This was pretty entertaining. It’s got a great character pairing, some neat jokes and Pearl at some of her best. I can’t care much for SpongeBob being a torture device, and the stop motion’s a bit too strange for me, but I found it to be good.
This episode was alright to say the least. It adds quite an interesting backstory to Squidward meeting Pearl, but the teen storyline kinda felt too mushy. A few decent jokes thrown around, and the live action was a surprise, but nothing too exciting. SpongeBob's cameo might be his shortest appearance this season, maybe since season 9 with Mall Girl Pearl. 7.2/10
It's nice to see Squidward and Pearl together, but I feel like we didn't get to see them interact enough. Now I'll admit, I've never been a fan of Pearl, so her behavior in this episode is a bit annoying (especially the crying), but I like what they did with her in the end. I also think SpongeBob being used as a torture device is kinda funny, just like in the second movie. The end scene with Squidward and Pearl was especially great, and it's nice to see an outside perspective of Squidward (I don't think we've seen an episode describing Squidward as "old" in this way before). This is just a decent episode for me, not one I'm going to try and rewatch or anything.
Given how this show is in it's eleventh Season (19th year as of writing this review) makes it all the more impressive whenever a writer successfully pulls off an original concept. This episode experiments with a dynamic between Pearl and Squidward of all people. The Post-Prequel era is chock full of these more experimental episodes that focus on characters other than SpongeBob (Mall Girl Pearl, The Executive Treatment, Salsa Imbecillicus, Feral Friends, Squid Plus One, to name a few). Seeing such an interesting dynamic put together really well surely makes for a treat. At it's heart, Whale Watching is a Sitcom episode. Pearl wants to go to a party, Krabs doesn't let her (Though his motivations, while not as cliche, are unjustified in my opinion), Squidward, the totally square old man who used to babysit Pearl back when she was little is hired to babysit Pearl, you know the drill. And I think this episode masters the art of using this type of realistic conflict and implementing it into a cartoon. The Simpsons mastered this back in Season 3, I really feel like that Season truly embodies the likes of a sitcom, with its own wacky cartoony spin implemented into it.
Whale Watching does an excellent job setting up the relationship between Squidward and Pearl. Through a brief slew of hilarious visual gags (An excellent substitute that relies more on subtlety than say, a flashback of Pearl tormenting Squidward as a kid). It may just be a small little gag, but these visuals really give you the feeling for this episode. Squidward's more than just a guy desperate to get SpongeBob off his back (Excellent additional motivation, by the way), he used to babysit Pearl all the time. I think that little detail enhances the dynamic between these two, because it's more than just a random pairing of characters, these two have history together, and I love the subtlety of presenting this. Even a seemingly insignificant detail can go the long way in developing a story, and I think this little gag really keeps the episode together. Squidward noticeably is a lot more calm in this episode. He's not strictly in it for his reward, there's also a genuine care underlying Squidward, which is best shown in the breaching scene.
I've fallen in love with this episode, it really is one of the best of Season 11. Andrew masters the execution of this plotline. The moment we jump into the episode, the tone is set through the nautical music blasting on the teenage hipster's ride, as Pearl gushes over her crush in shotgun. It usually takes me a bit to be invested in a SpongeBob episode, particularly nowadays, but man, this episode is far from boring by any means. I'm instantly hooked the moment we get into the episode.
Now here comes my main gripe. Krabs. His excuse if that "He's playing cards with the boys". I mean, yeah, Andrew could've used the cliche "It's too dangerous, I don't trust my one and only daughter going out to a reckless party" trope. Yeah, that trope's not that specific but you get the general idea. I personally don't agree with Krabs' excuse, especially since he doesn't seem to have any problem with Pearl going to a reckless party. But that's simply who Krabs' character is, he's selfish, has been a majority of the series. So this excuse does line up with his character, though I'm not personally a fan of this excuse, I think there could've been a better way to get Krabs to say no to Pearl. Eh, better than the ol' "Me money!" excuse, at least.
Now, I've praised enough of the setup of the episode, how does the rest of the episode work out? Well, it's a pretty funny episode. Not hilarious, but still gives me a suitable amount of laughs to make the humor passable. The funniest joke, hands down, was the bike gag. Holy crap, that gag was amazing, the timing was perfect! The setup and actual joke (An ironic gag poking fun at Squidward's need to hurry) is hilarious, it's one of the funniest gags of recent time.
I don't know, maybe I'm so worn out from the humorless Shopping List, but I really love this episode's lineup of gags. Squidward and Pearl are both really great characters to. Had the amount of "effort" put into Sanitation Insanity be used in making this episode, I'd have a feeling we'd see one-dimensional presentations of Squidward/Pearl (Squidward as a crazed, frantic lunatic worried about dealing with SpongeBob, and Pearl being an obnoxious crybaby the majority of the time). Yes, these common traits do pop up in the episode, but their use is quite limited. Heck, they're both twisted into two great jokes (The Bike gag as mentioned before, and Pearl's way of sneaking out her room).
The characters are really fleshed out in that totally surprising breaching sequence. Holy crap...that was incredible. I did not expect to ever see such a sequence in this series, let alone this episode. The use of breaching as the reckless party action is the prime example of this episode using a standard sitcom formula, while taking advantage of being cartoon. It's incredibly creative, and is an amazing climax to the episode. I love the Stop Motion animation used in this sequence, it really fits the tone of this episode, and it looks really good to. Whatever that photoshop crap that was used for the two other breaching fish was, I'm thankful we didn't see it in Pearl's beached scene. Pearl being beached was so brilliant, I can't even describe this in full detail, it was just a perfect way to bring real risks towards the end of the episode, and really connect Pearl & Squidward together.
Yes, there's actual character growth in this episode, and I absolutely love it. There are only two complaints I have about this episode. The crappy "animation" used for those two fish, and Krabs' excuse. Otherwise, this is an Amazing Episode. Season 11 is really shaping up to be one of the craziest Seasons of this series. There are so many awful episodes, and so many great and just amazing episodes. I'm really impressed by this one, and I'd say it's made it in my Top 5. 10/10
This episode was alright. It was an episode that I wouldn't actively rewatch, but it's not an episode I would consider bad either. The execution could have been better, and I think more could have been done with the idea of Squidward babysitting Pearl.
1. Scavenger Pants (A+)
2. Teacher's Pests (A+)
3. Bottle Burglars (A+)
4. The Legend Of Boo-Kini Bottom (A+)
5. Squid Noir (A)
6. Chatterbox Gary (A)
7. Man Ray Returns (A)
8. Doodle Dimension (A)
9. Spin The Bottle (A)
10. Larry The Floor Manager (A)
11. Drive Happy (A)
12. Sanitation Insanity (B)
13. Stuck On The Roof (B)
14. There's A Sponge In My Soup (B)
15. Mustard O'Mine (B)
16. Moving Bubble Bass (B)
17. Pat the Horse (B)
18. High Sea Diving (B)
19. My Leg! (B)
20. Spot Returns (B)
21. Fun-Sized Friends (B)
22. Shopping List (B)
23. Cave Dwelling Sponge (B)
24. The Clam Whisperer (C)
25. No Pictures, Please (C)
26. Whale Watching (C)
27. Cuddle E. Hugs (C)
28. Old Man Patrick (C)
29. Krabby Patty Creature Feature (C)
30. Don't Feed the Clowns (C)
31. The Check-Up (D)
32. Grandmum's the Word (D)
33. Bunny Hunt (D)
34. Ink Lemonade (F)