Paramount // 1999 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Ryan (Retired) // January 19th, 2005
Little. Yellow. Different.
(Jacques Cousteau voice on)
Ah...zee Paramount Pictures studio. Eef eet is Janvier, eet must be time for zee powers-zat-be at Paramount to eessue ah-no-there deesk featuring zee adventures of zee SpongeBob...
(Jacques Cousteau voice off)
And here it is: Home Sweet Pineapple, the latest and greatest from the small yellow filter-feeder who lives in a pineapple under the sea. (He is also absorbent and porous.) Everyone's present and accounted-for: SpongeBob (Tom Kenny, Mr. Show), his dimwitted but loyal friend Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke, Coach), his non-dimwitted but loyal squirrel friend Sandy Cheeks (Carolyn Lawrence, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius), his grumpy neighbor/coworker Squidward Tentacles (Rodger Bumpass), and his stingy boss Eugene H. Krabs (Clancy Brown, The Shawshank Redemption, Starship Troopers).
In typical Paramount fashion, the disc features five episodes as the main feature, and three "bonus" episodes as part of the extras. In other words, it's an eight-episode disc. Why they just can't say that...Well, anyhow, Home Sweet Pineapple is a fairly average set of episodes. There aren't any real clunkers here, but neither are there any of the classic Bugs Bunny-level episodes that the show has produced. Here's what you get:
* "Home Sweet Pineapple"
SpongeBob's two-story pineapple is devoured by a roving gang of hungry nematodes, leaving him homeless. After attempting (unsuccessfully) to share Patrick's rock with him, he sadly decides that he'll just have to move back in with his parents. Squidward rejoices. But will fate intervene to keep SpongeBob in Bikini Bottom?
* "Band Geeks"
Squidward's arch-rival Squilliam Fancyson (Dee Bradley Baker) returns to taunt Squidward, as he is wont to do. Squidward, as usual, lies, and claims he's a successful band leader. One thing leads to another, and Squidward winds up facing the task of assembling a competent band to play at halftime of the Bubble Bowl. The residents of Bikini Bottom -- including a yellow sponge-like guy -- band together (pun intended) to help him out. Unfortunately, they're absolutely awful...Will Squidward be humiliated in front of Squilliam yet again? Or can SpongeBob pull the band together in time?
* "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm"
The biggest, baddest, meanest, biggest, baddest worm of them all -- an Alaskan! Bull! Worm!!!! -- is threatening Bikini Bottom. Sandy Cheeks, who never met a challenge she didn't think she could beat, takes on the task of fighting the worm, over SpongeBob's strenuous objections. (After all, she's wrangled bulls, and she's wrangled worms, so how hard could it be to wrangle a bull worm?) Meanwhile, the rest of the town adopts Patrick's suggestion that they just push the whole town out of the way. Wormy hijinks ensue.
* "Ripped Pants"
SpongeBob begins to feel a bit left out while exercising with Sandy and Larry the Lobster at Mussel Beach, due to his extreme unathleticism. All that changes when he rips his pants while trying to lift "weights." Suddenly, he's the comedy sensation of the beach. But, of course, SpongeBob milks that cow a little too much, and the joke quickly becomes stale.
* "Sandy's Rocket"
Although she really should know better, Sandy shows SpongeBob and Patrick her newly-built space rocket, with which she plans to explore the Moon. Of course they wind up launching it, and land on "the moon," which is really just Bikini Bottom. (The rocket had flown around the Moon and back, but they didn't know that.) The sponge and the star create untold havoc as they attempt to "capture" all the "aliens" they run across -- sinister aliens, who are somehow taking the forms of the people they all know from home...
* "Culture Shock"
Declining revenues have Mr. Krabs in a bit of a funk. He's so desperate for customers that he agrees to one of Squidward's self-promotional schemes: the Krusty Krab will host a talent show. Unsurprisingly, the crowd does not take to Squidward's interpretive dance routine. But they go nuts for SpongeBob, even though he's not technically an official act. Will fame go to SpongeBob's head?
* "MuscleBob BuffPants"
SpongeBob feels inadequate on account of his lack of physique. So he goes to Sandy, who agrees to help him build up his muscles. Unfortunately, this requires work; work that SpongeBob doesn't really want to put in. So he takes a shortcut: he buys a set of inflatable muscles. Everything is going well until suddenly he's expected to use his muscles...
* "Employee of the Month"
SpongeBob anxiously awaits word on whether he'll be named the Krusty Krab's Employee of the Month. Squidward, in a typical fit of bitterness, points out that SpongeBob has won every Employee of the Month award, because it's just something that Mr. Krabs uses to get him to work harder for no extra pay. SpongeBob disagrees. Squidward argues that he could be Employee of the Month if he cared about it. SpongeBob disagrees. Well, one thing leads to another, and suddenly SpongeBob and Squidward are locked in a Machiavellian battle royale for the completely uncoveted Employee of the Month title...
I'm a fairly recent convert to SpongeBob Nation, but thanks to the fact that it's on Nickelodeon about 100 times a day, I've caught on pretty quick. This batch of episodes is a generally representative sample of the show -- not the worst collection, but not the best. At its best, SpongeBob SquarePants is the kind of cartoon that has plenty of silly fun for the kiddies, but lots of extremely witty humor for parents. (I love lines like SpongeBob's "Squidward has always come through for us when it was convenient for him!" That's from "Band Geeks," by far the best of the bunch here.) Sometimes, though, it's just a straight-out kids' cartoon, full of Jerry Lewis-like slapstick and pretty colors. But either way, it's charming. SpongeBob manages to be earnest and child-like without ever crossing into "I want to put pencils through my eyes after five minutes of this" territory -- like, say, Elmo. I don't think comparisons to the classic Warner Brothers cartoons of the Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck era are far off base. Admittedly, the artistry of the Warner Brothers cartoons was superior, and they also managed to slip a great deal of culture into their looniness (how many kids have been introduced to Richard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries by "Kill the Wabbit"?). But to this reviewer it's clear that SpongeBob and Bugs Bunny are the rare cartoons that both parents and children can watch without boredom.
Picture and sound are adequate -- competent but nothing special. Hey, it's still better than VHS. Other than the "bonus episodes," the only extras included are cast biographies taken from the book SpongeBob Exposed!: The Insider's Guide to SpongeBob SquarePants. They're cute, occasionally witty (Patrick's favorite activity: "Whatever SpongeBob is doing"), and kids will enjoy them. Heck, I enjoyed them.
So there you have it: SpongeBob SquarePants: Home Sweet Pineapple is a solid eight-episode collection of an entertaining children's cartoon. It's a decent addition to any SpongeFan's collection. What more need be said?
Okay, I'm off to flop on the deck like a fish. Enjoy!
Review content copyright © 2005 David Ryan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Three Bonus Episodes
* Cast Bios from SpongeBob Exposed!: The Insider's Guide to SpongeBob SquarePants
* Official Site