Skip to comments.Conservative group blasts NBC's "VeggieTales" edit
Posted on 09/29/2006 7:11:35 AM PDT by gridlock
Los Angeles - Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber always had a moral message in their long-running "Veggie-Tales" video series. But now that the vegetable stars have hit network television, they can't speak as freely as they once did, and that's got the Parents Television Council steamed.
The conservative media-watchdog group issued a statement Sept. 20 blasting NBC, which airs "VeggieTales," for editing out some references to God from the children's animated show.
"What struck me and continues to strike me is the inanity of ripping the heart and soul out of a successful product and not thinking that there will be consequences to it," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Parents Television Council. "The series is successful because of its biblical worldview, not in spite of it. That's the signature to 'Veggie-Tales."'
"VeggieTales" is a collection of animated home videos for children that encourage moral behavior based on Christian and biblical principles. More than 50 million copies have been sold since 1993, according to Big Idea Inc., which produces the series.
Two weeks ago, NBC began airing 30-minute episodes of "VeggieTales" on Saturday mornings (9 a.m. on KUSA-Channel 9). The show was edited to comply with the network's broadcast standards, said NBC spokeswoman Rebecca Marks.
"Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible with these positive messages while being careful not to advocate any one religious point of view," she said.
"VeggieTales" creator Phil Vischer, who was responsible for readying episodes for network broadcast, said he didn't know until just weeks before the shows were to begin airing that nonhistorical references to God and the Bible would have to be removed.
Had he known how much he'd have to change the show - including Bob and Larry's tagline, "Remember kids, God made you special, and he loves you very much," that concludes each episode - Vischer said he wouldn't have signed on for the network deal. "I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money," he said, adding that "there weren't enough shows that could work well without those (religious) references." All programs set to air on NBC must meet the network's broadcast standards, said Alan Wurtzel, a broadcast standards executive.
"VeggieTales" was treated the same as any other program, he said.
"There's a fine line of universally accepted religious values," he said. "We don't get too specific with any particular religious doctrine or any particular religious denomination." Vischer said he understands the network's position.
"'VeggieTales' is religious, NBC is not," he said. "I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television."'
Marks said the network is "committed to the positive messages and universal values" of the show and expects "Veggie-Tales" to continue airing.
But Bozell isn't satisfied.
"If NBC is so concerned about that four-letter-word God, then they shouldn't have taken 'VeggieTales,"' he said. "This just documents the disconnect between Hollywood and the real world
They're going to replace the end line with "Remember, kids. Allah made you special, and Mohammed wants you to kill Jews and kaffirs very very much." That'll get by NBC's censors.
How is this not copyright infringement?
Dedicated bachelor Larry and his long-time companion Bob.
If you really wanted to reach as broad of an audience as possible, then why are your TV shows and news programs so liberally tilted? Why can't you have ONE show with a religious tilt that represents the viewpoint of 90% of the population. Just crazy.
I'm sure that when NBC decides to cancel the show, they will claim they can not continue production while the stars are in a vegatative state or that Larry got himself in 'quite a pickle'.
They sold out to the man - can't serve two masters and all that. They've chosen...
I don't think there was any choosing about it. Phil Vischer emphatically did NOT want to sell out, but Big Idea went bankrupt and the assets were sold at auction.
"...partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money"
There's the root. Dead-wrong hierarchy of concerns.
I don't think my daughter (age 5) has EVER watched network television - occaisionaly Public Television (my tax $$ anyway), and video tapes and DVDs.
They should just get the Veggie Tales on tape/DVD - not edited for Left Coast PC.
Of course this thread will swell with posts of outrage, but if one were to simply think logically about it for a moment, this is actually a good chance to still evangelize. How many kids will watch these sanitized shows, get hooked on the characters, and their parents will then go out and buy Veggie Tale videos/DVD's (which contain the full unedited messages?) I can understand the disappointed reaction to NBC's whitewashing, but bottom line, an edited version on TV will still lead to far more kids/families exposed to the full message than if it weren't broadcast in any form. Think of the NBC's watered-down version as a commercial for the rest of the series.
But obviously, for some of the usual suspects here it is a lot more fun to scream than to actually think.
Did someone in the company embezzle all the cash? How does a company with a cash cow like Veggie Tales go bankrupt?
My favorite Veggie Tales is Shadrach Mesach and Abendigo. About King Neb and his chocolate bunny factory. All bad bunnies go to the furnance. You know the Bible story.
"Now, if Bob and Larry want to get married and adopt children, we will celebrate that," Rebecca continued. "We just don't want to advance one religion over another."
And what are you implying?...I've watched these with my kids for years and that thought never occurred to me...IF that's what you're implying.
Any details? How did this happen? They were so successful.
I think they grew too quick. The Jonah movie, which did well, cost a lot of money and they borrowed for what they thought it was going to do but it did not get there. That project is what broke them. It was a great movie however.
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