Saturday, November 03, 2001

veggie tales

We actually had the bulk of our Veggie Tales tapes before we had Evangeline. In fact, I owned a couple before I had a TV or VCR.

We have every tape except the most recent one, the Silly Songs countdown. Every day my daughter says, "Wats Ducky?" or "Wats Bob?" When we're in the kitchen, she'll point to the CD player and say "Bob?" Heaven forfend that we say no.

With a few exceptions, the VeggieTales tapes are excellent. (It took them until their third tape before they really caught their stride, and a couple others since then also were mediocre.) Like the classic Looney Tunes and various more recent cartoons, they rely on wit rather than the potty humor of Rug Rats or the banal talk-down-to-kids mentality of Barney, the Teletubbies and a few others.

I thought "Fib from Outer Space" was one of their finest episodes, honestly. Everything built steadily toward the climax, the humor was as witty as it's ever been, and everything just plain fit. Junior's lies were a small thing, but steadily and subtly grew until suddenly it owned him -- and, appropriately, no one else could do anything to stop the monster. Only Junior could, by telling the truth and freeing himself from what he had got himself into.

"Rumor Weed," though, was too much like a first draft. It came as the second of two really weak episodes that were less indicative of the story quality I associate with Big Idea and more of what I would expect from most Christian videos. I was glad when they got things back on track with "King George and the Ducky": more original, more clever, funnier, subtler, and none of the obvious jokes or morals we had been seeing.

I thought "God wants me to Forgive THEM?" relied on too many of the stock, expected jokes about forgiveness, and should have had a silly song instead of the "forgive-o-matic" commercial. The spoof of Gilligan's Island was inspired, though.

"Where's God When I'm S-Scared?" failed at storytelling in the Frankencelery portion, I thought; too much of Bob talking about God, although my wife and I were singing "God is Bigger than the Bogeyman" long before we were married, let alone had a daughter. Similarly, I thought the "Oh no, What We Gonna Do?" song is unforgettable, but the Daniel story as they presented it was too Sunday school-ish.

The other episiode that doesn't even get considered for favorite video include "Silly Sing-along 2: The End of Silliness?"

But a favorite? "Lyle" is still amusing, and I really enjoyed "Madame Blueberry." And like I said, "Fib" is excellent. "Esther" is topnotch too.

Maybe Esther.

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