REVIEW: “Veggie Tales Live! Little Kids Can Do Big Things”

REVIEW: “Veggie Tales Live! Little Kids Can Do Big Things”

I have been a huge fan of “Veggie Tales” all my life. I come from an interfaith family, and most of my Christian education has come from the “Veggie Tales” DVDs that my grandma gives me every Christmas. There is really nowhere you can go wrong with animated vegetables that sing about Evangelical Christian values. (I am not being sarcastic about this. I’m not sure you understand—I LOVE “Veggie Tales.”) Then, of course, there are the Silly Songs with with Larry, a more secular segment where Larry the Cucumber sings about topics such as his hairbrush (where is it?) and his love for his lips (If my lips ever left my mouth/ hopped a train and headed South…)

So when my mother approached me in September with the news that “Veggie Tales Live! Little Kids Can Do Big Things” was coming to San Jose, I was filled with pure joy. I called up my friend Zoë Limbrick, a senior from Palo Alto High School, and asked if she would like to accompany me. It is a great testament to our friendship and mutual love of “Veggie Tales” that she said yes, despite the performance date being smack in the middle of her school’s homecoming week.

Since I live in Palo Alto, San Jose is just as far from me as Urban is. On October 22nd I got on my typical 4:09 train in San Francisco and just didn’t get off until San Jose. I was so excited. I was practically vibrating, even though the train was stuffed with people going to the forty-niners game and shouting loudly at each other over open beers (on the train!!!!). Anyway, Zoë met me on the train, my dad picked us up in San Jose, you don’t really care about this part, flash forward an hour, and we’re standing in front of the auditorium, ready for “Veggie Tales Live! Little Kids Can Do Big Things.”

I have to say, the venue was a little sad. As Zoë and I floated along in a sea of toddlers, I was struck by the stagehands we saw outside grimly smoking cigarettes in all black. When I bought my tour t-shirt, the man selling merchandise glared at Zoë for putting her hand on his table. “But this is Veggie Tales Live!” I thought. Where is the joy? Where is Archibald the elderly asparagus and his plucky nephew Junior? Where are the colors, the lights? And where is Larry’s hair brush?

But things got better. We waited with bated breath for the curtain to rise. Neither Zoë nor I knew what to expect. How could an animated show possibly be live? Would there be puppets or something?

No. There would not be puppets. There would be, as it turned out, eight foot tall vegetable costumes containing actual people.

I’m not sure I can express to you how big these costumes were. They were so big that I began to weep with happiness. I couldn’t believe it. I thought, How are they not falling over? Why do they have to be so big?

The show was, in quality, significantly below an actual “Veggie Tales” episode but somewhat above a “Veggie Tales” picture book. The plot explored the plight of Junior, a small asparagus who wants to do big things, but it just a little kid. I found myself able to relate to this narrative personally, and considered referencing it in my college essays. The show mostly stayed within the secular realm, until the very last song which was about God’s unconditional love. I was down with this, but clearly other audience members were not. As soon as one of the actresses mentioned God, the cool San Jose soccer dad behind me groaned audibly and said, “Oh, shit.” (How did he not know “Veggie Tales” was a religious enterprise? Did he just sign up to take his kid to a show he knew nothing about? If so, how did he feel when the giant squash started singing about hamburgers? Did he think he was hallucinating? Did he fear for his life?)

All in all, I’m glad I went and I’m glad I got a t-shirt out of it, but I don’t think I’d go again at least until I have children of my own. Also, we left before the second act so I’m not sure what happened vis-a-vis if little kids can really do big things.