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Slicing and Dicing VeggieTales?

posted by jmcgee

Anyone familiar with VeggieTales, the popular Christian children’s videos, knows the stunning operatic oeuvre of Larry the Cucumber. LarryBoy’s “Silly Songs” are masterpieces of drama and kitsch, boasting such lyrics as, “Oh where is my hairbrush?… Not fair, no hair, not fair, nowhere, no hair!” Now that VeggieTales is on NBC, however, both the songs and the Bible verse at the show’s end have been dropped–the song for length, the Bible verse because the network required it. What does it say about me that I miss the Silly Songs more than the Bible verse?

Not so for some Christian viewers, who argue that removing the scripture verse is stripping the heart and soul from the series. In a recent column, conservative critic L. Brent Bozell accuses NBC of gutting the Veggies:

…NBC has grown increasingly fierce about editing something out of “VeggieTales”– those apparently unacceptable, insensitive references to God and the Bible. So NBC has taken the very essence of “VeggieTales”–and ripped it out. It’s like “Gunsmoke” without the guns, or “Monday Night Football” without the football…

…They have told parents concerned about their smutty programs like “Will and Grace” that if they’re offended, they have a remote control as an option. The networks have spent millions insisting that we have a V-chip in our TV sets. Change the channel. Block it out.

But when it comes to religious programming–programming that doesn’t even mention Jesus Christ–just watch the hypocrisy. Instead of telling viewers to just change the channel if they don’t like it, or put in a V-chip for Bible verses, they demand to producers that all that outdated old-time religion has to be shredded before broadcast.

In August, VeggieTales’ co-creator, Phil Vischer, blogged:

“So, Phil, will they actually let you talk about God on NBC?” Oh, good question. I figured you’d get to that at some point. The answer is… yes and no. At first we were told everything was ‘okay’ except the Bible verse at the end. Frankly, that news really surprised me, because, heck, we’re talking about NBC here. God on Saturday morning? It didn’t seem likely. Since we’ve started actually producing the episodes, though, NBC has gotten a little more restrictive. (I think they actually sat down and started watching a few VeggieTales videos. “Hey wait–these are religious.”) So it’s gotten trickier, and we’re having to do a little more editing. More than I’m comfortable with? Frankly, yes. But I had already committed to helping Big Idea with this, and I really didn’t want to leave them in a tight spot. …it could be better, but overall it’s not a total loss.

After the media storm, Vischer followed this up on September 21 with a blog post describing NBC’s flip-flopping on the issue:

NBC has now issued a new statement about VeggieTales, refining their earlier statement that cuts were only made for timing, not content. They now acknowledge the cuts they requested and explain that they don’t want to air programming that offends or excludes any individual religious group.

Today, VeggieTales sent out an email reassuring viewers that the show can continue to fulfill its mission despite the NBC changes:

…we knew that certain religious references would not be allowed on a children’s block under current TV network guidelines. And we recognized that we were not going to change the rules of network television overnight.

…would we still prefer to air the un-edited versions of VeggieTales on TV? Absolutely! It’s there where we’re able to share a Bible verse and encourage kids by telling them God made them special and He loves them very much. For now, we’re hoping a new cross section of kids will fall in love with Bob & Larry… Please know our commitment to introducing kids to God continues.

Having watched VeggieTales on NBC the day it premiered, I don’t understand all the fuss. “Minnesota Cuke and the Search for Samson’s Hairbrush” was chock-full of wholesome values and Bibley goodness, inextricably embedded in the plot. Midway through the episode, Bob and Larry page through scripture to explain who Samson was. If this is “sliced and diced,” I say: it’s still yummy.



  • http://HASH(0xfd73748) Deb

    Why is it that the programs that are good,wholesome and have a positive influence have to be editted, while others are allowed to use obscene language and material content that is unfit for children? What kind of a message are we sending? Yes, we can block them out with v-chips and the security code on the remote, but so can the families who don’t want their children to watch programs that have God and religion mentioned in them.

  • http://HASH(0xfd74688) vicky

    what ‘s a hypocrecy…nbc has qualms about religion, not wanting to offend anyone.. however they have shows about homosexuals on tv.. that offends a lot of people, and they have no problem showing it.. they obvious have an agenda..christians lets protest…!!!!!and make our opinions heard..

  • http://HASH(0xfd749ac) Mary Burke

    Dearest Christian folks, We are the ones that need to make a stand for Christ, we are the ones that has allowed the world to enter into our church, one person..ONE person took the prayers out of the schools..now look at where our nation is..the verse where God will heal our land is not for the world, it is for the Christians, are we turning back to GOD or are we going with the flow,believeing nothing will matter..Just food for thought..sincerely Maria’

  • http://HASH(0xfd7535c) Christa Arcari

    This is insane! The programs that NBC shows in the evening, with the language and the content and they are banishing a little bit of God? Well, God forbid that their ratings may decrease for 30 minutes on a saturday morning during Veggie Tales???? I believe if they just let it air as is, that God would provide more ratings than they know what to do with. We did watch the premier and i am happy to say that my children still were able to realize that the show was about God so hopefully more people were touched by the message too. God bless you all.

  • http://HASH(0xfd76b34) Melinda

    Well, since rules take time to change. Why not play the loop hole untill it is changed. I am glad that the “Veggie Tales” I started watching in Junior High are now open to a larger band of yourth, the one who gets up in the morning to watch cartoons quietly before mom and dad wake up. On the same hand I am dissapointed that the scripture reference is to be stripped. Since the revisions are made prior to air time, why not in the Beginning and end reference the Title and a message with plenty of time for children to copy down and just like in commercials for things kids want they can ask to see the real “Veggie Tales,” stories that have the versus for them to learn. Usually when a parent is asked to buy such a film and do they will watch it at least once with their children. Then you can almost double up on who the word reaches. Sometimes it takes the courage of a child with wonder to complete such a wonderful task.-Melinda 22

  • http://HASH(0xfd77264) Heather

    I say it is about time my kids can watch something wholesome that the also LOVE….besides violence and sexual content.

  • http://HASH(0xfd77f4c) VALERIE FALK

    Brother, the menu selection NBC makes in order to victimize us with certain shows is unbelievable. They edit out Christian content yet will leave in all of the trash from other show. Well, I can just as easily edit NBC from the list of networks I choose to watch.

  • http://HASH(0xfd78270) kimber

    Let’s just hope that it DOES open up a lot more kids to Veggie Tales who can then go RENT the REAL, UNEDITED Veggie Tales videos – God has a way of intervening, quietly and confidently. Trust.

  • http://HASH(0xfd79018) Michael

    This is totally WRONG! NBC can show movies and TV shows that make living in sin appear to be a “good” way of life. But taking out Bible verse and the “silly songs” from Veggie Tales is how they want to show a Christian based show for kids? What is wrong with them? If you want to buy and play a show, take it for what it is and not strip it down to make it look like something else. This is a CHRISTIAN CARTOON! YOU WANTED IT, YOU GOT IT! God has been taken out of too many things (one thing would be too many) but to take it out of something that is for kids to learn from and hopefully take with themselves and live a good life and treat others with respect? NBC has gone too far. To date, my family owns everything Veggie Tales, but we will not be watching any watered down version or anything else on NBC in the future. I understand my family not watching that network is not going to do anything to them, but I will continue to teach my family good values and to live as Christ. NBC: Now Barring Christ Pack@verizon.net

  • http://HASH(0xfd79f68) Jennifer C

    Maybe if we got the word out to ALL of us Christians to stop watching the networks and why I mean most of us attend churches we go to that have a bulletin or a bulletin board that would reach a lot of Christian people who WOULD support our mission and ratings WILL plummet until WE get our way and if we all wrote letters to NBC corporate NBCUNI.COM FEEDBACK 100 Universal City Plaza Universal City, CA 91608 or email NBCUniSupport@nbcuni.com. The more emails and the more letters and the more people we can get to do this the we can really make a difference. I am unable to have children but I want to do this for all those precious children out there who need this wonderful program in their lives. I love that show with my heart before my best friend stopped talking to me after I got sick I used to watch it with my goddaughter Hailey and she learned so much from it. I want to see each child grow in Christ like she has I opened a website we can use to keep track of just how many are taking action whoever emails me and wants it I will give me phone number and we can stay in touch and get the REAL veggie Tales Back on. I have fought some pretty big fights and won a lot of them but it will be a team effort so Ill need as much help as I can I am very sick with possibley ovarian cancer right now but this would give me strength to hold on for truthfully with no friend Ive wanted to give up so many times but my faith wont let me THANK GOD. My email is divabeautyqueen@yahoo.com I was a beautician before the health troubles began for me. Email me if you are interested in helping or just to tell me you are participating and how and if you are getting others and how they participated etc. I THINK WE CAN AND WILL DO THIS NBC DOES NOT KNOW WHAT THEY ARE UP AGAINST THIS TIME!!! HOP YOU ALL ARE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS AS i AM!!

  • http://HASH(0xfd7a658) msl

    I know it’s fiction, but I can’t help but wonder if Studio 60 is slightly reflective of its views on Christians i.e.: nuts in small areas blogging in pajamas and surrounded by cats. Instead of respecting Christians with a Christian show, they are afraid of upsetting the non religious? Huh? If they have trouble with its wholesome content, and the use of the word “God”, why not put it on Sunday mornings? If NBC had their way, Davy and Goliath would not have aired. Hooray for the Veggitales Videos and DVD’s where they are complete.

  • http://HASH(0xfd7b820) Randy Sober

    We need to keep the Scriptures with the vegietales. This world has alot of things that would currupt the Children

  • Grace

    I am not at all for the removing of God from shows, but I think it’s a positive thing that NBC is airing Veggie Tales. Even edited, Veggie Tales contains great stories that I think will point kids to God. I’m not sure how good of an impression NBC will have of Christians if we storm them with complaints, since no one forced them to air the show in the first place. Just some food for thought…

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