Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2007)|
|Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen|
|Directed by||Mike Nawrocki|
|Produced by||Jennifer Combs|
|Written by||Mike Nawrocki,
|Music by||Kurt Heinecke,
|Distributed by||Sony Wonder|
|Release dates||August 8, 2000|
|Running time||40 minutes|
Esther... The Girl Who Became Queen is the 14th episode in the VeggieTales animated series. Subtitled "A Lesson in Courage", it conveys the message that you do not need to be afraid to do what is right.
The story is taken from the Book of Esther in the Old Testament, in which Esther becomes Queen and must tell King Xerxes that his prime minister Haman is plotting to commit genocide against the Jews. The violent undertones are, of course, removed for this VeggieTales production; murder is replaced by banishment to the "Island of Perpetual Tickling", and the intended victims are limited to Esther and her family without reference to their race or creed.
The presentation of the story was inspired by The Godfather and Casablanca and has stylistic elements of a Film noir. The dramatic lighting, deep shadows, dark plot elements, and narrative voiceovers all contribute to the effect. The palace windows are even hung with Venetian blinds, an iconic element of the genre.
This is one of a few episodes that spurn the usual VeggieTales format: there are no opening or closing countertop sequence with "VeggieTales Theme" and "What We Have Learned" songs, or Silly Songs with Larry. The video features the only appearance of the Esther Veggie character who was expensive to render, due to the complexity of her hair, and the character has not returned. This is also the only episode to date that is narrated by a non-VeggieTales character (credited as Eric Dymes) and is the only video to date in which Bob the Tomato does not appear.
The story opens at a palace in Persia where Haman, the King's right-hand-man (Mr. Lunt), is throwing Queen Vashti out onto the street for insubordination (as she refused to make the king a sandwich at 3 AM). A search is initiated to find a new Queen.
The following day, Esther and her cousin Mordecai (Pa Grape) are talking on the street. Esther is asking for Mordecai's advice, but his questions reveal 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 Esther's 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 to God and the King. 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).
At the palace, King Xerxes (Mr. Nezzer) and Haman audition the girls for a new Queen. When Esther takes the stage and sings, the King is left in awe and the decision is made. However, Esther does not wish to be the Queen. Regardless, she is crowned and ensconced in her new life against her will.
One day in the throne room of the Perisan place, the King is visited by one of the Peaoni brothers (Jean-Claude Pea) who has brought him a large cake. Unannounced visitors are not permitted, but the King allows him to be heard. Peaoni convinces him to come look closely at the cake. Meanwhile, Peaoni's brother (Phillipe Pea) is hanging onto a rope, the other end of which supports a grand piano suspended above the cake. Mordecai, who is hiding in a corner to avoid Haman, observes the plot and informs Esther. Esther warns the King in time and the piano crashes harmlessly onto the cake. The King thanks her for saving his life, but she indicates Mordecai, saying that the credit should be his.
The Peaoni Brothers are banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling for their crimes of attempting to kill the king and for entering the throne room uninvited. Though the King 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 the King. Unaware that Haman is talking about Mordecai, the King unwittingly authorizes an edict to have him and his family banished to the Island of Perpetual Tickling. Mordecai finds the edict posted in the street and visits Esther on her balcony at the palace. He appeals to his cousin to reveal Haman's evil plans to the King, but Esther is afraid as she lacks the courage to confront the King and struggles with what to do.
While Mordecai reminds her that she need not fear to do what's right, action does not come easy for Esther. Twice, she attempts to inform the King, and twice she fails, lamely inviting King 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. His attempt is foiled when the King declares his plan to throw a parade in Mordecai's honor for saving his life, utterly humiliating Haman.
On her third attempt, Esther is finally able to muster up the courage to face the King. She reveals that Mordecai is her cousin and that Haman has been plotting to destroy him and his family, which includes her. The King, who respects Mordecai and loves Esther, believes her and banishes Haman to the Island of Perpetual Tickling. Mordecai ends up filling Haman's former position as the King's right-hand-man as Esther saves her people.
Cast of Characters
- Esther as herself (debut)
- Mr. Nezzer as King Xerxes
- Mr. Lunt as Haman
- Pa Grape as Mordecai
- Jean Claude & Phillipe Pea as Bigthan & Teresh Peaoni
- Scallion #1 as the Host of the "Miss Persia Pageant"
- Larry the Cucumber as the King's Scribe, Markus
- Miss Achmetha as herself (debut)
- Queen Vashti as herself
- Tell Me Why, sung by Esther
- The Battle Prelude, sung by Esther
- Haman's Song, sung by Haman with King Xerxes
- The Battle Is Not Ours, sung by Esther
- Lost Puppies, sung by Miss Achmetha
- "What kind of vegetable is Esther?". Big Idea. Retrieved 2007-07-09.