Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Veggies Ripe for Parody

by Count Olaf
Seeing as how I'm living in Seattle-South (it's been raining in Northern California since last year, it seems) the weather was starting to bring on the doldrums. I needed something to put a smile on my face! Then I remembered those high vegetable artisans of satire: VeggieTales.

On the surface these 3D-aminated talking vegetables with no arms or legs can look like they are just for kids, but there's definitely more to them than that. Yes, they are Saturday Morning Fun, Sunday Morning Values. Yes they are created by and (for the most part) for Christians. But I think you'd miss out on some genuine humor by simply dismissing it out-of-hand. Let me give you a quick rundown.

Back in 1992 some college roomies got together and created computer animated vegetables with a tomato and a cucumber (both technically not vegetables) as the leads. They created a company (Big Idea) and started making 30-minute videos that slowly gained popularity across the nation. Bob (tomato) and Larry (cucumber) became household names. The standard format became a 15 minute retelling of a well-known Bible story, a silly song, then an object lesson from literature or everyday situations. They kept adding new veggies and even started a series with penguins in the late 90s.

The business reached its zenith in 2002 with the release of its first full feature-length movie Jonah. Then much of the empire crumbled under the weight of too much debt brought on by rapid expansion and BigIdea was sold to a classic cartoon company. Since then, the videos seemed to be struggling to return to the glory days of the mid-nineties.

Last November I think they released their most hilarious parody since the early days: The Lord of the Beans. Here's the copy from their website:

It's a tale of good versus evil ... with beans! Lord of the Beans follows the fantastic journey of a Flobbit named Toto Baggypants (Junior Asparagus) who inherits a most unusual and powerful bean. With the help of his mentor Randalf and a spirited group of friends, Toto embarks on a mission to discover how he should use his gift.
On their quest, the group encounters many challenges, including crossing the Mountains of Much-Snowia, and facing the dreaded Lord Scaryman -- who seeks the bean for misguided, selfish reasons. Will Toto discover the purpose of his gift, or will the scary dude and his Spork army capture the bean and wield its awesome powers? Find out in VeggieTales Lord of the Beans.

If you've seen LOTR and want a good laugh I would highly recommend Netflixing this bad boy. If you are new to VeggieTales and you want to see their hilarious takes on well-known Bible stories, I'd say you could do no better than Dave & The Giant Pickle (which has one of the best Silly Songs ever).


Blogger Brian said...

Back in 1992 some college roomies got together and created computer animated vegetables with a tomato and a cucumber (both technically not vegetables)

Well, yes, but one can understand where FruityTales might not have caught on with the intended audience.

4/12/2006 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger Count Olaf said...

maybe THAT'S why they got kicked out of Christian college...

4/13/2006 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger Jackrabbit Slim said...

I think I'll pass. I have my warm memories of the old Davey and Goliath claymation shows.

4/13/2006 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I think this show is causing harm to children by misinforming them on the true definitions of vegetables.

These poor kids will go their whole life thinking that tomatoes and cucumbers count as vegetables on the food pyramid. Thank you, Veggietales, for contributing to the malnourishment epidemic that is effecting so many of today's youth.

4/13/2006 09:42:00 AM  

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