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Re-Evaluating my opinions on SpongeBob Season 1-8

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Patnocchio (Season 11, Episode 19a)
Original Airdate: August 8 2018
Episode 447 in standard order, Episode 446 in airing order
Plot: Plankton pretends to be Patrick’s conscience to take advantage of him
Written by Mr Lawrence

Walt Disney’s Pinocchio is my favourite movie of all time. The animation is pure eye candy, the characters all feel alive all the time, the songs are classics, and it has a simple yet darn effective message of how choosing the right path in life is self-rewarding. I couldn’t believe it when the episode title “Patnocchio” was confirmed, because of the joy that my favourite movie and show were getting married, and also the dread that it’d pale in comparison to the 1940 classic. (Yeah, 80 years and it still hasn’t been beaten.) You could say it’s parodying the original Pinocchio serial from Italy, but I don’t see any leg-burning or hanging in this episode, thank God. Besides, it turns the story into a fairy tale, so it’s very clearly going for the Disney version, and that’s alright as long as it’s a funny SpongeBob episode in its own right.

We start off with a traditional fairy tale book opening, then are introduced to Karen the Computer Fairy, who will serve to narrate the tale of Patnocchio, and destroy a clam by singing Fiona-style. Anything to make it even more of a fantastical story is alright by me. Karen tells the story of Patrick, who decides to wear overalls and a feathered hat one day and gorge on Krabby Patties, within the line of sight of the Chum Bucket. As expected, Plankton tries to nab some from his plate, but ends up getting burned, and even sat on by Patrick. I’m not that angry with how stupid Patrick is here, since his foil is Plankton, a guy who almost always deserves what’s coming to him.

Plankton yells at Patrick, but since Patrick can’t see him, he thinks he’s being scolded at by a random voice. SpongeBob comes around to cool him down and explain that it’s likely his conscience, the little voice in his head that dictates what’s right and wrong. It’s a tidy enough explanation of what a conscience is, and it gives Plankton the idea to disguise himself as Patrick’s conscience and trick him into getting more Krabby Patties. The plan works for the most part, but Patrick wants to do anything but get more patties. I’m glad he has a shred of common sense, I mean he just ate, and is now going to walk it off going to different places, annoying Plankton in the process.

The first thing on Patrick’s to-do list is high-fiving everyone in Bikini Bottom, with Plankton on his palm getting endlessly smashed. It’s a good slapstick scene, with enough little jokes slipped in like SpongeBob coming up with a novelty sports glove. The second thing is getting some ice cream from Goofy Goober’s Ice Cream Party Boat, and I’m happy I remembered the name because it’s a blast coming back. They get through a lot of great moments in there, such as Plankton’s first lies that make his nose grow, and him tricking Patrick by saying it’s because he’s telling the non-truth. They then have a swordfight with their new noses, but end up destroying the place and getting kicked out by the bartender, who has one of the creepiest yet funniest moments I’ve seen on the show in a long time.

The to-do list isn’t getting Plankton any closer to a Krabby Patty, so he edits it in his favour, and gets Patrick to deliver one to the Chum Bucket. He misses the mail chute however, and it ends up in a boat, that Pearl and her friends are taking to the beach. This is the story of Pinocchio, they might as well throw in a whale, even though we have to go endoscopic. She doesn’t even eat the patty around the time Patrick and Plankton comes around, she just unconciously inhales it while snoring, her mouth is just that powerful. How am I going to take Patrick and Plankton climbing inside her to retrieve it while she’s sleeping? About as likely as Plankton himself, who expresses fear with getting eaten by whales again. Sure they had to go an reference one of the show’s most infamous episodes, but it got me thinking about something else while they were going in.

Ending up in the belly, they find they’re not alone in there. No, Pearl didn’t get Plankton’s family, but there’s a crazy old man called Geppetto she somehow got down here. Just go with it, and the little wooden puppet he carries around. Geppetto’s clearly gone insane in there, he actually thinks Pinocchio’s a real boy! They all duke it out over the Krabby Patty, giving Pearl a stomach ache, which is eased by Karen carrying some Pepto-Bismol. Everyone’s pushed out the blowhole, but Geppetto and Pinocchio end up getting eaten by a clam at sea, having about as much luck as Jonah. Before Plankton can carry out the rest of his evil scheme, Patrick’s actual conscience comes around, seemingly meeting him for the first time, and tells him to squash Plankton like a bug. The whole “Patrick already had a conscience” thing’s a bit contrived, but at this point, do you really care about the details? Anything’s possible in a fairy tale world, and this episode proved it could go to strange, crazy places.

With a story as funny as this, there are a lot of good jokes that I’ve already gone over, like the scene in Goofy Goober’s where Plankton and Patrick’s noses grow and they have a swordfight with them. Don’t ask me how this happens to Geppetto aswell, science hasn’t come back on it. I also really like how, whenever Patrick reads one of the things on his list he has to do, he absolutely rocks out. Nothing like combining a 19th century morality tale with rock-‘n-roll. There are a few jokes that I don’t enjoy, with the only one I didn’t understand the humour in being the random Flush & Gush (this episode’s stand-in for Pepto-Bismol) commercial Karen and Pearl do. I know this is a fairy tale version of Bikini Bottom, but that doesn’t mean they should outright Shrek-ify it, it’s dangerous enough crossing two beams.

As for the animation, they nail a fairy tale look with the silly costumes Patrick, Plankton and Karen wear, but the rest of Bikini Bottom doesn’t look too different. It’d be like if Pest of the West just had SpongeBuck and Dead Eye Plankton roaming around in modern Bikini Bottom, but given how boring that episode was, I’d count my blessings. That doesn’t mean the locations are all normal however, Goofy Goober’s is a delight to see return, even though they had to shrink it down for a TV episode. Then you have far more unfamiliar territory with Pearl’s stomach, which thankfully isn’t as gross and veiny as the last time we saw it, in a dream of otherwise. The animators didn’t try to do anything too outlandish or risky, except give Patrick and Plankton noses for comical effect, but I love one particularly freaky shot. It’s the close-up of the bartender’s serious face, with melting ice creams in his eyes. That was the part of the episode that made me laugh the hardest, because it comes out of nowhere, and is a creative substitute for “get out!”.

Most of the characters here got a kick out of me. Making Patrick the wooden head himself worked better than I was expecting, as he parodies the Disney Pinocchio’s carefree naïveté, turning it into outright stupidity. You also get a pretty good portrayal of Plankton here, forming an elaborate plan that backfires endlessly, with a fair amount of slapstick thrown in. Patrick eventually gets his own conscience, acting and sounding more like Jiminy Cricket, but he’s hardly a spotlight character. Maybe in a sequel episode, I don’t know. Karen the Computer Fairy was a great narrator, and throwing in an actual Geppetto and his own Pinocchio work on many comedic levels. Unfortunately, Pearl didn’t do much for me, she’s more of a setpiece than a character. Still, 4 out of 5 (not counting Jiminy Patrick), and Patrick’s still fun to watch if you haven’t seen the Disney movie.

So yeah, even ignoring the parallels to the movie, I’d say this is a great parody of the Pinocchio story that makes you want to double check how sane you are. It may be more on the “too crazy to like” side of things if you don’t care for it however, as certain references like getting eaten by a whale would feel downright abstract out of context. The fairy tale angle given by the framing device could be able to disguise some of that confusion though. I’d still recommend a viewing if you’re a fan of Season 11, or you’re into the nuttier episodes like MM/BB IV or I Had An Accident. As for me, the only wish I made was for a good episode of SpongeBob, and I’m grateful my dream came true.

Final Verdict: Good 8/10 (an enjoyable if not mildly flawed episode)
The Whole Tooth < Patnocchio < The Check-Up

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite movie, and how would you feel about a SpongeBob parody of it?

If what I’ve heard in retrospect is true, tomorrow’s episode shouldn’t cook up much of a stink. Until then, okay girls and boys.
:sbthumbs:
 

Octavionknox888

Giant Clam
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
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Location
here
Well, that's a an outstanding question! Well, I don't know what is my favorite movie, but if I have to pick one of them, it'll be toy story 2 and 3. I think a spongebob toy story spoof will be that spongebob's toys (that will fit the feel of Spongebob) will come to life, and nautical nonsense ensures.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
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Location
Auckland, New Zealand
ChefBob (Season 11, Episode 19b)
Original Airdate: August 9 2018
Episode 448 in standard order, Episode 447 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob creates a puppet version of himself to avoid stage fright
Written by Kaz

Does anyone else think SpongeBob needs some counselling at this point? Every time he creates a duplicate of himself, it becomes evil. Just ask DoodleBob and the Abrasive Side. Granted none of these episodes are exactly alike, but when you’ve watched every episode made across 20 years, you’re bound to draw some parallels to earlier ones, even if you’re not trying. I honestly didn’t get the hype for this episode when it first came out, and haven’t quite understood why it’s considered a highlight of Season 11, because I don’t even think it’s better than the Season 7 episode it vaguely resembles. Maybe there’s something in it I’m missing, or maybe the episode’s just bloody raw.

It begins at the Krusty Krab, with Squidward annoyed that everyone’s peering into the kitchen, to watch SpongeBob make patties. I wouldn’t have trouble seeing this as a direct sequel to As Seen On TV, as he’s being pretty darn artsy with it, and the Krustomers are more ravenous for entertainment than the food today. Mr Krabs takes notice of this, and knocks down the wall between the dining area and kitchen, creating an open kitchen. This doesn’t work too well however, since SpongeBob has stage fright. I can’t name any episodes where he has it off the top of me head, he’s always been a ready performer, but I guess it’s to make him more childlike and relatable here.

The stage frigt kicks in harder than I’d expect, which isn’t saying much, and SpongeBob makes a Krabby Patty out of a shoe (again, why is that thing always in the kitchen?) and toothpaste, much to the building’s anger. Thinking fast, he grabs a paper bag from underneatht he grill, draws his own face on it, and presents his cooking like a puppet show. For this first minute or so of ChefBob’s introduction to the world, he’s honestly pretty cute. Hearing SpongeBob make up a cute voice for him is neat, and just making him constantly smile is funny in a couple ways. Firstly, because he was made to take some fear away from SpongeBob, and then because of what he soon becomes.

A smash hit! The Krusty Krab’s soon renovated to be more entertainment-based, with ChefBob cooking up funny routines, and everyone except Squidward happy. Squidward’s sly remarks start to get to ChefBob however, and he soon becomes obsessed with insult humour. At first, it’s funny to everyone but SpongeBob, and ironic to me considering he’s still looking cheerful. SpongeBob has a problem with insult humour though, so it becomes clear that he isn’t quite in control of ChefBob anymore. Heck, the little puppet becomes its own increasingly nasty identity. If this were another Le Spatula scenario, it wouldn’t be very pleasant to watch, but come on, it’s a SpongeBob puppet, it can’t be taken quite as seriously.

ChefBob starts to bother more people than just his puppeteer. He starts hassling Mr Krabs for a better dressing room, and embarrasses Squidward with another cruel joke, causing him to briefly shrink into oblivion. Don’t worry, he comes back. SpongeBob has enough of the insults, and gets into a fight with ChefBob, in a pretty good action scene, though some of the actions can get on the overly edgy side. I mean what finally destroys him is SpongeBob smashing his hand in a register, and it later comes out extremely swollen. That’s why I’m sorta happy it turns out ChefBob’s fine in the end, as he gets his own show. Sure he’s still evil, but ending things on a joke softens the blow I think. Overall, this story’s okay. Some aspects aren’t to my liking, but what’s the harm in enjoying it?

Most of the comedy here comes from the mere fact that there’s a version of SpongeBob that’s mean/evil, which is far from an original concept, but they get some mileage out of it. Some of ChefBob’s quips and props are somewhat entertaining, including randomly beating his owner with a rubber chicken. Making his sense of humour get meaner and darker is similar in structure to what we got in Ripped Pants, but I don’t think they do as good a job at keeping him redeemable. To be fair, they didn’t need to, it’s implied he’s still nasty to the end, but the point still stand that I think that really early Season 1 episode did it better. There are other things that come to mind when I think of this episode’s comedy, like Squidward growing back into reality just to snark about SpongeBob being nice to him, but this is another episode about comedy, so I spent my time thinking about comedy theory.

For what they’re doing here, the animation’s fine. The renovation’s made to the Krusty Krab as SpongeBob’s entertainment value becomes more prominent are subtle but meaningful, and I like how ChefBob never actually looks evil, he just says nasty things. He still seems to be somewhat alive however, his cheek changes sides depending on where he is in relation to the perspective. The thing they put a ton of effort into here is the fight scene between the two sponges, which is good for what it is. The motion never feels stilted, and they get a surprising amount of mileage out of SpongeBob tugging at his own arm. I’ll bring up the old Squid Defense evidence that stretchy arms must be super fun for these guys to animate.

The portrayal of SpongeBob here is more sensitive than we’re used to, with him getting stage fright easily, and knowing early that ChefBob’s sense of humour’s gonna become a bad thing. This either makes it ironic when he beats his hand up at the end, or implies that he has a temper problem. Then again, I wouldn’t be happy hosting ChefBob, he’s one of those love-to-hate villains, generally because he never gets rid of the face and voice SpongeBob gave him. He isn’t half as deep as DoodleBob or the Abrasive Side, but he didn’t need to be. Mr Krabs, Squidward and the Krustomers are sort of there for the ride. When even the former two start getting nervous with ChefBob, that’s when SpongeBob acts against the paper bag.

I’m rather surprised that this is considered one of the best episodes this season round. Don’t take this the wrong way, I like it, it’s a good episode, but it feels rather basic at points. I didn’t laugh as hard here as I did with the hippie episode or Squid Noir. Maybe it’s because ChefBob can be considered a parody of Gordon Ramsay, another chef/comedian, but I couldn’t tell you. Ramsay’s never tickled my fancy, though it would be cool to see him as a guest star in a potential sequel episode. As for me, I’m going to take another break from daily reviewing now, to rest my weary, sponge-filled head for school.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
The Executive Treatment < ChefBob < Mermaid Pants

Question of the Day: Would you watch The ChefBob Show?

I really hope you guys don’t get paranoid over when the next review’s coming out. Until then, there’s some good in the world after all.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Plankton Paranoia (Season 11, Episode 20a)
Original Airdate: September 26 2018
Episode 449 in standard order, Episode 450 in airing order
Plot: Mr Krabs becomes ferally paranoid (again) when Plankton doesn’t visit one day
Written by Luke Brookshier

When I watched this episode for the first time, I didn’t like it. Let me explain, I thought it was a good episode, but it just wasn’t clicking with me the way most others were. However, watching it today, I viewed it in a new light. Plankton Paranoia is an example both of how far the show has come since its inception, and of how much it’s changed. Sometimes for the better, other times for the worse. I’m sure if you view it through the lens of SpongeBob being a show from recent memory, which it technically is and will continue to be, you’ll have fun with it. However, if you’re viewing it as one small piece of the larger picture that is the 20 year long franchise, you may be unsatisfied with the story beats or how the protagonist acts.

Another day at the Krusty Krab, another potential “Plankton formula” snatch, and Mr Krabs won’t have it. He gets his war helmet on for the second year in a row, and tells all two of his lined up employees to keep an eye out for him. They don’t seem to be quite as restless as he is, but SpongeBob still chants his heart out for the restaurant for three hours, before eventually getting tired. What the plot establishes at this point is that Mr Krabs is overly ready for Plankton to come around. In these opening minutes, he almost comes across as a needy boyfriend. I’m happy this wasn’t the direction they stuck with, but it still could’ve made him more likeable.

As the day goes on, and SpongeBob and Squidward get less worried about Plankton, Mr Krabs gets even more worried. I understand the element of him being the only one taking the ordeal seriously, but that’s hard to blend with him leaving the formula in plain sight, and going on lockdown when it goes missing. It does so because Patrick mistook it for a ketchup bottle, hurr dee hurr. From this point on, it starts to feel more like Clams or Penny Foolish, but especially the former due to Mr Krabs beginning to scare his employees. He stays in the Krusty Krab overnight, while they just carry on with their lives. I’ll admit though, SpongeBob and Squidward throwing their hats onto the stand in unison is pretty cool.

The Sun comes up again, and Mr Krabs gets even crazier, becoming uncomfortable to watch in the process. He creates a bunch of rules that require the Krusty Krab to be more catered in his favour, including being able to suck up others’ money, which has nothing to do with his Plankton paranoia. Then he just starts banning everyone, because he believes everyone’s working with Plankton now, even his own crew. This leaves him all alone to hallucinate about evil Planktons terrorizing the building in sequences that are rather nightmarish. They worked hard on making him look like a demon in the later visions, and they win in making him frightening. I sympathise with Mr Krabs slightly more after this. If this is what he sees, maybe there’s a reason he’s gone awol.

Before he completely leaves reality however, Mr Krabs notices that SpongeBob and his friends actually are going to the Chum Bucket, working with Plankton on something. SpongeBob then enters the Krusty Krab to bring him over, telling him that Squidward’s been kidnapped. He’s not right, but not wrong either. Krabs goes over, but realises that everyone’s been throwing a surprise party for him, meaning that all that stress was for nothing. This would be a great way for Krabs to cool down and apologise, but I guess having to discard all the explosive-laced Krabby Patties he cooked up for Plankton is retribution enough. It isn’t adding more humanity into the ending, and I don’t understand why he cooked patties for Plankton if he didn’t know it was a surprise party, but I digress. There have been worse wacky endings than this one, because Plankton Paranoia at least tries to tie up some loose ends, and succeeds in that regard.

So the story’s flawed but presentable, but the comedy is slightly more worrisome for me. There are a number of jokes I liked, such as SpongeBob rhyming that Krabby Patties “put hair on your chest”, and a woman checks to find that true in her case. The biggest laugh I get here is how Squidward’s tied in a chair in a failed attempt to evoke fear in Mr Krabs, but is never helped out, so he’s just stuck there. Sadly, the main crux here, Mr Krabs slowly going insane, isn’t very funny. They did it better in Clams, which already wasn’t an instant classic for me. In fact, a lot of the jokes feel like they’re borrowed from other episodes. These include Mr Krabs wearing a helmet like in Mimic Madness, endorcing random policies on his Krustomers like in Mutiny on the Krusty, a visual gag of how his eyestalks look similar to Plankton, like in The Other Patty among others. Maybe that’s why I’m not as into this episode. I’m fine with them using variations of older jokes, but outright repeating them, no matter how accidental these instances may be, just comes off as weak writing.

The animation is this episode’s strong suit by a massive margin. Whenever they want to make a funny movement or visual gag, they give it motion in such a lively way. Special mention should go to Mr Krabs’ hallucinations of increasingly demonic Planktons appearing in the Krusty Krab. While they’re too scary for my tastes, I appreciate just how much effort went into the movements, the transformations, the colour contrasts, and the transition into nightmare fuel. With all that said though, I have a particular appreciation for the Krusty Krab sign coming to life, announcing in Mr Krabs’ voice that “you’re all banned”. It’s so good that I could write a full critical analysis on how it follows the 12 principles of animation.
So screw it, I will!
Squash and Stretch- the mouth and bamboo pole are able to stretch from the background to very close to the screen.

Anticipation- when you see the mouth relatively close on the left side of the screen, it’s very safisfying to see it get even closer on the right.

Staging- the frame is shot in a way so the Krusty Krab’s message shouts even further than the restaurant itself.

Straight Ahead Action/Pose to Pose- very clearly made use of the latter due to the storyboard process, but the former gets some time to shine when the sequence is all finished up.

Follow Through/Overlapping Action- you can see the bamboo pole lag a teensy bit as the mouth snaps back into position, giving the whole structure a rubbery look.

Slow In/Slow Out- doesn’t quite make use of this as the beginning and ending movements are rather snappy, but justified in order to make the sequence look more jarring.

Arc- the sign goes in a very simple yet effective circular motion.

Secondary Action- it’s hard to determine whether the shouting is secondary to the pole movement, or vice versa, so hey, it works in feeling like one complete piece.

Timing- All within 3 seconds, you get a very angry, snappy motion with how quickly the motion starts, and a nice circular motion that still gets said amger across.

Exaggeration- We’ve never seen the Krusty Krab sign come to life before under any circumstance, so maybe the sheer fact that it’s alive is exaggeration enough, save for the rubbery movement.

Solid Drawing- Making a circular motion with a static camera shot is the easiest way to show your character functions in three dimensions.

Appeal- Although angry, there’s some relatability in hearing Mr Krabs’ voice come out of a clam-shaped object, instead of going back to his largely unappealing look at this point in the plot.

So, back to what makes this episode iffy for me, and it’s the protagonist, Mr Krabs. I understand that the insanity is part of why his character’s supposed to be unlikeable, but really, he went this nuts over a single day without Plankton showing up? I can’t really follow him if his motivations are so backwards. He wants Plankton to come around, just so he can defeat him and tell him to bug off? It seems more like a cheap thrill than something he should guard his life over. Again, I’m sure people enjoy these less mature portrayals of Mr Krabs, and more power to them. If there’s one thing about this that works, it’s that it makes the rest of the characters look more casual, as if they can hardly imagine what’s going on in his head. SpongeBob and Squidward are good examples off this, though the rest of the line-up is an ensemble piece, particularly for the ending surprise party. Even Plankton doesn’t have a physical role until the last 2 minutes, and doesn’t even do much.

Maybe all this is funny to you or other people, but I can’t get over how they handle Mr Krabs so randomly here. It’s not half as bad as in Mutiny on the Krusty, they’re at least not tricking me into liking him here, but a protagonist is a protagonist, and I have to want to follow them. I could compare this to a certain episode of a certain show about horses, but these aren’t the only two shows in existence, and I’m sure there are many surprise party endings out there told this way. With all this to say, I can assure you that this is still a rather new episode, and my opinion may change on it in a couple months or years. I could like it more or less by the time Season 12 ends, but for now, I like enough portions of it.

Final Verdict: Average 6/10 (flawed but not bad)
Krusty Kleaners < Plankton Paranoia < Stuck on the Roof

Question of the Day: What is your favourite animation sequence in SpongeBob?

Hope I don’t read too much into tomorrow’s episode.
:sblaugh:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
New schedule proposal- 2-3 reviews over the weekend, until I’m 100% caught up with the show. I’ve got something planned for this site in March, so I figured I’d get through certain episodes this month.

Library Cards (Season 11, Episode 20b)
Original Airdate: September 25 2018
Episode 450 in standard order, Episode 449 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob introduces Patrick to the world of reading, but he absorbs too many words
Written by Mr Lawrence

Ah, SpongeBob’s library. One of the most conspicuous locations in the show, given how the owner’s intelligence varies so much, so no wonder it’s the most under-utilised. There’s no reason for him to keep it after all these years, except as a remnant of his nerdy look from very early in the show’s development. It helped him study in Nautical Novice, but I believe that’s about it. So, making an episode based in the library, with SpongeBob and Patrick exploring the world of reading, how could things go wrong? The pieces are in place for a gripping, imaginative episode. Then you remember that this is hot off the heels of Ink Lemonade, and realise they’re not great with using Patrick anymore. Let’s see why this should’ve been a tad smarter.

The story kicks off with Patrick watching a cartoon on TV, about a snail constantly hitting an urchin and pretending nothing happened. The whole show’s fine as a side joke, and I’m happy they don’t cut back to it every 20 seconds. Patrick takes the TV over to SpongeBob’s house, but finds his friend walking out of a room. Feeling like he’s hiding something, SpongeBob qualms that fear by showing him his massive library. Getting Patrick interested by describing it as “a playground for your mind”, Patrick throws his TV down the stairs, sending the snail and urchin tumbling around. We’ve seen fourth wall-breaking TVs on SpongeBob and other shows time and time again, but it’s interesting seeing these characters react to where the TV’s going. They’ll be out of the story for a while now though.

They head into the familiar library area, not needing cards surprisingly, with bookshelves brimming with potential for fun times. SpongeBob shows Patrick some books whose descriptions are literal, like cliffhangers that are hanging to the shelves for dear life, and an unabridged war book. Patrick gets excited with the prospect of playing with them, and starts throwing them as if they were playing with forts. This sets SpongeBob’s spirits down a notch, but he still manages to teach Patrick the basics of reading, introducing him to the concepts of words and pages. Given the digital world we live in, Patrick’s bewilderment at pages is a bittersweet joke, and unfortunately where the episode peaks in quality.

It then shows us Patrick’s Brain, which is depicted as a small couch potato that hasn’t got any information to make use of. However, when Patrick starts reading, it takes the words and builds massive structures with it. I really don’t like this angle. Having a metaphorical idea have actual impact on the character in this way is rather disturbing, and is the first clue of this episode’s pretty bad message of how being smart isn’t good for Patrick. He reads so much that he starts ripping the words out of the books he’s reading, which in turn make his head even bigger, to the point where it inflates like a balloon, making him look gross and act weird. He exhibits the same accent and mannerisms he had in Patrick SmartPants, but with none of the charm.


Even if he had to go outside and re-enact the conflict of the prior episode, he can’t get out the library’s door due to how big his cranium is. He and SpongeBob have to think up ways to shrink his cranium back down to a useable size, like building a division way and performing a witch doctor dance, but neither attempt works. Eventually, they decide to dumb Patrick back down, and SpongeBob builds a TV, tunes it into the snail/urchin show, and lets Patrick brain become completely destroyed by it once more. Around this point, I don’t even know what the episode’s trying to say. Is it that reading too many books is bad for you? Should you spend your time watching dumb cartoons instead of doing something that clearly helps your brain? It’s almost a sad ending seeing Patrick lose all his smarts again, and I mean all of it. He goes back to throwing books behind a fort, when it would’ve made more sense if he just learned a little bit from the experience, and promised to read less at a time. Additionally, there are no library cards in this story, and that’s just inexcusable.


The story stinks pretty hard, but I don’t find myself as annoyed with the comedy, since there are a select few jokes that I enjoy. I like all the literal book descriptions, even if they’re a pretty basic joke simply carried by visuals, and “The Sir Urchin & Snail Fail Show” works in looking like something Patrick would be into. I especially like the snail and urchin appearing in Patrick’s head, destroying the word city. Unfortunately, that’s the only joke I like in there, as the rest of it feels too much like surreal horror. There aren’t many jokes I like with Dumb Patrick on the outside, or with Smart Patrick for that matter. A little tonal adjustment could’ve gone a long way in making this a more funny episode.

In terms of animation, what they do right here is make the library feel massive. Every book looks a little different, and I like the visual joke of the book Patrick throws at SpongeBob reading “Modest Exepctations”. Then there’s the designs of the main duo from Sir Urchin & Snail Fail, which look cartoony enough, but are designed with a different, more simple intent than other SpongeBob characters. That’s justified since this is an in-universe cartoon, which I don’t think we’ve had before. As for what this episode does wrong, or things I don’t find myself enjoying, there’s the obvious Patrick’s swollen skull looking disturbing, but also the interior scenes don’t feel quite right. I feel like they should’ve gone in an extreme different from Patrick gaining intelligence being weird and unsettling.

In terms of characters, they all have their part to play, but it’s a shame they had to impact such a “wrong” story. SpongeBob is the most relatable one, doing too good a job at introducing his friend to books, but he just seems to be there for the ride in the second half. It gets tiring when the only physical characters are him, Gary and Patrick. I have to say, despite not liking Patrick’s role to play for the most part, Bill Fagerbakke does a great performance as always anyhow. Although it makes me wish I was watching the better episode, it’s fun hearing Smart Patrick return. I just don’t know the intent they were broadcasting with who he was or how he was able to be dumb, yet soak up hundreds of books within minutes. Speaking of broadcasting, we’re introduced to Sir Urchin and Snail Fail here, and their painfully simple show, but I hope it’s expanded on at some point in a future episode. Maybe they could even be used to make fun of the SpongeBob series in a meta way.

As for their first possible attempt at that, portraying cartoons as mindless drivel that obliterate knowledge, they hit the nail on the head for what Library Cards wanted to add to the series. Nothing. There could’ve been a better way to utilise the library than to give Patrick a mind-numbingly simple adventure with a confusing moral. Patrick get too smart, then he dumb again. An episode where he and SpongeBob journey through literature would’ve been pretty fun, but I guess the writers and animators wanted to start fresh with the library on a small scale. There’s more room in that place to let imagination run wild and free, but they don’t take advantage of it in this particular episode in the appropriate ways. Oh well, we’ve still got a couple more decades of SpongeBob, there’s always next time.

Final Verdict: Bad 4/10 (not worth your time)
Man Ray Returns < Library Cards < Salsa Imbecilicus

Question of the Day: If there was a physical problem with being smart in real life, how would that make you feel?

I sincerely hope the next episode isn’t a criminal offense. Until then, here’s your daily dose of pure brain sugar.
:patmad:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Call the Cops (Season 11, Episode 21a)
Original Airdate: September 27 2018 (Episode 451)
Plot: Plankton goes to jail again, but the Krabby Patty secret formula’s taken as evidence
Written by Kaz

Plankton’s in the slammer again. It hasn’t been the first time, and it won’t be the last. However, this has to be my favourite episode centred around his time in the clink. It isn’t as good as Krabby Road overall, but that episode didn’t really focus on Plankton being a jailbird. The more jail episodes get made, the more I have to appreciate it for laying the foundations though, with this one being a rather entertaining look into it. I remember not being super thrilled with it when I first saw it less than 6 months ago, but that’s what retrospectives are for, going back to material with a fresh perspective. That perspective just happens to be taken to the darkest, angriest location in society.

The story opens up on a typical day at the Krusty Krab, with Mr Krabs and SpongeBob chasing Plankton around trying to get the secret formula. Things may have gone differently if Plankton just headed out the door instead of went up and down and all around. This is because he’s arrested on the spot by Bikini Bottom’s Irish policewoman. This would be all fine and good for Mr Krabs, but she takes the secret formula as evidence in the case. Why she’d have to take that if she’s an arm of the law and saw Plankton stealing it is anyone’s guess, but it gives Mr Krabs insentive to whip up a plan to go to the jailhouse and take it back.

Mr Krabs hatches a plan to do the least unethical thing necessary, by dressing up as a policeman and going there himself. He tries to cover up the problem with SpongeBob, his new deputy, by saying he was part of the navy, making him sort of police of the sea. It doesn’t totally work, but it’s funny in a meta way. They then walk to the prison, but SpongeBob loves his new vocation a bit too much, getting a little girl arrested for selling cookies without a license. I’m fine with SpongeBob being serious if it works in the context of the plot, this little girl actually turns out to be Bikini Bottom’s most notorious criminal after all. They already did a “cookie girl is actually insane” joke in My Leg!, but this episode ends up playing around with it more, and I like it for that.

Meanwhile, Plankton’s put in a cell with bars that he can easily slip through (gee, the cops don’t take him as seriously as they did 10 years ago), and his cellmate turns out to be Patrick! You see, he goes on such intense Goofy Goober benders that he knows to lock himself up in jail for the night. He even seems to get along with the policewoman fine enough, and it puts some new context to the brick joke in the Strangler show. They could’ve toned down the butt jokes, but I don’t mind Patrick being relatively dopey in these scenes. After all, he’s drunk. He also manages to annoy Plankton a lot, but doesn’t come off as agrivating to me, because at least he’s of some sort of help ala Chum Bucket Supreme with the key.

By the time Patrick shows Plankton he has the key to the evidence room and they break out, all three major characters (SpongeBob, Mr Krabs and Plankton) have split up and got their own side stories. SpongeBob tries to interrogate “Helen the Felon”, but ends up getting interrogated himself, losing his cool to a little girl of all criminals. Mr Krabs and Plankton both find the formula in the avidence room, then continue to fight over it, with old men involved as a strange form of weaponry. SpongeBob somehow then comes in to confess, bringing all three side stories to a head, and they’re all thrown in jail again. This isn’t the first time for SpongeBob or Mr Krabs. This may seem like a downer ending, but remember, Mr Krabs and SpongeBob still broke the law by impersonating cops, so justice was served in the end. To conclude, this was an ambitious plot, but it has some obvious, but not really nagging, holes.

In addition, I don’t have many problems with the episode’s jokes. One highlight is SpongeBob, all flustered, saying that without the formula, his patties are gonna taste like sh-sh-chum, which disgusts the customers. Another pretty good joke is his arc, of being a bad cop, but slowly turning into a good, and very timid cop. I get why people take issue with Patrick’s jokes, and yeah I’m not a fan of him trapping Plankton in his buttcrack, but the rest of his jokes are too silly not to laugh at. You’d think him making an ice cream in a jail cell toilet would be disgusted, but it turns into a live action lime ice cream somehow. Lastly, there’s the old men that clog up the evidence room for no reason other than for a couple jokes. I understand the little green onee, given he’s always finding humself in weird locations, but having the room filled with geezers really clenches it.

With the animation, I wasn’t really gawking at the design of the prison per se. They didn’t do a bad job, but the general look of the place is merely what you’d have to expect. The extra blemishes make it however, like the wanted posters for the Tattletale Strangler and Dennis from the Movie. Plus the food in this episode looks nice and sweet, with the ice cream (yes, even that prepared in a toilet) and donuts having just the right colours to look eye-catching and delicious. Onto character animation, I like the animation Drunk Patrick does twice, where he almost sits on the toilet, but then rushes for the bed. I also like the design of Helen, and how its cuteness is never sacraficed when she gets furious. She stays deceptively cute in every frame, and that’s the way to do it.

They have quite a number of characters with stories to tell, and it’s clear not all of them are winners. Then again, the worse ones are just average. In terms of good characters, I like SpongeBob, as previously mentioned, I think his role’s funny and takes advantage of how sensitive he really is in this sort of situation. You get another Plankton/Patrick combo here, and I like how Plankton’s always angry with Patrick’s idiocy, but Patrick’s either too kind, oblivious or drunk to care. As for the more “meh” characters, Mr Krabs’ portrayal comes off as pretty simple, as does the Irish policewoman’s. I like Helen the Felon as an idea, but there’s a reason she only has two scenes, and she’s just okay in both of them. The aspect to her I’m most interested in is the mustachoied receptionist, who talks about her as if she’s his daughter. Even with the fun but mixed cast of characters, we’re in the green due to the old people during the fight scene. At least they’re not just laying down glumly waiting for death this time ‘round.

So in conclusion, I liked Call the Cops overall. I think they took advantage of the setting, setup etc, both in the stories and jokes it could tell. I don’t mind Patrick’s role in hindsight, but Helen took some time for me to get any further jokes behind. In regards to how it compares to the last jail-themed Plankton episode, Jailbreak!, it’s no contest. Call the Cops just has more fun with the jail setting, and the characters are a tad more distinct and memorable. This isn’t the thing that comes to mind when I think back on Season 11 as being good, but it has its place smack dab in the middle of it as an enjoyable part of the package.

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

Question of the Day: How long would you last the night in jail with Patrick?

Join me next weekend for an episode that might give this one competition as the best I’ve seen since restarting. Until then, gotta love those SpongeBob cop tunes.
:hyehee:
 

Octavionknox888

Giant Clam
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Dec 21, 2018
Messages
322
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here
QOTD: Probably 11 hours and 21 minutes lol. ( Get it? 11 hours 21 minutes= season 11 episode 21?) Okay I'll stop lol
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Surf ‘n Turf (Season 11, Episode 21b)
Original Airdate: November 11 2018
Episode 452 in standard order, Episode 458 in airing order
Plot: Sandy has trouble building a ship in a bottle for a contest, so SpongeBob suggests the help of Mr Krabs
Written by Kaz

Exactly how well do Sandy and Mr Krabs get along? In the first 7 seasons, this wasn’t explored beyond a line or two, where they seemed to have neutral chemistry, but this ice was finally broken in Season 8 with The Krabby Patty That Ate Bikini Bottom. In it, Sandy trusts Mr Krabs with something, and he screws things up for his own benefit, and a monster story ensues. It seems they haven’t been on good terms since then, with Sandy having no guilt while beating him up in Shopping List. I’m alright with this animosity between them as long as Sandy has a reason to be peeved at Krabs, and this episode certainly does. However, do they go too far in making us relate to Sandy, and turn Mr Krabs too flat? Maybe, but I should start from the start.

Sandy’s in her treehouse, getting herself all flustered over failed attempts at bottled ships. She’s made her fourth attempt in a row, but she doesn’t realise testing the miniature cannons is a bad idea, as they propel back into the ship and sink it. SpongeBob comes around by the point in which she’s gnawing away at all the wood in her house out of frustration, and decides to help her out, being the generous friend that he is. Unfortunately, the fifth ship’s maiden voyage doesn’t go so well, as SpongeBob squeezes it into the bottle too hard, causing it to break, and its tiny crew to start drowning. Where did they get these tiny fish? First act randomness I’d assume. All of Sandy’s ships up to this point have turned out duds in some cartoonish manner, so this being the final straw makes sense in the way of escalation, but is jarring when you watch it for the first time.

SpongeBob suggests to Sandy the help of Mr Krabs, which is hardly a bad idea on paper, since he was in the navy and all. However, when he comes around, not only is he having to wear a water helmet again for some reason, but he’s a jerk to Sandy. Him requesting he get half the prize money is alright, but him doing none of the work and smashing all the bottles Sandy makes is a bit annoying. However, this is a build-up period. There’s a glimmer of karma in the crab’s future, and we can always relate to Sandy. She gives up though, explaining that the contest is a day away, and everything’s hopeless for her. With her out of the...frame, Mr Krabs is now the one hurriedly trying to find ideas for his bottle ship, in a twist of irony.

Mr Krabs gets the devilish idea to use the treedome itself as the bottle, and rebuilds the treehouse as a pirate ship. He’s doing something nice for Sandy at least, making the biggest and most elaborate bottle ship possible, but at the great cost of her home. Things actually seem to be fine between them until Sandy asks where he got the wood. This seems to suggest the contest was still on Sandy’s mind too, moreso than her own home, which I can’t blame her for since she poured her heart into it over the prior days. Upon learning that her house was “repurposed”, she furiously threatens and chases Mr Krabs, and some good old chasing ensues. Mr Krabs takes the treedome, chained to his boat, Sandy takes old Matilda from Shopping List, and the sound designer puts on that Trench Billies music which works so much better for zany chase sequences.

Krabs manages to lose Sandy by throwing Matilda far away, and girls have to stick out for each other and all, meaning he finally gets to the contest. There’s virtually no competition from the other entries for two reasons. Firstly, they were mostly average bottle ships, with even SpongeBob not showing much off with his entry. Secondly, the treedome smashed them all upon entry. This part wasn’t entirely Mr Krabs’ fault, as he couldn’t have predicted the damage, but it makes you want to see him fail even more. Thankfully, Sandy comes around and accidentally destroys her own treedome, when she trips and gets trapped in her own helmet. She randomly wins the prize now because she’s the only thing contained in glass, and this I’m fine with. It’s what your emotions want as opposed to anything with common sense, which this ending didn’t require, and the finishing scene of Sandy working Mr Krabs like a dog to rebuild the tree is rather satisfying.

The jokes here are generally crazier than your typical episode, but they’re given more time to be fleshed out to compensate. The biggest laugh this episode got from me was the scene where SpongeBob gave Sandy the secret formula bottle, and quickly got said formula back from Plankton after realising his mistake. They put this whole adventure of him going to an evil castle just for the heck of it, and I got some Dunces and Dragons vibes from it, which is hardly a bad thing. I also got a laugh out of SpongeBob presenting his bottle ship as just a dock, punning that his shipment hadn’t arrived yet, then Patrick just glares at him in disapproval. On the lower end of things, there were routines that reminded me of jokes from darker days, like Mr Krabs constantly telling Sandy to “try again”, and them later folk dancing before animosity immediately comes between them. However, the good jokes that I don’t need to mention far outweigh them.

With the animation, it’s clear they wanted to parody bottle ships by making ridiculous substitutes, though much of it’s just in the beginning with Sandy’s failed attempts. The deflated raft in a deflated bottle’s an interesting visual, and the ship that sprung an oil leak is a more clever take on how it’d feel to see modern ship models in there, a little awkward. There isn’t much more of this at the contest itself, except for SpongeBob’s pun and a man dressed in a ship costume, but I think putting emphasis on these gags at the start of the episode made us sympathise with Sandy and understand her failures. This episode is far more notable to me for a portrait in Sandy’s treehouse-turned ship, of her as a child between an older male and female squirrel. Could this be our first glimpse of her parents? It’s the closest we got to a look at her family in Hillenburg’s lifetime, so it’ll be odd seeing them expand out to her nutty nieces and beyond.

The characters here are entertaining and all, but only three impact the story. That’s fine since there’s more of a focus, but the side characters just have bit parts, like Plankton, Patrick and the contest Judge. Plus comparing the main characters to how they were in Shopping List is redundant, but the way to go. SpongeBob cheers for Sandy on the sideline for most of his screentime, but it’s clear he’s inexperienced with bottle ships, given the help he gives Sandy and his own one. Besides, him trying to be the voice of reason between Sandy and Krabs at one point, is a good use of his character. As for the Sandy/Krabs dynamic, there’s not much more I can say about it, since it’s been this review’s focus.

And what a focus it was. This show’s vast set of characters opens up more possibilities for chemistry than you could believe. Sandy and Mr Krabs together is a pairing hardly anyone would’ve thought about before 2011, but now it feels like it’s been there since the start. That could just be me getting hazier with my view on this show with age, but nonetheless, Surf ‘n Turf succeeded in making me feel good for Sandy, and negatively towards Mr Krabs in the right ways. Throw in a tight theming for those “model ship in a bottle” aficionados out there, and this is another worthy addition to both characters’ resumes.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
SpongeBob’s Place < Surf ‘n Turf < Sanitation Insanity

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite sea vessel?

Am I still over the Moon for Season 11’s other double length episode? You gotta wait and see.
:sbdisappointed:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Goons on the Moon (Season 11, Episode 22)
Original Airdate: November 25 2018
Episode 453 in standard order, Episode 462 in airing order
Plot: Sandy, SpongeBob and some friends get into some mishaps on a Moon expedition
Written by Kaz

Today’s episode is the last one Stephen Hillenburg was around to see air, having passed away from ALS the following day. Since I watched this one after his death, I feel that clouded my thoughts and made me love it a little too much. After all, it’s the only double-length 2D episode in a season renowned for being quick and energetic by fans, how can it stand up against the best? Ignoring the unfortunate timing of Hillenburg, Goons on the Moon is notable for many different reasons anyway, though which ones are good or not have yet to be decided on. After all, this episode’s only 3 months old, how exactly do I look back on it?

The plot begins with SpongeBob and Sandy in the treedome, at night, preparing for a trip to the Moon with fellow science scouts, Pearl, and her never before seen friend from school, Squidina. I’ll talk more about how I feel about her later on, but for now, this is a decent expository scene, with them all having a set of supplies, and some very mild tension with SpongeBob’s Krabby Patty order running late. Sandy has to get him and the others inside before it comes around, because the Moon’s in the perfect position, but Squidward comes in to deliver it uninvitied. Say hello to the best character in this episode, and the establishing moments that him being isolated in a science fiction story is still hilarious.

Sandy and the rest all buckle up and launch into space, with the entire treedome lifting off, revealed to only be a portion of underground rocket ship Sandy’s built this time. Good idea given how easily her previous ones malfunctioned, but that means unwittingly bringing Squidward along for the ride. While they exit Bikini Bottom at night and head into the stratosphere at daytime, Squidward believes he’s finally lost it. Similar jokes are made to back in CopyBob DittoPants, but with the clear escalation of him being in outer space in zero gravity now. Not only that, but the rocket has to pass through various dangerous asteroid belts of intense cold, heat and radiation respectively. Squidward’s only dangerously affected by the radiation, as the others already dealt with the hot and cold and kept safe with lead blankets. Showing everyone’s reaction to everything would be redundant.

After all this chaos, the rocket finally lands on the Moon, and the science scouts head out to conduct miscellaneous experiments. Pearl and Squidina just spend some time arguing like they would in a more casual setting, SpongeBob’s told to find intelligent life, and Sandy measures tree nuts up with metal knuts. There could’ve been a stronger theming here, like them planting a tree or looking for a rare material, so I could be more interested in their goonship as it were. The highlights of the episode are still Squidward’s adventures, with him slowly falling out of the rocket then slowly getting crushed into his helmet, then exploring an alien cave with holes that lead to different realities. I love these sorts of multiversal gags, and I was surprised when Rodger Bumpass made a cameo as a live action SpongeBob animator. Our reality is now canon to this show, let that sink in.

Squidward finally retrieves his bearings on the situation, and becomes happy that he’s on the Moon, hundreds of miles away from SpongeBob, and blissfully wanders into its “Dark Side”. Yep, he’s still insane, but it’s alright because he feels like he’s normal again. Anyway, SpongeBob finds the patty Squidward left behind in a rush, and it reminds him and Sandy that it’s time for lunch. Now, there was a gag earlier on in the episode where Sandy pressed a “lunch” button in the rocket, then wondered why she put it so close to the “launch” button. Guess what wacky mistake SpongeBob makes. He presses the launch button, but since the rocket’s anchor, it doesn’t just come back down with low fuel, but sends the Moon out of orbit. Big mistake, but Sandy tries to bail SpongeBob out a bit by saying the similarity of the buttons was still her fault.

Looking over the situation, Sandy remembers something Game Theory taught us back when it was still good- with the Moon’s orbit changed, Earth’s gravity falls out of whack, causing Bikini Bottom’s seas to dry up. Luckily Santa Claus, who sleeps on the Moon, just roll with it, was woken up by Squidwad offscreen and comes onto the scene to return him. For the rest of this particular scene, he doesn’t really do much except laugh at the science scouts’ failed attempts at putting the Moon back in regular orbit. This includes them using SpongeBob’s soda to burp the Moon away, which immature and doesn’t work, and Pearl and Squidina making a sail out of their clothes, which is odd but good in theory, but there’s no wind on the Moon. Lastly, SpongeBob tries pushing the ground. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help laughing at this one. Sandy gets ticked off at Santa’s laughter however, and he admits he’s been naughty instead of nice, and changes his ways for the rest of the episode. This I don’t mind. It was fine to have Santa as a stand-in for those who found all this funny, but now it’s time for him to be of use.

Santa’s plan involves his big sack of toys, and he allows SpongeBob to ride in his sleigh to help, and so he can keep an eye on the little menace. Plan A involves pushing the Moon back with a Jack-in-the-Box, but SpongeBob puts so much force into it that he ends up destroying the Moon. Plan B turns out far better, keeping SpongeBob out of harm’s way for a long time, and saving the day. He gets Santa to spray him with water pistols until he’s a giant celestial body himself, so he can stand in for the Moon until Christmas. This saves the day, and we get to see him having fun talking to the people of Earth from far above. It’s a far-out ending to a far-out episode, which frankly had its ups and downs. It’s not groundbreaking in any way other than literally, but it keeps you interested for 22 minutes, which a lot of SpongeBob specials a decade prior failed to do.

Despite just how strange this set of events was, it managed to get a couple laughs from me. Like I’vve said, the best stuff is when Squidward’s left alone to explore this creepy new place, slowly becoming happier that he’s away from SpongeBob. The best joke they make with his segments is when he falls out of the rocket from a great height, not worry because he remembers from high school that he doesn’t weigh much on the Moon. Then he’s absolutely crushed downwards into hiss water helmet. They seemed to have done well with the physical comedy here, because I also like the fish back in Bikini Bottom, being freakishly casual regarding the low tide. It’s dark humour that doesn’t effect me personally, but I was still entertained by it.

The episode also tries its hand at some dialogue-based and random access humour, though that comes with some hits and misses. The better ones include the live action squirrel (playing a banjo) on one of Sandy’s record covers, haunting him into another universe, which makes far more sense in context, and SpongeBob’s suggestion to push the Moon. It worked with Bikini Bottom back in 2001, but it’s just not those times anymore. As for the weaker jokes, the puns SpongeBob makes are barely worth putting in the script, and everyone looking at Bubble Bass’ butt smooshed against the treedome’s glass is one of the season’s worst butt jokes. As for the other end, there’s burping involved later on as a major plot point, and it’s only made more annoying by it not solving the problem at hand. However, these are generally easy to overlook in an episode that’s rather funny overall.

With the animation, the most notable aspect is the Moon itself, and how they choose to depict it here compared to back in Mooncation. Whereas that episode’s Moon was more crater-focused, here they make it look like another world, with a feel similar to retro science fiction comics. This works well in Squidward’s part of the episode, but feels distracting when we’re following the science scouts. At least I can fully praise the cave Squidward finds himself in, which is far more otherworldly. The purple glow makes the place feel ominous, and the random holes leading to different worlds has a lot of potential. If they ever go back to the Moon again, we need to see more of these crazy dimensions.

There is a set of animation sequences earlier on where the rocket goes through different belts (cold, hot & radiation), but they’re mostly nothing to write home about. The most interesting is the radiation one, because SpongeBob sticks his hand out for a second, causing it to become some blue, bulgy mess of an appendage, and Squidward’s far more humourous transformations. If there’s something I don’t like about the episode’s animation overall, it’s the character designs, which are pretty heavy on the Springer cheeks. Newcomers Squidina and our first 2D Santa are just sort of acceptable, with Squidina not really standing out too much, and 2D Santa basically being a hand-drawn recreation of the 2012 stop-motion one, but much fatter. With that said however, I prefer the live action Santa from Christmas Who?.

So, characters. Given that this era of the show isn’t fully suited to giving these guys full-on development or stakes, the main ones drag the special down a notch. SpongeBob is rather basic here for most of the plot, just laughing off anything bad or weird that happens to him. It’s only on the last couple minutes that he comes to be of use, and genuinely funny, so it’s not as though he didn’t need to come along. With Sandy, she impacts the plot even less, with her only major role being to take everyone to the Moon in the first place. She weighs some nuts, yells at Santa and tells SpongeBob why the orbit situation’s bad, but otherwise there’s not much to her here. Of the 3 primary characters that go into outer space, I’ve already gone over why Squidward’s my favourite to watch, I feel like his contributions to the episode keep this from being just another special.

Next up are Pearl and Squidina, the latter of whom makes her debut here. It’s rather jarring that they just shoved her into a special before introducing her to the audience, because even Season 1 characters had proper introductions. However, I can see promise in her chemistry with Pearl, where Pearl’s a noisy cheerleader and Squidina’s an obsessive geek. Their mild rivalry’s partly in reference to the real life animosity between whales and squids, which I think works when they’re just bickering friends in high school. They also contribute some effort to moving the Moon in the final act, so at least they’re of worth. That just leaves us with Santa Claus, and this is my least favourite interpretation of him on the show. The jerk-turned-heroic-assistant gimmick is fine, but he doesn’t quite have as big of a presence as the other Santas, whether it be random or creepy. This definitely comes from Goons on the Moon’s last minute inclusion of him, and Nickelodeon’s last minute treatment of it as a Christmas special.

I personally don’t consider this episode a Christmas special myself, because it doesn’t quite compare to the first two well enough. It’d be like calling Waiting a birthday episode. If Santa becomes a recurring character, we might have a problem, but if Squidina does, I’d be alright as long as they flesh her out and we see what she does in high school. She could very well be Steve’s last gift to this world with the right treatment. New characters aside, this episode feels like a general special- bigger stakes, more characters, a subplot that’s worth of its own episode. What keeps this one in my good books is the comedy, which is usually really great. However this episode turns out in retrospective, laughter’s sure to follow.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
Spot Returns < Goons on the Moon < Chatterbox Gary

Question of the Day: What was the first episode you watched after Stephen Hillenburg died?

Please, whatever you do, don’t be late for tomorrow’s review. Until then, keep your toothpaste out of my peanut butter.
:sbhide:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Appointment TV (Season 11, Episode 23a)
Original Airdate: October 28 2018 (Episode 454)
Plot: SpongeBob can’t wait to catch the long-lost Mermaid Man episode, but he gets caught up in errands for his friends
Written by Andrew Goodman

By this point, it’s redundant to say the show’s plan to keep the spirit of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy around is a good idea. Just as long as they don’t make offensive jokes about it like in Man Ray Returns, I’m all good with it. Now onto an episode I’m sure won’t be lost to time, SpongeBob’s back to parodying the burden of lost episodes. In the information age where every live captured nose picking can be preserved forever, it’s sad to believe that tons of could-be classic moments from the 20th century were either junked, poorly preserved, or never re-recorded. When such media is found however, it can be cause for celebration.

And that’s where we find SpongeBob at the start of the episode. He gets out of bed, excitedly preparing for the day ahead, where a never before seen Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy episode will be shown on TV. The story he tells of how it was rediscovered, sitting in the producer’s underwear drawer, already gets this off to a funny start. SpongeBob then prepares his living room with tons of popcorn, soda, and a VCR to record the episode, fully preparing for the occasion, which will be after a day of work at the Krusty Krab. It goes by slower than usual, but he never gives up hope in getting to see it once he gets home, which is always a good attitude to see from SpongeBob.

The second his shift’s over, SpongeBob starts to rush back home, only to be stopped by Mrs Puff asking a favour. One of her tyres has popped, so SpongeBob jumps at the chance to fix it for her, but ends up being the tyre himself after his spare rises to the surface. We’ve got a very positive portrayal of his character by now, with him carrying around equipment for a job he hasn’t even mastered yet, helping his teacher outside of school, and doing all that despite his desire to go back home and watch Mermaid Man. This is also where it’s plain to see his generosity can still get the better of him, as he also can’t say no to Patrick and his trouble in going to the “rock tow park” to get his rock back, after Patrick parked his rock in the same spot for too long. He may not be at his most caring here, but he gets beat up by all the bad rocks more than SpongeBob, plus the whole joke of rocks being compared to vehicles brings back some good memories.

After that, SpongeBob heads home again, but is sidetracked by Sandy who needs help fixing a leak in her dome once more. Before he knows it, SpongeBob gets stuck in a montage of having to help all his associates for the rest of the afternoon, sadly meaning that he misses the broadcast. Then before he can even get back into his house to catch the recording, he watches in horror as the VCR malfunctions and burns his home theatre to a crisp. You can see they go the extra mile in making SpongeBob’s luck miserable, but his friends see how much this day’s weighed on him (coming together due to how loud his crying is), and band together to repay him for his good deeds. Now this is how you use all the characters in an episode, having them admit their mistakes (I couldn’t believe it when Patrick grumbled that he was a bad friend), and do something about it.

The next day, Sandy invites SpongeBob somewhere, despite him being as depressed as possible. Just how low they make him here is probably my least favourite thing about the whole episode, but even then it’s endlessly satisfying seeing when and how he bounces back to his old self. Sandy takes him to an amphitheatre where she and all SpongeBob’s friends recreate the episode just for him, and it makes him incredibly happy seeing all his friends put their all into making him feel better. Now if I was in SpongeBob’s shoes, I’d still want to know if I could soon find the episode on home video, but I don’t care about the episode itself at this point. Darn is this ending sweet. It’s no Sweet Victory, but it’s up there in terms of feels. Although this episode takes elements of at least three older episodes, Band Geeks, Best Day Ever and Overbooked, I appreciate this one in its own way for making SpongeBob’s struggle more personal.

Since this episode’s duty is more to tell a wholesome story, I’m happy that it’s got a good amount of jokes. SpongeBob telling Gary where the lost episode was discovered is a funny one, as is him deciding to tape over his own birth, reasoning “why does anyone need a video of their own birth anyway?”. Glad to see he’s gotten over his sentimentsl value phase. I also really like Patrick in the towed rock lot, not only because it’s a weird idea that somehow works, but because he keeps getting crushed by rocks that just don’t feel right to him. Those are the big ones, but this episode’s filled with worthwhile jokes and routines, except for Old Man Jenkins’ random call to play Mermaid Man at the end. It’s not how I’d end the episode, personally.

This episode’s art specialty is backgrounds and locations, all of which look very nice. SpongeBob’s home theatre is the most extravagantly we’ve seen his living room decorated in a while, and it’s heartbreaking seeing it burned away and turned a solemn grey. Then there are all the places SpongeBob has to help in during the montage, which give off a good transition into night with the dusk traffic and Flying Dutchman’s ship respectively. Not to mention the amphitheatre shaped like a giant TV where the characters perform, which Old Man Jenkins owns for some reason. It could’ve just been a big stage, but the TV theming added an extra link to the fact this was a lost TV episode.

They give SpongeBob his typical arc from since The Abrasive Side, where he has to learn that being too nice is gonna weigh him down, but it’s done better here due to all the hard work paying off, with his friends giving him a worthwhile recreation of what he missed. These friends include Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr Krabs, Mrs Puff, Larry, Gary and even Plankton. (The Flying Dutchman gave SpongeBob a job, but the cheap jerk didn’t show up.) They all picked SpongeBob for a reason that suited them, all felt sorry when they realised they exhausted him, and all had their part to play in putting together the play. My favourite contributions have to be Larry playing Mermaid Man, and Mr Krabs yet again donning his Tightwad suit from Mermaid Pants. Then you have Old Man Jenkins, who’s just there in the ending. He’s fine, nothing too funny, but he doesn’t ruin anything.

In conclusion, if I could use one word to describe Appointment TV, it’d be wholesome. The Bikini Bottom depicted here just seems like a world I’d like to live in, between the colourful cast, the epic technology SpongeBob has, and his great friends. I could feel his struggle to get home in time to watch Mermaid Man, then his friends’ struggles to entertain him. Not many episodes can quite pull off a focal shift like that, but this one did. If you’re looking for a purely funny episode, this may not be your cup of tea, but to me, an episode like this so close to the end of the re-evaluation is all I need to know Bikini Bottom is still great to come back to.

Final Verdict: Good 8/10 (an enjoyable if not mildly flawed episode)
The Check-Up < Appointment TV < Mall Girl Pearl

Question of the Day: Is there any lost media out there you’d love to see, as part of an event?

I don’t understand how next Friday’s episode hasn’t gone viral. Until then, but Mermaid Man.
:sbeek:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
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Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Karen’s Virus (Season 11, Episode 23b)
Original Airdate: November 4 2018
Episode 455 in standard order, Episode 456 in airing order
Plot: When Karen contracts a computer virus, SpongeBob must travel through her circuitry to destroy it
Written by Kaz

If you were to ask me what my favourite Season 11 episode was before this one, I’d struggle to give a real answer. It had certainly been a good season up to that point, but the trouble of picking your best experiences is pretty tough, just like it was at the start of all this, when I could hardly pick one episode from each Pre-Movie season to call my favourite. These days however, it’s a no brainer. This was by far the most ambitious tale they had to tell last year, and that ambition paid off in all the right ways. Whenever I’ve thought about it for the past 3 months, I’ve just smiled, but now I want to know why. What is it about Karen’s Virus that makes it one of the show’s best episodes period?

The story begins about as straightfoward as you can. Karen’s invited a computer friend over for lunch, but she has a computer but that she passes on to Karen. It’s a very simple setup that computer bugs are illnesses to computers here, and it shows you can never be too careful around sick friends. Right after her friend goes back home, Karen starts acting up, having random spurts of vocal and motor glitches. But hey, it wouldn’t be fun having her like this for the whole episode, so why not make her delirious too? Plankton realises the severity of the virus, and thinks of a way to travel inside her and get it. This is where SpongeBob comes into the picture, pinning a bad grade onto the Chum Bucket’s front door. Very quickly you’ll understand he can lend a helping hand in this episode, but isn’t smart enough to know the dangers of sticking a hammer in your head, so he’s perfect for Plankton’s operation.

What happens next is a mouthful. Plankton, after giving SpongeBob the skinny, blasts him into the big screen computer (Retro Karen) where he’s digitized, then sucks him into a syringe that he injects into Karen. Don’t ask me how code can turn to liquid, that’s just how it works here. When SpongeBob reforms, he finds himself in a computer generated world inside Karen’s monitor, filled with circuitry making an entire land come to life. He can’t just stand around and gawk at the art style like I would though, he has to find save one of his friends’ lives. And despite how giddy SpongeBob is in this introduction, I am routing for him.

Like SquidTastic Voyage, we get a number of scenes in the outside world, to see how the host of all this chaos is doing. In Karen’s case, she goes on a crazed rampage into the Krusty Krab. This gives Plankton the perfect opportunity to go there himself, but he’s still more worried about his wife’s condition than some dumb formula. There are some spot-on jokes with Mr Krabs snuck into this scene, the latter of which involves Karen getting lovey with his cash register, only to take it back and call Karen out as a homewrecker. I just love how Karen just leans forward and looks completely normal while Mr Krabs is telling her off. Whether it was part of the joke, or done to draw more attention to Mr Krabs, it’s fantastic.

As SpongeBob further explores the mainframe, he hits a switch that activates some lasers, but gets saved in the nick of time by Plankton, or how Karen sees him- bigger, stronger and hotter. Even SpongeBob can’t help but swoon, and yes, I know the “Even” part can be up for debate. As they travel to the Memory Bank, where the virus is also heading, they then come across Karen’s interpretations of the Krusty Krew. Mr Krabs has a standard rich guy look, Squidward’s a gooey, depressed blob, and SpongeBob’s a silly-looking doofus. They put up a good fight though, as they become a form of security against SpongeBob and Imaginary Plankton, who are seen as intruders. Something briefly goes wrong when SpongeBob turns into a clone of his imaginary self, but Plankton chooses the right one to blast. No thank you, I don’t want those 3D World flashbacks.

So while Karen hijacks a car and takes over a rodeo bar, SpongeBob and Imaginary Plankton continue to follow the virus. Imaginary Plankton has to make a sacrafice however, as only SpongeBob has enough time to swing over the large gap. It make for a heroic end, but there’s still hope that he’ll be alright, because of the ending. So SpongeBob follows the virus into the Memory Bank, which is filled with clips from older Plankton episodes. I had been waiting for something like on the show for who knows how long, and to see it be a series of cool background easter eggs, be real clips from Seasons 1-10, and be part of a dramatic moment was perfect.

Oh, and there’s an ending I guess. SpongeBob tries and fails to battle the virus, which can shapeshift and breathe fire, and is cornered at the end of the memory bank. This would usually be the right opportunity to reuse something from earlier in the episode, but this time it’s something that’s been set in stone for most of the series- SpongeBob’s kindness. He just asks the virus what’s wrong, and realises that it’s hungry, so he prepares a Krabby Patty for it to eat for hundreds of years. This effectively saves Karen at the last minute. She’s still delirious, but she likes it! That ending joke is the proof that Imaginary Plankton somehow survived. I know, a Plankton being safe at the end is a good thing. It wraps up the story seamlessly, being a quick fix to something that was constantly on the move, giving you something new to gorge on.

That’s also true for this episode’s array of jokes, which as a wise man once said, start coming and they don’t stop coming. My favourite is Plankton telling Mr Krabs to mind his own business, before Mr Krabs points out that it is his business being destroyed. Another highlight is how SpongeBob enters the story, by nailing a health grade (Z) onto the Chum Bucket’s front door, with Plankton being happy it’s up from -Z. The silly names SpongeBob comes up with for the mission, Imaginary Plankton’s beautiful eye, SpongeBob yelling no, only to be corrected into saying yes, Plankton pointing out how the people in the rodeo bar must be jobless, there are so many gut-busting jokes being put to screen. It’s part of the reason I couldn’t stop grinning at this episode.

The other was its animation. Making the inside of Karen computer-generated is a good enough pun, but making it the episode’s main location is wonderful. That means more CGi than we’ve ever seen in a SpongeBob episode, and thank heavens the animators realised they were at the end of the season and still had thousands of dollars in their budget left to use. Each location has very basic shading, I’ll say that, but it feeds into the digital look of everything, from massive circuits and switches, to wireframe deserts, to whole buildings that are implied to be home to living data. The virus is also really cool, being almost fully computer animated, and threatening in every shot. For some reason, I also really like the gross close-up of Imaginary Squidward, where it just deflates and leaves goo, because we’ve never seen anything like it in the show.

Next up on the list of praise is...sound design. It’s not something I’d usually bring up, but with such a unique episode, it’s mandatory to bring up how it makes your ears feel. Throughout SpongeBob and Imaginary Plankton’s journey, and especially their battle with the other imaginary characters, there’s an abundance of 8-bit sound effects and music. SpongeBob doesn’t usually dabble in video game ideas, but it was really sweet hearing it in an electronic-based action sequence. Then you have the music that plays in the Memory Bank, “On Fire”, which is fittingly nostalgic since it hadn’t been played on the show since late Season 5 in 2007. It may have been a coincidence, but it definitely got the member berries going.

I’m surprised I don’t have as much to say about the characters. SpongeBob’s a brave little guy for going through all this, and it’s great to see that his compassion prevails in the end. There are stark contrasts and similarities in the roles of the two Planktons here, the real one trying and failing to make Karen calm in funny ways, while the imaginary one is more like Larry, which is a funny sight to see coming from Plankton. As for Karen herself, the virus causes her to go into crazy mode, which is hilarious, but also frightening since the stakes are huge for her health and safety. Lastly, the virus turning out to be a big softy is something I’ve seen before, but making him look so different covers that up a bit. I’m not really bothered by it turning into a physical virus at the end, since that’s what you’d want to see it as- a happy little creature devouring the right thing. There isn’t as much to say about the other characters, they all do their own jobs well, but it’s ironic that Imaginary SpongeBob is the one that puts up the biggest fight against his real counterpart.

So if you couldn’t tell by how long this review was, I liked this episode a bit more than most others. Best episode ever’s a bit of a stretch, since it’s not the most in-line from what I love about SpongeBob SquarePants, but it’s in the Top 10 for doing what it wants to do spectacularly. This is truly a show where anything can happen, even a cyberspace adventure, and they take advantage of this new world in so many creative, sparkling and funny ways. The whole subplot with Plankton following a malfunctioning Karen around town keeps things more grounded in the show’s world, while still giving us some of their funniest interactions with Bikini Bottom. Not exactly their sweetest, you’re better off with something like Single Cell Anniversary, but this is an unforgettable chapter in their marriage. Overall, there are good episodes, there are great episodes, and then there are Spongy episodes, and this is one of the Spongiest I’ve ever seen.

Final Verdict: Spongy 10/10 (the. highest. rating.)
Mimic Madness < Karen’s Virus < Two Thumbs Down

Question of the Day: How would you make a pseudo-CGi SpongeBob episode?

I’ve been so caught up on this episode that I didn’t notice the grill was gone! Well, here’s some music for you while I go get it back.
:sbdance:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
The Grill Is Gone (Season 11, Episode 24a)
Original Airdate: October 21 2018
Episode 456 in standard order, Episode 453 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob and Mr Krabs discover their grill has been turned into a go-cart by some hoodlums
Writen by Andrew Goodman

Being in the homestretch of Season 11 doesn’t give me the best feeling. For one thing, 12’s already shaping up to be a rather mixed bag, and because 11 itself had a rather bumpy ending. I won’t name names until I rewatch them, but the last 5 or so episodes haven’t had enough time for even their shortcomings to stick with me. Heck, I wasn’t even able to watch today’s one the whole way through on my first viewing. Now I’ve got an image of how it ends, and how it completes the package at last, and despite being about go-carts, at least it’s not as shaky as what’s coming up.

The story starts at the Krusty Krab, but at a more ravaged time than normal. The restaurant is dirty after the previous night’s “buy one get one full price” gimmick, so it’s SpongeBob’s duty to clean the place up. In doing so, he makes a better mini Krusty Kleaners episode than the actual Krusty Kleaners. Seeing all the gunk disappear and the dominant colour change from faint green to bright blue is very satisfying. That isn’t the only thing they want to do here however, as something goes wrong on this cleaning day. SpongeBob puts the grill out to dry after cleaning it, but it disappears before he even has a chance to explain to Mr Krabs (and the audience) what he did. In case you didn’t know, the grill is a very important part of a fast food restaurant, so it being gone is a problem.

SpongeBob and Mr Krabs discover there’s a trail leasing to wherever it was taken to, and SpongeBob gets the idea to lick the patty residue, while Mr Krabs does rhe smart thing and just sees where the trail goes with his eyes. Their differences become more convenient when they find where the grill’s gone- into a clubhouse, where a pack of kids are decorating it without permission. Mr Krabs tries to maturely talk them into giving the grill back like an adult, but then gets SpongeBob to take a more childlike approach when that fails. He does a childish thing, but not the right thing, if you know what I mean. He challenges the kids to a race, when they reveal they’re converting the grill into a go-cart, and puts together his own wobbly go-cart [ze] next morning.

The kids with the grill, and SpongeBob and Mr Krabs with the cash register on table wheels, race down Murder Mountain to a finish line miles away, in an intense racing scene that takes up about half the episode. I’m not good at describing those, but trust me, it’s pretty good. It caps off with Mr Krabs getting a plug and getting SpongeBob to put it in the grill, somehow making it turn on and throw all the kids off. Sure SpongeBob and Mr Krabs get injured, but they get the grill back. The biggest problem I have with this story (aside from the nonsense climax) is the ending, where the kids get their revenge by turning the Krusty Krab into a new go-cart that they take for themselves. It’s not really a conclusion to the events, which doesn’t quite work for debuting characters, but I otherwise enjoyed what they had to offer today.

The comedy here is generally of high quality, but I’m surprised that most of the best jokes came from Mr Krabs. Him tapping into his inner child, but going too far back is a good one, as is him talking to the other adults about how he beat the kids. Even jokes that are at his expense like SpongeBob saying his hands are clammy (and a clam flying out of them), and the rube goldberg machine that ends with him getting smashed in by two logs, are really funny. SpongeBob’s not as funny though. I like him cleaning a toothbrush with a smaller toothbrush, and him getting the wrong idea when Mr Krabs tells him to zip it, but him tasting the dirt instead of following it wasn’t entertaining.

The most interesting thing about the animation to me, is that Zach Hadel (Newgrounds animator, co-creator of Herculad) had a hand in this episode, making some of the many faces. These faces, though more exaggerated than I’ve seen in a while, are pretty good, always bringing out the most of the situation. The designs of the bad kids are that of pretty basic mid 20th century delinquents, and I really couldn’t ask for anything more or less. I guess another thing they wanted to show off was the transformation of the grill and cash register into go-carts, but it was done so seamlessly that I didn’t notice there was a change by the time we got to Murder Mountain.

With the main characters, there isn’t much new to say. SpongeBob’s still happy go lucky, I would never change that, but I like how they gave him a brief competitive streak when he got the kids to agree to a race. You also have Mr Krabs going through some sort of arc of “reaching into his inner child”. While the theming is strong with him battling the delinquents, it could’ve been more of a focus, to make the episode seem like a bit more. The kids themselves all have very basic personalities, leaders, baby and twins, which is fine to see from one-time adversaries. I wouldn’t want to get too invested in them compared to the heroes, who’ve got their own reasons for winning. I can almost forget that Plankton was in this episode too, since he only appears in two jokes about how he wants the grill for traces of the Krabby Patty. He gets knocked off the track twice, and joke’s on him since SpongeBob already cleaned it.

To summarise, The Grill Is Gone was a rather good episode. Really, you could go anywhere with that title, but go-cart racing is one of the things that can more easily come to mind. I’d hate to go into outer space again so soon. Vague title aside, I laughed at many of the jokes here, and I understood the strong theme of childhood present. The enemies are kids, SpongeBob’s a kid at heart, and Mr Krabs’ on/off arc is him learning to be more of a kid at heart himself. Despite how much I like this episode, I wouldn’t call it great or anything. Its ending wets the bed a little, and the beginning with the cleaning just feels like padding, but hey, this was a fun SpongeBob episode by any measure.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
Sandy’s Nutmare < The Grill Is Gone < Sold!

Question of the Day: What do you think is the most iconic object in the Krusty Krab?

Don’t go out replying too late tonight. You could bump into some creepy folks. Until then, this is the best thing ever.
:sbfunny:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
The Night Patty (Season 11, Episode 24b)
Original Airdate: October 21 2018
Episode 457 in standard order, Episode 452 in airing order
Plot: Patrick introduces SpongeBob to the Krusty Krab’s night shift, filled with monsters!
Written by Luke Brookshier

If it’s a horror-themed episode, and it aired in October, it can technically be considered a Halloween episode, right? Sort of like Tunnel of Glove was a Valentine’s Day episode? Well regardless of how you want to classify tonight’s thrilling tale, it certainly wouldn’t include the word “original”. It’s got the atmosphere of Rock Bottom, the setup of Graveyard Shift, and the villain of Don’t Look Now!, but as I’ve said before, I don’t mind the show being derivative of itself, as long as it makes something new out of the spare parts of its predecessors. Does The Night Patty do that? Well I still don’t know what I just watched, so I’m going with “yes” on that.

It’s late at night, and Glove World’s just closed, so SpongeBob and Patrick are kicked out. Tired and hungry, SpongeBob thinks they don’t have anywhere to go, since the Krusty Krab’s closed, but Patrick mentions it has a night shift. SpongeBob’s comment about how he never knew that seems to be a sarcastic nudge to those who remember Graveyard Shift and Fear of a Krabby Patty, but I digress. Patrick shows him that the Krusty Krab’s indeed open after hours, and cluttered with monstrous-looking customers. There’s a distinct Rock Bottom vibe to the designs, with some even being reused from the 2000 episode, which I don’t mind. It’s dark out, not many normal-level fish are around, it makes perfect sense why the creatures here are more depthy.

Patrick seems rather popular with this crowd, but it takes a while for SpongeBob to get used to the different feel of it all. He gets easily freaked out by all the strange visitors, and all the creepy menu items. It’s not until he tries the “howler rings” that he starts to adjust, but then another loophole’s thrown his way when he meets the cashier, Squidabeth, one of the many female Squidwards on this show that I should be more surprised with. SpongeBob quickly befriends her regardless, and Patrick slowly disappears for the rest of the story. Not that I mind, it’s now just SpongeBob and the wacky world around him, including Barry the fry cook with a fragile hand, and the grand return of Nosferatu. I’m pretty mixed on his return, though I’ll save my breath for now.

In meeting Barry, SpongeBob shakes his hand too hard and has to take over his job, after asking Nosferatu for permission of course. As the new fry cook for a shift he’s never worked, SpongeBob has a hard time understanding what the monsters of the night like to eat. He tries Krabby Patties, but they really hate it, so he accidentally burns them while trying to find something else. Thus, the “Night Patty” is created, and everyone loves it. I think this part of the story is funnier and more engaging than the introductory phase, because we’re learning a bit more about what the night customers like and don’t like, just like SpongeBob. Plus the visual callbacks SpongeBob finds in the cooler are a nice touch.

Now it’s time for sub-episode 3 it feels like. A new conflict’s thrown into the mix when the dreaded “Fisherman” comes around and robs the establishment. Being one of the few people dedicated enough to have watched Don’t Look Now!, I still sympathise with SpongeBob’s view on him as a villain, and find it fun to see him defeat the foe by deep-frying him. I don’t mind the whole misunderstanding aspect, where it turns out the Fisherman’s a nice guy and just doing his job, since they seem to forgive SpongeBob rather easily.

After all that’s over, all the creepy folk bid farewell and leave, as the sun rises, only for SpongeBob to question if what he experienced was real. This is where it’s revealed the whole thing was an illusion created by “The Tidal Zone” from No Pictures Please. How do I feel about this newly-established running gag? It worked this time around, but I think a full episode about it is in order soon enough, so it doesn’t just feel like an insanity censor. The story here was overall enjoyable enough, but I think it needed more of a hook. It feels like they had 3 ideas of where to take it, and couldn’t find a way to stretch out any of them to 11 minutes.

Much of the comedy in this episode is too weird for me to insantly like, but I’ve grown more accustomed to it on repeat viewings. SpongeBob and Patrick’s feet being tired and somehow hungry at the start’s pretty good, as is Patrick riding the Night Train into the Tidal Zone at the end. It makes you wonder if he’s become a part of it himself after prolonged interaction with Rube. Anyways, there are some jokes I don’t like, and they’re more noticeable here than in a lot of prior ones. Getting to see Invisible Stanley chew/digest his food and pass his gas wasn’t the wittiest thing they could’ve done with his character, and making Nosferatu a more developed character here makes the absurdity of his presence a bit less special, in here at least. It doesn’t retroactively ruin Graveyard Shift by any means.

Unsurprisingly, the animation is this episode’s highlight. Although the start’s iffy, I like all the crazy ideas for food items that’re played around with, like the sucker shakes that suck on the drinker’s faces, and the howler rings that make them howl. It goes one step beyond campy horror food and into new types of grub altogether. As little as I enjoy Nosferatu’s prolonged exposure, making him a series of stills was the way to animate him. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’d be weird seeing him move around in motion, I’m so used to his earlier SpongeBob appearance. While on the subject of characters, giving the Fisherman a yellow outline works so well. It may not have taken much effort, but it works so well in making him more distant and unusual from the others, a majority of whom are fine. The rest of them look good, but aren’t anything groundbreaking.

That’s quite a shame too, because the story’s too racey for me to be invested in many of the characters. SpongeBob works as a vanilla protagonist to project yourself into, and Patrick’s role as a creepy window into this new zone is also pretty entertaining, since he stays in character. The rest all sort of have the same personality traits and motions, being angry with SpongeBob and happy with him again at the exact same times. If Barry were more apprehensive or Squidabeth were more eager to defend SpongeBob, or something along those lines, the night shift would’ve had a more colourful cast personality-wise. Alas, they’re so strange and thinly developed that I relate to SpongeBob when he’s just left dumbfounded at the end. That just leaves Mr Krabs, who appears to tell SpongeBob he must’ve been dreaming it all, leading into the Tidal Zone gag.

This is another case where I don’t really know how to summarise what I’ve seen. I didn’t hate it, nor was I mixed on everything, but it was hardly the funniest horror-themed episode of the show. They focused too hard on being weird for the sake of it, instead of telling a story that flowed smoothly and delivered great jokes. It didn’t turn out disastrously however, for as episodic as The Night Patty was (the Night Patties themselves are only focused on for two minutes max), it got some creative ideas across and a couple good gags. Just don’t expect it to be anywhere near as brilliant as the show’s other spooky fare.

Final Verdict: Average 6/10 (flawed but not bad)
Patrick! The Game < The Night Patty < Trident Trouble

Question of the Day: How would you feel about The Tidal Zone becoming a permanent running gag?

I really hope the integrity of tomorrow’s episode doesn’t pop on impact. Until then, you can tell what I’ve been watching in my spare time.
:patomg:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Bubbletown (Season 11, Episode 25a)
Original Airdate: October 28 2018
Episode 458 in standard order, Episode 455 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob visits Bubble Buddy’s hometown, but that comes with a price
Written by Andrew Goodman and John Trabbic

Did we really need another Bubble Buddy episode? Not at all, one was already enough. They’ve gotten a copious amount of mileage from making inanimate people do dangerous or frustrating things, in some ways against their will. If they were going to do that song and dance again the third time around, it would’ve been bad, but this is a slightly different take on the Bubble Buddy formula. Giving a whole world of bubbles to explore got me rather excited as to how high in the sky the limit would be. I was rather disappointed when this didn’t turn out to be much better than the other episodes, it just fits into this “okay” zone where I like some things, but not everything. I know I say that alot, but it applies to Bubbletown too.

The episode starts in a similar fashion to Krusty Krab Training Video, with a spotless narrator introducing the viewer(s) to Bubbletown as if it were its own video. It doesn’t fit perfectly, but it saves giving a reason for SpongeBob to be there, seeing all this crazy stuff for the first time. Yes, the bubble lore’s expanded upon for all those bubble enthusiasts out there, with a whole town being made of bubbles. They don’t do anything super fancy with it, it’s just a town of bubble people and bubble buildings. SpongeBob seems to love it, so good for him. When he meets up with Bubble Buddy however, that’s when the narration ends, the narrative begins, and we get the most interaction out of the two of them in the show’s canon. They talk more in the video games, but the games’ relation to the show is debatable.

Bubble Buddy asks a favour from SpongeBob- to blow him a new tyre for his bike. SpongeBob goes the whole nine yards and blows him a new motorcycle, exciting the bubbles around him who ask for all sorts of crazy requests. I could sense a similarity or two to Burst Your Bubble just the year prior, given it starts with vehicles, but this portion of the episode’s good at being its own thing. He fixes up houses, cars, and even the mobility of the elderly, in a quick bit where he dresses up in cowboy gear to blow bubbles. It’s an alright bit, but things going so well so early into the episode can only mean one thing- it’s gonna be one of those stories.

When SpongeBob accidentally steps in a bubble lady’s dogs, things roll downhill and they don’t stop. He ends up popping them, and slipping on their soapy residue, sending him all across Bubbletown, and destroying many of the buildings and residents. This is a pretty dark turn of events, but at least not everything’s gone, right? After all, there’s still a prison for him to get locked up in for three life sentences, which is fair enough punishment. Don’t take that the wrong way, it’ll be great seeing him make it out of jail in the last act, but he did enough damage in an overly clumsy way. He’s way more sympathetic than in Shell Shocked, but the same principle applies, he done goofed.

SpongeBob gets his one phone call sent to Mr Krabs, while he and Squidward deal with a long, unsatisfied line at the Krusty Krab, due to there being no fry cook. Krabs can’t have any of that, and busts SpongeBob out of prison. When he gets into even more trouble than SpongeBob for this, he just activates like a topspinner, and pops the entirety of Bubbletown, killing and destroying everyone and everything. This certainly takes the dark nature of the plot twist to a new level, with poor SpongeBob getting traumatised. However, Bubble Buddy somehow survives, and is equipped with a giant bucket of soap for SpongeBob to use to rebuild it. I don’t like this climax and resolution, but I’m partial to the very end, where Mr Krabs opens up the Bubbly Krab, then shuts it down when he realises bubble money’s useless again. It’s a silly joke, and I wish more of the story was like it, as opposed to oddly depressing destruction.

This was definitely funnier than yesterday’s episode, with more jokes I can name that I enjoy. The green Old Man Jenkins dying then resurrecting himself while in line’s pretty good, as is the bubble couple that’s killed then brought back to life by SpongeBob. The second half is wholesome, and confirms that the original bubbles are alive again. Another cute, funny bubble is the little kid who proudly proclaims that he likes to learn in an adorable voice. It’s surprising that I laughed at the bubbles this much, since they have no faces to convey as much humour as the others. The episode isn’t without its weaker jokes though. SpongeBob eating a bubble hotdog isn’t pleasing to look at, and him crying a memorial for Bubbletown at the end probably looked funnier on paper.

Animation-wise, the colours of the bubbles I liked in Burst Your Bubble have been turned up to 11. It gets to the point that it often looks like a new material altogether, and I’m wondering if Nickelodeon’s going to make a coloured bubble product out of this. The dominant colour still remains blue, especially in wide shots of Bubbletown at large, so it’s now major distraction. Speaking of Bubbletown, I thought it was going to be like some amusement parkin the sky due to how light it was, and was a little dissapointed seeing it just be bubble Bikini Bottom on my first viewing, but it makes more sense now that I think about it. I think making an entire city out of bubbles was enough of a job for the animators, and it works out fine in the end.

When I think back on the characters in Bubbletown, the first thing is Bubble Buddy himself. We get more of a read of his personality than ever before, but it’s not much. He gets along well with SpongeBob, and I guess he’s not mad with his destruction power, but that’s hard to tell when he doesn’t have a face. At least it’s easier for me to tell what SpongeBob’s going through, and despite him and Mr Krabs being insanely dangerous to Bubbletown, I can understand their different feelings about how to treat it. It’s especially seeing Mr Krabs almost entirely brush off how he wiped it off the map. The rest are comedy relief one-offs, so there’s no need to dive too deep into how their shocking death and spontaneous resurrection makes me feel.

As the show continues into the 2020s, one question I’ll ask more and more is “does this need to exist?”. I’ll ask it for episodes, and even seasons at large if things get serious. You can probably tell I’m in the camp that wasn’t dying to see Bubble Buddy come back again, and I wasn’t very surprised that this didn’t end up being as good as his debut episode again. It’s still way better than the 2011 one, but it doesn’t have the same spark that was vaguely there in the 2000 classic. It has a good amount of jokes and a story I can at the very least think about, so in the end, it succeeds in being an alright SpongeBob episode, and worthy of existence.

Final Verdict: Average 6/10 (flawed but not bad)
Snail Mail < Bubbletown < Spin the Bottle

Question of the Day: Are you starting to get jaded, and wondering if we need any more SpongeBob episodes at all?

I don’t know how I’d feel talking about a “girls only” episode, but that’s a while away. Until then, have a good night, and remember, if it doesn’t say “Gritty Kitty”, it stinks.
:dyah:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
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Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Girls’ Night Out (Season 11, Episode 25b)
Original Airdate: November 4 2018
Episode 459 in standard order, Episode 457 in airing order
Plot: Sandy, Karen and Mrs Puff spend a night on the town, playing pranks on their male friends
Written by Mr Lawrence

SpongeBob SquarePants plays host to tons of good female characters, which were hardly utilised in the middle seasons, except for Karen who fit a “naggy wife” stereotype. I guess the reason the show never got into trouble with feminists is because SpongeBob himself has some feminine characteristics, being able to appeal to everyone after all. Still, it’s great to see more female inclusion in the most recent episodes, with more ladies being used as background fish for gags, and more stories that flesh out the girls in SpongeBob’s life. An episode solely on them and how they interact with each other seems to be the limit to this direction, but is it a good episode in its own right?

It starts with a microscope view of amoeba, of which Sandy’s one of them. Already there’s something fascinating going on, but it’s brushed off for most of the rest of the episode when Sandy returns to her treedome. There, she calls up Karen and Mrs Puff to tell them about her experience, and invites them to a cafe to talk about it. This excites both of them, Karen because at least she’ll be away from her rage-addicted husband for a while, and Mrs Puff because she’s be away from SpongeBob. He still drives her nuts over the course of the call, so we’ve got more of a reason to sympathise with her.

As expected, they all gather at the cafe that night, and just talk about their days. Karen and Mrs Puff cry over the stress they’ve endured, but Sandy manages to cheer them up by staying optimistic. This is the sort of thing I wanted to see this episode for, and I’m happy it’s here. Sandy and Karen’s chemistry grows a little more, and they have a new friend in Mrs Puff to look out for. They call themselves the “Gal Pals” (which is literally Chris Chan’s name for girlfriends), and Karen even makes a retro logo for them. The whole thing’s fun, emotional, and quickly establishes their individual relationships, but the rest of the episode isn’t quite able to go on with this kind of writing.

To keep the evening cheerful, Sandy suggests they play pranks on the guys to get back at them. Simple enough at the moment, with them tricking Mr Krabs and Plankton into fighting again. I like Karen putting on a voice changer to sound like Mr Krabs (with the starting tones being reused from Karen’s Virus, nice touch), Sandy and Mrs Puff’s terrible shared Mr Krabs costume, and how Plankton just walks right into their trap. It’s a good scene overall, and they prepare the SpongeBob prank to be just as much. What they plan to do is put on a virtual reality helmet and make him think he’s got his boating license, and I find it great how Mrs Puff has a second thought over whether this would hurt his feelings.

That concern is thrown out the window for a couple seconds, when she violently bashes the trolley they put SpongeBob in, but at least she calms down after that. SpongeBob’s trolley starts moving somehow, and he causes mayhem on Bikini Bottom’s streets and almost falls off an unfinished bridge, before being saved by the Gal Pals. I’m rather mixed on this action sequence because of SpongeBob’s character here, but it’s less grating then when he gets the helmet taken off and gets creepy with Mrs Puff. I’m also not very big on the ending, where the gal pals then try to relax as amoebas, but all the guys end up in there too, prompting them to go “Ugh, men”. It’s a bit sexist, but I’m more turned off by it just not being very funny. The story doesn’t become bad in these last few scenes, but there was definitely somewhere else it could go, without relying heavily on the stupidity of the guys.

It’s strange how the male characters seemingly trade whose funniest after the cafe scene. SpongeBob’s funny when he’s begging Mrs Puff to tell Sandy over the phone he’s saying hi, but this childish streak faulters at the end. Conversely, Plankton’s pretty hard to like when he’s yelling and throwing stuff, but he’s really funny when getting pranked, due to just how gullible he is. The boys seem to be funnier when they’re more cute, in that case. The girls are funny all around, which I should expect given they’re the episode’s main focus. Mrs Puff’s snap in judgement could be a controversial joke, I don’t know, but I like it for how brief it is and how she cools off so quickly. It’s also fun how Karen tries to show the Gal Pals logo off as often as possible, even during the chase scene. The comedy wasn’t perfect through and through, but I was charmed and humoured.

Animation-wise, they get a fair chunk of material out of Karen’s monitor. Besides the really cool Gal Pals logo, I like how when she starts and stops crying, she displays clips of a waterfall and a tap being turned off respectively. The microscope view of the amoeba dish is pretty mixed, because the background never moves (a bit of a good thing since I’m squeamish with that sort of thing), but I like the simple designs of the characters as amoeba. The rest of the animation’s alright, but it can get uncomfortably expressive towards the end. The whole “grinching out” worked better with Bubble Bass than it does with Mrs Puff, and SpongeBob’s obsession with her at the end’s pretty irritating to just watch.

So for characters, who do you think I liked the most? It’s a tie between Sandy and Karen. Sandy because she’s very supportive of her friends here, just wanting them to have a good time being themselves, and Karen for being a reflection of that fulfillment. Mrs Puff sort of has her moments too, but she’s a distant third. Still, this is one of her better portrayals, making her care about SpongeBob enough to seem like a competent teacher. The male characters are much less interesting however, with SpongeBob being asleep for most of his screentime, and Plankton and Mr Krabs only really being responsible for one routine. I see why they did this to make the Gal Pals more relatable as protagonists, but they don’t need to keep this sort of characterization up for future Gal Pals episodes, since they’ve already got a good starting point thay I can latch onto.

I really mean that too, I’m not just fishing for feminist brownie points. I already knew well before I put this episode on that girls can be cool and funny. This is just another refreshing character-based story that was cool to see with Sandy and Karen, but especially so with Mrs Puff in a main role. Like Whale Watching however, I don’t think the madness of Season 11’s as equipped for this kind of story as 9b, and that can especially be felt in the last couple minutes. That won’t stop me from loving a majority of the episode though, including the cafe scene and the Plankton prank. Stuff like that is why I’m still giving SpongeBob a chance, and I hope Season 12 delivers it soon enough.

Final Verdict: Good 7/10 (solid but not top notch)
Krabby Patty Creature Feature < Girls’ Night Out < Drive Thru

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite Mrs Puff episode?

Hope the other characters aren’t jelly of Sandy for getting two spotlight episodes in a row. Until then Gal Pals!
:sandy:
 
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