The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment! is the 19th episode of VeggieTales.
At the start of the episode, the usual VeggieTales theme is subverted when Larry tells Bob that he's not doing the theme song, because "it's time to wake up and smell the future!" A door then opens in the middle of a white void as Bob and Larry enter the void, with Bob asking where they are, to which Larry answers that they're in the future. Bob quips that the future is white, before Larry tells him that the future has been white since the 70's, which Bob is surprised about because he didn't know that, before asking Larry about the theme song. Larry then answers that the future holds no theme songs, which confuses Bob, before Larry explains further that theme songs are too predictable, too repeatable, and too ordinary, and that the future is about the unpredictable, the un-ordinary, and the unexpected. Larry then puts on a chicken head, telling Bob that it's funny that he put on a chicken head because it's unexpected. After Bob tells Larry to take off the chicken head, Larry then goes on to explain that in the future, jokes will be randomly generated, which Bob is confused about. Larry then tells Bob, "I've seen the future, Bob! And the future is Auto-Tainment!"
The scene then switches to a room, with a wheel where a lot of the other veggies are held, a stage with sliding doors, and where Mr. Lunt is operating the whole operation. Bob and Larry then enter the room, where they meet up with the Ventrilo-Matic and Rusty (from 3-2-1 Penguins!), who greet them back. Bob is surprised when he sees that there are robots in the room, with Larry telling him that these robots represent the hosts of the future, and that unlike regular hosts, their humor can be randomly generated. The Ventrilo-Matic and Rusty demonstrate this by telling the famous "Why did the chicken cross the road" joke, before the Ventrilo-Matic comes up with the randomly generated punchline, "Weed eater". While Larry thinks that that's funny, Bob thinks that it doesn't make any sense, before Larry tells him that it's funny because it's unexpected. When Bob asks whatever happened to "it's funny because it's true", Larry answers with "2 + 2 = 4 is true, but not funny". The Ventrilo-Matic then asks what the equation to 2 +2 is, before coming up the randomly generated punchline, "Weed eater", once again. Larry comments that it's a good one, while Bob is still unsure about this because he and Larry have a good thing going, and that he likes his job and that he doesn't want to give it up to a bunch of robots. Larry then tells Bob that he can't stand in the way of progress, saying that it's veggie versus machine, and that the machine has the upper hand, which Bob is confused about.
Larry then explains to Bob how it works with Auto-Tainment, before gesturing to Mr. Lunt (who calls himself the Techno-Gourd of the future and that he secured future employment by becoming one of them) that he will engage what is called the 'Wheel of Veggies' and the 'Swarming Balls of Disorder'. Larry then explains that the Wheel of Veggies will choose a performer at random, while the Swarming Balls of Disorder will determine both the topic and genre of the song that the performer will sing. Once that's over with, Larry then tells the robots and Mr. Lunt to take it away. A choir then starts singing about the Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment, at the same time that Larry introduces the Ventrilo-Matic and Rusty to the viewers, along with Mr. Lunt, the Techno-Gourd of the future. After the song ends, the Ventrilo-Matic then tells the joke "Where does a sheep go to get his hair cut?", before coming up with the randomly generated punchline, "So he says, 'What are you talking about? That's not my dog'". The Ventrilo-Matic then asks Mr. Lunt to stop the Wheel of Veggies, which then stops on the French Peas. The French Peas are then ejected towards the stage after that, before the Swarming Balls of Disorder come up with "Nautical Refuse" as the topic and genre of the song. Because of this, Jean-Claude and Phillipe then start singing "There's A Hole In The Bottom Of The Sea".
After the song ends, the sliding doors then close, before the Ventrilo-Matic then asks Rusty how you sink a submarine full of peas, before coming up with the randomly generated punchline, "Your boat has not left the driveway in 15 years", to which Rusty says "You're killing me", before saying that next up, they have a very talented performer. The Wheel of Veggies then stops on Pa Grape, who is also ejected towards the stage as well, before the Swarming Balls of Disorder come up with "Biblical Dwarves" as the topic and genre of the song. Because of that, Pa then performs the classic biblical song, "Zacchaeus", singing about how Zacchaeus was a little man and that he climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to be seen, before Jesus and his disciples came along, with Jesus telling Zacchaeus to come down because he's coming to his house. After the song ends, Rusty then tells the Ventrilo-Matic that he has a lot in common with Zacchaeus, which the Ventrilo-Matic asks "What leads to that correlation?" before Rusty answers that "he was a tax collector in a tree, and I have a surge protector in my knee". Bob then notes that this was not a randomly-made joke and that it made sense, which Larry finds to be odd. The Ventrilo-Matic finds these similarities to be fascinating, before telling Rusty that he originated from the same parts facility, which Rusty takes offense to, saying "Hey! What did you say about my family?!?" The Ventrilo-Matic then tells Rusty that the inferred insult was unintentional, before Rusty tells him that he's just teasing him. The Ventrilo-Matic then introduces "a random short film on a randomly-based topic", before we are then treated to the animated short "Lunch" (which has been subtitled as "an animated parable").
(See the main page for the plot.)
After the short has ended, Rusty says "Somebody told me that was ice cream!" but the Ventrilo-Matic tells him "Negative, that would nullify the irony". The Wheel of Veggies then stops on the next performer, who is Archibald Asparagus. Archibald also gets ejected forward as well, before the Swarming Balls of Disorder then come up with "Military Intelligence" as the topic and genre of the song. With that, Archibald then performs Gilbert and Sullivan's "Modern Major General", to which he is in a library while showing different kinds of books. After the song ends, the Ventrilo-Matic and Rusty compliment Archibald for his performance before Rusty asks the Ventrilo-Matic if he heard the one about the asparagus who went door to door looking for work, the Ventrilo-Matic says "That data is not on file", before Rusty answers that "he meets this one fella who offers him $55 to paint his porch", before the Ventilo-Matic responds with "Such a transaction would be redeemed equitable". Rusty then says that the asparagus comes back in an hour and says, "I'm finished, but I think you should know your car is a Ferrari, not a Porsche".
After the joke is over, the Ventrilo-Matic says, "That asparagus was clearly not as clever as the asparagus who just performed moments ago". Rusty is infuriated, saying that it would've taken the asparagus twice as long to paint the porch, with the Ventrilo-Matic saying that that would be dishonest, to which Rusty retorts with, "What, are you calling me a cheat?!?" While the argument goes on, Bob and Larry witness the whole thing, with Larry realizing that Rusty may be experiencing technical difficulties. Bob then says that hosts can't experience technical difficulties in the middle of the show, wondering what Rusty is so wound up about. Larry doesn't know, but he has an idea, so he hops off towards the stage, with Mr. Lunt telling him that he has to be randomly selected, but Larry tells him, "It's an emergency!" Soon, Larry is on a piano as he starts singing "You Are My Sunshine", before Junior Asparagus also joins in the song as well. After the song ends, Rusty is in a state of affection, telling the Ventrilo-Matic, "I love you". The Ventrilo-Matic is touched by Rusty's feelings, before asking him if he would like to see an aardvark singing opera, which Rusty agrees too, before we are treated to the next short "Binky The Opera Singer".
Binky The Opera Singer
Binky is an opera-singing aardvark (in a near similar matter to that of Willie the singing whale from Make Mine Music's "The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met") who sings "Largo Al Factotum" from "The Barber Of Seville". After Binky finishes singing, he is met with the sound of crickets chirping, before he indignantly walks off the stage afterwards.
After the short is over, Rusty apologizes to the Ventrilo-Matic for getting mad at him, to which the Ventrilo-Matic accepts his apology. Rusty then goes to tell the Ventrilo-Matic that he's his friend, before Bob then asks Larry what Rusty is doing. Larry then says that he may have cheered up Rusty too much, and that Rusty may possibly be developing randomly-generated emotions. Bob then retorts with "I thought his humor was supposed to be randomly generated!" Larry then says that Rusty may have a short circuit or something, before Bob angrily tells him that the future is not looking so hot. Despite that, Pa Grape has been selected as the next performer for the second time, before the Swarming Balls of Disorder come up with Big Band Big Donkey as the topic and genre of the song. Because of this, Pa sings "Eerie Canal", complete with a stuffed mule serving as Sal, the mule in the song.
After the song ends, Rusty is crying, with the Ventrilo-Matic asking him why he's crying, with Rusty answering that he doesn't know, and that he's just sad. However, he suddenly breaks out laughing after a few seconds, before he starts roaring like a bear. Bob has had enough of what's been going on and decides to put a stop to this nonsense. Bob then tells everyone that that's the end and that it isn't going to work, before saying that he's calling off the future. Bob then says that if he's looking at it, he doesn't like what he sees, as Rusty is now barking like a dog. Bob does not like the idea of randomly-generated jokes and randomly-generated emotions, saying that it's a big mess, before he says, "This has to be the worst day of my show business career!" Larry then apologizes to Bob, saying that he was certain that this was a great new way to teach the kids and teach them all kinds of lessons, before Bob infuriatingly says "Like how to tell nonsense jokes and be emotionally unstable?!?" Larry then says that they did hear some pretty cool songs, which Mr. Lunt agrees with. Bob then says that with all that went wrong, he wants to know where the lesson is.
Because of this, Larry comes up with another idea, saying that he knows something they learned, before asking Mr. Lunt to cue up Junior, which Mr. Lunt consents to. Once Junior has been brought up, Larry then whispers an idea to Junior, which Junior agrees with. After that, Junior is then ejected towards the stage on Larry's command. Soon, Junior then performs the song "My Day", telling about how whether we have a good day or a bad day, God's love is still with us throughout our lives. After the song ends, Bob then realizes that Larry is right and that they did learn something, God loves us no matter what happens, before Larry adds even if we have a good day or a bad day, "even if our robots get all goofy". Bob then tells Larry that it's time to go home, which Larry agrees with, before saying "Goodbye, future". The Ventrilo-Matic then says goodbye to Bob and Larry, but Rusty is asleep. Bob and Larry are in the white void once again before they approach the door in the void, but not without Mr. Lunt following after them, asking them if he can have his old job back in the present, saying that the robots are freaking him out. The door then closes after they enter it, before the episode ends.
- Mr. Lunt
- This is the only episode not to have a central moral theme. This is also the quickest episode to be produced, as it only took two weeks.
- Throughout the episode, Mr. Lunt was missing his teeth.
- The episode is loosely based on The Wonderful World of Disney.
- In the credits, Mr. Nezzer and Percy Pea's names were seen despite not appearing.
- In the VHS release, it should've included two more trailers for 3-2-1 Penguins! and The Super Fantastic Veggie Fan Club at the end after The Legend of Galaxy Gus.