Review: SpongeBob SquarePants “Yellow Pavement”

Overview (Spoilers Below):

All one needs to get a boating license is featured in this educational driving film.

Our Take:

One of the show’s hilarious running gags involves SpongeBob trying (and failing) to get his boating license multiple times. His attempts always bring disastrous results to everyone around him, including his boating teacher, Mrs. Puff, somehow leaving only the gullible sponge kid unscathed. It always amazes me that after 13 seasons, he still hasn’t learned how to drive like a sane person, or in this case, a sane aquatic sponge. This week’s episode of SpongeBob SquarePants shows that things still haven’t changed in the world of Bikini Bottom, for better or worse.

“Yellow Pavement” is simply an episode resembling an educational driving film you’d typically see in driving classes. In the movie, Mrs. Puff teaches the basics of driving safely, including a five-point pre-check, spotting pedestrians, and road rage. Additionally, Mrs. Puff uses Squidward as an example of being a good driver and, unsurprisingly, SpongeBob as a representation of a bad driver. From Puff’s perspective, “bad” isn’t enough to describe his driving.

If any of these elements sound familiar to you, you’re not wrong. “Yellow Pavement” is technically a rehash of the season five episode, “Boat Smarts”, which also involves Mrs. Puff showcasing good and bad drivers in her educational film. Both episodes have Squidward being a good driver but constantly getting injured by SpongeBob’s terrible driving and poor passenger etiquette. Fortunately, SpongeBob did some things right in this episode, including getting Squidward to relax and finishing Mrs. Puff’s film after the projector broke. Although, his vision of the presentation is enough for his short-tempered teacher to kick him out.

“Yellow Pavement” can be easily described as a lazy and unnecessary rehash of “Boat Smarts”. However, the episode offers enough moments in its plot and humor to make it a tad better than “Boat Smarts”. Yes, it does involve Squidward getting maimed by SpongeBob’s horrible driving, but Squidward’s injuries in “Yellow Pavement” were more cartoony than viciously horrifying in “Boat Smarts”. The main example I liked the most regarding the comedy is the “Slow Children at Play” gag, in which the children are literally in slow motion. It’s another solid example of the show’s clever writing in its wacky slapstick. As a result, “Yellow Pavement” marks another humorous yet overly familiar reason why SpongeBob will always struggle to earn his boating license.