Friday, September 26, 2014

VeggieTales In The House & The New Character Designs

This past week, Big Idea made a huge huge HUGE reveal: a lineup of updated character designs! On top of that, they made the official announcement of the new VT Netflix series, VeggieTales In The House! It's a lot to take in at once, I know, so I decided to take a moment and discuss this new chapter in VeggieTales history.

First of all, to preface all of this, in case you haven't heard yet, please don't judge this new style unfairly. It absolutely breaks my heart to have heard from some people who dump hate on "new" VT anything... some people don't like the newer episodes as versus the older ones, a bunch of people hated on them when they reanimated the theme song in 2010... ugh. I know you have a right to your opinions, but fact is, no matter what they do, VT will always be, first and foremost, a show whose core goal is to spread the message of God's love to children (and everyone else). No amount of higher-quality animation or updated character designs or whatever can change that! Change can be difficult sometimes, but it's not a bad thing. So with that in mind, here's the main lineup of new looks!

I'll be honest, at first, I was kinda shocked that they'd go and redo the characters after all these years. In a brief video, Mike Nawrocki said that the characters were originally designed with the limitations of early 90's CGI, so the folks at Big Idea decided it was time to give them a more modern update for today's generation. It still feels almost unreal that they'd do it, especially after having read Phil Vischer's first-hand experience piecing Larry together in Me, Myself, And Bob. But these new designs are actually really great, and I would believe Mr. Vischer would've loved to have made them look like this a long time ago. 
I remember when I first saw the newly designed Jimmy and Jerry, who were the first to be revealed. At first, I wasn't sure what to think, as they were both familiar, but they were very different, too. I mean... colored irises! Eyebrows! New textures! It's so different! But then, taking a closer look, I saw Jerry's stem "cowlick", and immediately I fell in love with the design! It was so funny and gave him so much personality! People have been having trouble telling the bros apart for years, and now there's no way anyone could do that with that simple, subtle addition! Plus, the eye colors are a useful sign as well :) And every other updated character is super-fun and really cool-looking in this new style! Junior no longer has "peas on his head", but the actual asparagus bud! Laura is absolutely darling! Madame Blueberry looks fabulous as a brunette! Petunia's new look is gorgeous! Bob and Larry look very much like their original designs, but with an extra dose of charm... plus, Larry looks particularly fun and goofy! I have yet to see what some of the other characters, like Pa, Lunt, Nezzer, Archibald, etc, will look like. But I figure they'll do it right (well, as long as they don't decide to give Pa and Lunt eyes, but I think that's highly unlikely).

So after the characters got reintroduced, another video message was posted of Mike Nawrocki and In The House's creator, Doug Tenapel, officially announcing the new Netflix series and reassuring fans that it would still have the heart and message that VT's had since the beginning. Now, I'd heard months ago that In The House would be one of several new Dreamworks-owned Netflix programming, and I was very excited and very intrigued to hear about it. I haven't yet heard any further news on it and what the show will be like, but I have some assumptions.
We know what it's like to have seen VT attempt to adapt to a TV series... it was fun, but it didn't really work. So my assumption is, instead of just repackaging already-made episodes, they'll make new, exclusive adventures. I also believe that, instead of doing the "answering-kids'-questions-with-a-story" style, they'll probably go the route of telling more sitcom-style stories, exploring these characters in their daily lives, outside of the countertop! I could easily see these guys living in an apartment complex, Bob and Larry being roommates, their neighbors, the Carrots and the Asparaguses (Asparagi?), living next door, Madame Blueberry being the rich lady who lives in the penthouse, Petunia being the quintessential girl-next-door, and Jimmy and Jerry being the goofy landlords! Hehe XD Not saying that any of this is the case, but I could see at least something similar happening here. I really do love the idea of seeing these guys on a regular basis, with five new 22-minute episodes arriving every few months! 
I don't think this means that the normal 50-minute DVD releases will halt, just that they will be coming out alongside the new show. I just love seeing Big Idea do more and expand! Since 3-2-1 Penguins ended I've been missing seeing a little extra Big Idea magic, so I imagine that In The House will fill that gap splendidly! The only thing I don't know is whether this character design will be specifically for In The House, or if all the episodes to come will be in this style. It's been said the new series will arrive in the fall, and we already know that the new DVD episode Beauty And The Beet will be coming out in October, and with the classic style. So who knows? I suppose we'll just have to wait and see; either way, I'm excited about it!

So hopefully, if your first instinct was "it's different I don't like it", I've given you a new perspective on this new era of VeggieTales. Join me in the VT revelry! And don't forget to start up that Netflix account! You can rewatch Where's God When I'm Scared and Sweetpea Beauty while you're waiting :D

- Chandler

Friday, September 12, 2014

Silly Song Saturday... Will You Be Celebrating?

Hey to my bros and sistas in the VT fandom! Need something to spice up your weekend? Well, I thought I'd introduce you to one of my own personal traditions that's coming up tomorrow... Silly Song Saturday! Why? Because it's the second Saturday in September! And it's the perfect day to sit down and watch all those Silly Song singalong collections you don't watch nearly enough!

Basically, I like to watch all the Silly Songs, from The Water Buffalo Song all the way down to the wonderfulness that is Perfect Puppy! It's easy to watch the episodes as they are, but I find it's really nice to just sit down and enjoy these timeless, charming, and funny songs on their own!

So I'd love to get some more folks to join me in the silliness this weekend! Think we can make #SillySongSaturday a thing? Or even #SillySongSunday? Lettuce revel in the silliness this weekend as Veggie fans united! (See I'm already using Veggie puns!)

And apologies I don't have the review up for Celery Night Fever yet... look for that coming soon!

- Chandler