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Recap / VeggieTales Episode 4 Rack, Shack and Benny

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Rack, Shack and Benny
Episode number: 4
Original release date: 10/10/95

Countertop Intro

On the countertop, Bob is alone while greeting the kids, but when he notices that Larry is absent, Larry calls out that he's coming. From off-screen, Larry ends up crashing into some stuff, and when he finally arrives, it turns out that the reason for this is because he has an oversized oven mitt on his head, which he christens his "new hat". When Bob expresses concern that Larry cannot see anything from wearing the oven mitt, Larry retorts that according to "Veggie Beat" magazines, all the cool people wear oven mitts on their heads. Bob then remembers that they got a letter from Dexter Wilmington from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who explains that when he's visiting his friend, Billy, Billy wants to watch a show that Dexter is not supposed to watch, but Billy tells him that if he doesn't watch it, it means he's not cool, so he wants to know what he should do. Larry then decides to consult Qwerty about this problem, but unfortunately, because of the oven mitt that completely obscures his vision, he winds up falling into the kitchen sink. Bob then tells Dexter that while he's trying to get Larry out of the sink, he should watch a story about three boys named Rack, Shack, and Benny who were faced with the exact same problem.


Rack, Shack and Benny

We are introduced to the narrator of the story, an old onion named George, who serves as the gatekeeper to the Nezzer Chocolate Factory. George then explains that the real names of Rack, Shack, and Benny are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, but everyone else called them by their nicknames since they couldn't remember the three boys' real names. George then explains that every morning at the Chocolate Factory, everyone works hard to make sure that everything is going smoothly, before noticing that it's almost 8 o'clock, which means that it's time for the morning milk delivery. Laura then approaches the front gate and, in her speaking debut, explains to George in song that she'd love to stay and talk, but she doesn't have the time because everyone works really hard at the chocolate factory. After Laura arrives at the factory, she meets up with Mr. Lunt, who tells her through song that she's in trouble because she's two minutes late for work, before he also orders the other employees (which are played by a multitude of peas) to get back to work.


We are then introduced to Rack, Shack, and Benny (played, respectively, by Bob the Tomato, Junior Asparagus, and Larry the Cucumber), who also explain through song that they don't have any time to play because they have a lot of work to do in the factory. The employees of the factory are hard at work, making sure that all of the chocolate bunnies are made, as well as disposing of any bunnies that have been made wrong. Soon, the song ends as Laura takes off in her delivery truck to deliver the chocolate bunnies. As a lone chocolate bunny falls out of the back of the truck and lands in front of George, George then explains that every day, they make 14,638 chocolate bunnies (give or take a few), before explaining that Nebby K. Nezzer, the boss of the chocolate factory, isn't exactly a bad man, but he just gets confused real easily sometimes. George then demonstrates this by stating that it all happened when Mr. Nezzer made a big announcement.


Back inside the factory, the workers are still hard at work, when a video screen appears, before Mr. Nezzer appears on the screen, announcing that this morning, they have shipped their two millionth chocolate bunny and decides to reward everyone by allowing them to eat as many chocolate bunnies as they like for the next 30 minutes. After this announcement is made, Mr. Lunt compliments Mr. Nezzer for allowing everyone to eat the bunnies, while Mr. Nezzer is confident that everyone will give their praise to him for this announcement. While the rest of the employees ravenously eat as many of the bunnies as they like, Shack is a little bit uncertain about this decision, telling Rack and Benny that they shouldn't eat any more bunnies, because it isn't good to eat too much candy in one sitting. When Rack and Benny argue about this, stating that everyone else is doing it, Shack retorts back that they should remember what their parents taught them, as well as remembering a song that his mother used to sing to him back when he was really little. After Shack sings a little bit of the song, he then tells Rack and Benny that even though their parents aren't with them, they can still remember everything that they've learned from this. This finally convinces Rack and Benny not to eat any more bunnies.

As time passes, the other employees are still eating chocolate bunnies, but after a while, they begin to feel rather sick from doing so. At the end of the 30 minutes free-for-all, Mr. Nezzer and Mr. Lunt then head into the workroom before noticing that everyone has become sick as dogs as a result of eating too many chocolate bunnies. Mr. Nezzer is angered by this before Mr. Lunt notices that Rack, Shack, and Benny are the only ones who are still standing up. When Mr. Nezzer and Mr. Lunt approach the three boys, he is impressed by their resilience before telling them that he's going to promote them to Junior Executives (which, according to Mr. Lunt, means that you have to wear a tie when Benny asks what it means). After Mr. Nezzer tells Rack, Shack, and Benny to meet him in his office first thing in the morning, George then shows up, stating that Rack, Shack, and Benny are able to get on Mr. Nezzer's good side, before adding that the three boys are in for a big surprise when they come into Mr. Nezzer's office.

The next morning, Rack, Shack, and Benny are greeted by Mr. Nezzer, who then explains that he will have every one of his faithful employees bow down to a chocolate bunny statue, before showing them a model of the statue, to which he says that the real thing is 90 feet tall. Mr. Nezzer then explains further that it will be a beautiful day when everyone bows down to the statue and sings a song known as "The Bunny Song", which Benny says that he's not familiar with and asks Mr. Nezzer to hum a few bars. Mr. Nezzer then obliges as he starts singing "The Bunny Song", talking about how much he loves the bunny and not anything else. After the song ends, Rack, Shack, and Benny are a little bit troubled by the lyrics, with Rack asking what will happen if anyone doesn't sing the song. Mr. Nezzer answers that question by showing the three boys the furnace where the "bad bunnies" (bunnies that get messed up during the production cycle) are sent to be destroyed, before he says in a rather intimidating matter, "Let's just say in my mind, if you don't bow down and sing the song, you're a bad bunny". Mr. Nezzer then hops off before telling Rack, Shack, and Benny to get plenty of sleep because tomorrow is the big day. George then shows up and states that the boys were in a real pickle with this: "The Bunny Song" was full of all kinds of stuff that the three boys knew was wrong, but refusing to sing it would result in Mr. Nezzer throwing them into the furnace! He then asks the viewers what they would do if they were them, but decides to hold that thought as the ceremony is about to begin.

The next morning, when everyone is gathered outside, Mr. Nezzer then announces that it is now time to bow to the bunny and sing "The Bunny Song". While everyone else bows down, Rack, Shack, and Benny are the only ones who do not bow, before Mr. Nezzer and Mr. Lunt approach them, with Mr. Nezzer telling them to sing. In response, Shack instead starts singing the lullaby that his mother used to sing to him before Rack and Benny also join in as well. After the trio finishes singing, Mr. Nezzer is touched from hearing this song and says that he'll be singing that song... as he throws them into the furnace, before calling out to the guards to take them to the fiery furnace. Three carrot guards then approach the trio, while Laura states that she has to help them, before noticing Mr. Nezzer's delivery truck.

Silly Songs with Larry

Larry, who is dressed up in Argentinian garb, starts singing the Argentinian ballad "The Dance of the Cucumber" in its original Spanish, with Bob the Tomato translating every word of the song. Larry sings in Spanish about how the cucumber dances so nice and smoothly before he starts taunting Bob in Spanish about how he cannot dance, which infuriates Bob. Junior and Dad Asparagus show up, with Junior wanting to get his picture taken next to Larry. Dad then takes a picture of Junior and Larry after that. Larry then resumes singing the rest of the song, singing in Spanish about how nice and sweet the cucumber sings, before taunting Bob once again, this time, about how Bob cannot sing. Unfortunately, this angers Bob very much that he starts chasing after Larry, who then sings in English about how Bob is angry with him and that he hopes he doesn't get caught, as well as the fact that it's hard for him to run with a sombrero on his head.

Act 2

Mr. Nezzer has now tied up Rack, Shack, and Benny before he explains that he tried being patient and kind with the three boys and that he's infuriated by their stubbornness. When Mr. Nezzer asks the three boys if they will sing the song, they then explain to him that God wants us to stand up for what they believe is right and that they cannot sing the song. At first, it seems that Mr. Nezzer understands, before saying that they're bad bunnies before they end up getting pushed down towards the fiery furnace, but Laura saves them in time in the delivery truck. Mr. Nezzer then has two carrot guards chase after the quartet into a vent, but one of the guards runs into the wall and falls into a vat of chocolate.

The chase continues through the vents, which leads to the other carrot guard falling into the vat of chocolate as well. Once the guards have been dispatched, Laura then pilots the truck through the vents once again, and when they see that there is light on the left of the vents, they turn left, believing it to be a way out. Unfortunately, that vent brings them back to where they started from. Mr. Nezzer then has Mr. Lunt take the controls to which a pair of mechanical hands take hold of the truck and starts to tilt it downwards in an attempt to dump Rack, Shack and Benny into the fiery furnace down below. However, Laura is able to escape before unplugging the controls just as the truck is now halfway tilted.

Laura then angrily proclaims that no one bakes her buddies. As Mr. Nezzer berates and threatens Laura, the latch bolt for the gate of the truck then comes loose, which causes Rack, Shack, and Benny to fall into the fiery furnace. Mr. Nezzer then laughs at his victory, stating that no one will ever stand up to him again. However, the room suddenly turns dark before a multitude of bright lights shoot out from the windows of the furnace. Mr. Lunt peers into one of the windows as he asks how many guys they threw into the furnace. Mr. Nezzer incredulously answers that there are three before Mr. Lunt states that there are four guys in there now, making note that one of them is real shiny, as well as the fact that they aren't burning up. Mr. Nezzer then calls out to the three boys to get out of there, before the fiery furnace gate then opens up, as Rack, Shack, and Benny come out alive and well.

When Mr. Nezzer sees that the three boys were saved by God's power, he then admits that he was wrong for trying to get them to do stuff that they weren't supposed to do, stating that he forgot everything his mother taught him. When he asks them to forgive him, they forgive him, before Mr. Nezzer then asks if there's any way that he can make it up to them. Shack then answers that he could sing of their songs, before he starts singing the song "Stand Up", before Rack and Benny also join in as well, singing about how God wants us to stand up for what we believe in when we're faced with the peer pressure of doing things that we're not supposed to do. Everyone in the factory then sings the song, before the story comes to an end, as George then smiles at the viewers.

Countertop Outro

Back on the countertop, Bob states that he still hasn't been able to get Larry out of the sink, before saying that it's time to talk about what they've learned. Larry then starts singing the "What Have We Learned" song, while Bob tells him to stop singing. Larry still sings, but Bob is able to cut him off by turning on the faucet for the sink and turning it off again. When Bob reviews the lesson that they learned from the story, Larry then admits that he made a mistake for putting an oven mitt on his head before lamenting that he'll never get out of the sink and that he'll be stuck in it for the rest of his life. Fortunately, Bob comes up with an idea by having Larry stand on one end of a spoon, while Bob jumps onto the other end. Bob then jumps onto the spoon, which causes Larry to get flung out of the sink, before checking to see what verse Qwerty has. Qwerty then brings up the verse, which is "Stand firm, and hold to the teachings passed on to you. 2nd Thessalonians 2:15". After that, Larry then explains that it means that if someone wants you to do something you know is wrong, you should stand firm and do what's right, before telling Dexter that the next time he goes to Billy's house, he should bring one of his favorite videos to watch instead. Bob then agrees with Larry before saying that he would like to get out of the sink, but Larry cuts him off before signing off, ending the episode.

Character Introductions: George, the Peas, Mr. Nezzer, Mr. Lunt

We work real hard at the troper factory:

  • An Aesop: Stand up for yourself and what you believe in, regardless of peer pressure.
  • Artistic License – Child Labor Laws: Rack, Shack, Benny, Laura, and the others are shown as factory workers in this episode who get overworked even in situations where they are getting tired, barely being allowed any breaks and starting at 8AM but not getting lunch until 3PM. They obviously would never let anyone in Real Life under the age of 18 get a job this responsible, let alone work for that long under any circumstance.
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Nezzer mistreats his child workers by having them work long hours with very little breaks and overexerting them to the point of tiredness, and goes as far as to try to burn them alive in the furnace after they refuse to sing the Bunny Song. Thankfully, he makes a Heel–Face Turn in the end.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Happens twice in the episode. The first time, after Rack, Shack and Benny sing the lullaby to Mr. Nezzer, Mr. Nezzer then says that he will be singing that song... as he throws them into the furnace. The second time, when after the three boys firmly state that they cannot sing "The Bunny Song", Mr. Nezzer then says that he understands... that they're bad bunnies.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Nezzer carelessly overworks his child laborers and wants them killed for refusing to sing his song.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Laura is able to save Rack, Shack, and Benny before they are about to get thrown into the furnace the first time.
  • Big Eater: Mr. Nezzer allows his employees to eat as many bunnies as they want during their break. The children vastly indulge until they're sick of them, all of them on the floor with stomachaches except the three heroes, whom Shack talks out of eating the bunnies due to it going against parental obedience.
  • Bland-Name Product: Larry cites "Veggie Beat Magazine" as his inspiration for wearing an oven mitt over his head, a clear parody of the Tiger Beat magazine targeted to teen girls about heartthrobs.
  • Bowdlerize: In the original 1995 VHS release, "The Bunny Song" originally had lyrics about not loving your parents and refusing to go to church and school, which resulted in hundreds of letters from parents complaining about their kids singing the song...even though the creators intended it to be a song you're not supposed to sing. Because of that, the 1998 VHS reissue and all later releases after that had the lyrics changed to refusals to eat healthy food.
  • Chased Off into the Sunset: At the end of "The Dance Of The Cucumber", Bob angrily chases after Larry when Larry states in Spanish that Bob cannot sing or whistle, which pushes Bob over the edge.
  • Composite Character: Shack fills Daniel's role as the one who convinces the group not to eat themselves sick on bunnies.
  • Crapsack World: The setting of the episode is this in spades. The employees are shown during the opening song to be worked absurdly hard for pitiful salaries and at least two of the employees, possibly more, are child laborers. That's to say nothing of the fact that, when the protagonists' boss Mr. Nezzer decides that all of his employees have to bow down and worship a giant bunny statue or else he will burn them alive, none of them even think to run away or call the police on him, which has some rather telling implications.
  • Darker and Edgier: By VeggieTales standards, the theme of this episode includes child slavery, and Mr. Nezzer trying to actually kill Rack, Shack, and Benny.
  • Dark Reprise: Mr. Nezzer's second verse of "The Bunny Song" involves themes of him enslaving his workers for refusing to repay him by singing the tune, and his attempts to kill them.
  • Decomposite Character: Laura's role in the original story was that of Daniel, as in the very same Daniel portrayed in "Where's God When I'm S-Scared?". In the Bible, the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego takes place long before Daniel's trip to the lion's den.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: This being VeggieTales, the furnace is a subtle metaphor for Hell. This becomes clearer in the climax where a white shining light appears and frees Rack, Shack and Benny from the thing, the hero being no other than God himself.
  • The Dragon: Mr. Lunt acts as the assistant to Mr. Nezzer, showing no sympathy to the exhaustion of the workers and helping him get the titular trio murdered.
  • Evil Laugh: Mr. Nezzer gives off a pretty good one when he thinks that he has done away with Rack, Shack, and Benny for good.
  • Fountain of Youth: Larry and Bob are aged down in this story to children dealing with labor interfering with their ability to play outside, although their heights and voices remain unchanged from their original forms.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Mr. Nezzer, at the end of the story, frees his employees from the burning pits of the furnace and expresses regret over how coldly he treated them, reconciling with a song about standing up for what you believe in.
  • Improvised Catapult: Near the end of the episode, Bob is able to get Larry out of the kitchen sink by having him standing on one end of a spoon while Bob jumps onto the other end. The plan is successful, but it also backfires as Bob is now trapped in the sink as well.
  • "I Am Great!" Song: "The Dance of the Cucumber" plays out as one; essentially Larry boasting about his dancing and singing ability while saying that Bob is terrible at both.
  • Implied Death Threat: After being asked by Rack what would happen if someone didn't sing The Bunny Song, Mr. Nezzer shows the boys the furnace. After Benny tells Mr. Nezzer it's where all the "bad bunnies" (bunnies that get messed up during the production cycle) are sent to be destroyed, Mr. Nezzer responds with "Let's just say in my mind, if you don't bow down and sing the song, you're a bad bunny."
  • Meaningful Echo: When Mr. Nezzer first brings up the Bunny Song, Benny informs him that he's unfamiliar with it and wants him to "hum a few bars", to which Mr. Nezzer replies with "Y'know, I was hoping you'd ask!" At the end of the episode, Shack brings up "Stand Up" as a song he knows and uses the exact same response when Mr. Nezzer asks how it goes.
  • Murder by Cremation: Almost happens to Rack, Shack and Benny, but they are saved at the last minute by one of the Lord's guardian angels.
  • Overly Long Gag: Larry's "meltdown" at the end of the episode.
    Larry: I put an oven mitt on my head just because Veggiebeat Magazine said it would make me look cool. Even though, I couldn't see anything. It didn't make me cool, it made made me bump into a toaster. And then fall into the sink. And now I can't get out of here! I'm going to be stuck here forever! And people are going to set plates on my head and I'm never going to get to go to the circus or run through the fresh-cut grass or feel the ocean breeze in my hair as I pilot my nimble schooner Felix off the coast of our family home in Kennebunkport! Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home! There's no place like home! (Beat) Click, click, click...
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: This exchange:
    Mr. Nezzer: What are your names, boys?
    Bob (As Shadrach): I'm Shadrach.
    Junior (As Meschach): I'm Meschach.
    Larry (As Abednego): I'm a bumblebee... a bennyboo... I'm Benny.
  • Something Completely Different: In the Countertop Outro, Larry sings the "What Have We Learned" song, instead of the usual practice of Qwerty play the song.
  • The Stinger: The original 1995 VHS release ends with Bob saying "I'd like to get out now", while he is still trapped in the sink. Strangely enough, on the 1998 reissue, this bit was taken out and replaced with the familiar Big Idea logo.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Laura Carrot, who was previously The Voiceless in "The Story of Flibber-O-Loo", finally speaks in this episode.
  • Villain Song: Mr. Nezzer takes on the role of the Big Bad singing a song worshiping the chocolate bunnies he manufactures and then a Dark Reprise chastising his employees for their lack of obedience.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Bob being stuck in the sink at the end of the episode never gets resolved, even though he addresses it twice during Larry's closing.