& The Angry Eyebrows
Craig von Buseck
-- It was inevitable that we would see more of Larryboy, the lovable super
ego of Larry the Cucumber from Veggie Tales. His first two appearances
in Big Idea videos helped to break the mold of the Veggie Tales formula,
launching the company out from its base and toward an expanded market. I was betting
that Larryboy, with its catchy theme song (sung by Nicole Mullen), would be Big
Idea's first feature length film. I was surprised, and frankly a bit disappointed,
when it was announced that Jonah would serve as the Snow White of
Phil Vischer, Mike Nawrocki, and the gang.
spirits were lifted a bit when I heard that Larry Boy would become a new franchise
of the Big Idea brand. Like 3-2-1 Penguins, Larry Boy will become a new
series of videos, branching off from the original Veggie Tales concept.
Unlike the Penguins, however, the Larry Boy tales will include many of
the original Veggies, while also introducing new characters to the audience over
But Larry the Cucumber takes center stage in this series in his super
hero persona. The first installment of this series is the recently-released Larryboy
and the Angry Eyebrows.
Another major difference in this new venture
is the departure from computer animation -- the trademark of the Big Idea brand
that made it famous. I must admit, it was somewhat of a shock to watch the first
time. Part of the coolness of Veggie Tales was the crisp look of the digital
animation. It took me awhile to adjust to the traditional, hand-painted style
in of this new series. The opening sequence has a look and pacing that reminded
me of the Saturday morning cartoons that I ingested on a weekly basis as a child.
To make matters worse, they dumped the cool, original theme song for a
cheesy, kiddy ditty. For the first few minutes I found myself getting nervous.
Initially I was concerned that Big Idea had allowed Larrboy to be watered down
to appeal mainly to the smaller children.
when Awful Alvin (a smelly onion) enters the scene, the old, familiar Big Idea
edge re-emerged. From his laboratory cave, deep beneath the streets of Bumblyburg,
this "villainous proprietor of badness" spies on the good people of the city through
a secret hidden camera attached to one of the statues in the park. Like all good
villains, Awful Alvin wants to rule Bumblyburg after defeating the good hero,
Larryboy, who upholds law and justice.
No villain is complete without a
sidekick, and Alvin introduces us to his dastardly henchman -- a floor lamp with
a face scribbled onto the shade, appropriately named Lampey.
that reminded my of my communication theory class in college, Awful Alvin cries
out, "Now we shall do the villainous dance of villainy, to signify the imminent
performance of our villainous duties." Suddenly Alvin breaks into a Travolta-esque
disco dance -- his green leafy stalk serving nicely as striped bell-bottom pants.
"Dance with me Lampey," he cries, as the strong disco beat thumps in the background.
With a wicked tone in his voice, similar to the classic horror movie icon
Vincent Price, Awful Alvin reveals his plan to conquer Larryboy with the angry
eyebrows. He declares, "If someone holds on to their anger, refusing to let go
of it, my eyebrows can attach to their forehead. And once they do, that someone
will be doomed to hold on to their anger forever." In a scene reminiscent of the
witch from the Wizard of Oz, Awful Alvin dispatches his furry friends over the
city of Bumblyburg while crying, "Fly my bushy minions. Fly, and seek out anger!"
thing that the Veggie folks do best is to take well-known icons of pop culture
and create similar characters and scenes in their videos -- and the Larryboy video
does not disappoint in this regard. In a cross between Batman and Superman, Larryboy
is a millionaire who works at the local newspaper. But unlike Clark Kent, Larry
the Cucumber can only get a job as a janitor at The Daily Bumble. But with the
help of his own Alfred-like butler/technical wizard, and his handy Larryboy suit
and gadgets, the hero emerges from behind the mop every time a citizen is in danger.
During his superhero training at Bumblyburg Community College we meet Larryboy's
professor, Mr. Bok Choy, who reminds us of the teacher from the 1970s TV show
Kung Fu. Instead of disseminating eastern philosophy, however, the large
sprout teaches biblical concepts. "Superheroes should not hold on to their anger.
This guideline is in section 49, chapter 4, line 26 of the Superhero handbook.
It is written, do not let the sun go down on your anger."
warned young ones," the leafy-headed veggie implores, "If you hold on to your
anger, your anger will hold on to you."
As the story continues, Awful Alvin
unleashes his villainous plan upon the good citizens of Bumblyburg. Whenever someone
gets angry with his neighbor, the thick and bushy angry eyebrows attach themselves
to the foreheads. Within hours most of the town is lashing out at one another
in venomous demonstrations of rage. Once Alvin conquers the regular folk he turns
his sites onto our hero.
After two failed attempts to get Larryboy to give
in to anger, Awful Alvin directs his angry eyebrows to pour a truckfull of chocolate
syrup into the Larryboy mobile. Crying out in furry, Larry declares with a shout,
"That will destroy the leather, now I'm really angry." Immediately a gigantic
bushy eyebrow attaches itself like a leach to Larryboy's forehead. It seams all
is lost when Larry remembers the lesson from his teacher at Bumblyburg Community
College -- "If you hold on to your anger, your anger will hold on to you."
decides to let go of his anger, and immediately the angry eyebrows remove themselves
from his forehead and fly away. I will leave the rest of the story for you to
watch with your family!
A special animated short feature, "Fly by Might!"
is tacked on to the end of the video to reinforce the message, don't let anger
control your life -- a lesson that was not lost on this adult viewer.
many of the other Big Idea products, Angry Eyebrows has my kids quoting
lines and watching it over and over again!
Targeted at kids ages 4-11, the
Larryboy series will include two additional videos scheduled for release within
the year. Like the popular VeggieTales and 3-2-1 Penguins! videos,
the new Larryboy series continues the Big Idea tradition of innovative storytelling,
humor and lovable characters. Though it is geared to children, adults of all ages
will be entertained by the stories, and encouraged to know that their young ones
are learning valuable life lessons.
Idea Productions is a family media company committed to providing entertaining
stories that help parents teach children important life lessons in a delightfully
wacky way. Based in the Chicago area, Big
Idea Productions is best known for its award-winning VeggieTales animated
series which has sold more than 25 million videos and more than 3 million albums
of chart-topping audio since 1993. In addition to extending the property into
licensing, publishing and live entertainment arenas, the Company is currently
in production on their first-ever feature film, Jonah -- A VeggieTales Movie. Big Idea is recognized as
the leading producer and creator of values-based product reflecting a Judeo-Christian
worldview in the family entertainment industry.
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