Re-Evaluating my opinions on SpongeBob Season 1-8

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Senior Discount (Season 12, Episode 10b)
Original Airdate: July 6 2019
Episode 481 in standard order, Episode 470 in airing order
Plot: Mr Krabs has to figure out a way to kick Old Man Jenkins out of the Krusty Krab
Written by Andrew Goodman
Animation Director: Michelle Bryan, Alan Smart and Tom Yasumi

I’ll stand by Old Man Jenkins being a welcome addition to the tertiary cast. If they want to make jokes about old people’s issues, so be it. Whether they reflect the show’s age, or the age of the writers and animators that have stuck around this long, he doesn’t feel like an out of place addition at the 12 season mark. But unfortunately, I wasn’t thrilled by this episode’s depiction of him being a crude moocher, the first time I watched, and now after a few more whirls. I’m pretty young, so I don’t think I should be critical on behalf of the senior citizens this episode digs at, but I can tell I won’t like this one more as I get older.

Things seem to be going great today at the Krusty Krab. The customers are happy, Mr Krabs has a ton of money to count, and his employees are doing their regular jobs without much hassle. That all changes when Old Man Jenkins comes around to do his usual routine. He orders one small coffee for a half-cent using his senior discount privilege, slurps a condiment soup he makes in his beard from the condiment isle, and plays loud music until all the other customers get annoyed by him. Whenever they tell him to scram, he just yells at them to respect their elders, and goes back to his odd routine. No doubt, this annoys Mr Krabs, and clearly hurts days where business is booming.

So the old “moving the elephant” cartoon plot ensues, I don’t have a better name for it. Mr Krabs tries everything he can to get Jenkins off the premises. He’s no hippie, but the Krusty Krab’s still better off without him. Plan A- Yell and shake Jenkins until he leaves. This fails because it makes him look bad to the rest of the customers. Aren’t they annoyed by Jenkins too though? Shouldn’t they be egging him on like the living mob they are? Plan B- Let SpongeBob talk to him. Only SpongeBob’s won over by his sob stories and is too kind to make him leave. These aren’t exclusively old people issues, but there’s three more plans following this.

Plan C- Krabs does the unthinkable, and touches the thermostat! He turns the heat up tremendously, to the discomfort of many of the Krustomers, but Jenkins ironically finds it too cold. Instead of, oh I don’t know, turning the heat way down, Krabs initiates Plan D- playing heavy metal music on huge speakers to annoy him. He didn’t count on Jenkins’ being hard of hearing, the personal radio he carries around actually being a toaster oven. Enough fooling around on both their behalfs, I see. Plan E should do the trick and end this for once. That involves Krabs getting his father involved, who’s older than Old Man Jenkins. He then pulls out Older Man Jenkins, who’s just a shorter and wrinkler version of himself, who doesn’t look very authoritative in his old age, but whatever. Comedic escalation ahoy...

Krabs and Jenkins whip out older and older family members, eventually conjuring spirits from beyond the grave (or in Krabs’ case, redoing Seance Shmeance and then going wild with the Poltergeist 3000 at the cemetery). I don’t know why Jenkins’ ancestors are red ghosts, or how Krabs has an Egyptian heritage, but what matters is that these two are now the youngest folks in the Krusty Krab by a long shot, and are thrown out by the ghosts so they can party. So Krabs and Jenkins...bond over getting kicked out, and bother Plankton at the Chum Bucket instead. Weren’t these two mortal enemies 20 seconds prior to this? I could understand last episode’s quick resolution, but this just throws a lot of the episode’s buildup away for the sake of forgiveness. It’s nice, but after 10 minutes of bickering and fighting, it’s not the most fitting resolution.

The story got a little big for its britches, but the comedy could work sometimes. Some of the annoying stuff Jenkins does is just that, pretty dang annoying, and the routine of him being amazingly stubborn starts off fine but is played out. My favourite jokes have to do with SpongeBob, strange since this is the 3rd episode in a row that’s otherwise light on him. I like how he kicks Squidward in the back of the head repeatedly while dashing back through the window into the kitchen, something Krabs repeats later on, his description of Jenkins as he’s coming to the Krusty Krab, and how won over he is by Jenkins’ sob stories. Only SpongeBob can believe a man takes so many pills that they’re more pill than man.

Animation is a hodgepodge too, there are a few visual gags that I chuckled at (RIP Krustomer made of wax), but some of them were a bit nasty, like Krabs screaming and showing a crud ton of gum, the whole thing of Jenkins drinking a condiment soup from his beard, and there are a couple oddities with the colours and ethnicites of all the ghosts. You go from Ancient Egypt to Early Modern England to Modern America? Ancestry is a scam! Also I know it’s the joke, but their great grandfathers look like they’re pushing 150 and don’t want to be in the land of the living anymore. And Grandpappy’s pink now, I guess he’s done too much adventuring since we last saw him.

So there’s a whole mess of new crab and old fish characters to theorise about, like Mr Krabs’ dad who only gets one line (though I like how he sounds like how Krabs did in 1999), and the return of Grandpappy who only gets one line, and they didn’t get Dennis Quaid back to voice him for it. I shouldn’t be too underwhelmed, this is one big old comedic routine after all. Maybe I’m drawn to them because Mr Krabs himself isn’t anything special here, and neither is Old Man Jenkins. Typical portrayals of them are better than atypical any day of the week, but they weren’t very funny since the story they went through wasn’t very interesting. I should reiterate that I liked SpongeBob here, and I didn’t mind Squidward and Plankton’s little bit parts.

I feel like I’m missing something here, like I’m too young to really get invested in the jokes and dynamics they make here. That said, I don’t think I’ll find it any more entertaining as a 91 year old than as a 19 year old. The story stops and goes, there weren’t many characters I liked seeing onscreen, and Old Man Jenkins was funnier when he did stuff you wouldn’t expect an old man to do. Maybe a part of me is comparing it negatively to There’s a Sponge In My Soup, which had a similar structure but was far more energetic and creative, in that way I’m paying far more respect to the elder episode. This episode left an impact on me in that way, heh.

Final Verdict: 5/10 (Average)
Swamp Mates < Senior Discount < Squid’s On a Bus

I’ve decided to go on a short break, much shorter than last time I promise, after Big Birthday Blowout, so mind the gap in reviews then. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Mind the Gap (Season 12, Episode 11a)
Original Airdate: September 14 2019
Episode 482 in standard order, Episode 477 in airing order
Plot: Squidward discovers that SpongeBob’s singing improves drastically when the gap in his buckteeth is closed
Written by Mr Lawrence
Animation Director: Andrew Overtoom

SpongeBob’s buckteeth are one of those aspects to his design that’s kind of overlooked, and almost a total relic of Stephen Hillenburg’s early ideas. Buckteeth are generally associated with dorks and geeks, and SpongeBob rarely has any dorky or geeky tendencies. Jellyfishing and superheroes perhaps, but the former isn’t real and the latter has become a way more mainstream interest since the 90s. So once more, I can see the Season 12 creative team scanning all the elements of the show that are kind of weird but we just accept, and making a story challenging that element and its original use. These are some of the episodes this season I give the most attention to, and Mind the Gap is certainly an episode where that pays off.

You know those episodes that start with a slow day at the Krusty Krab? This is one of those. SpongeBob doesn’t mind whistling while cooking some patties, much to the annoyance of Squidward. Somehow I travelled back in time to 2005, because what follows is Squidward teasing SpongeBob, by warning him not to do something annoying. It’s not his laugh box this time, rather his buckteeth that allow him to whistle. His method of closing the gap between them is to surgically push them together with a drill! Least favourite thing about the episode, right away, is how ruthless it can be to teeth. It definitely would’ve scared me when I was younger, seeing two of the most famous teeth on television getting drilled together, and it still unnerves me a bit now.

With the gap closed, SpongeBob’s voice sounds significantly smoother, and he acts cooler too, optimg out of whistling like a dork, more obsessed with scat singing like a cool cat. This gets everyone’s attention, including Squidward’s, who can’t believe what’s happened to the sponge, but takes it upon himself to use this to his advantage. He takes SpongeBob to a jazz club he likes, in hopes they would fit in better with SpongeBob’s newfound talent. It takes a while for the denizens of the Blow Your Top Lounge to trust them, but as soon as SpongeBob gets on stage, everyone loves it. Things seem to be going well, there’s more lively music in Bikini Bottom, and SpongeBob’s meeting new people, but this is rather exploitative of Squidward. How will the episode beat him down?

The catch with SpongeBob’s teeth is that they don’t stay together very long, so Squidward has to give him better teeth in various ways. Stealing some guy’s dentures is the first plan, but shutting the gap with cement is used twice. Of course putting cement in your mouth isn’t imitatable behaviour, but it does still give some icky images that make Squidward look worse. The BYTL-goers don’t quite understand why SpongeBob’s voice changes all the time, but they still love it when it’s cool. SpongeBob’s having fun there, though I don’t know if it’s a mental thing too, because he changes looks and movements whenever the gap is widened again. It probably is, you don’t get your teeth drilled or cemented together without some level of trauma.

Things go from tricky to dicky for Squidward on the second night, where he tries to join in on SpongeBob’s performance with a surprise clarinet solo, but he gets kicked out for not being cool enough. He can’t get to SpongeBob in time for the gap to appear again, by which point the performance is pretty much over and crowd loves him so that they don’t mind. But SpongeBob whistles his way out of irrelevance, and whistling sponteously becomes the newest trend for the beatniks in the club to imitate. I’m kind of happy that it ends with SpongeBob being SpongeBob and everyone enjoying it, but I’m a little concerned with everyone breaking their teeth so they can whistle through a gap like SpongeBob.

This episode’s more violent than it needed to be, honestly. I’d expect an episode about a smooth singer at a jazz club to prioritise chill, more observational jokes. Those are here, but take a backseat to the story, whose jokes aren’t exactly appropriate for this locale, though that might be the intention. I don’t know why, but Patrick randomly appearing from some guy’s pink ice cream at the club, got a laugh out of me. As if it was his turn to be Mr Cameo. This one is reaching and is more meta, but I also like how Tom Kenny’s credited as “SpongeBob” and “Cool SpongeBob”, as if they’re such different personas. And to be reasonable, Tom did an incredible job at not sounding like SpongeBob. I just wonder who voiced “Jerry Lewis SpongeBob”.

Tooth destruction aside, I’m definitely a fan of the visuals here. My favourite moment has to be the living music sheet at the beginning, with the notes massaging Squidward’s head, then acting as headphones. Coupled with the great singing, it’s a very comfortable set of gags. Some others at the club that won’t slip the radar are SpongeBob’s first entrance into it, literally being cool as ice, and Squidward calling him a square later on, as in a loser and a cubic being. The animators were also keen on making SpongeBob’s buckteeth huge throughout the episode, to really emphasise the different modes he shifs between. This episode was probably made to jam into new animators’ heads once and for all that there is a gap, and it makes a huge difference. Something to put on the model sheet.

SpongeBob as a character with personal traits and motivations, is basic here but perfectly understandable. He just wants to sing his heart out, and performing for a new audience is an added bonus. I choose to think his brain changes a bit depending on if the gap is closed, but not enough to consider him a different character, the base is still there. Squidward has a relatable motivation, fitting in with what he thinks is his kin, but takes on a more antagonistic role, choosing to exploit SpongeBob’s hidden talent for his own personal gain. That makes his punishments more well-earned, when he is a bad egg. None of the club-goers really stuck out to me, unfortunately. Maybe that’s the point, to show how when you fit in you disappear or something, but that’s a reach.

My feelings about this episode are complicated, but at large I really like it. There are little things about it that I take personal issue with, like how teeth are glass by the end, but I just had a good time listening to Cool SpongeBob’s singing. I’ve seen other cartoons, especially other NickToons, with episodes about characters becoming really good jazz singers, and they’re always a treat. SpongeBob’s take on Cartoon Plot #311 still felt original, and kept me guessing what would happen next. That calls for teeth chattering applause.

Final Verdict: 7/10 (Good)
King Plankton < Mind the Gap < The Krusty Bucket

It’s good to see Season 12’s ratings get cleaner over the past few days, but will it lapse back into dirtiness? Tune in tomorrow to find out. Same Employee thread, not the same AMillion time. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Dirty Bubble Returns (Season 12, Episode 11b)
Original Airdate: November 23 2019
Episode 483 in standard order, Episode 485 in airing order
Plot: The Dirty Bubble is reformed into a nicer, cleaner bubble, but will snap back on a dime whenever there’s grime
Written by Mr Lawrence
Animation Director: Tom Yasumi

The Dirty Bubble wasn’t one of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy’s most intimidating foes. While he did pose a threat, he was thwarted easily in his first appearance, acted like a blabbermouth in his second, then he became a paddle ball champion. Like all the other villains, I have a soft spot for him, but always felt they could do more with him. I mean he’s the embodiment of ocean pollution, he has to put lives at stake somehow. Well, I finally got my wish. Now that Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy have been retired, they decided to see how well the Dirty Bubble can stand on his own. Way, way better than Man Ray last season, that’s for sure.

The episode kicks off with a news report from Realistic Fish Head and Perch Perkins, reporting the Dirty Bubble’s latest dirty tricks. He’s seen at the Bikini Bottom Power Plant, threatening through rhyme to a crowd to eat a police officer (AKA, Ms Gristlepuss’ husband from Banned in Bikini Bottom), then later Perch. His threats fall on concerned but deaf ears, as he’s caught in giant police bubble wands and trapped in a bottle. After 6 months in prison, he’s cleaned up his act and behaves much nicer, which is probably why we don’t see him very often. If it takes that long to reform him, no wonder he had the time to invent and patent the Dirty Bubble Challenge.

The police warn the new Clean Bubble to stay clean, or he’ll get mean, and assign him his new job at the Krusty Krab where he’ll be...the dishwasher? It seems Mr Krabs needs a living bubble to do the dishes more efficiently than a busy sponge, so he’s forced to do something that could make him evil again. He does introduce himself to SpongeBob before then (as D.B.), so when he does begin to relapse while doing those dishes, SpongeBob can learn about this weakness of his, and figure out how to reverse it before he’s completely changed, spraying him with water. I guess that’s how it works. Why else would the police lock him up instead of spraying him? Probably because if he gets dirty enough or stays dirty long enough, that’s when the effects aren’t immediately reversable. I’m injecting useless logic into a story about a cartoon bubble, that’s where I’m at in life!

What’s important is that SpongeBob knows how to calm the bubble down and make him nice again, which is a good thing to know before Mr Krabs assigns him restroom cleaning duty. There’s another close shave where the Dirty Bubble returns, but SpongeBob’s able to turn him back into the Clean Bubble before he goes beyond “mischevious”. A fish gets stuck in a toilet, but he’s a fish, he’ll survive in water. And SpongeBob and the Clean Bubble become close friends, SpongeBob always looking out for him and keeping him sparkling clean at every possible moment. More than a break from crime and a fresh coat of light blue ink and paint, it really seems like this bubble just needed a friend that could keep him on the right path.

After a few weeks pass, it seems the Clean Bubble has been completely rehabilitated by SpongeBob...then Patrick just has to come along, flick some belly button lint onto him, which is so foul that it undoes everything. I have a lot of praises for this episode, but bringing back the “Patrick does something dumb to effect the plot then leaves” crutch isn’t one of them. I still like the climax, where the Dirty Bubble gets stronger and dirtier than ever, even consuming SpongeBob and attempting to absorb the goo from Goo Lagoon. But SpongeBob manages to absorb everything, much like how he did when he was a spongeguard on duty, turning the Dirty Bubble into a tiny, defenseless bubble that’s easily taken in by the police. While it’s unfortunate that the Clean Bubble’s guaranteed to always fall back into villainy (even if Patrick hadn’t turned up, he’d have gotten dirty again somehow), it isn’t called Dirty Bubble Returns for nothing. You tune in to see the Dirty Bubble return, not the Dirty Bubble redemption arc.

I’m willing to ignore the late, arbitrary inciting incident and possible plotholes, because this was an interesting story for various reasons, and a funny episode. The opening scene has such weird, awkward dialogue for a hostage crisis, and the Dirty Bubble’s more vulgar rhyme got a kick out of me. He mentioned the religious section of Davy Jones’ Locker, he must be a villain! In general, the rhyming scheme was an amusing hook to the episode and its interpretation of the Dirty/Clean Bubble. The best visual gag had to be when the Dirty Bubble snatched the “dirty looks” off the face of a school teacher and Perch Perkins, soon after sissy-fying a pirate at a pub. The bit of him cleaning some kids who were playing in mud, and that’s what makes them sad, isn’t bad either.

As for all the crazy animation they could do with bubbles, there’s plenty of simple but mesmorising stuff. Bubbles are essentially really fragile balls, and balls are easy to animate, but really fun to watch. They get a lot of mileage out of this, making him squash and stretch when he laughs, and playing with his size, making him upstage or get upstaged by the more complex designs around him depending on the situation. As for his design as the Clean Bubble, I like it. It’s got this hokey retro mascot feel to it that makes rhyming and shot at redemption feel more ironic coming out of a supervillain. There is some gross-out, due to the nature of the episode being about dirt and filth, but it’s all nondescript brown and green gunk, which makes it easier to swallow, that is if you’re willing to swallow it. There’s also a still montage made with a comic book aesthetics, printed dots and all. It looks nice, but I forgot about it before too long. I need to read more comic books, my brain’s rotting by the minute.

I’m really proud that this episode gave a (nearly) 20 year old character like the Dirty Bubble new goals, personality traits and abilities without any trouble. Of course there’d be a part of him that doesn’t want to be dirty, and some of his superpowers like rubbing people’s faces off their heads and producing mini clones of himself, are definitely things bubbles can do...the former depending on their acidity. This is also a really good outing for SpongeBob, he seems smart, strong, and willing to help out his new friend. There’s even a bit where he lampshades the writers only remembering his absorbency once in a blue moon. I’d say that’s where he’s starts getting too smart, but looking at tomorrow’s episode, I’ll savour every little bit of it.

In terms of everyone else, I was happy to see Perch Perkins, the Scottish policewoman and Al Priss of all characters return, and benefit the humour of the scenes they were in, but Krabs and Patrick’s roles seemed a little more forced, Patrick’s especially. This is the first time in years he just caused a problem then left. I guess him saying the Dirty Bubble seems so happy to be dirty adds to the narrative somewhat, the implication that a permanently Clean Bubble is a pipe dream, and that he really just wants to be dirty and cause trouble.

As a silly story that goes to strange places and makes you laugh, this is pretty good. As a reintroduction to one of the least threatening villains in the SpongeBob canon, it’s even better. Not that this episode makes him the best of Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy’s former foes, Man Ray’s had far more endurance, but supervillain backstories and motivations are all the rage these days, so I can see this episode appealing to way more people than just me. We might never see the Clean Bubble again, due to its very one-off nature, and ecological implications in the real world, but Dirty Bubble Returns is one episode I’ll always stay clean on, never mean.

Final Verdict: 8/10 (Great)
The Krusty Bucket < Dirty Bubble Returns < Broken Alarm

I just know tomorrow’s episode is going to sting a lot. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Jolly Lodgers (Season 12, Episode 12a)
Original Airdate: March 7 2020 (produced in 2019)
Episode 484 in standard order, Episode 493 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick bother Squidward, but at a hotel this time
Written by Kaz
Animation Director: Andrew Overtoom

I don’t feel the need to drone on again about how little I like or care about the “Annoy Squidward” genre of SpongeBob episodes in Season 12. This isn’t the worst they’ve ever been, or the most frequent (compared to five in the first half of Season 6, there’s only four here), but this is Season 12! They mean almost nothing to me compared to the other story ideas they’ve developed and put to good use. Sandy and Karen’s families were extended, Gary and Spot have become good friends, and even the Dirty Bubble got more fleshed out yesterday. Why must every 11 minutes of Squidward’s life still be filled with misery?

The story gets underway right away, with Squidward moving out of his house for a few days. It’s being gassed to kill the urchin’s that’ve infested it, which have done so because two of his neighbours keep feeding it. Already I can tell this is going to be one where SpongeBob and Patrick are never helpful to Squidward, and never try to be. In fact, they get all the urchins out by forming conga lines with them, so Squidward’s house is just being gassed for no good reason. But at least Squidward’s getting to stay at a fancy, potentially expensive place called Hotel Halibut in the meantime. Will they deny this guest’s most ridiculous request? If that’s peace and quiet, then of course!

At the hotel, Squidward’s greeted by a very eccentric shark at reception. Maybe a little too eccentric, teasing Squidward with half-truths. He still gets a key and a room, and begins to relax. That relaxation doesn’t last very long, as SpongeBob and Patrick run through his room, at the moment just for the heck of it. When Squidward sees them getting him room service however, they reveal that they’re here for a jellyfishing convention, and they’ve got the two rooms right next to him, repeating the setup back on Conch Street. So fundamentally, there’s nothing new really going on here. It’s just reaffirming why Squidward doesn’t like them, but in the place with free soap.

The plot’s already very derivative, but it doesn’t get any more organised with time. SpongeBob and Patrick somehow got jobs as bellboys from Frank Nelshark, did exactly one errand, then spend the next wee while bothering Squidward. Nothing really happens in this portion of the episode, it’s just SpongeBob and Patrick randomly appearing to make Squidward scream and dash off in different parts of the hotel. It culminates in a Shining parody, with SpongeBob and Patrick standing in for the twins at the end of the long hallway. Haven’t they already done this reference in the second movie? Well at least they didn’t have the ice creams randomly spawning around the victim, that’s the extra leg they added to the joke here. And Mrs Puff.

Then against the duo’s warnings, Squidward enters the JellyCon floor room, unwittingly getting carried around and toyed with by more jellyfishing fanatics. After being put through jellyfish heck and back, he devises a plan to sneak out using a jellyfish costume, instead of, y’know, sneaking out without the jellyfish costume. But that proves to be a bad idea, since he’s getting more attention now, as people wearing jellyfish costumes are meant to chase and sting the attendees. Now Squidward does get to sting them, but then he calls the exterminators to gas the hotel, and stays in there with a gas mask to finally get some peace and quiet. There were better ways to obtain that, and definitely better ways for this story to be funny. I hardly remember the order events happen in, character motivations, or the points of whole sequences.

Jolly Lodgers seemed to be really banking on the jokes, but the most amusing thing here is the episode’s title. I thought it was a fun play on the Jolly Roger, even though said flag never appears in the episode. I also did like how Mrs Puff randomly appears for a second during Squidward’s routine of seeing SpongeBob and Patrick everywhere. Maybe injecting Mrs Puff into these episodes is the new gimmick? Who knows. But nothing else here was as funny. I’m against Patrick being too dumb to remember Squidward’s name, and the stuff with the conga lines wasn’t a fraction as hilarious to me as it was to the crew.

The animation here, to its credit, is very bouncy and attention-grabbing, but this a super zany new episode’s super zany new episode. The movements and reactions are constantly over-exaggerated, which is either gonna really bother you the whole way through, or you’ll get used to it and none of it will leave any real impact. Exaggeration is an important principle of animation, no doubt, but so is appeal. I did enjoy seeing all the background references at JellyCon, like the return of Kevin, Dr Manowar and Big Lenny from I’m Your Biggest Fanatic, and the dragon jellyfish from Dunces and Dragons. The show has a rich history of jellyfishing that this episode doesn’t really add to, but it has fun with it. I guess Dr Manowar’s accomplishment of surviving Big Lenny isn’t very impressive after 19 years.

I couldn’t with SpongeBob and Patrick here. There isn’t a whole lot separating them from being the same character here. The only trait I can think of that Patrick has and SpongeBob hasn’t, it forgetting who Squidward is for no reason. Like most episodes following this template half the series ago, I was feeling bad for Squidward in the first half of the episode, but him sort of succumbing to the madness in the climax wasn’t worth seeing. He got what he wanted, but I didn’t feel much sympathy for him. The receptionist is one of those loopy one-offs that Season 12 loves so much (though his design’s reused from the boat salesman from Drive Happy), but that simply doesn’t work when everything else around him is equally loopy.

So yeah, along with my usual gripes with this episode format having long since run its course, it feels like this particular one doesn’t want to exist. It’s not the worst ever made, not even the worst of this season, but it’s a full-blown parody of the Annoy Squid template at best, and the ultimate sign that no one really cares about making or watching these episodes anymore at worst. I mean no offense to anyone reading this who worked on this episode, at least it’s a presentable, inoffensive, and finished product, but you’ve worked on plenty of much better episodes of SpongeBob than this, and I’d be much prouder of those than the 67th in a long line of hit or miss romps. Be warned, make two more, and I get a free coupon.

Final Verdict: Weak (4/10)
Insecurity Guards < Jolly Lodgers < Pineapple RV

One more episode before the show’s 20th anniversary special? Gosh it’s getting old. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
Biddy Sitting (Season 12, Episode 12b)
Original Airdate: February 15 2020 (produced in 2019)
Episode 485 in standard order, Episode 491 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick babysit a really old lady they’ve probably seen before
Written by Kaz
Animation Director: Michelle Bryan & Alan Smart

I’m not mad at all that they made an entire episode about my least favourite parts of an otherwise masterful episode. Chocolate With Nuts is a classic, I completely get why it’s a lot of people’s favourite of the whole show, but those old ladies drag it down a little for me. I’m just happy it’s remembered more for the other characters. But they thought there was a ton of untapped potential on those old ladies, and we’ve got a whole episode about them, in Season 12, where their sort of ugly, rambling humour would stick out like a cartoonish bump on the noggin. But I have to say, this episode isn’t too bad.

SpongeBob and Patrick have just started up a babysitting service, to spend more time with babies and get more money. They demonstrate their baby care abilities on Squidward, dressing him up in a diaper and bib, making him cry. This is Squid’s only appearance in the episode, thank goodness. But at least it shows that SpongeBob and Patrick know what they’re doing (well, SpongeBob does), so I’m not too worried when they take on responsibility for a woman’s sextet of children. And they do a bang up job. This scene isn’t all about the cute side of babysitting, diaper changing has this whole routine, but it doesn’t need to be glamorous. Sponge and Pat clearly have their work cut out for them, and are doing it well.

After their first stint, the mother is happy and they get a ton of cash, but their next customer seems a little older, and familiar. She says she has a baby that she seems to desperately want to get away from, and when SpongeBob and Patrick get to her house, it looks like some shrivelled up worm smothered in chocolate. They don’t seem to care that it looks almost nothing like a baby, which good on them for being so non-discriminatory, but it was naive of them to not question this strange situation. But they are naive, and they get into strange situations around 25 times a year, so it’s not like they’re being too stupid to still want to follow.

The baby can talk, and wants to break free, and SpongeBob and Patrick are easily outsmarted by it, when it makes them play Jailbreak. After 3 hours of biding their time in a jail cell made of blocks, they break out and stop the “baby” from leaving. SpongeBob runs a bath for the baby, but in the bathroom, discovers a birthday card for her 137th birthday. But by the time he alerts Patrick of this, he’s zoned out and let the “puppy” out. At least Patrick had a good reason to do a stupid thing, zoning out like he did seems confusing to experience and hard to snap out of.

SpongeBob and Patrick now start the hunt for this baby/old lady/puppy that they’re still by and large responsible for, but by all accounts, the story has ended. These last few minutes are a bunch of situations and gags- the old lady surfing down a volcano, SpongeBob and Patrick getting cleaned by some other old ladies in a seweing circle, the old lady leaving a boxing match and beating up SpongeBob and Patrick, before going to sleep. Don’t tell me how this is all connected, it feels like they were planning these scenes for a different story, then settled on the whole babysitting angle after a rewrite. These scenes aren’t bad, but they’re dissonant from the first two acts in tone and narrative, and dumped the bulk of the story at a home.

This is a pretty funny episode, no doubt. There are some that don’t appeal to me, like the Squid Baby call-back, but the majority of them are okay. I like how SpongeBob and Patrick were more dedicated to Jailbreak than the old lady, and how they call her “Baby Prunes”. Patrick zoning out and the old lady pretending to be a dog to get out was the best joke of the episode. I’ve never babysat before, and I obviously don’t remember being babysat as an actual baby, but this seems to hit upon the trials the job entails quite well. Patrick saying he thought it was about sitting on babies was lame though.

The animation and design work’s all-around good here. I like the rattle helmets SpongeBob and Patrick wear, I know what I’m putting on the title card for my Season 12 countdown video, and I like the mild redesign they gave the older lady, giving her a bigger head so she looks a tad more lively. The only sequence which has bothersome animation to me is the climactic pummelling. I sorta get why there’s a POV shot of the old lady spinning around, but why do SpongeBob and Patrick turn into semi-realistic versions of themselves with googly eyes? It makes the scene weirder than it needed to be.

Despite their naivete while babysitting a 137 year old, SpongeBob and Patrick are written pretty well here. They’re quirky but talented, and not far off from how they acted in Season 3, natural changes to the show’s tone aside. I’d struggle to say the old ladies are any more entertaining than they were 9 seasons ago. The younger one isn’t onscreen for very long but doesn’t act much different, while the older one is far more active and expressive. It makes me wonder why they even brought her back, but probably as another throwback, and to appease fans who just couldn’t get enough of them in their first appearance. No judging if you fit the bill.

That’s the thing, your base enjoyment of the episode and its idea will depend on if you wanted these characters to be brought back for their own story. I certainly didn’t, but it’s not like the episode was unfunny, poorly plotted, or made me dislike them more. There are some good things I can say about it, and there isn’t anything really wrong with it. The worst would probably be ‘nostalgic pandering’, but that’s buzzword talk that I disagree with in the case of SpongeBob. If you’ve got a rich past, it’s great if you can refresh some elements of it and add further depth to your franchise.

Final Verdict: 6/10 (Okay)
FarmerBob < Biddy Sitting < Karen’s Baby

Speaking of a rich past, tomorrow we’ll see how well the 2nd big anniversary special celebrates SpongeBob. Absolutely much better than last time, but just by how much? Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,639
Location
Auckland, New Zealand
SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout (Season 12, Episode 13 and 14*)
Original Airdate: July 12 2019
Episode 486 in standard order, Episode 472 in airing order
*Tentative fan placement, time will tell where/if Nick places it in the packaging order
Plot: Patrick takes SpongeBob on a bus tour of the surface world, while the rest of his friends prepare a birthday party for him

Written by Kaz and Mr Lawrence
Animation Supervisors: Michelle Bryan, Alan Smart & Tom Yasumi
Storyboarders: Brian Morante & Fred Osmond

Wow, how awesome could this be? SpongeBob SquarePants’ Birthday Blowout. Well, it was a blowout alright, blow out your @ss!

Okay but seriously, a little history lesson. In 2009, during SpongeBob’s 6th season, Nickelodeon aired the TV movie Truth or Square, intended to celebrate the show’s 10th anniversary. I say “intended” because it didn’t. It was a rushed, unfunny mess with phoned in guest stars and dull stories, and it hardly did anything to celebrate the series. It came off more as a parody of anniversary specials at best, and a mockery at worst. As the 20th anniversary of the show approached, another celebratory movie was a given, and I and many other fans urged Nick to do a better job for a more important milestone.

It seems our cries were answered, as when this one aired, pretty much everyone agreed it was a huge improvement. One of the best movies they’ve ever made? Probably. Best episodes? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This was a good TV movie, but that bar isn’t very high, so ever since I first saw it live on its premiere, I always felt like I’d eventually overrate it when I got to it. I’m not a betting man, I’ll say that much. Those fears were eased upon my revisit, it was a treat then, and is still really good now. There exist a few cuts of this episode that trim it down, but like with Atlantis SquarePantis and Truth or Square, I’m reviewing the extended cut with pretty much everything made for it. It wouldn’t be right to open half a present, would it?

Like most other specials, there’s more than one story to keep track of, and uniquely there’s three here- SpongeBob and Patrick going to Surface Land, Sandy preparing a surprise party for SpongeBob, and let’s just throw it in there, Patchy the Pirate delivering a birthday present to the party. When and where the different plots stop and start again is random, but a hell of a lot more organised than Truth or Square. There’s enough meat on each segment’s bones, and they flow in and out nicely. Still, I’ll review each plot separately, ordered by their length (and coincidentally enough, their starting points), with the shortest going first.

That being Patchy’s segments. It wouldn’t be a big SpongeBob event between 2000-2012 and 2017-present without him, and his material is pretty fun here. He’s heading down to Bikini Bottom in his boat-car, Potty the Parrot in tow, not really learning anything about SpongeBob being a fictional character last time his birthday rolled around. Taking Feral Friends into account however, where Patchy actively observed Sandy’s birthday party, perhaps they’ve retconned it so SpongeBob is a real thing in Patchy’s world. I like a few things about this right out the gate, namely how the tidal pool credits screen has been replaced with a brand new panning shot of Encino, that saves time and establishing things, and the banter between Patchy (Tom Kenny) and Potty (Mr Lawrence) couldn’t be more authentic for a mental cartoon-addicted pirate and his sassy parrot puppet.

The boat-car isn’t working, but Patchy has another plan to get to the sea, whipping out a tiny sail on his index finger and thumb to take him where the wind blows. It must be a strong gale today, because he’s simply blown away. A while later, we see him in the park riding a tricycle because [PURPOSE AND INTENT WITHHELD], then going to the Trusty Slab restaurant so Potty can use the potty. Not once does he question the familiarity of the owner (more on that later), but he probably already knows and is used to it by now. These little scenes don’t add much to his story, but they keep him a constant part of the episode I guess.

Later at the beach, he gets hassled by David Hasslehoff for seeming to run over his foot, and to further complicate matters, it seems his trike won’t make it to Bikini Bottom. So, spotting a cannon, he and Potty shoot themselves out to the iconic island, and that’s where I’ll leave their story for now. With the possible exception of their introductory scene, it’s a bunch of random scenes with no real throughline, but I’d take it any day of the week over throwing a tantrum over a collection of walk cycles, making burgers with a gorilla, moaning in the middle of a desert, or breaking into a film studio and harassing celebrities. These scenes are at least corny fun, and Patchy has a sensible motivation, but if you’re just not a fan of Patchy, they’re still not gonna be the highlight of the movie for you. I like them, but they’re not amazing.

Winding the clock back a bit to the morning, Gary and SpongeBob celebrate his birthday in the best way possible- in bed. SpongeBob’s already in a party mood, and Gary got him a new jellyfishing net made of slime. It doesn’t last long, but it’s the thought that counts. Meanwhile at Patrick’s rock, Sandy’s desperately trying to explain to him her plan for the birthday party. While he and SpongeBob go on a tour for the day, she and the other characters will prepare a party at his pineapple. As we’ll see soon, that’s about the extent of her planning, but so far things are going well. Patrick memorises the plan without even knowing it, though he brain eventually resets for thinking for too long, and Plankton nabs the key to SpongeBob’s house while the sponge is distracted. Isn’t there usually one under the mat?

The Party Pooper Pants comparisons will stop there, because this subplot is actually good. Sandy gets all SpongeBob’s closest friends together to decorate the party, Squidward, Mr Krabs, Plankton, Mrs Puff, Bubble Bass and herself. However, conflict soon bubbles up as they can’t agree on what the theme of the party should be. Sandy wants a karate theme, Mr Krabs wants a Krusty Krab theme, etcetera. So they all take dibs on 1/6th of the living room each, but some arguing still arises. This was a good way to show how varied SpongeBob’s life and circle of friends is (boating, superheroes, torture, you name it), and give them all something to do while the bigger adventure goes on, which is more than I can say for the first movie at least.

After this party planning panic, the guests start to arrive, and the rest of the subplot is just a feast for the eyes. You get so many returning characters like Princess Mindy, the Tattletale Strangler, Flatts, Larry, Zeus the Guitar Lord, and countless others to liven up the mood and make the party more visually stimulating. All the while, Sandy’s struggling to keep the party under control, but you know Bikini Bottom and its tendencies, they’re obviously going to party anyway. By the time SpongeBob’s house starts falling apart, it’s clear the bash is a bust, but I was still entertained by this little story.

Sandy doesn’t get to do anything by herself too often in the movies, so giving her her own episode essentially was nice to see. Her actions and worries are fun to see, even if they aren’t resolved when this plot merges with the others. The best thing however is just how many characters are here, interacting and offering chortles. My favourites would be Harold and Margaret SquarePants appearing for the first time in 8 years, only to eat fish food, and Fred visibly getting tired of the “My Leg” gag, especially when it’s forced out of him. I don’t expect them to stop making the gag, but it’s great they reminded themselves it should stay fresh.

Some other good stuff includes Tom buying one of Squidward’s paintings just to throw at some kid, and Bubble Bass believing he made Squidward vanish using a role-playing spell. It’s taken me this long to realise Bubble Bass is more or less a replacement for Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy for superhero/nerdy plot concepts, and I sense my critic card will be revoked soon. Least favourite thing about this plot would be the random gothic fish who eats all the cakes. He’s apparently a caricature of Peter Lorre, who I don’t think of when I think SpongeBob, but he’s barely the strangest reference this episode makes. All and all, this was a great portion of the movie, it brought back a ton of classic characters, and gave me a lot to see and enjoy.

And now, for the main event, something we’ve never seen before. SpongeBob and Patrick going on land! This time on a tour. While the others are prepping the party, SpongeBob and Patrick climb into a fish tank on wheels, and are greeted by their tour guide, Rube, the guy who says “amazing” a lot and may or may not exist. Neither of these things concerned me today, he fit the bill as a bubbly, informative tour guide quite nicely. Plus it supplies him something rare on this show, character development. It’s a beautiful sight to see a sightseer become the sight-show-er in a show like SpongeBob SquarePants. Amazing even.

The other tourists aren’t important, but one of them seems to be the little girl from Call the Cops, and when they shoot to “Surface Land”, they get a boost from Frenchise in his submarine, last seen together in Feral Friends. At the moment, it all feels like a celebration of the Post-Sequel era, which is nice, but they reached further back for their next reference, a cameo from David Hasslehoff. He gets knocked out of his canoe by the submarine, which contributes to his later desire to move to a volcano, believing it to be a safer place to live. That makes some sense, after so long, I don’t expect a cyborg like him to be comfortable around water.

Now is when things get loony. On the beach, the tank drives through a wild herd of giant, dancing, nearly naked giraffes, just minding their own time moving to rhythmic beats. That’s us! Aren’t we weird? Well we get a whole lot weirder when the Bean Festival comes to town, with Kel Mitchell (Nickelodeon’s earlier burger-flipper) hosting this bean mascot show where he throws a bunch of baked beans at the audience. If this is what All That was like back in the day, I don’t think I missed out on much. I don’t like baked beans, so a heap of them filling the tank, probably getting soggy, and Patrick eating them all made me churn. This is the grossest the movie gets, but most people wouldn’t be bothered by it as much as I was.

After Patrick eats all the beans, they run out of water, but Rube takes them to a beach shower to get hydrated again, and they’re on their way to the park to see more animals. One of those being a dog they think is a dragon. The dog they get chased by is pretty cute, I like Patrick trying to take its “flying disc”, remember they’re not allowed to say the brand, and the dog’s complicated life with her owner, with the owner sometimes playing fetch for her. It’s way easier to tell the dog’s a puppet when it’s standing up, but that’s part of the charm. If they got the dog to stand up, the animal care disclaimer at the end would feel less legitimate.

Now if you ever wanted to know where the gorilla suit people from I Had An Accident and Friend Or Foe came from, today’s your lucky day. One of the tank’s stops is at the paperclip jungle, an office building where one board room meeting comprises of the suits jumping around in gorilla masks. I choose to believe they just filmed a typical meeting at Viacom HQ, and nothing will tell me otherwise. But this is another pretty fun scene, wrapped in the sheer confusing insanity the original joke stemmed from, and closing out with a more satiric routine. All the businesspeople form a line and mindlessly rush to the nearest fast food joint, like they did in The Executive Treatment.

The tank’s penultimate stop is at The Trusty Slab, an all too familiar burger joint with human versions of the main cast. This was the most advertised portion of the movie, and while I was happy for the voice actors to get a chance to play their characters in motion, I was worried that would be the only joke, and that it would be one of the only features of the movie. I should just stop trusting SpongeBob movie trailers. This is just a little over 5 minutes long, but it’s an interesting bit while it lasts. Clancy Brown and Roger Bumpass fit the bill for a human Mr Krabs and Squidward, but Doug Lawrence was a bit too tall to be a Plankton, and Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke and Carolyn Lawrence are much older than SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy now. This stuff can’t be helped, and I guess it adds to the whole dorky fun of this scenario.

The actual story that transpires in the Trusty Slab is pretty run-of-the-mill for the show’s restaurant standards. Human Patrick stumbles with placing an order, annoying Manward and the customers, so Mr Slabs orders one for him. He then yells at JimBob to get on with cooking the patties, but JimBob would rather dance to prepare himself. One stinkeye later, and he’s cooking like there’s no tomorrow. SpongeBob wants to get a closer look at the Slabby Patties, but ends up in one, JimBob mistaking him for a piece of cheese. Patrick saves him by getting the patty out, but that ends up messing with Carol (Human Sandy)’s order, annoying her. Charleston then comes over threatening to get the Slabby Patty secret sauce, but is equally thwarted by Mr Slabs.

This whole sequence doesn’t bother me one bit. I wish they could’ve given Carolyn Lawrence some better material, but as this little tribute to the show’s formulas, and the first real time we’ve seen human versions of the SpongeBob characters (on the show) (in completed form). It could just be the anniversary endorphins racing, but did anyone else think they named “JimBob” after the Original Fry Cook, as a sort of apology for giving us Not SpongeBob last time? I dunno, this isn’t much, but it’s a far better tribute to the show than anything Truth or Square gave us, that’s for certain.

The tank is ready to head home, but they’re picked up by Lori Alen, the voice of Pearl (most of the other crew members and voice actors have their own little cameos), who mistakes it for a misplaced fish tank from a pet store, and puts it back in there. The whole tank is horrified with the way giraffes treat fish, but manage to escape with some CGi fish in tow to free into the ocean. Something tells me this was Steve’s contribution to the story, we get a better grasp of what a fish is thinking, and how it percieves our culture’s treatment of them. It may be a little heavy-handed, but I’m gonna miss this angle of SpongeBob’s land adventures. Also Patrick gets another girlfriend, this one returning the favour. 15 years of bashful giggling at mermaids has finally paid off.

The tank heads back to the beach, gets a ride back to Bikini Bottom with the help of Frenchie, and they free all the CGi fish before dropping SpongeBob back at his house. The passengers are all about to sing “Happy Birthday”, but Rube’s rump touches the gas peddle and makes the tank rush off before that can happen. This is the end of a running gag where they try to sing it but keep getting sidetracked, which is pretty cute, but I can tell 7 year old me would’ve been super stressed out by them never being able to do it. Still, Rube probably doesn’t exist, so whatever.

All the excitement seems to be evaporating by the second, with the tank rushing off, a gag with Old Man Walker being on lookout for SpongeBob and Patrick, and SpongeBob finding all his friends tuckered out after their own huge party, in the shattered remains of his house. Then a present falls from the sky, which happens to be...the bodyless head of Patchy. Mixed feelings all around! I didn’t know Patchy could take his head off, or breathe underwater, or interact with the cartoon world. But I’m so relieved that they finally have a meeting between SpongeBob and Patchy, SpongeBob meeting his biggest fan, and Patchy getting to talk to his idol. It goes to show just how important the fans are to keeping SpongeBob around, more than most other cartoons. Jokes and references are fun and all, but we were an important part of getting to this special and seeing it happen. That is a beautiful feeling.

After this, Patchy finally sings a birthday song for SpongeBob akin to the opening, with all his friends waking up to join in on the festivities. It’s a grand, bombastic way to end the special in theory, but it’s odd that they choose to cram in more celebrities and Nick stars wishing SpongeBob a happy birthday. They don’t mess with the flow of the song, and at least they’re still better integrated than Truth or Square’s cameos, but it’s just odd that Gilbert Gottfried guest starred in SpongeBob and The Angry Video Game Nerd in the same month (also odd I referenced that show twice in this review). But then it all ends in the nicest way possible. Patrick asks SpongeBob how old he’s turned today, and before SpongeBob can say, the screen cuts to static. SpongeBob plays his nose like a flute as he does in the opening, then we get a message.

“Thank You Steve Hillenburg”

Coming one month after the announcement of Kamp Koral, it looks pretty disingenuous of Nickelodeon to seem like it’s saying “Thanks for the money, sucker!” It’s clear they’re stretching the rules Steve had for how the show should be franchised, but they conversely appear to be following his rules for how the show is written. Among keeping the Krabby Patty secret formula and the identity of Pearl’s biological parents classified, and not allowing SpongeBob to pass his boating exam or get a romantic partner, one of the big holes he intentionally left was to never give SpongeBob a set age.

He could be 9, he could be 49, he could be 1,049, sponges live a long time. Of course putting the pieces together, he’s a young adult, but tying him down to a specific age makes him less versatile for different stories about different stages of life to all ages. Squid On Strike and Roller Cowards cater their stories and jokes to different demographics, but SpongeBob’s personality and actions aren’t compromised to fit them. However, with the details of Kamp Koral placing the base show SpongeBob as at least 11 years old, this mystery was snapped like a twig, but exactly how canon Kamp Koral will be is an answer that awaits us in the near future.

For now, I want to go back to reflecting on the Birthday Blowout, and how it was shaped by the 20 years of nautical nonsense leading up to it. If I had to count all the call-backs and references they made in this movie, I’d be here ‘til the 30th Anniversary special in Season 18. My favourites would be the dolphin chirping from Sailor Mouth, Human Patrick not needing to be somewhere else until 4 like in I Had An Accident, and a pirate being stuck on the Bikini Bottom island with feathery company, before his head sings a variation of the theme song, like in Sponge Out Of Water. Whether these were deliberate shout-outs to classic moments, or the show still digging for the magic at the bottom of the well, is hard to figure out sometimes though.

But it isn’t all a member berry buffet. There’s a countless amount of fresh jokes here, a lot of which I’ve already touched upon in the story. This is just a funny story, and the jokes aren’t pit stops, they’re a part of the narrative. My least favourite jokes would be the Peter Lorre fish, Patrick drooling up a storm when trying to remember his mission at the beginning, and the bean festival, but that’s about it. The rest of the jokes were fine to fantastic.

Previous TV movies have been slight steps up in the animation department, and this is no different. It’s especially chipper and vibrant, but it’s a birthday, so this is welcome, and all the characters and background art in the Sandy subplot are a feast. They picked good character combinations for certain shots too, so my eyes don’t start to bleed. But oddly enough, through all the characters, sequences, backgrounds, and very clever cinematography and special effects in the live action segments, my favourite visual element...is the night sky at the end. I know that sounds dumb, but after the massive adventures everyone had, seeing that rich navy blue paint hanging over everyone makes me imagine how cozy nightfall in Bikini Bottom must be.

I believe there to be five main characters in this movie (SpongeBob, Patrick, Rube, Sandy and Patchy), but for the most part, all their activity is just observing the plot and the shenanigans that ensue in it. But I’d say their characterization is on point. SpongeBob’s very excitable here, but it’s his birthday and his 4th time on land, I’d expect him to beenjoying today to its fullest. Patrick is one dim bulb, but in the oaflike, just forgetful sometimes way he was in the original seasons. I can understand why he has a black-out when trying to remember a plan he was told through an entire night, and why he wants to eat as many beans as he can from a different place.

I’ve kinda joked about Rube going through character development, evolving from the tourist to the tour guide, but it was a nice change to see, and mirrored Surface Land’s tendency to be familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Point is, I’ve warmed up to Rube since his introduction. Sandy’s role is all about keeping a plan together, and struggling to keep a party together is a challenge that fits her character way better than some others. Could you imagine if they made SpongeBob host a failing party? That wouldn’t be any fun. And of course, you either like Patchy the Pirate, or you just don’t. I like him here, he’s onscreen for the right amount of time, and by the time he’s getting too cartoony to take seriously as a real person, he’s getting closer to Bikini Bottom anyway.

Everyone else is everyone else. Squidward’s Squidward, Plankton’s Plankton, Potty’s Potty, this doesn’t need to be said. They aren’t given their own stories, but they take parts in little comedy routines and conversations, in order to fill out the runtime and give fans of these characters their own little piece of the special to cherish. I can understand some people not being happy that characters like Larry and Gary are relegated to a few lines, and aren’t part of this bigger adventure, but they make a point in the subplot that SpongeBob has so many connections, that it’d be impossible to bring them all together without compromises. It’s just the nature of the show and how big it’s gotten. But they didn’t get Karl Pilkington to guest star, so this movie is 20% completely unwatchable!

And 80% perfect! This big old birthday blowout isn’t my thing all the time, it’s really banking on you laughing at a bunch of weird stuff, but I couldn’t have asked for a more joyous anniversary special. I wanted the fanservice, the indulgence, the flaunting and taunting to the baby NickToons surrounding it. It’s about time the show be happy about its old age, and the cultural footprint its left over its history. It was hard for me to be too critical of this one, this isn’t the sort of SpongeBob content designed for the cynical heart demanding gravitas. It’s a party in the form of a SpongeBob TV movie, with games, songs, and conversations drenched in SpongeBob quotes. This is the 20th anniversary us megafans deserved, after ragging on the writers for making below average jokes for a couple years, but staying tuned in and caring about everything SpongeBob’s about. I might be 15 months late to the party, but happy birthday SpongeBob!

Final Verdict: 8/10 (Great)
Broken Alarm < SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout < Stormy Weather

I’ll take a small break to focus more on SpongeComs and my end-of-year countdowns, but rest assured the show’s still opening up doors for new jokes and references to make. Goodbye for now.
 
Top