Aug 12, 2014

Review: VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! (1994)

Here we are back again for some more VeggieTales. One of the amusing things I've noticed about the later VT videos is that they like to take popular stories and adapt them with morally correct vegetables. How about VeggieTales: Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson's Hairbrush? It even has the same font as Indiana Jones! The whole VT operation is probably small enough to avoid the ire of big studios but this 1994 entry was also inspired to use some familiar material.

VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! uses John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath (basically only in name though) as well the first episode of Gilligan's Island. If you can imagine what a Christian parody of both would be like, well there you have it. That only really goes for the Gilligan part though because The Grapes of Wrath is basically just about a group of grumpy grapes who are mean. Are these spoofs any good? Long story short, not particularly.


Genre: animation, short, family
Directed by: Phil Vischer
Produced by: Phil Vischer
Written by: Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki
Music by: Kurt Heinecke
Running time: 30 minutes
Production company: Big Idea Productions
Distributed by:  Everland Entertainment
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, Bridgett Miller, Lisa Vischer, Dan Anderson, Gail Freeman, Jeff Morrow, Greg Whalen



The first story involves a family of mean grapes riding around in a piece of junk car. There's Pa (Phil Vischer) and Ma Grape (Bridgett Miller) as well as Tom Grape (Phil Vischer) and Rosie Grape (Bridgett Miller). They happen to run into Junior Asparagus (Lisa Vischer) who they then make fun of for looking funny. In the second story, Larry the Cucumber (Mike Nawrocki) and Bob the Tomato (Phil Vischer) run a tour boat. With thee other vegetables on board, Larry daydreams at the helm and crashes the boat onto a deserted island. Understandably, everyone is pretty angry with him.


There is no silly song segment in this VeggieTales entry and thank God for that. The other songs in this episode compared to the first one are maybe a smidgeon better, but barely. Instead of a silly song segment, there's a surprisingly half-funny infomercial spoof of a product called The Forgive-O-Matic." It looks like some kind of kitchen appliance but apparently it's able to make God forgive your sins for you. Just like that. Junior Asparagus says that you can just ask God for forgiveness without the appliance which messes up Scallion #1's whole spiel. Based off of a skit that Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki did in bible college, it's the only part of VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! that's even remotely funny. 

VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! has horrible and outdated animation as was expected. It looks like some kind of nightmare land in certain instances when it comes to showing landscapes or forest in the sense that everything looks so empty and flat. There is still some dialogue audio that doesn't line up very well with the animation too which isn't nice to watch. This is especially bad during Bob and Larry's counter top lecture sessions. There's also nothing worse than when Bob and Larry try to get audience participation. Ugh!

The big moral of this VT episode is forgiveness. That's nice and all. I mean we have to remember that this is a video for kids and I suppose the references to Grapes of Wrath and Gilligan's Island is for the adults sitting in the room to find funny. But aren't there better ways to teach your kids about forgiveness than some cucumber and tomato preaching off of a TV? It's done in such an obvious way while painfully trying not to. The jokes don't lighten anything and forgiveness if you ask me shouldn't be automatically granted to someone anyway even if they ask for it. Larry the Cucumber was an idiot to crash the boat into the rocks and it wasn't an accident either. It was pure carelessness. Bob and the other voyagers had every right to be angry with Larry who takes this as a cue to pitifully sail away in a raft. The Bible doesn't make exceptions when it comes to forgiveness though, so forget what I said I guess.

VeggieTales: God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! is only slightly less annoying than VeggieTales: Where's God When I'm S-Scared? because it lacks a silly song segment. Also, it has a microscopically funny, but not really, infomercial spoof that replaces the songs. It's a segment that at least has a hint of funny bone in it, so there's that. Well, maybe a fractured funny bone. Make that completely shattered. With weak animation and an obviously trying not to be preachy message, it's still a terrible piece of entertainment. There are better ways to teach kids about forgiveness than trying to plop them in front of a TV with these vegetables. Let them have fun, c'mon!



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