The 5th and 6th episodes of Season 2 of VeggieTales in the House, now available on Netflix! In “Monster Truck Flower Delivery,” Petunia receives a monster truck, and in “Vote for Archibald,” Tom Celeriac runs for mayor.
“Monster Truck Flower Delivery”
So far, these are the best episodes of season two. The pacing is less manic and more focused, and the themes are really good! We also get more development for two characters, as well as an entirely new one.
This episode begins with Bob handing out flyers for Mr. Pea, who’s trying to break the world record for a monster truck ramp jump. (Why? It doesn’t matter.) Mr. Pea is a little dissatisfied with the idea, as he feels it’s not awesome enough. Meanwhile, Petunia needs to deliver flowers and is waiting for Mr. Lunt to drop off her new flower delivery truck. Her assistant is a brand-new character, Tina Celerina (voiced by – who else? – Tress MacNeille).
I really like her design, with the leaves on her head as a sort of ponytail hair-do. She’s very excitable and “quirky” but luckily not in an annoying way.
Mr. Lunt drops off the truck, but he’s messed up his “perfectly organized” paperwork. Petunia receives an enormous monster truck, while Mr. Pea gets the flower truck. Mr. Lunt takes off before anyone can confront him about the mistake. Petunia is devastated by the mix-up, believing that there is no way they can deliver all the flowers in such a monstrosity. Mr. Pea, on the other invisible hand, is delighted because doing the jump in a flower delivery truck would be an actual challenge.
Petunia has no choice but to try out the monster truck. She doesn’t really know how to drive it, however, and crashes and spins all over town. Coming to one jarring stop, they see the Asparagus family. We’ve seen Junior’s mom before, but now she has a voice (you guessed it: Tress MacNeille)! Mrs. Asparagus has friendly, Midwestern accent and asks Petunia and Tina if they can give flowers to Grandma Asparagus – who lives on top of the fridge (why such an old lady would live all the way up there is beyond me). Petunia agrees but still wants their proper delivery vehicle. By the time they get to Pa’s store, they haven’t delivered a single flower, and Petunia complains to Pa that the truck is useless. He quotes Matthew 6:8 to her:
“Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Petunia can’t conceive why God would give her a monster truck when she needs a flower truck, but Tina notices one of Mr. Pea’s flyers, advertising the change in vehicles for his jump. They decide to rush over to switch the trucks.
This whole time, Mr. Pea has been trying to make the ramp jump in the flower truck to no avail. It crashes every time he gets to the edge, even setting on fire a few times. The audience gets bored and leaves, much to Bob’s disappointment. He tells Mr. Pea to give up, but Mr. Pea insists that it just needs a few adjustments. Bob tries to sum up enthusiasm to announce yet another ramp jump to the one audience member left (Mr. Pea’s friend).
To everyone’s surprise, the flower truck zooms down the ramp and flies off into the sky. Mr. Pea is ecstatic, and everyone cheers as he soars over the town and shoots out an open window. Petunia and Tina, on their way to the ramp, are surprised to see their flower truck but are thrilled that Mr. Pea was obviously successful in making it work for his jump. Petunia admits that she’s been “a real stinker” about the monster truck. She was too upset that it wasn’t what she wanted, that she wasn’t willing to try to use it. This is a truly excellent lesson to teach children. Disappointment is one of the first harsh lessons of life, and I know that sounds cheesy, but learning to utilize what we have and receive, even if it’s not what we expected, is the first step toward maturity and growth.
Petunia still can’t control the truck properly, but they manage to deliver the flowers, with Tina playing her guitar and singing a rock song all the while.
Thanks to the monster truck, they are able to drive up the fridge to give the flowers to Grandmas Asparagus. Petunia is happy that it all worked out, noting that God really does always give us what we need, even if we don’t always see it. As for Mr. Pea, well, he made it all the way to the moon.
“Vote for Archibald”
If you thought the celebrity Veggie, Tom Celeriac, was just one-bit spoof character, well, you’d be wrong. He shows up in the Veggie’s town center, live and in person.
At first, it seems like he’s just doing an autograph tour or something. But then two Veggies burst from the bushes, saying stiltedly, “We’re bad guys who have come to ruin your harmonious small-town way of life!” And wave around carrot nunchucks. As Mayor Archibald says, it’s obviously not real, and Tom Celeriac predictably bursts into action, taking down the “bad guys” with breezy punches of his mustache.
To Tom’s credit, he admits that it was a stunt fight, the first of many if he gets voted mayor. Archibald is understandably shocked by this. Clearly, there’s no such thing as election seasons in this town, because Archie immediately goes to his office with Petunia and Bob to plan his campaign strategy to win the people’s votes. Tom is a real threat, due to his charisma, action movie hero status, and impressive mustache. Archie knows these things don’t matter in a political office, but he also knows it’s hard to fight against that kind of popularity, best exemplified by Bob not paying to Archie’s planning at all because he’s enamored with Tom’s commercials. (Bob is such a huge fan, it’s hilarious.) He even ditches Archie and Petunia to join Tom’s team, leaving Larry as his replacement. (Of course, Larry thinks they’re camping, not campaigning.)
When a debate is planned, Archie wants to talk about things that matter to the people. He prepares proper solutions to the town’s issues, but all anyone asks are questions about Tom Celeriac’s movies. Mrs. Asparagus is in the audience, and we learn her name (Lisa!). She asks a serious question, but Archie’s equally serious answer is drowned out by Tom playing with a Whoopie cushion. His immaturity is a little off-putting, because we already know he’s not a suitable candidate, so making him even worse is unnecessary, and it’s also a put-down to the Veggie people’s intelligence that they would be distracted, even delighted, with such antics.
In more of a pleasant contrast, however, Archie is much more sympathetic and interesting in this episode than he’s been in the entire show. Archibald was one of my favorite characters in the original series, despite his stuffiness usually ruining the fun (he’s British, I had that weakness even then!), and I kinda missed him being the sane, reasonable Veggie in the group, rather than just being boring.
Anyway, Petunia suggests redoing Archie’s appearance and attitude, to make him more like Tom Celeriac. She and Larry give him a mustache and cool-guy sunglasses, and he sets off back to town to win over the people with a (very silly) rock song.
Archie’s idea of rock music is just shouting, “ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK ROCK,” repeatedly, so Bold!Archie doesn’t go over well. Meanwhile, Tom is making campaign plans at Bob’s house, but with seemingly no instigation, Bob suddenly has a change of heart about working for Tom and tells him that Archie is the best mayor for the town, while Tom is only suited for the movies. Which gives Tom an idea . . .
Bob finds a dejected Archie and team in the town center. Petunia admits that they shouldn’t have tried to make Archie like Tom. He agrees, saying that he can only be the best Archibald that he can, even if it means not being mayor anymore
Next day, the votes are counted, and of course, Tom wins, but when he comes up to accept the honor, he admits that he’d be a terrible real-life mayor and would be much happier simply being one in a movie. And sure enough, he shows a clip from his latest flick (filmed in Bob’s house), called Night-Mayor. Everyone is thrilled about the prospects of a new Tom Celeriac movie, and – quickly changing allegiance – cheer for the “reinstatement” of Mayor Archibald.
These two episodes work really well because they’re well-written and manage to keep up the plot without resorting to too many throwaway gags or convoluted side stories. Central conflicts are resolved, and characters develop. And that’s just good storytelling.
What did you think? How do you help your children understand the importance of accepting what God gives them (dealing with disappointment), and the importance of being the best person they can be (not giving in to peer pressure)? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Images: VeggieTales in the House from Big Idea Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation Television, and Bardel Entertainment