VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy

I actually wanted to do The Toy That Saved Christmas, since I used to love that movie as a kid, but I can’t justify renting it on Amazon when I just asked J if I could rent The Giver yesterday (spoiler alert: The book is better), Musn’t get greedy, especially since I’m toying with the idea of asking to watch Maze Runner.

So, we’re going to be watching: The Little Drummer boy!

I’ll let you all in on a little secret: I’m a sucker for Christmas. All aspects of it. Sure I don’t believe the bible is real, but I mean, Harry Potter isn’t real either, and I still enjoyed it. The bible does have some good stories, and the story of Jesus’ birth is one of the better ones. I mean, it’s a cool concept: a god sending his son to die for fallen humanity. Of course, you kinda have to squint a little to forget that the person god is saving us from is… himself.

So, before I get started on my usual Christmas rants, I want to make one thing very clear: I love Christmas. I also have no problem with people using the holiday to celebrate Jesus’ birth. What I do have a problem with is… well, actually, let’s not get into that right now. Let’s just let things unfold as they go, shall we?

Good. That little disclaimer out the way, let’s begin.

The scene opens with Pa Grape reading a newspaper while listening to (a secular) Christmas song. Junior Asparagus comes downstairs and starts practicing his drums by banging 2 sticks on the staircase. Mr. And Mrs. Asparagus come downstairs and call out, “ok Pa, we’re all set.”

Hang on, do they call him “Pa” because that is his name/title in the community, or is the grape supposed to be Junior Asparagus’ actual grandfather?

Can Vegetables even intermarry with fruit? How would…. you know what, never mind.

Junior’s dad actually calls Pa grape “Grandpa,” so yes, Pa Grape is Junior’s…

You know what, never mind.

Junior’s parents say they’re thinking of getting him a real drum set for Christmas, because he’s such a natural. Grandpa tells them to get him the kind that don’t make noise, and I decide I like grandpa because oh my GOD I don’t know what I would do if my child look up the drums. Make him go practice in the barn or something.

Junior’s friends come by to pick him up for caroling. Junior is too busy drumming to hear, and they leave. Their opinion of Junior’s drumming is that it sounds like “a really bad kitty.”

Junior is sad his friends “totally ditched me.” Junior insists this is on purpose, even though he KNEW they were coming and should’ve kept his ears open for the doorbell.

Pa Grape decides to read him a story to keep him occupied. I hate it when this happens. Couldn’t they have just skipped all this and started it out like it was a real story? I HATE “stories within a story” by having the character tell a story. It’s reason #2 I HATED the princes bride.

Anyway, the drummer boy, played by Junior (of course) is a shepherd boy named Aaron. He is being given presents by his parents… wait, why? Is it his birthday? Because this story is about the birth of Jesus, and I’m pretty sure Christmas wasn’t around back then. I mean, it wasn’t around really till hundreds of years after the bible was even written, but I feel like it is an especially awful error to have someone celebrate christmas before Jesus was even born.

Anyway, Aaron gets a drum set for… a present. He’s over the moon about it.

Aaron’s drum playing makes the animals dance. Cue footage of dancing camel.

Sadly, the Romans wanted Aaron’s parents’ land, so they… burned it to a crisp. Aaron hid with the animals, but the parents died.

There were a hundred different ways to die back then without needing to introduce a villain, but no, we need one, so, um let’s throw in some ROMANS. Anyway, this convinces Aaron that he hates people. ALL people.

We get an interruption where Pa Grape goes up to get some food. It’s boring and unnecessary, and now I want fruitcake.

Pa Grape reads about the census that Mary and Joseph were participating in. This particular census (which records show occurred in the spring, btw) was unusual in that the government made people travel to the place where they were born, but only the men, because I’m sure women didn’t count. Otherwise, Mary wouldn’t have been able to be with Joseph.

Which is good, because anyone who forces me to go back to the place I was born is likely to wind up with their head chopped off. Me? Go back to Berrien Springs, a town full of Seventh Day Adventists? Over your dead body, bitches.

Ahem. Anyway, Pa Grape adds in a disclaimer that the little drummer boy isn’t found in the bible, but was inspired by the Christmas story.

A quick google search reveals that not much is known about the history of the tale. The tune is said to be Czech in origin, but even that is debated.

We get two goons jabbering about milk, honey, and chocolate milk. There’s more goons, and they appear to be a traveling circus trying to cash in on the census traveling. Along comes Aaron and his dancing animals, so they put on a little show for him. Insert song and dance number. The song is about how Aaron should join this traveling circus. The Gourd tells Aaron he can’t be alone, he needs money to eat. Ben Haramed, the leader, promises Aaron that if he makes a lot of money, he can be so rich he never has to deal with people again.

So Aaron and his dancing animals joined the traveling circus.

Cut back to Junior Asparagus and Pa Grape talking about how Haramed tricked Aaron into joining which… doesn’t sound like a trick to me? It sounds like Haramed actually used… logic? Unless he doesn’t plan on paying Aaron but so far we have no implications of that, except that Pa Grape tells us this.

Oh, and there’s some talk about how taxes means “paying money to the Romans, who, btw, totally killed Aaron’s parents.” Sigh. No, taxes is NOT just “giving money to the government.” Taxes are there for a REASON. In those days, the Romans used the taxes to build roads and highways, and I THINK for sanitation but don’t quote me on that last one. Taxes are money which is paid for a SERVICE, like road maintenance. Sure the Roman tax at the time was really heavy and tax collector was synonymous with “thief,” but I feel like this could be explained in 2 sentences, and it wouldn’t make taxes sound like this horrible even thing that only bad guys do.

I know there are Christians out there who really believe that, but VeggieTales is meant to appeal to a mainstream audience. You know, the audience that reads the bible verse that says “render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar’s,” aka, “pay your damn taxes.”

Anyway, back to the story, the Gourd is telling bad jokes (what do you get when you cross a Roman with a head of lettuce? Ceasar salad! what do you call someone who hangs out with musicians? A drummer. Does anybody get that last one, cuz I don’t. And a better answer to the first would be “romaine lettuce.”)

We get some heavy handed preaching about how Aaron has not forgiven and forgotten what happened to his parents. I don’t think he should, but of course this movie thinks otherwise.

The traveling circus sets up shop in busy Jerusalem. No one likes the show until Aaron comes out with his dancing animals. There’s a Star Wars reference as Bernie, the Gourd with the terrible jokes, is having slushies thrown at him. “Help me Ben Haramed, you’re my only hope.”

Ben Haramed has a long argument with Aaron about how he never smiles or laughs. Aaron comes across like a petulant child who is being asked to smile for a picture and is just being rather stubborn about the whole thing. I NEVER SMILE. I DON’T LAUGH. EVER. I DON’T EVER SMILE OR LAUGH, EVER.

Aaron and the animals do a song and dance. Aaron sings about how he only smiles for his friends, the animals.

The lyrics aren’t anything to write home about but the song is catchy, and I can listen to it without booze. So, props, guys.

The audience multiplies in size and begs for an encore.

Aaron gets pissed that they’re happy and he’s not. He starts shouting, and the audience starts getting angry. God, Aaron, ruin everything. You need that money. Don’t go on and on about how you don’t need money, or anything from anybody, when you’ve made your home in the desert, which is not known for its farmable land. How are you going to EAT without money, grah?

We interrupt your regularly scheduled movie for Silly Songs with Larry, always my favorite part of the show.

This song is “8 Poilsh Foods of Christmas,” Which is about a guy named Oscar (likely the Oscar from the I love My Lips song) bringing food to a party.

The 8 Polish Foods of Christmas
Bob: So, what did you bring us?

Oscar: What I bring you? I tell you what I bring you.
The first Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party,
A boiled potato topped with dillweed.
The second Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party,
Two steamed pierogies...

Jimmy: What's a pierogi?
Oscar: It's a dough, wrapped around meat.
Jimmy: Oh...

All: And a boiled potato topped with dillweed.

Oscar: The third Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party,
Three simmered gwumpkies...
Larry: What's a gwumpkey?
Oscar: It's a cabbage wrapped around meat.
Larry:  Oh..

Jimmy: Two steamed pierogies.
All: And a boiled potato topped with dillweed.

Oscar: The fourth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party
Four baked paprikas...
Archibald: Now, what is a paprika?
Oscar: It's a bell pepper stuffed with meat.
Archibald: I see.

Larry: Three Simmered gwumpkies,
Jimmy: Two steamed pierogis,
All: And a boiled potato topped with dillweed.

Oscar: The fifth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party,
Five smoked kielbasas!
Pa: What's a kielbasa?
Oscar: It's pretty much just meat.
Pa: Oh.

Archibald: Four baked paprikas,
Larry: Three simmered gwumpkies,
Jimmy: Two steamed pierogis,
All: And a boiled potato topped with dillweed.

Oscar: The sixth Polish Cristmas dish I bring to the party,
Six fried chruscikis.
Bob: Let me guess, something in the meat family?
Oscar: Actually, it's a delightful pastry with a thin flaky crust.
All: Ohhhhh!
Pa: Five smoked kielbasas!
Archibald: Four baked paprikas,
Larry: Three simmered gwumpkies,
Jimmy: Two steamed pierogis,
All: And a boiled potato topped
with dill weed.

Bob: Wow Oscar, I'm gettin' kinda full, I think that's about..

Oscar: The seventh Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party,
Seven pitted prunes...
Jr: I don't like prunes!
Oscar: With this food, you'll need 'em son.
Archie: Oh, is that right!
Pa: Uh huh!

Bob: Six fried chruscikis,
Pa: Five smoked kielbasas!
Archibald: Four baked paprikas,
Larry: Three simmered gwumpkies,
Jimmy: Two steamed pierogis,
All: And a boiled potato topped
with dill weed.

Pa;  I'm gunna bust!  I couldn't eat another bi...

Oscar: The eighth Polish Christmas dish I bring to the party,
Eight poppy seed cakes,
Larry: Poppies, poppies, poppies...

Archibald: I'm feeling rather sleepy. There's no place like home.
Jr: Seven pitted prunes,
Bob: Six fried chruscikis,
Pa: Five smoked kielbasas!
Arcibald: Four baked paprikas,
Larry: Three simmered gwumpkis,
Jimmy: Two steamed pierogis,
All: And a boiled potato topped with dillweed!

That does not sound like enough food to feed a crowd. At all.

Back to the story, the traveling circus has fled into the desert, and Aaron is still with him, despite his stupidity. Haramed wants to know what’s wrong with him. Claims Aaron owes him for the money he lost from his outburst.

and then the traveling circus meets ups tin the 3 wise men. The wise men were following the star. You know, the one that appeared over Jesus and guided the wiremen to the place of his birth.

Ellen White, the Adventist Prophet, writes in The Desire of Ages that actually, it wasn’t really a star. It was really an angel up in the sky guiding them, but the wise men saw it as a star because that’s what they understood. Which would mean the bible isn’t infallible, because the bible says “star.” I get the feeling this is why Seventh Day Adventists like to leave out this detail when telling the Christmas story; it would either undermine Ellen White’s status as prophetess, or the authority of the bible. And they can’t have either one of those now, can they?

Lest anybody attempt to call Shenanigans and tell me I’m wrong, here it is, in her own words. From The Desire of Ages, Page 60. Which may or may not actually BE page 60 of whatever copy you happen to pick up. It’s in Chapter 6:

The wise men had seen a mysterious light in the heavens upon that night when the glory of God flooded the hills of Bethlehem. As the light faded, a luminous star appeared, and lingered in the sky. It was not a fixed star nor a planet, and the phenomenon excited the keenest interest. That star was a distant company of shining angels, but of this the wise men were ignorant. Yet they were impressed that the star was of special import to them. They consulted priests and philosophers, and searched the scrolls of the ancient records. The prophecy of Balaam had declared, “There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” Num. 24:17. Could this strange star have been sent as a harbinger of the Promised One? The magi had welcomed the light of heaven-sent truth; now it was shed upon them in brighter rays. Through dreams they were instructed to go in search of the newborn Prince.

I mean, shoot, if what she says is true, even the old testament contradicts the new one because it was predicted a STAR would appear, not a company of angels pretending to be a star.

Yes, Adventists take the bible literally, so you should not listen to them try to retcon as they tell you the bible was written by ignorant men who couldn’t tell the difference between an angel and a star AND in the next breath, say that God, a divine being who never makes a mistake, inspired every word of scripture.

So, that is your interesting tidbit of the day about Seventh Day Adventist culture.

Anyway, turns out the 3 not-so-wise men are happy to welcome the traveling circus to their little party.

Wait, what? Aaron and Haramed don’t notice the star, because of their sins of unforgiveness and greed, respectively. Remember, kids: forgiving and forgetting that people KILLED YOUR PARENTS is a SIN and you will go to HAY-ELL if you don not forGIVE them.

The concept of Christian forgiveness is quite screwed up, but that’s another rant altogether. Moving along.

The bible doesn’t mention the names of the Magi, but apparently there is a tradition that does…. wait what, really? *googles* Well, that’s interesting. I’m not sure why Christianity set the number of wise men at 3, or where these names came from, but they are: Caspar/Gaspar (the Veggie Version has gone with Gaspar, for obvious reasons), Melchior, and… not Cuke Skywalker. Sorry Larry, you don’t get to pretend to be a Jedi. This is not Star Wars, though a movie called The First Christmas: Star Wars Style,  WOULD be very interesting. I feel like Larry is on to to something here.  The real name of the 3rd is Balthazar.

Huh. You learn something new every day.

Haramed makes a deal with the Magi, selling off Aaron’s camel while Berny distracts Aaron.

Aaron is understandably upset, and goes off after Joshua and the Magi.

Aaron watches the Shepherds gather around while the angels tell them of Jesus’ birth, and then sing praises to him. Except we don’t get to see the angels. Only blobs of light where they would be.

This is a CLOSE UP of the angels. Seriously.

Following the shepherds, Aaron and his animal friends find Joshua, but then a Roman in a chariot runs over Baba, the little lamb. Aaron, of course, is upset, and goes to the Magi for help. The Magi are conveniently in the stable, worshipping the baby Jesus.

Melchior tells Aaron he’s a Magi, not a doctor, but the baby can help. Aaron doesn’t get it, and neither do I, since I’m unaware of Jesus using any healing powers before he hit the age of 30, but setting that aside for a good story, Aaron tells Melchior he doesn’t have a gift.

He’s worried about not having a gift for a “King” that is born in a stable. I’m not sure how they managed to convince Aaron he was a king, because even back then, kings were NOT born in stables.

Aaron goes up to the manger, and then sings the song The Little Drummer Boy. I’m sure we all know it, so I’ll avoid posting lyrics.

Playing the song with drums filled Aaron’s heart with joy an drove, and e forgave the people who hurt his parents…

I feel like something is missing here… playing a song for a baby king and then having the king smile at him healed him… yeeeeaaaaahhhh sorry not buying it. Maybe there was something in the original story that I am missing? Which came first, the song or the story? I think the song, based on googling, but I could be wrong. So I feel like the story could’ve been easily edited to make more gorram sense.

Why oh WHY is the fullscreen button literally right next to the “skip ahead to the end of the movie” button? Seriously, who’s dumbass idea was that?!

Anyway, after Aaron plays his song, someone comes up to him and –OH SNAP! His parents SURVIVED! They thought Aaron died in the fire, and he thought they died… finally, an ending I actually LIKE. Yes, I’m a sucker for sappy Christmas movies. Sue me.

Oh, and in case you were worrying about the lamb, don’t worry, his parents take care of it.

Aaron thought the newborn king was the most beautiful sight he’d ever seen which, SNORT, have you ever SEEN a newborn? they’re not cute. Or remotely beautiful. They’re wrinkled and red and ugly. They don’t get cute for another few days or a week. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who has SUCKER tattooed on her forehead when it comes to babies and children.

Junior’s caroling friends then come to call at his house which sounds weird but whatever. I guess they decided to carol on his street.

They then have a 2 minute talk about the misunderstanding at the beginning of the movie. Love and forgiveness all around…. yawn, go back to the Christmas carols and the reunited parents and son.

The end credit music, unsurprisingly, is The Little Drummer Boy. And since I’m a sucker for Christmas music, and this song is very well done, I listened to it 3 times.

In reading the reviews on Amazon, I’m not the only one disappointed with the resolution of the story. Other people also felt it was too rushed and forced. There is nothing in here about why Jesus coming as a baby should change Aaron’s life. It’s just sort of a magical thing that happens when he sees what should be an ordinary newborn. (The bible says Jesus was not ugly that we should despise him, yet not beautiful that we should love him for his beauty. It therefore stands to reason that Jesus would’ve looked like a typical human newborn: pretty darn ugly.)

I’m also surprised there was no comparison between Jesus forgiving us for our sins and Aaron forgiving the Romans for theres. I would have found it extremely problematic so I’m almost kind of glad, but it would’ve fit right in with the Christian narrative, and would’ve at least made the story make sense, because otherwise there is literally no explanation for why seeing a baby suddenly changes Aaron’s life. I feel like you could have still had the story: Aaron angry, then finds his parents, happy ending, and left the whole story of Jesus out, and not lost anything from the story.

And that’s…. no ok, because, Jesus’ birth is sort of supposed to be the point of the story, not Aaron’s whiny childish angst.

I think the movie is ok, but it falls so short at the end. I just… feel this movie is lacking.

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VeggieTales: Larry Boy and the Fib From Outer Space, Part 2 (conclusion)

We left off with a much bigger Fib telling Junior how he has a special gift for lying. I’m sorry, but that lie he just told was RIDICULOUS. Even in VeggieTales land, no one owns a pet crocodile.

Meanwhile, Larry Boy disagrees with Alfred that anything from Space landed in Bumblyburg. Larry complains about being tired and hungry and having to go to the bathroom.

Ladies and Gentlemen, our town’s ONLY protector. He gives up and quits when he has to go to the bathroom and his suit is on too tight. 

Laura, Lennie, and Percy Pea find Junior and confront him about the lies. They keep yelling at him “lies, lies, it was ALL A LIE!1!!!!!!1!1!!1!!” And they’re all dramatic and stuff and…. yawn.

Junior tells them all it was space aliens, which, since Laura was THERE, she should know better. Even if Junior hadn’t ripped off the plot of Invasion of the Cow Snatchers, which Percy happened to have seen in theaters yesterday. Ooops. Don’t get your lies from movies, kids, unless they’re 50 years out of date and you’re talking to someone under 50. 

As Junior tells this really uneblievabe lie that only someone with a brain the size of a… er, pea, would believe, Fib grows and grows until….

Hi, Junior!

Fib picks up Junior, saying not to worry, a little fib couldn’t hurt anybody. He then proceeds to go about destroying the town, Junior in hand. Fib even crushes the police man’s car. Apparently that was the only policeman in town, as Larry Boy is called to the scene isntead of other police officers.

So Glad I don’t live in Bumblyburg. They really are bumbling!

Larry boy and Alfred are playing Candyland. HAHAHAHA I remember that game. Larry Boy’s been stuck in the molasses swamp for 38 turns. I think mom and I eventually made it a rule that you could only be stuck there for 3 turns max, just to keep the game from getting too boring. Larry Boy turns around to look out the window, sees the town in Chaos, and dramatically tells Alfred the game is….. Postponed.

Cut to shot of Fib and Junior. 

Junior: Fib! Why are you doing this to me! I thought you were my friend!

Fib: That’s the thing about Fibs, Junior, we grow.

But that still didn’t answer Junior’s question. Why is Fib doing this to him? Why would Fib go through all that to get bigger just to…. eat Junior? Stomp around the whole town and destroy it? He knows that it’s not going to be that hard to take him down if he’s that obvious.

Really, this would make more sense if he was a sewer mutant than something from Outer Space.

Along comes Larry Boy, to not save the day.

Fib climbs the water tower with Junior in hand, saying, “let’s see if your little poy-pul friend can help you up here!”

Yes, he really did say “poy-pul” instead of purple.

Larry Boy tells Alfred he can’t get through to the water tower because there’s a road block. Yet there is PLENTY of road space for Larry to get up to speed for takeoff. We are then shown footage of the road, and there is no roadblock. That road is clear all the way through.

The policeman continues to stand there watching, not doing anything.

Alfred tells Larry that the monster is a lie, which makes no gorram sense except to the people who’ve been watching the TV show, but I’d think Larry would need more information. What do you mean the monster is a lie? Do you mean it doesn’t really exist? Do you mean it lies? What does that mean, exactly?

It turns out that Alfred, in addition to being Larry Boy’s assistant, likes to Tinker in his spare time, and this is how the Larry Mobile can fly, which is something Larry just found out. Alfred also likes to dabble in Nuclear Medicine and physics. Can Alfred be the superhero, please? He’s smarter and more likeable than Larry.

In any case, Larry Boy flies up to the Fib’s head, then ejects himself from the Larry Mobile. I don’t know what his plan was, but it’s obvious that Fib is just going to use his hand and snatch him out of the air.

When you consider that no one in Bumblyburg has hands, I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising that Larry Boy couldn’t have seen that one coming 10 miles away, and why would he abandon the Larry Mobile, anyway? Does it have auto pilot landing features? Is it now going ot crash into some innocent person? What exactly does Larry plan to do anyway?

Turns out there was no plan, apparently. Larry is told that he can’t stop the lie.

Larry Boy: Alfred! Why didn’t you tell me that before I jumped on him!”

Alfred: Because my computer hadn’t figured it out yet.

Sigh. I had such high hopes for you Alfred, but you can’t let a computer do all your thinking for you.

Fib: Even a little lie can get big really fast. And a big lie can just swallow you up.And Junior, you made a really big lie, huh huh huh.

You know, as children growing up in Christian school we had this pounded into our skulls, that a small lie would only grow over time and get bigger and bigger. Except that then I grew up and found out that…. it doesn’t. I mean, sure, some lies can, if you’re stupid enough to tell them about other people who can counterract them. But if you tell someone something like, “That dress makes you look reeeeeeaaaaal skinny” or “no, I totally put the air conditioning at a temperature you find acceptable” or “Yes, I totally read my bible this morning.” Oddly enough, those lies don’t come back to haunt you. Even when I cranked the air conditioning up to Absolute Brrrr and told everyone it was only on 72, they believed me.

Amazing how none of my lies swallowed me whole or even made me feel like that in the metaphorical sense. I guess I’ve been lied to growing up, haven’t I?

Fib debates over whether or now he will eat Junior or Larry Boy first, and this is the only thing that causes me to think it was a good idea for Larry Boy to jump on Fib, because it’s going to buy Junior some time while Alfred figures out how to reboot his computer.

Because seriously, just as Alfred is about to figure out who can stop the lie, the cord gets unplugged. Sigh.

Fib decides Larry Boy looks like candy, so he’ll eat him first, Larry Boy tries to protest that it’s spandex and quite bitter which, seriously? If he was a real hero, he’d be urging Fib to eat him first instead of Junior, which could buy Junior some time while Alfred figures out how to save him. But no, our Cowardly Hero is literally going into the creature’s mouth and being sucked on, protesting the whole way.

Fib’s mouth opens

Ladies, Gentlemen, and everyone in between, THIS isn’t scary at all, nope, good clean fun for the whole family.

Alfred screams for a full minute before bothering to check what’s wrong with the computer. He plugs the cord in and screams:

Alfred: Boot you transistorized tormentor! Boooooooooot!

Which, haha, can’t you totally picture Doctor Smith from Lost in Space saying that to The Robot?

Fib is just about to bite down on Larry Boy (Seriously, who puts food in their mouth and then sucks on it without biting down first? Larry Boy should be dead by now) when Alfred informs him that Junior can stop the lie.

Junior overhears, takes a deep breath, and yells, “It was me! I did it! I broke the plate.”

Fib shrinks one size, making no real attempt to stop Junior, which is odd. Also odd is that Fib doesn’t shrink in proportion to how he grew. He shrinks little by little, but he last 2 time he grew it was very fast.

As Junior tells the truths about all the lies he’s told, Fib shrinks and then… disappears? We never see his oversized cold virus body again.

Aaaaaaand Junior and Larry Boy are stuck on top of the water Tower. Larry Boy uses a super suction ear to put Junior on the ground.

Junior apologizes to his parents, who aren’t made, because Junior is more important than the plate, and he’s been punished enough, because SCARY MONSTER TRIED TO FUCKIN EAT HIM.

Junior’s parents tell him they value his honesty… bla bla bla, it’s a very touchy feely moment.

The closing scene of the movie is late at night, when another oversized cold virus, a pink one this time, bounces into the street like a bouncy ball. Fade to black.

Bob and Larry, of course, have to talk about what they’ve learned today. Larry uses his plungers to keep Bob from turning off the end theme song, which strikes me as cruel, because no one should be forced to listen to their least favorite song. (I always leave the room or stuff my fingers in my ears when people start singing Jesus Loves Me, for example. Worst. Song. Ever.)
Bob and Larry check in with QWERTY to see if he has a verse for us. QWERTY spits on John 8:32b, the truth shall set you free.
Sigh. Even –I– know the context of that one.

If you read John chapter 8, you’ll know that Jesus is referred to as the truth, and he is supposed to set us free. Truth in this context isn’t really supposed to be about lies vs truth, it’s more like… Jesus is truth, because BYE-BULL says so. And Jesus has come to set you free.

Bob: You see, the only way to be free is to do what God wants us to do

Me: SNORT! That just made me a slave, dumbass.

Bob: And God wants us to always tell the truth. And facing your parents is a lot less painful than getting caught in a big lie!

Maybe some parents really are like this. Other parents… I’d rather tell lies to. Even as an adult, it is necessary for me to lie to my parents. Even though I’m too old to be punished, I’m not too old for them to cut me out of their lives. And so, lies are necessary to get through life.

Life isn’t like a VeggieTales episode. Life isn’t black and white like it is in Bumblyburg.

This episode SCARED THE LITERAL SHIT out of me as a child. As an adult, do I think it’s too scary? I think that depends on the child. You can’t always predict who will be scared by what. I do think there are some scenes that could’ve been edited to be less terrifying without altering the story too much, but other than that… it’s mainly just stupid, in my opinion.

I’d probably let my kid watch it if she came home with it, but I’d definitely not encourage her to watch it in the first place.

Buttercream Gang Post later this week. It’s hard because I have technological issues while watching it. So hopefully sometimes this week.

VeggieTales: Larry Boy and The Fib From Outer Space Part 1

There will be another Buttercream post sometime this week.

I’ve been wanting to do another Veggietales post, and when I stumbled across this on Amazon prime, I shuddered. This epsiode scared me SO BAD as a child I refused to sleep in my room for months.

As we all know, adulthood is for going back and explroing our childhoods to see if things that scared us were actually very scary or if we were just young and dumb.

So, I’m going to grab my pickles, some tea, and my teddy bear (just in case!) and dive in.

The character of Larry Boy was born when Larry decided he wanted to be a super hero and put plungers on his head. In the original episode, which was just a regular VeggieTales episode (I don’t remember which) he decided he should give it al up and be just Larry, like God made him. Because that was the whole point of the episode.

And then this spinoff series happened, so, forget about all that being yourself nonsense?

The episode starts off, as usually, with Bob the Tomato asking if anyone has any questions, because they are there to answer them.

Larry then tells Bob he got an email, and Bob stops him to ask what that is. Um, lolwhut? By the time this episode aired, I’m pretty sure emails were a really huge thing that almost everyone had.

Bob the Tomato is apparently 90 years old and doesn’t realize this, so is confused when Larry asks if he is “wired, plugged in, surfing the web, HTML good buddy!”

Anyway, in the email, the kid is asking if he should lie to is parents about the bad thing he did. I don’t think any of us ever actually needed to ask that question because we had the answer pounded into our skulls growing up: tell the truth and get punished anyway, it’s what God wants.

Of course, if VeggieTales ever answered questions that kids actually ASKED, it would start to tackle some really tough ones, and we can’t have THAT.

In any case, the following is a story about what happened to Junior Asparagus when his little “fib” got out of control.

The theme song for the Larry Boy episodes plays after the intro, and it’s a bit different from the normal veggietales song. Here’s a link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM6zkucpFck

We open next on Bumblyburg, where 2 peas come out and talk about the movie, which was about aliens sucking cows into their spaceship and then switching brains with them so they could infiltrate earth. We will later learn that this movie is called, “Invasion of the Cow Snatchers.”

The 2 peas then see a shooting star and wonder what it is. Well jee, it looks like a friggin’ shooting star from here, but of course, it’s really aliens.

Which is ironic, because the 2 gourds at the Bumblyburg Science Lab have a screen showing the shooting star playing in the background as one of them complains about how “B-O-R-D” he is, because they never go to see any space aliens.

An alarm light flashes and Jerry Gourd notices before Jimmy Gourd. Seriously it’s blaring all over the place, is Jerry deaf? Apparently if that alarm ever sounded, they were to notify Larry Boy immediately, because it meant something from space was about to hit Bumblyburg.

I’m so bored, I should take SPELLING LESSONS!

Jerry and Jimmy Gourd finally show the light in the sky which, seriously Larry you just told Bob he was so early ’90s for not having a computer, you should seriously have a cell phone.

Alfred, played by Archibald Asparagus, comes to get “Master Larry,” who knocks Alfred over with the plungers coming out of his head. Yes, plungers. Because Larry Boy is here to save Bumblyburg from…. CLOGGED TOILETS!

Larry immediately goes to the Larry Mobile, as the words Larry Boy! Flash across the screen to dramatic music.

It’s night time now, and we see what looks like a fist sized bouncy ball, you know, the special kind that bounces really really high, bouncing down the road. It comes to a stop and it looks like this

Wait, this looks familiar…. I’ve seen one of these before… ah, here we go

The Common Cold
Btw, kissing isn’t the only way you can get Mono, so I wish they’d stop calling it that.

The monster from outer space is therefore either a cold or Mono, or some horrid combination thereof.

The scene changes. We are now watching Junior and Laura have a tea party. With Teddy bears and all. Lolwhut? Junior is  FIVE. And a boy. Most 5 year old boys I know wouldn’t be caught DEAD having a tea party with a GIRL.

Laura says they need a plate for Mr. Snuggly. Junior decides that that really special looking plate on the top shelf of a very tall book case is perfect, because it’s a special plate for a special bear. Predictably, the plate breaks when Junior tries to get it. Laura makes up some lame excuse to leave (seriously, she was totally trying to come up with a little fib. Just because she didn’t find one doesn’t mean she should be excused because thats the whole point of this story!)

Anyway, just before Papa Asparagus comes in, the thing from Outer Space starts talking to Junior. His name is “Fibrilious Minimus.” Or Fib for short. Fib talks like the stereotype of a New Jersey cab driver. He tells Junior he is here to help him, and that he needs a good cover story for the plate.

So, when Papa Asparagus comes home to find his limited edition collector’s Art Bigoti plate broken, Junior lies and tells him it was Laura.

Papa Asparagus is surprised Laura would do that and goes to call Junior’s parents which, seriously, even a 5 year old shoulda seen that one coming. This is why your lies don’t ever involve anyone else who could be called upon to check your story. Duh. Junior needs a class in lying 101.

Fib then comes out from behind the couch, and Junior asks if he’s grown. He has, but not very much. Even I have trouble noticing. I’ll post comparison shots because it’s going to be important later.

Aw what a cute little COLD!
No, I’m not growing, I’ve always been this size

Fib is getting a little bigger, but just barely. His growth rate at the moment is… not much, honestly. Hold that thought while Junior and Fib decide to leave the house to have some fun.

In the meantime, Larry Boy is in the Larry Mobile looking for the “Foreign Object” While Alfred sits behind a computer in his office.

Larry Boy drives past Junior and Fib and says, “good afternoon boys,” and then tells Alfred he hasn’t seen anything that could possibly look like it came from outer space, except a kid with green hair and a dog that can whistle.

Alfred reminds Larry Boy that the fate of Bumblyburg resides in Larry Boy’s…. plungers.

I am SO glad I don’t live in Bumblyburg.

Percy Pea, meanwhile, finds Junior. Fib disappears around the corner, telling Junior he’ll be over there if he needs him.

Percy Pea is not happy. It seems Junior actually got Laura in trouble, despite Laura’s insistence she didn’t do it. Ah, playground drama, SO glad to be done with that part of my childhood.

Junior tells Percy this was all a mistake, it was Lenny, Laura’s Brother, who broke the plate. Junior feeds him some ridiculous story about Lenny feeding it to a crocodile. And frankly, if Percy believes that, he deserves to be fooled, because that is THE STUPIDEST THING EVER.

Afterward, Fib looks like this:

Ok, so maybe I’ve put on a few pounds.

Seriously? At first he only grew like, a couple inches, and now he grows 5 feet? Seriously? This lie isn’t even particularly big. And why does he need lies to grow, anyway? On what planet is this a thing? How would such a society actually work?No i am NOT overthinking this, the writers are UNDERthinking it. At the very least we should be getting some idea as to why this works the way it does. Not just handwaving it away BECAUSE ALIENS.

And he has feet, but I couldn’t get a good screenshot of how tall he was with them. Seriously, him having legs should be a BIG FUCKIN’ DEAL. I mean, think about it; no one in Bumblyburg even has legs. So, for one, how does Junior even know what legs/feet are? How does he know the word for it?

Also, he should not be brushing off the fact that Fib has legs. He should be freaking the fuck out. I mean, think about it. No human being I’ve ever seen has tentacles. So if, suddenly, someone I met did sprout tentacles, I’d be flipping out (after making sure they were real.) I would especially flip out if I’d never seen tentacles on tv before. It’d be like a creature suddenly sprouting… something I’m totally unfamiliar with.

I really don’t feel well, so I’m going to have to stop here.  Instead of booze I had to take cold medicine, for an actual cold, so I’m not even enjoying it. I’m not at all used to working through a haze of cold pills. I’ll try to get part 2 up tomorrow or something, and a Buttercream post will be coming either Monday, Tuesday, or Wensday.

In Which I Watch VeggieTales Where is God when I’m scared part 1.5

So, last time I didn’t finish because I was very sick and very tired and just had been kicked in the ass by life in general. So, let’s finish this movie, which I would’ve done earlier if wordpress hadn’t ate it for breakfast a week ago.

We last left as Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber were about to explain to Junior why he doesn’t need to be scared of anything –because Jesus!

Anyway, Bob the tomato starts to sing Junior a little song. Here it is on youtube

You were lying in your bed,
You were feeling kind of sleepy,
But you couldn’t close your eyes because the room was getting creepy.
Were those eyeballs in the closet?
Was that Godzilla in the hall?
There was something big and hairy casting shadows on your wall.
Now your heart is beating like a drum,
Your skin is getting clammy,
There’s a hundred tiny monsters jumping right in to your jammies!

 photo ScreenShot2014-08-29at72525PM.png

Bob: What are you going to do?

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Junior: I’m going to call the police!

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Actually, if two men who I’d never met before ninja’d their way into my room and scared me half to death, yeah, you bet my reaction would be to call the police. Especially since Junior really does have live monsters in his room, as seen in the pictures. They will later be shown dancing to the song.

Bob: No. You don’t have to do anything!

Nope, no calling the police ya’all, just call Jesus! Well, for monsters I would say sure, go for it, but…
Junior: What? Why?
Bob: Because…
God is bigger than the boogie man.
He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV.
Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man,
And he’s watching out for you and me.

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Bob the tomato: Get it?

Junior: I….Hmm… well… I…. umm… no.

This bit of dialogue is not part of the song on the official tape. I keep forgetting this part ever happened, since I’ve listened to the cassette over and over again but only seen this episode once or twice. Back in the 90s I couldn’t even look this up on youtube, oh the horror!

Bob: Oh. Well, you see, you don’t have to be afraid because God is the biggest.

I feel like believing this was never helpful. Sure God was bigger than the bullies at school, but he never did anything to stop them. And so what if he was bigger than my imaginary monsters? As far as I was concerned, God was like my imaginary friend –real, but not very helpful. I figured this out as an 11 year old child.

I don’t think it’s necessarily bad to try and help a child overcome imaginary fears with an imaginary being. It sounds like something I would try. “Hey kid, whenever you think you see/hear a monster, say the word “bananas” and a bunch of flying monkeys will come zap the monster.” Or, something.

Junior: Is God bigger than King Kong?

Bob: Next to God Junior, King Kong would look like an itty bitty bug.

Junior: Well is he bigger than the slime monster? Because he’s the biggest of them all!

Larry: compared to God, the slime monster is a cornflake

May I take a moment to point out that  a cornflake is not usually bigger than a bug? So if the slime monster is bigger than King Kong, shouldn’t he be something bigger than a bug?

Junior: Yeah but the slime monster can squirt slime out of his ears… Can God squirt slime out of his ears?

 photo 5b3085a4-feaf-45a3-bd6c-aa72deeed138.png

Oh my god…. is this… is this really a thing? Is there some show out there that has a monster that can squirt slime our of his ears? Oh my god, that is so gross…. I sincerely hope this was just made up for this episode because… just…. seriously, what are you children watching on television nowadays?

I wish to take a moment to point out that the Christian God would be a helluva lot more interesting if he could squirt slime out of his ears, albeit not many people would want to worship such a being.

Bob takes Junior over to the window

Bob: What do you see?

Junior: My curtains

Go Junior!

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Junior: I see a lot of stars

Larry: God made all those stars out of nothing. He just said poof, and they were there.

So, the makers of Veggietales believe in a literal 7 day creation where God spoke everything into existence. I don’t think this particular bit of dialog could have room for any form of evolution in there. Interesting to note.

Junior is awe struck by all this and acts as if he’s never heard this before. It’s later established that his family are Christians.(In this movie, that appears to mean taking the book of Genesis literally, which not all Christians do). I seriously doubt Junior made it all the way to age 5 without knowing the creation story in Genesis. I don’t think I made it to age three, and I only pick that age because if they taught it to me before then, I don’t remember it.

I could see them reminding Junior of this, but I have a very hard time swallowing that he’s hearing it for the first time. This is actually a pretty common trope in Christian fiction: have God Christian Person tell protagonist something protagonist has never heard about before, despite it being an impossibility that they haven‘t heard it before. Example, we often see, in Christian fiction, a Christian telling an Atheist about Jesus. Said atheist has never heard of Jesus before. In today’s society, especially in the first world countries, I guarantdamntee you that this is impossible.

So, I kind of dislike this scene because it comes across more of Junior being told for the first time, rather than being reminded.

Bob finishes up with the long list of things God made with: and that’s why we don’t have to be afraid

Me: you mean, I don’t need to be afraid of those big tough looking men in the dark alley with the big sticks? Because God created me? Wow!

Junior: Huh?

I’m with Junior, actually. Because, whether or not you believe God created the world, bad things happen, even to Christians. There are just some things I should be scared of. Just not monsters, and probably not those big steel tubes that go zooming up into the air and somehow manage to land on the ground in one piece.

Bob: Everything God makes is special to him. He made you, so you are very special to him. God loves the kids so much that he takes extra good care of them

I’m glad I wasn’t drinking as I watched this. Squirting vodka out my nose is not an experience I want to repeat. Seriously? God takes extra good care of children? Excuse me while I go laugh and then cry, because really, it’s not all that funny at all. Thousands of children are abused every day, and here we have a tv show trying to tell me God takes extra good care of children?

Even at the hands of Christian parents, children suffer abominably. I better get back to the movie and stop ranting. See, this is why I need to write drunk and only edit when I’m sober, because when I write while I’m sober, I get angry and ranty and want to punch someone.

Finally Junior gets it. Which is good because it spares the audience having to have it spelled out for us in monosyllable.

Bob: Oh, by the way, there’s someone else who wants to meet you.

 photo 401bbf66-6a4b-4a24-8eb3-d1f45bdb2dc5.png

Actually…. I like this. A lot. For a lot of children who get scared by what they see on television, it can be extremely helpful to meet the actors in person. I don’t know if this is true, but I heard once that the daughter of someone who worked on the set of Dr Who was really scared of the Daleks. So this person took the child onto the set of Dr Who to see the real Daleks. She said it really helped her to see them, touch them, and learn about how they were made, how they were just props and not real at all. And so, even though Frankencelery probably scared poor Junior at first, I can forgive him for coming in costume, because something like that would be really helpful.

Of course, not all parents have this option, in fact, most don’t. If they did, though, it’d probably be the most helpful thing they could do to help their kiddo overcome their fear.

Junior is less than thrilled. He screams and runs to hide in his toybox.

Junior: It’s frankencelery!

 photo c51fb4a1-3963-416f-a9d3-5f85b7e7e553.png

As per the photo, Phil Winklestein explains that he is just an actor in a made up story. In real life, he would never hurt anybody.

This is actually the most helpful thing Bob and Larry have done all night. See, Junior didn’t need preaching, he just needed to learn about actors.

And then Junior starts singing:

Junior:
..So when I’m lying in my bed,
And the furniture starts creeping,
I’ll just laugh and say “Hey! Cut that out!”
And get back to my sleeping.

 photo ScreenShot2014-08-29at101653PM.png

‘Cause I know that God’s the biggest, and He’s watching all the while,
So when I get scared, I’ll think of Him, close my eyes and
smiiiiiiiiiiiiile!!!

All:
God is bigger than the boogie man.
He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV.

 photo 7be029ac-cbca-4d55-b832-8d0c2adf858b.png

Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man,
And he’s watching out for you and me.

Monster #1: So are you frightened?
Junior: No not really!
Monster #2: Are you worried?

 photo e934c6ba-40bb-4395-b43d-24efb27a5207.png

Junior: Not a bit! I know whatever’s gonna happen, that God can handle it!
Frankencelery: I’m sorry that I scared you when you saw me on TV.
Junior: Well that’s ok, ’cause now I know that God is taking care of me!

All:

God is bigger than the boogie man.
He’s bigger than Godzilla and the monsters on TV.
Oh, God is bigger than the boogie man,
And he’s watching out for you and me.
He’s watching out for you and me.
Watching, watching, watching!
Out for you and meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Just then Junior’s father knocks on the door and really, I think this is an example of parental fail because they have been so loud before, why is his father just now deciding to check up on him?
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We are then shown that Junior is all alone in his room. Bob, Larry, and Frankencelery have all disappeared. I hope the little monster balls have too.
Junior: I was just singing
Papa Asparagus: Well, your mother and I had a talk, and we think that show was a little too scary for you.
Junior: Well, maybe, but Frankencelery is really a guy named Phil from Toledo, and he’s not scary at all. And anyway, God is bigger than Frankencelery, and he will protect me from big scary monsters.
Frankly, if my kid showed that much maturity about the situation, I’d be totally ok with him watching the movie.
Papa Asparagus tells Junior he is right, but says we should still be a little more careful about what we watch on television. And you know what? It’s ok to tell us if you’re really scared.
I have never seen the movie Frankencelery is trying to be a copy of, but is it really all that terrible for a 5 year old? If your 5 year old didn’t seem scared by it because “It’s just acting,” would you let them watch it? I almost feel like Papa Asparagus should take into account the fact that Junior doesn’t seem to be affected by it, at least, anymore.
And I kinda like this part, because most parents probably are ok to tell if you’re really scared. Mine were pretty good about that too, actually, except when I began to be afraid of things like Police, Pastors, and Teachers.
Papa Asparagus: I’m glad you’ve been doing some good thinking, but it’s time to shut the thinker down and go to sleep.
Junior: Ok, night
Papa Asparagus: I love you little mister
Junior: I love you too big mister!
I like this. It sounds like a very realistic exchange between a man and his son, and shows us that, whatever their disagreements, Junior and his dad love each other. It’s a nice touchy feely moment, for those who like that sort of thing.
The show ends with Junior drifting off to sleep singing to himself God is bigger than the boogie man.
And now it’s time for…. SILLY SONGS WITH LARRY! The part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song.
Today it’s…. the waterbuffalo song!
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This is another song that was on my cassette. It’s not one of my favorites, but I don’t dislike it either.  Here are the lyrics.

And now it’s time for Silly Songs with Larry
The part of the show where Larry comes out and sings
A silly song, so without further ado
Silly songs with Larry, the water buffalo song

Everybody’s got a water buffalo
Yours is fast but mine is slow
Oh, where we’d get them, I don’t know
But everybody’s got a water buffalo

oooooooooooooo

I took my buffalo to the store
Got his head stuck in the door
Spilled some Lima beans on the floor
Oh, everybody’s got a

Official looking guy:
(Stop it, stop)

Stop right this instant
What do you think you’re doing?
You can’t say everybody’s got a water buffalo
When everybody does not have a water buffalo

We’re going to get nasty letters saying

“Where’s my water buffalo?
Why don’t I have a water buffalo?”

And are you prepared to deal with that?
I don’t think so, just stop being so silly

Official guy wanders off

This has been silly songs with Larry
Tune in next time to hear Larry sing
Everybody’s got a baby kangaroo
Yours is pink but mine is blue
Hers was small but then it

Official Guy is heard screaming in the background.
I don’t have much to say about this song, but this is the end of the Junior storyline. And next time I’m going to make double backups in case WordPress eats my posts.
I’m really bad at sticking to a schedule, it seems. I’ll try to post another Buttercream Gang post either Tuesday or Wensday. Real life has been kicking my butt lately, so posting is kind of hard. Have a good week everybody!

In Which I Watch Veggie Tales, Queen Esther

Content note: Discussion of rape and possible rape, childhood sexual grooming, and unwanted sexual contact. May trigger. I also discuss anti-semitism. I will one day learn to spell “anti-semitism.”

When I was 6, I moved away from the only home I’d ever known. When the church found out I was moving, they gave me two gifts, one of which I don’t remember and was probably a toy that eventually got broken and discarded, but the other was a cassette tape (yes, this was the ’90s) entitled, Veggie Tunes. My mother had never heard of Veggie Tales before, and so was completely shocked when the lyrics to the first song went like this:

Actually that’s the 2000 version, which might be a little different, but I digress:

If you like to talk to tomatoes

if a squash can make you smile

if you like to waltz with potatoes

up and down the produce aisle

Have we got a show for you!

Yes, the highlight of Christian entertainment in the 1990s was…. talking carrots.

BTW, I still have that tape. Midland SDA church you are not forgotten.

Actually, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are both fruits, rather than vegetables. Yes, cucumbers are a fruit. Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber are, or were, the main protagonists of veggie tales for a long time.

Netflix only has a few episodes, unfortunately, and none of them are from the 1990s. It’s possible the library will have some, we’ll see. In case anyone cares, I think the older ones were better. Some of the newer ones are just….dumb. Anyway, the scene opens with a narrator babbling about Greatness. The theme song is sadly not present.

Anyway, we are introduced to Haman. Haman knocks on the Queen’s door, informing her that the king would like her to make him a sandwich.

Sigh. I understand why they did this, but…. seriously, in the biblical version, the king wanted queen Whatshername to dance naked in front of him and his men. Which has rapey undertones, so yeah, I can see why they changed it, but you just know some asshole out there is going to think that the old queen rather deserved it for not wanting to make her hubby a sandwich, despite the fact that:

Queen: It’s 3 in the morning.

Haman: Well, he’s the king, and what he says goes

Queen: Well, I’m the queen, and the king can make his own sandwich (slams door in Haman’s face)

After all, it’s not like in the bible, where he asked her to break an actual commandment.

Before we start cheering her on too proudly, remember what’s going to happen to her.

Fortunately, this episode glosses over that fact as well, and instead of having her killed, the Queen (the bible says her name is Vashti, no I don’t know how to pronounce that)  merely gets kicked out on her hiney. What a nice king, I’m sure he’ll make Esther a great husband.

Again, the movie alters things. The king asks his minion, “don’t you think that might have been a little harsh?”

Minion: Oh no way! If she got away with that, no one would listen to you!

King: Hmm. what are we gonna do now?

Minion: It looks like we’re gonna have to find you a new queen

King: hmmm. Make me a sandwich!

Me: eyeroll

So, basically, the king is Haman’s puppet. It’s been a while since I read the book of Esther in the actual Bible, but I don’t remember that being the case. I think this is being done in the movie in order to make the King look a bit more sympathetic; he didn’t want to throw the old Queen out on her ass, he was just manipulated into doing so.

I, however, do not see this as much better. Esther will still have to put up with a horrible husband, only instead of being an outright cruel tyrant, said horrible husband will be a horrible puppet. And that’s almost worse, because you never know who’s controlling the strings. Today it was Haman, tomorrow it’s…. ?

Exactly.

Side note: Historians (and different bible versions) are divided as to whether or not the king was named Xerxes or Ahasuereous. The movie seems to be going with Xerxes, and so will I, because Xerxes is easier to spell. (Plus, when I was a kid, I used to call him “King Jerk-sees” instead of Xerxes, because even then I knew he was an asshole.)

Narrator: This is the story of a great person. It’s hard to say whether or not our hero was born that way, or was just placed in the right place at the right time, and decided to do the right thing.

Um…. don’t Christians believe that everybody is placed at the right place at the right time to do the right thing? At least, that is the way I grew up. I was also taught that Esther was born exactly for this purpose, because we all have a purpose given to us by God. Also, we were taught that Esther was raised with good moral values, and that that is what made her a great person. Great people aren’t born that way, they’re nurtured into it.

Isn’t there a Jewish holiday based on this story? If there are any Jewish folks reading, I’d love to know your take on the subject.

Anyway, someone calls, “hey Essie!”

Essie? OH GOOD LORD! If Esther is constantly referred to as “Essie,” I might actually need alcohol to watch this. That sounds like something I would name a COW, not a person. And anyway, depending on who was talking to her, wouldn’t they refer to her Hebrew name, Hadassah? Then again, I shudder to think of what cutesy little nickname the writers would make with THAT.

Pea: So, you saw your friend steal an apple

Esther: Yeah

Pea: And now you don’t know what you should do?

Esther: Yeah

Pea: What do you think you should do?

what vegetable is she even supposed to be? She just looks like a little green alien with no hands.

Me: I think I should talk to my friend and convince her to go pay for it. If that absolutely won’t work, I will do nothing, because it’s none of my business. I mean, it’s just a fuckin’ apple, maybe she’s hungry. 

Esther figures this out on her own. The pea says it sounds like a good idea and bounces away. Esther then refers to him as “cousin Mordecai.”  Hang on, wasn’t Mordecai her uncle? And didn’t he actually raise her after her parents died? *looks up in bible* Ok, so Esther is actually his uncle’s daughter. So I guess cousin is the right word. The movie says they have known each other for forever. The bible says that when Esther’s parents died, Mordecai took her and raised her as his daughter. So I have no idea why the movie is saying “they’ve known each other forever” instead of “I raised you since you were an 8 year old.”

Esther is afraid to go to her friend about this, which doesn’t make it seem like they are very good friends. I always felt free to go to my friends about anything. One time my friend stole me books from a used bookstore… actually, nevermind, let’s not tell that story.

He continues to call her Essie. I continue to cringe.

Mordecai: There are bigger problems out there than stolen apples –like that one!

He says this as a vehicle roars up.

Turns out it is Haman, who apparently really hates Mordecai. Mordecai runs away… hang on, that’s not how the bible story went…

Haman addresses the crowd 

He tells all the eligible young ladies to please come with him, then opens up the back of his truck.

Esther tries to run away, but Haman insists that all this is optional. That’s not how the bible story went either. In the story, Esther goes willingly. Actually, on re reading, my bible has a footnote that suggests that this not be the case, so I guess we have no idea if it was voluntary or not.

I don’t like that they changed it to be this way, and we’ll get to why a little bit later.

Anyway, Mordecai comes out of hiding, and there’s an argument with him and Haman that’s probably supposed to be funny but just seems stupid. For the sake of time and space I won’t get into it.

Haman demands Mordecai bow to him. Mordecai refuses, saying, “I bow only to my God and to my King.”

Yup, this is how the bible story went. There’s no running away and hiding nonsense from Mordecai, but rather, he sticks around and calmly explains his beliefs and his refusal to bow. The biblical Mordecai was brave, not a coward.

On a random note, what vegetable (or fruit) is Esther supposed to be exactly? Mordecai is a pea, the King looks like the giant pickle (said pickle pops up in numerous episodes, often as the villain),  she’s not an asparagus because Junior is an asparagus and she looks nothing like him…none of the other usual characters have popped up, soooo Esther is…. celery? A leak? They should’ve made her a broccoli.

It’s now the night, and Mordecai has snuck into the palace and is talking to Esther

Mordecai tells Esther that she mustn’t let anyone know that she is part of Mordecai’s family. In the bible this is specifically stated as “do not let on that you are a Jew, for Haman hates Jews.” So, Haman is basically the fore runner of Hitler. Or maybe Hitler is a reincarnation of Haman?

In any case, Esther whines about not wanting to be here. This does the real Esther a disservice. The real Esther, I’m sure, was not this whiny.

Mordecai babbles about us not knowing the future, but God does.

And, for those of us who are familiar with Veggietales who are wondering where all the songs are, it’s time for Esther to sing a song. It’s a short one about how she doesn’t know what to do. It literally lasted all of the less than 60 seconds it took for me to write this paragraph.

We then open up to a scene where a woman (I can’t tell what vegetable she is either) is singing about… puppies and how great they are. My kind of song, actually, I love puppies. Though I disagree that they are never nasty or mean, because I have met some nasty and mean puppies. 

Archibald the leak comes on and says that was contestant number 37. So apparently this is some kind of talent show. Her singing was supposed to be as awful as it came across, I literally took out my headphones for a few seconds till the subtitles told me it was over.

Up next is, Miss Babylon, all the way from Babylon! Wait, was Esther really from Babylon? Mayhap I will have to dig out my bible and do some fact checking.

Esther sings a song about God protecting us with his love. Which is probably why the movie had Mordecai not telling Esther to hide her religion, because then they couldn’t have her sing this song. Because singing this song would totally blow her  cover.

The King and Haman really love Esther, and just like that, she becomes the new Queen.

Now, we are going to talk history for a moment. It was never stated outright in Bible class, but when we watched an Esther movie, the teacher had  to turn it off at one point. You see, in the bible, the king conducted…. “Interviews” with these women. And in bible class it wasn’t stated outright, but heavily implied, that these “Interviews” consisted of…. well, not songs, if ya’all catch my drift.

And that is why I hate that Esther is forced to be here, because in reality, this interview would possibly have consisted of sexual intercourse. Since Esther didn’t consent to be there… and that’s disturbing. Just from reading the biblical account, I didn’t get the impression that attendance was mandatory. And that makes it a lot less…. disturbing.

So anyway, in Veggie Land, all Esther had to do was sing a song, a song about God, in front of people who don’t hate Jews, but only a specific Jew, Mordecai.

Which makes me wonder how they’re going to handle Haman later wanting to slaughter all the Jews, but nevermind.

Another tangent; back in the 1990s, I don’t remember any of the veggies having actual hair. I guess they brought in new designers at some point, because vegetables now are skinnier and they have hair. The animation also looks a little different but I’m going to chalk that one up to the switch from hand drawn cartoons to digital.

Esther looks very dismayed that she is now to be married to the king. Fortunately in Veggie land, that does not also mean she will be expected to have sex with him, which is the main reason, among other things, that I disapprove of forced marriages in real life.

Mordecai pays Esther a visit, and totally brushes aside her concerns about “Nobody ever even asked me to be queen.” by saying, “You always had a mind of your own. I liked that about you.” Chuckles and runs off.

Women are so funny when they have minds of their own, amiright boys?

Esther: Mordecai, wait! What’s the king like?

Mordecai: He’s real sharp, you’re gonna love him!

Really? Because so far all we’ve seen is a very stupid individual who lets other people push him around and chooses a wife based on how well she can sing. Even as a child I’d have been like, ?

Well *I* wouldn’t.

Jee Xerxes, you’d think you would have figured that out before you married her? You know, taken her for a walk around the palace garden, talked with her, gotten to know her a bit… before you married her? Yanno, maybe instead of forcing her, you should romance her. People seem to like that for some reason.

Haman: Of course she’ll like you! You’re the king! Everybody likes you, under penalty of death!

Hmm. I don’t remember it ever being a requirement to like the king, just to obey him. Huh.

Larry the Cucumber is a scribe next to Xerxes, writing down…. I don’t know.

Xerxes: But what if I weren’t the king? What if I were some guy who cleans up after camels?

They had those back in biblical times? Or is this just the writers embellishing a little? Inquiring minds want to know!

Oh shit! I missed it! Hold on let me back up…

This is biblical. Well, not the piano, but Some of the servants were plotting to take the king’s life. Here in Veggietales, this is in the form of being shown some little peas about to drop a large piano on the king’s head. Seriously, how did they get it up there in the first place without someone noticing that, oh hey, THERE’S A REALLY LARGE PIANO OVER THE KING’S THRONE?

Anyway, as this is happening, Haman is saying, “anyone would be happy to make you a sandwich.” Clearly these servant guys are planning to do just that; a king Xerxes the Pickle sandwich.

Just then, the pea guy enters, and introduces himself as “Bigfan, your royal chef.”

King Xerxes: I don’t recall asking for you

Bigfan: Every newly wed couple needs a cake, no?

Now see, if I was going to kill the king, I think it would just be easier to poison the cake.

The king is delighted with the cake, and asks to be brought a piece. The servant stammers an excuse for the king to come to him.

No, seriously, it’d be easier to just poison the cake.

Haman: Didn’t you warn him about what can happen to someone who appears before the king uninvited?

Esther: Stop, it’s a trap!

Siiiiiiiiigh. In the biblical account, it was MORDECAI who uncovered the plot and saved the king’s life. Here it is Esther. I guess this is done to try and establish a relationship between Esther and Xerxes?

As she yells this, the piano falls on the cake and the king dives for cover.

Xerxes: Why is there a piano on my cake?

Our King, folks. As Mordecai says, he’s very, very sharp….

Larry the Cucumber is scribbling down furiously, stopping to wipe his brow.

As to how the vegetables do things without hands, um, well, things just kind of levitate, ok?

The peas try to escape, but Mordecai blocks their path.

King Xerxes (To Esther): You saved my life!

Esther: Actually your highness, it was Mordecai

And the punishment for the two who tried to kill the king? Banishment to the island of perpetual tickling!

I know this is supposed to be watered down for kids but seriously? In the 1990s, we watched the evil guys get thrown into the lions’ den. We didn’t watch them get eaten, but we knew that’s what happened to them. Why couldn’t the criminals just get escorted to the gallows? Or heck, thrown into the dungeons?

Actually, I’m going to say this: when I was a child, I mean, ever since I was a child, I have HATED being tickled. It didn’t make me smile, it made me scream and kick things. There might have been a brief time before the age of 7 when this wasn’t so, but it’s been like this ever since I was 7 or 8. So, watching someone being punished to an island where they would be tickled forever would, honestly, be more horrifying to me than knowing they were being executed. And I can’t be the only child who feels this way, especially because a lot of sexual abusers use tickling to groom their victims.

Besides, in bible class, this was not sugar coated. We knew those servants who plotted to kill Xerxes were executed. Now, I’m not saying that children need to know exact details of how execution would happen (even though we did, in school) but I’m saying that, even in movies such as this, the truth shouldn’t be sugar coated. Or at the very least they should be shown to be thrown into prison. And this would make sense, since kids then don’t have to know the servants would be executed. In fact, not all states have the death penalty. My state in particular being one of them. So not all children would associate attempted murder with the death penalty.

Actually, even as an adult, this tickle island thing is…. honestly, it’s going to give me nightmares. Seriously. I mean, I can’t even watch this scene. Be right back, need more booze.

Back, ok, I just watched this scene with the sound turned off, and it helped a little. The subtitles tell me what’s going on, anyway. apparently there are two things you don’t do in Persia:

1. Try to drop a piano on the king’s head

(What, trying to kill him any other way is just fine?)

2. Appear before him uninvited.

#2 is setting the stage for what happens later.

In this story, Haman comes up with plan because of Mordecai. It’s been a while since I’ve read the biblical account, but again, this one might also be true.

To do this, Haman sings a little song.

By the way, this song is so much worse than the Veggietales songs of the past. Let me see if I can find a clip on youtube. Ah, here we go:

I hope that worked. I’m not 100% positive on how to imbed videos. If It is somehow wrong, I apologize, and here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKdWWHL6BnI

Haman talks about “this family who can’t be trusted” who  “sneak their sneaky little noses” into the king’s matters. Is this a reference to the stereotype of Jews having big noses?

He wants to send this family to the island of tickling. Can I just say I HATE this idea? It would have scared me more as a child than a bloody violent death, which, I might add, is not the only alternative to an island of tickling.

The king signs a new law against…. one family apparently? It honestly makes more sense for him to sign a law against Jews in general than just one family.

Next scene, Mordecai sees a wanted poster of himself:

Mordecai snatches the poster and runs to see “Essie.”  I cringe once again.

Esther: What are you gonna do?

Mordecai: Me? Nothing! I’m just a guard. But you, you’re the queen!

Esther asks Mordecai if he knows what happens to people who appear before the king uninvited. Mordecai looks like this:

 

Esther: I wasn’t even brave enough to go to my friend about the apple! And even if he doesn’t banish me

 

I wish to point out that the penalty was death, not banishment. Seriously, children are capable of handling knowing that without nightmares. Ask me how I know that. Seriously, every Christian child –and that is the target audience of this movie– knows the story of Esther, and that she didn’t face banishment, but loss of life. So long as no grisly details are involved, children are capable of a lot more than this movie is giving them credit for. Especially because, spoiler alert, Esther gets to live.

Esther: (Continuing) Why would he listen to me? Haman is his right hand man.

Mordecai: You wanted to know why you were here, why you became queen. Perhaps you were put in this position for just such a time as this.

Mordecai: Esther, you never have to be afraid to do what’s right

Er, yes, Mordecai, you do.

Mordecai offers to pray for her, and that in fact, everyone will pray for her. No, he doesn’t specify who “everyone” is but it’s probably not hard to guess.

After he leaves, Esther sings a little song. It’s a very short one, basically a prayer to God that she doesn’t understand, and that she wants God to show her what she ought to do. Esther is shown praying all night, then in the morning putting on her crown and singing the song she sang earlier in her interview for the king, “the battle is not ours, but God’s.”

Narrator: one of them wise guys said that Great People(tm), when the moment comes, don’t have to think or say about what they will do, they just speak up and say or do what’s right.

Ha! I now half way want to find one of these great people ask if that is true. Chances are the answer is no, that they had to think about it very much so as to do it in such a way that would not get them killed. They also probably weighed cost vs affect. Ultimately they probably decided doing the right thing was the best, but I don’t believe for one minute they didn’t at least take a few moments to weigh the risk.

Esther knew to do what was right, so she figured she didn’t have to be nervous.

Sigh. Even the biblical account gives us a tad more insight than that. The bible doesn’t outright say, “Esther was scared,” but it does say that she and her maid servants fasted and prayed for at least 3 days before she did anything. That to me suggests…. maybe not fear, exactly, but caution and, yes, nervousness. Of course Esther was nervous. Wouldn’t you be if you were literally risking your life? Even if God was on your side and you knew it, that would still be scary as fuck. Esther was one brave woman, and this movie is just… downplaying that.

For you see, courage is not the absence of fear. Bravery, rather, is doing what you must in spite of that fear. And that is what Esther did. Acting like the fear was just not present is…. is seriously downplaying that bravery and courage.

In any case, Esther goes before the King.

No, I don’t know what’s up with the boat the subtitles are talking about. Nor do I care.

Haman: Who invited the queen? Did you invite the queen?

Xerxes: No, I don’t think I did….. but that’s ok

He smiles wide. In the bible, he invited her to touch his scepter. I’m not sure that will happen here.

Larry the Cucumber: Phew (scribbles on a scroll)

Xerxes: Come on over here queenie poo

Me: (shudders at cutesy nickname) I guess it’s not like Esther can protest it, seeing as how the king just decided to spare her life.

We are now over halfway through the movie, so I’m guessing it’s going to skip Esther’s whole multiple banquet rigamarole the bible describes. I predict we’ll go through one banquet, if that.

Clearly, the king at least likes Esther very much. We’re probably supposed to get that he loves her, but…. ehhh he’s still a dull puppet.

King Xerxes: I don’t know if anybody told you, but showing up uninvited around here is usually discouraged

Haman: punished by death or banishment

Xerxes: (smiling) so whatever you want, Esther honey, it’s yours.

Esther: I want you to stop calling me “queenie poo.”

JUST KIDDING!

Esther kind of loses her nerve. It’s clear in this movie she wanted to ask the king for the real thing (letting her family live) but instead she invites the king over for dinner at 8. Haman is also invited.

The narrator pops in and tells us that Esther is looking for just the right moment to tell the king “his right hand man is a weasel.”

We actually went over this in bible class, why Esther didn’t tell the king right away, and instead invited him to multiple banquets. I think the general consensus was something like… Esther wanted to create a mystery. Humans, when faced with a mystery, have a desire to solve it. If Esther had told the king right away what was going on, he might or might not have cared. By creating a mystery, Esther created, in essence, a problem for the king to solve. To think about constantly, so that when he finally figured out what was going on, he would care about it more than if Esther had just brought it up right away.

A clever woman, our Biblical Esther/Hadassah.

At the dinner, Haman and Xerxes are playing trivia games. I’m not familiar with the answers to the questions, so we won’t be going over them. They’re not relevant to the plot, anyway.

Esther: Your highness, the real reason I asked you to come tonight was to….uh… ask you to come to dinner another night

The movie makes it sound like this was a last minute decision, like it was Esther backing out. Like it was cowardice.

Anyway, the king and Haman agree that they had an excellent time and would love to come again some other night.

Esther looks disappointed in herself.

The way the movie portrays this makes me really really ANGRY. The real Esther was clever, not this semi coward portrayed in this awful movie.

Mordecai visits, and Haman teases him a bit about how he’ll soon be in “chuckle city.”  Really? Most people I know, even people not bothered by tickling in general, start screaming when it becomes too much. Tickling, after a while, is torture, ok? Even small children know this.

It’s night at the palace. The king can’t sleep, so he orders his scribe to read him the royal records in an attempt to bore him to sleep. No, that is not explained in the movie, but that is the biblical account. All we see here is Larry the Cucumber reading to the king as the king lies in bed.

King: I really like it when you read me these records. I guess you could say it’s the story of me

How egotistical of him.

Also, aren’t the king and queen supposed to be sleeping in the same bed? Or at least the same room? Or is this an I love Lucy type deal where Lucy and Ricky sleep in not only separate beds, but separate rooms?

Also, I believe bionically this happened before his marriage to Esther, though I can’t quite remember.

Anyway, in reading the records, Larry the Cucumber Scribe reads about the plot to kill the king.

The king realizes Mordecai was never rewarded.

I don’t like this juxtaposition, because it suggests that THIS is what saves Mordecai’s family rather than Esther.

Just then, Haman comes in. Talk about appearing before the king uninvited, jeez. Anyway, Xerxes asks Haman what should be done to reward a man. Mordecai suggests a parade through the streets, because of course he thinks this is going to happen for him. Xerxes tells him to arrange just that very thing for Mordecai, enraging Haman.

By the way, in case you can’t tell, Haman is meant to be a gourd, or squash, that’s what vegetable he is. Apparently Mordecai is a grape, even though I thought he was a pea. My bad. In any case.

If I recall correctly, it is THIS incident, rather than any other, that leads Haman to want to kill Mordecai. So having this all happen out of order is really disorienting and confusing for me, and probably for any other person who has read the biblical account of Esther.

Actually, after having read the bible, it’s not out of order. So basically, Haman wants Jews killed because Mordecai. King Xerxes rewards Mordecai for saving his life. King somehow misses putting 2 and 2 together and realizing that Mordecai is a Jew and therefore about to be slaughtered? Even in real life, this king was about as sharp as a bag of hammers!

How did I totally miss that back when I was a Christian? Oh jeez!

 

Next scene shows us Esther and the King having a rare moment alone. they are wondering where Haman is.

Wait, we don’t get to watch an angry Haman parade Mordecai through the streets? But… but…. but I wanted to watch that.

ANYWAY, Esther finally tells the King what is worrying her. “Someone is plotting to banish my family!”

Xerxes: Banish my queen? Who would DARE?

Esther: It’s Haman

Xerxes: Can you prove this charge?

It’s a good thing, actually, to ask for proof.

Esther shows the King the poster about how Haman is a wanted man. Xerxes is all, wait a minute, Mordecai? But I just gave him a parade, he saved my life!

Esther: Mordecai is my cousin. His family is my family

And you know that both the king and Haman are thinking, “oh shit.”This being a kids’ Christian movie however, the word “shit” is off limits, so they just say, “oooooohhhh”

Anyway, the king gets angry, even though he didn’t when Haman banished the Vashti. He gets really upset at Haman and banishes him to the island.

Seriously, as children, we had no problem knowing that he was to be hanged on the very gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. Children are capable of taking in a lot more than these adults give them credit for and again, as a child, Death would’ve been preferable to tickling, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Haman is tickled out the door, and I had to watch this with the sound off, so no, there won’t be a screenshot.

Narrator: and so Haman got what was coming to him, and then some. And Mordecai got Haman’s old job, the second in command in the whole kingdom.

When I opened the bible, it surprised me to learn that that was indeed the case. Well, I learn something new every day, don’t I?

Esther wasn’t born for greatness, she didn’t go to school for it, she just learned that sometimes God has a plan….

Hang on, don’t Christians believe that people are born for specific purposes, and that Esther was born for this very purpose? Sure she didn’t go to school for it, that does not mean she wasn’t born for it. Stupid narrator.

Narrator: Yup, she was just a regular kid, just like you.

I highly doubt I qualify as a kid, since I’ve reached the ripe old age of 25, but whatever. I am not the target audience. It’s probably a good message that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

 

The End

 

 

Altogether this episode wasn’t… terrible…. it wasn’t good, either, at least, compared to some other episodes of VeggieTales, but…

Are talking vegetables really better than a talking donut? Well, I think they are, but that could be because VeggieTales is a lot more mainstream, and has even had a movie come out in theatres.

I still think this particular episode could’ve been better handled. I’ve already talked about how children are capable of not being frightened by things this movie likes to dance around. Other than that, I thought it stuck fairly close to the biblical account, and managed to leave out at least a good portion of the sexism. Yeah, I know, but seriously, go read the bible story itself if you don’t believe me. It’s actually not a very long story, and you could totally plow through it in a day or so if you have time.

This isn’t one of the episodes I was subjected to as a kid, but I was still able to get through it without gallons and gallons of booze. I have to admit I did start taking a drink every time she got called “Essie,” and whenever tickling came up.

In my opinion, the tickling thing made this movie incredibly stupid.

All in all, Veggietales weren’t the worst thing I was subjected to in childhood, and this isn’t even the worst episode I’ve seen. Whether or not it’s still bad, I’ll let you be the judge.