Monday, September 25, 2006


NBC has picked up the hit Christian-themed CG series VeggieTales but creator Phil Visher wasn't too happy when he heard the networks plans for the show.

In order to comply with the normal broadcast standards, NBC will be editing out religious content from the episodes. Historical and Biblical references to God are allowed but any non-historical references to God, Jesus or the Bible will be taken out, including Bob the Tomato's tagline "Remember kids, God made you special and He loves you very much!" which ends every episode.

It was only two weeks before airdate that the network told Vischer about the cuts. Vischer says that had he known such edits would take place, he would not have agreed to let the networks air the show. "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 explains.

Still, Vischer adds that he understands NBC's wish to remain religiously neutral, commenting, "VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not. I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television.'"

VeggieTales is a series of 30 minute, computer animated DVDs created by BigIdea Productions in 1993. The series has about thirty releases, a feature film (Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie) and has sold over 50 million copies worldwide.

Anyone who has seen this show knows that the show is made for a Christian audience and the main teaching relies on Christian fundamentals. Taking out those references will strip the show of what it is.

Initially, I was mad when I first read this. I am not a fan of editing of any kind and as a Christian I am so tired of the oppression that we get on a daily basis. But then I thought about it some more. Censoring the religious content of this show is the same as censoring the any un-PC content of vintage Warner Brothers or Disney cartoons of racial stereotypes and my view on this is the same as the smoking issue I wrote about a few weeks back. The networks have a responsibility to show suitable content to their child audiences so if the fan or collector wants to see uncut episodes then they should buy the DVDs.

Read the whole article HERE.


Jason said...

As long as it's a standard network policy that applies to all shows, regardless of which religion the show is slanted towards, I don't have a specific problem with it that I don't already have with the concept of censorship in general. The network has the right to choose what content it shows, and as long as they are consistent in their application of their guidelines then I don't think there's any reason to get upset about it.

I really dislike censorship in general, but I don't think this specific case is worse than any other form of it.

toast said...

Sorry, I forgot to include the link to the actual article. (Which I've done now. See the bottom of the post)

Yes, the network censors every religion the same way to remain neutral.

Katie said...

You've got to remember that this show is based on Christian principles. The lessons that are taught are still good lessons, regardless of the mention of God, the Bible, etc. Kids will still be learning right from wrong. They'll still be learning strong lessons. I think that if this is the only way to get Veggie Tales out to a wider than purely Christian audience, then who cares about the censorship? It's still gonna be a much better teaching tool than most of the other children's programs out there.

With that said, it is too bad that it has to be censored in such a way. But Phil maybe shoulda done his research into their religious censoring principles before signing the show over. It's kinda too late now.

coolshades said...

Well that truly sucks.

I don't see the analogy between this and the smoking...smoking's not something kids should be doing. Seeing it on TV encourages them to do it. But what's wrong with a show telling a kid that God loves them...or including other Biblical references? It's more of a separation of church and state issue than a censorship issue, I think.

But still...NBC knew these shows were Christian...they shouldn't have picked them up if they were going to censor them...

Eli said...

It seems that people only care about editing religious content out if it is Christian. Shows like Jackie Chan adventures, Shamin King, and even Ninja Turtles have plenty of religious content that is not edited. Veggie Tales is not exactly brain washing material, nor is it excessively preachy, and has already been embrassed, as is, by the secular community.

Anonymous said...

"Oppression"? Excuse me? you mean like the fall of the Alexandria library when Christians stormed it and burned it to the ground for carrying religious texts other than the bible? Or the Inquisition? Or the Salem witch trials? I hardly think that a little editing of a quirky, arboreal kid's show should be such a big deal. Oppression. Yeah. You guys have only been in supreme power now for about 600 years. *sigh* Sorry, sorry...hehe I've had that rant brewing in me for a while, now. It's not just christianity...muslims, judaists, buddhists even, everyone seems to have the right idea, but insist on hating others, even killing others for differing with their own beliefs! And the Christian community, as a whole, is no different!