Case Number 15104: Small Claims Court


Nickelodeon // 2007 // 262 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Dennis Prince (Retired) // November 27th, 2008

The Charge

His nautical nonsense be something you wish.
So drop on the deck and flop like a fish.

Yeah, that's just about the unchallenging essence of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob SquarePants. So who's complaining?

The Case

Without a doubt, SpongeBob SquarePants is a cultural icon of our day, as unlikely as that would have first appeared. The happy-go-luck sea sponge (strongly resembling his kitchen-sink brethren and often mistaken as a hunk of Wisconsin's finest) is an example of perpetual pleasantry. Residing in a pineapple home situated within the undersea community of Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob enjoys nothing more than to chase jellyfish and blow bubbles with best friend, Patrick Star, sidle up to his beloved sea snail pet, Gary, and pass time with his next door neighbor, Squidward. Most of all, SpongeBob loves his work as a fry chef at the Krabby Patty restaurant under the father-like tutelage of proprietor, Mr. Krabs. This is the enchanted world in which SpongeBob lives.

But not all is as SpongeBob perceives it.

Indeed, SpongeBob can easily be regarded a simpleton, clinging just a few mental points above, uh, challenged stature. Arguably dim-witted and socially dense, SpongeBob appears a deserving passenger on one of those special busses that helps certain special citizens live a productive lifestyle. While even-more-simple friend Patrick is faithful though inconsistent in his allegiance, SpongeBob is largely oblivious to the contempt Squidward bears towards the young sponge. Similarly, SpongeBob is easily duped and exploited by his hyper-greedy crustacean employer, Mr. Krabs. But, no matter how the odds are stacked against SpongeBob, he always emerges the moral victor of every scheme leveled against him.

Sounds like an overtly simple formula, doesn't it?

But therein lies the appeal of SpongeBob SquarePants, the fact that it makes no excuses for its sappy-happy main character nor does it pass judgment on his slow manner. Instead, the show is presented as a much-needed dose of, well, silliness of the simplest sort. Creator Stephen Hillenburg delivers his porous protagonist in most unassuming fashion, never feeling need to explain his boxy physique, exaggerated overbite, and protracted pensiveness. SpongeBob is a bit slow, to be sure, but he's about as genuine a friend as your ever likely to find. Clearly, this quality attracted the show's intended under-12 target audience but, surprisingly, the uncomplicated form and format of the cartoon grabbed adults (especially the collegiate crowd) by the shirt collars and compelled them to watch the inane adventures of SpongeBob, Patrick, and the rest. Perhaps exalted for its pure escapist qualities, SpongeBob SquarePants has become an unmitigated goldmine of gushing goodness, giving viewers a much-needed pause from the harshness of life above the waves.

Afficionados of the show will be quick to proclaim this SpongeBob SquarePants, Season 5, Vol. 2 is not the series' best work but, nevertheless, is an improvement over the inexplicable sourness of the previous Season 4. And while the practice of splitting a season across two volumes isn't in the spirit of the generous sponge, the content here is well presented. In this second volume that delivers the balance of Year Five's episodes, each is presented in original 4:3 full frame broadcast format, the transfers are absolutely spectacular in their sparkling and well-saturated goodness. The audio comes by way of a crisp and clear Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. Here are the episodes, by name, that you'll find within this two-disc boxed set:

* "Sing a Song of Patrick"
* "A Flea in Her Dome"
* "The Donut of Shame"
* "The Krusty Plate"
* "Atlantis SquarePantis"
* "Picture Day"
* "Pat No Pay"
* "BlackJack"
* "Blackened Sponge"
* "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob"
* "The Inmates of Summer"
* "To Save a Squirrel"
* "Pest of the West"
* "20,000 Patties Under the Sea"
* "The Battle of Bikini Bottom"
* "Le Big Switch"
* "Goo Goo Gas"
* "The Two Faces of Squidward"
* "SpongeHenge"
* "Banned in Bikini Bottom"
* "Stanley S. SquarePants"

Extras on this set are a bit much to indulge in (that is if you're over 10 years old or aren't in the midst of a sanctioned dorm room drinking game). A collection of five animated karaoke songs are here, if you choose to participate:

* Bubble Song
* Good-Bye Atlantis
* Dead Eye
* Together
* If I could talk to money

All told, SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 5, Volume 2 delivers more of what SpongeBob fans crave (even though the show seems to air non-stop on cable TV's Nickelodeon Network) and doesn't disappoint in its delivery of content direct from Bikini Bottom. That said, it's difficult to find fault with such a happy character living such an enchanted existence. And the fact that you can find him on even the most basic of cable packages, all seems well in the world of SpongeBob SquarePants.

"So what're ya waitin' for? Buy the new DVDs already!" -- Mr. Krabs

Review content copyright © 2008 Dennis Prince; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 87

Perp Profile
Studio: Nickelodeon
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)

* None

Running Time: 262 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Karaoke music videos

* IMDb

* Official Site