Missed the Mark?
Lit Chic | The Lone Star State | 07/22/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Some Veggie Tales are safe to plop your kid in front of so you can fix dinner in peace, because you know it's just a fun break for them with encouraging themes and a much better alternative to programming on TV. This isn't one of them.
Not to state the obvious, but different parents are going to have different ways in which they want their kids dealing with situations. Parents should simply be aware that in this episode of Veggie Tales, "turning the other cheek" means telling kids that it's okay to get beat up by a bully as long as they show the bully they're not afraid. What?!
The second story segment with Minnesota Cuke simply talks about not using a position of ability or prominence to hurt others--even if they've earned it. No problem, and good idea--I'm all about the mercy thing.
However, it's the first segment, with Junior Asparagus dealing with a playground bully, that's more disturbing, and unfortunately, purposely made to be very realistic. I can see what the producers wanted to do, but there were so many problems with this first segment it just can't hold water. Your parental preference might be to tell your child to never fight back, but I think no matter what your bully policy is, all parents should be aware that this is the message before they purchase it. Additionally, Junior Asparagus' dad leaves him to deal with the bully without parental help--not something I'm crazy about since this involved Junior getting hurt in the first place. I understand that kids are not always able to get adult help, but at the same time, you better believe I'm not going to stand there over the grill and let my kid go walk off to get beat up at the neighborhood playground.
Further, Junior solves this by getting all of his friends to stand up to the bully and make the bully feel bad. While that could present problems in and of itself, it's been my experience that bullying involves one or two main players who pick on one kid for the benefit of a huge audience that won't step in to aid the victim. Perhaps the situations I've had to step into are worse than what the Veggie Tales producers were working toward, but I just cringed all of the way through this segment.
My first recommendation is to get the other Veggie Tales before purchasing this one--all of the Larry Boys are favorites in our house, for example. If you want this for Minnesota Cuke (not a bad piece!) then my second recommendation would be to make sure you're clear on what you want your children to do in the face of bullying and discuss this as you watch this one (i.e., "I know this is what Junior did, but what would *you* do?")."