Re-Evaluating my opinions on SpongeBob Season 1-8
Posted 15 January 2018 - 06:36 PM
Original Airdate: March 19 2009
Episode 231 in standard order, Episode 228 in airing order, Episode 230 in order of general release
Plot: Plankton gets bored of Karen’s personality and replaces her with new machinery
Written by Aaron Springer and Richard Pursel
Title Card Music: SpongeBob Theme Song
This is yet another episode I kinda regret giving an 8/10 to (after Pet or Pests, any mediocrity could be seen as a masterpiece). Not because it’s bad, but because I barely remember much about it. All I seem to know is that I found Karen to be a fun character at this point in the show’s history (could you blame me? She was the closest thing to a new character, considering how little she was used in the early seasons), and that the episode was about Plankton making new robots because he views Karen as useless. Really, that’s all I remembered before heading back to this episode. Did I forget it out of repression, or was forgetting it not a good thing?
We don’t get off to the best start here. Plankton’s cooked a new pot of chum, but it disintegrates the pot it’s in and eventually the lab’s floor, and there’s mild enough detail to make it seem like it’s dwelling on how gross the chum looks. Soon he gets a drive-thru customer expressing interest in buying Krabby Patty-related items, but Plankton tries to happily correct the customer that the Krusty Krab is right down the street. Although seeing Plankton try to keep his cool in the face of stressful ignorance is funny, neither of these scenes benefit the story in any way. They’re gag scenes you can easily gloss over and forget existed.
Thankfully, things pick up a notch when Plankton and Karen get into an argument, Plankton in particular feeling like he’s being stepped on by his only companion and feels two inches tall (which he is, so we finally have a clear guide to how tall Plankton is, though unless those are sea inches, he’s a giant compared to actual plankton). Feeling like Karen’s a detriment to his evil plans, when that’s not really the case, he goes and builds what he thinks are better robots to help him out. These include a toaster, a bag of goo and a windmill with a hairdryer, all glorified junk that Plankton loves like family, which I think makes for some funny gags.
Wanting to see how long Plankton can make it on his own (I assume), Karen leaves behind a note dumping him so he can use his new contraptions. He assembles them into one mega-machine, and things seem to be going well, with him causing a ruckus barely halfway down the street and managing to frighten Mr Krabs. The crab sends SpongeBob (remember him?) outside only to recieve a threat from Plankton to boom-boom the Krusty Krab unless the secret formula’s handed over. However, everything falls apart as the machine’s extension cord stretches to far and they fall over, leaving him a laughingstock in front of SpongeBob and Mr Krabs. In a state of pity, he finds Karen again and they go home, with Plankton respecting his wife more than ever. This is one of those episodes where the story’s quite a mouthful, but I get what it’s trying to deliver, and I’ll get more into that with the characters soon.
While the story feels a bit slow, and as such feels like it packs too much, the comedy feels consistent in pace and intensity. One of the things I can’t get enough of is Plankton simplifying his threat to SpongeBob, because it seems like they both know he’s not going to get the message. There’s also the robots Plankton builds and how they don’t hold on their own, even in basic situations. It’s funny seeing this maniacal, intelligent character view them as innovations in science when they’re fighting each other like angry siblings. Throw in a few computer puns and a photo of Plankton with hair, and you’ve got an episode that’s just funny enough to be alright.
The animation here is one of the less interesting subjects. On the negative side, you have the chum at the beginning, which is terrible to look at. The worst thing about it being at the beginning is that you have to jump over it like a hurdle to get to the good stuff, and the rest of the animation here isn’t half bad, it’s just half good. With the exception of the bag of goo, which has the added bonus of containing a new substance which isn’t gross or toxic, Plankton’s machines aren’t all that exceptionally great. The best part of the animation is the military uniform Plankton wears in the last third of the episode. It’s so him to put on a big show for his new creations on their first day of service, and it adds something small yet practical to the mood of the climax.
As for the characters, I have a lot to say about Plankton here. His portrayal here is in some way a case of his everyman tendancies he’s picked up over the years, but in other cases he’s mean enough for this to feel like an episode about the villain. Notice how he can’t understand how much Karen does for him, including reminding him to blink, it’s mostly a clear cut case of egocentricity. Speaking of Karen, she remains unenthused and sarcastic, and I still believe she didn’t really break up with Plankton; the letter she leaves seems a bit too melodramatic to be her real feelings. I can’t really classify the machines as characters, despite the toaster saying one line of dialogue. Mr Krabs, SpongeBob and especially Squidward haven’t got a huge part to play, but I think they’re simple enough here for the minute of screentime they get max.
In conclusion, Komputer Overload is another episode that’d be lukewarm if it weren’t for a couple highlights. It’s got some level of heart, a couple decent jokes and Plankton is surprisingly written well here, but the story has a whole stop-and-go pace, which makes the length of the episode feel longer but the time spent watching it shorter, and it isn’t a good enough episode to stack neatly against previous Plankton episodes. I’d say go watch it, but chances are you’ll have to see it alongside Pet or Pests, in which case do your best to skip Pests. Even then, you’re not getting anything great, just decent.
Question of the Day: What’s your favourite machine design?
You can’t spell manicure without “man”.
Posted 16 January 2018 - 03:29 PM
Original Airdate: June 5 2009
Episode 232 in standard order, Episode 235 in airing order, Episode 236 in order of general release
Plot: When Mr Krabs leaves SpongeBob in charge of the Krusty Krab, Squidward takes advantage of him
Written by Luke Brookshier, Nate Cash and Derek Iversen
Title Card Music: SpongeBob Theme Song
I don’t think you can talk about this episode without bringing up how similar it is to Squid’s Day Off. You can recontextualise that plot summary up there to mention Squidward going home only to worry about SpongeBob’s safety, and it’d almost seem like a rip-off. When I watched this for the first time, I hadn’t gotten the idea that this was derivative of something that came before it, but what I did get was that it was a pretty bad episode. I guess it’s time for me to go back, rewatch it and see why this is the case.
In all fairness, the episode starts off with some promise. Mr Krabs chips one of his fingernails while counting money and heads out to get a manicure. Not wanting the boys to know what he’s doing, he sneaks out through an underground escape plan. It’s fun to see him have an escape plan in general, but for something as small as not wanting his employees to know he has a boo-boo makes it a bit more entertaining. However, the tone of the episode quickly changes when SpongeBob asks Mr Krabs where he’s going, and hurriedly put in charge of the Krusty Krab. His excitement remains throughout the episode and clouds his judgement, which makes for a pretty weak story.
While giving Squidward the heads-up on his position, Squidward gets the idea to play around with him. After all, though SpongeBob’s technically in-charge, Squidward is smarter and more cunning. Throughout the episode, Squidward lets SpongeBob in on little secrets, lying to him about Krusty Krab customs, and watches as SpongeBob’s gullible enough to believe him. These range from getting some random fish to man the grill, to serving food with his feet, all the way up to trashing the restaurant as a way to make the customers care more about the food. The latter is where I draw the line with SpongeBob’s gullibility. He may be stupid, but he puts his back into cleaning the Krusty Krab on a regular basis, so I don’t get how he’d believe a lie that blatant.
After 20 minutes, Mr Krabs comes back to find everything that’s gone wrong, from the background fish cooking, to the horrible shape of the restaurant, to SpongeBob putting on a dance to entertain the customers, who are cowering in fear. I know there are tons of moments around this era in which SpongeBob acts bizzare, but he’s just dancing, so I hate to see how they’d react to him breathing heavily next to them or carrying a box of baby worms. Because Mr Krabs mistakes SpongeBob knowing his secrets for him knowing about the manicure, he geets to work scrubbing dishes in the kitchen and leaves SpongeBob in charge. I struggle to see this as the same character who was designed as a strict boss who acted like a pirate. I don’t struggle to see this as an episode of a TV show about a silly yet well-meaning sponge, but it feels like it’s an episode of a much worse TV show with that premise.
There are a few giggles here and there, but nothing that I can describe as well and truly comedic, unless you consider gross-out to be hilarious. This is yet another instance where the gross parts of the animation overrule the total quality of it. There have been instances where we’ve seen SpongeBob’s feet as creepy and hairy before, but this episode dwells on it in the gag where he uses them in place of his hands. Unfortunately, the gross-out doesn’t stop there. As I said, he eventually covers the Krusty Krab with mud and garbage, and it isn’t a pleasant sight. The one thing I’ll remember about this episode is the gross moments, and you know that’s not a good sign.
I don’t mean to be repetitive in what I say (I do need to get a point across after all), but the characters are handled poorly here. Not poor as in they’re too mean or get away with too much, I mean I don’t think the writers had a good grasp of who these are. SpongeBob’s gullibility is played to an unrealistic extreme here, and that makes him seem like an idiot who gives into temptation, even if it has a sign of untrustworthiness. Squidward, despite being the one who gets the story to go wrong, doesn’t face any consequences for his actions and doesn’t even seem to care about what he’s doing besides a cheap laugh. Although I like the juxtaposition of Mr Krabs having to go out to have a manicure, they made him too sissy here, unable to stand up to his softest employee over a simple misunderstanding.
Although this isn’t the episode I hate the most so far, or the worst or most lazily written, I feel like this is the one that misses the point of SpongeBob the most. The plot wanders from place to place unable to do anything substantial, the comedy falls flat, taking into account there being much, the animation is your typical dark age gross-out with no decency, and the characters don’t even feel like cheap parodies of themselves, they feel like another culture trying to understand what Americans do. You know it’s bad when I wanted Squidward to suffer some slapstick and it never happened.
Question of the Day: What episodes do you think miss the point of SpongeBob?
I might post a review tomorrow, I might not, sorry but my diary’s a little packed.
Posted 17 January 2018 - 03:16 AM
Gullible Pants is SO BORING AND ::dolphin noise::ING STUPID!!! Just a rip-off of Squid's Day-off.
Posted 17 January 2018 - 03:55 PM
Original Airdate: July 19 2009
Episode 233 in standard order, Episode 239 in airing order
Plot: SpongeBob gets booked in for too many friendly occasions on the same night
Written by Casey Alexander, Zeus Cervas and Derek Iversen
Title Card Music: Clownfish Capers
Whenever I think about good episodes in Season 6 that are comedic, interesting and have aged well, this is one of those fun morsels that comes to mind. Given the amount of characters and places SpongeBob goes to, people could mistake this for a Season 3 episode if it weren’t for the 7 years of technical advancement. Then again, there are episodes such as Porous Pockets and Komputer Overload where some of the magic faded after a couple years and I was left with a flawed yet satisfactory episode. I just hoped that wasn’t the case for Overbooked, due to the interesting premise and how it’s handled.
The opening 3 minutes of the episode are one big outline of what SpongeBob has to do one night. He wakes up (probably from a nightmare judging by his scream) from his shell phone ringing, which is Sandy saying she wants him for a scientific experiment for her piers, and won’t put up with his trademark nonsense. Once at work, things get a little overbooked (roll credits) when Mr Krabs wants him to complete his employee report card by helping him build a telescope at his house, and Patrick reminds SpongeBob it’s his birthday and that he wants a cake and a present. Although Mr Krabs and Patrick act a rather aggressive towards SpongeBob, it makes sense that they and their needs would be seen as threats to SpongeBob’s night. All his friends are extremely dependant on him and he doesn’t want to let a single one down.
Once night comes around, he dresses up and goes to Sandy’s treedome, where a bunch of fancy fish have come around to see her latest invention, for which SpongeBob will be the test subject. However, he realises that he’s late for his assignment with Mr Krabs and heads over to his place, but they need a power drill to assemble the telescope. He heads back to the treedome to fetch one, but remembers that he needs to get Patrick a cake and a present. The episode is infested with mishaps and jumping from place to place, so I can’t do it justice without exposing “yadda yadda, power drill, yadda yadda, scabies, yadda yadda, lab tunic”.
As SpongeBob keeps hopping around Bikini Bottom like a kid with ADHD in an anime candy store, his friends grow increasingly angry with his lack of commitment to his projects, with Mr Krabs following him to Patrick’s house, and them following him to Sandy’s treedome. To be completely fair, in these days where we have the ability to inform anyone of anything, their frustration with SpongeBob leaving them again and again after a few seconds is justified. The problem with the whole night and how they all ended up fighting is that SpongeBob just can’t be in three places at once, a problem which is fixed with Sandy’s machine, which it turns out is a cloning booth, which produces two duplicate SpongeBobs to do work for him. While it’s a rather generic end to the whole “two place at once” story, it’s one that’s stood the test of time for a reason, that it’s the only one to make sense, especially in a fantasy world.
Much like the story, the comedy’s not perfect, or even abundant, but there are definitely moments that remind me of a time when I just enjoyed this show without overanalyzing it. Some rather great pieces of humour include the small routine of Mr Krabs trying to fit a square telescope part into a round hole, because we’ve all been there, and just how desperate SpongeBob gets to please his friends as the night goes on. I’ve heard people say the message on the cake SpongeBob gets, “Sorry About the Scabies” is an adult joke, but I don’t get what makes it so inappropriate. It may be because I briefly had scabies when I was 11, but using that term felt like it was a stand-in for a much deadlier disease, or probably even an STD. Then again, this is thinking too deep into a cake.
I shouldn’t praise an episode for not having gross-out, but with Season 6, you just have to. There is something else to the animation however, and that’s SpongeBob’s quick yet impressive animations when switching clothes, between squarepants and fancypants. It’s a small thing, but they could’ve easily had him inexplicably change clothes automatically from scene to scene, but they didn’t. The rest of it feels like Season 7 though, where the art is definitely tamer than Season 6, but that just leaves it being blander and less attention-grabbing.
The thing that’d keep me coming back to this episode if it weren’t for the story being a bit too hard to follow is the characters. SpongeBob doesn’t feel dumb at all here, rather his character flaw is being too nice, especially in regards to not letting his friends down even when it takes a massive toll on him. Sandy seems just as nice as ever, easily being the most tolerant of SpongeBob’s standard hi-jinks until it takes a toll on her audience. Mr Krabs uses his authority over SpongeBob to his advantage, which while not a great portrayal of his positive attributes, is better than being submissive to a complete buffoon like in Gullible Pants. I guess if I dug for problems, Patrick having a bit of a harsh streak is a bit of a set-back, but he has the mind of a kid, and it makes sense that a kid would be grumpy if his only close friend forgot and barely cared about his birthday.
If there were a word to describe this episode, it would be dense. It’s absolutely packed in all that it does, and I think that can be chalked up to the simple premise and the fun it has experimenting with it. The story covers a lot of ground, making you feel a little smarter if you’re able to track and understand it correctly, the jokes are good enough to keep the increasingly convuluted plot humourous, and of course, every character has a reason to play a part, and all of their motives are justified. I get the feeling that, since they do 40 different segments a year (on average), there are certain episodes they put more effort into making than others, in which case I find this to be one of them.
Question of the Day: Have you ever had scabies?
37. Boating Buddies
36. Pet or Pests
35. Choir Boys
34. The Splinter
33. The Card
32. To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants
31. Slide Whistle Stooges
29. Squid’s Visit
28. Suction Cup Symphony
27. The Krabby Kronicle
26. Professor Squidward
25. Penny Foolish
24. Sun Bleached
23. Dear Vikings
22. Cephalopod Lodge
21. No Nose Knows
20. Gullible Pants
19. Nautical Novice
17. Grooming Gary
16. Plankton's Regular
15. House Fancy
14. Giant Squidward
13. Krusty Krushers
12. SpongeBob VS The Big One
11. Grandpappy the Pirate
9. Porous Pockets
8. A Life in A Day
7. Komputer Overload
6. Patty Caper
3. Krabby Road
2. The Slumber Party
1. Not Normal
After two years, I don’t know whether to take my hat off to the next episode, or kick the lead out of it. Until then, getting sick of it yet?
Posted 17 January 2018 - 04:57 PM
If there were a word to describe this episode, it would be dense.
Posted 18 January 2018 - 05:49 PM
Original Airdate: July 19 2009
Episode 234 in standard order, Episode 240 in airing order
Plot: Patrick gets a job at the Krusty Krab as a comedy prop, constantly getting hurt
Written by Casey Alexander, Zeus Cervas and Derek Iversen
Title Card Music: Cream Pie
Patrick getting a job at the Krusty Krab isn’t a new concept. Aside from the obvious Big Pink Loser, which contains many of his most famous scenes, he’s been hired roughly once a season (Arrgh! for a joke, Squilliam Returns for taking hats, Bummer Vacation (and later Two Thumbs Down) as SpongeBob’s replacement and Grandpappy the Pirate as a mock pirate, plus more I can’t remember right now). It’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t even seem like a big deal, but for some fans, this episode could be one of the best portrayals of him taking up a Krusty Kommitment. I just hope I can see what it is that makes others so happy about it.
The opening of the episode is brilliant. Patrick waits outside SpongeBob’s house for playtime, but it saddened when he realises he’s wearing his Krusty Krab hat. It feels like a dog being glum about his owner going to work, but there’s a joke on top of it of Patrick then deciding to go over to Squidward, only to realise he’s going to work aswell. Patrick takes it upon himself to get a job so he can get a hat like his neighbours. For much of the episode, he values the prospect of owning a hat more than hard work and service, but it’s shown clearly that owning a hat means he can hang out with SpongeBob more, and that’s a good motivation.
Later that day at the Krusty Krab, Mr Krabs seems to have a hard time grabbing tourists. You can tell the people he wants are tourists because they wear Hawiian shirts and take photos of everything. Patrick, wanting to become an employee, takes the job of holding a sign. Like Pat No Pay, this small part enjoys giving Patrick the simplest task possible and seeing him screw it up, which in this case means he accidentally points the sign towards the Chum Bucket and takes Mr Krabs’ advice of blowing the tourists away too literally. All in all, not a particularly good scene, but things pick up again when Mr Krabs finally gives Patrick his hat.
It seems when Patrick wears the hat, the top side of his body becomes heavy and he falls flat on his face. Mr Krabs sees an opportunity to turn him into entertainment to get even more customers, and Patrick agrees to become an attraction. This is one of the reasons people love this episode so much, in that Patrick is useful in aiding the Krusty Krab by just being himself (and a hat). Him managing to make Mr Krabs money is good and all, but the episode soon presents a problem with his act, which is the pain he suffers from it. Even better? SpongeBob shows concern regarding Patrick’s health, despite the starfish wanting to be good at something. This briefly presents a tough question- entertain dozens by hurting yourself, or go back to living the life of a big, pink loser?
The latter option doesn’t seem so bad when Mr Krabs tries to spice up the act by having him dive into a bucket of sea urchins. When Patrick takes his hat off to prepare for the act, he and Squidward (up there supervising I guess) realise the kinetic reason for him falling is because of the hat, as hatless, he can’t fall over. After the act fails due to Squidward, hat on head, accidentally takes the fall for Patrick, Mr Krabs fires him for fouling it up and takes his hat away, which is a bit hard to understand considering pain still happened (on Squidward’s part), but it’s good to know there’s an epliogue where SpongeBob decides to give Patrick his own hat anytime he wants. For a slapstick-heavy episode, an ending like this is the first thing an audience would need to wind down and see the heart behind it.
This episode doesn’t just have comedy, it knows what comedy is about, which I think makes it one of the smartest episodes of the season. Take for instance the Krustomers’ reaction to Patrick’s act getting stale, and how they remain unimpressed with Mr Krabs’ attempts to spice it up until something new (a cream pie) is added to the routine. Not to mention, there are funny jokes in this episode, like how SpongeBob’s hat flies back onto his head after getting thrown off, and Squidward’s enthusiasm when Patrick asks him to push him off the diving board. They’re small moments, but they keep the episode funnier than most others in a long time.
I can’t really say the same about the animation. It has a severe case of Seasona Sixitis, with some scenes with visible veins and bodily fluids (saliva and snot, but it’s still gross). Ironically, the image that’s supposed to be the sickest, Patrick being worn down and beaten after numerous falls on a nailed floor, looks just horrible enough to warrant the audience’s intended reaction, while still being suitable for the kind of show it’s on. There are definitely worse things shown in this season, but these stand out for being in such a well-written episode. I’m not saying they detract from its rewatchability, but it’s something you’ll have to get past.
The characters are all in good form, even Patrick. He isn’t a jerk to anyone, just seeming like a dumb kid who wants to hang out with his older(?), more mature friends. SpongeBob’s really dialled back here, feeling nothing but concern for his friend and serious compassion when he sees what Mr Krabs’ ideas have done to him. No screaming, no running around with their arms flailing, they seems like real people, and in SpongeBob’s case, fantastic role models. That said, Squidward still remains a rather funny second eye into how to percieve the show, willing to push Patrick off a diving board and all. If there’s one problem, it’d be Mr Krabs and how little he cares for Patrick’s safety once he starts making money, but that’s SpongeBob’s role, and he gets robbed for it in the end.
Not since Not Normal has there been an episode so down-to-Earth with its messages and storytelling. It’s just a good idea that’s presented in a good way, with characters that all have a real purpose and jokes that hit their mark better than they should. While the animation can be a bit gross, and if you were deaf this would look like any other Season 6 episode, it’s the writing that saves this one from being part of the crowd. I feel like this goes up there with the episodes that take what this season has in a great direction.
Question of the Day: If you had a job at the Krusty Krab, what would you want it to be?
Hopefully the next episode’s breakneck pace won’t toy with my concentration.
Posted 18 January 2018 - 05:54 PM
Hopefully the next episode’s breakneck pace won’t toy with my concentration.
Was this supposed to be a pun lol
Posted 18 January 2018 - 06:16 PM
I’ll either reference the next episode or make a pun out of one of its elements, to give people a guess at what it could be.
Was this supposed to be a pun lol
Posted 19 January 2018 - 08:21 PM
Original Airdate: March 17 2009
Episode 235 in standard order, Episode 227 in airing order, Episode 228 in order of general release
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick sneak into a toy store after closing time
Written by Luke Brookshier, Nate Cash and Dani Michaeli
Title Card Music: Horror House of Wax Retro 2
I’m now 235 episodes into this activity, meaning I’m only 105 episodes away from my year-end goal of getting to Season 8, and that there are now more Post-Movie episodes than Pre-Movie ones. It’s well and truly been a downward slope with no signs of stagnating, with this episode in particular always being one of the reasons I didn’t like Season 6. I hear that it’s similar to a Rugrats episode which was also about the two main characters staying in a toy store after closing, but it’s hard for me to judge considering I haven’t watched Rugrats in a long time. Let’s get on to the episode, you can tell it’s not one that I’ll spend a long time talking about.
The thing that always strikes me about the start of the episode is just how boring it is. All it is is SpongeBob and Patrick laying around in Squidward’s house, sick and tired of all their toys. There are a few things I like about this and a few I don’t. I like how Old Man Jenkins is in the toy chest for some reason, and I enjoy the reveal that they’re in Squidward’s house. You see a shot of the whole street, but first-time viewers (or those not paying attention to the spotted wallpaper) would think they’re in SpongeBob’s house. It’s clever, but not enough to make the episode enjoyable.
That changes when the two are kicked out and find out via conveniently placed billboards that a new toy store is coming to town, called “The Toy Barrel”. They manage to get there a few seconds before it’s placed and opened, so you get a rather unimportant crying scene, before the guy operating the crane theraputically throws Patrick in (with SpongeBob following). Once inside, they gawk at the large, colourful interior and spend the rest of the day singing and playing. This would be slow and annoying, but they skip most of the singing and cut to a few toy-based gags, such as SpongeBob wearing what he calls a “man-tu” and Patrick winding up a robot well beyond its limit.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and the store closes. Patrick rather easily persuades SpongeBob to stay in after closing, using the fact that they get to own the toy store as a reason. Usually I wouldn’t like Patrick doing something illegal and roping SpongeBob in, and I don’t here, plus they’ve already spent “several song-filled hours” in the store, but it leads to the actual crux of the episode and makes the rest of it entertaining. As the guards close up shop, SpongeBob and Patrick hide in a dollhouse and come out when the coast is clear. Finally, 60% of the way into the episode, the lights go off and the two realise they’re afraid of the dark.
The rest of the story (in other words, what a majority of the story should’ve been) is them viewing all the toys as evil and even forming a resistance against them. I have to say, it’s all a very fun show of animation, tone and action, and it’s a smart idea to give the toy store a dark and gritty look. Heck, I even like the gag of Patrick’s windup robot coming back to give them a scare, and him winding it back up not realising the threat it bestows. I also feel like they could’ve spent more time on their reaction to the store finally opening again, instead of focusing on their eyes burning and Patrick not learning anything, going back inside. It’s certainly not a bad story, as it has some fun ideas that are executed in an okay way, but it suffers from pacing problems.
It’s a shame too because this is one of the funnier Season 6 episodes. I’ve already mentioned some rather funny things, such as Old Man Jenkins being in a toy chest and SpongeBob throwing himself into the toy store, not wanting to be forced in like Patrick. They’re the tip of the iceberg to a collection of neat gags. The art direction both before and after the toy store is locked is pretty good. Seeing the toys become evil is one thing, but SpongeBob and Patrick hiding in a pile of them for cover only to be met with dozens of evil faces is taking artistic advantage of the story and I like it.
The worst thing about this episode is the characters. This is another case where SpongeBob’s dumbed down exponentially, to the point where there’s no line between him being a man and a child, he just acts like a straight child throughout the entire episode. (Speaking of which, wasted opportunity to reference the giant piano in Big!) Sure Patrick gets some great lines like “I can’t hear you, it’s too dark in here” and “It was nice knowing you buddy”/“I know, I’m a very interesting person”, but he just seems bratty. I’m getting sick of episodes where Patrick tempts SpongeBob into doing something wrong. Even though the side characters beat down on or ignore them for their stupidity, they don’t provide much else.
Well, the good news is this episode isn’t all that bad. The comedy and animation keep the episode fun, especially in the time of action towards the end. The bad news is that the story doesn’t go anywhere for a long time, barely feeling like it has a strong narrative, and the characters are weak here. If jokes and presentation are what you value in an episode, then watch this and see if you like it. If you care more about the characters and plotting, this won’t be your cup of tea. Still, I don’t get why this was Tom Kenny’s third-favourite episode by the end of Season 6 (I’ll talk more about the “Tom Twenty” when I finish every episode on it).
Question of the Day: What was your favourite toy growing up?
I’ve always considered tomorrow’s episode a bit overrated, but that hopefully changes when I see it again for the first time in over two years.
Posted Yesterday, 06:16 PM
Original Airdate: March 16 2009
Episode 236 in standard order, Episode 226 in airing order, Episode 227 in order of general release
Plot: SpongeBob and Patrick engage in a sandcastle war
Written by Casey Alexander, Zeus Cervas and Dani Michaeli
Title Card Music: Wahini Wobble
It all started when Blabbidy Dip had to blabbidy his dip about this episode. Showering it with love and his standard (at the time) mindless gushing, this almost immediately rose through the ranks as one of the most popular and well-loved Post-Movie episodes. When it came time for me to give it a watch, I couldn’t see what the big fuss was about, it just seemed like a perfectly fine episode, especially when paired with the classics. Could it be that I was just a little worn out by Season 6 at that point, and that this is actually a shining star of the era? I hoped so when I gave this a rewatch.
For some reason, the beginning of the episode feels like it’s designed to lower your expectations. SpongeBob heads over to Patrick’s rock to announce they’re going to the beach, ripping off his square pants to reveal trunks. Patrick tries to do the same, only to rip off his flesh and expose his muscles. It’s well and truly one of the most hideous images in the whole show, not improving with them going on a bus and annoying the passengers until they’re kicked off. Only after Patrick causes a ruckus trying to catch a frisbee (or a plastic disc that you toss) does the story settle and start giving us sandcastles.
To briefly be a bit negative, I don’t think Patrick’s very good here until the halfway mark. When SpongeBob tries to help him with his sandcastle, he seems to not want any help and even sees SpongeBob as dismantling his castle. Even worse, he soon attacks SpongeBob’s castles to break even. It brings me back to The Fry Cook Games, another episode where I thought SpongeBob and Patrick’s friendship was put on the line too easily. Thankfully, both episodes pick up, this one in particular for how far to goes in showing their competition to destroy each others’ territory. Once again, this is an episode that takes a while to pick up and genuinely feel exciting, but I’m glad it does.
As they fight, their rivalry grows out of control, with them re-enacting Medieval and Civil War era battles, followed soon by SpongeBob in a World War II battle station and Patrick in a giant robot head. It’s well and truly crazy, with special mention going to the fact that SpongeBob even breathes life into some of the people he creates, as opposed to leaving them as models like the tiny princess doll he makes earlier in the episode, and the war general in the battle station. As their fight gets bigger and louder, the denizens of Goo Lagoon leave out of fear, just in time due to the beach eventually being blown to bits by the artillery SpongeBob and Patrick use. It all lends the message that SpongeBob and Patrick are always going to be annoying, even when they’re doing something as simple as building sandcastles. However, SpongeBob manages to deliver a hefty speech about how violent they’d been and how they both lost in the end, so at least he seems to know when to give the people around him (and therefore the viewer) a break.
As for the comedy in this episode, it’s a mixture of what you’d expect from Season 6 and some little surprises. Of course the scene on the bus is tedious, but things soon pick up when you get to see how large and intricate SpongeBob and Patrick’s sandcastles are. The main joke of the episode is good enough, but you get extra things like SpongeBob’s sand creatures being sentient and the treaty SpongeBob tries to get signed rather early on. I also noticed he used some stock phrases like “how do you like them apples?” and “all’s fair in love and war”, which makes me think the writers had been watching some war movies and wanted to incorporate as much of the charm of them into this episode as they could.
One of the things people like this episode for is its animation, and I can see what they mean. Sure on a surface level, it doesn’t seem interesting to make much of a deal out of sand. After all, it’s glorified white. When you actually see how it looks in motion, with the creatures, objects and dust clouds that cover the screen on occasion, it’s stunning how lively it makes the episode feel. The biggest drawback is the lack of colour. I can’t blame the artists, as they made sand look the best it can throughout the whole thing, but it’s clear these are designed well and would look awesome as sketchhes. Then on the downside of the animation in this episode, you have Patrick ripping his flesh off, which is unpleasant in every meaning of the word.
Onto the episode’s characters, the one thing it wants you to remember is that SpongeBob and Patrick are obnoxious. That in itself isn’t a terrible thing, as that’s been their role in the show for a while, but whether or not you have a bad portrayal of them depends on whether they’re annoying to the audience. The best thing about them here is it’s just them for a majority of the runtime, meaning you’re likely to get suckered into their shenanigans until they go too far and have to clean up their mess. As for the side characters, imagine if they were all Squidward, annoyed by their antics and wanting them to just leave them alone. Without Squidward, it’s just not a fun dynamic.
In conclusion, I found more in this episode to enjoy than I initially expected. I still wouldn’t consider it a high point of the Post-Movie seasons, but compared to Season 6, it’s quite high up there. Given how there’s always an attempts to be grand in the art direction and all the war-based atmosphere it delivers, I can see why fans craving for more action would enjoy this episode. However, it still has some pacing, character and gross-out problems, as it’s not perfect. I guess I should reaffirm that this is still good and worth your time, but I’m better off with something more thought-provoking like Not Normal or No Hat for Pat.
Question of the Day: Have you ever built a good sandcastle? Personally, I never got the hang of it.
The only thing worse than an episode that makes you angry is an episode where the whole point is to make you angry. Until then, war-based humor has come a long way.
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