Why The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything Poses a Problem

I’m not sure what the current total as far as viewers for the new movie, but when I last checked it did not seem to be doing as well as Jonah, and I have a hunch as to why.

VeggieTales has an unique problem– one that other cartoons do not have– in its original audience base.  It made it big by being a Christian alternative to other cartoons, distributed via Christian bookstores on videocassette.  Its apex was Jonah– a Bible story told by Vegetables that appealed to its base.

You see, for as much time as Phil Vischer or I spend telling everyone that VeggieTales is more than just Bible stories (it’s about half Bible stories half parodies), that’s not the impression of those that actually buy the videos.  The Christian base believes that it is mostly Bible stories (if not all Bible stories) even if they’ve seen the episodes that mimic Gilligan’s Island, Indiana Jones, or Rocky.

And this does not escape the mainstream view of VeggieTales.  This is exactly the reason that VeggieTales had to be scrubbed of God references when it went live on NBC, but they left all sorts of things in 3-2-1 Penguins (including a closing prayer at the end of the episodes!).  VeggieTales = Christian.

So when you came to Jonah, the Christians lined up in droves because they believed they were supporting a Christian message. 

However, a lot has changed.  Christians now believe that VeggieTales has been wooed by the possibility of getting the secular audience.  So, they see The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything as an attempt to get more viewers, as a movie that strays away from what they think are the core values of VeggieTales.

Therefore, you have a two-fold problem:

  • Christians may not be as passionate about seeing this movie in the theaters because it isn’t a Bible story, and they believe that it’s going away from core principles.
  • Non-Christians may not go see the movie because they know that VeggieTales = Christian.

What do you think?

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