I believe I can say with little to no controversy that French Canadians are the champions of weird, in particular that kind of weird that makes one laugh abruptly but with a glib embarrassment and bewildered shaking of the head on behalf of all parties involved. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Arctic Gardens, the company that produced the kooky dancing vegetable music video posted below, resides in Quebec and Ontario. Its tagline, "Arctic Gardens captures the freshness," could almost pass for standard English and yet has that twinge of a Mentos accent (captures the freshness of what?) that gives it away as somehow Other.
The video appears to be part of an advertising campaign for Grill Champions, a frozen yet "tasty mix of vegetables ready for the barbecue," according to the product website. You should experience this musical event for yourself, but I will say that its irresistible tackiness falls somewhere between ABBA and Ace of Base, both of whom I adore with a guilty passion. I find the video fascinating yet terrifying, kind of like The Shining, partly because the refrain (also the song title) has vegetable people with bloated white Mickey Mouse hands beckoning to you and calling out "Come play with me!" which recalls those freaky red-headed twins murmuring "Come play with us" to little Danny.
The video's other disturbing element is the vegetable violence. It's as if Arctic Gardens is trying to macho up the image of vegetables, so that grilling veggies seems just as He-Man an act as slapping some tri-tip on the coals. Not only does the pea-pod rapper with pom-pom pea buttons get the carrot-tomato babe in the frozen food aisle, the young 'n' frisky veggie partiers also amuse themselves by blasting bell peppers into smithereens with a baseball bat. There's something unsettling about watching giant vegetables with human faces barbecue and devour tiny versions of themselves while singing and smiling. The Arctic Gardens website underscores this vegetable aggression with its graphic of the Grill Champions package wedged between a man's clenched fist and meaty bicep. Eat your veggies or be a sissy! GRRRR!