"who brings our vegetables round" [BERY]
There have been so many famous partnerships through film and TV history who have played Sherlock Homes and Dr. Watson: Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, Jeremy Brett and David Burke (and Edward Hardwicke), Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. And of course Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato.
Okay, that last duo may not be as familiar to Sherlockians as some of the others. However, back in 2006, the popular Christian entertainment franchise VeggieTales released their 28th video, a Sherlock Holmes parody titled Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler.
The company had already tackled a couple other film/literature classics, such as the Phantom of the Opera (Sumo of the Opera), Indiana Jones (Minnesota Cuke), and the Lord of the Rings (Lord of the Beans). My children received the DVD as a gift several years ago, and I only recently watched it myself. As Sherlock Holmes parodies go, this VeggieTales version is a fairly entertaining story, with a nice lesson on the value of treating people as you would like to be treated (the "Golden Rule," of course).
As you can see from the trailer above (click here if you can't see it), Bob and Larry (the regular hosts of all VeggieTales videos) portray a stereotypical representation of the Great Detective and his companion, complete with deerstalker cap, Inverness cape, pipe, magnifying glass, and even mutton chop whiskers for the good doctor. (This being children's media, however, Sheerluck's pipe only blows bubbles.)
The story borrows an idea from the 1988 film Without a Clue, wherein Watson is the real brains of the duo, while Holmes is the one who gets all the attention. Indeed, every time the pair walks into their favorite pub, everyone shouts, "Sheerluck!" Watson ends up feeling a bit like a second-class citizen. I should also mention, the pub Holmes and Watson frequent is named "Doylie's," appropriately enough, and in an effort to be family friendly, only seems to serve milk.
Sheerluck and his underappreciated friend are summoned to Buckingham Palace, to solve the mystery of a missing key, which unlocks the room where the valuable "Golden Ruler" is kept.
While Watson does all of the actual detective work, looking for clues, Holmes is fairly clueless, especially when it comes to understanding the amazingly non-Scottish brogue of a policeman (portrayed by series regular Scooter Carrot). They are hampered in their investigation by a pair of bumbling policemen, and not Lestrade and Gregson, as a Sherlockian viewer may expect.
No, this pair are named...wait for it...Fish and Chips. Their job seems to be to cover all of Buckingham Palace with yellow police crime scene tape. (Anachronistic, of course, but hey, the story is told by talking vegetables...)
Of course, the Golden Ruler eventually is stolen, and Watson is so frustrated by Sheerluck's hogging of the limelight, that he eventually leaves Holmes to investigate the case without him. Sheerluck encounters nothing but frustration as he tries to figure things out on his own, and finally realizes how badly he mistreated his friend, thereby learning the valuable lesson that one should treat others as one wishes to be treated.
The case is solved by the friends working together, but you won't find any spoilers about the actual solution here.
As far as children's media goes, this parody of Sherlock Holmes is pretty enjoyable, with entertaining antics and a nice moral for the kids, as well as several nods to Sherlockian canonical details that will make adults smile. (There are at least three repetitions of "the game's afoot" throughout the story, often accompanied by a clinking of milk glasses.)
The animation, voice work, and writing are high quality, as any regular viewers of VeggieTales will have come to expect. I don't know if Bob and Larry will ever find a place in the pantheon of great Watson/Holmes duos, but they certainly aren't the worst "actors" to have filled the roles.
If you acquire a DVD of the video (or watch it streaming, more likely) you may want to be aware that the Sheerluck Holmes story is preceded by a mildly amusing parody of Don Quixote ("The Asparagus of La Mancha") and a "Silly Songs with Larry" segment ("Gated Community," not really one of the better Silly Songs). The Sheerluck Holmes segment begins about halfway through.
[Editor's note: this wasn't corny enough for you? Read about the Sherlockian connection to an English corn maze.]