The fourteenth and fifteenth episodes of VeggieTales in the House, now available on Netflix! In “When the Dust Bunnies Came to Town,” the Veggies open a forbidden air vent, and in “The Bucket List,” Bob and Larry decide to treat Ichabeezer.
“When the Dust Bunnies Came to Town”
Maybe I’m just getting old, but the episodes I find to be the best so far in VeggieTales in the House are the calmer ones, the ones with a simple plot and a solid message. That’s not to say “When the Dust Bunnies Came to Town” is a bad episode at all, but it’s pretty silly and random, and the moral is dropped in there rather clumsily. “The Bucket List” has its share of funny gags but still manages to pull off a focused story.
In any case, “Dust Bunnies” starts off with Larry and Junior playing Space Cadet Rangers together. They’re on the outskirts of the little town, on top of the couch in the living room. Junior throws his boomerang at an imaginary alien plant monster but “misses,” and it falls into an air vent on the floor. Larry chastises Junior for his poor aim, saying that Junior should’ve paid attention to the technique that Larry demonstrated earlier, since he’s Junior’s elder, someone who’s older and deserves respect (highly ironic, given how immature Larry is).
Neither of them can open the grate since it’s locked, so they go running for Mayor Archibald for the key. He can’t remember why it was shut up in the first place and agrees to open it at the prospect of there being money or other treasures down there. The “old” Veggies – Pa Grape, Ichabeezer, and Grandma Asparagus – insist there must be a good reason for it being locked long ago by their Veggie ancestors, but the younger Veggies (relatively speaking) ignore them and head off. Pa decides they should find the answer for themselves, and they go to Ichabeezer’s house for the town’s archives.
In a moment of foreshadowing, the scene shifts abruptly to Jimmy and Jerry interacting with their pet dust bunny (probably from “Jimmy and Jerry Are Rich”), whom they’ve named Danny. Jimmy scolds Danny for eating most of their cookie dough – which he then proceeds to finish off himself. (Jerry: “Double standard.”) Meanwhile, the older Veggies are busy researching the mysterious grate. After looking through books about the Bubble Bath Flood of ’72 and the Vegetables Versus Kittens War, Ichabeezer finds the right record, and they’re stunned about what the vent is hiding . . . but none of them try to stop Archie and the others. I guess they figured it was too late – so they sing a song instead! Sure enough, when Larry and Junior and Archibald get inside the grate, they not only rescue the boomerang but also unleash a horde of dust bunnies.
The dust bunnies quickly take over the entire town, even inside the houses. Bob and Larry try to hide at their home, only to find that the feral bunnies have somehow gotten in and completely trashed the place, which really should be no surprise, since their house has no fourth wall. (And Bob dramatically and hilariously laments over his destroyed sock collection.) Laura’s basketball is eaten, Petunia’s greenhouse is overrun, and the Asparagus family’s home is bursting with bunnies. Quick aside: We get our first proper look at Junior’s Mom! No dialogue, but her design is fairly complex, so I hope we’ll be seeing more of her.
Back in town, Archie is distraught over the mess, accusing Larry of misleading him into believing there would be treasure in the vent. Larry humbly takes all the blame, though it really was Archie’s fault. Larry admits they should’ve listened to their elders (the theme of this episode). The older Veggies then show up right on cue, armed with handheld vacuum cleaners and brooms for everyone. Pa accepts Larry’s apology, then instructs everyone to get cleaning (“Come with me if you wanna . . . not have dust bunnies runnin’ through your town!”). As the
ghostbusters dust bunny patrol sets off, there’s an weird scene of Ichabeezer capturing Danny the Dust Bunny and Jimmy forcing Jerry to get sucked up into the vacuum to rescue him. He does so and all is well, but it’s odd, jarring moment.
The Veggies vacuum up all the dust bunnies and spew them back into the vent, with Junior using his boomerang to secure the key in a moment of both metaphorical and literal closure. Everyone having learned the lesson, Larry and Junior return to their game, staying away from the grate this time. And of course, the camera pans away to show one last dust bunny floating away on a balloon . . .
“The Bucket List”
This episode starts off with Bob and Larry picking up their newly repaired bikes from Pa’s store (because Pa apparently does everything in town). Pa tells them that he also shined the bikes up for free, since he doesn’t just do the work he’s (presumably) paid to do but also tries to be kind, since it’s the right thing to do.
Being kind is always a tricky lesson to teach. On one hand, we should be kind to each other because we actually want to, but on the other hand, we should be kind because it is indeed the right thing to do. Larry kind of comments on this, saying that he’s kind to his friends, but Pa tells him that we should be kind to everyone, even to those who aren’t kind to us. This slightly ties in with a previous episode about generosity and not expecting any rewards. I suppose that, regardless of your motivation, kindness does benefit everyone.
Anyway, Ichabeezer comes into the store, wanting a vacuum, but Pa is sold out. Ichabeezer leaves angrily, and after a moment of thoughtfulness, Bob tells Larry that they’re about to embark on a “mission of kindness,” and they take off after Ichabeezer. When they catch up, Bob tells him that he and Larry will clean his house as they have their own vacuum. Ichabeezer asks for the catch, and Larry (very rapidly) responds with Luke 6:35:
“Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting anything back.”
Not seeming to care that the other Veggies consider him an “enemy,” Ichabeezer agrees, and so Bob and Larry go to his house the next day to start cleaning. They do a fairly good job, despite Ichabeezer’s criticisms. Bob comments that it’s hard to do kind things for such a grumpy person, and Larry concludes that Ichabeezer must have a sad life. He then gets a little overenthusiastic about cleaning Ichabeezer’s desk, and papers go flying everywhere. Larry finds a clipboard titled “Bucket List,” which contains very random and adventurous activities, and he tells Bob it’s the writings of a mad man since none of those things involve buckets. Bob corrects him, explaining that a Bucket List is a list of things a person wants to do before the end of their life. Bob realizes that these must be Ichabeezer’s greatest wishes, and if they really wanted to be kind, they would help Ichabeezer accomplish every single task. Then Bob and Larry would reach “maximum kindosity“!
(Bob is hilarious in this episode, btw.)
Interestingly, they don’t expect a reward or anything, or even consider how grateful Ichabeezer will be. They just get a little carried away with “being kind.” So the pair returns in the morning to surprise Ichabeezer with all the things on his bucket list, including wearing a mustache, bungee-jumping, and cannonballing into a dumpster full of lobsters. They then hook up their vehicles (I hesitate to call them “cars”) to the dumpster, and in a scene reminiscent of the first episode, they drag Ichabeezer in the dumpster to the town center stage, for him to sing in a screamo band.
Ichabeezer is very angry about all this but keeps getting interrupted by more of Bob and Larry’s “helpfulness,” culminating in him being popped into a giant hamster ball and rolled around all over town while the Veggies sing about all the things to do on the bucket list. So he pretty much spends most of the episode screaming in fear. Finally, he manages to get everyone to stop, saying he’s had enough. Bob is confused since they were simply trying to give Ichabeezer the best day of his life using his own Bucket List. Ichabeezer tells him to read the title more carefully: “Bucket List: Of things that I never, ever want to do.” No one understands why he would have such a list, but Ichabeezer is so openly contradictory about everything, it does kind of makes sense. He then goes home in a huff, leaving Bob and Larry feeling pretty guilty. They go to Pa’s store for an apology card (choosing one with a bear that says, “I’m beary sorry,” over one with a frog that says, “Begging for frog-giveness”). Pa also gives them a new vacuum cleaner to bring to Ichabeezer, one that the whole town pitched in to buy – which is understandable on one level, but Ichabeezer is ridiculously rich and certainly doesn’t need (or arguably, deserve) such charity.
Regardless, when Bob and Larry get to his house, they’re surprised to see him playing the saxophone badly, which was one of the activities on his bucket list. Ichabeezer tells them that although the day had been the worst of his life, it actually made him a better Veggie, since doing all those things should have destroyed him, but now he feels good about his accomplishments. In a rare moment of niceness and introspection, he also recognizes that they were merely trying to be kind to him. Larry asks if this means he’ll be happy from now, Ichabeezer informs him that he’s always happy – but only rarely ever in a good mood. (At least he knows his own flaws, so that’s something.) Ichabeezer then asks if they want to play video games with him, which he hates doing but clearly wants to either finish off the list, or repay Bob and Larry back for their kindness. Either way, he ends up tossing the controller out the window while trying to play “Pea Golf.”
As I said at the beginning, I feel that “The Bucket List” has a more focused story, though “Dust Bunnies” did have a unique take on its moral lesson (and we’ve probably not seen the last of the dust bunnies).
What about you? How do you help your children learn to listen to their elders and how to be kind? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: VeggieTales in the House from Big Idea Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation Television, and Bardel Entertainment