Case Number 16900: Small Claims Court

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS: TO SQUAREPANTS OR NOT TO SQUAREPANTS

Nickelodeon // 2009 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // July 27th, 2009

The Charge

Without his square pants, will anyone recognize him?

The Case

Before this disc arrived at my door I'd never seen an entire SpongeBob SquarePants episode and knew only the barest plot or character details. What little I had caught didn't lead me to seek out anymore because I found the look of the show fairly ugly and the voice acting obnoxious. But, as an intrepid reporter, I dove under the sea to catch all eight episodes included on To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants. Here are my thoughts:

* "To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants"
This is the only new episode on the disc, and takes "the clothes make the man" pretty literally in the case of SpongeBob. Distracted by Patrick while doing his laundry, SpongeBob accidently shrinks all his square pants. Sadly, the clothing store won't have any in for months, so SpongeBob decides on round pants instead. Suddenly, no one recognizes him and he must start all over again in Bikini Bottom. This was one of the slighter entries on the disc, with the core joke being fairly well-handled with no one recognizing SpongeBob, but it went on just a little too long 5/10.

* "Squid's Visit"
As usual, SpongeBob is obsessed with hanging out with Sqiudward. In this case, old Squiddy says he won't sleep over at SpongeBob's because he doesn't want to leave the comforts of home. This prompts SpongeBob to copy Squidward's entire house, to maddening effect. This was another episode where the central idea was better than the execution. I liked the idea of driving someone mad by copying everything about their house, but it was also a little too long and ran out of visual ideas before the story ended. 5/10.

* "The Splinter"
SpongeBob accidently get his spatula stuck in the ceiling so he builds a tower of boxes to retrieve it. On his way back down, his tower falls, sending him skidding across the floor which puts a nasty splinter in his thumb. When Squidward finds out he threatens to send SpongeBob home, and so begins several frantic attempts to remove and/or hide the offending splinter so SpongeBob can stay at work. This episode actually surprised me. I didn't think a network like Nickelodeon still ran gross-out comedy like this one. SpongeBob's thumb festers throughout the episode, and when the offending splinter is finally removed it unleashes a torrent of green goo that is gagging. In between the gross-outs we get some great visual comedy, so the nastiness is worth it. 8/10.

* "Slide Whistle Stooges"
SpongeBob and Patrick obtain slide whistles and proceed to soundtrack Squidward's life with them. This drives Squidward increasingly insane, with predictably funny results. This was probably my favorite episode on the disc because the whole "slide whistle soundtrack" idea was funny, but I never felt like it overstayed its welcome. Although I can see the sound of the slide whistle getting annoying on the fourth viewing, the instrument is versatile enough to make this episode compelling. 8/10.

* "Boating Buddies"
SpongeBob goads Squidward into his first speeding ticket, so he must go to boating school with, you guessed it, SpongeBob. I'm just not a fan of the episodes that focus on SpongeBob antagonizing Squidward. I can see it being cute for a single episode, but by this point it's just obnoxious, and even though some of the gags are funny they can't overcome the weariness of the premise. 3/10.

* "The Krabby Kronicle"
Mr. Krabs realizes that the newspaper business can be very profitable, so he hires SpongeBob as a reporter. The problem is that the truth doesn't sell that well, so SpongeBob is told to make up whatever stories he can to sell papers. Eventually, this angers the citizens of Bikini Bottom as the lies spread. This was an excellent episode that combined a good message (lying can hurt people) with some clever jokes (like Edward marrying a pole). This one might go a little over the heads of the kiddies, but it's a solid morality tale. 8/10.

* "The Slumber Party"
Mr. Krabs' daughter kicks him out of the house so she can have a slumber party. Worried that his house will be trashed by the young girls inviting over young boys, Mr. Krabs convinces SpongeBob to help him infiltrate the party to ensure things go smoothly. Naturally, they don't. This premise was a little tired, but combining the sleepover idea with a zombie movie kept things fresh enough, and the idea that parents meddling causes more trouble than just leaving kids alone is something the young ones will appreciate. 6/10.

* "Grooming Gary"
For the annual pet festival, SpongeBob gets Gary all fixed up, but discovers that he's not up on the latest in snail fashions. This leads him to paint Gary's shell and get him a diamond-studded collar so he can win a prize at the festival. Naturally, Gary and the other pets don't appreciate this treatment and revolt. This was another good message episode that wasn't too heavy handed. It makes good points about treating pets are friends, not objects, and appreciating friends for who they are, all while providing hilarious looking examples of snail design. 6/10.

There you have it, a solid collection of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes. My only serious problem with this set is that it's only eight episodes long; a more complete season-style release would be more efficient. On the technical front everything is fine, with the bright, solid colors of Bikini Bottom shining through clearly and all the dialogue and effects clear and detailed. The only extra is an art gallery that contains storyboard panels and some character art.

To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants didn't turn me into a SpongeBob fan, but now I see the attraction.

The Verdict

Not guilty.

Review content copyright © 2009 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: Nickelodeon
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

Subtitles:
* English (CC)

Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Art Gallery

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0206512/combined