The 28th and 29th episodes of VeggieTales in the House, now available on Netflix! In “You, Me & Tiny Pea,” Junior makes a new friend, and in “Jenna Chive Live!” a famous pop star visits the Veggie town!
“You, Me & Tiny Pea”
This episode feels out of place not only because of the pacing, which is unfortunately really off, but also because it’s sandwiched between a set of LarryBoy episodes. Those tend to suit VeggieTales in the House‘s style very well, and are usually the better episodes, so “You, Me & Tiny Pea” suffers from that favoritism.
It begins with Captain Mike presenting Junior with a handmade hat that features a picture of the two playing together. Although admittedly a somewhat embarrassing gift, it’s a little odd that Junior is so against wearing it, considering how much he’s wanted his dad’s attention in previous episodes.
The scene shifts to Junior encountering Bob and Larry on the street, with Larry singing about oatmeal despite not caring for it. (Junior: “We need to work on the content of the random songs you sing.”) Then the titular “Tiny Pea” comes along (voiced by Kel Mitchell). He sings a song about how he may be small on the outside, but he’s big on the outside and plans to do big things someday. (Ah yes, you may be thinking, one of those episodes.) Junior admits to his friend that his dad still considers him to be a “little guy” (which is what Mike said when he gave Junior the hat). Tiny Pea tells Junior that he has to prove himself to be big, and the pair agree that the best way to go out on the dangerous part of the lake/kitchen sink, despite there being a giant lobster that lives there.
Junior goes home to tell Mike about wanting to go to the lake with Tiny Pea (leaving out the dangerous part), and that they both want to be big and grown up someday. Mike informs Junior that growing up and growing big aren’t the same thing. This is a lesson that Bob is similarly trying to tell Larry, who for some reason is also trying to prove that he’s a grown up – which is weird because he is? Not sure why he suddenly cares so much. Anyway, Larry tries to gargle with hot sauce (while singing the original VeggieTales theme song) and eat all the marshmallows in the world. (Bob: “That sounds just a little bit impossible. | Larry: “It’s kind of just a little bit a personal challenge.”) Naturally, he feels terribly sick after these endeavors (Larry: “Never eat every marshmallow in the world, kids.”), but he refuses to give up, resorting to doing a daredevil skateboarding stunt near the lake. He tries to back out of it, as per his way (having once won the gold medal at the backing-out-of-things competition), and because it’s actually a good idea in this case, but he trips and rockets down the giant stunt ramp on the skateboard anyway, shooting off into the sky.
Junior and Tiny Pea are out on the lake in their boat and are feeling very grown up when they spot the giant lobster – and that it’s coming straight for them. Luckily, Archibald and Petunia are fishing on shore and witness all this, and Archie runs to get Mike.
Larry flies across the sun, yelling, “I learned that being big isn’t just doing whatever I want to do!” Thanks for shouting out this episode’s theme, Larry! He crash-lands in Junior and Tiny Pea’s boat (Larry: “How convenient!”), the force of which knocks Tiny Pea flying onto shore, but leaving Junior and Larry stuck on a broken, sinking boat.
(Apparently, the budget would only allow for one giant lobster claw.)
Thankfully, Petunia saves the day, using her fishing rod to pull the boat to safety. Junior apologizes to the just-arrived Mike for disobeying him, and Mike accepts his apology, happy that Junior is now safe. There’s no real closure to this besides that line, as Junior doesn’t really reflect on why growing big and growing up aren’t the same thing – but just that Dad knows best? Not really sure about the implications of this, but in any case, Junior wants to spend the rest of the day with his dad, even storytime at the library, and they invite Tiny Pea along, who agrees it sounds like “big fun.”
“Jenna Chive Live!”
VeggieTales as a franchise isn’t a stranger to having big-name Christian artists lend their voices to lookalike Veggie counterparts. I’m sure there’s an exhaustive list somewhere, but “Jenna Chive” is the first for VeggieTales in the House. Fans of Disney Channel will surely recognize Jenna’s voice actress: China Anne McClain of A.N.T. Farm. She does an excellent job as a tired pop star who just wants to take a little break. Or at least, that’s how I read the character.
Jenna Chive, having somehow wound up in the tiny Veggie town, has decided to blend in the common Veggies for the day, as she’s tired of being a pop star. Her agent tells her to “not hide her light under a bushel,” referring to her singing talent. Now, I’m honestly not sure how many kids would know that song, and it’s a really weird phrase to have stated in such a commanding way, in any case. It almost sounds like a threat, and one can’t blame Jenna for ignoring her agent and wandering into the town, albeit wearing no other disguise than a pair of sunglasses.
She comes across Ichabeezer, who recognizes her almost immediately. Jenna asks that he not tell anyone, not even his dog, which of course Ichabeezer instantly disobeys as soon as Jenna walks away. A Radish lurking in the nearby trash can overhears Ichabeezer telling Rooney about Jenna, and the Radish runs off to tell Motato (didn’t think this was going to be a LarryBoy episode, did you?). Motato can apparently play the sax and loves pop music, especially Jenna’s. He commands his Radishes to bring Jenna back to the lair (by tricking her, since they’re all bad guys).
Jenna is at Pa’s store (the first appearance of Pa in a long time!) buying sardines (why does everyone like these?). She runs into Ichabeezer again, who asks if she would be the entertainment at his dinner party, but she refuses. During this discussion, Ichabeezer accidentally announces to everyone in the store who Jenna is. She is understandably angry about this, which is why she agrees to go with the Radishes when they infiltrate the store. They promise that Motato can make her a better disguise – a lie she rather quickly realizes upon arriving at his lair and then is subsequently shoved into a cage. Motato wants her to sing his song about taking over the world. Jenna naturally refuses (“I wonder if Carrot Underwood goes through this”), and Ichabeezer tries to rescue her but ends up getting captured and caged as well (Motato has a thing for cages, obviously). Unwilling to be in the cage any longer, Jenna agrees to sing Motato’s song.
Meanwhile, Bob and Larry (thought they weren’t gonna be in this episode, didn’t ya?) are playing thric-thrac-throw with Bacon Bill, which is tic-tac-toe for three people and marshmallows being used on a checkerboard. Bob has just won a game when Rooney arrives with rescue instructions for LarryBoy. Larry immediately distracts Bacon Bill and zooms down to the LarryCave. So I guess this means that LarryBoy is indeed very much a disguise, despite nearly everyone knowing who he is (there’s literally only one cucumber in the whole town). LarryBoy zooms off to Motato’s lair to rescue Jenna. Motato is surprisingly amiable about the whole situation, despite being hurt when he finds out that Jenna lied about his song being good enough to sing (she just wanted out of the cage).
Anyway, both Ichabeezer and Jenna are rescued, and the scene wipes to the dinner party at Ichabeezer’s. Jenna is there, along with Motato (WHY WAS HE INVITED), who sings a “rock” song about rocks. Pa thanks him for sharing his talents – and then kind of scolds Jenna? He tells her she should be sharing her gifts with everyone. Personally, I didn’t get the impression that Jenna didn’t want to share her gift; she literally just wanted to take a break. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not wanting to be “on” all the time, either. But it’s depicted as something negative here, most evident in the lyrics of the song Jenna sings to everyone:
“I was meant to be a pop star
I won’t gain the world and lose my soul,
But I gotta be me and let the whole world know,
I was meant to be a pop star.
I won’t hide what’s inside of me,
And the kind of love I share with people everywhere
Makes me more than just a pop star.
I love God more than fortune and fame.
And so on. Let’s dissect this a little, shall we? On one hand, it’s nice that the song seems to be saying that you can be rich and famous and talented and still love God and your friends and share love with everyone, but on the other hand, it’s kind of a convoluted way of putting it and slightly melancholy. Letting your talents shine for God is essentially the theme for this episode, but I don’t think it was entirely well-executed. Jenna didn’t want to hide her gift because she didn’t believe in herself or in God’s will or was embarrassed about it, but honestly because she wanted a much-deserved break from being an instantly recognizable pop star. I think that’s fair, and the whole story with Motato was therefore somewhat pointless. It was basically just one big lead-up to Jenna’s song at the end, which I do admit is worth it. Again, the song acknowledges that being a pop star or having a life that revolves around this material world isn’t a bad thing – as long as you’re also sharing God’s love.
What about you? How do you help your children learn about obedience and about letting their talents shine for God? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: VeggieTales in the House from Big Idea Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation Television, and Bardel Entertainment