VeggieTales is a children's animated direct-to-video series created by Big Idea. They have vegetables in stories with moral themes based on Christianity. The original series lasted from December 21, 1993 to March 3, 2015. It was eventually cancelled around 2018. In March 2019, Phil Vischer announced on his Twitter that a revival spin-off titled The VeggieTales Show would be released in the fall of that year, along with an Untitled ‘VeggieTales’ movie with an unclear release date.
History[change | change source]
The show was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki when they wanted to create a series of videos teaching children about stories and lessons from the Bible, while making it fun and entertaining.
Phil originally started out in 1990 when he wanted to use candy bars as a basis. However, his wife objected the idea as she thought it was a bad influence on kids. So he drew a cucumber and thought that was the best choice, vegetables. He chose these objects as he said they were easy to animate as compared to characters with limbs, clothes, or hair because of the limitations on 3D graphics during the early 1990s.
In order to create VeggieTales, Phil had to follow a few rules given to him by his mother. They included: 1) you will not portray Jesus Christ as a vegetable, and 2) try not imply that vegetables can have redemptive relationships with God.
Phil then joined with Mike Nawrocki, who they both did puppet shows in Bible college. Phil did one on "The Princess and the Pea," but telling it from the pea's perspective, but never made it as a puppet show. Ultimately, the sketches Phil drew became the basis for VeggieTales.
The name itself came from Mike Nawrocki, as he felt it was a good title as it was about vegetables telling stories.
While Toy Story is considered the first animated film to use computer imagery for film, VeggieTales is the first video series using that type of animation prior to the film's release.
The series started with only either one or two episode(s) per year, until the company grew and produced three videos per year as of 2014. Since then, no new episodes of the series have been produced, likely due to Big Idea being too busy making and focusing on the Netflix series.
In 2014, shortly after the release of Beauty and the Beet (the last episode to feature the original look of the characters), Netflix released 11 minute shorts exclusively along with new redesigns of the original cast. In a recent podcast, Phil says that they have colored iris' (similar to the Sonic the Hedgehog series) and their mouths are more dynamic. He also says that Archibald's hair looks swirly.
"Cancellation"/Hiatus[change | change source]
Following the release of the episode Noah's Ark on March 3, 2015, Big Idea did not announce any new plans for further VeggieTales home video releases, seemingly focusing solely on the Netflix series. In June 2017, Mike Nawrocki appeared on the Christian talk show Today's Life, and said "If there's ever an opportunity to do something VeggieTales-related again, I would love to do that." Furthermore, Nawrocki's LinkedIn profile states that he left his position at Big Idea in February 2016. The second and final season of VeggieTales in the City subsequently premiered on Netflix in late 2017.
At the 2018 Christian Worldview Film Festival, Mike Nawrocki confirmed that he was no longer working on VeggieTales, and there was nothing in production. Phil Vischer stated that he was not returning to work on new episodes, and on July 1, 2018, he explained on Twitter that the team who specifically produced home video releases was dismissed in 2015, while the Netflix series team wrapped up their work in Summer 2017. Comcast shut down Big Idea's offices in Nashville shortly afterward. Vischer has confirmed that Big Idea's employees continue to work for Big Idea, and have not been laid off. This could mean that the show may still continue in the future.
Revival[change | change source]
On March 28th, Eric Metaxas posted a tweet featuring him with Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki. He said that TBN had purchased the rights to VeggieTales and are making a new series. Later on, Phil posted a tweet correcting the misconception; it turns out TBN only purchased licensing rights and will use the characters. Phil and Mike are going to be key writers for a new spin-off show that is currently known as The VeggieTales Show, which was released in late 2019. On the same day, Phil Vischer confirmed that Universal had also started early development on a VeggieTales feature film. It will also have Phil's involvement, possibly as a key writer.
Episode Set-Ups[change | change source]
- Every episode (with the exception of some special episodes) starts on a kitchen countertop where Bob and Larry introduce themselves and receive a letter from a kid. After reading the letter, Bob and Larry would have small discussions on how they would answer the kids letter via a story.
- After the first segment of an episode, Silly Songs with Larry are served as the shows intermissions where Larry appears on the countertop and sing ridiculous songs.
- After Silly Songs with Larry, the second segment of that episode is then shown. Are You My Neighbor? is the first VeggieTales episode to have it's main segment served as the second segment while the first two episodes main segments were shown first.
- At the end of every show, Bob and Larry would receive a verse from Qwerty as the What Have We Learned song is played. The episode then ends with Bob and Larry saying "God made you special, and he loves you very much" and the credits roll.
Characters[change | change source]
- Bob the Tomato
- Larry the Cucumber
- Junior Asparagus
- Laura Carrot
- Petunia Rhubarb
- Madame Blueberry
- Jimmy and Jerry Gourd
- Pa Grape
- Archibald Asparagus
- Mr. Lunt
- Mr. Nezzer
- The French Peas
Episodes[change | change source]
- Where's God When I'm S-Scared?
- God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?!
- Are You My Neighbor?
- Rack, Shack and Benny
- Dave and the Giant Pickle
- The Toy That Saved Christmas
- Very Silly Songs!
- Larry-Boy! and the Fib from Outer Space!
- Josh and the Big Wall!
- Madame Blueberry
- The End of Silliness?
- Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed
- King George and the Ducky
- Esther...The Girl Who Became Queen
- Lyle the Kindly Viking
- The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown
- The Star of Christmas
- The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment!
- The Ballad of Little Joe
- An Easter Carol
- A Snoodle's Tale
- Sumo of the Opera
- Duke and the Great Pie War
- Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson's Hairbrush
- Lord of the Beans
- Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler
- LarryBoy and the Bad Apple
- Gideon: Tuba Warrior
- Moe and the Big Exit
- The Wonderful Wizard of Ha's
- Tomato Sawyer and Huckleberry Larry's Big River Rescue
- Abe and the Amazing Promise
- Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Noah's Umbrella
- Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving
- Pistachio - The Little Boy That Woodn't
- Sweetpea Beauty
- It's a Meaningful Life
- 'Twas the Night Before Easter
- Princess and the Popstar
- The Little Drummer Boy
- Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men
- The Penniless Princess
- The League of Incredible Vegetables
- The Little House That Stood
- MacLarry and the Stinky Cheese Battle
- Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas
- Veggies in Space: The Fennel Frontier
- Celery Night Fever
- Beauty and the Beet
- Noah's Ark
Feature Films[change | change source]
- Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie