Re-Evaluating my opinions on SpongeBob Season 1-8

EmployeeAMillion

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Kwarantined Krab (Season 12, Episode 22b)
Original Airdate: Not for a while, I’m afraid. (Episode 502)
Plot: The Krusty Krab is placed under quarantine to prevent an illness from breaking out
Written by Andrew Goodman
Animation Director: Tom Yasumi

This...has not been one of SpongeBob’s proudest moments. This episode entered production in 2019, and finished around early 2020. But because Nickelodeon doesn’t love making sure the show’s broadcast in a satisfying order, it was due to air at some point later in the year. Then the COVID pandemic happened. Obviously, this led to a lot of worry about how to handle lockdowns, and some people have cracked under such pressure. Not to mention, millions of previously healthy people around the world have lost their lives to COVID-19, further increasing paranoia and fear in countries that are still affected by the virus and its impact.

I have never been luckier to live in New Zealand, where the virus has largely been contained, and we lead normal lives- aside from wearing masks if there’s a local breakout, there hasn’t really been a “new normal” for me or my folks. I don’t want to sound like I’m talking down on anyone whose been seriously hurt by the pandemic, I really feel for you. But given our time in lockdown was brief compared to the rest of the world, I’m not as immediately in synch with Kwarantined Krab as others. (I understand why Nickelodeon would hold off broadcasting it on TV during the pandemic, but taking it off the “complete” twelfth season DVD is too far, folks are allowed to not put the episode on in that case) Ergo, I’m not really “triggered” by the jokes about disease, quarantines, cabin fever etc., but I am critical of them, and I don’t think a pandemic would change that dramatically.

The opening minute establishes who our stars will be in this classic. SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr Krabs, Mrs Puff and Pearl are all hanging out in the Krusty Krab, and really that’s all this first minute shows. But then, the Health Inspector comes in to report that he’s detected the “Clam Flu” in the restaurant, and orders it to be put under quarantine. We get a rough explanation from the characters of what a quarantine is, not that anyone born between 1940-2020 is gonna need it anymore, before the safety measure are put into place. Plankton tries breaking out, seeing how it’s disrupted his latest formula snatch, but gets incinerated by a flamethrower. For what it’s worth, this introduction doesn’t do anything amazing or amazingly stupid, it’s just standard protocol for these Krusty Krab-set stories.

A major problem quickly arises though, it’s pretty clear that none of the characters seem to be sick. Pre-COVID, this would’ve bothered me, but now, better safe than sorry I guess. That is until the twist ending, but one problem at a time. The amount of characters in the dining area dwindles as they’re each sent to the freezer, perfectly fine following along with Mr Krabs’ old navy story about what they did with sick seamen. Before you could ask why locking someone in a cold place would be good for their flu, SpongeBob gets some pepper in his nose and sneezes, making everyone think he’s the sick one and should go.

But as it turns out, the freezer’s actually a winter wonderland with mountains, ice cream and igloos. The freezer has never been depicted like this, but anything to raise the vibe of the episode from miserable to confusing and miserable. Patrick joins in when he sees SpongeBob having an ice cream, Squidward’s sent in when he scratches his arm (itchy skin), Mrs Puff goes when she yawns (fatigue), and Pearl goes when she gives Mr Krabs back her mall money (being a good daughter). It doesn’t make much sense unless you know flu symptoms, which these aren’t really, but it’s showing that the longer they stay in the dining area, the more paranoid they all get, Mr Krabs in particular. If he can’t last a day in quarantine, then that’s too real, but too quickly.

In the freezer, everyone else realises they aren’t sick, and by process of elimiation, Mr Krabs is the sick one, so they break out and get into a fight which loses rhyme and reason by the end. Again, it’s barely been an hour probably, and they’re already acting like lunatics. That’s the most problematic aspect to this story to me. And the ending is one of those valleys that seems like the start or middle of another episode. The health inspector comes back to say there wasn’t any clam flu, and he was holding his detector the wrong way around. Shouldn’t that mean he’s carrying it? Well that doesn’t matter anymore, as the fight was so violent that everyone appears to have other diseases. This shouldn’t be the case, you don’t get diseases by fighting, so the health inspector’s probably misunderstanding their miserable appearances for diseases. It all ends with the Krusty Krab being put under an even stronger quarantine, and lifted up to the Chum Bucket where Plankton catches the stupid too.

The story may be the very definition of unorganised chaos, but I can still rely on it for a few good jokes. I like Mr Krabs brushing off the possibility that his navy buddy froze to death, because he’s genuinely unsure if he stayed in the freezer or not. That’s a good old “sketchy but reasonable” Krabs joke. And a few of the jokes with SpongeBob are fine, like him kissing Squidward after saying he doesn’t want to infect anyone, and donning shades and getting all serious about the mission after Squidward tells him that he can’t make Krabby Patties in a freezer. But apart from those, the jokes feel pretty aimless, because the episode doesn’t know how dark it wants to be.

But at least you can always count on a Post-Sequel episode to be a visual feast, even if it turns into a mouldy one near the end. The gross fake diseases near the end aren’t a pretty sight, but then I remember 12 years ago they would’ve just covered the characters in veins and blemishes, and count my blessings. The Winter wonderland didn’t impress me that much, and the only other visual moment I really liked was Patrick’s puppy dog face when watching SpongeBob having fun in it. It’s elevated by Bill Fagerbakke’s little grunts of hope. But apart from that, the wacky faces just melted into the story, sometimes being upstaged by it. There should be a balance between the two elements, but this episode clearly swings hard in the opposite direction of most Season 10+ episodes.

By a longshot, I’d say Kwarantined Krab’s MVP is SpongeBob. For the first 8 minutes, he’s just trying to make do with the quarantine, even if it means visiting a place that has no business being where it is. He does succumb to mob mentality by the climax, but it was fun while it lasted. I think it was also a fine enough portrayal of Patrick, Mrs Puff, Squidward and Pearl before things got zany, but Mr Krabs is really dragged down by it. Byt the Health Inspector is the major dud here, for being far more incompetent than in his prior outing, to the point of seriously endangering the Krusty Krab. I’ll bet he’s hated more by American and British viewers, for coming off as a really bad satire of wishy washy lockdown rulemakers.

So overall, I don’t think this is a good episode at all. If one’s able to put aside the unfortunate timing of the episode’s creation, it doesn’t offer much other than another cabin fever plot with a very unrewarding conclusion. There’s no telling how long this’ll be a banned episode, maybe after life returns to a new normal in America, maybe a couple years after, but most fans aren’t missing out on something worth any hype. I just wonder what someone who has had one or more breakdowns in quarantine would think of this episode, I guess not very highly. Hate to say it, but I’m pretty sick of talking about Kwarantined Krab now.

Final Verdict: 4/10 (Weak)
Jolly Lodgers < Kwarantined Krab < SpongeBob’s Bad Habit

The season’s escape door is right around the corner, or at least it would be if there weren’t 7 episodes I can’t get a hold of. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Escape From Beneath Glove World (Season 12, Episode 25)
Original Airdate: January 18 2020
Episode 507 in standard order, Episode 489 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick get stuck in Glove World’s undergound R&D lab
Written by Mr Lawrence
Animation Directors: Alan Smart and Tom Yasumi

I’ve come a little unprepared for 22 minute episodes. They’ve really eased up on them since Sponge Out of Water, which is a good thing since they always recieved a mixed reception. The only reason they’ll make them now is if they have a really good story to tell, like Factory Fresh or Goons On the Moon, otherwise they’ll leave it at 16-17 minutes and cook up a short to pair it with. The idea of a deep dive into Glove World isn’t one that comes around often, and shouldn’t be a throwaway, so I understand why they chose this to be the only half-hour episode of Season 12. Alas, this was probably my least favourite one since Ghoul Fools. That’s a neutral statement though, neither this or Ghoul Fools was that bad, but there’s something missing here.

It’s a great day for SpongeBob and Patrick at Glove World. They seem to love a ride where they get flung across a sports field in a giant baseball, wouldn’t you? SpongeBob loves it so much that he gets him and Patrick to ride on it billions upon billions of times. I’m impressed the oceans haven’t evaporwated by the time they’ve ridden themselves silly, but knowing kids at theme parks, the feeling of an infinite amount of rides is about 5 or 6. But their faces have been morphed by the force of the ride, and they now appear as freaks to public observers, so they go to the Glove Theatre until their turn back to normal, and so they can sit in one place normally. I haven’t seen an odder way to get a story started, but I really don’t mind. The baseball ride’s forgotte; after this, but the ride was fun while it lasted, literally.

There only seems to be one show at the theatre, a piece on the creator of gloves and founder of Glove World, Heironymous Glove. The extent of the showing is an explanation that he invented gloves, followed by a song about all the uses for them. I like the lyric about wearing surgical gloves to protect yourself from sick people, that was ahead of its time. After the show, SpongeBob and Patrick wander onstage to meet H.G., but Patrick ends up destroying him, first by shaking his hand too hard, then by decapitating him. Although violent, he’s clearly not ill-intentioned, he’s just gotten carried away.

The guards come around the reprimand the two goobers, by taking them to an underground jail for naughty visitors. I believe places like Disneyland have “naughty rooms”, albeit not jails and not underground, but this is Glove World, and Glove World doesn’t believe in the 6th amendment. They get thrown in a cell where a weird old man in a barrel repeatedly tells them they’re stuck, but it’s quickly apparent to them that it’s another animatronic. Fact of the matter is, whether or not it actually is one is kept up to your imagination. Maybe the man’s just gone mad.

They soon get the attention of captive children too, some of which share their stories, but fade out of importance when one of the littler ones becomes the centre of attention. “The toddler” slips through the bars and escapes to cause mischief, with SpongeBob and Patrick breaking out too, following the toddler in hopes it doesn’t get into danger. This toddler isn’t my favourite toddler on the show, I’ll say that for now. Meanwhile, the H.G. animatronic gets put in repair, but takes on a life of its own, chastising his assistants and vowing revenge on Patrick. All things considered, this is a pretty funny setup- an evil animatronic wanting to get back at Patrick for destroying it. Surely he isn’t...Purple Guy!? No, and “Pink Guy” has different implications.

SpongeBob and Patrick don’t give up easily, and find the toddler in the animatronic repair room. Only now, he’s built like a man, having taken the H.G. bot’s body, I guess just to look weird. Then the H.G. head follows them all by attaching his head to his glove and using it like a body, again I assume just to be weird. SpongeBob, Patrick and the toddler then end up on some sort of tour of Glove World’s research & development lab, ending with a teaser for Sock World. They’re still working out the stinks, so don’t expect to see it any time soon. All I was wondering in this scene was, this much effort went into developing Glove Universe, and that obviously failed, so what’s the chance they can build a Sock World?

It’s real. SpongeBob and Patrick enter Sock World, which is completely underground and completely operation. There’s even a switch to turn off the stink, so I don’t see what the big issue with it was in R&D. H.G. catches up to all of them, and gets Patrick’s body while Patrick gets the robot body. This is after a big chase and before a big fight, which is ended when the real Heirnonymous Glove is swept out in a block of ice. Have you noticed how bonkers this episode got in such a short period of time? I know, an episode about robots got bonkers, but you know what I mean. It feels like they’re still spitballing ideas through to the end.

The real H.G. gets the guards to reprinmand his robot self, and wipe its memory so it returns to normal. Problem solved there, and then he congratulates SpongeBob and Patrick for being unselfish and kind, and rather than turn them into real boys, lets them off the hook and sings them a song about what they’ve learned. Not much, really. I feel like the story is really well-paced for 22 minutes, but otherwise piles on the questions. Where is the toddler’s parents? Why exactly does the robot want Patrick’s brain? Why isn’t anyone shocked when they see H.G.’s frozen body return to Glove World at the very end? Not to mention all the questions about Sock World, and all the kids who still seem to be locked up at the end of the episode. They aren’t turning into donkeys and being sold to salt mines, so what’s going on there?

Compared to efforts like The Great Patty Caper and Ghoul Fools, this episode might not be as well plotted as them, but at least it’s rather funny, and manages to fill the full runtime with humour. My favourite joke was the amount of times SpongeBob wanted to go on the baseball ride, and the narrator reading that amount on a time card, which is pretty early on in the episode. I like the old man animatronic in the jail cell, and the kids explaining what they’re in for, but that’s also pretty early on. There’s still a lot of attempts at jokes throughout, even if they’re not the best in the world. My least favourite would be Patrick getting all bashful when he remembers a ride he and SpongeBob went on. I appreciate the implied sentiment, but it’s very on-the-nose here, and doesn’t add much to the story.

As per usual, there are some things about the animation that salvage the occasional mediocre story, and in this case, I liked seeing them repurpose the Atlantis lab designs for the Glove World R&D lab. If you’re going to carry anything from that special’s legacy, it should be something that makes it stick out in your mind. The design of H.G. is cool too, basically being a send up of Walt Disney, with the edge that he’s a shark to make him seem more mysterious. It works for both the animatronic and the real body frozen in ice. But frankly, the stupid face the toddler makes isn’t very funny to see for 15 minutes, so it’s no wonder they gave him more faces to make near the end. Being the first episode set in Glove World in forever, I’m left empty by the fact we don’t get any new rides, but showing those off clearly wasn’t the intention of the episode.

No, the intention was giving SpongeBob and Patrick a misadventure to go on, and their portrayal here is okay. They’re more childlike, very much in line with their 2004 movie counterparts, but the difference here is that they don’t learn anything super substantial by the end and become better people. That’s why they were so wild in the movie, and replicating that characterization in an episode of television can prove to be tricky. They didn’t do anything disgracefully out of character, but I can see them tiring some viewers out. The toddler’s just a plot device, I don’t feel the need to go in depth what doesn’t work about him.

I will say I like the idea of Heironymous Glove. The fact he’s still alive in a block of ice after all these years is an entertaining concept, and there’s place to go with his chemistry with the robot duplicate. They put a lot of effort into these ideas, so hopefully they’re elaborated upon eventually. On the subject of voice actors, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche apparently had cameos, and they were cruelly downplayed. At least it was a fun fact to search up later, I love both of them, and figured they should have more substantial roles. LaMarche appeared as the bus driver in Squid’s On a Bus, but maybe Paulsen’s still in their contacts.

Because at the end of the day, I’m left wanting more, and that’s not a bad thing in theory. It means I saw the potential in the story told, and was impressed enough by it that I think there’s still things to do with it. But I didn’t feel like Escape From Glove World really capitilised on them. As good as some of the jokes were, I can sorta tell why they don’t do half-hours as much as they used to. Walking around a jail and then a lab and then a sock-themed amusement park is hard to make 22 amazing minutes of content out of. Something with wacky rides, glove history and H.G.’s current state of living would be fun though. But to be more honest, just because there were aspects to this story that could’ve been more useful plot fodder, doesn’t mean I hate the direction they went in at all. There’s enough intrigure here to make you think hard about what you’d want in a Glove World episode, and that alone’s an interesting feeling. This was not a bad way to bring SpongeBob into the 2020s.

Final Verdict: 6/10 (Okay)
Sandy’s Nutty Nieces < Escape From Beneath Glove World < FarmerBob

On the topic of places we haven’t had an extended stay in since around Season 8, we’re heading back to a concert arena. Get your wallet ready, concessionnaires are people too. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Krusty Koncessionnaires (Season 12, Episode 26a)
Original Airdate: November 7 2020
Episode 508 in standard order, Episode 500 in airing order
Plot: Mr Krabs brings Krabby Patties to a massive concert full of hungry customers
Written by Andrew Goodman
Animation Director: Michelle Bryan

I get a bit of a Season 8 vibe from this episode, and I mean that in the nicest way that I possibly can. When Season 8 was good, it could be surprisingly enjoyable and comfortable, and comfortable is a place you want your audience to be by the 21 year mark. I was a little surprised to find that this is yet another long episode, clocking in at 14 minutes. It’s not as long as some other examples like Swamp Mates or Handemonium, but this has been happening a lot this season. I can’t tell if the show still wants to adhere to the 2x11 format sometimes. But I digress, another way this episode reminded me of Season 8 is that it borrows elements from Smoothe Jazz, Free Samples, The Good Krabby Name and Hello Bikini Bottom!, it’s about selling Krabby Patties at a big music event. It seems like a mess, and that’s exactly right- it’s a beautiful mess.

The story gets underway super quickly, everyone in the Krusty Krew is teleported to a stadium where a rock band called the Low Tides will be performing. Squidward’s excited to see Claire St. Clairem the lead player and owner of a clarinet so classy that it never messes up a note. I’m sure this fact is a publicity stunt, but it helps my perception of the episode in the long run. A lot of information is brought to you in this beginning scene outside the stadium, Squidward’s need to get to Claire, Mr Krabs saying he wants to advertise the Krusty Krab with a big poster, and SpongeBob’s just happy to be there. It’s gonna be a tale for the ages.

They all split up and do their own stories, which is perfect for me since I can just give each of them a paragraph. Mr Krabs’ is the shortest, and is very compact, you get a sense that he’s doing a lot more offscreen. He keeps trying to find the perfect place to put up his Krusty Krab advertisement, but is thwarted by circumstance. Right below the stage doesn’t work, and he’s tossed away by a bounce, inside a balloon box is a weird choice, and I don’t know what he thought would happen. Then when he finally gets to show the advertisement to the audience, it’s all squished up and says something worse, which is the sort of worldplay that’s nice to see in SpongeBob again from time to time. This is probably my least favourite of the 3 main stories, but only because the other 2 are so good.

SpongeBob and Squidward are sent to the stands to hand out Krabby Patties, but Squidward distances himself from SpongeBob by saying they’d cover more ground split up. SpongeBob agrees, and manages to feed half the stadium with Krabby Patties and long streams of mustard. As a matter of fact, he overfeeds it, and soon has to roam through “Squidward’s half”. Then after a while, he catches concessionnaire fever and tries to bring his food all the way up to the Low Tides, ending in disaster. I really like the flow of this story, and how SpongeBob goes mad with patty-making power, and the jokes about how hungry people get when such food is available at events are pretty fun. Bratwurst stands were my dad’s worst enemy whenever he took me to rugby games as a kid, and I can still relate to the guy who’s eating his hat out of starvation. Not really the lady eating the beard though.

My favourite plot, and what it ostensibly designed as the main attraction, would have to be Squidward’s. His goal is to get in contact with Claire St. Claire’s clarinet. The major issue with this is the great big wall between fan and celebrity, that for a fan like Squidward who just wants to touch the celebrity’s stuff, shouldn’t be crossed. Doesn’t stop him from trying, even through all the trouble he gets into with a bouncer. Not to mention, Patrick’s in the room with a star on the door, and gets Squidward into more trouble with the bouncer, who seems to be good friends with him. Sure, this may not be one of Patrick’s more aware outings, but all the jokes he’s a part of are well timed and spontaneous enough to balance out his dimness.

Eventually, all three plots intersect, as Squidward successfully sneaks onstage as a cello, as Mr Krabs gets stuck in the balloon and pops it, and SpongeBob shoots patties at the Low Tides. It’s total chaos, but at least leads to a good final scene. Even though Squidward’s been a bad egg, it’s fair to say he’s suffered enough throughout the episode (and season) to have a bone thrown at him. He gets to play Claire’s clarinet, and does the best performance he’s ever done. He then says he can die happy, and almost does. They’re clearly going for another Sweet Victory moment, and yeah it isn’t as epic as before, but it more than makes up for it in personal gratification. I don’t think the clarinet can actually play no wrong notes, the media hype surrounding it just builds confidence in the player. And I really believe that Squidward plays at his best when he’s confident, it’s been shown as early as Bubblestand. So I’m ecstatic that this cuckoo bananas season’s penultimate episode ends with him at the happiest he’s ever been with his musical abilities.

There was clearly a lot of thought placed into this story, but it’s clearly more humour-centric. All the diverent stories are gag vehicles, Krabs and Squidward go through comedies of errors, and SpongeBob has a rise and fall story ripe for exaggeration. And sure enough, a lot of the ploghts that befall Krabs and Squidward are rather funny, and the SpongeBob story goes from 0 to 100 rather quickly, but is fun and wholesome while he’s still handing out patties. There aren’t many jokes that I flat-out disliked, but it was a nostalgic displeasure to hear Dee Bradely Baker return to put on his loudmouthed Aussie voice.

Animation-wise, this is by far one of the most atmospheric episodes of Season 12. It’s all set on one night, and the sky’s a very nice shade of dark blue, and the giant clam on the stadium really sticks out with the wavy details. The visual gags aren’t overbearing, I’m excited when they dip into surrealism, like SpongeBob going inside his concession bag to make the patties, and Squidward’s happy ghost leaving his body. One background detail I was especially happy to see was a fancy changing room for Tom Kenny appearing right next to a dingy closet for Bill Fagerbakke and Roger Bumpass. How they even got into this world, that’s a SpongeBob conspiracy theory video for another day, and another person’s job anyhow. Seeing so many incidentals in the stadium was also pretty neat, even if they sometimes changed seats. I’m not expecting the animators to have every seat mapped out in their mind, but there’s another conspiracy theory in the making- Incidentals Can Teleport!?

The characters were used pretty well, and at least for an event this big and stimulating, I think they all behaved the way I’d expect them to. SpongeBob goes in over his head, but is still eager to share his krusty goodness with a crowd of hundreds. Squidward’s goal is a little questionable, but sadly not out of the ordinary for more obsessive fans. But I think he suffers enough by the time he gets to play he clarinet so, silver lining. Mr Krabs’ goal of advertising the Krusty Krab is the part that reminds me of The Good Krabby Name, and since I didn’t mind him all too much in that episode, I don’t mind him all too much here. The Low Tides could’ve had more individual personalities, but the song they sing is pretty catchy, so they’ve got a use to being here.

I’m really happy with the way this one turned out. All the stories it tells are entertaining in their own right, and they fill up the runtime in a way that’s gripping and coherent. The characters were all in shape, even Patrick and the Low Tides who I had my doubts over upon first viewing, and there’s a comfortable feel to the jokes. Not a lot of moment I’d consider unbelievably hilarious, but it nudges me along and keeps me wanting to see more. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what’s most important with a show this old? A good time that you can get through easily? Sure there are funnier and more emotional episodes in this season, let alone the show at large, but I appreciate episodes like this that reach a great balance.

Final Verdict: 8/10 (Great)
Dirty Bubble Returns < Krusty Koncessionnaires < SpongeBob in RandomLand

My ultimate dream is to live in a time period where Nickelodeon’s aired every Season 12 episode. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Dream Hoppers (Season 12, Episode 26b)
Original Airdate: November 7 2020
Episode 509 in standard order, Episode 501 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob chases a rouge Krabby Patty through various dreamscapes
Written by Andrew Goodman
Animation Director: Alan Smart & Tom Yasumi

They could’ve called this “Spongetasia” if they really wanted to. It’s clearly inspired by the classic Disney film Fantasia, and its less-than-classic 1999 sequel, being a largely silent set of animated segments set to different pieces of music. This is nothing new to SpongeBob, Reef Blower was also set to musical pieces with no dialogue, and actually predates Fantasia 2000. It’s clearly a successful concept, banking on the marriage of colourful visuals and bombastic music to make something of an experience. The story they got SpongeBob to journey through for this is nothing new, he’s already ventured through his friends’ dreams in Sleepy Time and Battle for Bikini Bottom, but those were 20 and 17 years ago, how would Post-Sequel SpongeBob do a dream hopping episode?

What caught me off guard is that this episode is set right after Krusty Koncessionnaires, with SpongeBob returning home after his patty-pumping spree, exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep. He has a dream where he works in a factory that produces sentient Krabby Patties, set to The Thieving Magpie by Gioachino Rossini, a crossover 203 years in the making. This dream gets the story off to a dramatic start, what with Magpie turning into such a bombastic song. SpongeBob uses his spatula like a witch’s broom to fly with patty ingredients, the patties are made in a TV that briefly displays Hillenburg’s original SpongeBoy drawing, and then they’re all in a plane that a mischevious little patty takes for himself, leaving SpongeBob on the outside. I also really like the aesthetic of this dream, it looks like a children’s book, which makes sense. I bet a lot of kids dream about the books they’re read, art style and all, so this is a cute attention to detail.

The plane goes out of control and exits SpongeBob’s dream, popping plenty of others, and destroying the Chum Bucket in a CGi explosion. Somehow, SpongeBob and the patty get sent all the way back to Conch Street, and fall into Patrick’s dream, accentuated by the music of Jean-Jaques Perrey. If you don’t know who that is, he was a French electronic music composer, a pioneer in the field at that, and you can tell by how surreal all his songs sound. It really helps the atmosphere of Patrick’s vacant subconcious, filled with junk food and bad hygiene. Seriously, Perrey’s music validates this segment’s existence, I don’t think I’d like it otherwise. That isn’t to say I don’t like it, the part where SpongeBob and Patrick’s dream selves go down Patrick’s gut like a rabbit hole is fun, as is the patty hiding in a field of ice cream. It’s just not as engrossing as the SpongeBob segment, or the Squidward one coming up. In fairness, I’m happy that Patrick’s dreams have gotten more interesting over time, and aren’t just voids anymore.

The patty then escapes into Squidward’s dream, with SpongeBob and Patrick following behind. They aren’t prepared for the mayhem that’ll unfold however, and get taken by Squidward’s many self-portraits to his kingly throne room, where he uses them as painting tools for yet another self portrait. I like how egomaniacal his dreams have gotten, it’s to the point where he wants to be a large king creating endless copies of himself. It’s a little alarming though, he should tell Hans about these. It’s been a long time since we got a good look at Squidward’s art, so this was a fun place to show off the classic. Out of the Picture doesn’t count and never will. The musical themeing starts to get less consistent though, more artists and pieces are used. It still has an identity, but not a unified one like the other segments. I still like it though, up until they have to end the episode abruptly. Squidward wakes up and notices SpongeBob and Patrick sleeping in his bed with him, then it cuts to all of them and the patty dancing and playing in an abstract dreamscape. ...Okay?

I don’t know what I was expecting, maybe a bigger finale? Either way, this is one of those episodes that I respect the ambition of, but don’t exactly love. I know I’m gonna get hounded for saying this, but I feel that way about the Fantasia movies too. It’s all an experience, but I for one tend to look for ways animation can tell a story, and Dream Hoppers is escalation, escalation, then a squish sound. I might be on the wrong side of history here, fans may look back on this one day as one of the greatest pieces of SpongeBob art ever. And make no mistake, I like this episode. It feels big, but it’s ultimately bite-sized, which I assume is fine if you’re looking for something to watch on the bus before work. I can only dream that they stay in the dreamscape longer next time, and make grander scenarios and worlds to explore.

Final Verdict: 7/10 (Good)
Breakin’ < Dream Hoppers < Shell Games

I really hate to go on break again, but I’m back to work, and have more videos to make. Hopefully the “submerged seven” come knocking for me before I come knocking for them. Goodbye for now.
 

Emy

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I have Knock Knock Who's There, and Hiccup Plague if you wanna review then
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
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Ok, fine. 7 more days of Season 12, fellas.

Knock Knock, Who’s There? (Season 12, Episode 19a)
Original Airdate: April 23 2021*
Episode 495 in standard order, Episode 508 in airing order
*produced in 2019, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: SpongeBob protects Mr Krabs’ house while he’s out one night
Written by Kaz
Animation Director: Tom Yasumi

One more week to go of Season 12 madness, before finally, after more than 2 years, I can give a full ranking and assessment of its lineup. Hope you’re all still waiting and eager to see what I have to say about random modern SpongeBob episodes. And this one is especially random in how quaint it is. It kind of feels like a sequel to Wet Painters, it’s about SpongeBob and Patrick goofing off in Mr Krabs’ house while he’s out. Since Wet Painters is such a classic, I was hoping this would also be a slam dunk, but that’s the trouble with raising your hopes too high.

It starts with Mr Krabs putting SpongeBob in charge of his house while he’s going out to a fast food convention for fancy people. Krabs asks of SpongeBob two things- don’t set foot in his bedroom, and don’t let anyone in, since there’s been a surge in robberies recently. He even tests SpongeBob by getting him to open the door for him, only to yell that he shouldn’t open the door for anyone. At least that got the message firmly into SpongeBob’s head, for better or worse. I have no problems with this opening scene whatsoever, it establishes the setting, conflict, and how the characters act with no issue. Where they go from there is where things get interesting.

SpongeBob disobeys the first request of not setting foot in Krabs’ room, by finding a loop hole where he doesn’t have to literally set foot. He floats in and uses his hands to walk just fine, but still goes through some of his boss’ personal stuff. They set up a few things in here, and SpongeBob makes some innocent quips, so it’s not pointless at all. Meanwhile, Mr Krabs decides not to enter the Fast Food Founding Father convention (or F.F.F.F. for short), when he’s told there’s a 10¢ fee. He misses out on being the 100th attendant and getting $1K as a consequence. This is a great little karma joke, Mr Krabs being such a cheepskate that he’ll miss out on the opportunity to get even more money. As you’ll soon see, his luck only gets worse as he heads back home.

Even though SpongeBob will not open the door for anyone, he orders some pizza anyway, though the delivery boy has to push it through the mail slot. (The more you commit to homemade pizza, the grosser this moment becomes.) But afterwards, Krabs comes home, but SpongeBob doesn’t trust that this is the real Mr Krabs, and kicks the defenses into high gear. He even calls Patrick to come over and help him out. They’re such good friends that SpongeBob can completely trust Patrick to help him out in a crisis like this. It also helps give him someone to bounce off of. Just the phone call goes a long way in making the situation more dynamic.

More cartoony shenanigans ensue, Mr Krabs tries harder to get back into his house, and fails harder as SpongeBob and Patrick pull out all the tricks. Eventually he’s just locked up and caged, then he breaks down and shows them his ID to prove it’s him. This hurts the episode to an extent. Why on earth didn’t he show it to them earlier? They completely trust him when they read it, and find out he’s an organ doner. There’s also a “here we go again” moment where they don’t trust Pearl when she comes home, but it’s not the wackiest ending of the season, The Goofy Newbie has it beat in that category. But it does feel like they simply ran out of jokes to tell, which is a shame.

They really liked their cheese jokes this time, with the pizza being squished through the mailslot, and the residue convincing Mr Krabs that his theories are correct- SpongeBob really is made out of cheese. There’s also SpongeBob using a wad of cheddar as a guillotine, because it’s sharp cheddar. There’s a few puns like that spread around the episode, it’s got a very good balance of wordplay and visual gags for a Season 10-12 episode. They also like their live action bits, with SpongeBob’s synchro vox close-up when he tells Patrick to hurry, and the footage of animals on the TV when SpongeBob’s channel-surfing. I will say, while the joke of SpongeBob untying Mr Krabs’ knot collection was charming, it’s the exact same joke they told throughout The String.

A lot of the episode’s jokes are tied to the visuals, and this is a very well-animated episode. This is one of those where the faces aren’t constantly leaping out at you, which makes the more surreal reactions stick out a lot better. One that didn’t really amuse me was Patrick saying he was mostly blubber, and it showing a gross-up off him with a dimwitted expression. Patrick being fat and dumb are such novel jokes, I know. I also like the atmosphere of the episode, with all the pouring rain in the latter 2/3rds making the situation more dire. If Mr Krabs and Pearl don’t get under shelter in time, they might catch the flu, and Neptune forbid we go through that again.

The characters are pretty good overall, though they’re more driven by their motivations in this episode. SpongeBob has to protect Mr Krabs’ house at all costs, and this leads to a slightly smarter portrayal of him for the most part. Patrick’s motivation is simply to be SpongeBob’s friend, and he does that as well as he can. His warm water plan is genius too. I wonder to what extent we’re meant to root for Mr Krabs though, this is a rather spiky performance, but he still totally deserves to enter his own house. It’s still a good performance, but it reinforces the fact that this was simply meant to be a comedy of errors. Pearl’s appearance at the end was alright I suppose, good to see them reveal she has blue eyes. There’s also a small Mrs Puff in a music box in Mr Krabs’ bedroom, that actually moves and reacts to her surroundings. I headcanon that this is somehow the real Mrs Puff, for no other reason than it sells the weird factor even more.

I know I started this review saying I shouldn’t have set my hopes too high, but this is still a fun episode. It’s got the right sense of humour for this show, and even if the story is a little basic, and the ending unsatisfying, they gave each of the central characters a purpose, and some very good jokes to go along with them. It’s not a breakout hit for the season, but it’s an Ol’ Reliable. It definitely deserved the attention of more than 340,000 people when it first aired on Nick. That’s an average of 17 people per city. Knock knock, who’s there? Streaming. They should just start putting episodes on Paramount Plus as soon as they’re ready for release, it’s not that hard.

Final Verdict: 7/10 (Good)
Breakin’ < Knock Knock, Who’s There? < Dream Hoppers

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t Heart the next episode. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Pat Hearts Squid (Season 12, Episode 19b)
Original Airdate: TBA* (Episode 496)
*produced in 2019, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: Squidward moves in with Patrick, and moulds him into the perfect roommate
Written by Mr Lawrence
Animation Director: Michelle Bryan

The first time I watched this episode, all I could think of was how similar it was to Squidward’s School for Grown Ups, with a dash of Big Pink Loser at the end, and wondered if there’s so little they can do with Patrick and Squidward anymore that they just have to recreate their earlier conflicts and interactions. When I watched it again for this review, all I could think of was how similar it was to Squidward’s School for Grown Ups, with a dash of Big Pink Loser at the end, and wondered if there’s so little they can do with Patrick and Squidward anymore that they just have to recreate their earlier conflicts and interactions. Sorry for being repetitive, but it’s the perfect way to start talking about this sort of episode.

The episode kicks off with SpongeBob and Patrick playing in the mud outside, and disrupting...something Squidward was doing I’m sure. While yelling at them, he leans out his window so hard that he topples the whole house over and destroys it. It’s hard to say he brought it upon himself when it’s so obvious the writer did, just to give us a plot. So Squidward has to rough it for one scene, but since that doesn’t work out, he flips a coin to see which buffoon he should move in with. It lands on Patrick, and finally the main story starts...almost.

Patrick does his best to be accommodating, but Squidward is still bothered by a lot of grievances, like all the food and furniture being made of sand, and Patrick drooling in his sleep from the ceiling. So the next morning, he renovates the kitchen to be more to his liking, and offers Patrick a lard-based meal. Now, 4 minutes in, the main point of the story is here- Squidward shaping Patrick in his image. Putting to the side that they’ve done this before, and done it better, Patrick’s transformation isn’t very interesting. I know the fun with this episode is that they’re making Patrick a new Squidward at all, but it peaks at the start of the sequence when Squidward plays with his head like clay.

After the sequence, Patrick has morphed into a fat, pink copy of Squidward, and imitates all his mannerisms. Although Squidward gets along with him at first, things quickly change when they set up an art kiosk. Patrick plagiarises famous pieces of art and does some basic interpretive dance moves, and everyone immediately loves him and considers him the better Squidward. Compared to the real one, who just did self portraits and whipped out the same moves he used onstage in 1999. So what does Squidward learn from this experience? That Patrick has turned from a simpleton to a popular artist capable of commanding an audience, or at least a place in society? Or that he’s created a talented monster that must be destroyed? You do the math.

SpongeBob even suggests imitating Patrick to get him back to normal, and I like to imagine he’s talking from experience on that. So he finally puts some pants on, ruins his own stuff and plays in the mud like a fool. At first, Patrick doesn’t buy it, but as soon as he gets mud in his mouth, he reverts back to normal. Let that be a lesson to the kids, don’t eat mud or your brain power will decrease. Benefit of the doubt, there’s some educational value here. It’s a shame it’s followed up by another “here we go again” ending, which isn’t as funny when you’ve got 2 in a row. A helicopter brings Squidward’s new house in, but it crashes into Patrick’s rock, destroying both of them, so now they both have to live with SpongeBob. Given that the preceeding story already failed to entertain me, I don’t enjoy wondering where this narrative takes them all next.

No SpongeBob episode is completely humourless, and this one has some good jokes scattered across its dirt dull story. Patrick protecting himself from a potential intruder with a banana is fine, as is the timing of Squidward losing all his lodging comforts to sand. A lot of the jokes fail to entertain though. The big climactic moment of the story, Squidward acting like Patrick, doesn’t stick the landed they intended. The story isn’t interesting enough for the joke to be funny. Another big moment they put effort into was Squidward thinking of bad cheese, because he thinks Patrick stinks so bad, then it falls out of his thought bubble and sickens SpongeBob. Not one of their better visual gags, it’s only gross and very unnatrually put together.

The big selling point for the animation here, Patrick and Squidward’s transformations are neat, but they don’t really sell the episode for me. I did like the callback to ol’ Bold and Brash, and the reference to Culture Shock. But I think there are many sequences in this episode that they should’ve just done a retake on. When Squidward topples his house at the start, his changes size constantly, which didn’t convince me of the action either way. Also his splatters of paint before they turn into self portraits look a lot better than either his or Patrick’s final pieces. As abstract art, they’re not that bad.

The characters didn’t feel as dimensional here as they should, like they’re nothing more than vehicles for the story. Patrick has a very impressionable outing here, so although he’s clearly the kind to play in mud, he’s more or less a canvas that’s affected by being around SpongeBob and Squidward. For this sort of story, it’s not a bad thing at all, but it really shows how bland those guys are here. Squidward’s situation, motivations and behaviour aren’t poorly handled on their own, but the execution makes him too vain and petty to really care about. SpongeBob and Mr Krabs don’t have a lot to offer, but they’re still here.

I wasn’t being caustic when I called this dirt dull earlier. If you crop it for 4:3, you could pass it off as a mid-tier Season 7 or 8 episode. There isn’t any spark or major laugh out loud moment, it just feels like a rudimentary SpongeBob episode with just enough energy to carry it to the 11 minute mark. There are fans who are exhausted with the Waller/Ceccareli style and miss how safe the late Tibbitt era played it, but it’s a comedy show’s job to keep you entertained, and they can’t really do that by playing it safe 12 seasons in. The most intrigue Pat Hearts Squid brought was when the title was revealed, because people speculated it was going to have LGBTQ themes in some way. And it hasn’t brought any other intrigue since.

Final Verdict: 4/10 (Weak)
SpongeBob’s Bad Habit < Pat Hearts Squid < My Two Krabses

There are no more bumps or hiccups in the road. With at least one segment from each episode aired on TV, I’m doing every remaining Season 12 episode. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Hiccup Plague (Season 12, Episode 20b)
Original Airdate: TBA* (Episode 498)
*produced in 2019, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: Two kids create a case of the hiccups, and it ravages Bikini Bottom
Written by Luke Brookshier
Animation Director: Tom Yasumi

Here we have another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe. They were really playing with fire making two epidemic-focused episodes so close to each other. Compared to Kwarantined Krab, there’s not as much worrying content in here, so there’s a chance it could air in the near future, and it is on the Season 12 boxset. Still, I was still concerned that there’d be some stuff in here that would makes its production unfortunate timing. But now having rewatched it a few times, there’s nothing unfortunate about a new good SpongeBob episode.

It all starts with two kids playing in a treehouse, trying to create the ultimate hiccup. Soda doesn’t do the trick, but spicy chips apparently do, and their combined hiccups make a contagious concoction that they unleash onto the town for kicks. These kids have only one goal in mind it seems, rebel against the world, and they manage to do that without a problem, at least until the end. The hiccup bubble pops into SpongeBob, and he starts hiccuping like a madman, and this is where the main attraction of the episode comes into play- the hiccup animations. Not to knock them, but they aren’t the exact highlight for me, the episode offers a lot more.

SpongeBob’s able to work around the hiccups while he’s cooking, but their intensity soon breaks out of his control, and Mr Krabs has to tell him to go home and get some rest. Only the bubble leaves SpongeBob and enters Mr Krabs, making his meetup with Mrs Puff soon after awkward. SpongeBob to Krabs is one thing, but when the hiccups pass from Krabs to Puff, there’s clearly a chain reaction, and I’m all for it. Seeing how each of these characters gets the hiccups, deals with them, then passes them on, is an easy way to get a good template for a string of jokes going, and I’m happy to opine they don’t disappoint.

In the ladies’ bathroom, Mrs Puff drinks water upside down until she gives the hiccups to Pearl. Pearl’s at first disturbed by them when she’s practicing for a cheer, but eventually cheers hard enough to get them out into the air. There, they interrupt a peaceful jellyfish swarm, which sends the bubble to Bubble Bass. It seems like a match made in heaven, until he hiccups himself inside out. While Perch Perkins is reporting on the epidemic, Bubble Bass hiccups into the microphone, and it travels through Bikini Bottom’s electricity wire and into Karen in the Chum Bucket. She gives them to Plankton, then Plankton gives them to Patrick while he’s on a walk, and Patrick gives them to Squidward. Because how dare Squidward not believe that hiccups aren’t a contagious disease.

Squidward bounces around the street for a bit, then SpongeBob comes over to make a selfless gesture. He contracts the hiccups from Squidward, then moves out of town, a rather valiant sacrifice for this sort of story. But Sandy’s able to retrieve him from the outlands and put him in quarantine, where after many fruitless suggestions, Sandy tickles the hiccups out of SpongeBob. Everyone cheers, despite the bubble not being immediately destroyed, but you’ll be cheering too when the bubble floats into the treehouse at the start of the episode, pops, and gives the kids the hiccups. Those little runts got what they deserved, that’s the note they end on, and not a bad one at all.

Hiccup Plague’s story is very large and it’s a very character-driven episode, but there’s enough jokes to entertain anyone with a sense of humour. The jellyfish getting the hiccups is pretty funny, as are Karen and Plankton’s brief turns with them. My favourite joke would have to be when SpongeBob takes it off Squidward’s tentacles, giving him a big hug that he really doesn’t want to be a part of. It’s a sweet moment that doubles as a hilarious one, with the face Squidward makes. I’m also happy with the joke with the chalkboard that counts how many days SpongeBob’s gone without tomfoolery. They show it a scene earlier than its primary joke, so not only can the secondary joke show itself (that they need such a chalkboard at all), but the primary one builds upon it (how long until they usually have to reset the tally).

But I’m sure, like with any episode currently, that they were really proud with the animation, and there’s no reason for them not to be. Pausing the hiccups gives you a nice selection of funny faces that the upcoming generation will no doubt, get meme fodder out of in a few years. I especially like when SpongeBob tries all his friends’ methods of curing them in quarantine. It’s a fast, energetic sequence, and helps raise your attention even though the stakes are lower. Even with one of the less amusing jokes in the episode, Bubble Bass getting turned inside out, it’s gross but not over the top about it. I don’t believe I’ve talked about setting design in a while, but that treehouse the kids are in doesn’t look bad at all either. Maybe a bit big, but I take it they’re serious with their goals.

That being said, they don’t have enough screentime for you to get everything you’d want out of them. I like that one of them’s a girl, since gross girls are uncommon in media, and it adds some variety. But when that’s their defining difference from one another, then yeah. I like how SpongeBob’s portrayed here, and how both times he has the hiccups, it’s his mission to make the best of a bad situation. You get a laundry list of SpongeBob regulars too- Mr Krabs, Squdiward, Mrs Puff, Bubble Bass, Old Man Jenkins, Perch Perkins, Karen, Plankton, Patrick and Sandy. Most of them are only given two lines max, but they’re a welcome presence in an episode like this, useful too in showing how widespread the hiccups get.

With that title and that synopsis, I wasn’t expecting to like this episode that much, but this show will never stop surprising me. This is a very packed episode, with a lot of jokes and characters, but it never feels cluttered, or like they’re producing an animated run-on sentence. Everything here comes naturally, and it manages to be a great example of a SpongeBob ensemble piece. If you want a big world and large cast for SpongeBob to bounce off, like in Mimic Madness or Appointment TV, you won’t be disappointed with Hiccup Plague.

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

Only four more Season 12 episodes to internalise, I can’t wait to finally finish it. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Plankton’s Intern (Season 12, Episode 23a)
Original Airdate: April 30 2021*
Episode 503 in standard order, Episode 509 in airing order
*produced in 2020, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: Pearl applies for an internship at the Chum Bucket
Written by Luke Brookshier
Animation Director: Alan Smart

Finally, “SpongeBob” and “intern” can be used in the same sentence again without bringing up the gun episode. Shudder...anyway, episodes like go to show how ostracised Pearl was from the rest of the cast for the longest time. When random Pearl episodes over the first 8 seasons come to mind- The Chaperone, Whale of a Birthday, The Slumber Party, Barnacle Face, she usually only interacts with SpongeBob and Mr Krabs. Since 9, they’ve done a much better job of giving her more places to go and characters to interact with. Mall Girl Pearl, Whale Watching and Hiccup Plague have been a very good step in the right direction in this regard, and now here we have the ultimate test of her loyalty to her father.

Plankton’s hard at work on his latest doo-dad, when Karen tells him she’s taking a leave to visit her motherboard. With a pun like that, this episode’s off to a wonderful start. Karen put up flyers for an intern so Plankton has an assistant, since he’s too small and stubborn to work on his own. Much to his surprise, there’s a lot of applicants for the position, most of which turn their back on him when he tells them they won’t get paid. That’s teens for you. One of the only applicants who sticks around is Patrick, who’s only here to clone himself and that’s about it. The rest of the story is rather tight, but Patrick’s involvement is minimal and pointless.

After kicking the Patricks out, the only applicant left is Pearl, who’s only here because Mr Krabs has forced her to get a summer job. Plankton reminds us that he’s scared of whales, because they eat plankton, but Pearl assures us she doesn’t like that baby food. We were almost transported back to a bad episode, but they saved us in the nick of time. Sadly, Pearl doesn’t have a good time being Plankton’s intern, just cleaning up after his messes constantly and never getting to do anything cool. Putting her friendship with Squidina aside, I can’t say I’ve ever thought of Pearl as the sciencey type, but they make it clear this is more about her wanting to be a valuable asset to a team and gaining work experience. That isn’t Plankton’s priority either.

When Pearl gets home, exhausted and dissatisfied with her day, she talks to Mr Krabs about it, and her gives her some good advice. See what she can offer her boss. Only problem is, Krabs doesn’t know who Pearl’s new boss is, which should be high on any parent’s priority list. This is the kind of misunderstanding I can bet behind, where the humour comes from Krabs never bothering to properly understand this thing in the first place, and it blowing up on him later on. The next day, Pearl offers Plankton the one thing that can make her a valuable asset, the Krabby Patty secret formula. I like how Plankton’s shocked that she’s Krabs’ daughter. After all, everyone knows that, but there’s probably an older episode where they interact heavily that would contradict all this... Nope, doesn’t seem to be ringing a bell.

The two initiate a heist into the Krusty Krab that evening, where their only obstacle is SpongeBob sleepcooking. They’re able to dispose of him eventually, and break into Krabs’ office and its safe. But not before SpongeBob wakes up and calls Mr Krabs, who’s able to stop them before they get it. After revealing herself, Pearl then offers for Krabs to triple her allowance, so she won’t have to get a summer job. They never make it clear if the Chum Bucket was the only one hiring, but the way they make it seem like the only other option, it appears to be that way. It doesn’t impact the story too negatively though, it’s still a fun ride.

It’s not one of the funniest episodes of the season, but it’s got some charming bits here and there. As pointless as Patrick is here, I won’t deny some of the lines delivered by the clones are rather funny, though I think the ending would be funnier without the earlier scenes. Just having dozens of Patricks at the Chum Bucket is a cooky idea on its own, and even funnier without context. There’s other good stuff like the motherboard pun, the routine of Pearl needing to clean up after Plankton, and SpongeBob cooking Plankton like a patty in his sleep. The story is the higher priority here, but they never forget to throw in a couple jokes to make it more entertaining.

The animation is also really fluid and expressive here. I can tell why they still make a lot of Plankton episodes every season, he’s an inherently fun character to twist, warp and give conniving looks. This is by far one of his most expressive episodes to date, especially that emotion above ecstasy when he discovers Pearl has an in to the formula. He does change size a lot more than usual, but it must have been hard enough making the largest and smallest regular characters interact for so long. Like most modern Pearl episodes, SpongeBob is far from a focal point, but I did like his animations here, especially the bit where he hits his fist in menace, then shakes off the pain. It’s a very SpongeBob thing of him to do.

I can imagine the way Pearl behaves at the end could rub some people the wrong way. How she jeopradises her father’s business, then gets away with getting paid more without any sort of punishment. I found it kind of refreshing though, we don’t get to see her win against her dad in this way all too often. I’ve also noticed Lori Alan’s performance has gotten less raspy, which is nice. This is a rather normal episode for Plankton too. Except for the shock when he finds out more things about Pearl, he’s still the antisocial, one track-minded patty thief you’ve come to expect. SpongeBob and Patrick have relatively minor roles in the main story, but their jokes, and SpongeBob’s purpose, aren’t completely useless. This was a pretty good way to teach a lesson to Mr Krabs too, that he should pay more attention to his daughter’s social life, particularly in regards to her business ventures.

I liked this one. While spotty in a few places, I think the story is very interesting and goes to the right places for these characters. I should say again that I’m really happy with them putting Pearl out there and giving her the sorts of stories we hadn’t seen before for years. However, it does go to show how samey Plankton’s become as a character, especially when he doesn’t have Karen to bounce off. He’s worked for a very long time, but they’ve told more than enough stories with him, and I don’t see him getting that much funnier in Season 13 and beyond. I like him, but the show has to try new things, and this episode kind of does and kind of doesn’t. It should please you either way.

Final Verdict: 7/10 (Good)
Shell Games < Plankton’s Intern < King Plankton

Hopefully the next episode doesn’t send me into a fit. Goodbye for now.
 

EmployeeAMillion

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Patrick’s Tantrum (Season 12, Episode 23b)
Original Airdate: TBA* (Episode 504)
*produced in 2020, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: Patrick loses it whenever he hears a bell. It’s just a shame there’s tons of bells in Bikini Bottom.
Written by Kaz
Animation Director: Tom Yasumi

The name and synopsis alone didn’t invite much optimism from me. Even though he’s a heck of a lot better than he was in the middle seasons, Patrick still has a couple, new problems that don’t seem to be getting phased out any time soon. And making a whole episode about what he’s like when he gets into a fit of rage did not sound like my cup of tea. What I eventually saw was by no means the worst episode of the season, but it still reaffirmed my personal grievances with the character and how he can be written now. No tantrums on this blog, just something even less mature- cartoon reviews.

It starts on a slow day at the Krusty Krab, which is about to get a whole lot faster. SpongeBob hears a ringing, which has apparently being going all week, and Mr Krabs finally tells him what it’s all about. He’s been ringing it with the hopes that it will condition the customers to stop everything they’re doing and eat at the Krusty Krab. Sure enough, when he rings a big bell that towers above the Krusty Krab now, it sends most of Bikini Bottom into a zombified state as they mindlessly walk to the restaurant. Of course, this is all an exaggerated cartoon world. No society would stop everything they’re doing because they hear the sound of a bell, right? Jokes aside, this intro doesn’t add much to the episode, and doesn’t even make much sense when you consider all the bells the town has in the rest of the episode.

Most of the Krustomers line up and order food without a thought, but Patrick soon comes in and throws a destructive tantrum that freaks everyone out. Not to worry, SpongeBob knows how to calm him down- jellyfish jelly on the belly. They make it seem like a trigger and remedy that someone with a mental disorder would have, but I don’t think it’s at all insulting. If anything, it could make people more aware that less fortunate people have these sorts of sensory issues, so even if the rest of the episode was a complete dumpster fire, it would still have some value to it, and is of use in making us more aware and accepting of some people’s psychological problems. And thankfully, the rest of the episode is only a partial dumpster fire.

After Patrick remembers that he started throwing these tantrums as a kid, when his parents would ring a bell when it was bathtime, SpongeBob vows to get rid of every bell in Bikini Bottom. He leaves to the Krusty Krab to achive this mission, and we get some good jokes out of this to be fair, but then Mr Krabs enlists Patrick into a wrassling tournament, to take advantage of his sensitivity to bells. After all, one goes off at the start of every match, and Patrick’s able to curb stomp his foe, Harry the Health Hazard, without even trying. Even though there’s a net positive in rewards, Patrick gets a trophy and Mr Krabs gets a million dollars in prize money, it’s still clearly a bad thing that Mr Krabs has done, and I’m ready to see how he loses the money.

When SpongeBob gets back from his bellicide, only one ringing sound remains in the whole town, the Krusty Krab’s cash register. This prompts another tantrum from Patrick, and he destroys his trophy and rips up all the money Mr Krabs got from the torunament. Even more unfortunate, Patrick’s parents come over to remind him that it isn’t a bell that makes him upset, rather it’s a rubber duck. So the whole joke of the episode is either that none of it really mattered, or that there’s some bell-related trauma Patrick went through that his parents don’t know about. I can’t wait to see them dedicate an episode of The Patrick Star Show to this lingering question.

The big comedic highlight of the episode, and you could argue the only really funny part of it, is the montage of SpongeBob destroying all the bells in Bikini Bottom. It starts off strong with him destroying the Krusty Krab’s bell tower, after not being able to ring it a few minutes prior, due to the power of friendship. (I guess SpongeBob really is an anime. It’s at least it’s an American cartoon post-2015.) Some people probably died while he was out on the streets, but I liked him replacing a bicycle’s bell with a TV with a chimp on it, and him eyeing someone’s bell bottoms while funky bells play. It doesn’t matter in the end, since Patrick still gets triggered after they’re all rid of, but it’s a fun ride while it lasts, and elevates the episode somewhat. A lot of the other jokes are rather strangely told, like the hoard of mindless Krustomers, or just weird enough to work, like Patrick’s newfound addiction to eating posters.

Not helping this episode’s case is that it’s one of the least ambitious of the season in terms of animation. They show some funny faces, don’t read me wrong on that, but their big showcase this week was just Patrick spinning around destroying stuff. Not bad at all, and I’m glad they didn’t go back to the Valentine’s Day/Krusty Katering well again, but it also doesn’t make it jut out from the rest of the pack. The stadium made for an alright setpiece though. It pushed Mr Krabs’ greed while making Patrick’s tantrums more dangerous. My least favourite part of the art and animation was definitely the start with all the mindless fish entering the Krusty Krab. I know they’re like zombies, they’re meant to be slow and all, but it’s more snail-paced than the show’s been in a long time.

As mediocre as Patrick’s Tantrum is, at least I can say none of the characters drag it too far down. SpongeBob’s the MVP again, doing something really brave and costly for his friend, even though it’s short-sighted. Mr Krabs is pretty greedy here, but not 62¢ greedy, he just doesn’t understand how serious Patrick’s problem is. And although Patrick can be something of a tornado, they didn’t make him a jerk, or even that much of a nuisance. I’m going easy on him here, because this can be a slightly more serious topic than normal depending on your viewpoint, and they didn’t do anything wrong with it. Squidward delivers a quip, Harry the Health Hazard isn’t quite as memorable as their previous wrasslers, and Patrick’s parents deliver the same sort of reveal as in their debut episode. If that’s all they really know what to do with them, I’m a little less excited about The Patrick Star Show than I ought to be. (even discounting its existence being sketchy, but that’s for another time.)

So overall, I think a story like this could’ve been a lot better. Really getting into the nuts and bolts of Patrick’s odd behaviours sounds like it could be funny, and at least partially informative. This went for wrassling and a rubber duck. At the same time, I can also imagine a much worse version of this episode. One that brings up a compelling issue, and just turns it into a joke, like SpongeBob’s Bad Habit did. Maybe I’m just imagining vastly different versions of Patrick’s Tantrum, because the episode we got was so middle of the road. At certain points while pointing out the plotholes, I was thinking of giving it a 4, or at least putting it much lower in the 5’s, but SpongeBob’s role brought it up a little for me.

Final Verdict: 5/10 (Average)
The Hankering < Patrick’s Tantrum < Senior Discount

Huh, another Bubble Bass episode?
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
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Bubble Bass’ Tab (Season 12, Episode 24a)
Original Airdate: April 9 2021*
Episode 505 in standard order, Episode 504 in airing order
*produced in 2020, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: SpongeBob and Squidward have to get Bubble Bass to pay for his tab
Written by Kaz
Animation Director: Alan Smart

I was happy to see Bubble Bass become a regular at first, but I’m starting to think they’ve squeezed him dry. There’s only so much humour you can get out of his villainy, and the archetype of the overweight media geek shouldn’t really be a joke on its own anymore, and they’ve been leaning more into that being the joke as Bubble Bass has stuck around longer. I don’t want to hate him, even as a villain, but from now on they have to be very careful to use him well, and make me await his next episode rather than dread it. This particular episode isn’t one I dread, but there are points where it starts getting there.

Our adventure commences at the Krusty Krab, where Bubble Bass has made a very elaborate order, then tells Squidward to put the fee on his tab. I don’t exactly know how those work, but it’s gone on long enough here that Mr Krabs has to chase him out of the restaurant, because he won’t pay up. This seems like an oddly normal story for this show so far, but get prepared for it to grow into something truly weird. That is if the butt jokes with Bubble Bass don’t already weird you out.

Mr Krabs sends SpongeBob and Squidward to Bubble Bass’ house to collect the tab, but upon entering, they don’t find him. Only when they go into the basement do they discover the flabby fish’s new plan- challenge them in a game of Three Deadly Challenges- a board game made for this episode. I guess Eels and Escalators is out of the question. But the rules of this game are made very clear, there’s 3 medieval challenges on a game board, and a player has to win 2 out of 3, and offer medieval insults, to win. Sounds alright, and quirky. The caveat? Bubble Bass has constructed a life-sized replica of the board in his mother’s basement, and SpongeBob and Squidward have to play through it.

The first challenge is a swordfight, where Squidward is successfully able to best Bubble Bass, before they discover it was just a dummy. It’s alright, but not funny. The second is a bullfighting tournament, where Bubble Bass sicks his mother onto Squidward, but then they do the tango together? This is the weirdest of the three, but still not very funny. Finally, Squidward jousts against the real Bubble Bass, and wins. Again, not super funny. But even though this whole piece of the episode isn’t very amusing, it’s at least cool to see Squidward get sucked into the game, but I’ll talk more about the characters in a bit.

When Squidward finally emerges the victor and presents Bubble Bass with his tab, he admits he spent all his money on cardboard, so he has to work it off at the Krusty Krab. He only works for a couple minutes however, before his whining and poor service drives the customers to pay Mr Krabs to fire him. Because he hasn’t really faced the music, Bubble Bass learns nothing and opens another tab, so we’ve got another loop of a story. But when they pull that sort of thing with a story about a character like Bubble Bass, it doesn’t really work. I am left unfulfilled, and feel like all this was just a waste of time.

And not an especially funny one. The best parts of the episode are when SpongeBob and Squidward are talking, their chemistry is rather engaging here. It makes me think that most of it was improvised, which would explain why the rest of the jokes are so board-driven. I think they really wanted the medieval insults to get big laughs, but they’re pretty forgettable. The butt jokes drag this episode down immensely, I have to say. Once in a while is fine, but when you do multiple in just one episode, and shoot out several at once in a few seconds, they stink real bad.

Not even the animation brings this one up. The setting you’re in the longest is Bubble Bass’ basement, which has drab colours and scenery most of the time. I can smell this episode too, and I don’t like it. At least you can see the game from SpongeBob’s point of view sometimes, which is much richer and more colourful, but it makes me wish more of the episode was like it. There’s a danger it could turn into Dunces and Dragons lite, but I’m willing to take that chance. One easter egg I thought was nice was when SpongeBob reached into his head to fetch the real Three Deadly Challenges board game, you also see Patrick! The Game. I thought that was a nice callback, and I’m happy the current team is proud enough of their own episodes to reference them.

I should say again that the best thing about the episode is the chemistry between SpongeBob and Squidward. The latter may not be chipper, but the two of them felt like really good friends. Then again, there have been better examples of this dynamic, and more consistent in Squidward’s case, who will just shrug and do something out of character here. Mr Krabs makes a really foolish decision at the end, but I’m not invested in how he gets his comeuppance for it because he’s not the star of the episode. That would be Bubble Bass, and this did not make his character any more appealing, or even villainous, since it’s all about a board game. His mother is also a weird addition in terms of what she delivers, but of all things, it’s good to see Squidward want to tango with her at the end. It doesn’t make any sense, but I’d prefer that over fat shaming.

Episode 54, I’m glad that’s over. On top of just not being a good example of what Bubble Bass can bring to the show, it’s just a lacklustre episode with only a little spark there to keep you going. Maybe I haven’t played enough board games to get some obscure reference, or haven’t roleplayed enough to find some charm in the setting and rules, but this story never grabbed my interest. Maybe if you’re a diehard fan of Bubble Bass or board games, this will be right up your alley, and I sound like a jerk who doesn’t care about this new classic. You can never tell what episodes you’re going to really warm to, but conversely, you never know when a clunker will strike.

Final Verdict: 4/10 (Weak)
Pineapple RV < Bubble Bass’ Tab < The Goofy Newbie

Tomorrow’s episode will properly capture my feelings about waiting endlessly to be satisfied by something. Will I be satiated? I hope.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
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Kooky Cooks (Season 12, Episode 24b)
Original Airdate: April 9 2021*
Episode 506 in standard order, Episode 505 in airing order
*produced in 2020, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: Mr Krabs promises Mrs Puff a home-cooked meal, but struggles to deliver
Written by Luke Brookshier
Animation Director: Alan Smart & Tom Yasumi

You know how the climax of this episode is dominated by a starving, rabbid Mrs Puff who’s gotten tired of waiting for her meal? That’s how I feel with Season 12, I’ve never had to wait this long to see a season of television finish yet, and it technically hasn’t still. I don’t even think it’s a bad season or anything, far from it, but man I’ll feel relieved when I’m done reviewing it, for the time being. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m getting more careless with the reviews or anything, I still put my full interest into what was happening in this episode. And I was surprised they got Bob Camp (the actual person in charge of making Ren & Stimpy funny) to be a supervising director for this one. It was clearly one where they needed all the help they could get.

We kick off at Fancy, that fancy restaurant in a ship in a bottle, where once again Mr Krabs and Mrs Puff are on a date. They’re enjoying it, until Mr Krabs reads the menu, and the prices for the food freak him out. This isn’t an original scenario at all, it’s very similar to the scene in Krusty Love with the imported music. It makes the new episodes feel a lot more like an alternate timeline sometimes, but the jury’s still out on if it’s a funnier one. Mr Krabs tries to cause some trouble to get a discount, like tripping the waiter, or putting a sponge in his soup, which don’t work and get them kicked out. For an opening setpiece, it gets the job done on establishing the characters- Mr Krabs, SpongeBob and Mrs Puff, and the problem- Mr Krabs needs to make up for tonight by doing a better job with dinner next time.

They decide to meet up again at Mr Krabs’ house, where SpongeBob and Squidward will prepare a fancy meal in Krabs’ own kitchen. SpongeBob’s spent a lot of time in this house recently, hasn’t he? The good news is, SpongeBob can now put together food that isn’t Krabby Patties. The bad news is, he and Squidward aren’t good at making fancy food. SpongeBob puts soap on the salad, which Mr Krabs taste tests for Mrs Puff, and takes it away from her. This cycle continues in about the pattern you’d expect- two cases with the same formula, then another couple as part of a montage. This isn’t a dumb way to do it at all, it’s just you start to notice the inner workings of the structure in your favourite show more when you’ve watched it thousands of times. I’m sure if for some reason this is one of your first episodes, this would be captivating.

Squidward gets tired of all the orders getting messed up, and initiates a foofight with SpongeBob, which is fun on both their parts until SpongeBob is launched into a barrel o’ batter and gets cooked in the oven. Pearl mistakes this for another order, and before Mr Krabs can reject this meal, Mrs Puff pounces on it in a starving rage. This is the kind of world where Mr Krabs isn’t poisoned by the soapy salad, so I’m fine with her eating SpongeBob, since he isn’t in mortal danger. But it does go to show how madcap this story is. Rather than pass her student, she gets an operation to get him removed from her stomach, and she finally enjoys a Krabby Patty the next day, with 3 buns. But it still ends with her seeing SpongeBob as a battered dish and chasing him, because happy endings are overrated. It goes without saying that this story is too weird for me to love, but I still like a lot of it.

I can say the same thing about the comedy. There are jokes here that got me, like SpongeBob being so proud of being able to make Krabby Patties with 3 buns, Mrs Puff eating a candle and SpongeBob finding it in her stomach, and Squidward’s ambivalence to Mrs Puff eating SpongeBob in the first place. There’s some pretty lame ones too, like the joke about Mrs Puff finally needing to pass SpongeBob, and I didn’t find the opening scene at Fancy all too funny. As energised as this episode is, it’s not a mile a minute laugh riot, but you will enjoy bits and pieces throughout.

If you like the far more surreal and exaggerated animation in episodes like Whirly Brains and Ink Lemonade, then Kooky Cooks will be right up your alley. You keep getting a wide variety of expressions and reactions, especially from Mrs Puff. This isn’t her creepiest episode, but there are some Ren Hoek vibes coming from her as she gets hungrier. It’s counterbalanced well with scenes earlier in the episode with her and Krabs acting all shmoopy. The food doesn’t really look terrible, but it doesn’t look great either. Maybe it’s to show that SpongeBob’s a novice at making fancy cuisine. Again, this episode is definitely for fans who have gravitated to the really mad, off-model episodes, but it’s certainly not as alienating as the examples I provided above. They know how much is too much, and go past that as long as it elevates the joke.

The characters aren’t exactly at their most sane as a result, but they still each offer something to the story. Mr Krabs offers a cheapskate personality who’ll do the least expensive date he can, at the cost of his girlfriend’s safety. Mrs Puff has her lubby-dubby moments, but gets very hungry and angry as it goes on, for good reason. SpongeBob’s naïveté works for the jokes he makes, from squeezes out Mr Krabs’ soup for him to ruining each dish as he makes them. I like Pearl here, being a waitress who’s constantly on her phone. Very ha ha, much relatable. Of the main cast, Squidward has the least to do, but still got the best joke out of the episode, in part from not wanting to be there. I can’t blame him though, this seemed like a rather uncomfortable episode to star in.

This was certainly a weird episode to review last, but it does shed a light on how I feel about the season. I can appreciate the passion and charisma on display, but by gum can it he exhausting. Kooky Cooks delivers a number of good gags and animated sequences, but will leave you feeling very tired. There’s such a thing as having too much energy, and this episode may be about salads and soups, but is clearly on a sugar rush. It isn’t one I’d turn to to show that Season 12 can be pretty good, but there’s little about it that’s convincing in that regard, but if you’re really invested in it, I don’t think you’ll have much of a problem here.

Final Verdict: 6/10 (Okay)
FarmerBob < Kooky Cooks < Boss For a Day

Please don’t be worried about the next post being the last one for a long time again. I just want to have a lot to talk about, and that’s harder to do now that I’m stuck in the present. Goodbye for now, and look out for the Season 12 overview tomorrow.
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
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Season 12 Final Thoughts and Statistics
I’ve been reviewing Season 12 episodes on and off for 2 years now, longer than any season before it, where I’d typically get through them in about 3 months. That just comes with the consequence of catching up with a show that’s still going, you’re eventually going to have to start waiting patiently for new episodes to arrive. As of the time I write this overview, four Season 12 episodes have yet to air on Nickelodeon’s US feed, one of which may be left unaired forever. Nick’s focus has been elsewhere with SpongeBob, and I really need to finally discuss this now.

After Stephen Hillenburg passed away in November 2018, Nick’s approach to franchising SpongeBob has gotten more commercial. The show’s YouTube channel is filled with its own content, the third movie, Sponge On the Run, was extensively rewritten to attain a more Hollywood vibe, and most infamously, they’ve commissioned several spin-offs. I no longer want to get into speculating the extent to which Hillenburg knew about/approved all this before his death, he deserves his rest after everything good he’s done for entertainment. The timing of events and announcements was unfortunately suspicious, and I do believe Nickelodeon is doing all these projects for profit under the guise of tribute. But I also believe that the people still working on SpongeBob who knew Hillenburg are doing their best to keep his idea entertaining and relevant for current geneations, in spite of the fishy existence of these projects.

I was disappointed with how Sponge On the Run turned out, but I will review it. I haven’t got the highest opinion on Kamp Koral or The Patrick Star Show on concept alone, but I will look at those in some form at some point. There’s enough SpongeBob on this planet that I don’t think making more seasons will really be worth it, but I will review Season 13 when there’s enough episodes to watch. Things aren’t the way they used to be, but I’ll still do my best to seek the value in these new SpongeBob materials at my own pace, or lack thereof.

It doesn’t help that the cable TV environment SpongeBob was born into is pretty much dead now. Hardly any kids are watching Nickelodeon anymore, even though I have heard good things about some of their recent NickToons like Glitch Techs and It’s Pony!. Cartoon Network is still soldiering on, striving for creator-driven animation, but they do a good job getting their fans riled up now, what with them making yet another Powerpuff Girls reboot, cancelling Infinity Train out of the blue, and keeping Teen Titans Go! around for 7 seasons. Disney Channel has shut down in many countries, as Disney+ has become a bigger priority, and Netflix and HBO Max’s originals are also garnering a lot of attention. I feel like SpongeBob at the end of Spongehenge. How long was I gone?! Noooooo!!!

Personally, I’m very happy with how my relationship with animation has developed since I started reviewing Season 12. I’ve done video reviews on The Powerpuff Girls, Jimmy Neutron, Pokémon Original Series, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko’s Modern Life, The Critic, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Samurai Jack, Ed Edd ‘n Eddy, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, broTown, My Life as a Teenage Robot, The Proud Family, The Fairly OddParents, Lilo & Stitch: The Series, Dexter’s Laboratory, Codename: Kids Next Door, Futurama, The Angry Beavers, Total Drama, The Replacements, Doug, Camp Lazlo, Kim Possible, Danny Phantom, Recess and the first 20 seasons of The Simpsons, so if you’re interested in any of those shows, check out my YouTube channel.

Gosh, I’m talking about everything except SpongeBob Season 12, aren’t I? It should signal that I consider it an AVERAGE Season. It isn’t that much different from 11 in tone, but it’s also not as consistent. I noticed a rise in the number of bad episodes again, ones that didn’t have enough charm or humour, and that’s a little worrying. I don’t want to give the people behind the current seasons a hard time, but I don’t see there being another incline in quality in the near future. The overall rating was 296/480, averaging at 6.17/10. That’s better than 5-10, but not up to snuff with any of the first 4, like 11 was.

  1. Season 2 (8/10)
  2. Season 3 (7.49/10)
  3. Season 1 (7.46/10)
  4. Season 11 (6.62/10)
  5. Season 4 (6.55/10)
  6. Season 12 (6.17/10)
  7. Season 9 (6.14/10)
  8. Season 10 (5.86/10)
  9. Season 5 (5.54/10)
  10. Season 8 (5.15/10)
  11. Season 6 (4.74/10)
  12. Season 7 (4.36/10)

Of the 12 seasons that have been finished up to now, half of them being average doesn’t seem like a good thing, but still, all of them have good episodes. I find it hard to believe we’ll ever get a whole season of SpongeBob with no good episodes, so I’ll take what I can get. 12’s rating is incredibly close to 9’s, which had a mediocre front half and solid back half, but I think 12 won out by being the same kind of season from beginning to end.

Let’s dig up the ol’ Spongy scale.
Bad: 9
Average: 18
Good: 18
Spongy: 3
Good and Average episodes were equally plentiful. Though like 9 and 10, the Bad outweighs the Spongy. The numeric scale is a little more concerning.

3: 2
4: 7
5: 9
6: 9
7: 9
8: 9
9: 2
10: 1

5-8 are all shockingly equal in abundance (as if it wasn’t hard enough to get a good grasp of what the final ranking said), and I’m happy I got at least one 10, but the 3s and 4s brought it down quite a bit.

And finally, here’s how every episode in Season 12 ranks from worst to best.

48. The Nitwitting
47. Insecuirty Guards
46. Jolly Lodgers
45. Kwarantined Krab
44. SpongeBob’s Bad Habit
43. Pat Hearts Squid
42. My Two Krabses
41. Pineapple RV

40. Bubble Bass’ Tab
39. The Goofy Newbie
38. Swamp Mates
37. The Hankering
36. Patrick’s Tantrum
35. Senior Discount
34. Squid’s On a Bus
33. Who R Zoo?
32. The Krusty Slammer
31. Gary’s Got Legs

30. The Ballad of Filthy Muck
29. Plankton’s Old Chum
28. Sandy’s Nutty Nieces
27. Escape From Beneath Glove World
26. FarmerBob
25. Kooky Cooks
24. Boss for a Day
23. Biddy Sitting
22. Karen’s Baby
21. One Trick Sponge

20. Breakin’
19. Knock Knock, Who’s There?
18. Dream Hoppers
17. Shell Games
16. Plankton’s Intern
15. King Plankton
14. Mind the Gap
13. Lighthouse Louie
12. The Krusty Bucket
11. Hiccup Plague

10. Dirty Bubble Returns
9. Krusty Koncessionnaires
8. SpongeBob in RandomLand
7. Broken Clock
6. SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout
5. Stormy Weather
4. A Cabin in the Kelp
3. Gary & Spot
2. Handemonium
1. The Ghost of Plankton

With the exception of FarmerBob (which went between Sportz? and Snail Mail), I won’t bother ranking these alongside 9B and 11. We’ve entered a new era of SpongeBob, and until Season 13 has seen some more screentime, I’ll be on the run from it for now. Until that happens, see you later, Season 12. You weren’t half bad...well actually, you were a quarter bad, but you were still half good.
:sbthumbs:
 

EmployeeAMillion

Season 12 Time!
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Hey, you know that show Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, and how much controversy there was surrounding it being announced and largely developed after Stephen Hillenburg’s death? I’m still planning on watching it, and finding things to enjoy in it, but I still wanted to address some of my big issues with its existence.

For one thing, that fact it was thought up in a boardroom rather than a sketchbook. Since there’s been no solid confirmation in 2 years, I have no choice but to believe that Hillenburg had next to no involvement in its creation. Besides, what little input or approval he could’ve made during the conceptual phase, would’ve very likely been retooled or replaced during its development. Nickelodeon shows usually take about 2-3 years to develop before they go into full production, I know as well as they do that they planned all these spin-offs to come around after his death. And that is slimy and deceptive timing on Nickelodeon’s behalf.

I want to make this perfectly clear: I don’t speak on behalf of Hillenburg or his family and friends. Never have, never want to, at least since the SpongeBob You’re Fired review. When I say I don’t want SpongeBob to have spin-offs or market itself this or that way currently, I’m speaking on my own behalf, not Hillenburg’s ghost. It’s my personal belief that SpongeBob was better off remaining one show until it couldn’t continue being creative. It’s my personal belief that the corporate nature of Nickelodeon is the problem, not the writers and animators working on these spin-offs. It’s my personal belief that although the creatives are working on tributes to Hillenburg’s creations, that the executives are trying to make SpongeBob as big of a cash cow as they can. Or they’re going out of their way to make the franchise look bad so they can finally retire it.

That’s a big ‘Or’, because SpongeBob isn’t going away any time soon. No matter what the intention behind these spin-offs is, the brand is popular enough to keep chugging on for decades to come. It was honestly foolish of us to think that Nick would move on from SpongeBob after Hillenburg’s passing. If you couldn’t tell, I’ve enjoyed many Season 12 episodes that were completed afterwards. However, Nickelodeon should really think twice before proudly declaring itself a champion of creator-driven animation. They never have been, look into the history of each of the first 3 NickToons (Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show), and you’ll see how little they cared for working relations, creative integrity, or workspace safety from day one.

Lots of profit-oriented animated spin-offs are made without the original creators’ consent. Not all of these are awful, but each of them has contributed to this attitude that Nickelodeon can just warp their old creations like SpongeBob, Rugrats, The Fairly OddParents or Avatar for nostalgia bucks. When people tell Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network that their new shows suck and they should just bring back the old ones, THIS IS WHAT THEY DO. It’s sad, but it’s just how the industry works. Money is always going to come first, no matter how well-made or even ethical the product is.

While I believe in the creator’s touch and wish every show could be properly managed from premiere to cancellation, SpongeBob has been shown to survive without Hillenburg’s input. By the skin of its teeth, yes, but I’d never want to devalue the work of everyone else that has made the show as entertaining as it has been. I know a lot of SpongeBob’s fans are kids, and they aren’t able to accept the idea that Hillenburg isn’t around for the spin-offs, but that’s no reason to pretend he’s still in charge of the show somehow, when he died 3 years ago. You’re allowed to cope with death in your own way, as long as you’re being respectful of that person’s life and letting them rest in peace. SpongeBob is a show about happiness first and foremost, and bullying and belittling others into accepting your own beliefs and perspectives is the opposite of making people happy.

I hope that Hillenburg left the franchise in the hands of people he could trust, who are then going leave it in the hands of people they can trust, and so on and so forth. We may never get that authentic classic SpongeBob experience ever again, but it’s better than letting executives and computers run the production process too. However, I won’t consider these spin-offs and subsequent projects as part of the show, rather interpretations of it. I really want to give these staffs a chance on their own merits, considering the high expectations the public has for SpongeBob, the shoulders they’re standing on, and the situation they’re in where they’re forced to make these shady spin-offs.

And speaking of things they have to make, where are Season 13 and 14? For something of a breather season, having only 13 half-hours, Season 13 seems to be nowhere near done since entering production in 2019. Only 3 episodes have even been announced, 2 of which have aired, and there’s been no word on a Season 14, despite some new staff announcements earlier this year. I don’t like to imagine that the main show’s on hold (or cancelled) to make way for The Patrick Star Show, which is using the same animation services, but there’s a strong possibility that if it’s deemed a failure, then SpongeBob SquarePants as we know it is gone for good. Decades of spin-offs, reboots, and reimaginings being its ultimate legacy.

Keeping the show going is awkward in its own way, but at least it’s a remnant of the creator’s impact on the world of animation. But there’s a fat chance of Season 14 happening now, and frankly no chance of 15. I know I want it to go out within the next few years, once the Waller/Ceccareli team have done everything they can, but seeing it get replaced with spin-offs so slowly and gradually is really going to sting.

So in conclusion, I don’t think SpongeBob spin-offs are good for a number of reasons. Their slimy nature, how they’re impacting Nickelodeon’s decision making, their upsetting the fanbase, the pressure it puts on their staff, and their jeopardising the original TV show. I just want to make this abundantly clear when I review Sponge On the Run in September, and start reviewing Kamp Koral soon after. Whether or not I give them good or bad ratings, I can’t say I support what they represent for SpongeBob’s future or the animation industry. Just me mentioning them shouldn’t be advertisement or approval of Nickelodeon’s ethics. These projects are the sort of shallow moneymakers I thought we realised were bad for animation’s reputation 30 years ago.

I’m reviewing the spin-offs for the benefit of the people who cared about Stephen Hillenburg. And to the detriment of those who didn’t.

But to brighten the mood a bit, I’ve got a present for anyone still following this thread- you get to preview my latest video!
 

Mikurotoro92

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WHAT?!?

SpongeBob SquarePants is ENDING SOON?!?

Also, I agree that SpongeBob needed to stay as one show

Although, I don't think Kamp Koral is that bad

(The Patrick Star Show is another story!)

But I personally do believe Nickelodeon does need to move on from SpongeBob SquarePants before something terrible happens to the voice actors!
 
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The Tough Sponge Man

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Nickelodeon hasn't learned their lesson after Rugrats. That's the way of their network: They take one show, make as much money as they can on it, and when it stops making money, they toss it aside and bring another show on the block.

I'm not surprised that Spongebob is starting to run dry. I'm expecting it to at least slow production down and have The Loud House become the new unofficial cash-cow of the network. If anything, I'm suprised Avatar didn't get the same treatment.
 

Mikurotoro92

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Is it possible that SpongeBob is slowly being phased out?

And The Loud House will ultimately take over?

Maybe SpongeBob SquarePants' end really IS near!!!

This show is lucky that it lasted as long as it has compared to Nick's other shows but it can't last forever

But SpongeBob will ONLY end completely after they have exhausted all possible spin-off concepts (in other words, when there is nothing left to do with the IP)

That is when SBSP will finally get put out to pasture

They are prolonging the series' demise by making spin-offs to artificially extend its life-span

Its downfall is going to be very sad & painful to watch...

EDIT: As for why they're doing this it's simple

Nickelodeon doesn't want to say good-bye to SpongeBob SquarePants!

They treat his loss like the loss of a family member and I'm sure they're dreading when that day inevitably arrives
 
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TreeckoLiker

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Pat Hearts Squid (Season 12, Episode 19b)
Original Airdate: TBA* (Episode 496)
*produced in 2019, released on DVD January 12th 2021
Plot: Squidward moves in with Patrick, and moulds him into the perfect roommate
Written by Mr Lawrence
Animation Director: Michelle Bryan

The first time I watched this episode, all I could think of was how similar it was to Squidward’s School for Grown Ups, with a dash of Big Pink Loser at the end, and wondered if there’s so little they can do with Patrick and Squidward anymore that they just have to recreate their earlier conflicts and interactions. When I watched it again for this review, all I could think of was how similar it was to Squidward’s School for Grown Ups, with a dash of Big Pink Loser at the end, and wondered if there’s so little they can do with Patrick and Squidward anymore that they just have to recreate their earlier conflicts and interactions. Sorry for being repetitive, but it’s the perfect way to start talking about this sort of episode.

The episode kicks off with SpongeBob and Patrick playing in the mud outside, and disrupting...something Squidward was doing I’m sure. While yelling at them, he leans out his window so hard that he topples the whole house over and destroys it. It’s hard to say he brought it upon himself when it’s so obvious the writer did, just to give us a plot. So Squidward has to rough it for one scene, but since that doesn’t work out, he flips a coin to see which buffoon he should move in with. It lands on Patrick, and finally the main story starts...almost.

Patrick does his best to be accommodating, but Squidward is still bothered by a lot of grievances, like all the food and furniture being made of sand, and Patrick drooling in his sleep from the ceiling. So the next morning, he renovates the kitchen to be more to his liking, and offers Patrick a lard-based meal. Now, 4 minutes in, the main point of the story is here- Squidward shaping Patrick in his image. Putting to the side that they’ve done this before, and done it better, Patrick’s transformation isn’t very interesting. I know the fun with this episode is that they’re making Patrick a new Squidward at all, but it peaks at the start of the sequence when Squidward plays with his head like clay.

After the sequence, Patrick has morphed into a fat, pink copy of Squidward, and imitates all his mannerisms. Although Squidward gets along with him at first, things quickly change when they set up an art kiosk. Patrick plagiarises famous pieces of art and does some basic interpretive dance moves, and everyone immediately loves him and considers him the better Squidward. Compared to the real one, who just did self portraits and whipped out the same moves he used onstage in 1999. So what does Squidward learn from this experience? That Patrick has turned from a simpleton to a popular artist capable of commanding an audience, or at least a place in society? Or that he’s created a talented monster that must be destroyed? You do the math.

SpongeBob even suggests imitating Patrick to get him back to normal, and I like to imagine he’s talking from experience on that. So he finally puts some pants on, ruins his own stuff and plays in the mud like a fool. At first, Patrick doesn’t buy it, but as soon as he gets mud in his mouth, he reverts back to normal. Let that be a lesson to the kids, don’t eat mud or your brain power will decrease. Benefit of the doubt, there’s some educational value here. It’s a shame it’s followed up by another “here we go again” ending, which isn’t as funny when you’ve got 2 in a row. A helicopter brings Squidward’s new house in, but it crashes into Patrick’s rock, destroying both of them, so now they both have to live with SpongeBob. Given that the preceeding story already failed to entertain me, I don’t enjoy wondering where this narrative takes them all next.

No SpongeBob episode is completely humourless, and this one has some good jokes scattered across its dirt dull story. Patrick protecting himself from a potential intruder with a banana is fine, as is the timing of Squidward losing all his lodging comforts to sand. A lot of the jokes fail to entertain though. The big climactic moment of the story, Squidward acting like Patrick, doesn’t stick the landed they intended. The story isn’t interesting enough for the joke to be funny. Another big moment they put effort into was Squidward thinking of bad cheese, because he thinks Patrick stinks so bad, then it falls out of his thought bubble and sickens SpongeBob. Not one of their better visual gags, it’s only gross and very unnatrually put together.

The big selling point for the animation here, Patrick and Squidward’s transformations are neat, but they don’t really sell the episode for me. I did like the callback to ol’ Bold and Brash, and the reference to Culture Shock. But I think there are many sequences in this episode that they should’ve just done a retake on. When Squidward topples his house at the start, his changes size constantly, which didn’t convince me of the action either way. Also his splatters of paint before they turn into self portraits look a lot better than either his or Patrick’s final pieces. As abstract art, they’re not that bad.

The characters didn’t feel as dimensional here as they should, like they’re nothing more than vehicles for the story. Patrick has a very impressionable outing here, so although he’s clearly the kind to play in mud, he’s more or less a canvas that’s affected by being around SpongeBob and Squidward. For this sort of story, it’s not a bad thing at all, but it really shows how bland those guys are here. Squidward’s situation, motivations and behaviour aren’t poorly handled on their own, but the execution makes him too vain and petty to really care about. SpongeBob and Mr Krabs don’t have a lot to offer, but they’re still here.

I wasn’t being caustic when I called this dirt dull earlier. If you crop it for 4:3, you could pass it off as a mid-tier Season 7 or 8 episode. There isn’t any spark or major laugh out loud moment, it just feels like a rudimentary SpongeBob episode with just enough energy to carry it to the 11 minute mark. There are fans who are exhausted with the Waller/Ceccareli style and miss how safe the late Tibbitt era played it, but it’s a comedy show’s job to keep you entertained, and they can’t really do that by playing it safe 12 seasons in. The most intrigue Pat Hearts Squid brought was when the title was revealed, because people speculated it was going to have LGBTQ themes in some way. And it hasn’t brought any other intrigue since.

Final Verdict: 4/10 (Weak)
SpongeBob’s Bad Habit < Pat Hearts Squid < My Two Krabses

There are no more bumps or hiccups in the road. With at least one segment from each episode aired on TV, I’m doing every remaining Season 12 episode. Goodbye for now.
I disagree Pat Hearts Squid is one of my favorite season 12 episodes
 
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