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Crying helps me slow down and obsess over the weight of life's problems.

Sadness is a character in Inside Out and Inside Out 2. She is one of the original five emotions inside the mind of Riley Andersen.


Inside Out[]

Sadness formed 33 seconds after Riley was born, making her cry. Joy quickly pushed Sadness out of the way to make Riley happy again. As Riley grew, Joy and Sadness were often at odds over Riley's mood. When Riley was eleven, her father for a new job in San Francisco, moving the family away from Minnesota.

When Dad brushed Riley off to take a call and then left to go to work, Sadness tried to take control of the console, sure that Dad didn't love them anymore. When Riley and Mom talked about memories of their trip to San Francisco, Sadness touched what was a happy memory, making in tinged with sadness. Joy took the memory away and tried to clean it, but it remained sad. Sadness then touched a Core Memory, deactivating Goofball Island. Sadness had the persistent urge to touch other Core Memories, so Joy sent her to read Mind Manuals to distract her and keep the memories safe.

As they prepared for Riley's first day at her new school, Joy assigned Sadness to stay inside the Circle of Sadness to prevent Sadness from getting on any other memories. However, when Riley was talking to her class about her life in Minnesota, Sadness touched the memory, making Riley cry in class. Joy was unable to turn the memory back and scolded Sadness. Sadness then went to the console and formed a sad Core Memory. Joy tried to discard it, but Sadness said she couldn't because it was a Core Memory. They fought over it and the other Core Memories were knocked out of the holder, deactivating all the Islands of Personality. Joy collected them and tried to keep Sadness from putting the new on in the holder. This led to both of them, plus the Core Memories, being sucked into a Recall Tube and sent away from Headquarters.

They landed in Long Term Memory, where Joy collected the Core Memories and held them close to her. They saw that all of Riley's Islands of Personality were deactivated and Joy became determined to get back to Headquarters and plug the Core Memories back in to fix it. They started walking back toward Headquarters. The quickest way back was over a very narrow path over the Memory Dump. Sadness didn't want to risk it, but followed Joy when she started across. When Goofball Island collapsed, Joy and Sadness had to run back to avoid falling. When Sadness asked if they could fix Goofball Island, Joy admitted she didn't know, but would try. Joy was relieved when Riley went to sleep, since nothing bad could happen while she was sleeping. They decided to cross at Friendship Island instead, but Sadness despaired and Joy was forced to drag her to move through Riley's mind.

On their way, they ran into some Forgetters and Joy was upset to see them erasing memories, though they explained that when Riley didn't care about memories, they faded and it was their job to remove the faded memories. When Friendship Island fell next, Joy said they'd just have to go the long way. As they continued moving, they ran into Bing Bong, Riley's former imaginary friend, and Joy promised to help Riley remember him in exchange for his help. Bing Bong also gave Joy a bag to carry the Core Memories. Bing Bong said they could take a Train of Thought back to Headquarters and there was a station in Imagination Land. To get there, they had to go through Abstract Thought, where they were nearly destroyed when some Mind Workers activated it while they were inside. They got out on the other side just in time to see the train leave without them. Bing Bong said there was another station through Imagination Land, so they started walking toward it.

As they traveled, Hockey Island collapsed and Joy reminded Bing Bong they needed to get to the station. As they moved through Imagination Land, they watched Mind Workers demolish many of its exhibits. They also took Bing Bong's rocket and pushed it into the Memory Dump. Bing Bong was sad and started to cry. Joy tried to cheer him up so they could get to the train station, but Sadness sat with him and talked him through his negative feelings. Then she hugged him while he cried. Once he was doing, he said he was okay and started leading them to the train station. Joy asked Sadness how she did that and Sadness said she didn't know. She just listened to him.

At the station, they boarded the train and started off toward Headquarters. When Riley fell asleep, the train stopped. Determined to get back to Headquarters as soon as possible, Joy said they needed to get to Dream Productions and use a happy dream to wake Riley up. Sadness said a scary dream might work better, but Joy refused to listen. She had Sadness dress as a dog with her and they invaded a dream, but the dream turned scary when the dog costume ripped. Riley started to wake, but the dream director called security and Bing Bong was taken to the Subconscious, where he was trapped in a cage on top of Jangles the Clown. Joy and Sadness followed, as he had the Core Memories, and freed him. Then they woke Jangles and led him back to Dream Productions, where his presence woke Riley. They ran to the train and started riding back to Headquarters. As they rode, Joy admitted that Sadness had been right about using a scary dream instead of a happy one. Bing Bong looked at a memory of Riley and said she was so big, she wouldn't fit in his rocket anymore, making him wonder how they'd get to the moon. Joy looked at the memory and said the whole team was there. Sadness said it was the day the Prairie Dogs lost the playoffs after Riley missed the game-winning shot. She felt awful and wanted to quit.

When Honesty Island collapsed, it knocked out the support beams for the train, throwing them off course. The train landed on the edge of the dump and started to slide. Some Mind Workers got Joy, Sadness, and Bing Bong off the train just before it fell. Then the Mind Workers informed them that Riley was running away. Joy wanted to go to Family Island next, but then it crumbled. When Joy noticed a broken recall tube nearby, she decided to use it to get back. When Sadness climbed in with Joy, Joy pushed her out as it was making the Core Memories sad. She declared that Riley needed to be happy and left Sadness behind as she close the Recall Tube. She shot up, but then the Recall Tube broke, sending her into the Memory Dump along with Bing Bong.

Without Joy, Sadness wandered through Long Term Memory, touching memories on the way. Joy managed to escape and found Sadness. Sadness ran away, saying that Riley was better off without her, but Joy followed her to Imagination Land. Joy then used the Imaginary Boyfriend Generator to create a large amount of imaginary boyfriends, which she stored in her bag. She used it to make a tower with herself at the top. She launched herself to a bouncy area, then grabbed Sadness on her way back. They hit the side of Headquarters, but were stopped by the windows. Disgust goaded Anger to make him angry enough to have flames come out of his head, then used the flames to cut through the window, allowing Joy and Sadness to come back inside. The other emotions told Joy she needed to fix things with Riley, but Joy stepped inside and had Sadness take care of it instead. Sadness took control and was able to get Riley to get off the bus and go back home to her parents.

Joy then offered the Core Memories to Sadness, who took them and they watched as they turned blue. Sadness then projected the memories, allowing Riley to admit to her parents that she missed Minnesota and her life there. Mom and Dad admitted that they were sad as well and they all shared memories of Minnesota. Joy then gave the sad Core Memory back to Sadness and together, they formed a new Core Memory that was both happy and sad.

A year later, Riley had many more Core Memories that were mixed emotions, forming a series of new Islands of Personality. Sadness liked Tragic Vampire Romance Island. The Mind Workers also finished installing a new, expanded console, including a button labelled "puberty," which Joy said was probably not important.

Riley's First Date?[]

When Mom tried to probe to see if Jordan and Riley were going out on a date or just as friends, Sadness was confused by Mom's attempted use of slang.

Inside Out 2[]

Sadness is more accepted in the sequel as the other emotion doesn't restrain her and keep her from controlling the console unless it can affect people around Riley as they kept Sadness from making Riley cry in the car in front of her friends and parents.

Joy asks Sadness to go to the belief system with her. At first, she agreed only to take it back seconds later, worrying that she might break the belief system considering that it's only newly implemented. Sadness eventually agreed to come with Joy after she convinced her. For the first time, Sadness sees the belief system, plucking out a string of belief that sounded out the words "I'm kind", much to Sadness' delight.

After the four new emotions arrive, Anxiety bottles the four original emotions including Sadness after they got in the way of her plans.

After they escape the Vault of Secrets, they went on into longterm memory to reach the back of Riley's mind. Joy becomes confused as longterm memory expands, becoming unfamiliar to them. Sadness cries at the thought of the longterm memory's vastness and Joy tried to cheer her up by forcing her to smile.

Joy trusts Sadness to climb up a recall tube into the headquarters so that Sadness can turn it on when the other four emotions reach Riley's old sense of self. As she climbs up the tube, Envy recalls every memory of music that Riley has, the memory orbs forcefully pulled Sadness with it and into the headquarters. As Anxiety, Envy, and Embarrassment try to find a cool enough band to tell the Firehawks, Sadness successfully reteats into the mind manual library where she attempts to hide herself by towering the mind manuals.

Eventually, Embarrassment got suspicious over the towering books that suddenly appeared, shocking both of them. Sadness tells Embarrassment to not tell on Anxiety. Embarrassment walks away. Just as Sadness prepares for the worst, to her surprise, Embarrassment helps her hide by getting more books and completing her hideout made out of books.

While Anxiety attempts to convince Riley to peep into the coach's red book, Sadness silently disapproves of Riley's actions. She steals Ennui's phone careful not to wake her. As Riley saw her name and realizes that the coach thinks that she's not ready, Sadness controls the console through Ennui's phone and lets her cry. To Anxiety's surprise, she tells Ennui where her phone is, causing Ennui to freak out over her missing phone. Envy and Ennui try to find sadness to no avail. Anxiety sneaks into their bedroom to see a blue light under Sadness' blanket and she takes away the phone from her.

Sadness is then suspended in the air with a bucket so she doesn't tamper with Anxiety's plans. Shortly after Embarrassment realizes that Anxiety's plan is falling apart, he secretly releases Sadness from her bucket so she can activate the recall tube to send Joy and the original emotions back to headquarters. She fails as Anxiety destroys the recall tube.

She wasn't able to do anything about Anxiety's emotional whirlwind until Joy and the other emotions come back, attempting to remove new Riley's sense of self.

In the end, Sadness and the four new emotions peacefully coexist.


Notes and Trivia[]

  • Official description: None of the other Emotions really understand what Sadness's role is. Sadness would love to be more optimistic and helpful in keeping Riley happy, but she finds it so hard to be positive. Sometimes it seems like the best thing to do is just lie on the floor and have a good cry.
  • According to Pete Docter, her appearance is based on that of a teardrop.[source?]
    • This can be seen in Abstract Thought, as during the fourth stage, Joy and Sadness were reduced to a shape and color - Sadness was a blue teardrop and Joy was a yellow star.
  • In an early draft for the film, Sadness wasn't originally going to get lost with Joy in Riley's mind, but instead, her role would have been given to Fear.[source?]
  • Phyllis Smith, Sadness' voice actress, was chosen for the role of Sadness after Jonas Rivera, Inside Out's producer, noticed her performance in the 2011 film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.[source?]
  • Sadness is the lead emotion in Riley's mom's head.
  • In the Disney Infinity 3.0 spinoff of Inside Out, Sadness mentions that lightning reminds her of a time Riley was caught in a rainstorm, which hints she might have astraphobia. This was previously hinted in Inside Out as she mentioned that she dislikes that part of rainy weather (aside from liking rain itself).


Inside Out has a collection of images and media related to Sadness.


(When Friendship Island collapsed) Goodbye, friendship. Hello, loneliness.

Okay. Only I'm too sad to walk. Just give me a few... hours.

I like Tragic Vampire Romance Island.

(on being dragged around) This actually feels kinda nice!

If anyone has concerns about going back to Imagination Land, I'm willing to listen.

Oh, remember the funny movie where the dog dies?

We gotta get out of here-ow!-before we're nothing but shape and color-ow! We'll get stuck here forever! (in Abstract Thought)

Okay, I need to keep busy or I might get overwhelmed and start to cry.


v - e - d
Inside Out Poster Logo
Inside Out: JoySadnessAngerDisgustFearMrs. Andersen's EmotionsMr. Andersen's EmotionsBing BongRainbow UnicornJangles the ClownRiley AndersenMrs. AndersenMr. AndersenMegFrank and DaveJordanFritz

Inside Out 2: AnxietyEmbarrassmentEnnuiEnvyNostalgia
Deleted characters: GloomHopePrideShame