Broken Clock: Zeus Cervas's Top 10 as Writer

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
Zeus Cervas, rightfully regarded as one of the worst Spongebob writers, has had some doozies. He has written some of the worst Spongebob episodes. However, even a broken clock is right twice a day. @Roddor wrote a list of Cervas's 16 worst (which was very well written, despite my objections to 2-3), and mentioned that the good episodes from Zeus was a list for another day. I was inspired. Today is that day. Here are my top 10 episodes that Zeus was a writer on.

#10 Spongehenge (can't seem to get image inserts to work, sorry)

Alright, let's get this out of the way. I risk losing credibility and people stopping reading by listing this first, but it is at the bottom of the top ten. Spongehenge is unnecessarily over-hated. It was a little surprising to see this on Roddor's honorable mentions, but for whatever reason people don't like it. Maybe I just don't get it.

Spongehenge is sort of Twilight Zone parody in Spongebob. It isn't super funny, but SB catching the goulash, Patrick telling him that he is a negative influence, and SB deciding to make a bunch of statues are genuinely funny moments.

Honestly, I think the main reason I like the episode so much is honestly because of the song that SB makes when the wind passes through him. It almost has a "Dire Dire Docks" vibe to it and is easily the best part of the episode. However, I don't think a nice song is enough to carry an episode into being good. Spongebob vs. Jellyfish is a great trope and I think it was delivered well here. It's not as good as "Jellyfish Hunter" by any means, but I don't think it was a lazy or forced use of this classic trope.

Gotta do some work, but # 9 is Ghost Host. I will be back in a bit.
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#9 Ghost Host
I didn't think it was possible, but Zeus can target Squidward without making an entire episode of Squidward Torture. He went at Squid in a very tasteful way here. The Flying Dutchman loses his confidence and gets it back by scaring the living ::dolphin noise:: out of Squidward.

Spongebob gets himself into a familiar predicament in this episode that we saw in "Can You Spare a Dime?" He shows kindness to a friend in need, only to get taken advantage of. I think that this works so well, because it takes quite a lot to break Kind Spongebob. The anticipation of waiting for SB to finally snap keeps you interested, and all the bullshit he puts up with along the way is left to the writer, which is delivered nicely in this episode.

Watching the Flying Dutchman flirt has got to be one of my favorite accidentally funny moments in the show. I don't think it was meant to be a major gag, but that part gets my guts hurting. "Is that a wedding ring?" The puns are on point: "You're a ghost of your former self!"

On top of the anomaly of targetting Squidward without going overboard, Zeus breaks another habit of his in this episode by adding trippy parts without them being gross or creepy. All of the FD's scares are really cool, especially at the end with Squidward. Very solid episode from Zeus here.

Next up, #8 A Flea in Her Dome
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#8 A Flea in Her Dome

The second of two of the over-hated episodes. Spongebob can get really ::dolphin noise:: gross sometimes. I think that may be where the dislike of this episode comes from. But it really isn't gross. The concept of this episode is really creative. Sandy brings back a problem from the land and now it has to be dealt with underwater. Do fleas go after sea sponges and starfish? No, but it's Spongebob. Maybe there's something about Patrick being itchy that makes me chuckle, I don't know. Sandy going all Texas on a bunch of fleas is solid humor. "Is Sandy the one I call mother?" Patrick is on point in the whole episode. Near the end, he concocts a plan to get an apple when they are trying to figure out a way to defeat the fleas.

Another thing that gets me is the mutual crying of Spongebob and Patrick. That part in "All that Glitters" is the saving grace of the episode. Spongebob is crying, and what kind of friend would Patrick be if he didn't join him? The itch puns are a bit overdone, sure, but that's classic Spongebob. The fleas are terrifying, which fits well. The fleas drive everyone to their breaking point, causing the three to fight among each other. Eventually they drown the fleas and somehow the whole ocean ends up inside of the tree-dome, which is an ending deserving of criticism.

Who knows, maybe I just relate to itching so much, but I just love Sandy going all Texas in this episode. Agree to disagree maybe. Just ignore me and continue your power walk: heel-toe heel-toe. In any event, no more wasting time defending unpopular episodes. I think the rest of this list is agreeable.

Next up: "No Nose Knows"
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#7 No Nose Knows

The lack of facial features on the Spongebob characters is always a great gag. From Squidward instantaneously growing an ear in "Sailor Mouth" to Spongebob talking smack to Patrick at the Fry Cook Games and Patrick being unable to smell the Sundae, it's usually really funny. Zeus and the squad decide to center an episode around this concept, and it hits really well. There is a tendency to portray Patrick as a malicious pain the poop-deck, but the writing here actually really hits Patrick's character spot on. Instead, he causes problems in this episode out of an innocent ignorance, and it's funny, wholesome, and ridiculous all at the same time.

Patrick wants a nose, and of course there's a place where he can easily get one. When he does, he experiences the great scents of the world: baked good, freshly cut grass, etc. Then he discovers the not-so-pleasant smells of the world and he can't take it. It dawns on him that he lives in filth, and he goes way overboard with trying to combat the bad smells, causing his friends to want to remove his nose. Aside from these developments, Patrick with a nose looks hilarious.

The best part of the episode is at the very end, when Squidward states that he's happy "that pink moron will leave us alone," to which Patrick, now with ears exclaims, "I heard that!". Classic stuff right there. I don't want this to sound like an argument that it's good because it's not that bad, but it is relieving that Zeus did not make this episode gross, as he so often does, because it would have been very easy to make this episode gross.

Next up, #6 A New Leaf
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#6 New Leaf

I am noticing a trend in my list. Zeus's best episodes seem to be ones where he uses elements that are typically seen in his terrible episodes, but in an actually good way. For example: burning Squidward without torturing him (Ghost Host), getting trippy without getting gross (Ghost Host again), Patrick being dumb without being shitty (No Nose Knows). In "A New Leaf", we see one of Zeus's worst tropes used in a great way. This trope is Krabs being the antagonist against Plankton.

Beyond the fact that Zeus's arguably worst episode (One Coarse Meal) uses this trope, so any other use would be better by default, the episode is really genuinely good. Plankton gives up on trying to steal the formula and opens up a knickknack shop to turn over a "new leaf". At first, Krabs does not buy it, and is a complete asshole to Plankton. Typical Zeus fashion would be for that to last the whole episode. EXCEPT it is short lived! Krabs comes around, and finally accepts that Plankton is just trying to move on. Instead of going crazy and continuing to step on him when he's down, Krabs gets his head clear and realizes Plankton is being genuine.

The only, and I mean ONLY reason one would not be fooled is because Plankton's MO is stealing the formula. I waited for Plankton to pull the rug out from Krabs and reveal he was messing with him the whole time, but it got to the end of the episode and that didn't happen... until it did. It was very convincing that Krabs and Plankton finally made up, but then BAM! I think the only give away is when Krabs gave Plankton the formula, but nevertheless, it was still pretty convincing.

On top of pulling a fast one so effectively, the episode contains some high quality laughs. Spongebob physically ripping his corneas when Krabs tells him to keep his eyes peeled, the closet with various devices Plankton has used in the past, Plankton catching Krabs in a trust fall, etc. And who doesn't wanna hear the name of the episode in the episode (okay, unless it's "All that Glitters")?

Really well written, funny, wholesome episode. I was always excited to watch this as a kid, and it is frequent in my rotation still. It's always nice to see Zeus not take things too far to the point where they turn bad.

Next up, in a similar spirit, Friend or Foe!
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#5 Friend or Foe

Who doesn't love a good origin story? For the second time, we see a great Krabs vs. Plankton episode from Zeus, instead of turning it into a twisted Plankton torture episode.

I think my favorite part of this episode is that it finishes this divorce from the idea that Krabs=Good, Plankton=Bad. Granted, in the beginning, that trope made sense to lay the foundation of their relationship and the dynamics of the show. Before the Krusty Krab and Chum Bucket, Eugene and Sheldon were poor kids who became friends and worked together. It portrays their rivalry as one of friendly competition and jabbing, rather than Krabs driving Plankton to attempt suicide.

It's a familiar social situation. SB asks Krabs why Plankton has beef, Krabs explains his side of the story, Plankton overhears and asserts his version of the facts. Both the same story, but just a different way of telling what caused the riff (classic). Then comes Karen, with the truth.

Karen's part in this is perfect too. "They're both lying!", but of course they are! We get a third version of the history from Karen, whose impartiality can be trusted because of how much ::dolphin noise:: she gives Plankton. After Karen explains how it was all a big misunderstanding, everything resets as Plankton takes advantage of a nostalgic Krabs and tries grabbing the formula. It's nice to know that the history isn't so vicious, but that we still get to keep Plankton as the one who is trying to steal the formula.

Next up, Overbooked!
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#4 Overbooked

Disclaimer. This was not in my original plan for this list. I confused myself thinking "Frozen Faceoff" was actually "Krabs a la Mode" because of the whole frozen Krusty Krab and hockey players. Amateur hour over here. But Zeus didn't write Krabs a la Mode. I moved my original #4 up to #3 and then saw that he actually wrote on this one, which I did not know when I first set my list.

Anyway, Overbooked is good as hell. Spongebob, being the kind of person who always tries to make people happy, does the relateable thing where he triple-books himself with obligations to his friends. Sandy needs help with her experiment; Krabs needs him to work unpaid overtime to fix his telescope; Patrick needs a cake for his birthday party. So Spongebob agrees to help all of them, and ends up running all over town to try to do what they need. Eventually, he can't keep up anymore, and has to admit that he overbooked himself.

Everyone is understanding and isn't upset with him. Sandy then clones him with her new invention and he passes out as the episode ends. Nothing particularly gut-wrenching-funny, but one of the most wholesome, relateable episodes out there.

You'd think Zeus would have made it a shitty, awful ending where everyone hates Spongebob at the end, but he didn't do that here!

I won't announce the last three, but I will finish this early next week.
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#3 Dunces and Dragons

Honestly, when I was a kid I was a little disappointed when this one came out. There was lots of hype for it, and it seemed like a pretty standard long-episode. Even then, I loved it, but was expecting something huge. But over time, this has come to be one of my favorite episodes, and Zeus was listed as the first writer. I think one of the big things that stands out about it is that it's one of the first and one of the few long episodes without a Patchy segment. I love Patchy, but leaving him out leaves a lot more time for the episode's story, which I think was necessary here.

Spongebob and Patrick head to the Renaissance Festival and get selected to partake in a joust. It sends them "back in time" where they meet olden-days versions of their friends. The jokes about them being the ancestors of their friends are spot on: Squidly cursing his great-great-great...grandson to be terrible at the clarinet; King Krabs talking about selling Krabby Patties; the Dark Knight (medieval Sandy) taking interest in SB’s karate. Classic stuff. The songs are not filler and are really funny: “Even ye olde bowling alley.” At one point they’re straight up about to guillotine SB, Patrick, and Squidly. Medieval Sandy comes off as some terrifying villain at first, and it’s really funny when you realize who she is. Karen as a crystal ball is perfect.

It was very creative and by no means a lazy use of the “D&D Episode” trope. It was self-aware when it needed to be and certainly not afraid to laugh at itself. Of course, it was all a flashback from the jousting accident. This mutton-tastic episode is one of the best Zeus Cervas episodes for sure as well as one of the best double-length episodes in all of Spongebob.
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#2 Selling Out

These last three episodes are really some of the best Spongebob episodes of all time. As much garbage as Zeus has given us, he really shows that he has potential and that he can reach that potential once in awhile. #2 is the universally loved, forever quotable, endlessly meme-able "Selling Out".

First we get Krabs' performance of "Feeling of Greed", a perfect foreshadowing device. Howard Blandy, a mega-mogul who runs small businesses out of business, gives Krabs an offer he cannot refuse to buy the Krusty Krab. Krabs in turn retires, and the Krusty Krab basically becomes a TGI Friday's ("Krabby O'Mondays"). Mr. Krabs does not seem to enjoy retirement, though I would have loved to rob his boat when he was driving around with that tower of loot. At one point, one of the most relateable moments in SB, he stops in the middle of golfing to say, "Wait a minute, I hate golf!"

Pearl kicks him out of the house and he goes to get a job at the KK and sees what has happened to it. The "Human Resources Department" is classic. Carl is exactly what you would expect a manager of a new TGI Friday's to be like. When he gets fed up with the bastardization of what was once the Krusty Krab, Eugene destroys the place. "The less you know, Eugene, the better." Carl alerts Howard Blandy of a free-thinker, and Krabby O'Mondays is in ruins. Like a dummy, Krabs offers Blandy full price (when he could have like offered half and had a ton of dough leftover). In typical Krabs' fashion, although his true self is shown in despising the phoniness of the Krabby O'Mondays enough to overpower his greed, he barks at SB and Squidward to get back to work after a sappy moment.

Squidward's Happy Birthday Song, the Human Resources Department, Carl, "Where's the love?"; all of these incredible moments from this episode make it one of the best episodes of the show.
 

ComradeSquidward

New Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2019
Messages
13
Likes
0
Location
Detroit, MI
#1 Not Normal

Hi, how are ya? Nice weather we're having! Squidward makes the mistake of telling Spongebob he should try to act normal in this amazing SB episode. This is easily Zeus's best writing. When Squidward yells at SB in the beginning, telling him he should try to be more normal, Spongebob goes overboard with it, true to form. He starts printing Krabby Patties, living in an average looking house, smoothes out his holes, and becomes full-on normie.

At first, his new normalcy is applauded. Krabs is happy that he can print Krabby Patties so fast. Squidward is happy that he is not annoying anymore. We get a nice montage of normie Spongebob. Then suddenly, a customer realizes the Krabby Patty is actually paper and Krabs cans Spongebob until he is no longer "dull". Then Patrick comes along. Patrick wants to go Jellyfishing, but Spongebob would rather do something more normal. Patrick doesn't want to hang out with SB until he wants to do something fun. Then even Squidward cannot handle the normalcy. Spongebob realizes he took things too far and seeks the professional help of Patrick to teach him the "arcane art of the weird."

Patrick gets weird with Spongebob. It begins to work, but then right as he returns to his usual, not-normal self, he immediately transforms back to his normie self. Then, in a twist, extra-normal Squidward comes along and shocks him back to his usual self.

The concept of the episode is as great as its delivery. What if Spongebob was normal? Well, now we know, and it's pretty ridiculous. Patrick has some killer lines in this, "We've gotta get stranger!" Normal Spongebob is some cursed ::dolphin noise::, but Zeus doesn't make it creepy. "Not Normal" is easily Zeus's best, and solidly one of the best episodes overall.

That's the end! Please let me know what your favorite Zeus Cervas episodes are.
 
Top