Having grown up in a shoebox in the middle of the road, Judge Jeff Robbins used to dream of living in a pineapple under the sea.
Our reviews of Spongebob Squarepants: Season 5, Volume 1 (published December 12th, 2007), SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season (published November 10th, 2003), Spongebob Squarepants: Season 5, Volume 2 (published November 27th, 2008), Spongebob Squarepants: The Complete Third Season (published February 8th, 2006), SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete Seventh Season (published December 11th, 2011), SpongeBob Squarepants: 10 Happiest Moments (published September 19th, 2010), Spongebob Squarepants: Fear Of A Krabby Patty (published August 31st, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Friend Or Foe? (published August 29th, 2007), Spongebob Squarepants: Home Sweet Pineapple (published January 19th, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Nautical Nonsense / Sponge Buddies (published March 19th, 2002), Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge For Hire (published February 9th, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob Vs. The Big One (published March 16th, 2009), Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob's Pest Of The West (published April 25th, 2008), Spongebob Squarepants: Spongicus (published April 9th, 2009), Spongebob Squarepants: The Great Patty Caper (published March 13th, 2011), SpongeBob SquarePants: The Seaside Capers (published March 13th, 2004), Spongebob Squarepants: To Love A Patty (published February 6th, 2008), Spongebob Squarepants: To Squarepants Or Not To Squarepants (published July 27th, 2009), SpongeBob Squarepants: Triton's Revenge (published September 11th, 2010), Spongebob Squarepants: Truth Or Square (published November 20th, 2009), Spongebob Squarepants: Where's Gary? (published December 14th, 2005), Spongebob Squarepants: Who Bob What Pants? (published November 13th, 2008), and Spongebob's Runaway Roadtrip (published September 25th, 2011) are also available.
"I'm the most miserable person in Bikini Bottom. What do I have to be
SpongeBob SquarePants is without question one of the funniest animated programs not called The Simpsons or not airing on the Boomerang retro cartoon network. Unfortunately, most of the six new-to-DVD episodes on SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom fall short of the program's usually high standards. However, fans of the recently departed ABC show Lost may delight in many parallels and obvious homages to that groundbreaking program found in these shorts.
Facts of the Case
SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom features six episodes centering on various mythical aspects surrounding the undersea city known as Bikini Bottom, home to our titular character as well as his friends, co-workers, and his beloved place of employ, The Krusty Krab.
My son has an exasperating tendency to excitedly get into a character or television show and, just after my wife and I have bought him several toys and DVDs related to said character or show, moving quickly on to something else, whereby the process repeats itself.
Outside of the hundreds of dollars lost in buying newly unwanted crap, typically I'm OK to see each obsession pass. (Life without the horribly annoying Pokemon or the dumbed-down Krypto the Superdog is especially sweet.) But I have to say I was a little sorry to see my son's SpongeBob SquarePants phase end quickly. When he started embracing Nickelodeon's most popular show, I too immediately grew attached to the program's humor and figured SpongeBob would be part of our lives for years to come.
Alas, it was not to be. (Damn you, iCarly and Big Time Rush!) Therefore, I anticipated the release of SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom as a terrific opportunity to revisit some dear old undersea friends.
Unfortunately, the half-dozen episodes contained here support my son's decision to move on: They simply aren't that funny and, taken together, are unworthy of their own separate DVD release.
The problem here is the very theme that links the episodes together. Yes, by stringing together six segments that focus on the mythology of Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom makes a coherent package.
But by presenting what at times feels like an hour's Lost parody, the majority of these segments get too far afield from what typically makes SpongeBob SquarePants so funny—that is, the hysterical interplay between the eternally cheerful SpongeBob, his dopey best friend Patrick Star, his tortured co-worker Squidward Tentacles, and his money-grubbing boss Mr. Krabs.
The episodes contained in SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom are as follows:
• "The Monster Who Came To Bikini Bottom" (11:43)
This is by far the finest of the shorts included and was likely the impetus for the producers to forge ahead with the remainder of the lesser episodes found on SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom. What works here is the grotesque monster's hilarious connections with SpongeBob and particularly Patrick, who form an initial friendship based on their mutually disgusting armpit odor.
What is also notable here is the episode's ending, which features a brilliant call-back to an earlier seen flashback (more shades of Lost) that ties up the threads of the episode as well as any Larry David penned half-hour. This first short is SpongeBob at its best.
• "Welcome To The Bikini Bottom Triangle" (11:01)
• "The Main Drain" (10:58)
• "Trenchbillies" (10:59)
• "Sponge-Cano" (10:59)
• "The Curse Of The Hex" (11:51)
SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom contains a smattering of bonus features, but they're brief and fairly useless. The most substantial extra here is a featurette entitled "Behind-the-Scenes: Legends of Bikini Bottom" (5:08), which features brief snippets of a table read and some storyboard samples, all related to the disc's "The Main Drain" episode. I always enjoy seeing the actors behind the voices, but this short segment is only intended to provide the most superficial information possible for SpongeBob's youngest audience, as indicated by actor Tom Kenny's painstakingly thorough description of what is meant by the term "table read."
Elsewhere, there are three brief animated shorts, "Things To Do When Encountering Legendary Creatures" (:36), "Dance Break" (:36), and "The Legend of SpongeBob" (1:06). While these are obviously disc filler, "Dance Break" does include one very funny visual gag that made me laugh harder than anything else on SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom. So they're worth checking out.
No surprises here with the audio and video treatment ofSpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom. The episodes, in their normal full-screen television exhibition aspect ratio, look very good, and the Dolby Digital stereo is everything you need it to be. Elsewhere, the six episodes can be played as one 68 minute program, or the segments can be accessed individually, as can, for whatever reason, the disc's credits.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Even a bad episode of SpongeBob SquarePants is better than a good episode of not only most Nickelodeon programs, but many television comedies targeted at adults. The laughs are scattered here, but they can be found. For fans hurting over the recent lack of new SpongeBob episodes, there are worse ways to spend $15.
With more elaborate SpongeBob packages available at not much more than the cost of this hour-long disc, and with these new-to-DVD episodes reportedly to air on Nickelodeon in January, it's tough to recommend SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom to anyone but the most die-hard SpongeBob fans or to anyone still pining away for the island exploits of Dr. Jack Shephard and John Locke.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom, get Lost. Guilty.
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