Judge David Packard takes a shot of tequila and some Dramamine and enters the crazy world of SpongeBob.
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: Legends of Bikini Bottom (published December 12th, 2010), Spongebob Squarepants: Nautical Nonsense / Sponge Buddies (published March 19th, 2002), 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.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
If you're already familiar with the SpongeBob SquarePants animated series (and given its massive popularity with both the young and the young at heart, most likely you are), feel free to skip to the next paragraph and get right to the goods. Otherwise, as the series title indicates, SpongeBob is a talking yellow sponge (an absorbent and porous one at that) sporting boxy drawers. He loves jellyfish hunting and his job as a fry cook, whipping up delectable Krabby Patty burgers for the hungry citizens of Bikini Bottom. If you think that's a wee bit odd, consider some of the other inhabitants of SpongeBob's underwater world: His best friend is a goofy starfish; his next-door neighbor is a cranky squid with a passion for playing the clarinet; he's not above hanging out with an air-breathing, feisty squirrel from Texas; his boss is a greedy crab; and his pet is a snail that meows like a cat. I don't understand the combination of alcohol and medication that series creator Stephen Hillenburg must have ingested in coming up with such a wild menagerie of characters and settings, but trust me—it works. There's no educational value here; SpongeBob SquarePants is pure whimsy and unabashed entertainment.
Shrewdly arriving in stores just prior to the theatrical release of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie, this compilation features eight episodes, each roughly 13 minutes in length, from season three:
• "Krusty Krab Training Video"
• "Can You Spare a Dime?"
• "Missing Identity"
• "Krabby Land"
• "Wet Painters"
• "New Student Starfish"
• "Mid-Life Crustacean"
• "The Camping Episode"
Each episode is presented in its original full frame aspect ratio, and the visuals are sharp and colorful. The Dolby Digital audio brings clarity to SpongeBob's reverberating laugh and the other sounds of Bikini Bottom, but don't expect this disc to unleash the power of your home theater. For programming of this type, the video and audio are sufficient. Besides, it's SpongeBob—kids would probably watch this on a snowy black-and-white television with a death rattle and have nary a complaint.
Aside from the episodes, a few extras are included. Curious viewers with an interest in animation will enjoy the storyboards included for four of the eight episodes. They're actually quite enjoyable, showing each scene in the episode in rough, blank-and-white sketches complete with notations on things like character movement and scene framing. Key dialogue is included, and it's fun to see how these static, sometimes-crude drawings become the dynamic, colorful episodes in the end.
If you have a DVD-ROM installed in your PC, the "Nick Recipes" extra will let you view and print four recipes (Kelp Kettle Corn Balls, Retroville Ranch Dip, Vicky's Not-So-Icky Veggie Sticks, and Green Slime Birthday Cake) from Stir, Squirt, Sizzle: A Nick Cookbook, a kid-friendly cookbook with creations inspired by characters from various Nickelodeon series. It's a nice little extra that, while shilling for the cookbook, gives parents and children an opportunity to get into the kitchen, interact, and have fun whipping up some treats.
In the end, die-hard SpongeBob fanatics won't hesitate in picking up this disc, but casual viewers may contemplate waiting for the inevitable complete set of season three's episodes. If history is any indication, realize that the complete set for season three is probably months away (season one was released on October 28, 2003; season two was released on October 19, 2004.) At around $12 retail, though, it's not a bad value—roughly a buck fifty per episode, despite a couple of clunkers—and it'll satisfy SpongeBob nuts until the inevitable release of season three.
The court knows this guy who knows this guy who knows this guy who knows this guy who knows this guy's cousin who finds SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge for Hire not guilty. SpongeBob SquarePants is free to go and continue his stranglehold on the wallets of citizens everywhere.
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Scales of Justice
• Storyboards for "Missing Identity," "Krabby Land," "Wet Painters," and "New Student Starfish"
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