Since 1993, the folks at Big Idea Entertainment have been churning out new VeggieTales stories on a regular basis. While most have been hits, there have been a few misses too. Over the years, the vegetable franchise has spoofed (or honored depending on how you look at it) Bible stories, super heroes, adventure movies as well as presenting their own versions of classic stories. However, the best Veggies by far have been the ones that have been totally original and for those who have been waiting to experience that joy all over again, wait no longer.
Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas has so much going for it, I am surprised that a television network hasn’t snatched it up for a holiday special. Though it is yet another Christmas story, this one is truly original. Taking a nod from the classic Rankin/Bass holiday special of yore (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, etc.), Merry Larry is narrated by Si Robertson. Robertson is from Duck Dynasty and thankfully, there is no reference to the show in the special. (No offense to Si or his show, as he does a great job in his vegetable debut, but to have Duck Dynasty pop culture references would have done this story a disservice.) Robertson play Silas, a wise old okra who is also a janitor at the Spring Valley Mall, which is on the brink of closing if they don’t bring in the Christmas shopping crowds.
In an unlikely match up, Bob the Tomato is teamed up with Mr. Lunt, as professional Christmas display artists hired to help bring in the crowds. They have big plans for the mall including lasers. They have to contend with Merry Larry (Larry the Cucumber) whose yearly job is to serve as the mall’s “head elf.” Larry tends to get in the way, but the gourd and tomato can’t get rid of him, because is the nephew of the mall’s owner.
Instead of Santa, children bring their requests to Larry. One little girl, Christina, just wants to help her friend and Neighbor, Mrs. Crespie, who lost her home in a fire. So taken with the little girl’s story, Larry sets out to do whatever he can to help. However, in true VeggieTales fashion, that includes some misunderstandings and wackiness.
Parents won’t be surprised by where the story goes, but will be pleasantly surprised with the special’s humor, which might have to do with addition of Cory Edwards as a team writer. Edwards is known for writing the script for the animated Hoodwinked. The best VeggieTales shorts feature humor that both kids and adults can appreciate. Some of the company’s films have lost sight of that, but not with Merry Larry. Above all else, Merry Larry is excellent story-telling. Not complicated, just good.
Some VeggieTales’ stories are overly sentimental with a teary-eyed Junior Asparagus or Laura the Carrot serving as the story’s “Pollyanna.” Not so with this story. It has a strong Christian message without being overly religious. Every Veggie makes an appearance in the short (including the Peach!) and some new turnips. It also features new music including the super-fun “Light of Christmas” song by Owl City and TobyMac and the new silly song,” Wrapped Myself Up for Christmas.”