- “No refunds after the first two minutes.”
- ―P.T. Flea addressing a dissatisfied fly customer
P.T. is the short-tempered, boisterous, greedy ringmaster of the circus troupe who is unwilling to give refunds after his show has lasted two minutes. He loves money and would do anything just to make it, including hire the lowest of low-lives and later even go as far as to have himself injured as a result.
P.T.'s finale consists of an act called "Flaming Death," in which he was almost incinerated. This made him fire his entire troupe, until a foot-long line of flies lined up outside the circus tent wanting to see the Flaming Death act again.
As the ringmaster of the circus troupe who loves money, P.T. Flea is totally unwilling to give refunds after his show has lasted two minutes. He starts off as a minor antagonist, but he reforms into a more neutral businessman type in the end after he and his circus troupe help the ants defeat Hopper and his gang.
Role in the film
During an act with Dim and Rosie where the circus act does not perform well, the flies become very upset as many of them leave the circus while an elderly fly tells P.T. to give him a refund to which he refuses to give refunds much to his greed. Worried about the angry audience, P.T. tells Heimlich and Francis to perform immediately to which Heimlich tells P.T. that he cannot perform with an empty stomach to which P.T. tells Heimlich to perform before eating, much to his harshness. Slim walks towards P.T. who is also upset that the flies will only laugh at him thinking he is only an inanimate object to which P.T. calls him a walking stick to which the stick insect gets offended with P.T.'s harshness. During a flower act, P.T. notices Francis arguing with the flies believing his act is going wrong again.
P.T. meets Gypsy who tells him that her partner Manny, a praying mantis, is concentrating patiently. P.T. however, becomes furious telling the performers to do their act immediately. After the act with Heimlich, Francis, and Slim ends, P.T. begins Manny and Gypsy's act by ringing a gong (actually made of an Asian coin). When Manny and Gypsy's act begins, P.T. tells Rosie and the whole troupe to be on stage again immediately while trying to put a bandage on Dim's wound during a lion taming act along with Tuck and Roll who do not understand what Rosie is saying. Frustrated that his circus act is not getting good complements from the flies, P.T. performs a dangerous circus act known as the "Flaming Death" where he tells the unhappy flies about the act he is going to do after feeling frustrated.
P.T. explains to the flies about the demonstration of the dangerous "Flaming Death" act where the act begins in less than fifteen seconds where all the performers are blindfolded while giving an advice that audiences sensitive to intense fire to leave the arena immediately as the Flaming Death act is extremely dangerous. When the act goes wrong like what the other performers were doing, P.T. gets stuck on flypaper while the Circus Bugs notice this while trying to find water to extinguish the flaming matches. However, before they could, the flypaper falls on the matches and on P.T. as it emits a big fire across the circus, nearly killing P.T. during the act. The Circus Bugs then find water for P.T., but fires them for poor performance in the circus, causing P.T. Flea's Circus to go out of business.
Later in the film, as his troupe and the ants celebrate the completion of their bird to scare off the grasshoppers, P.T. comes to Ant Island searching for the troupe. He finds them hiding under a leaf and blows their cover of pretending to be "warrior bugs," stating to them that Flaming Death was a huge hit. When the ants find out the truth about the warriors, the Queen orders them to leave, and Princess Atta banishes Flik along with the troupe after learning about his lies.
As they are heading back to the circus, Dot (who had just learned to fly) flies to the troupe and asks them for help. She tells them about Hopper's plan to squish her mother when the ants finish collecting all the food on the island. Rosie traps P.T. in her web, and the troupe takes control of the carriage and heads back to Ant Island.
Back on the island, Flik tries to scare off the grasshoppers with the fake bird, but accidentally hits the circus carriage in the process, releasing P.T. from Rosie's web. He sees that some of his troupe members are pretending to be injured by the bird, so he uses his Flaming Death to set the bird on fire, not realizing it was merely a hoax to fool Hopper and his gang. He then realizes his mistake for helping Hopper and his gang when he sees Flik being beaten by Thumper and orders the troupe to get rid of Hopper.
In the end, P.T. has reformed to some degree, being less greedy and more flexible, after he and his whole circus troupe help to rid the ants of Hopper when they finally overpower him. They then say goodbye to Flik, Atta (who's now the new queen), and Dot (who is now a young princess). P.T. leaves Ant Island with new circus members: a group of acrobatic ants, and a new strongman, the fully reformed Molt (under the nickname "Tiny"), with the promise that he and the circus will return next season.
- P.T. appears during the end credits of Cars as a tiny hopping car.
- He also made a cameo in the short Your Friend the Rat using recycled footage (he is only called "The Flea").
- P.T. is named after P.T. Barnum, the co-founder of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the early 1800s.
- P.T. is John Ratzenberger's favorite role.
- P.T. is John Ratzenberger's second Pixar character after Hamm.
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