, as he has continued to admit Woody's guilt in the window incident.
Later the next day, Woody throws a string of Christmas lights from Sid's house to Andy's house; Slinky catches them, but Mr. Potato Head snatches the lights away and labels Woody a liar after he tells the other toys if they have forgotten what he did to Buzz regarding the window incident. Woody then tries to convince the toys to let him get back by pretending that Buzz is with him (using Buzz's severed left arm), but Mr. Potato Head remains suspicious of what Woody is actually doing and asks Woody what's he trying to pull. When Woody accidentally blows his cover by showing Buzz's arm, Mr. Potato Head snaps at Woody, calls him a "murdering dog," and tells him he hopes Sid will break his voice box, before the toys back away from the window, leaving Woody depressed and stranded in Sid's house.
On the night before the moving day, it was shown that Rex was his moving buddy, but only because everyone else was picked. Rex sticks his head out of the box to gasp for air, making Mr. Potato Head mad and wonder why they became moving buddies in the first place.
The next day, during the move to Andy's new house, Woody tosses RC out of the moving truck onto the street to rescue Buzz from Scud, and Mr. Potato Head, thinking that Woody is trying to get rid of another toy, rallies the other toys to ambush Woody and toss him overboard, despite that Andy already missed Woody. During the ambush, Woody hits Mr. Potato Head with RC's remote, causing his left ear and entire face parts to fall off, and his mouth yells, "Toss him overboard!" after Woody tries to explain to the toys that they need to save Buzz. However, when Bo Peep reveals that Woody was "telling the truth," after the other toys see Woody and Buzz are on RC, Mr. Potato Head realizes his mistake and is horrified and guilty at what he had done. He attempts to compensate for his mistakes by holding onto Slinky's tail so Slinky can help Woody, Buzz, and RC back into the truck. It fails, however, but Woody and Buzz use Sid's rocket and toss RC back to the van; the toys move out of the way as RC crashes into Mr. Potato Head, sending his pieces flying in all directions, possibly in an ironic payback for having led the mutiny against Woody in the first place.
At the end of the film, Mr. Potato Head is overjoyed to hear Molly receiving a Mrs. Potato Head as her Christmas present. When the toys congratulate Mr. Potato Head, he remarks that he had better shave, so he takes off his mustache.
In Toy Story 2, he is first seen having found Mrs. Potato Head's missing ear. Woody thinks he found his hat, but he tells Woody the "Mrs. lost her earring" as he returns it to her. Mr. Potato Head, along with the other toys, witnesses Woody going down to the yard sale with Buster to rescue Wheezy from being sold, and is shocked when Woody gets stolen by Al. After Woody is kidnapped, he and Hamm set up a crime scene, where Mr. Potato Head operates Exhibit F, in which he details the kidnapper's escape route, although he later snaps at Rex after the latter, when asking for the phone number for the FBI, inadvertently destroys his crime scene. He indirectly and inadvertently, helps Buzz come up with the answer to LZTYBRN (the license plate on the car of the man who has stolen Woody) when he sarcastically tells the others to "leave Buzz to play with his toys". As Buzz orders Etch to "draw that man in a chicken suit," Potato Head, along with the other toys, is horrified to learn that the man who has kidnapped Woody is the "chicken man", Al McWhiggin, who also happens to be the owner of Al's Toy Barn.
Later, Mr. Potato Head goes on a mission with Buzz, Hamm, Rex, and Slinky to rescue Woody, showing him in a much more positive light and suggesting that his relationship with Woody has greatly improved. Before they leave, Mrs. Potato Head packs her husband an extra pair of shoes and angry eyes, and the Mr. puts on his mustache he "shaved" from the first movie saying "let's roll". At one point, when the toys are reprimanded by Buzz for requesting a rest, Buzz mentions the time when Potato Head had Woody thrown "out of the back of that moving van," and Mr. Potato Head is still shown to be regretting this greatly, even though Woody has long since forgiven him. When the toys cross the street to Al's Toy Barn, they indirectly cause a semi tractor-trailer to jackknife, and the chains securing a large pipe on the semi break, freeing the pipe. The pipe subsequently rolls down the street, during which Potato Head gets one of his feet stuck on a piece of chewing gum on the pavement, and has to pull his foot off the gum before the pipe can squish him. Upon making it to the other side of the road, he commented on how well that went, just as the pipe rolls into and causes a lamppost to fall down onto the street.
While the toys search Al's Toy Barn, they encounter a Barbie aisle, where Tour Guide Barbie hops into the car, right next to Mr. Potato Head, who remarks that he is a married spud, prompting Hamm to switch seats with him. He seems to be the most suspicious of a cocky attitude of the newer Buzz Lightyear action figure that the toys take with them from Al's Toy Barn. After the toys break into Al's apartment, Mr. Potato Head tries to scare Jessie by reaching into his back compartment for his angry eyes, but attaches his spare pair of shoes by mistake (especially after Mrs. Potato Head has given him his shoes and his angry eyes).
When the toys leave the apartment after Al leaves with Woody, Potato Head throws his hat like a frisbee to jam the apartment lobby's closing doors (similar to Oddjob in Goldfinger), letting the toys pass through. Outside, he is the first to spot an idling Pizza Planet delivery truck nearby, and is assigned by Buzz to operate the levers and knobs with Hamm. To make the truck accelerate, Potato Head shifts the lever of the truck while Slinky presses down the pedals. While the toys chase Al in the truck, Mr. Potato Head saves three alien toys from flying out the window. He becomes increasingly annoyed at the aliens' repeated expression of their gratefulness towards him. At Tri-County International Airport, he, Hamm, Rex, and the Aliens aim for a luggage, only to find flash cameras instead, but they use those cameras to stun Stinky Pete the Prospector before he can finish Woody off with his pick axe.
After the toys return home, Mrs. Potato Head, upon hearing that her husband has saved the aliens, decides to adopt them as their children, much to his dismay. Finally, he and his wife are seen standing together as they watch a fixed Wheezy sing (in a deep voice) "You've Got a Friend in Me."
In Toy Story 3, Mr. Potato Head has become distrusting of Andy, believing he no longer cares for his toys as a result of growing up. Despite this, he tries to comfort his wife, while the Aliens try to find comfort in him as well—much to Potato Head's annoyance. Eventually, Woody declares it's time they "close up shop" and prepare to live the rest of their days in the attic, which Potato Head and the others lament. Unfortunately, they are mistakingly thrown out by Mrs. Davis, infuriating Potato Head and the others toys, who unanimously decide to donate themselves to Sunnyside Daycare.
Though things seem pleasant at first, the ruler of the daycare, Lotso, tricks the toys into becoming members of the Caterpillar Room, where they are mangled and tormented by toddlers. After learning that Andy actually still wants them, the toys band together to return home, only to be stopped by Lotso, his gang, and a reset Buzz. Potato Head defends his friends by mouthing off Lotso, which results in the former being sent to "the box" as punishment. The next day, Potato Head is reunited with his wife, but is sandy and in a haze. Woody returns later that day, and Potato Head indirectly confesses that he was right about Andy.
They form an escape plan, in which Potato Head purposefully gets himself put into the box. He escapes by dismantling himself and assisting the others outside the daycare building. He uses a tortilla to replace his body, but it is eaten by birds, forcing Potato Head to instead use a cucumber from the daycare's garden. After the rest of the toys are freed, however, Potato Head is reunited with his old body.
Together, the toys escape the daycare and Lotso's clutches, but are accidentally taken to the dump and nearly face incineration. They are saved by the Aliens, who Potato Head finally accepts as his children out of gratitude. Back at Andy's house, Potato Head and the others accept their future as attic toys, but Woody manages to get everyone donated to a little girl named Bonnie instead.
Potato Head appeared in the series of shorts, primarily playing a minor role.
In Partysaurus Rex, Rex accidentally pops the bubble Mrs. Potato Head was blowing, prompting Mr. Potato Head and the others to poke fun on Rex by calling him "Partypooper Rex." This also led to him being indirectly responsible for Rex holding a party in the bathtub and calling himself "Partysaurus Rex." After the plumber came over due to the water overflowing thanks to Rex (resulting in Mr. Potato Head removing his ears temporarily to let the water inside spill out), Mr. Potato Head was in disbelief that Rex could hold an effective party until the pool toys invited him to cause a rave.
Mr. Potato Head also returns in the Halloween special. He is the first toy to be taken by Mr. Jones.
Mr. Potato Head also returns in the Christmas special. He spends Christmas with Bonnie and her toys. His role here was smaller compared to his role in the movies and Halloween special. It was also Don Rickle's final appearance as him before his eventual death from Kidney failure in 2017.
In the Florida parks, Mr. Potato Head makes notable appearances at Disney's Hollywood Studios. He appeared as decor in the new dismantled Pixar area of the park and during the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade as a walkaround character near the Toy Story float.
Mr. Potato Head makes an appearance in the Pixar Play Parade as a walkaround character in the Toy Story unit. He is seen riding a toy dump truck in between the Buzz and Woody/Jessie floats.
Mr. Potato Head appears in the arcade like attraction in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Potato Head acts as a ringmaster of sorts and speaks to the guest while on a line to ride the attraction. He is a large semi-digital Audio Animatronic that can truly interact with guest and as a nod to his origins; pull apart his body pieces. He is able to identify guest and the clothing they wear as well.
- Mr. Potato Head's line "What are you looking at, ya hockey puck?" is one of Don Rickles' famous catchphrases.
- At one point in Toy Story 2, Mr. Potato Head pokes his eye through the vent at Al's apartment. However, this may contradict with his earlier action when he removes his ears while Rex is reading the manual of Buzz Lightyear: Attack on Zurg.
- Mr. Potato Head's hat-throwing technique to stop the closing doors at Al's Penthouse resembles Oddjob's trademark hat-throwing technique in Goldfinger.
- The design that Pixar used for Mr. Potato Head is an altered version of the 1980s and 90s design. For instance, in the real world, the toy Mr. Potato Head's eyes are attached to each other with only one hole on the plastic potato to put them in. In the Toy Story films, Mr. Potato Head's eyes are separate and have one hole for each eye on the plastic body to place them in (this is true for the shoes as well). That's why the Toy Story Collection version has connected eyes, in which the eye connection is a "half inaccuracy." The collectors were not pleased. However, we may see more accurate versions in the near future, as Hasbro announced that they may make revisions to their design.
- Thanks to the franchise, Potato Head dolls started selling like hot cakes.
- According to himself in Toy Story, children under three cannot, or, at least, are not allowed to play with him.
- It is possible Mr. Potato Head comes with over 30 accessories like Mrs. Potato Head, including his angry eyes and spare shoes, even though most of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head's accessories are unseen throughout the movies.
- Mr. Potato Head is also the first character seen in the first film and the series.
- Some believe that Mr. Potato Head is the true antagonist of the first Toy Story because throughout the movie, he is constantly trying to undermine Woody in any possible way and was the one who led the mutiny against Woody.
- He has helped the toys several of times in each movie from his quotes, like when he sarcastically said, "Let's leave Buzz to play with his toys," or "Andy doesn't want us. What's the point?"
- In Toy Story, Mr. Potato Head does not have his storage compartment, which he does have in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3. No official reason was given as to why.
- It is unknown how his eyebrows can be separated from his eyes. Mr. Potato Head has removed at least one eye in every movie, and he is seen to have been able to take his eyebrows apart. However, when it shows him with one or no eyes, there is no hole for the eyebrows, but they can separate.
- In the Dutch version of Toy Story 3, the tortilla that Mr. Potato Head uses as a body is called a pancake for some reason.
- Given that Mattel made Mr. Potato Head toys to tie-in with the movie, he's the only Hasbro toy which was licensed to Mattel.
- Don Rickles was about to reprise his role as Mr. Potato Head in Toy Story 4, but passed away before he could record any dialogue. This makes Mr. Potato Head the second Toy Story character to have a voice actor replacement, after Slinky.
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