Veggie Tales is a series of children's books and computer animated videos conveying Christian ideals to children via humorous, anthropomorphic vegetable-shaped characters. Spin-offs include a movie based on the story of the prophet Jonah's mission to Nineveh, the Larry-Boy series (originally a Batman parody), and 3-2-1 Penguins.
The first VeggieTales video was released in 1993 by Big Idea Productions, and was the nation's first completely computer animated video. Since then, the VeggieTales videos have sold well over 20 million copies. In addition to the videos, there are also books, games, and the ubiquitous plush toys which accompany nearly anything beloved by children.
Reportedly, the characters are vegetables because of the limitations of early computer animation technology; it would have been difficult and expensive to give them arms and legs. (However, they are usually able to hold objects as if they had hands and they typically "walk" by bouncing.) The lack of appendages is sometimes made into an internal joke. Later videos do not share this limitation: for instance, one of the supporting characters in Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie is a many-legged caterpillar.
Most VeggieTales videos follow a familiar pattern, but with variations that are as charming as they are jarringly purposeful: The presenter (mostly Bob) sets up a moral situation, often arising from a letter from a fan. There is then a discussion among several of the main characters as to how this is best answered. Inevitably, they get to the point where they "roll the video". There is usually an "intermission" for a "Silly Song With Larry" and at the end, the presenters return to wrap up the moral lesson with an applicable "memory verse" as delivered from QWERTY, the computer.
The internal stories themselves are often based on Bible or famous literary stories, sometimes transferred to a different setting (for example, Madame Blueberry clearly draws inspiration from Madame Bovary, while Sumo teaches about perseverance by retelling Rocky mixed with The Karate Kid and The Mikado.)
Violent or sexual content in the source material is often replaced with something silly. For example, in King George and the Ducky, a retelling of the story of David and Bathsheba, Bathsheba is replaced by a rubber duck whose original owner falls victim to a food fight.
- Where's God When I'm S-Scared? (1994)
- God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?! (1994)
- Are You My Neighbor? (1995)
- Rack, Shack & Benny (1995)
- Dave and the Giant Pickle (1996)
- The Toy That Saved Christmas (1996)
- Very Silly Songs! or A Very Silly Sing-Along (1997)
- Larry-Boy and the Fib from Outer Space! (1997)
- Josh and the Big Wall! (1997)
- Madame Blueberry (1998)
- The End Of Silliness? More Really Silly Songs! (1998)
- Larry-Boy and the Rumor Weed (1999)
- King George and the Ducky (2000)
- Esther: The Girl Who Became Queen (2001)
- Lyle the Kindly Viking (2001)
- The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown (2001)
- Heroes of the Bible - Vol. 1 (2001)
- Heroes of the Bible - Vol. 2 (2001)
- Jonah Sing-Along Songs and More! (2002)
- The Star of Christmas (2002)
- Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002)
- The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment! (2003)
- The Ballad of Little Joe (2003)
- An Easter Carol (2004)
- A Snoodle's Tale (2004)
- Sumo of the Opera (2004)
- Complete Silly Song Collection (2004)
- Holiday Double Feature (2004)
- Bob and Larry's How to Draw! (2004)
- Duke and the Great Pie War (2005, est.)
- The Search for Samson's Hair Brush (2005, est.)
Veggie Tales has a continuous back story that all of the cartoons are actually teleplays, performed by various vegetables and fruit that live together on the same kitchen countertop. Some of these characters have "real names", and take on various roles in the teleplays, although they will also frequently appear as themselves. These "regulars" were established in the very earliest videos.
- Bob the Tomato, Host of "Veggie Tales" and the straight man of the comedy troupe. Bob is most likely to appear as the narrator or show up as himself, although he occasionally plays a role in the teleplays. His lead role as "Cavis Appythart" in "The Star of Christmas" and "An Easter Carol" has been his largest part to date.
- Larry the Cucumber, Co-host of "Veggie Tales" and the comedy "star" of the series. Larry is often cast as the lead in the teleplays. His superhero alter ego, Larry-Boy, has a spinoff cartoon series. Larry is the regular host of another "show within the show", Silly Songs with Larry.
- Archibald Asparagus, a very British stuffed shirt, who is constantly trying to bring "high culture" to the otherwise lowbrow humour that VeggieTales represents. He somewhat grudgingly plays the title role in the cinematic release Jonah - A Veggie Tales Movie. Patterned after the Monty Python's Flying Circus character, "The Colonel" (a stuffy army officer played by Graham Chapman who occasionally appeared out of nowhere to order the end of a sketch), Archibald often takes Larry to task for being too silly, especially in the early videos. On the video Lyle the Kindly Viking, Archibald is given the opportunity the host the show, but much to Archie's chagrin, the show devolves into sophmoric parodies of Shakespeare and Gilbert and Sullivan. However his constant pleas for culture seem to be rubbing off on the rest of the gang, resulting in some very "respectable" videos such as Esther - The Girl Who Became Queen, The Star of Christmas, and An Easter Carol, a rather unique adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic, A Christmas Carol.
- Junior Asparagus: Five-year-old Junior Asparagus is one of the most active co-stars of the VeggieTales series. Junior is a typical playful child, but also is wise beyond his years, taking the lead role in several videos. Junior also has a loving relationship with his parents, who also appear in several of the videos. Junior is voiced by Lisa Vischer, wife of VeggieTales co-creator Phil Vischer.
- Madame Blueberry
- Nebby K. Nezzer (zucchini)
- Wally P. Nezzer (zucchini)
- Mr. Lunt, a decorative gourd who grew up in New Jersey and speaks with a Mexican-Spanish accent. He is often seen as assistant to Mr. Nezzer. Mr. Lunt also frequently appears as part of "The Pirates who Don't Do Anything", and even once got his own Silly Song ("His Cheeseburger").
- The French Peas, Jean Claude and Phillipe
- Pa Grape
- Khalil (half caterpillar, half worm)
- The Grapes of Wrath
- QWERTY, the computer that delivers the memory verses from the Bible
- various other side characters including numbers of other peas, three leeks, and a bunch of penguins.
- Big Idea Productions (http://www.bigidea.com/)
- Veggie Tales (http://www.bigidea.com/books/veggietales/)
- Goals of the Big Idea Foundation (http://www.bigideafoundation.org/about_us/index.html)