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'VeggieTales' spin-off debuts Wednesday on Netflix
VeggieTales
Jerry and Jimmy Gourd, Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber smile in a still from the upcoming series "VeggieTales in the House." - photo by Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

After 21 years, Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato are leaving the kitchen counter to explore the rest of the house in the spin-off series “VeggieTales in the House,” which will premiere Wednesday on Netflix.

“In ‘VeggieTales in the House,’ the veggies will explore a much bigger world while retaining the values-driven storytelling, memorable music and silly antics that are their hallmarks,” Margie Cohn, DreamWorks Animation’s head of television, said in a news release.

The first five episodes of the series will launch Wednesday; each episode is composed of two 11-minute stories with new songs. The first season will feature 13 episodes.

The 75 total episodes will be released during the next three years.

Mike Nawrocki, VeggieTales co-creator and the voice of Larry the Cucumber, said the series will be an additional part of the VeggieTales universe. DVD releases of new stories, of which there are now nearly 50, will continue.

“The DVD releases are like little movies,” Nawrocki said. “New backgrounds and settings have to be made with each movie. We asked ourselves, ‘How could we do a show that was more sitcom in nature?’”

“VeggieTales in the House” provides a look at where the veggies live their everyday life and is intended to complement the DVD releases through a more traditional cartoon show.

“In a credit to SpongeBob (SquarePants from Nickelodeon), (the kitchen) is kind of our version of Bikini Bottom,” Nawrocki said. “We thought ‘VeggieTales in the House’ would be a fun new format for the story to be in.”

DreamWorks purchased Classic Media, the parent company of VeggieTales creator Big Idea, in 2012. Not long after that, Netflix came to DreamWorks and asked for a couple of properties, including VeggieTales, Nawrocki said.

Not only will the original Netflix series show the audience Pa Grape’s store and where Bob and Larry live, it will also feature updated designs for all of the characters.

“When we first started VeggieTales, we were limited in the character designs because it was the first computer animation,” Nawrocki said. “‘Where’s God When I’m S-Scared?’ came out in 1993 and ‘Toy Story,’ the first computer animated movie, came out in 1995.”

With the new design, characteristics will be maintained but the animators use new technology to provide more expressive facial expressions, among other things, Nawrocki said. The launch of “VeggieTales in the House” provided the opportunity to update the series.

Beauty and the Beet,” released Oct. 14, is the final VeggieTales original title with the old animation style. “Noah’s Ark,” premiering Easter 2015, will be the first DVD release using the new animation style.

Even though VeggieTales will look a little different, Nawrocki said the values of the show will remain the same.

Every DVD release ends with the phrase: “God made you special, and he loves you very much.” Each “VeggieTales in the House” episode will end in the same fashion.

“From the beginning, we wanted the show to be a way that parents could share Bible stories to their children,” Nawrocki said. “That’s the heart of VeggieTales.”

Email: vromney@deseretnews.com, Twitter: GinnyRomney