The story opens in the midst of a parade, complete with announcers (Jimmy and Jerry Gourd) and many spectators gathered in the streets of Israel in a scene similar to that of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, with the announcers wearing scarves and headsets. The spectacle is a victory parade for a local tuba-player-turned-war-hero Gideon’s “extraordinary military victory over the previously-undefeated, excessively hairy Midianites.” Floats and music abound, along with a giant balloon of the 10 Commandments coming down the street pulled by peas in fezzes.
The announcers stop their commentary to announce the arrival of Gideon (Larry the Cucumber) riding on a pink tuba float made of flowers, made of “10,000 roses – the red ones were shipped in from Jerusalem, the white from Bethlehem, and the purple roses came from Cairo,” being pulled by vegetables on blue bicycles.
The commentators rave about Gideon's previous inexperience as a military hero and his remarkable transition into "the greatest Hebrew warrior of all-time," as Commentator #1 says. Commentator #2 remarks how he wishes to be Gideon, and the two continue to exalt him as a fearless hero who single-handedly defeated the Midianites, which prompts Gideon to stop the parade and their commentary to tell them what they're saying isn't entirely true, going on to tell how his story really went.
The story then flashes back, as Gideon narrates, to a normal day, around four or five days previous. Gideon is seen out in his backyard practicing his tuba while his brothers play football nearby. They proceed to yell at Gideon about his tuba playing, but Gideon doesn't take offence at their jeering and kindly tells them to keep on practicing football while he practices his tuba, emphasizing how they’re all on the same team. Gideon then starts fantasizing about marching musicians and what their instruments wound sound like, and, annoyed with his banter, his brothers throw their football at Gideon, which gets lodged in his tuba and knocks him over, making them laugh as they head inside their hut.
Gideon tries to blow the football out, causing him to become temporarily purple, when he stumbles over and knocks a heavy sack onto his stomach, propelling the football out of the tuba and into his house, hitting one of his brothers. Gideon then hides behind the tree from his angry brothers, when suddenly, an angel (Pa Grape) descends upon him declaring, “Hail, mighty man of valor.” Gideon mistakes the angel’s greeting as a message for one of his brothers, but the angel says he’s looking for Gideon, and reveals himself to be an angel sent from God.
Confused, Gideon says that he is a Warrior, and that “maybe we’ll play your team this year," thinking the angel meant he was on a team called The Angels.
The angel insists he’s a real angel with a message especially for Gideon, which prompts him to take out a book entitled Angelic Visitations for the Not so Bright, where he reads the message for Gideon from God.
“Now human,” the angel reads, “it is perfectly normal for you to be terrified and confused. Having an angel appear before you is not exactly ‘an everyday occurrence.’ Heh, heh, heh.” Gideon wonders why the angel reads the laughter instead of actually laughing, to which the angel replies he wants Gideon to feel comfortable, and to take a load off as he reads the rest of his message.
“I am sure you have many questions for me,” the angel continues, “and while there are many things I can do to prove I come from the Almighty, I must note that I can do nothing without God’s approval. However, he will allow me to show you a small sample of his splendor, e.g. answers to personal questions, minor miracles, appearing and/or disappearing, at will.” Gideon again questions if the angel really just said “e.g.,” and the angel replies that it means “for example,” and that he was just reading what the book said.
“Frightened human,” the angel goes on, “what kind of sign do you need to prove I am from He Who Is Above All Things?” and Gideon replies that he doesn’t need a sign – he believes the angel is from God. The angel is astounded, as he has five more pages to read, but Gideon affirms that he doesn’t need the angel to fly around in order to prove he’s from God, which relieves the angel, as he’s “a little winded” after flying “all the way from Heaven."
Asking the angel to relax, Gideon offers to get the angel a drink, and comes back with a lemonade. The angel is relieved Gideon took the news so well, as he’s encountered many people in the past who have freaked out over his appearances, claiming that he’d often have to spend weeks at a time just trying to calm them down. As the angel inquires again if Gideon needs proof, Gideon says he doesn’t, saying, “If you say you’re from God, I believe ya.” The angel says he’s got credentials if Gideon’s still in disbelief, and flashes his badge. Gideon likes the look of the angel's badge and asks if he could have a badge that nice, too, but the angel says that they don’t give out badges to just anybody, but that he’ll “see what he can do."
Gideon finally inquires what the angel’s message is, and the angel sums up God’s message by saying that Gideon has been chosen by God to lead His army against the ferocious Midianites that have taken up camp nearby. Gideon can’t believe he’s been chosen to lead an army and feels that God made a mistake; he feels his brothers are the real warriors, when he’s just “the guy you call when you want a victory parade after the battle." He says he’s only trained to play the tuba, not weapons of war, sarcastically asking, “How many wars have ever been won by marching information?” prompting the angel to wittily retort, “You’d be surprised…”
Trying to convince the angel he's not suited for the job, Gideon says that his brothers are bigger and stronger, he’s afraid of the dark, and that he screams like a girl…but the angel insists God wants him regardless. Unconvinced, Gideon declares he can’t go through with it, even though he trusts the angel is sent from God, as he thought the angel was sent to tell him how faithful of a servant Gideon had been. The angel replies if Gideon will have to do what God says if he wants praise.
Still uncertain, Gideon asks how many Midianites God’s wants him to face. The angel then takes Gideon to a large valley, presumably near Gideon's hut, where they look down and spy one lone Midianite pea in a Viking helmet. Relieved at the pea's size, Gideon assumes the job to defeat the Midianites will be easy, until the Midianite whistles and a rampant stampede comes pounding behind him, and there are soon well over a hundred Midianites who set up camp with remarkable speed all across the valley.
Using the angel’s periscope, Gideon witnesses a Midianite set up a wooden sign counting the days until they attack the Israelites: it reads 3. Gideon immediately leaves the angel in fear. He feels there’s no way he can defeat an army so large as the Midianites, but the angel tells him he shouldn’t focus on defeating them – rather, he needs to trust that God will do what He says and defeat them Himself. Still thinking God chose the wrong guy, the angel replies that “God never chooses the wrong guy" and that He “never makes mistakes.” Gideon is particularly astounded at the angel's comment about God never making a mistake, not one single mistake in all of recorded history, and, jokingly, the angel replies that “the jury is still out on spiders,” and shutters.
Gideon is slowly coming to trust the angel, and tells him if he did decide to lead God’s army, he’d need a sign before he consented, to know for sure that God is behind all this. Breaking out into a song with an angel-pea orchestra in the background, the angel sings about how God for sure exists so long as Gideon opens up his eyes (The Great "I-Am"). Gideon reclines in a director’s-like chair and watches the performance with a bag of popcorn.
After his song, the angel asks what sign Gideon wants. He replies that the first sign will involve him laying out a piece of lamb’s wool on the ground, and if the following morning the wool is wet, but the ground is dry, then he will know God is behind everything.
The next morning, Gideon wakes up to find the wool soaking wet. He walks away and changes into a shower cap and towel and squeezes the wool over his head and starts taking a shower, presumably explaining why he chose that as the sign in the first place. The angel appears and asks if Gideon will now believe in God to back him up, but Gideon says he wants one more test to confirm his trust in God. Bothered by Gideon's reluctance, the angel objects that the Midianites will be attacking in just 2 more days, but Gideon insists that this time, he wants to leave another piece of lamb’s wool outside and if the ground around it becomes wet while it remains dry, he’ll for sure trust in God. The angel is pretty fed-up with Gideon’s tests, saying that, “It’s good that God’s got patience, man, ‘cause you’re sure testing mine!”
Another day passes, and as Gideon walks outside the next morning, he slips on water surrounding the fleece, which he is surprised to find dry, calling it a miracle. Gideon now believes that God has assuredly chosen him to lead His troops, and agrees to head into battle. He asks the angel where they will pick up the troops, and the next scene shows Gideon behind a little stand constructed out of wood with a sign above it reading “Join God’s Army” and a little sign next to it reading “…And Get a Free Flashlight.”
Many Israelite carrots and peas come out to join Gideon’s cause as he hands them flashlights. Looking into the angel’s periscope, Gideon spies the Midianites down in the valley training for the big battle – tossing giant rocks to one another and proving their immeasurable strength. Gideon then sees them change their “Days Until Next Attack” sign to 1 more day, causing him great worry.
With their newly recruited soldiers lined up, Gideon and the angel thank them for joining the army, when a giant rock is pelted at the group. A Midianite (played by Mister Nezzer in a wig and beard) comes from the mountain to ask for the rock back, and the Israelites struggle to hand it back to him, causing him to have to come over and lift the rock himself to head back down into the valley, which he does with ease. The Israelites are threatened by the Midianite’s strength, but Gideon reassures them that they will be victorious if they work as a group and trust in God.
As he speaks to his ranks, the angel whispers something into Gideon’s ear, and his reaction is one of surprise. According to the angel, Gideon tells the soldiers that there are too many recruits, and that whoever doesn’t want to be in the army can leave if they wish. One of the carrots asks if they can keep the flashlights if they leave, and an annoyed Gideon replies that they can. A good chunk of the recruits on the far right leave with their flashlights.
Now a smaller group, Gideon is still confident in God’s aid, when the angel whispers yet again in his ear, and apparently, much to Gideon’s chagrin, the group is still too big for God's liking. Bewildered, Gideon sends his recruits away to “take five and have a slushie” while he talks the matter over with the angel. Gideon says he doesn’t understand why God is diminishing His army, which according to Gideon, is now outnumbered 10 to 1. Gideon thinks he should tell them that God’s is testing them, but the angel discards the idea, saying that the slushies are part of the test to see who should now leave the army – those that contract brain-freezes are the ones who are not fit to continue in God’s army (the pot-wearing Israelite is one). 5 soldiers succumb to brain freezes in total, leaving only 12 left.
The remaining army then dresses in band attire and are given horns and tubas, with flashlights in hand, while Gideon remains clad in his everyday robe and turban. He then tells his men that that night, they will go into battle, leading one of them to ask if they’ll be using weapons. Gideon replies that they will defeat the Midianites using only the horns and the flashlights they were given upon registration. The Israelites fall back in astonishment.
Gideon later gathers his comrades into his tent to strategize on a smaller-scale model of the valley the Midianites are housed in. He tells them they will split up into 3 groups, surrounding the enemy with two groups one side above the mountain and the other on the opposite side. To give a better image of what the Midianites will look like, he summons two of his soldiers to bring in stones to represent the Midianites, but the soldiers bring in so many that it breaks their model in two.
As night approaches, Gideon, clearly nervous, dresses in his beloved band uniform with tuba in hand and heads out to look into the valley, marveling again at the number of Midianite tents below. The angel comes over and speaks with him, asking if he’s alright, and Gideon wonders if the angel has ever had a hard time trusting God. The angel replies that he doesn’t – he sees God everyday, so he knows how loyal God is to His promises and how much He loves Gideon. He tells Gideon he’s doing a great job, saying that “it’s easy for an angel to trust God, but [Gideon] has faith in something he’s never even seen.”
Gideon then looks into the night sky and talks with God, praying He will be with his troops during battle. In closing, Gideon thanks God for choosing him to lead His army out of everyone he could have chosen. Just then, Gideon hears stirring in the Midianite camps below, and he spies two guards conversing. He holds his tuba up to his ear and tries to listen to what the guards are saying, and one admits that he had a dream their army was to be wiped out by the Hebrews, and they both scoff at how ridiculous it sounds, saying no one can beat them.
Gideon then heads back to camp and rallies his troops, telling them God will do their work for them and all they need to do is trust Him. Gideon then sends out his 3 groups to surround the rim of the valley and to wait for his signal. Gideon then heads with one group of his troops to one end of the rim, another right next to them, and the group of peas across the valley on the opposing side. Gideon and his troops then blow on their horns, banging on their flashlights like drumsticks and waking the Midianite troops, who fear they’re under attack.
God’s Army then goes into a triumphant marching band-like song in praise of God as the Midianites emerge from their tents in shock. The Israelites use their flashlights to distort the night sky and the Midianites' eyesight as the rock-retrieving Midianite (presumably one chief-in-command) emerges from his tent with a face mask, curlers, and polka-dot pajamas and warns all his troops to scramble. Dazed and confused, they all keep running into each other as the light shines in their eyes.
Far-off, two gourds presumably from a nearby kingdom, possibly Egypt (judging by their attire and the river below them that's assumed to be the Nile), are watching the light-show, which looks like spotlights that shine during movie premieres leading one to ask, “I wonder what’s playin’?”
The Midianites then run away from the ruckus and light show, leaving Gideon and his army victorious as they throw their flashlights in the air in glee and exclaim “Alleluia!”
The next day, the sun shining resplendently above them, the Israelites rejoice around Gideon and thank him for saving them, which prompts Gideon to fervently correct them by saying God is the true hero; he was just trusting in what God wanted him to do. The angel congratulates Gideon on a job well done, and gives him his very own bible – called “Gideon’s Bible” with a picture of a tuba on the front – with an inscription inside reading, “Hail, Mighty Man of Valor." Gideon thanks the angel for the gift, saying he will keep the Bible in his nightstand next to his bed.
The scene then flashes back to real-time during Gideon’s victory parade, and the crowd cheers as Gideon concludes his story and continues on the parade route. Commentator #1 corrects his previous statements about Gideon and now calls him “perhaps the most humble soldier in Israel’s history." The commentators commend Gideon on his ability to trust God and forget his fears, and explain the value of all people doing the same.
The ending scene then pans out and shows the commentators amidst the parade spectacle as a giant float of Bob the Tomato floats by, confetti raining down in celebration.
Continuity/Notes and Trivia
- Gideon: Tuba Warrior is the 30th VeggieTales episode released in 2006.
- In the beginning, you can see the blonde locks of Annie Carrot watching the parade.
- Larry the Cucumber seems to really like tubas, as he also plays one in the title credits as well as in this episode, suggesting that the tuba may be his favorite instrument.
- Despite the arid environment of Israel in Gideon's day, which, according to the Bible, was in a famine during because God was punishing the Israelites for worshipping other gods, there are verdant trees in Gideon’s backyard as well as in the vast landscape around him.
- In the beginning scene with Gideon in the backyard, Gideon’s brothers – two of whom are played by Jean-Claude and Phillipe Pea – call Gideon “pip-squeak,” despite the fact that they’re much smaller than him. It is suggested Philippe and Jean-Claude Pea may have superiority complexes.
- It took Phillipe Pea many tries to throw the football perfectly to land in Larry’s tuba, and Larry got many a bruise from Philippe’s misses.
- Larry had to endure lots of physical discomfort in the beginning of the episode, holding his breath as he blows into his tuba to dislodge the football and distorting himself greatly to fit behind the curved tree in his backyard. But he held his head high after the scenes were shot, like a pro.
- "Hail, mighty man of valor" is an actual term of endearment for Gideon in the Bible.
- When the angel begins to read God's message for Gideon, he calls him “human,” despite the fact that he’s a cucumber.
- The angel’s badge reads “Angel Corps Seraphim F1,” with a picture of a luminescent sun and little floating angel peas in the middle of a Star of David. Seraphim, according to angelology, is the first of nine orders given to angels.
- The valley where the Midianite Vikings lodge represents the valley of Jezreel in the real story of Gideon.
- When the angel asks Gideon what kind of sign he wants to prove God exists, he humorously asks, “Do you want time to go backwards? Mountains to fall down? Talking vegetables to tell bible stories?”
- Though they were hard to obtain, the geniuses behind VeggieTales managed to feature some celebrity cameos in this episode – appearing in the angel’s The Great "I Am" song are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Paul of Taurus, and even Billy Graham.
- There is a strange, rack-like object atop Gideon’s hut that could either be primitive solar panels or a satellite dish. It's unclear what it is.
- The fleece Gideon uses to test God's existence appears to have texture more similar wolf or even a polar bear; it doesn’t look like the curly wool typical of sheep. Perhaps Larry the Cucumber is allergic to lamb’s wool.
- The “Join God’s Army” sign above Gideon's recruiting stand is supposed to resemble the type of font used in the 1960s to recruit men to enlist in the Vietnam War.
- The Midianites are supposed to resemble Vikings.
- The number of soldiers in God's Army seems to vary throughout the episode. In the first scene showing the group as a whole, there are 30 Israelites who enlist – 18 carrots, 9 peas, 1 asparagus, and 2 unidentifiable vegetables. One recruit even looks like a woman (on the far right side, third in line). When Gideon first reduces his soldiers, however, 11 of the recruits leave and 25 remain, making the total number of recruits previously 36 before the cut, and three new unidentifiable vegetables have joined the ranks on the left side of the group. When the soldiers go over to the slushie table, however, there are only 14. After the brain freeze test that further diminishes Gideon's ranks, the unidentifiable vegetables have disappeared yet again, and the army only consists of peas and carrots.
- The Israelite asparagus played by Archibald Asparagus with the pot on top of his head is a reference to another VeggieTales episode, The Story of Flibber-o-Loo, and represents the citizens of Jibber-de-Lot, who wore pots on their heads.
- As the shot shifts to the rock being thrown by the Midianite, many of the soldier vegetables from the scene before move and some are added (the unidentifiable vegetable towards the far right on the first shot of the group suddenly moves to the far left, and two other unidentifiable vegetables come into the crowd as well).
- When Gideon says that his army is outnumbered by the Midianites 10 to 1, the number of Midianites, according to the recent number of Israelites after a few unexpectedly join off-camera as well as the ones who voluntarily left, would equal around 250, when in the Bible, there are about 10,000.
- When Gideon rallies his troops into battle, he makes a joke to send the peas to the south end and the carrots up the middle, “so they don’t split the peas." One of the peas then asks, “Did he really just make a split-pea joke?”
- It would have taken days to walk to the other side of the valley to surround the Midianites, but it appears to happen in mere seconds for the group of peas during the battle.
- The actual Bible story of the flashlight and horn-blowing scene is actually quite similar to the one in this episode, except the Israelites in the real story use lamps and pitchers with holes in place of flashlights, but both groups use horns to startle the Midianites.
- Gideon saying he will keep his bible "in the nightstand by his bed" is apparently an etymological explanation for why people keep bibles in their nightstands.
- In the second-to-last scene, the wagon being pulled by a soldier of God’s Army behind the commentators has Midianite/Viking helmets on them. During the battle, all the Midianites scrambled away from the camp, so the fact that the Israelites rounded up their helmets perhaps suggesting there were casualties from the fighting, or showing that the Israelites raided the Midianite camp and took their valuables.
- The costume department for Gideon: Tuba Warrior was nominated for an Academy Award, but lost to the designers from the film Marie Antoinette.
- Larry the Cucumber
- Pa Grape
- Mr. Nezzer
- Jean Claude Pea
- Phillipe Pea
- Archibald Asparagus
- Carrot Men
- The Football Player Peas
- Warrior Band
- Parade Gourds
- Unnamed Villager Old Man
- The American Peas
- Carrot Men With Green Stripes Shirt and Brown Rope
- Carrot Men With Tan Shirt and Brown Rope
- Unnamed Village Girl
- Bob the Tomato
- Laura Carrot
- Paul of Tarsus
- Billy Graham
- God's Hand