Re-Evaluating my opinions on SpongeBob Season 1-8

EmployeeAMillion

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Boating School (Season 1, Episode 4b)
Original Airdate: August 7 1999 (Episode 9)
Plot: Patrick helps SpongeBob with his boating exam
Written by Ennio Torresan, Erik Wiese and Mr Lawrence

[titlecard]4B[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: Hawaiian Train

Something that I can say about this episode right off the bat is that it's sort of to SpongeBob as There's No Disgrace Like Home is to The Simpsons. In case you don't know, that's an episode where Homer, of all people, is embarrassed by his family's antics (including Marge hitting the al-key-hol in public), which is pretty jarring to watch for fans who had become used to Homer's flanderization into a dumb, lazy moron who would be the last to call someone out on their behaviour. I remember when I watched it on the Complete First Season DVD for the first time around mid-2009, and I was used to reruns of Season 9 and 10, where Homer's flanderization was about to hit it's peak, so it was more jarring to me than anybody else. You can sort of see where I'm coming from, can't you?

Patrick being seemingly smarter than SpongeBob, or at least more competent in driving a boat that he isn't even in. You really have to remind yourself that this was a 5th episode produced (after Help Wanted, Tea at the Treedome, Squeaky Boots and Jellyfishing), and the episodes Bubblestand and Naughty Nautical Neighbours were yet to be written, and once you have that knowledge out of the way, it makes the viewing experience seem a little more natural.

However, the episode itself does a good job at reminding me that it was really early on, because it has a couple of technical errors that don't totally take me out of the experience, but sort of distract me for a little bit. In the shot where SpongeBob is looking at the course for the first time and it does that classic "the road is bigger in your mind" cartoon trick, when it cuts back to SpongeBob and Mrs Puff, the sound effect accompanying it abruptly stops. Another instance is the next morning in which there's supposed to be a bubble transition, with the sound effect and all, even though it's just a direct jump-cut to the next scene, which is odd because even a lot of early Season 1 episodes like Jellyfishing and Ripped Pants used fade outs and wipes respectively. Not to mention in the "Hello Blues"/SpongeBob succeeding montage, there aren't any sound effects or noises throughout the whole thing, however, that last one might just be for effect.

What do you know? I'm already 400 words in and I haven't even gotten to the story yet. It just goes to show that I make better reviews when I have the time to think about them, even if I try to get these out as soon as possible.

The idea of SpongeBob attending, not a driving school with cars, but a boating school with boats, was a smart move in keeping the aquatic feel that Stephen Hillenburg intended for the show to have. It should be noted that SpongeBob was just going to have a boat from the get-go, as seen in some old production art that Hillenburg designed, but since Nickelodeon executives wanted the main character to attend a school, and having him getting an education restricts his age/legitimacy as a professional fry cook, the idea for the undersea equivalent to driving schools was born.

SpongeBob acts differently here as opposed to other Boating School episodes. In later episodes, even in Season 2 and 3, he's portrayed as an impossibly terrible driver with it being a miracle that he hasn't been legally restrained from Mrs Puff's boating school. Here, he's just a nervous student. He knows all the answers to the various boating tests (either "1924" is referencing the first Ford car, but I think that it could also qualify as the curfew for beginner drivers (7:24 PM) as I personally find it distracting when SpongeBob makes real-world references), but the instant he gets behind the wheel, he goes into panic mode. And why wouldn't he? Seriously, this school is a vehicular death trap! Flaming hoops? Having to drive upside-down implied to be mandatory? 99% of viewers tend to overlook it due to the blissful music playing but not me! I can totally see why SpongeBob acts the way he does!

As for the humour in this episode, it's handled very well. The very first time we see Mrs Puff, she seems to show a comedic contrast to SpongeBob, as a good SpongeBob regular does, proving herself to be "not ready" emotionally, but indeed ready for SpongeBob's driving, while SpongeBob is ready emotionally, but indeed not ready for his driving. It's a very relateable teacher/student dynamic and it works well for the show that it is.

Not to mention that the jokes stand out well. SpongeBob's mind frequently going straight to "FLOORING IT" is always a crack-up moment, as well as Patrick, while not being at the top of his game, still provides the purpose of being the comic relief. He's generally more level-headed here than in other outings, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he's a funny, loveable guy. Although there is one thing I don't understand. How did he know the layout of the course and what to do even when he hasn't got his eye on the boating school? I mean, it's almost as if he's taken the test before or someth-
[titlecard]77A[/titlecard]
…oh Neptune.

One more thing I'd like to talk about is the moral of the story, which is simply "Cheating is wrong". SpongeBob doesn't take the accidental realisation that he's cheating all that well, even though he would've learned a sizeable amount of information on the course from Patrick, and guilt overrides his willingness to succeed, causing him to crash the boat and fail the test. I have no idea if Mrs Puff knew about SpongeBob cheating, as the way she describes SpongeBob's predicament is sneakilly correct, and when SpongeBob reveals himself to be a fraud, she's more conerned with him letting go of the wheel than she is with him cheating.

To sum up, this is a fun watch. It has a few conspicuous flaws, but otherwise, it holds up among the rest of Season 1 so far.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Good".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be a 7/10.
It's worse than Tea at the Treedome, but better than Reef Blower.

Next time, we'll be getting a slice of what would happen if SpongeBob and Squidward were left alone together for a prolonged amount of time. Until then, play me out, Soyo Oka.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okAMB-4VPRg
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Pizza Delivery (Season 1, Episode 5a)
Original Airdate: August 14 1999 (Episode 10)
Plot: SpongeBob and Squidward deliver the first Krusty Krab Pizza, but it's harder than it seems
Written by Sherm Cohen, Aaron Springer and Peter Burns

[titlecard]5A[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: Unknown Track (although some call it "We're Saved")

This episode is a pure masterpiece. I mean, you wouldn't expect something this grand to come this early on in Season 1, would you? Bear in mind that it's even earlier in production order! It would be incredibly easy to spend a paragraph calling it a gem and leave it at that, but I want to give an in-depth look at what makes this one of the most beloved episodes of the whole series.

First of all, it's premise. Someone wants to have a pizza from the Krusty Krab delivered to them, despite the fact that the Krusty Krab doesn't make pizzas. Mr Krabs compromises by getting a couple of Krabby Patties and mashing them up, turning them into a pizza…somehow. Yeah, are Krabby Patties supposed to have mushrooms and pepperoni? I digress, because he decides to make Squidward deliver the pizza, but by the octopus' happily eager request, has SpongeBob tag along with him.

Since it was previously established to be after closing time, which would be pretty late for a fast-food joint in the late-1990s, Squidward is understandably tired, and requests SpongeBob drive in his boat to the location because he's too lazy to walk. SpongeBob has yet to have any competence when it comes to boating, so he screws up royally and sends them in reverse at top speed for hours, taking them far away from Bikini Bottom and into an isolated desert with only the road accompanying them.

Frustrated, Squidward utters the 7 Words of Immediate Misfortune in comedy, "How could things possibly get any worse?", and kicks the boat, which somehow restores it's petrol and sends it back to…somewhere. Yeah, there's a reason Squidward doesn't have a car again (as far as I remember) until Boat Smarts. Stranded in the middle of nowhere with the bane of his existence singing a silly tune about pizzas, there's more than enough reason to feel for Squidward already. Not to mention you'd be on SpongeBob's side, as Squidward unintentionally forced both of them into this predicament and SpongeBob didn't mean harm. Really, the only thing he's destroyed with malicious intent at this point in the series is Squidward's cello in Naughty Nautical Neighbours (if you count that as being before Pizza Delivery).

Around this point is where "the pioneers" come into play. They're kept very vague when it comes to their origins or what they did, and the only thing SpongeBob says about them is that he watched a movie about them. However, their mannerisms and tactics are therefore what they stand for. The methods of survival they employed and how SpongeBob (and Squidward to an extent) re-enact them is utterly stupid, but somehow very successful. They had two things that translate well into modern survival (taking directions from moss and riding boulders rocks) and two that don't (hitch-hiking and eating coral, which in the latter's case, could've simply evolved to be inedible since the pioneers' days), so it brakes even.

So we get hitch-hiking.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyHJF1Le6Zo
That happens, I guess. Then later, SpongeBob and Squidward seem to have gotten themselves into even more of a doozy. Continuing to carry the pizza is starting to become a burden on the Deep Sea Duo, with the wind constantly dragging SpongeBob around. SpongeBob here still has faith in the pizza being safe and continues to put the customer before himself (remember that later on) while Squidward has had about enough and is only walking with SpongeBob because…because he wants to get home, that's it.

The two end up getting stuck in a hurricane (if it's underwater, shouldn't it be a sandstorm? No, I'm not gonna put in a second meme, one at a time is enough!) which leads them even further off course. There isn't even a road in this new location! Squidward begins freaking out before SpongeBob points out another pioneer trick. Squidward, being more sane than SpongeBob, swiftly rejects it amd goes in the opposite direction, which SpongeBob unintentionally follows. The camera then pans to reveal a big city right where the two would've treaded had they followed SpongeBob's orders. I'm not even mad, that was funny.

Time passes, and I mean it freaking passes, and they end up getting tired and hungry. Squidward comes up with a good idea- eating the pizza, the only food they have, and this is where the decision to make it a pizza delivery really benefits the episode. Pizza is inherently are very humourous word, and having it paired with anger and other negative emotions creates a greater comedic contrast to the somewhat innocent situations that pizza would usually be a part of (I don't think it would've been as funny with Squidward shouting "Give me that Krabby Patty!" or "Give me that burger!"). Not to mention, having them deliver any other food that has an inherently funny name (like banana, pie, banana pie or chimmycherrychunga) wouldn't make as much sense in the context of them being fast food workers. So pizza is a perfect fit for the episode.

They then come across a rock, which SpongeBob is overwhemingly ecstatic about, proclaiming them to be saved over and over again before running up to it. He then tells Squidward that the pioneers used to ride them for miles. By this point, Squidward has had it up to here with SpongeBob, and starts yelling at him about how he's been acting all day (if we're to believe that it takes place across a day or so), before being crushed by the boulder that SpongeBob flawlessly rides like a boat (or car for us). Just the fact that he can do it so easily despite absolutely sucking at anything having to do with boats is one of the most interesting and rock-solid (no pun intended) jokes in the whole series, and really highlights how much of lunatics that pioneers must've been.

Once the two get to the house of the customer is where the episode takes a dark turn. No, not dark in the sense of "The Flying Dutchman is really gonna eat SpongeBob and Patrick" or "Plankton is actually gonna take his own life", I mean it's so realistic that it's sort of uncomfortable to watch, but in an amazing, dramatic way. SpongeBob finally, and I mean finally delicers the pizza to the customer, who then yells right into SpongeBob's face about a problem he couldn't deal with (forgetting the drink, even though Mr Krabs never told either SpongeBob or Squidward) and rejects the order. "Didn't you ever once think about the customer!?" SpongeBob always put him first no matter what. "You call yourself a delivery boy!?" If your definition of "delivery" is "trek dozens of miles with the risk of death to satisfy a single fish", then yes, he is a delivery boy.

SpongeBob stumbles back to Squidward and the rock, falls over and cries. One thing that I'd like to mention is that SpongeBob's crying here is much more realistic and dramatic than in any other episode of the show, and this it really shows how much emotion SpongeBob can have, unlike A Day Without Tears, where SpongeBob broke down in response towards everything and anything. Squidward is not happy with this, and goes over to the customer and, like how the customer threw insults at SpongeBob's face, Squidward throws the pizza into his. After this, Squidward is seen smiling for a bit. Truly, he did it to make SpongeBob feel better. It just goes to show that he doesn't hate the little wierdo, he's just all too often annoyed by him.

Then we get the ending, in which SpongeBob and Squidward ride back to the Krusty Krab, which as it turns out, was just a couple yards away from the customer's house the whole time. This raises the question - is this an STP? Not really, mainly because Squiward was the one who caused the conflict. As I said, he was too lazy to walk to the customer's house, and his karma was being sent into the middle of nowhere with SpongeBob by SpongeBob no less. Also, Squidward feels alright by the end. Sure his tentacles ache, but that's about it.

From start to finish, Pizza Delivery is pure Classic SpongeBob material. It's a great story with an incredible sense of humour and it not only highlights the contrast between SpongeBob and Squidward's personalities, but finds a way to make it funny without turning it into a joke in and of itself. That's what I call good characterization.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Spongey".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be a 10/10.
It's better than Ripped Pants.

Next time, we'll be meeting Mr and Mrs SquarePants for the first (or was it the second?) time. Until then, play me out, SpongeBob.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i6RUN9Akuo
:sbthumbs:
 

Zimmy11

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Since this is episode 10, aren't you going to rank the episode so far as you promised you would do every 5 episodes?
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Since this is episode 10, aren't you going to rank the episode so far as you promised you would do every 5 episodes?
By that, I mean every 2 or 3 half-hours. It's just inconvenient that Episode 1-2 had a combined total of 5 segments, but when I do Home Sweet Pineapple, I will ranks them.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Home Sweet Pineapple (Season 1, Episode 5b)
Original Airdate: August 14 1999 (Episode 11)
Plot: SpongeBob loses his house to thirsty nematodes and is left homeless as a result
Written by Ennio Torresan, Erik Wiese and Mr Lawrence

[titlecard]5B[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: Sunshine in Hawaii

The episode hadn't even started yet and I was already enjoying it. Seriously, the music that plays during the opening credits, Sunshine in Hawaii, is a pleasant, relaxing melody that, as far as I know, has only started off this episode. This really needs to be brought back at some point, mostly because SpongeBob Theme Version 2 and Clownfish Capers aren't as fit to headline 100,000 episodes!

On to the actual episode itself, it starts with a pack of hungry nematodes bouncing around looking for something to eat. It show already that through eating a rock and a guy's boat that they're pretty ravenous and they can collectively devour anything. They're clearly not something to support, even though they're pretty funny. As soon as they solve their hunger problem, they get thirsty, so they decide to sip on SpongeBob's pineapple house using bendy-straws, supposedly sucking out it's juices, causing it to shrink.

The scene in which SpongeBob and Gary are inside the pineapple while it's shrinking and things are diappearing is very well done. I think it's my favourite scene in the episode, mostly due to it's animation, which is more elaborate than anything the show had done at that point (which is understandable, considering that it was the 25th to be produced!) and it had some of the best lines from Squidward and Patrick, which go along the lines of "Is it already time to ruin [Squidward's] day?", implying that Patrick and (maybe) SpongeBob intentionally plan to annoy Squidward. Remember, fresh mindset, only the first handful of episodes, don't need to care about modern STPs yet.

One thing I don't get about the scene however is that, when SpongeBob wakes up to find his bedroom shrunk, he proclaims, "Hooray Gary, we're finally huge!", as if being huge were a recurring dream or fantasy of his. Taking stuff like Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy IV into consideration, it seems as though that would be the last thing that SpongeBob would want to happen to him.

After the nematodes have finished off the house, SpongeBob and Gary are left homeless, which is treated as a much bigger deal than anything in the series thus far. In fact, this whole episode is on about the same emotional level as the angry customer scene in Pizza Delivery, in that SpongeBob has moments of happiness, but the overall feel of the episode is somewhat depressing. I mean, SpongeBob is at the risk of leaving Bikini Bottom due to something neither he, Patrick or Squidward did, and although he would be living with his parents, there was the threat of never seeing his two neighbours ever again. Remember kids, this was before Skype.

Speaking of SpongeBob's parents, this is not the first time that we've seen Harold and Margaret SquarePants in production order, because they attended the Krusty Krab's Talent Show in Episode 10a, Culture Shock, even though that hadn't aired at this point. I don't think it matters, because either way, this was a pretty good introduction for them. Also, have you ever noticed, and I might be overanalyzing this, but their initials are H.S. and M.S., similar to Homer Simpson and Marge Simpson from…take a wild guess. I'm pretty sure they weren't meant to directly reference The Simpsons, but it's sorta fun to point out.

As for the humour in this episode, it's pretty lukewarm to be completely honest. There are good jokes, meh jokes, and everything in between. First of all, the montage of SpongeBob and Patrick building a house is really creative and funny. How many people do you know who can keep nailing boards in mid-air? As for SpongeBob and Patrick sleeping together, it's pretty meh. I know Patrick doesn't mean any harm to SpongeBob, but geez, it's a 2-minute long scene. When it's an 11-minute cartoon, you've really got to save time. Like a good chunk of Jellyfishing, it's not really funny (outside of the "Spiders!" bit), but mostly harmless. However, the scene that follows it, which is SpongeBob manipulating a sleepy and barely concious Squidward, is much funnier and half as long, so I guess it evens out. Even then, the comedy isn't what this episode is all about; it's more about the story than anything, and it's a pretty good one by SpongeBob standards.

Speaking of stories, the ending is pretty great. SpongeBob is just about to leave Bikini Bottom for seemingly ever, he goes back to the remnants of his house and buries the seed that it once was, while a tear drips down his nose, seeping into the ground, causing the seed to somehow grow into a stalk which drops a pineapple-shaped house which perfectly replicates SpongeBob's old house back onto the location, crushing a certain octopus who was jerkishly dancing over the space. You may call it a deus ex machina, but I find it really funny and convenient that there was indeed a way for the conflict to be resolved, and in a way that would prevent a similar scenario from happening in the future.
[titlecard]170B[/titlecard]
Well, for the most part.

I guess crying does solve your problems, after all!

In conclusion, Home Sweet Pineapple has a very heartfelt story with surprisingly decent animation in the beginning, and although lacking in the comedy department, that isn't really it's strong suit. It's strong suit is telling a great story, and it does so well.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Good".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be an 8/10.
It's worse than Help Wanted, but better than Tea at the Treedome.

On a different note, here's the list updated: (new episodes are bold)
11. Jellyfishing (5/10)
10. Naughty Nautical Neighbours (6/10)
9. Reef Blower (6/10)
8. Boating School (7/10)
7. Tea at the Treedome (7/10)
6. Home Sweet Pineapple (8/10)
5. Help Wanted (8/10)
4. Plankton! (8/10)
3. Bubblestand (8/10)
2. Ripped Pants (9/10)
1. Pizza Delivery (10/10)

Next time, all I'm gonna say is that there's gonna be evil afoot. Until then, play me out, random video about spiders I found while trying to find something to do with spiders.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFxJ0oAZ0Ws
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy (Season 1, Episode 6a)
Original Airdate: August 21 1999 (Episode 12)
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick try to bring Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy out of retirement
Written by Paul Tibbitt, Mark O'Here and Mr Lawrence

[titlecard]6A[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: The Lineman

If there's generally a point in a SpongeBob marathon in which I can start to define and individually analyse the writing styles and characterization of certain characters, as attributed to by certain writers, it would be Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy. This is the second episode (in airing order) to be penned partially by Paul Tibbitt after Ripped Pants (if you ever read this, sorry I mispelled your surname is "Tibbit" earlier on), and comparing SpongeBob's behaviour in both episodes is actually pretty fun. In both, he's portrayed as much more naïve, innocent and childish, but at the same time, annoying to some of the people around him. Two noteworthy scenes for comparision are the scene in Ripped Pants where SpongeBob begins taking the titular joke too seriously and introduces the joke to people at Goo Lagoon who weren't in on it in the first place, subsequently annoying them whilst still running around happilly, flailing his arms in the air and giggling, and essentially the entirety of this episode.

SpongeBob and Patrick appear to be big fans of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy, cosplaying as them while playing around the neighbourhood as children would do, and annoying Squidward through no malicious intent. I mean, they were just having fun with their neighbour, and although they were treating him like a villain, it was mostly just harmless acting. After all, Squidward (AKA Reflecto) quickly destroyed the tent that SpongeBob and Patrick put around him, and seemingly settled down when he was telling them that Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy were at the retirement home.

Back onto SpongeBob and Patrick being innocent kids, this is especially apparent virtually every time they're around Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy themselves. They're really huge fans of them, and they do the sorta thing that fanboys would do: constantly remind their heroes of adventures that they've been on, feel honoured to get attacked by their decaying superpowers, and want them to get out of retirement so they can go on more adventures.

Speaking of which, one of the things that I've never really gotten was the authenticity of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy. I mean, are they actual heroes who just so happen to get their adventures televised or are they…"actors"? It seems to be leaning towards the former, but even then, they're some heroes to think that they should go into retirement when later installments in the Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy Saga (even if we're going by just the first 5 or 6) clearly show that there is still evil afoot in Bikini Bo-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6ucZsJQxbQ

All I said was that there was evil afoot.

Now that I've gotten myself into this, I just want to address my stance on parody and satire in SpongeBob. If the reference is timeless (in that it won't eventually be seen as overly 90s, or 2000s, or 2010s), if it's just as funny and memorable for people who don't get the reference as those who do, if it serves in context for the plot (or if the plot is one big reference like Clams or License to Milkshake), and/or the way the characters interact with it can be seen as normal for them (ei, SpongeBob meets a Snoop Dogg-like character, then begins to use lingo like "Yo whaddup my homie?" unironically would potentially be seen as the worst possible thing to happen to the show), then I would consider it good parody/satire.

Don't judge me, I don't know anything about Snoop Dogg outside of "Smoke weed everyday".

What they choose to parody here is Aquaman (not to mention the rebooted TV Series at the end seems to be based on 60s Batman, but that's about it), which may be timeless (I'm not too sure because I don't read superhero comic books), it's really funny and memorable to see an old, senile take on the character, it's very much a plot about giving senior citizens the opportunity to get out of retirement, and SpongeBob and Patrick don't act any different here than they would in any other episode. I know that I said they're more childish here than in most of Season 1, but that serves the story well.

As for Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy themselves and how they are as characters, I've forgotten just how funny they are. They represent two sides of being old: Barnacle Boy is grouchy, down to earth and always negative, which makes sense considering he'd probably still be going through some teenage angst, while Mermaid Man is too senile to be anything but positive, has his head in the clouds in every scene he's in, and the irony is that he's barely qualified to be taken seriously as the saviour of Bikini Bottom anymore, and they take that joke and just run with it.

This brings me to my next point, the old people humour. It's very easy to crack cynical, dehumanizing jokes at old people and how they're past their prime and can't do anything right, but the way it's handled is definitely what sells the episode. It's very much jolly and positive about the grannies and granddads of the sea, and never tries too hard to make them either jerks or loopy idiots.

So in conclusion, this episode is a worthy introduction to the characters of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy? Is it the best in the original saga? Well, that's hard to determine, considering this whole thing is a re-evaluation. However, one thing I can say is that it stands on it's own as being a great Season 1 episode.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Good".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be an 8/10.
It's worse than Ripped Pants, but better than Bubblestand.

Next time, we're gonna see SpongeBob get into a bit of a pickle. Until then, play me out, Batman.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jgE-lrfZ3k
:sbthumbs: (Oh yeah, and this came from the episode)
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Pickles (Season 1, Episode 6b)
Original Airdate: August 21 1999 (Episode 13)
Plot: SpongeBob forgets to put pickles on a Krabby Patty and starts losing his sanity/memory
Written by Steve Fonti, Chris Mitchell and Peter Burns

[titlecard]6B[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: The Gunfighter

I usually like to split seasons up into about 3 individual parts (early, mid and late) and I usually see Season 1 as being:
Early Season 1- Episode 1-6 (Help Wanted-Pickles)
Mid Season 1- Episode 7-13 (Hall Monitor-I Was a Teenage Gary)
Late Season 1- Episode 14-20 (SB-129-Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy II)
That's not to say the other 20-episode seasons follow this order, but these are the orders that I find the most fitting in how the show grows and develops, as well as when the episode(s) air(s). Either that or my mind just likes this pattern better for some seasons than others. Either way, I find Pickles to be the end of early Season 1, because I personally find it to be one of the most overlooked/underrated episodes of it (besides Reef Blower and Jellyfishing). That's a shame, because this episode far surpasses both of them, and might be my favourite of this current batch next to Pizza Delivery.

So what's the story? SpongeBob is making Krabby Patties at the Krusty Krab as usual, and seeming to be much more careful with the ingredients and their placement than back in Help Wanted and Plankton!, before a rude, fat guy called Bubble Bass orders a seemingly impossible yet ridiculous item, to which Squidward flatly replies, "We serve food here.", which is then immediately followed by SpongeBob claiming to have perfected the dish. This already shows that the episode has a great sense of humour.

SpongeBob seems to recognise Bubble Bass, and all happiness washes off his face when he first sees him. The way that Bubble Bass says that he heard that SpongeBob makes a mean Krabby Patty seems to suggest that he hasn't had SpongeBob's cooking, but that they've crossed paths at some point in the past. What happened and which one of them started the vague fued is up to the audience's imagination, but it doesn't matter much because SpongeBob and Bubble Bass only interact again in F.U.N. in a non-threatening way, and Bubble Bass is only seen again 12 years later in Plankton's Good Eye, and Sponge Out of Water after that. (I know that he appeared in the video game, Nicktoons: Globs of Doom in some capacity, however, for the sake of this thread, I'm only going to be talking about the show's canon).

At this point, I'd just like to point out the atmosphere that this episode has - it seems to be based on Western movies with SpongeBob and Bubble Bass occasionally staring at each other like cowboys, and SpongeBob even blows a bubble as if his wand were a cigarette! (So for those who complain about the cigarette references in What Ever Happened to SpongeBob and Little Yellow Book, just remember, you saw it here first). Heck, one of the ways they sneakily set this up is by having SpongeBob's rambling in the kitchen seem much more…let's just say American than before. (Which is odd, because Plankton! had him rambling mostly in French. I guess a running gag that quickly died out was that SpongeBob was supposed to act like a different ethnicity every time he was shown making a Krabby Patty, but it never caught on).

So Bubble Bass eats the Krabby Patty that SpongeBob made just for him, and…failure! SpongeBob appears to have forgotten to add pickles. The crowd that had built around the two of them disappears, disappointed by SpongeBob's easy defeat, while SpongeBob picks apart the Krabby Patty, because he knows that he couldn't have forgotten to add them! He just couldn't have! Then we get Mr Krabs being very hesitant to give the unsatisfied customer's money back, which leads me to the realisation that this was the first time that Mr Krabs was portrayed as being a cheapskate. He was shown to love greenbacks back in Help Wanted, and in production order, Squeaky Boots came before this, but in Squeaky Boots, it's more of a family thing than a business thing.

Mr Krabs sharply orders SpongeBob back into the kitchen, and SpongeBob gets back to work on the patties. However, something's clearly off with his mind. The overwhelming stress seems to have made him forget the order of ingredients in which Krabby Patties are composed. Mr Krabs understands and gives SpongeBob the day off to recollect his bearings, and hiring Squidward as SpongeBob's substitute in the meantime. What follows soon establishes that Squidward should be nowhere near a fast food kitchen. I mean, who burns milkshakes?
[titlecard]181A[/titlecard]
Those who haven't attended Milkshake Academy, that's who!

Meanwhile, back at home, SpongeBob's mind is derailing at an alarming rate. It's lucky that he's still able to hold a pencil and notepad! What I mean is that not only has he forgotten how to make Krabby Patties, which had been established as his life's calling, but he can no longer get into bed properly and turns his alarm clock off by shoving Gary into the speaker! I'd also like to point out that I love how, during the segment where SpongeBob is getting into bed, he let's out several "Wrong"s, then out of nowhere a "Negatory"! That's just such a SpongeBob-ish touch that would make a small thing that would otherwise be seen as redundant into something genuinely humourous.

Speaking of SpongeBob and language, is you watch closely as SpongeBob is saying "This pickles thing's got my head all messed up.", so you can sorta see his lips say "screwed up" instead of "messed up". It could either be that Tom Kenny just didn't want to say something slightly rude, or it's just because this is the same network that censored an episode of The Angry Beavers which had the phrase "Shut up" in it. I'm leaning more toward the former, because SpongeBob (being controlled by Plankton) told Squidward to "Shut his mouth" in Plankton!, so maybe the censors were a little more lax on SpongeBob and The Angry Beavers. Either way, they aired around the same time originally.

Now may I just say, because the this is where the episode gets a lot better. Squidward's poor cooking (and shake-mixing) has driven customers away from the Krusty Krab, which prompts Mr Krabs to say, "I gotta get SpongeBob back!". I'm not making that up, see for yourself.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_ly3ItLRAw
Now I know what you're probably thinking of…and please stop thinking about it, because it's a pretty gory video.

I digress, because Mr Krabs makes it to SpongeBob's house where…let's just say that it's a madhouse filled with pretty much everything that can go not-right, like a toaster hanging on the door, egg on toast being hammered to the walls, walking through doors instead of around them being the norm and a random bicycle being boiled on a stove! Not to mention, SpongeBob wearing underwear on his face instead of in his pants. But the thing I love the most about this whole scene is the fact that the otherwise generic hawaiian music plays backwards through the whole thing. Just listen:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54TaxU1uli4
I'm starting to see why a metric butt-ton of creepypastas just assume that normal music backwards is creepy…that's because it is!

Mr Krabs decides to do the impossible and try to train SpongeBob how to make a Krabby Patty again. He lays out all the ingredients for SpongeBob and tells him to take his time. A day passes before SpongeBob even bothers to move a muscle, seeming to have regained his confidence, he reaches his hand out and…goes back to thinking. 2 days pass and SpongeBob finally has an epiphany - he can't do it! He's so frustrated with himself that, in his rage, he calls Mr Krabs a cheapskate and assembles a perfectly normal Krabby Patty without even thinking! Note that he said that he couldn't make a Double Krabby Patty, and he kept his word because he only made one with one patty.

With his confidence restored, he heads back to the Krusty Krab and meets up with Bubble Bass again and engages with another stare-off. It's very dramatic…and amusing to see Squidward twice checking himself out in the mirror before realising the camera's focused on him. I think this is the first time that SpongeBob broke the fourth wall, because with all the fish focused on SpongeBob and Bubble Bass, who's going to gaze upon Squidward besides the audience? Either way, it's very funny.

Bubble Bass has himself his Krabby Patty and…failure! SpongeBob still seemed to have forgotten the pickles. Fortunately, Bubble Bass laughs about his victory so hard that SpongeBob notices something under his tongue…the pickles! As it turns out, he also hid the pickles under his tongue the first time too, not to mention a poor fish's car keys (which shouldn't it be boat keys? This was after Boating School.) causing Bubble Bass to leave the Krusty Krab in a cowering panic.

With SpongeBob the victor and the reigning champion of fry cook against customer, he gets 3 cheers from the crowd, while Squidward gets 3 boos and 1 "BOO YOU STINK!" for not doing anything positive for the Krusty Krab during SpongeBob's absence, and seeing his facial expression get more depressed throughout those couple seconds really caps off this episode nicely.

So yeah, this episode is a good one, and I mean a really good one! It's not brought up nearly as much as it should be, and if you haven't seen it, go check it out. It's not a magnum opus per se, but it's still among the most enjoyable episodes of the series at this point.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Spongey".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be a 9/10.
It's worse than Pizza Delivery, but better than Ripped Pants.

Nest time, we'll be dealing with some more spongey shenanigans, ironically outside of the hall. Until then, play me out, anti-Pickle and anti-Peanut.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCMRzxTQ3es
Still sounds better than the actual intro!
:sbthumbs:
Also, I have no idea why sometimes the YouTube videos I present are links, and sometimes they're the actual videos on the website. I don't mind, because I'm still showing you the videos, but I can understand why it would be confusing or even stressful for some of you.
 

EmployeeAMillion

The Dudening
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Hall Monitor (Season 1, Episode 7a)
Original Airdate: August 28 1999 (Episode 14)
Plot: SpongeBob takes his boating school hall monitor duties a little too seriously, and is framed as a maniac
Written by Chuck Klein, Jay Lender and Mr Lawrence

[titlecard]7A[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: SpongeBob Action Theme

If there were an episode that I wish was more hated, it would probably be Hall Monitor. Why? Because then it would be more fun to defend it! :p

Yeah, this episode has all the workings of a generic "Clueless Idiot SpongeBob" plot (or "CISB") like As Seen On TV and Shuffle-Boarding, yet it somehow finds a way to make it good. In case you aren't aware of this genre, it's typically one where SpongeBob is either promoted to a higher position or given something useful for good purposes, and manages to find a way to screw it up royally for not just his circle of friends, but for the entirety of Bikini Bottom, yet always naïvely gets away scott-free while either someone else takes the punishment or nothing's resolved.

So how does this story begin? Well, Mrs Puff is taking the role at her Boating School when she realises something horrible. Is it the fact that this is the first Boating School episode to not directly focus on the "Boating" aspect, thus cleverly opening the doors for episodes like The Bully and New Student Starfish and overall having a compromise for if they run out of ideas for ways to keep SpongeBob from getting his boating license while still interacting with Mrs Puff? No, it's the fact that SpongeBob is next in line to be the school's hall monitor for the week.

Now, if you've watched the episode before, you'd think that Mrs Puff would be scared because of what happens in the last 9 minutes, but then I realised that it's because SpongeBob generally makes a big deal out of being "THE HALL MONITOR" that he feels to need to present a fantastically long speech about it, even going so far as to include a sub-speech by the greatest hall monitor of all time which he even describes as "incredibly long" before presenting it to his classmates. Not to mention his frequent shouting of "IN THE HALL" is hilariously ironic in that the school didn't appear to have a hallway until The Bully.

After SpongeBob finally finishes his speech and puts on the now-iconic hall monitor uniform, he proceeds to go to his duties, only for school to abruptly end, and for SpongeBob to feel bummed that he couldn't be the hall monitor for the day, which is odd, because Mrs Puff said that she was announcing that "week's" hall monitor, so he still has 4 more chances, unless Mrs Puff has some sort of rule where if a student messes up their duties (SpongeBob stalling the class for 6 hours might be a good example) they're not allowed to be the hall monitor for the rest of the week. I don't know the rules in general or in North America or in the 1990s, because I grew up in New Zealand in the late 2000s/early 2010s in a school that didn't have much in the way of halls.

So anyway, Mrs Puff allows SpongeBob to keep the uniform for the rest of the afternoon, feeling a little guilty for making him depressed, seemingly not for the first time, only for that guilt to convert into "Oh no, what's SpongeBob gonna do now that he's hall monitor everywhere and anywhere?", and this leads into a problem that you could potentially have with the episode. SpongeBob is incredibly naïve. He doesn't see a poster of himself reading "Maniac" and Patrick is certainly of no help near the end. However, here are three reasons why I can still like Patrick in the walkie-talkie scene.

First of all, the lighting and distance SpongeBob was from Patrick would've made him hard to make out. Second, the picture of SpongeBob (which looks like the logo in the title sequence) is very crudely drawn, couple with the poor lighting and distance, Patrick could easily mistake anything square for the maniac. Thirdly, Patrick was essentially brainwashed by the police into thinking that SpongeBob was evil. Remember, he's stupid enough to believe anything that a couple of policemen with a slight sense of humour throw at him. Not only those reasons, but the reason the scene is enjoyable is because SpongeBob had pretty much deserved it.

Now for the thing that would definitely make people upset with this episode, Mrs Puff going to jail over something that SpongeBob did. To that I have to say that SpongeBob felt very guilty about the whole ordeal. Note that the last time he smiles in the episode is when he gives Patrick the walkie-talkie, then there's the fear of bring captured or hurt by the maniac, then after that, the ending has SpongeBob feeling ashamed of himself for destroying Bikini Bottom and enraging Mrs Puff and the policemen. On Mrs Puff going to jail, it makes sense because, as she herself said, SpongeBob is her responsibility, and I'm pretty sure if a teacher-student catastrophe like this happened in real life, the teacher would be punished just as hard as the student. Onto SpongeBob getting away scott-free for disrupting traffic and barging into someone's house through the window, remember that he doesn't make a big deal about being the hall monitor after this, so I guess that maybe he's legally prohibited/banned from being the hall monitor from here on out, but that might be a bit of a stretch.

So yeah, this is a decent episode. Not a shining star in Season 1, or really the show as a whole, but it certainly stands on it's own. I'm sorry that most of this review was talking about reasons why the episode succeeds in areas you didn't know it would potentially fail in as opposed to talking about how funny it is (double sorry if I accidentally made you hate the episode as a result), but these are my genuine feelings towards the episode, and as these reviews are my genuine feelings and opinions about the episodes, I don't see any visible problem with that.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Good".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be a 7/10.
It's worse than Tea at the Treedome, but better than Boating School.

Next time, we're really gonna be partying like it's 1999 (to be more specific, Saturday August 28 at roughly 10:18AM Eastern Standard Time)! Until then, play me out, Kenta Nagata.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okH471-9I18
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

The Dudening
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Jellyfish Jam (Season 1, Episode 7b)
Original Airdate: August 28 1999 (Episode 15)
Plot: SpongeBob adopts a jellyfish that becomes addicted to music
Written by Ennio Torresan, Erik Wiese and Peter Burns

[titlecard]7B[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: SpongeBob Theme Song

You know what this episode feels like? If I'm going to be completely honest with you, it sort of feels like a modernised take on Disney cartoons from the 1930s. I mean, you've got a central conflict involving wild animals or some other serious inconvenience that doesn't start off as such, not much in the way of dialogue (I'm not saying that this is full-on Reef Blower, but there isn't as much talking as a good bulk of Season 1 thus far), and because of that the episode focuses a lot more on music and dancing. However, unlike Disney cartoons, which were composed of whatever you could find in your local songbook and played on piano, Jellyfish Jam has:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUfe27pdbEQ
…brilliance. Seriously, this song is so catchy, and it doesn't even care that it's an artifact of 90s Rave music. I don't even think it cares that it's 90s at all! I mean, SpongeBob is not the biggest 90s Nicktoon; it only aired 29 of it's 380 odd episodes in the last year of the decade and it's popularity in the mainstream was most strongly felt around 2001-2005. It doesn't matter too much, because the visuals that accompany it are beautiful, surreal and timeless. It's so abstract seeing occasional flashes of a SpongeBob/Jellyfish hybrid.

Now I'd just like to say that for an episode that's all about the dancing and music. It still tends to be very funny and actually slightly scary towards the end. Here's the story: SpongeBob's newly adopted jellyfish has grown a taste for music, so it invites all it's friends over (what, don't ask me if jellyfish have sexual organs) and they party to the point that SpongeBob's house is a wreck. SpongeBob puts on a green morning gown that, I've got to admit, looks pretty nice on him, and tries to get the jellyfish out of his house, but all they want to do is party. While playing tug of war with the jellyfish over to stereo and accidentally breaking it, making them go feral again and the begin swarming his house like big, pink, angry bees.

Gary shows his first sign of intelligence by hitting his eyes together like drumsticks, settling the jellyfish down. SpongeBob then gets the idea to use this to take the jellyfish with him back down to Jellyfish Fields (established as where most jellyfish live) while orchestrating a group of bubbles, dolphins and clams among other sea creatures and underwater objects to create a very catchy and also somewhat lovely melody that officially allows the jellyfish to stay at home. This story is really fantastic when it comes to the format it wants to present itself as, which like 50% music video. I'm pretty sure if you take out the dancing or anything having to do with music, it would only be 4 minutes long. Remember, it isn't padding, because it's what the episode is trying to do.

So is there anything else about this episode that I liked? Well I do have to say that Squidward was a lot of fun here, and it works that they showed two sides of his personality at different points in the episode. On the first day, he's just a boring neighbour that tries to tell SpongeBob that having a jellyfish may not be the best thing in the world. After SpongeBob and then the jellyfish party all night, he's furious, and demands that either the music be turned off or the jellyfish have the "pleasure" of listening to his "wonderful" rendition of Row Your Boat on the squeaky clarinet. Needless to say, he gets his just desserts in the right way (having the hoard of jellyfish sting him half to death), so I wouldn't classify this as an STP in the slightest.

So yeah, like Pickles, this is a pretty underrated episode. I'm sorry that this review was half the length of most of my others, but there isn't a lot to talk about aside from "it has great music/visuals and solid comedy". Hopefully my next episode will be a more interesting one for discussion.
[titlecard]8A[/titlecard]
And from the looks of it, heck yeah it does!

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be a "Good".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be an 8/10.
It's worse than Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy, but better than Bubblestand.

Before I go, here's the new listings for Season 1:
15. Jellyfishing (5/10)
14. Naughty Nautical Neighbours (6/10)
13. Reef Blower (6/10)
12. Boating School (7/10)
11. Hall Monitor (7/10)
10. Tea at the Treedome (7/10)
9. Home Sweet Pineapple (8/10)
8. Help Wanted (8/10)
7. Plankton! (8/10)
6. Bubblestand (8/10)
5. Jellyfish Jam (8/10)
4. Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy (8/10)
3. Ripped Pants (9/10)
2. Pickles (9/10)
1 Pizza Delivery (10/10)

Next time, we're going on a trip in not everyone's favourite rocket ship. Until then, play me out, Quad City DJ's.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sHcpOtHr0E
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

The Dudening
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Sandy's Rocket (Season 1, Episode 8a)
Original Airdate: September 4 1999 (Episode 16)
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick sneak into Sandy's rocket ship and think they're hunting aliens on the moon
Written by Sherm Cohen, Aaron Springer and Peter Burns

[titlecard]8A[/titlecard]
Title Card Music: Rocket Sled to Oahu

Honestly, this might be one of the weakest episodes of the show thus far that isn't outright mediocre. As you can see down below, it's average, but just barely. Don't get me wrong, I kinda like it (6/10 to me is a borderline positive rating), but in general, it's a pretty flawed episode.

One thing that I must say is that this episode starts off alright. SpongeBob is going over to Sandy's treedome when he notices a rocket ship and Sandy invites him inside for just a little look-around, and to announce that she's going to the Moon. SpongeBob is then blown away by how awesome the rocket ship looks and wants to ride with her in it. Sandy objects because the two had previously had a mishap that apparently took a lot of lives. Understandable that she would be reluctant. However, after SpongeBob bugs her for long enough, she breaks down and invites him.

While outside, SpongeBob claims that there would be aliens on the Moon, before bringing up worthless conspiracies…
[titlecard]92[/titlecard]
…and just worthless things in general (note that I don't despise Altantis SquarePantis, but it's just so easy to pick on), to which Sandy brings up that she's been to the Moon before and there are no aliens. With that, she sends SpongeBob home to get some sleep, despite it being daytime.

Later that night Patrick visits SpongeBob and easily convinces him that aliens exist again. Perhaps a little too easily. I mean, after this, SpongeBob is completely intent on hunting aliens on the Moon, and is even quick to tell Patrick that the aliens are playing tricks on their minds even if things are completely normal. I know Tom Kenny says that SpongeBob looks up to Patrick as a genius, but Patrick should've spent at least more than a few seconds and should've done more than give SpongeBob alien spray which he would've gotten from the $2 shop.

Anyway, they go into the rocket ship and Patrick pushes the button to open the door which crashes down on SpongeBob leaving a hole in it with SpongeBob's face poking out. I don't know how to feel about this because SpongeBob is a weakling, and it would've been a little funnier had it crushed him to the floor like the new pineapple house did with Squidward in Home Sweet Pineapple. Plus the fact that everything would be sucked out of it like a vacuum when they get to space.

They play inside the rocket and Patrick discovers what appears to be a video game to him, which is just flashing lights on a monitor with a joystick that he claims to have gotten a high score on. Essentially, something you'd see on an Atari 2600 or Fairchild Channel F. Remember that this 1999- The PlayStation and Nintendo 64 were the two biggest consoles and the Sega Dreamcast was right around the corner (there was the Sega Saturn but most people still just cared about Genesis). I'm sorta glad that they didn't make it seem drastically dated, but I'm also disappointed that they made it seem dated to a lesser extent.

Then the two unwittingly lift off and fly around the moon for a while before going back to Earth. I must admit that the anti-grav scenes are pretty well-animated and amusing. Not to mention, it has the funniest joke in the episode, which is SpongeBob lifting a weight on his finger with no problem in zero gravity, then once the rocket revisits Earth's atmosphere, it comes crashing down on him. Remember, it's almost a character trait of his that he's not very good at lifting weights, as seen in Help Wanted and Ripped Pants.

Then we get to the second half of the episode which, I bet if it were just this, then most people would think this episode is "meh" at best. SpongeBob and Patrick think that Bikini Bottom is the Moon and that everyone in their surroundings is an alien that must be captured. I have to say, it's not frustrating, as SpongeBob does wake up and realise what he's done in the end (oh yeah, he captured Patrick because he thought he was an alien too. I should really put a Spoilers Ahoy!! tag or something, because this is generally where the plots for episodes become more complicated and a teenh bit more spoiler-y), even though the rocket supposedly broke down/ran out of gas, leaving all of the Bikini Bottomites that SpongeBob and Patrick captured stranded on the Moon.

This brings me to my biggest complaint with this episode - SpongeBob is generally an idiot here. Yeah, this is another CISB (Cluess Idiot SpongeBob plot), and generally one where SpongeBob is far more deceptive to being an idiot than in Hall Monitor. Like I said, he threw out all his "knowledge" of aliens once Sandy easily convinced him of it in the flick of a switch, then, as I said earlier, Patrick was easy to convince SpongeBob that aliens exist again. So much so that when he gets back to Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob is in complete alien-hunting mode. It's a little bit humourous to see them in costumes that look like the came right out of 70s Doctor Who, but that's about it. Not to mention it would've been better if Patrick were the one to think SpongeBob was an alien first, due to him initially being the most into aliens and just because he's stupid.

Is there anything else in this episode that I find amusing? Well, I do have to say that the scene in Squiward's bedroom where SpongeBob and Patrick are examining his hot water sack as if it were an egg sack and playing around with his tentacles is pretty funny, but I have to admit that it isn't as funny as in Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy, because SpongeBob and Patrick here aren't as playful and are taking it seriously, so as a result, I have to take it seriously.

Also, a small nitpick, but when SpongeBob and Patrick lift off for the first time, the smoke from the rocket ship goes into Sandy's treedome and into her bedroom, when really, it should just cover the treedome. In fairness, Season 1 forgets that underwater and air are different things on occasion (like Sandy opening her helmet in Valentine's Day and not having water flood into it), but then again, it's a slight nitpick.

All in all, Sandy's Rocket just isn't as good as the rest of the season, as it's flaws generally stick out more than in most episodes. I wouldn't call it bad by any means (but I have seen some people call it an Animated Atrocity on DeviantART, but then again, it's DeviantART), just flawed.

My rating for this episode on my personal scale would be an "Average".
On a scale of 1-10, it would be an 6/10.
It's worse than Boating School, but better than Reef Blower.

Next time, if you like horror coming from unexpected places, then you're gonna love the episode I'm going to be reviewing. Until then, play me out, Little Einsteins.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGCSD6AHv5U
:sbthumbs:
 

Honest Slug

Ink Lemonade hurts me.
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I like "Sandy's Rocket" more than most. I thought it was a really good episode with well-done characterizations, a great story, and great humor.
 
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