P Couples Analysis: Lightning and Sally

First thoughts right after watching the Movie

My first thoughts right after watching the film is that while they are not the most interesting characters, they are actually well executed as a couple. They never outright hate one another, their interactions are well-paced, and there is a set attraction between them. You care for it a bit less because they are….. Cars, but if you take that out of context, these two are actually a great couple. There are actually coherent conversations, and they are pretty deep, which is something that is not common. Nothing is really rushed, but if you are not interested in it, you are generally not going to care either way.

Summary

Lightning is put on trial for damaging the street of Radiator Springs, which causes him to face Sally the lawyer. She shows up late, and Lightning is enamoured with how she looks. He thinks that she is his attorney from where he is at, since she has a more polished and refined look. Sally is disappointed that the case is over, and Lightning obnoxiously asks her out. Lightning says that they should go out, just so he can look at her, and then flashing his lights at her. He goes on to claim that he creates feelings in others that they don’t understand, and Sally is just disgusted. Sally claims that she’s going to talk to the judge to get away from him, and Lightning tells her that these people are crazy. She says hi to Mater and everyone in the town, and comes to the realization that she is a Radiator Springs resident. After failing to convince Doc Hudson to let Lightning fix the road, she goes on some long speech about how the broken road will run the town down for good. Overall, it works, and Lightning is mad at her, claiming that he is not going to take her to dinner anymore.

Sally is impressed with how Lightning fixed a majority of the road, and the two interact when she has a fire truck spray the dirt off Lightning. He is not thrilled, and she rewards him by offering him to stay at the Cozy Cone Motel, so he would not get dirty every night. Sally gets nervous, as she stumbles over saying "stay with me". He is taken away from her being nice to me, and notes that there's a tattoo at the back. Sally is shocked, and stumbles all over the place as she parks into her office. It's clear they both like one another at this point, and the ice is settled. I am assuming that he is shocked that the tattoo symbolizes a more wild side to her.
Sally is impressed with how Lightning fixed a majority of the road, and the two interact when she has a fire truck spray the dirt off Lightning. He is not thrilled, and she rewards him by offering him to stay at the Cozy Cone Motel, so he would not get dirty every night. Sally gets nervous, as she stumbles over saying “stay with me”. He is taken away from her being nice to him, and notes that there’s a tattoo at the back of her. Sally is shocked, and stumbles all over the place as she parks into her office. It’s clear they both like one another at this point, and the ice is settled. I am assuming that he is shocked that the tattoo symbolizes a more wild side to her.

It is the night, and she observes Lightning make a promise to Mater about taking him on a helicopter ride, driving to his motel cone room, and some more awkward banter ensues. He rambles about being scared, and she rambles on her accidentally scaring him; the typical crap people do when they like one another. She mentions his conversation with Mater, and wonders if he meant his promise, while Lightning tells him that his main intention is getting to the race. Sally emphasizes that Mater trusts him, and is questioning him as to whether he understood what she meant. Lightning told her that he’s tired, causing her to awkwardly walk off, only for him to groan at himself before thanking her for the place.

Sally gives him some free gas, and tells him to follow her on a drive. He sees this as something weird, as city folks like him never drive just for the sake of a nice drive around. I never noticed that she called him nicknames like “stickers”, so there is some odd affection between them. They then start racing one another, and the scenery is extremely beautiful to see. Sally drives him to the Wheel Well Motel, and we learn that she was not from Radiator Springs.

Lightning outright says that he doesn't get her, and she explains that she was an attorney in California, but was never happy, so she left the fast life, and drove until she found Radiator Springs, and everyone took him in. Lightning wondered why she never went back, with her proclaiming that she fell in love with Radiator Springs, which is why she is so determined to see it back in its former glory, since Sally herself has never seen it in its glory. There is build up to Lightning liking the life in Radiator Springs, but it is clear that this scene of her teaching him the history of it gave him a stronger appreciation for it. We see this because he starts to ask more and more questions about what happened to it, and its revealed that the 40 Interstate was created to save 10 minutes of driving, causing the road that drives through Radiator Springs to be obsolete.
Lightning outright says that he doesn’t get her, and she explains that she was an attorney in California, but was never happy, so she left the fast life, and drove until she found Radiator Springs, where everyone took her in. Lightning wondered why she never went back, with her proclaiming that she fell in love with Radiator Springs, which is why she is so determined to see it back in its former glory, since Sally herself has never seen it in its glory. There is build up to Lightning liking the life in Radiator Springs, but it is clear that this scene of her teaching him the history of it gave him a stronger appreciation for it. We see this because he starts to ask more and more questions about what happened to it, and its revealed that the 40 Interstate was created to save 10 minutes of driving, causing the road that drives through Radiator Springs to be obsolete.

They bond about wanting to see the place in its heyday, and he really appreciates the drive, liking to settle down from time to time, smirking profusely as she leaves. Sally is driving on the road a few days later, and is shocked to see Lightning’s new makeover (which was the Radiator Springs style), where she calls him extremely attractive. He made an agreement with everyone in the town to lighten up the town, since Sunset is forming. Everyone is dancing and having fun, since life and hope is brought back into town. Sally really appreciates it, but of course this is the moment where the paparazzi takes Lightning away, where he doesn’t even get a chance to say a proper goodbye to her, after she tells him that she hopes he finds what he needs. It’s unclear whether he even wants to leave. Sally soon overhears a conversation with Doc and a paparazzi member, and she is mad that he called them, not believing that it was best for everyone that he left.

After the climax takes place, Lightning makes it back to Radiator Springs to meet with Sally at the Wheel Well Motel. He announces to her that he is setting up a racing headquarter office in Radiator Springs, putting it on the map, and telling her that he really missed her. Sally mutters the first thing Lightning has said to her back at him, which was that she creates feelings in others that they don’t understand. She challenges “Stickers” to a race, and that’s how Cars ends.

With Lightning being demoted to a supporting character, his interactions with Sally would be extremely minimal to say the least. It is even worse when Sally stays at Radiator Springs throughout the entirety of Cars 2. Lightning and Sally end up going on a date at a the Wheel Well Motel restaurant for dinner (I never realized it was the same place that was so sentimental to them in the first film. Neat touch,) and they are thrilled that it is just the two of them.

Mater ends up blocking their date, which amuses the couple for some reason. Mater calls to the Mel Dorado show to defend Lightning, causing the couple to drive into the restaurant to see the commotion. Sally has a slight infatuation with the person challenging Lightning; Francesco Bernoulli, which he is less than thrilled about. Sally says he is nice to look at, which causes Lightning to be a bit insecure.
Mater ends up blocking their date, which amuses the couple for some reason. Mater calls to the Mel Dorado show to defend Lightning, causing the couple to drive into the restaurant to see the commotion. Sally has a slight infatuation with the person challenging Lightning; Francesco Bernoulli, which he is less than thrilled about. Sally says he is nice to look at, which causes Lightning to be a bit insecure.

Lightning ends up taking Francesco’s bet, and Sally suggests (more so tells him) to take Mater, and this is right after Lightning got back after another another race. You know what Sally, I BLAME YOU FOR THE CRAP THAT HAPPENS IN THE FILM. If you LET Lightning go by himself, things would have been fine. Sally could not go herself, since she is too busy with all of the stuff she has going on at the moment.

Sally is not seen in the film until the epilogue, where she meets Francesco, and for Lightning’s ego, she does not compliment Francesco, claiming that he is not that good looking, which he appreciates a lot. Lightning for the first time says he loves her, which makes sense, since it’s undetermined the amount of time between Cars and Cars 2.

Final Thoughts

My final thoughts is that there is a lot more depth to them than I was expecting. It makes sense, since Cars is all about the interactions taking over the slow-paced plot, and these two are debatably given the most focus. We really see them form an official relationship through the film, and while it is rare for Pixar to fully execute a romance, they do show that they can do it. Both will be in Cars 3, so we will see in a few months how their relationship will evolve, as they will be the first Pixar couple to be in 3 consecutive films. I was hoping that this would pop up on my randomizer list around the summer, so I could have included the third film.

Since we are entering a new month, February will be all about Friendships, and we will be seeing one from the early “Experimental/Pioneer” era of DreamWorks Animation.

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2 thoughts on “P Couples Analysis: Lightning and Sally

    1. Thanks. I usually don’t may much attention to them, so I was shocked with the amount of realism and detail that was there (though people will use it as an argument that they shouldn’t be cars).

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