• Hey, Guest! Watch party for new episodes on Thursday, October 22 @ 6:45pm EST! Link will be provided 15 minutes prior to episode starting.
  • If you're a U.S. citizen aged 18 or older, SpongeBuddy Mania wants you to exercise your right to vote!
    Whether you're casting your ballot by mail, drop-off, or in-person, visit Vote.org to find out how.

Re-Evaluating my opinions on SpongeBob Season 1-8

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Teacher’s Pests (Season 11, Episode 7b)
Original Airdate: October 21 2017
Episode 424 in standard order, Episode 420 blazeit in airing order
Plot: Mr Krabs and Plankton are sentenced to Boating School due to their road rage
Written by Ben Gruber

This was an episode I remember hating on my first viewing. It wasn’t the most frustrating episode of all time or anything, but by the time I watched it, I was sick and tired of the Boating School genre’s clichés, particularly when they were made with no thought or passion in the Post-Movie era. Not to mention, I’m not a fan of Mr Krabs when he’s super cartoony, which he is here. I’ve learned that cartoony characterization can work in some special cases however, but this isn’t one of them. I appreciate the effort, but even after a second viewing, this didn’t leave me with much enjoyment. A little, but not much.

The story starts with Mr Krabs shaving in his boat, seeming to ignore a rule of boating that is to pay full attention to the road. He’s then run over by Plankton’s tank, and the two get into a race on the road out of anger. This instigates what I thought to be my main problem with the episode- how immature Krabs and Plankton were. Sure they’re rivals, but making them act like school bullies to each other is stretching it, to the point that I hardly respect them as business owners. Thankfully, business isn’t really brought up in this episode, so it wouldn’t be an issue to a newcomer. Eventually, their road rage culminates in them causing massive disruption to the traffic and numerous car crashes, and a flabbergasted police officer gives them tickets to go to Boating School, in a scene that reminds me why this episode isn’t bad- it’s funny.

Before their first class even begins, the two end up breaking most of the desks, because Plankton keeps teasing Mr Krabs over having the best one. At the very least, Mrs Puff comes into to bring them down to Earth, when she brings out her brass knuckles. I think the Krabs X Puff stuff is cute, but it’s equally satisfying when Mrs Puff is putting Krabs in his place, with that place being a school desk. Puff then puts on a boat safety video for them to watch, which is essentially a modern day remake of Boat Smarts- SpongeBob’s the worst driver in the world, but Puff let him on the road for a day just because. Despite that, I like SpongeBob getting to class by jumping out of the video, asI wasn’t expecting it, and it shows just how much of a nut job he is behind the wheel.

After all this establishing of what the episode’s going to be like, we actually start going somewhere. Mr Krabs and Plankton continue to act like jerks, with Mrs Puff getting ticked off at them, and SpongeBob just wanting everyone to get along. The first thing he shows Krabs and Plankton in the classroom is the Good Noodle chart, returning from New Student Starfish. They take advantage of Mrs Puff’s sticker generosity, and start handing her fruit, which then escalates into them overfeeding her. It culminates in Plankton growing a tree inside her, which she breaks off as a bat to beat them senseless. I think this scene’s rather funny, with all the character interactions being fine and the jokes holding it together. I don’t know about Mrs Puff beating her students, no matter how old they are, but she’s got a criminal history anyway.

Krabs and Plankton continue to fight behind Mrs Puff’s back, and SpongeBob tries to call them out on it, before all their weapons fall out of their pockets, in a scene that just about sums the episode up. After this, boating practice finally begins, with SpongeBob having a genuine chance of succeeding, but Krabs and Plankton constantly crashing the boats. It’s a bit annoying, but honestly not that bad seeing the two eventually bond over how wreckless they are. They dare each other to drive up the school’s lighthouse, but end up in a fatal car accident that ends the episode on a lower note than it needs to. They end up getting surgery that results in Plankton, Mr Krabs and SpongeBob all being sewn to the same body, which is up there with SquidBob TentaclePants in being a bad way to close things out. Unlike SquidBob, this episode’s a constant rollercoaster through good and bad scenes, leaving it hard for me to pin down how I feel about the story.

Many of the jokes that work, I’ve already covered in the story. It’s good knowing that they’re integrated into the plot so smoothly, but it doesn’t work quite as well when they’re annoying jokes, which some of these are. Now to go straight onto the animation, where there are more things totake note of. The boating instructional video is what I expected, slightly grainy and faded, but it’s cool when SpongeBob bursts out of it in full colour. I also really like the colours in the “fruit for stickers” scene, with all the different colours of stars, and the sheer variety of fruit Krabs and Planktton forcefeed Mrs Puff. Where did they even get it? Who knows? Another neat little thing I noticed was in the scene with all their weaponry, one of the things that drops is a rubber ducky, for no other purpose than to be funny, which I admire. One last thing, there’s a live action nuclear explosion when the boats explode, and although not the same one we’ve been used to seeing since Dying for Pie, it’s still funny, and I’m fine with them shaking things up.

If you thought my opinions on the story were mixed, the characters are like this 50/50 mix of ones I love and hate. Starting with the bad ones, to get them out of the way, Mr Krabs and Plankton are simply inconsistent. Sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re just rude, but it doesn’t hide the fact they’re too childish to take seriously. It’s saying something when SpongeBob and Mrs Puff are simultaneously more relatable. SpongeBob hasn’t got his most profound outing in Teacher’s Pests, but I can tell he’s just trying to be a good driver and not cause much trouble for the others. With Mrs Puff, I find her building anger towards her new students to be funny, and refreshing that she’s got new enemies that aren’t yellow and square, even if one of them is her boyfriend.

Yeah, this is overall a messy episode. It’s not tonally confused or anything of the sort, but I can’t get over its distracting flaws. I like the idea behind the story, but the execution falls over due to how unlikeable half the cast is. In some ways, it can make up for that with good animation and jokes that keep me invested, but there’s only so much madness I can take from Ben Gruber’s episodes. Not to diss the guy, especially if he ever reads this, but his work can get a bit too wild and chaotic, even for SpongeBob. Episodes like this, Krusty Katering and Out of the Picture have their strengths, namely in joke delivery, and I think that’s where he could expand upon, while keeping the characters in-check.

Final Verdict: Average 5/10 (a mixed bag)
Lost and Found < Teacher’s Pests < Krusty Katering

Question of the Day: Who is your favourite Post-Sequel SpongeBob writer?

Tomorrow’s garbage-themed episode thankfully as garbage as the last time SpongeBob and Squidward had to clean up the streets.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Sanitation Insanity (Season 11, Episode 8a)
Original Airdate: May 7 2018*
Episode 425 in standard order, Episode 440 in airing order
*produced in 2017
Plot: SpongeBob and Squidward have to clean up trash...again.
Written by Ben Gruber

It’s crazy to think I’ve reviewed so many SpongeBob episodes, that I’m up to ones that have released this very year. It’s a feeling I won’t experience for long, as I’ll take a break again after tomorrow to just enjoy Christmas. Anyway, I’m grateful that we got a lot of good episodes in 2018, with this one being no exception. Two things made me feel a bit iffy about it before it aired however, the first being its focus on garbage. Post-Sequel’s very mixed in terms of gross-out, sometimes it’s as intrusive as in Post-Movie, other times it’s tolerable, but making an episode about cleaning up trash was raising a red flag. The second was its similarities to Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful, an episode I personally think is one of the worse bad episodes in Season 7, which is saying something. I’m so thankful these didn’t turn out to be big problems though.

The story opens up with the Krusty Krew dealing with a giant trash bag on the job. SpongeBob and Squidward have to stuff every piece of garbage they can into it, because Mr Krabs doesn’t want to waste miney on more bags, and there’s only one guy eating in the restaurant as a result. It eventually blows up when the patron throws his cup into it, and the entirety of Bikini Bottom’s covered in green slime that I’m supposed to believe is patty gunk. The trash inspectors, as hammy cops ala the sanitation police in Sentimental Sponge, sentence Krabs to community service, which he forced unto SpongeBob and Squidward, which is behaviour I don’t mind if he gets what’s coming to him. It’s a good introductory scene with decent visual gags, and the gross-out isn’t that in your face like you fear it’d be.

SpongeBob and Squidward are given a garbage truck all to themselves, to use to clean Bikini Bottom up. What ensues is a memorable setup of them working in a new vocation that doesn’t suit them, but this time it’s for sanitation comission. At first, SpongeBob’s outside on the back, getting some fresh air and throwing everything he can into the compactor (except children), but things go haywire when Squidward wants to swap place, wanting some fresh air. Since SpongeBob doesn’t have a drivers license, he doesn’t even try to steer the truck, so the ride gets bumpy and Squidward pays the slapstick price. I don’t mind this at all, as SpongeBob’s having fun, and Squidward being on the recieving end of cartoony mayhem is to be expected.

After the setup of the episode is established and brought to light, the episode takes a bit of a break from story development, to just give us a taste of the mishaps that befall SpongeBob and Squidward on the job. One such incident is SpongeBob finding a worn-out doll in the trash, which ends up scaring Squidward because dolls are creepy. I like how SpongeBob initialy intended for the doll to be the truck’s “mascot” though. Then they jump around in the trash compactor for a while, SpongeBob willingly and Squidward unwillingly, until they fit together like Tetris pieces. Speaking of games, SpongeBob then uses the truck’s claw to use Squidward, as a sort of duster to dust the trash into the truck. These are all clever gags that balance out verbal and physical comedy neatly, and I’m happy they didn’t resort to easy gross-out jokes, especially this late into the episode.

They get through almost every pile of trash in Bikini Bottom, but are stopped dead in their tracks when trying to take Patrick’s trash away from him. It feels like Patrick just being immature at first, but it soon becomes ridiculous in a great way, as the situation turns into an anime robot battle. There’s no art shift, but they do their best to recapture the action of stuff like Ultraman and the original Power Rangers. Their fighting causes more trash to be flung across the city however, especially after Mr Krabs comes along, hypocritically saying they’re ruining his hard work, and SpongeBob instigates a cafeteria-style trash fight. They’re brought down to Earth again by the trash inspectors, who assign them all to picking trash up off the street in a menial way, in an ending I think works. It comes back around to them picking up trash, and at least everyone’s on their best behaviour now.

Like I said, there’s a good balance of verbal and physical comedy here, which I always respect this era of the show employing when it does so. Some of the verbal gags get a real kick out of me, like Mr Krabs passing his punishment onto SpongeBob and Squidward by saying “I like to think of it as our punishment, and by our punishment, I mean your punishment!”. I’ve already gone over the visual gags I really like, but there are still some that I’d like to point out. SpongeBob carrying the creepy doll with his eye’s weird but an okay visual, and I like SpongeBob distracting Patrick with a stick, taking advantage of his doglike intelligence.

So...when it comes to animation, there’s a loooot of garbage gunk. Most of the trash you see is this lime green sludge, which is the best way to portray trash if they absolutely need to. It’s better than the more realistic rubbish in Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful, and on par with the sewage slime in The Sewers of Bikini Bottom. It reminds me of how Nickelodeon was about multicoloured slime once, not what 40 year old executives think Instagram is. Garbage aside, I like the doll for looking just creepy enough, and the robot transformation sequences for being somewhat faithful to Japanese fiction. I’m hardly an Otaku myself, but I can tell when the country’s media style is being parodied.

The characters are on the edgy side, but still fun enough to watch. We get a classic SpongeBob and Squidward dynamic going, with SpongeBob being the happy worker, and Squidward being disgruntled, relatably not wanting to work in trash. Mr Krabs was a bit of a cheapskate and bad boss at the start, and Patrick not co-operating can be mildly irritating, but at least they get what’s coming to them in the end when they’re all punished again. At least SpongeBob’s still feeling okay and Squidward’s getting the short end of the stick once more. As for other characters, the trash inspectors are fine in the same way as the guys from Sentimental Sponge, and the creepy doll’s good for a few jokes.

In conclusion, Sanitation Insanity sure feels insane, but in a fun way. Garbage-contracted warts and all, the story has an interesting setup with a nutty payoff, and the jokes are generally funny enough for those who want more wordplay out of this era of the show. I also think making some of the characters jerks works in this case, as we get a bit of a downer ending where they’ve all descended to the same level of just trash-fighting. Even if you’re germaphobic and just don’t like gross-out jokes in general, I’d still say give this episode a whirl for its other forms of comedy, because you won’t be disappointed.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
SpongeBob’s Place < Sanitation Insanity < Sandy’s Nutmare

Question of the Day: What do you think of foreign media references in SpongeBob?

Tomorrow, I’m finally going to end my third year of SpongeBob reviews with one of the most talked about episodes of recent memory, for better or worse. Until then, play me out Bill.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Bunny Hunt (Season 11, Episode 8b)
Original Airdate: March 30 2018*
Episode 426 in standard order, Episode 437 in airing order
*produced in 2017
Plot: Squidward gets pestered by a bunny, so SpongeBob takes care of it
Written by Mr Lawrence

I thought I’d close the year out discussing an episode that was rather notorious when it broadcast. Typically, by the time people finish watching it, they turn into an enraged mess, screaming about how they’re a bunny now. I got to the bottom of this case when it became widespread in April, and just found a dumb, boring SpongeBob episode. Quite a shame too, because sea bunnies are actually really cute, and were pretty popular in Japan a few years ago. With that, of course America reared its ugly head in and Westernised the creatures, making them as annoying as they could. Seriously, just compare Japanese cartoon bunnies to American ones, you’ll be surprised how differently they behave. Cultural differences (and another detour to Japan) aside, this episode simply didn’t tickle my fancy.

The story opens up with a clear indicator of what it’ll be about, vegetables, with Squidward baking a roast model of his head out of various veges. We then learn that he’s been growing these veges himself, as he goes outside to get some garnishment, only to be terrorised by a sea bunny. Instead of calling animal control and just getting the episode to end, he runs towards it in frightening ways a number of times, but the bunny always gets back at him Bugs Bunny style. I don’t know why they keep going back to Squidward being automatically cartoony, it just leaves me not relating to this story very early on. One character’s Mr Wilson off his meds, and the other’s generic cartoon pest.

3 minutes into the episode, Squidward finally calls animal control to take the bunny away, but SpongeBob steps in and adopts it. He claims it’s for animal rights, not seeming to care that it was eating through Squidward’s garden and that he’s dealt with wild pets way too many times at this point. From here on out, it’s the same arc as nearly every other pet episode, it’s too much of a handful for SpongeBob, and the episode doesn’t stand out in any way except for a louder, more obnoxious sense of humour. The first major problem is what I’m getting at, SpongeBob lacing his house with hot sauce so the bunny doesn’t chew anything, but the bunny just uses it to breath fire and make more of a mess. It’s like jangling keys if they were on fire and jabbing you in the eyes.

SpongeBob and the bunny get into a few more shenanigans, with them clearly not getting along, but SpongeBob keeping him anywhere because he’s just barely cute. The bunny throws his new cage at his owner because he doesn’t like cages, and then he goes into the house’s wallpaper and plays around inside it. What purpose does this part of the episode exist? To reintroduce Patrick (he had a gag earlier in the episode), who doesn’t have much of a purpose except to chase the bunny behind the wallpaper, and get stuck there. For the rest of the episode, after he’s freed by SpongeBob later on, he’s just baggage, but more on that later.

SpongeBob leaves the house, because that worked so well the first time, to get the bunny a partner that can lure him out. The two bunnies immediately hit it off, then hop into SpongeBob’s ashing basket where they multiply exponentially. This I don’t mind, it’s cartoony enough, and we’ve had enough explicit animal birth this season. However, the abundance of bunnies cause big trouble when they all go into the walls, and SpongeBob and Patrick follow them, because that also worked out so well the first time. The bunnies invade Squidward’s garden before clogging up his house, just as he was cooling down. He even shows his calmer, collective forward thinking by smashing his house with a mallet, which of course destroys it, leaving only bunnies in its shape. At this point, he just snaps, turning into a bunny, then runs off into the sunset after he’s strapped by the animal control guy, who just happened to be there. There’s a fine line between being silly and plain stupid, and this episode really crosses it at the end...

...though I can’t help but find the “I’m a bunny now!” thing amusing. It’s like Mr Lawrence knew his script was beyond salvaging, so he put this joke at the end to humour himself, but it worked so well he decided not to change the rest of the awful story. The other jokes are just as loopy, but don’t work as well. Squidward turns into an eggplant at one point, which Patrick tries to eat, though that doesn’t have the same hook. It’s just a dumb visual for the sake of it. Other jokes that don’t make sense are those that affect the story, like the characters doing something that’s clearly not a good idea, just because they’re idiots.

Even the animation’s overbearing, with the exaggerated faces being cranked up to 11, and appearing far more often than they need to. It’s part of the problem I have with the episode’s overall direction, and that’s that it’s pandering. Take for example SpongeBob heading back home with his new bunny pet, where he sits on a moving cloud that transforms into the word “happy”. You don’t need to spell out what emotion he’s feeling, just to clarify to the audience what’s going on. Putting aside my beef with the animation itself, the presentation’s still the same thing you expect from Season 11- crisp details, the sea bunnies are an eye-catching spin on the real deal, and the special effects like water and fire are decent as always.

If I have any ire towards the Post-Sequel writing, it’s when they make Squidward a screaming buffoon right off the bat. It works so much better when he starts out as a typical grump, but then something breaks his sanity, like in CopyBob DittoPants or Goons on the Moon. When he’s just crazy for the sake of in-your-face comedy, it comes off as more juvenile and out of character. The other characters don’t save the episode anyway, with neither SpongeBob or Patrick also being knuckle-head-mc-spaz-a-trons who can’t give the audience a break. As for the bunnies, they don’t do much to stand out for feeling like typical cartoon bunnies, even if that’s what the episode wanted them to be.

Cartoons don’t work when the thought process behind them is “Let’s make a run-of-the-mill toon”, because that makes episodes like this that’re really boring. Sure it’s not sluggishly boring like You Don’t Know Sponge, but it’s still bad for not giving a SpongeBob twist to a formula that needs it now more than ever. The only thing that sets it apart from if an Angry Beavers episode did the same thing, is the goofy faces, which sadly make this episode unappealing due to them being beyond over-the-top, which is like viewing the top from space. I’m really sorry to those who like this episode, especially its ending, but I’m not a bunny now.

Final Verdict: Bad 4/10 (not worth your time)
Plankton Retires < Bunny Hunt < Code Yellow
It’s currently the worst Season 11 episode, but I don’t think it’ll stay that way.

Question of the Day: What did you think of SpongeBob in 2018? Was it a good year for the show?

See you all in 2019, which I hope will be a darker, more serious year for the show, because that’s what Hollywood’s always been about. Until then, Sluggy come home.
:sbthumbs:
 

SpongeBronyPH

Balloon Traveler
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Messages
687
Location
Philippines
EmployeeAMillion said:
Question of the Day: What did you think of SpongeBob in 2018? Was it a good year for the show?
Let's just say it's very good, despite Stephen Hillenberg's death right in front of my eyes.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Squid Noir (Season 11, Episode 9a)
Original Airdate: November 10 2017
Episode 427 in standard order, Episode 426 in airing order
Plot: Squidward uses his spontaneously-bestowed detective skills to find out who stole his clarinet
Written by Andrew Goodman

What’s the best way to playfully explore a location in a serious, edgy way? Make a detective story. We’ve only had a few for SpongeBob throughout its long run, with Patty Caper being the first to come to my mind, and parts of The Smoking Peanut may also count, but neither one was as traditional as Squid Noir. Being a send-up of classic film noir, as the name would suggest, it’s tonally a breather episode, which is something these modern seasons sorely need. The only potential problem I could see coming a mile away was the mostly monochrome look of the picture. That wasn’t even ready to be a nitpick however, as Nickelodeon had something planned-

You Bring The Color!

I always wanted Nickelodeon to try another audience participation stunt in the vein of You Wish, and this is what we got- an online colouring page where the craziest entires got to air on TV. It was a bit of an epileptic nightmare, but I feel so great for the kids who got their colour combinations aired on live TV. There was even a short made to promote the event, which is pretty good aswell. There’s enough setup, enough colours and patterns thrown at the wall, and enough dialogue for it to feel like it was genuinely written. Now that I’ve got this sub-review out of the way, let’s get down to business.

It started out on a warm, sunny day in Bikini Bottom, Squidward was at his post at the Krusty Krab, practicing his clarinet, much to the chargin of everyone in it. It may be the only thing that could give him joy being a cashier, but Mr Krabs gets sick of it, and its effect on the customers, and kicks Squidward out of the restaurant. I can understand this, Squidward’s playing is noticeably more annoying than usual, and it hints that he and the clarinet will be the episode’s focus. Similar scenes soon follow with Squidward trying to find a place to just play his clarinet in peace, but if he can’t even be subtle in prehistoric times, what’d make you think comic book nerds and his own neighbour (specifically Patrick) would be fine with it?

Regardless, Squidward still feels optimistic about the gig he’s practicing for, but goes to take a nap before the big show. That involves not keeping his eyes on the clarinet, which is bad because it goes missing by the time he wakes up, very likely stolen. This is where the noir feel kicks into the episode, with the colour fading and dreary rain showering down. I personally would’ve preferred it if it started here, and the earlier scenes were told through black-and-white flashbacks, but I like where we are anyway. It’s funnier seeing Squidward immediately become a suave, no-nonsense detective simply due to his clarinet going missing, and he gets the not-quite-yellow-elephant in the room out of the way pretty quickly. His first suspect is SpongeBob, due to his natural hatred for him, but SpongeBob gives him an alibi- grandma’s kisses. Not the episode, but that would’ve been fine too.

SpongeBob incessantly asks if can could play “Detectives” with Squidward, and he surprisingly obliges. Very unlike him usually, but I’m willing to let it slide because his personality’s a little different now, and it’s a friendly gesture. Besides, SpongeBob is only mildly annoying once he dons his own detective gear. Together, they go to other suspects, mainly those who were particularly annoyed with Squidward’s clarinet-playing. After they bother and interrogate Mr Krabs (again), the butt markings in his seat provide evidence enough that he’s been in his office all day, and as for Bubble Bass at the comic book store, we get an alright action scene. SpongeBob and Bubble Bass play with their toys, a Mermaid Man action figure, and a Suburban Dad action figure, which is a feature to this episode I enjoy. It’s fun, and it gets Squidward a little closer to solving the mystery, as Bubble Bass was also in his natural habitat all day.

They go to their suspect, Patrick, which takes them full circle back to Conch Street. He doesn’t exactly have an alibi, but he supplies evidence that it wasn’t him- slightly purple jelly at the scene of the crime. That’s something I haven’t seen in a while, Patrick being of use to the other characters. They all head off to Jellyfish Fields (including Patrick, who’s one of the detectives now for some reason), and finally discover some fans of Squidward’s music. The jellyfish took the clarinet out of love for its sounds, and although I don’t concur with their tastes, it makes for one of Squidward’s happiest endings yet. Not the absolute happiest, nothing can rival Band Geeks, but it’s in the Top 5. The colour returns, SpongeBob’s little subplot is wrapped up, and Squidward performs for the jellyfish, and for the rest of his friends, all of whom are protecting their eardrums. All in all, this was a great story. Nothing too deep or IQ-increasing, but it’s engaging, interesting, and has fun with itself.

It’s a noir-themed episode, of course comedy wasn’t its priority. It was like a metaphor for a woman that’d come off as really weird and pretentious nowadays. That being said, there are some jokes that got a laugh out of me, like SpongeBob flipping coins in a sophisticated way, but they all fly offscreen. They even managed to cap the joke off by having them all fall out of the sky in the last minute, returning him hundreds of years worth of savings. You also get Action Dad’s mundane catchphrases, Bubble Bass’ random fascination with it, and Mr Krabs accidentally being dressed up by SpongeBob and Squidward, and coming to be fine with it. I’m also super happy they didn’t go all-out in insulting everything about noir films, as it keeps the episode down-to-earth, and makes it something new.

The respect towards style extends into the animation and art direction. When things go black-and-white, the tone also darkens, to contrast against unrelated instances where they parody silent era cartoons. It isn’t entirely monochrome though, a few highlighted objects such as SpongeBob’s grandma’s kissymarks and the jellyfish jelly have a bit of life in them. I guess this is a noir technique to put more focus on these things, but I can’t be too sure. On the other side of the color spectrum, I watched this episode after the You Bring The Color contest, so I didn’t get to see what the rainbow effects for this episode looked like. I could only imagine they were nauseating, given how it already looked on the website.

The characters well and truly make this episode pop, which they should. Squidward is still easily defined by his love for his clarinet/hatred for everything else, but they toned it down for dramatic purposes while making it more profound. Less is more, and we need a Squidward like this more often than we need a dumbed down lunatic. SpongeBob’s also great, being funny and a genuine help to Squidward, and I could almost say the same for Patrick if he had a bit more to do. The other characters are few and far between, with only Mr Krabs and Bubble Bass being other prime suspects, and the jellyfish just barely count as characters. They only share one combined trait of enjoying the clarinet, but that’s good enough. The supporting cast is limited, but it leaves enough of an impact to work.

This was a pretty tough episode to start off the new year reviewing. I don’t often take 3 whole days with them, but I just had to process that this was an actual episode of SpongeBob, and a really good one at that. There’s more to think about, more to see on rewatches, and it shares something in common with my absolute favourite episode- audience participation. Only time will tell if this episode ever gets released on home video with the YBTC edits as special features (unlikely due to the sad decline of interest in special features, and home video in general). Despite that mild disappointment, and a few immature jokes, this is a must-watch for anyone who wants something more epic from this era of SpongeBob.

Final Verdict: Good 8/10 (an enjoyable if not mildly flawed episode)
Mall Girl Pearl < Squid Noir < Sharks VS Pods

Question of the Day: Would you be interested in a sequel to this episode?

Now I’ve gotta head off and find something rare- a thing to like in the next episode.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Scavenger Pants (Season 11, Episode 9b)
Original Airdate: November 9 2017
Episode 428 in standard order, Episode 425 in airing order
Plot: Squidward gets some free time by sending SpongeBob and Patrick on ridiculous scavenger hunts

Written by Luke Brookshier

Really, this episode is hated? I could understand some criticisms with the tone and just the general nagging problems with Squidstick (Post-Sequel STP), but I didn’t really see why this was seen as a low point of Season 11 until Ink Lemonade came along. Then again, I wasn’t thinking much about the quality of 11 as it was airing, I just enjoyed what I had and moved on. I don’t think I’ll ever be that fan again before long, as I’m looking at this episode with a more serious eye and determining if it’s in the lower tier of this season. I have to be honest, it is, but considering how decent it’s been so far, that isn’t a big complaint.

The story starts off a little better than your typical dark age Squidward plot. SpongeBob and Patrick infiltrate his house and bother him, but both factions are well-characterised. Squidward’s dancing fancily, then is interrupted by SpongeBob and Patrick’s goofy dancing, before they complain about why they barged in in the first place, that being they’re bored. Just saying two words to explain why they want to be with Squidward is enough to excuse it, even if them rummaging through his kitchen to play lunch is leaning towards Squidward being the sympathetic one. This kitchen scene just serves for Squidward to initiate the “scavenger hunt”m the first item being a sandwich. It’s good enough of a setup, but there are many directions the story can go in from here, and it doesn’t always take the right paths.

SpongeBob and Patrick have to venture out into “the badlands”, 20,000 leagues away. Blatant reference aside, the only thing we see of this is them sufferring in the desert. I think they should’ve made the first scavenger hunt more adventurous, because this is too much of a punishment for them too quickly. Given the episodic nature of the story, at least it doesn’t last long before the next thing unfolds, and the payoff is pretty good. They end up finding a “sand witch”, who travels by tornado and pranks Squidward with a monster sandwich. She did say she worked at an evil deli, which is a great line I wasn’t expecting.

The duo’s then sent on two more hunts to give Squidward some time to dance by himself, and I think they didn’t need to go on two extra “normal” ones. The find a boxing flower at the bottom of a chasm, then the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland (and like on The Simpsons, the joke is that he’s somewhat friendly). I think one of these could’ve been cut to give the other and previous one more time to blossom, no pun intended on the boxing flower’s part, because it does seem like they’re going to too many places. There’s a reason “rule of three” plays a big part in the show’s comedy stylings- four or more and it’s just farcical.

To be fair, the fourth one is more interesting and emotional. Squidward sends SpongeBob and Patrick to find the ultimate impossible thing- his long-lost brother. They fail after searching for him for six months, and then grow worried that Squidward made him up out of delusion. I think if they shortened the time skip to just six days, they would seem less dumb and still remain kind, but they prove themselves good albeit dense people in the very end anyway. They let Mrs Tentacles, Squidward’s mother, adopt them, so they can be Squidward’s brothers. I’m pretty conflicted on this ending, as it’s a sweet gesture, and Squidward deserves some sort of backfire for lying to them about his family, but they made such a drastic change that’s never going to be brought up again for the sake of a gag ending. I feel as though this story had something with the scavenger hunt aspect, and Squidward getting SpongeBob and Patrick out of his hair this way, but it gradually derails because they didn’t know what kind of story to tell with it.

There are jokes that work, and some that don’t, a rather typical mix by SpongeBob standards. Most of Patrick’s material doesn’t work, like him shouting “Let’s Play Lunch!”, him squeezing SpongeBob for water in the middle of the Badlands, and his armpits crying. They just feel like crazy dumb jokes, but there are some really good gags in the episode that you’d miss out on if you only choose to watch it once. The Sand Witch giving Squidward a haunted sandwich, SpongeBob getting a literal brainstorm as if it was an idea bulb, and the stark difference between the Goodlands and Badlands. SpongeBob and Patrick even had to bring out their most prized reaction faces for it. It’s also fun hearing “I Hate People” return, in instrumental form, while Squidward’s renovated the neighbourhood to be one giant complex for himself.

I guess the best thing about this episode is its animation, which isn’t uncommon these days anyway. Scavenger Pants feels more inspired by the first movie, with the famous “shocked expressions” coming back, and a scene of SpongeBob and Patrick falling down a trench. This thankfully enchanced the quality, as they looked back on a previous adventure story for this new one, despite taking one too many queues. The locations they go to, especially the Badlands, look great and threatening, and I like the visual gag of them rowing on the other side of Loch Ness’ waters, it’s taken from a Rocko’s Modern Life episode.

Onto characters, I agree that they could’ve been smarter, especially Patrick. Try to think of one thing he does that benefits SpongeBob on any of their hunts. The only thing that comes to mind is rowing in Scotland. SpongeBob himself is fine, though he rarely feels like a straight man to Patrick, which is something that made previous adventure stories like the Movie more relatable. As for Squidward, I never think he’s too badly punished after the setup. Him somehow stealing SpongeBob and Patrick’s house to renovate his own is warranting of a downer ending for him. As for other characters, there’s just the Sand Witch and Mrs Tentacles, who are also just fine. Nothing particularly special, but they play their parts in the story.

Alright, with a more serious perspective, I can see why this wasn’t well liked originally. Its plot is strangely episodic for a SpongeBob episode, and the characters are not bright enough to see eye-to-eye with. Then again, I like the locations visited, some of the jokes made, and the ending has its heart in the right place. I don’t think this episode’s going to be viewed as bad for very long, and not just because of this review, I hope I don’t have that much power over this fandom. It’s got a couple things going for it that aren’t easy to ignore, and the bad stuff doesn’t leave you with a bitter taste. I’ll personally give it a pass, but I understand how to others, it’s forgetable at best.

Final Verdict: Average 6/10 (flawed but not bad)
Trident Trouble < Scavenger Pants < Sportz?

Question of the Day: What would you send SpongeBob and Patrick off to find?

Tomorrow’s another episode with details an ordinary viewer could miss. Until then, here’s what Squidward was dancing to.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Cuddle E. Hugs (Season 11, Episode 10a)
Original Airdate: November 8 2017
Episode 429 in standard order, Episode 424 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob keeps hold of a rotten Krabby Patty, which causes him to see a giant hamster
Wirten by Ben Gruber

Ready for “Drugs: The Episode”? I know I’ll never be, but I’ll still have to watch it for different reasons. It’s not a terrible episode, but I have to wonder why the went through with something as odd and derranged as this. Not to mention the subject matter is far more sensitive than what the show’s covered before, including depression and mental illness! Sure we had There’s a Sponge In My Soup a couple weeks back, but that dealt more with psychedelic culture than how to enter it. “Don’t do drugs” is one of the most lame, bone-dry messages you can plaster onto TV, so it’s good this SpongeBob episode has some spirit outside of it, though only a small portion’s simultaneously creative and fun.

The beginning’s pretty similar to Born Again Krabs, the Krusty Krew find a mouldy Krabby Patty that’s never been eaten, but one of them wants to prove it can still be enjoyed by taking a bite from it, then getting sick. This time it’s SpongeBob, and with this simple change between being against it’s eating and for it, I can understand more of a difference between Pre-Movie and Post-Sequel SpongeBob. Pre-Movie has more common sense, and Post-Sequel has more self-destructive love for everything. Adding onto the slightly negative comparisons is that the mouldy burger’s more gross, and they really play up SpongeBob getting ill from it.

SpongeBob takes the rest of the patty home for the road, learning nothing from To Love a Patty, before he sees Cuddle E. Hugs, a giant, friendly hamster that hits it off well with him. It’s clear that the patty has something to do with his presence, but it’s not outright stated just yet, SpongeBob having having a new friend is all that matters to himself. The rest of the Bikini Bottomites are weirded out by them playing, but it’s not shown that only SpongeBob can see Cuddle yet. It makes for some awkward scenes, but awkward in the right ways, and they spend the rest of a great day together. If we’re getting out the drug parallels this early on, this could be saying taking them for the first time is a strange but fun experience. I’m alright with that to some degree, as long as there are dangerous side effects.

The next morning, SpongeBob can’t find Cuddle E. Hugs anywhere...unti he takes anither bite out of the rotten patty, making it very clear where he comes from. This is even more noticeable when SpongeBob tries to introduce him to his friends that morning, and none of them can see him. Squidward doesn’t care enough to turn around, and Patrick thinks SpongeBob’s befriending the air again, even getting into a tussle with it like in No Weenies Allowed. After Sandy thinks Cuddle’s an imaginary friend, SpongeBob’s then told by Cuddle that they haven’t eaten the “magic sandwich”, and this is where the episode goes from weird to terrifying.

SpongeBob then goes to the Krusty Krab, to share his “Aged Krabby Patties” with the Krustomers for free, and when they see Cuddle, the hamsteer gradually transforms into a hungry monster that devours them. Going back to the drug allegory, this is a very clear message of not sharing your experiences with the world, and not getting so enveloped in them that you have a bad trip. When everyone eventually comes to, they scold SpongeBob for having such a villainous imaginary friend, and SpongeBob talks to Cuddle by eating what is totally the last of the patty. Cuddle reveals that “the E stands for Eat”, and for some reason, all is forgiven. SpongeBob even gives Cuddle the real last of his patty, but that creates some sort of paradox where Cuddle becomes a live action hamster in a childrens’ bedroom filled with SpongeBob merchandise. The English alphabet can’t be used to describe how insane this episode is. It may come off as utter nonsense, but at least they succeeded in making it trippy through to the end.

This episode may be too bizzare to love, but I like somee of the jokes. As for the jokes I don’t like, Patrick fighting another imaginary friend is just making him seem dumb for the sake of it, and all the gross-out with the aged patty is what you’d have to expect. It’s gross, and they don’t try to do anything interesting with it outside of its side effects. As for good jokes, Sandy bringing out the “imagination rainbows” is cool to see again, as are the reactions to most people when they see SpongeBob just giggling uncontrollably in public. I also like the random fixation everyone has to Cuddle’s belly fur. The crown jewel of the episode’s jokes has to be Squidward walking into the Krusty Krab, while everyone’s being attacked, then heading straight back home to get some rest. Having Squidward react to this is good enough, but that line cements it as a decent joke.

The animation completely services the story here, and has some pros and cons as a result. SpongeBob’s sickly green hue when he eats the aged patty is pretty average (I’m glad he doesn’t grow boils and get bloodshot eyes like he would’ve a decade ago), but something tells me they turned to the banned “SpongeBong HempPants” for inspiration for a “high SpongeBob”. Cuddle has a cute but intimidating design, which works as you gradually learn that he’s a malicious entity, and his evil monster form is awesome. One of the few other things I remember about the animation is when Patrick sees SpongeBob hugging thin air, and his face is morphing from it. I think the animators had a lot of fun just messing around with his face there.

Like I’ve already said, this is a quintessential Post-Sequel SpongeBob performance. He means well, but is a bit too dense for me to take seriously. Why would he bite into the aged patty a second time if he didn’t know it would bring Cuddle back? Speaking of Cuddle, he’s got a recogniseable voice provided by Jeff Garlin, the captain from WALL-E (note that this E doesn’t stand for Eat), but he hasn’t got much to him outside the ending tiwst, which is already rather contentious. The other characters like Sandy and Patrick are just there to make SpongeBob’s time harder, first by not knowing about Cuddle, then scolding SpongeBob for showing him off. They serve a narrative purpose, but still could’ve been more likeable.

In conclusion, I’m saying this a lot now, but this is one of the weirdest episodes of the show. I hardly know what to make of it most times I watch it. I like the idea of a friend only SpongeBob can see, the ending is dark in a suitably surreal way, and quite a number of the jokes land. However, this may just be me as an adult looking for meaning in these episodes, but the drug allegory’s a but on-the-nose, even if there’s nothing to say it’s a generic anti-drug episode. I have to say though, the generally abstract concept of the episode, and its execution, are enough to warrant at least one viewing. It’s not like Squid’s Visit where these creepy elements are a bad thing, but rather they serve to confuse you and make you think about the episode differently.

Final Verdict: Average 5/10 (a mixed bag)
Whirly Brains < Cuddle E. Hugs < Company Picnic

Question of the Day: What’s the weirdest episode of SpongeBob you’ve ever seen?

No more horsing around, we’ve got to close out 2017 and get with the timelier times. But before then, maybe just one more bite.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Pat the Horse (Season 11, Episode 10b)
Original Airdate: December 2 2017
Episode 430 in standard order, Episode 428 in airing order
Plot: Patrick pretends to be a horse, and hilarity ensues for the Krusty Krew
Written by Kaz

Patrick for most of Season 11 has been among his dumbest interpretations. Not even counting the infamous Ink Lemonade, they’ve taken pride in throwing him into situations that make use of his stupidity, like being a voluntary jailbird or destroyer of the universe (don’t ask). This one felt the closest to being a classic Patrick episode however, because although he has the mind of an animal through most of it, there’s more heart and emotion put into his depiction here. It makes for a story that I’m frankly not weirded out by, because there was a few shreds of depth added to it. Giddy-up, come on and see why I think 2017 closed out on a rather underrated episode.

The plot opens upon SpongeBob reading Patrick a set of bedtime stories, capping it off with “You Can Be Anything”, a pop-up book showing a host of occupations you could grow up to take part in. Patrick’s loving the book and all the pictures, but then notices a horse on the cowboy page, and says he wants to be a horse. He doesn’t need to yell it in SpongeBob’s face when he questions the possibility, but I like how his identity for the next day is founded on this childish dream. I don’t think you ever had an imagination if you didn’t want to be an animal of any kind when you were young.

The next morning, SpongeBob wakes up to neighing on the street, and it’s coming from Patrick with the mindset of a horse. SpongeBob, I guess deciding to play along with it, befriends his new companion by feeding it an apple, which he accepts. I’m automatically more optimistic to see how this plays out compared to My Pretty Seahorse, as that episode dealt with the problem of a horse being too much to handle. Having the horse already be his best friend knocks that bird out, but another one takes its place when he rides it to the Krusty Krab again. The kids love petting Patrick, so Mr Krabs turns him into a ride, much to SpongeBob’s dismay and Squidward’s amusement. Squid doesn’t go on the ride or anything, but he has a wild time making horse-themed puns to use on SpongeBob.

Mr Krabs does the expected, and abuses Patrick to the point of discomfort, with the final straw being him stuffing kids onto him. It’s not as dirty as it sounds, he’s just trying to make as much money as possible, even if it borders on imaginary animal abuse. Patrick runs away, so Krabs ends up having to use Squidward as the pony ride. We now have two characters playing as horses, I don’t think this is one of those serious episodes. SpongeBob manages to find Patrick, in the middle of the desert, and needs to re-befriend him in what’s a legitimately touching scene. By this point, Patrick’s much more of a horse, with a saddle and a mane of seaweed, so I can still understand them pushing the boundaries for just how far his delusion goes. Besides, it’s not the piint of the scene, the point’s SpongeBob’s love for his stallion being put to the test, and it works.

SpongeBob and his noble steed ride back into Bikini Bottom, where they see what Mr Krabs has done to Squidward. Krabs gloats about how great his horse is, and pressures SpongeBob and Patrick into a race to deliver a patty at a gulch, another Western motif sneaking into the episode. Cue a race sequence which isn’t half bad, and SpongeBob and Patrick actually lose to Mr Krabs and Squidward. This is because Patrick was hungry at some point in the journey, and ate the patty. It was an accident, it fell into his mouth! After losing, Patrick just gives up being a horse and decides to become a crab, and nabbing Mr Krabs’ big meaty claws from under him. That’s the extent of Krabs’ comeuppance, but this wasn’t an episode that was taking his outright villainy too seriously, so I’m not that mad.

Let me be clear, this episode doesn’t just have a unique sense of humour, it may be one of the gayest episodes of the whole show, and I say that without offense. The mere concept of guys riding each other has been taken to some weird, kinky level of playfulness that somehow doesn’t ruin it for me. Interpret the episode all you want, I’ll just let this gem from Sandy do the talking for me, “Thank you...and the horse you rode in on?”. Not counting the undertones, I think this episode has some good jokes on the side, like how mundane the jobs are on the cover of You Can Be Anything, Squidward’s irritating horse puns, SpongeBob being dragged through painful and pleasing fields Madagascar-style, and the running gag of the garbage man following the horses around with a sweeper, fulling expecting them to drop loads.

They thankfully haven’t been the animation’s strong suit in a long time, but the backgrounds and locations here are great. The desert SpongeBob confronts Patrick in is desolate, but painted with an optimistic orange colour, and the race at the end brings the best out of the episode’s atmosphere. As for character design, specifically how the change as “horses”, Patrick’s the only one that goes through a real transformation, which makes sense as he’s got more of a will to be a horse. One other thing I really liked was a visual gag where SpongeBob’s eyes water up, then a tiny submarine goes through them. As small as it may be, it got a laugh from this kid.

Who is Patrick in this episode? He’s a horse, and exhibits traits such as loyalty and physical strength to match. I never feel like he’s an entirely different character, because Patrick already had those in some capacity to begin with. SpongeBob and Squidward just happen to get embrolied in this cowboy-esque adventure, with the sides they have to take saying a lot about how Bikini Bottom treats them. SpongeBob wakes up one day with a horse, so he’s a cowboy, while Squidward can be worked like a horse by Mr Krabs, so he’s reluctantly a horse. Speaking of Mr Krabs, he’s clearly villanious here, but they don’t dwell too hard on him being this abusive tyrrant, so I can forgive it. Sandy also appears in a few roles, once on the street and another as a referee to the race, and while I think they could’ve done more with her given her heritage, I’m grateful she wasn’t brought too far into this big mess. You additionally have this garbage man always carrying that sweeper, and he’s fine for a few sight gags I guess.

Here’s another episode I wasn’t expecting to like on this level. It just goes to show that Season 11’s more surprising than you can give it credit for. Most of the more suggestive humour in this episode flew over my head, and it’ll certainly fly over childrens’, so there’s no need to censor or ban this one by any stretch. The story’s rowdy in a good way, the characters all have their part to play, no matter how minor it is, and the jokes entertained me enough to find this to be a funny SpongeBob episode. I went into 2017 concerned about the future of SpongeBob, especially after Whirly Brains, and I managed to be there for some real duds, but also some of the most creative episodes ever, so there’s merit to what this year did for the series.

Final Verdict: Good 8/10 (an enjoyable if not mildly flawed episode)
The Sewers of Bikini Bottom < Pat the Horse < Unreal Estate

Question of the Day: If you could be an animal pretending to be another animal, what would that combo be?

I’m gonna be talking alot in 2018, so please don’t get annoyed. Until then, what a cute protagonist this episode had.
:pattongue:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Chatterbox Gary (Season 11, Episode 11a)
Original Airdate: February 12 2018
Episode 431 in standard order, Episode 430 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob gets a pet translating collar for Gary, and Squidward hates it
Written by Luke Brookshier

We all know that the reason Gary episodes usually aren’t great is because of communication problems surrounding his character. That’s what made this episode stick out to me when the name and synopsis were announced, more than stuff like Don’t Feed the Clowns or Drive Happy. They full-well knew that Gary episodes had an inherent flaw, and did something about it by the time the problem was obvious. Then there was the issue with the synopsis stating he’d be annoying Squidward with his new voice, and I felt like they were going to make him irritating for laughs. But no! They gave him a sophisticated personality in the promos and such, which greatly contrasted with what we knew about Gary. I’m getting ahead of myself, just know this is a good episode above all else.

We open up with SpongeBob reading a pet care magazine alongside Gary, which is fundamentally a brilliant way to start off an episode where he wants to understand his pet. Quite convenient too, as Gary’s becoming hard for him to read, constantly making a fuss about everything. This just happens to pets and their owners at points, they don’t always click, and it’s a decent way of showing how SpongeBob suffers from not understanding Gary. Usually it’s Gary on the recieving end of this problem, in cases like The Great Snail Race and A Pal for Gary, but making it more about SpongeBob and his responsibilities as a pet owner, if just for this first minute or two, is a welcome change. One thing I don’t get about this introduction is just how aggressive Gary is, since that’s the last way you’d describe him for the rest of the episode.

That’s because of an ad they find in the magazine for a snail translator. SpongeBob orders it so quickly that it warps into the past, and puts it on Gary. That’s when Gary finally starts speaking to SpongeBob, and we get a read of what he’s actually like. He’s got a lot of dreams an aspirations, like finishing a hot rod and being able to breathe fire down on Bikini Bottom. It may seem just generally cool hearing these jokes come straight from Gary’s mind, but the weirdness of it all is how calm everything is. SpongeBob doesn’t take long to get used to it, and Patrick and Sandy treat this revalation as just another day in Bikini Bottom. Sandy even whips out her old nut translating technology from Chimps Ahoy for good measure.

The only friend of SpongeBob’s that doesn’t like Gary’s new voice is Squidward, who for starters was interrupted by the doorbell while watching a meditation program. Then he and his tastes are insulted by Gary in a way he’s never heard before. I agree with Gary on that, but this makes me feel for Squidward. Here’s a snail that, for the longest time, he’s seen as nothing but a slimy pest, and now it’s hitting him that Gary can say the same thing about him. That’s another thing that’s so fascinating about this episode, in that they made it too test Squidward and Gary’s chemistry. It shouldn’t just be a panned tour of Squidward’s house, so where do they go with it from here? Sadly, south.

Squidward hatches a plan to make SpongeBob sick of Gary’s voice by making his own collar, replacing the original in the middle of the night. I get what they’re trying to do with Squidward here, and he’s clearly the antagonist, but he should have more common sense than to take Gary’s remarks against his lifestyle, and see it fit to prank SpongeBob in response. It doesn’t help that Gary and SpongeBob are half-asleep through most of it, and SpongeBob’s hospitality is taken to sad extremes, including digging a ditch to live in while crying. As hinted, cartoony shenanigans ensue, but I like how it all pays off, with Gary ratting Squidward out, and getting him to swallow his walkie talkie, making Squidward uncontrollably meow. He gets chased by dogs, Gary caps us off with one last sexy meow, and the episode ends on a better note than I was expecting. This episode had a lot of potential, but most of it’s squandered in the third act for slapstick gags.

There are a couple jokes I like here, but unfortunately there weren’t enough. I like the timewarped package gets, Gary being okay with Patrick covering himself in more garbage, because he’s a pet, and the meditation instructor that yells at Squidward to get the door through the TV. I don’t find any of these to have a big, meaningful punchline. That’s not to say they’re bad jokes at all, but they feel like inbetweeners. As for jokes I don’t like, most of the third act’ll have me covered. I don’t understand how Squidward can do such a good impression of Gary’s new voice, and I don’t find SpongeBob almost losing his house in a prank to be funny. As for animation, there’s honestly not much to point out. Gary’s smiles kill me, but this one of those dialogue-heavy episodes, and it’s telling they can’t keep the style up for long without resorting to gags.

Despite the hiccups at the end, I think the characters here are great. Gary in particular deserves to be considered fascinating, now that he’s voiced by Keith David. We get to see more of what he exactly thinks about his friends, and SpongeBob can finally know what he wants to do with his life. He just snarks around, but that’s enough after 19 years of meowing, and one of being a librarian I guess. SpongeBob’s also great, acting naturally to the situation, but still being silly, and Patrick and Sandy only appear in one scene, but they’re also in-character. Squidward I’m more conflicted on, he’s great in his first couple scenes, but then he turns into Wile E. Coyote at the end. It’s the same problem I had with him in The Lost Mattress, where at least he’s punished in the end, but still it feels like he’s not on the rest of the episode’s wavelength.

I ultimately believe this is a better episode with a greater idea though. I can’t thank the new crew enough for coming up with this idea, it’s cathartic after so many years of Gary being hard to read as a character. Sure we had Sleepy Time, but making a more “canonical” story out of it that’s charming and got a sense of humour is all I needed. Sure I have my story problems, but I have those for nearly every episode, what matters most if it’s a good idea in the first place. Chatterbox Gary was, and it manages to be an interesting episode, and worthy of kicking off a good year.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
Spot Returns < Chatterbox Gary < Burst Your Bubble

Question of the Day: Would you like to see Keith David return as Gary more often?

The next episode is less charming, and more about clowning around. Until then, this is Gary, deal with it.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Don’t Feed the Clowns (Season 11, Episode 11b)
Original Airdate: February 12 2018
Episode 432 in standard order, Episode 429 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob befriends a lonely clown and tries to get it a job
Written by Mr Lawrence

Not many people like Stanley S. SquarePants, neither the character or his starring episode. I can personally get what they were going for with it, but they mixed neurotic and screw-up humour together, which makes the character too awkward to relate to. This episode has a similar set-up, SpongeBob taking care of an outcast who can’t do anything right, but they replaced the neurosis with cuteness. A fair trade too, because less and less kids like clowns by the day, and making a cute clown should be able to inject some sympathy into them. This episode has a balancing act worth of an order to fill, so I need to see how long it holds together.

The story starts with SpongeBob and Patrick attending a circus (I guess Patrick wasn’t sick this time), in an opening scene that isn’t too bad. Sure it’s odd seeing dots for distant crowds in HD, but there’s an atmosphere established rather quickly, a silly-yet-hiding-something flair. The ringmaster uses his assistant as a whip for crying out loud, he’s not gonna be the most likeable guy. The clowns are a different story, they manage to put on a good show, making random structures and just playing around onstage. The depiction of clowns here is particularly weird, but a whole new layer’s added to it when they’re likened to animals.

The clowns there are entertaining to the duo, but the little one’s neglected by the others and abused by the ringleader. SpongeBob even tries to give the little guy some of his popcorn, but he’s rudely interrupted by the ringleader and his passion for title drops...twice. Once during the show, and again backstage where it’s shown the little clown hardly gets any food. Even worse than that, the whole circus packs up and leaves the little clown behind. Since he has no name, I’ll call him Clownie from now on. It’s coincidental, but relieving that SpongeBob comes back to feed him more popcorn after everything’s over, before taking him to live in the pineapple.

Once they team up to help get Clownie a new job, I hate to say this, the episode turns into SpongeBob You’re Fired!, but I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s a thin “trying four new jobs” kind of storyline, but it’s significantly better than the earlier one, namely because there’s real variety in what Clownie does, and building stakes to boot. It starts off small-scale, with him screwing around at a hotdog stand, but then they up the ante quickly by having SpongeBob dress him up and take him to a massive office building. He looks out of place, and behaves horribly, but it’s clear to SpongeBob that clowning around is in Clownie’s blood, so the last two jobs aren’t as serious.

This is probably why the next job Clownie takes up is firefighting, a classic role to play for clowns. It obviously doesn’t go well as Mrs Puff’s Boating School, of all places, isn’t saved in time. Lastly, there’s a pie shop, but the pies bring back memories for Clownie, of getting into pie fights, and he throws them around like a madman. At least SpongeBob tried to check on him this time, but to no avail. With all the jobs taken, SpongeBob just releases Clownie into the wild, taking him to this multicolor savana that clowns play around in, reinforcing the episode’s interpretation of them as animals. An alright ending with enough of a visual and emotional flair, but how come SpongeBob didn’t go here sooner? It makes the story feel just that extra bit wonkier, though I can understand what they were going for throughout.

I know this is an episode about clowns, but it could’ve done with some more dialogue humour. The funniest lines spoken are Patrick fearing that clowns could bite off his feet, which is why he doesn’t want to go backstage (“Our feet are in danger!”). Most of the rest of the dialogue humour is just characters yelling, which sometimes works and sometimes brings the mood down. What the episode excels at is the clown stuff, but to too much of a degree. Many of the physical gags are hyperactive drivel, with only a handful having a lasting impact. The best one uses slow-motion, and it’s where SpongeBob takes a flying pie like a bullet, but then Clownie throws countless anyway. That has buildup and payoff, while most of the rest don’t.

At least the animation assists in making the gags presentable. When I don’t view them with a narrative purpose, the early clown routines are great. I’m particularly fond of their transformations into different shapes. Helping make them pop out more than any other clown on the show before (if there even were any) is the rich colour palette. The amount of bright hues they’re able to produce is remarkable, with every green, orange, blue, and everything else popping. I don’t think this episode would’ve been half as successful if it was made during the standard def days. It can be over-the-top, but hey, so are clowns.

The characterization is where my opinions on the episode simmer down to “meh” again. I like Clownie, he’s a cutie as far as clowns go, and I adore the decision to make him a mute, but let him express himself through honks. SpongeBob is alright, he means well and all, but that’s become something to take for granted. He doesn’t do that much except take care of Clownie, who’s mostly running this story. The only other good character is Patrick, and even then he just appears in the first 2 minutes. The rest are authority figures whose jobs include yelling, which works in the context of how Clownie sees authority, but isn’t fun to sit through. This unfortunately extends to Mrs Puff’s cameo, making me not enjoy it that much as a result.

At worst, Don’t Feed the Clowns is run-of-the-mill Post-Sequel fare. It’s got ambition, but can’t stay still for very long, can’t give off excellent wordplay, and can’t juggle too many characters for fear they turn out bland. At best, you could get a kick out off watching this once. There’s a joke or two tucked away in here that you’ll audibly laugh at, the characters have noticeable identities, and the animation’s a strong point. I guess the reason I’m not as harsh on this episode as I could be is because of Clownie. He could genuinely get rid off or tone down childrens’ fears of clowns, that’s how cute he is.

Final Verdict: Average 5/10 (a mixed bag)
Food Con Castaways < Don’t Feed the Clowns < Married to Money

Question of the Day: Have you ever been afraid of clowns?

My drive to continuing reviewing SpongeBob is in full gear! Send in the clowns!
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Drive Happy (Season 11, Episode 12a)
Original Airdate: February 13 2018
Episode 433 in standard order, Episode 431 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob buys a self-driving boat, that does what it wants!
Written by Kaz

“I can’t believe they haven’t done this before” is something I think to myself with many Season 11 episodes, including this one. I’ve bemoaned latter-day Boating School episodes for being useless, and that’s because there’s some untapped potential in casual SpongeBob driving jokes. This episode thankfully eliviates some of that frustration, by giving him a boat...at a cost. I don’t know how much of a risk this was to take internally, and if they had to break a rule or two Hillenburg set for the show ages ago, but Post-Sequel SpongeBob’s not one to follow the rules, nor is the character himself while on the road.

As can be seen when he’s out boat-shopping. He just plays around in the boats at a store one day, pretending to be a stunt driver. He gets the attention of a salesman however, and soon enough he’s being offered some personality-based vehicles, based on nerds and babies. It could say something about how the world views SpongeBob, but when he says he doesn’t even have a license, the car salesman takes him to a self-driving boat. It’s one of those particularly odd-looking ones, almost shaped like a car. These are some really good circumstances SpongeBob’s fallen into, not just getting his first car, but a really nice-looking one at that. You can tell it’s going to be one of those downhill stories, can’t you?

SpongeBob buys it, then wonders how the self-driving car can work without a steering wheel, before being greeted by its AI, Coupe. Like most untrustworthy AIs, it has a British accent, but that doesn’t bother SpongeBob for a long time. He just goes with Coupe for a drive across Bikini Bottom, finally being able to enjoy life on the road, and bumping into Squidward and Mrs Puff. Squidward erases seeing SpongeBob from his mind in a brief gag, and Mrs Puff freaks out, veers off the road and gets crushed by a trash compactor in a bigger gag. It’s all organised, everything’s going SpongeBob’s way, until he gets home and has to learn to take care of his car the hard way.

Coupe starts to get uncomfortable just sitting in the rain, so SpongeBob tries to shelter him for a while, before they decide to just have Coupe sleep in the house. I’m sure SpongeBob had a garage at some point for this exact situation, but I digress. SpongeBob has a rough night sleeping alongside a sentient car, but Coupe takes him for a drive the next morning, a drive that’s sure to never end. This is where Patrick enters the story, abruptly and rudely jumping into Coupe and literally pushing his buttons. They drive the point home (no pun intended) that he’s dumb and exciteable, but at least there’s a hint of Patrick flavour in there with his hands getting sticky from ice cream. Still, it’s good to see Patrick get ejected out.

They eventually arrive at the Krusty Krab, but Coupe hates the look and feel of the place with a passion only rivalled by Le Spatula. He essentially takes SpongeBob for hostage so he can do classy things, at the expense of SpongeBob and his minimal salary. SpongeBob retaliates at the car repair place however, installing a wheel and pedal so he can control Coupe. This leads into a neat fight/chase sequence, which ends when SpongeBob orders an ice cream Krabby Patty from the Krusty Krab’s drive thru, then smothers it on Coupe’s motherboard, damaging his circuits. At least Patrick gets to be of help after all, immobilising Coupe before using him as a kiddy ride. It’s a really good way to end the episode, with Patrick eventually being useful, Coupe getting what was coming to him, and SpongeBob learning once more that all that glitters is not gold.

Because of the earlier Patrick stuff, I didn’t remember this episode being that funny, but it surprised me. Highlights include both of Squidward’s jokes, erasing SpongeBob from his mind with an eraser, and simply not caring when he sees him in danger. The former’s reminiscent of him throwing his brain in the garbage back in WhoBob WhatPants, but in a good way. Another pretty good one is SpongeBob pretending to need to go to the bathroom to get out of Coupe, and threatening to wizz in the car. It makes more sense in context. In general, it’s also pretty great seeing SpongeBob slowly get more ticked off at Coupe and his self-pampering. This is all-around a laugh-filled episode, through they’re not all winners sadly.

The animation also has some bold high points. The design of Coupe can be described with one word- sleek. He’s shiny, futuristic and his motherboard’s hard to understand. It works, considering the character he is, but more on that in a moment. The food in this episode’s really nice aswell, the ice cream-flavoured Krabby Patty in particular is impractical, but pleasing to the eyes. My favourite bit of actual animation however, has to be when SpongeBob’s placing the order as quickly as possible, because Coupe’s still driving him, and his mouth stretches in a vain attempt to stay near the speaker. It’s a funny visual, depicted fluidly, and relatable enough for any audience member to get a reaction from it.

The main odd duo for the episode is pretty great, but the side characters vary around the okay zone. Coupe feels like Le Spatula 2.0, in that there’s more of a “love to hate” vibe whhich makes him easier to stomach as a villain. He’s guest voiced by Brain George, in a season that’s already gotten pretty comfortable with suave guest roles. SpongeBob’s also well-written, starting off as his usual self, but then getting mad at Coupe’s spoiled behaviour and standing up for himself in an epic way. Now for those side characters, Squidward’s lines are pretty good, and the car salesman has his moment of flying using banknotes as wings, which keeps him from being generic. Patrick and Mrs Puff’s roles could do with some fine-tuning, to make them more likeable, and give Mrs Puff a bigger role.

If you couldn’t tell already, I thought this episode was fun. It’s not super compelling or super hilarious like a couple other episodes in Season 11, but it’s got a story that it follows through on, and the jokes stand out. Crossing a refreshing type of Boating School story with “man VS machine” themes worked out surprisingly well, with Coupe being one of the most memorable SpongeBob villains to not be green. He’s likely eco-friendly, but you get what I mean. He bears some resemblance to the Pierce Brosnan voice in The Simpsons Halloween segment House of Whacks, but at least we don’t see SpongeBob’s exposed, pulsing brain at any point.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
Krabby Patty Creature Feature < Drive Happy < The Getaway

Question of the Day: Who’s your favourite non-green SpongeBob adversary?

I feel old knowing I’ve been doing this for 2 and a half years. See you tomorrow.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Old Man Patrick (Season 11, Episode 12b)
Original Airdate: February 14 2018
Episode 434 in standard order, Episode 432 in airing order
Plot: Patrick spends too long at Shady Shoals, and starts to feel older than he is
Written by Kaz

Ever wanted to see Patrick as an old man? No? Then this is the episode for you. In all seriousness, I wasn’t expecting any Band Geeks with this one. What were they gonna do, parody Rip Van Winkle, and have Patrick being an annoying senior towards his friends for most of the runtime? I expect too little from SpongeBob synopses nowadays, but there’s always a sense of concern when plots with directions this strange are added to the pipeline. It’s good to know that Old Man Patrick is another one of those cases where it didn’t turn out bad at all, but I definitely found it less than great. Just how “less than great”? I won’t keep you waiting for 70 years.

The story kicks off at a public swimming pool, great place to start, where SpongeBob and Patrick are playing Marco Polo, while avoiding any and all trouble. This prooves to be trouble when they have their eyes closed half the time, as SpongeBob fonds himself upsetting a guy called Marco, who hates the game for obvious reasons. Patrick meanwhile gets out of the pool with his skin all prunish, which I don’t think should happen easily in chlorinated water, and is mistaken for an old man by the senior citizens, who just so happened to be sharing the pool that day. This being the reason Patrick starts hanging out with old people is rather contrived, but I like how the actual old man he’s mistaken for, Mortimer, is just disposed by Larry in a Lost and Found when the others leave.

The rest of the seniors head on a bus back to Shady Shoals, and Patrick tags along due to the promise of prune ice cream, which doesn’t sound too bad to me as I like raisins. However, the longer he stays there, the older he appears and acts. You see him gradually develop age wrinkles over a montage, and it’s honestly pretty dark. Sure Patrick’s having the time of his life, but the narrative’s putting emphasis on the fact that he’s now gonna die very soon. Not helping is the joke of him watching one of his new friends pretend to die as a prank. The reason Ripped Pants made fun of such black humour is because it isn’t funny in and of itself. I prefer this Shady Shoals stuff when it’s a more positive look at how old people live, and the at least satisfy me in that regard.

SpongeBob’s still playing Marco Polo, well outside the pool area, and still annoying Marco. It’s not all that bad however, SpongeBob’s had his eyes closed for so long that he sees a vision of Marco’s birth, but things don’t work out great when he mistakes the baby boy’s name for Polo. He ends up at Shady Shoals anyway, where he meets up with his old friend Patrick, and recites his own theme song. I think this is the first time the SpongeBob theme song’s been referenced in the snow itself, aside from Truth or Square, and it’s a strange but warm feeling seeing it. Patrick then introduces SpongeBob to his senior life, which mostly consists of doddling and complaining about kids these days. This isn’t the Patrick that SpongeBob knows, so now it’s time for him to take action and re-youthinise his best friend.

Looking around Shady Shoals however, SpongeBob find the rest of the senior citizens don’t want to blow bubbles or catch jellyfish, and are just waiting for their inevitable passing. A bit unpleasant, but things pick up again after that joke. SpongeBob gets all these old people to climb up a tree, which doesn’t work out well, then gets them to dance to modern bests, but ends up giving them heart problems. His last stop is a Bunny Bun’s place (think Chuck E. Cheese or wherver you went for birthday parties), and they become young at heart again, with a price.

They begin causing a ruckus, which takes its toll on SpongeBob as he somehow starts to age aswell. He collapses on the floor, running out of steam, and that steam irons out Patrick’s wrinkles and makes him young again. Don’t try and explain it to yourself, just go with the flow. Even that’s pretty hard to do when they pull the “fake death” gag again, with SpongeBob of all characters, leading me to believe he faked it just to knock some sense into his friend. The story here’s outright nutty, sometimes in good ways, other times in needlessly offensive ways.

So yeah, the worst jokes here are those that are potentially offensive to old people. It’s not like Mermaid Man VS SpongeBob where they’re overly gross and ugly, but rather that they’re obsessed with death, pranking each other over it and building a coffin to lay in during a pillow fort battle. I don’t find it that disturbing or sad, but I can see why people would hate the episode for it. I like more jokes than I hate though, including all the stuff with Marco, and his eventual fate at the hands of an old lady with powerful biceps. There’s also the SpongeBob theme parody, Patrick getting hurt by the thoughts of doing childish things, the false teeth being swapped around, and Mortimer just being put in a Lost and Found box by Larry. Also, the reason I feel like Mortimer is a really good old person name is because it was Mickey Mouse’s original name, and we all know how old he is.

Like Don’t Feed the Clowns, Old Man Patrick has some pretty, colourful, and pretty colourful sequences, namely the ones at Bunny Bun’s. Think the previous kids party place in Mid-Life Crustacean, but on a bigger scale, with more arcade games and bigger ball pits. It’s a memorable location in the episode for the right reasons. As for the old people, their designs are fine, being expressive, but also notably saggy and aged. This isn’t a bad thing, as some of them have personalities that reflect it. Patrick and SpongeBob as old people use new models I guess, and they look alright aswell. I don’t remember old SpongeBob looking like this in Goo Goo Gas or The Great Patty Caper, and we’ve hardly ever seen an older version of Patrick.

What we get in this episode is a new side to Patrick, heck a new kind of Patrick, and it makes things unique for fans of his. Even with Season 1 taken into account, we’ve never seen Patrick this slow in a wise way, or so against craziness. It’s playing against type, and I can see what they were going for 24/7. I like SpongeBob here aswell, as he’s trying to help out the other old people by also getting them to do the opposite of what they enjoy, and the stress takes its toll on him. You also get Marco, who was a great one-off character here, making fun of all the following- the name of the game Marco Polo, angry Italians, and people who threaten violence over stupid things. There’s a not-so-great side character here though, a kid called Joshua who keeps popping up in weird locations, only to be found and taken away by his mother. The pacing of his running gag doesn’t even work, as it’s used three times, but it absent from the second act and most of the first.

There are certainly things to appreciate about this episode, and things to seriously question at best. I like how turning Patrick into an old man robs him of some of his personality traits, and how SpongeBob has to deal with that, and I really like Marco as a main character in the subplot. The death jokes drag things down though, and I bet more sensitive viewers won’t be able to let go of it. That’s the risk you take with making an episode about old people, there are many ways to try and make them funny, and they don’t all work out. The show used to have senior characters that could effortlessly make great old people jokes however, and they were Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy.

Final Verdict: Average 6/10 (flawed but not bad)
Larry the Floor Manager < Old Man Patrick < Patrick! The Game

Question of the Day: Would you eat prune-flavoured ice cream?

Get ready for some hilarious homunculus shenanigans tomorrow, but let’s get down for the moment.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Fun-Sized Friends (Season 11, Episode 13a)
Original Airdate: February 15 2018
Episode 435 in standard order, Episode 433 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick keep tiny clones of each other to keep as pets for one another
Written by Andrew Goodman

There’s something that keeps directing the new writers to tiny versions of the characters, or shrinking them down in some way. I’d love it if one of them took what I said about size-shifting stories to heart, though that’s unlikely. It’s still neat to see stories that don’t just follow a familiar pattern, and mix things up, despite this one mixing things up in strange ways. Fun-Sized Friends was never the sort of episode that came to mind when I talked about Season 11 being decent, namely because of a couple weak jokes and being one of those cases where a lack of dialogue only makes it harder to relate to. How do I think of it now?

We hear chirping over the title card and opening credits, which I’m sure was an error, before cutting to Conch Street at dusk. SpongeBob and Patrick are still outside playing ruleless games, this time one where the make flapjacks at high speeds. They get on Squidward’s nerves, as always, but it’s clear they don’t want to be separated. They don’t say so in a manner similar to in Scavenger Pants, they just cry about it. SpongeBob gets an idea however, when Squidward tells them to “cut it out”, he cuts a piece of sponge from his own head, which morphs into a tiny clone off himself. Patrick does the same thing by ripping off his cranium (it wasn’t of use anyway), and they trade themselves, while Squidward goes off to throw up. It’s one of the more surreal ways a problem’s been solved on the show, but you take it for granted as the story thickens.

Knowing they’ll still have each other, SpongeBob and Patrick head to their specific homes, with the mini Patrick loving all the care SpongeBob gives him, and the mini SpongeBob being fine with brushing Patrick’s teeth. The following morning however, things start to get iffy with the two parties. SpongeBob takes Mini-Pat to work, but has to keep an eye out for him, as he’s overjoyed at how big all the food is. Meanwhile, Mini-Sponge isn’t treated properly by Patrick, even missing his arm at one point. This doesn’t depict Patrick in the most flattering light, which is someone important for a scene coming up, and if this is one of those “first time caring for a pet” stories, it’s not much better when the “pet” has more sapience.

So as the day goes on, Patrick becomes more neglectful of Mini-Sponge, to the point that he forgets to feed him, and mends an unfitting toy arm onto him like Sid from Toy Story. In fact, this point of the episode has a lot of Toy Story influence, down to Mini-Sponge losing his arm like Woody in the second film. Despite this, he’s able to go across the street and break Mini-Pat out of his containment aquariam. Mini-Pat had the exact opposite problem, where SpongeBob was mothering him too much for his liking. I still find the miniature duo cute at the moment, but it isn’t giving me any reason or justification for their big counterparts’ actions, especially Patrick’s.

Now that they’re together again, the Teensy Twosome get back at their misunderstanding owners by tying them to the floor Gulliver-style, and torturing them. It reminds me of MM/BB IV, but at least that didn’t have a really strong nose hair being pulled out. After messing with them for a bit, they just try to live their normal lives in SpongeBob’s house, but in another round of imitation, everything’s too big! This gives SpongeBob the idea to not treat them better, or punish them for being little monsters, but rather give them their own houses. These homunculi may have needed a better life, but they didn’t deserve it after what they put their masters through I think. It’s a sweet enough ending however, and it butters up a rather generic story with two sides that aren’t easy to route for.

The characters here could occasionally be charming and bring a smile to my face, but I wasn’t smiling that much with the comedy per say. The whole misunderstanding angle with SpongeBob and Patrick not knowing how miserable their clones are has the same problems I’ve gone over endlessly. There were certain jokes that I found good, but nothing to burst out laughing at, like when Squidward sees the clones for the first time and heads back inside to throw up. He only appears at the beginning and end, but still funny in both scenes he’s in. I also like Patrick hearing SpongeBob has a plan, and thinking he’s out to steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. It’s a dumb little Patrick moment, and relieved some tension after the torture scene.

Something I have to commend the animation for is the purple sky in some scenes. It’s a deep, rich colour and perfectly gives off the feeling it’s twilight. It’s another start-and-finish-only part of the episode, but it gives a nice aesthetic bookend. On top of that, the designs of Mini-Sponge and Mini-Pat go out of their way to be cute. They have less detail and bigger faces than their original counterparts, making them even easier to market into toys. As for things about the animation I don’t like, the gross-out and extreme slapstick as things go on is too much for me, as it doesn’t fit the tone of the rest of the episode.

There’s an empathy problem going on with the cast of characters here, starting most glaringly with SpongeBob and Patrick. Sure they care about each other, and their copies to an extent, but them not being able to read them, or even learn from them in the right way doesn’t make for clean arcs. Especially not for Patrick, whose treatment of Mini-Sponge borders on abuse. Even then, I can’t see Mini-Sponge and Mini-Pat as main character, due to how they become villainous for a brief period. If they replaced the torture scene with something like them trying to communicate with their owners in saddening but cute ways, they’d be more likeable. I don’t think cute noises cut it on their own, though they’re very darn cute I have to admit. Also, Squidward’s here, and he’s a joy to watch who doesn’t overstay his welcome.

Like with most of the weaker end of Season 11, I can see what they were going for. There’s a memorable story and stellar jokes that can be made from this premise, but they’re only able to go halfway before they have to rely on tired tropes. The empathy problem I’ve gone over isn’t hazardous, but it’s still a bit irritating when it’s used without any subversion or dissection. Unoriginal writing aside, I find the miniature clones cute enough, and there’s ambition in places, particularly with the animation. I’d say this episode’s worth a teeny tiny fraction of your attention.

Final Verdict: Average 5/10 (a mixed bag)
The Incredible Shrinking Sponge < Fun-Sized Friends < Don’t Wake Patrick

Question of the Day: If a tiny perfect copy of SpongeBob ran away with a perfect copy your boy/girlfriend, how would you react?

Tomorrow, I reach the halfway point of Season 11, and determine if this season’s as good as I make it out to be. Until then, SpongeBob, they’re gonna need some entertainment aswell.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Grandmum’s the Word (Season 11, Episode 13b)
Original Airdate: February 16 2018
Episode 436 in standard order, Episode 434 in airing order
Plot: Plankton has to pretend to own the Krusty Krab as a birthday present for his grandma
Written by Mr Lawrence

Remember the debut of Plankton’s grandma? Yeah, I don’t either. It was in the black hole-like dead centre of Season 7, and was one of the season’s Imitation Krabs knock-offs. The problem with that being a debut episode for the character imitated is that we don’t get a read of her personality. She was Plankton, but way older, that’s all I got from her. She’s got a second chance now, so if Gramma’s Secret Recipe just spontaneously stopped existing, it wouldn’t be a big loss. Besides, I think this one did a good job of giving us a new character to live in Bikini Bottom, while retreading familiar yet comfortable territory.

The story begins with Plankton bathing his wife Karen in love, preparing a bath for and massaging her. It’s a pretty nice gesture for her, and it gives me some tips, if I ever get a computer wife, they love having their wheels rolled. He’s interrupted by his grandma however, who’s turning 90 tomorrow and expects heer grandson to have the Krusty Krab. This is an interesting take on Plankton’s obsession with the formula, making it something his relatives are forcing upon him. I don’t like how the mood of the rest of the scene’s spoiled by Karen shoving Plankton away after he’s distracted, but at that point, we’re far from the giggly beginning of the episode.

Plankton lies and says he has the Krusty Krab to himself, but only has one day to change things around before his grandma comes around. He talks to SpongeBob and Mr Krabs about this, the latter of who makes his first appearance since Squid Noir, and doesn’t believe Plankton’s son story. It takes Plankton putting on his “sincere face” to persuade him, and be honest that this isn’t another attempt to nab the formula, then they get down to business. It’s decoration time for the Krusty Krab again, but we’ve already got enough interesting things going on, so this sequence feels like a breather. Besides, I really love them painting the tables to look like Plankton’s eyes, that’s creative.

There’s no explicit cut to the next day (maybe Plankton’s second sob story was just that long) before Plankton’s grandma gets to the Krusty Plankton. [Sheldon] Plankton shows her around, loving to pretend to be the boss, so he can order his enemies around. His grandma isn’t interested in that however, rather she falls in love with Squidward for some reason. I don’t know what it is with plankton and interspecies romance on this show, but this is the element of the story I’m most conflicted over. It’s entertaining and gives Squidward something to contribute, but they must’ve really been struggling to think of something to come to this conclusion. The only thing I outright don’t like is Squidward having to chew a Krabby Patty for Grandma, but even then it’s just awkward, not gross.

After her tour and meal, Grandma requests to have her photo taken with the secret formula, and Mr Krabs foolishly lets her. It turns out to be a ruse however, as this was all a big trick to steal the formula, and Plankton wasn’t even a part of it. She kicks him away, and he and the Krusty Krew are left to ask one of the most dramatic collective “what have I done”s in all of fiction. It works in the sense of them all doing something they knew was wrong, and the tension keep building until Grandma gets back home to Shady Shoals and dreams about the power the formula commands her. This is the tip of the iceberg however, as it’s clear she’s dreaming, so Mr Krabs sneaks in while she’s asleep, replacing the formula with prunce juice, and Plankton sweetly gives her a blankie. This felt a lot like a Season 9b episode, with character-driven jokes and plotlines being key to its success.

The comedy in this episode exceeded my expectations a number of times, to the point that it’s hard to pick a favourite joke. Is it Plankton waving SpongeBob’s “eat here” sign in different directions to tell his story? Is it Plankton’s sincere face, and even at that, is it its first or second usage? Could it be him going inside his mind and demolishing it to say “LIE” as a clever visual metaphor (used to personify the abstract concept of thought)? I have to go with Grandma’s dream, where she not only fantasises about ruling the Krusty Krab, but also sitting on top of Squidward, who himself is sitting on a throne above the restaurant in tribal underwear. It’s one of the most “what the heck” visuals, but it cracked me up, and closed up the arc of her loving Squidward before it went icky. Once again, I should point out the only joke I don’t like, which was Squidward having to chew Grandma’s Krabby Patty, but I’ve already explained the positive that it wasn’t because it was too gross.

Not much has changed with Grandma Plankton’s design since I took a look at her last year, which is alright with me. At least they didn’t take off her most defining features like a Mrs Potato Head this time around. Plankton’s transformation into his more sincere form is a bit grotesque, having to shed himself, but it works since his new form looks so ugly-cute. Even then, he doesn’t have to undergo a transformation the second time. One more thing I thought was of important note, was the detail they put into turning the Krusty Krab into the Krusty Plankton. I like the change in colour to the tables, and also painting the restaurant green, and also slapping “Plankton” in front of “Krab” on the sign, as if they knew it could’ve been the only thing they needed to do for comedy sake, but they went the extra mile anyway.

It’s good to see Grandma Plankton’s one of those zany, action-packed comedy grandmothers. It helps balance out Grandma SquarePants and Tentacles’ more realistic portrayals, as well as have one solid addition to the lineup to make up for crazy old lady background characters and one-offs. Plankton’s also in top form here, not just being a hare-brained maniac like he can come off as. I really like this portrayal of Plankton as not being that evil, it gives him more time to interact on the same level as his fellow invertebrates. Speaking of whom, SpongeBob’s just there for the ride, Mr Krabs is there to keep Plankton in check, succeeding for the most part, and Squidward’ss part to play in the episode is more about how Grandma sees him as this random hunk. You also get Karen in a few scenes, just being bitter to Plankton, but this episode was more about the plankton if you ask me, and they succeeding with them with flying green colours.

If there’s a turn-off I can see people having with this episode at large, it’s the similarities to Enemy In-Law. Both are Krusty Krab-centric, and both have a plankton falling in love with another species. I enjoyed both episodes enough however, especially this one for its comedy and surprising amounts of emotion. Plankton has two major moments, namely his and the rest of the crew’s “what have I done” moment, which makes the story feel more genuine and gets me more invested. It helps that it’s got a mostly tasteful sense of humour, especially compared to the last old people-themed episode, and serves as an excellent reintroduction to Grandma Plankton. I’d break out of a restaurant if it meant taking this episode with me.

Final Verdict: Good 8/10 (an enjoyable if not mildly flawed episode)
Unreal Estate < Grandmum’s the Word < Pat the Horse

Question of the Day: How much of an improvement do you think this episode is over Gramma’s Secret Recipe?

With episodes like this, Squid Noir and There’s a Sponge In My Soup, I think it’s safe to say I can expect greatness from this show again every once in a while, and that’s a real compliment. Too bad I have to go to a blank white landscape tomorrow. See you on the other side.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,636
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Doodle Dimension (Season 11, Episode 14a)
Original Airdate: March 9 2018
Episode 437 in standard order, Episode 435 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick enter a dimension where anything they draw comes to life
Written by Luke Brookshier

Back in my Season 2 countdown video, I noted that this episode was a “markedly inferior” sequel to Frankendoodle, but I hoped I wasn’t being too harsh when I said that. Frankendoodle is pure Classic SpongeBob, with a firm place in my overall Top 5. Of course it’s not gonna be the same when the only writer left from that time period, Mr Lawrence, is a voice actor for the show anyway. That being sad, I’m prone to giving the newer seasons the benefit of the doubt, and judging the episodes based on their own merits rather than those they can’t live up to. Doodle Dimension may not be as good as its 2002 predecessor, but it still makes for a great viewing.

It all begins when SpongeBob and Patrick go to visit Sandy one day, pulling out their Survival of the Idiots routine of travelling there goofily to give us something to look at. When they get to the treedome, they enter, put on their water helmets, and see her latest invention in action- a portal. She shows them how she uses it, by stealing nuts from a Texan Vincent Waller, who seems a tad more...Republican than usual. Jokes aside, she tells them not to use it, but they mash the buttons on the control panel anyway SquidTastic Voyage-style. I never minded this in the earlier instance, as it helped further the plot, but gets grating here by the time they sarcastically say what they shouldn’t press...while pressing it. They’re childish, but it’s good for young minds to listen to the rules, especially if their safety’s at stake.

They push enough buttons to re-activate the portal, and they becoe too mesmorised by it to not enter. Even when Sandy tells them to turn around and walk back down the platform to it, the just walk backwards into it. They pay the price of going through multiple different realities filled with spirals, giant atoms and horses, before landing in “Alone Zone 2.0”. It’s even blanker than it was in SB-129, but at least the characters have each other company this time, instead of being totally alone, and they can affect the environment. SpongeBob finds this out accidentally when he skids, and leaves two lines that crawl away like Homer hairs. We have now established...the Doodle Dimension!

SpongeBob tries to draw up a couple familiar things to make this new place more like their home dimension, but it doesn’t feel the same without solid ground or real Krabby Patty ingredients. He and Patrick list off all the things they miss, and Patrick draws who he misses most of all- SpongeBob. He ends up creating DoodleBob, who seems friendly at first, but then proves his power on this world outweighs their’s by multiplying and biting Patrick like a bunch of fleas, and stealing SpongeBob’s lucky giant pencil from them. As the original episode spoke, “easy come easy go”. SpongeBob already conveniently having a magic giant pencil inside his head is a bit of a cheat, but having it conveniently taken from him irons it out a bit.

The Second Great Battle between sponge and doodle breaks out, and it’s too chaotic and packed to describe without simply bullet points. SpongeBob makes doodles of his friends with his trusty shoe pencil (what!?), but DoodleBob gives them evil moustaches and turns them against SpongeBob, before kidnapping Patrick and taking him to his fortress. He makes more clones, SpongeBob and Patrick escape them by hiding behind a line, before floating out with a balloon. This was foreshadowed earlier in the episode with Patrick bringing a balloon to the treedome, so at least he does something right and it makes sense. After DoodleBob floats away on the balloon, SpongeBob makes a DoodleSandy that doodles a portal back home for them, mostly the end! I know I detailed the lead-up to the battle more than the battle itself, but both parts are great enough, and I didn’t want to rob you of the energy you’d get from watching the battle for the first time.

The best thing I can say about this episode’s comedy is that Patrick isn’t much of a pain, at least not as much as he is in something like Drive Happy. He still messes things up for SpongeBob, bashing his butt on the controls again and alerting the doodle clones of where they are, but given this is an adventure episode, and things get more exciting because of his mistakes, I can cut him some slack. This episode has its fair share of good jokes anyway, like Vincent Waller’s cameos as an angry cowboy, DoodleBob turning himself and the other doodles evil by simply giving them angry expressions (I know it was funnier and more dramatic in the first episode, but hey), and Paul Tibbitt’s excellent vocal work as DoodleBob. There’s some recycled clips from the first episode, but they build upon it here by throwing dozens of DoodleBob’s on the screen, making the sheer absurdity of his yells and gibberish that much more hilarious.

This absurdity extends to the animation, in an episode that’s more abstract than you’re used to by now, Episode 437. The portal’s great, nicely detailed by SpongeBob standards, and the vortex is cool, though overly lenient on wacky stock footage. The doodle dimension itself is just a living, breathing canvas for SpongeBob and Patrick to interact with, which works because the animation itself is still pretty busy. DoodleBob doesn’t look much different now, but he’s got smaller pupils and isn’t made from sand anymore, the latter of which makes sense given the new environment. He still looks fine, given he’s the focus of the episode’s more elaborate gags, all of which are animated wonderfully.

Now onto characters, SpongeBob and Patrick are more juvenile here than usual, and this is taking the entire series into account. I can get what they were going for though, making them pure at heart so their imaginations are bigger and bolder. DoodleBob’s back, and since he didn’t have much of a personality in the first place, I can’t complain about his portrayal here. He’s still maniacal, he still has it out for SpongeBob for giving him the curse of existing, and his voice hasn’t changed a hoy-minoyian bit. Sandy’s at the start and finish to be sciency, and a bit of an authority figure to SpongeBob and Patrick, one they quickly disobey. Also, Vincent the Cowboy’s acting’s a bit hammy, but he does a good job with the two lines he has. (But please, don’t pester him about airdates and cancellation rumours on Twitter, the former he can’t control and the latter he can effortlessly refute.)

To sum up, even if you don’t think Frankendoodle can be topped, this is still worth your time. Like the Season 2 classic, it revels in the mere fact that it’s animated, to relentlessly give you insane visual after insane visual. Making the premise of it more science fiction-based just adds to the weirdness. Because of that however, it’s hard to say that the DoodleBob in the original episode is the same one here, but maybe he just lives in nonexistance until SpongeBob brings him back to life. But I mean the original episode gave the supposed original DoodleBob a happy ending so, gah I don’t know why I still expect continuity to make sense on the talking sponge show! The bottom line is, no matter how you feel about the changes made over the past 17 years, you’ll like Doodle Dimension.

Final Verdict: Good 8/10 (an enjoyable if not mildly flawed episode)
Mall Girl Pearl < Doodle Dimension < Squid Noir

Question of the Day: How do you feel about Vincent Waller, and his sense of humour? I feel he’s a pretty good showrunner alongside Marc Ceccarelli, and he’s written great episodes like Texas, Hooky and Mooncation.

Things are gonna get crazy tomorrow. Until then, I wanna stay in this dimension.
:sbthumbs:
 
Top