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| Esther... |
The Girl Who
September 30th, 2000
Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen is the VeggieTales special presentation, marked as the show's fourteenth episode. It is based on the story of Esther from the Old Testament, with elements from Paramount Pictures' The Godfather and Warner Bros' Casablanca.
The story opens at 3:00 A.M at a palace in Persia where Haman, King Xerxes' (Mister Nezzer) right-hand-man (Mr. Lunt), is throwing Queen Vashti out for insubordination (as she refused to make Xerxes a sandwich at the hour). A search is then initiated to find a new Queen.
The following day, Esther and her cousin Mordecai (Pa Grape) are talking. Esther is asking for Mordecai's advice, but his advice reveals that Esther knows what to do but that she lacks the courage to do it. He tells her that she should not be afraid to do what is right: to confront her friend who stole an apple. When Haman drives up in a favorite car-wagon to collect the eligible maidens, he spots Mordecai and orders him to bow in his presence, but Mordecai refuses as he bows down to no one except God and Xerxes. Haman then spots Esther and has her taken to the place with the other maidens, though the relationship between Mordecai and Esther is kept secret.
Esther and Mordecai managed to meet again at the palace, and Mordecai apologized to Esther for all the shushing. But he reveals the reason why he shushed Esther; to keep Esther from great danger. Then Mordecai tells Esther that she mustn't let anyone know that she was a part of Mordecai's family. Esther didn't want to stay in the palace and asked Mordecai why. Mordecai couldn't tell, but he believes God does and maybe there's a reason. He leaves the palace before he gets caught, but promises Esther he'll come visit her again. Esther asks God to tell her the reason.
At the palace, Xerxes and Haman audition the maidens to be the new Queen. When Esther takes the stage and sings, Xerxes is left in awe and the decision is made. However, Esther does not wish to be the Queen, but regardless she is crowned and ensconced in her new life against her will. One day in the throne room of the Perisan palace, Xerxes is visited by Bigthan Peaoni, one of the two Peaoni brothers (Jean-Claude Pea), who has brought him a large cake. Unannounced visitors are not permitted, but Xerxes allows him to be heard. Peaoni convinces him to come to look closely at the cake, while Peaoni's brother Teresh Peaoni (Phillipe Pea) hangs onto a rope, the other end of which supports a grand piano from 1750 A.D. suspended above the cake. Mordecai, who is hiding in a corner to avoid Haman, observes the plot and informs Esther. Esther warns Xerxes in time and Teresh and the piano crash harmlessly onto the cake. Xerxes thanks her for saving his life, but she indicates Mordecai, saying that the credit should be his.
Haman banishes the Peaoni Brothers to the Island of Perpetual Tickling for their crimes of attempting to crush Xerxes and for entering the throne room uninvited. Though Xerxes believes he is safe, Haman convinces him that a greater threat awaits. There is a family that cannot be trusted, he claims, and pose an imminent danger to Xerxes. Unaware that Haman is talking about Mordecai, Xerxes unwittingly authorizes an edict to have him and his family banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling. Mordecai finds the edict posted among other posters and visits Esther on her balcony at the palace. He appeals to his cousin to reveal Haman's evil plans to Xerxes, but Esther is afraid as she lacks the courage to confront Xerxes and struggles with what to do.
Mordecai then reminds her that she never needs to afraid to do what's right. Esther was still afraid, and was still unsure about what she should do, but she eventually redeems herself as she finally embraces her new position as queen and decides to do what is right.
However, action does not come easy for Esther. Twice, she attempts to inform Xerxes, and both times she fails, lamely inviting Xerxes and Haman to dinner instead. Meanwhile, Haman attempts to get Mordecai to bow to him again and threatens to have his banishment carried out immediately when he refuses.
Meanwhile, at the palace, Xerxes makes his scribe Markus (Larry the Cucumber) to read what has happened since Esther has been appointed queen. Xerxes declares his plan to do something in Mordecai's honor for saving his life. Haman then comes to request Xerxes about him carrying out Mordecai's banishment fast,but is foiled when Xerxes says he needed to do something special for someone special. Thinking that the "special guy" is him, Haman tells Xerxes that the "special guy" should deserve a parade. Xerxes thanks Haman for the idea, saying that Mordecai really deserves a parade, utterly humiliating Haman. On her third attempt, Esther is finally able to muster up the courage to face Xerxes. She reveals that Mordecai is her cousin and that Haman has been plotting to destroy him and his family, which includes her. Xerxes, who respects Mordecai, loves Esther and would never harm both of them and their family, believes her and banishes Haman to the Island of Perpetual Tickling. Mordecai ends up filling Haman's former position as Xerxes' right-hand-man as Esther, having saved her people, gazes out the side of the palace with a smile.
- Larry the Cucumber
- Scallion One
- Mordecai (Pa Grape)
- King Xerxes (Mr. Nezzer)
- Haman (Mr. Lunt)
- Percy Pea
- Jean-Claude Pea
- Miss Achmetha
- Grim Tickler
- Bob the Tomato (picture cameo)
- Junior Asparagus (picture cameo)
- Laura Carrot (picture cameo)
- Larry-Boy (picture cameo)
- Tom Grape (picture cameo)
Word Entertainment released this episode in Christian bookstores on October 3rd, 2000. On January 9th, 2001, Lyrick Studios gave it a mass market release. On August 5th, 2003, Warner Home Video reprinted it as part of the VeggieTales Classics line.
- Don't let fear dictate your life. (Reused from "Where's God When I'm S-Scared?")
- You never need to be afraid to do what's right.
- On the poster for public transportation, it states "Why wait 'till A.D.?". This is because the story of Esther takes place before Jesus' birth, which happened at the beginning of the A.D. era.
- A gnat is a type of insect.
- An edict is an order or decree by a person in authority.
- This is Scallion #1's second appearance with his new hairdo.
- The episode was originally planned to be released for March 2001. However, since it was finished early, they decided to release it in late 2000 instead.
- This was the first episode for several things:
- The first episode since 'Where's God When I'm S-Scared?" where someone that's not from the cast narrates the story.
- This is the first non-holiday or Larry-Boy episode not to have the countertop. Mike states that they originally planned a countertop, but it was going to make the run-time almost an hour (Keep in mind, this was before the company was about to move to Franklin).
- The first episode where Percy is seen without any of the kid Veggies, since none of the kids appear in this episode.
- This is the first episode not to feature Junior since his debut appearance.
- The shot where Percy steps out from the truck was animated by Robert Ellis as seen on the behind the scenes on Where's God When I'm S-Scared?.
- The first time Pa Grape smiles since his debut.
- The first episode where Larry appears without a major role as well as he barely speaks. This would happen again in The Little Drummer Boy.
- The first episode Tim Hodge and Tom Bancroft worked on.
- The first non-holiday episode that features no Bible verse.
- The first episode to be rendered in high quality during its original release.
- This episode is featured in Heroes of the Bible!: Lions, Shepherds and Queens (Oh My!), and Happy Together!.
- This was the last episode made during the time American president Bill Clinton was in office. When the next episode was released, George W. Bush was already in office.
- In some airings of this episode on Smile of a Child, some scenes were removed, including who the youngest Jackson is. This is possibly due to time.
- There were a few differences between pre-production and the final version:
- The narrator was going to be in a South Chicago accent. This was later changed to a New York-esque accent to better fit the gangster setting.
- Archibald was the host instead of Scallion 1. It might be possible his model wasn't rebuilt until the next episode.
- When Mike was planning out which story to do next, it was this or Ruth, and they went with Esther. They would eventually do an adaption on Ruth later.
- In the original Bible story, King Xerxes' two servents, Bigthan and Teresh, and right-hand man Haman, were hanged for their crimes. But since VeggieTales is a kid-friendly show, this version has them sent to a fictional island called the Island of Perpetual Tickling, where they are just tickled non-stop.
- The Island of Perpetual Tickling was inspired by Mike Nawrocki's childhood fear of being tickled non-stop.
- Phil had a friend whose 2-year-old child, when viewing the episode for the first time, was so scared by the Grim Tickler that they would yell out "BAD BIRD! BAD BIRD!" (granted, they had no idea what the Grim Tickler was) before running away crying, which was talked about on the commentary.
- Haman holding the cards was storyboarded by Luis Contreras. Mike originally didn't want Haman to hold the cards in the scene, but they decided to keep it in.
- Before Esther tells Xerxes what Haman did, you'll notice the pizza box hides the front of him. Mike states this was done because he was intersecting with the sofa while sitting, so in reality, Xerxes is actually standing.
- The episode was made out of VeggieTales fans demanding an episode that's all about a girl.
- Andy Arnett, Tom Bancroft, Tom Danen, Robert Ellis, Thom Falter, Joe Gorski, Joe McFadden, Nathan Tungseth and Marc Vulcano all had a nightmare of Joseph Sapulich's daughter being a vegetable.
- When this premiered in select Orlando showings, The Song of the Cebú played before the show, and free copies were placed for people to take home and watch.
- This episode was included as a bonus feature on a re-release of "Lyle the Kindly Viking".
- This is the second episode not to feature Bob, though he appeared as a picture cameo.
- This is the first episode where Junior is not present. However like Bob, he has a picture cameo obscured in the background.
- The Qubo broadcast of this episode states this episode was directed by Phil Vischer.
- On the DVD and Netflix versions, some sound effects are missing from the original VHS release (eg. a rooster crowing after the opening credits).
- The Happy Together version and the non-religious foreign versions cut many scenes; one example of a cut scene includes the beginning in which Haman is seen throwing out Vashti and then proclaiming to Xerxes he'll need a new queen.
- Vashti is thrown out just because she refused to make Xerxes a sandwich at 3:00 A.M. Unless Haman was enforcing Xerxes' rules, there must be unreasonably strict rules set before the Queen (as they're crowned AND during their term in the palace).
- It'd be very unlikely all the maidens could fit in Haman's wagon at its size.
- Esther was successfully able to audition for the role of and be crowned as the new Queen, but, aside from one maiden onscreen, where were the other maidens? Had they already auditioned and not been crowned or were they just plain ignored during the audition? Unless there were elimination rounds before the final rounds of the audition, it's hard to believe the host doesn't discriminate against certain maidens.
- The host says "Ladies and gentlemen..." even though only Haman and Xerxes are in the audience. That is, until the room suddenly fills up in just a split-second with unseen characters taking pictures and applauding.
- One of Esther's dresses has shoulder pads... however, she doesn't have shoulders.
- The Peaoni Brothers had ample time to set their whole trap up without anyone noticing indicating the palace guards aren't doing their job correctly.
- What does I.P.T. (Infant Potty Training) have to do with banishment to the Island of Perpetual Tickling?
- I.P.T in this case would actually stand for "Island Perpetual Tickling", not "Infant Potty Training".
- After Haman is banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling, Mordecai fills his former position, which is apparently "the No. 2 guy in the whole kingdom," which in turn would make the Queen's spot No. 3. Shouldn't the No. 2 spot go to the Queen since they both share the rule of Persia, unless that's no longer how royalty works?
- The only international dub of this episode that has the VeggieTales Theme Song is the German dub.
- In the first shot of Persia, the sunglasses on the Pea train clip through their bodies.
- When Mordecai shushes Esther the second time, he gains teeth. However, he doesn't have any when he shushes her the first and third times.
- As you'll notice in some shots, you can see some buzzing in the textures.
- Towards the end of The Battle Is Not Ours, when Esther is gazing at the sunrise, she appears to clip into the edge of the palace.
- In the overshot of the palace entrance during the sunrise/sunset, you can see black on the left.
- One shot shows a wall rendering too late.
- Reginald, the camel who would later appear in Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie can be seen as a picture on the flyer on the bulletin board.
- A flyer for "King George and the Ducky", as well as an ad for the Stuff-Mart can be seen on the bulletin board.
- The doors in the town are the same as the one seen in the previous episode.
- The episode takes large inspiration from the gangster film The Godfather, and classic Hollywood film Casablanca. This is evident when paying attention to the designs of both Persia and Xerxes' chamber.
- Teresh Peaoni references the Scooby-Doo series by referring to Esther as a "meddling queen."
- The Jacksons Haman and Xerxes are referring to while they're playing is a family of singers, including Michael, Randy, Tito, and Janet.
- ↑ “BigIdea.com News - Esther: A Premiere Event.” BigIdea.com, 19 Oct. 2000, http://web.archive.org/web/20001019030338/http://bigidea.com:80/company/about/news/estherpremiere2.htm.