Give kisses to this new review of Spongebob Squarepants.
Spoilers Below, I Guess (Do We Need to Worry About Spoiling Nickelodeon Shows?)
“Spin the Bottle”
Plankton’s quest to discover the Krabby Patty’s secret recipe is so epic that it rises to the level of modern mythology. He is the Sisyphus of our era. His latest attempt is so convoluted that I had to hear it spelled out multiple times to make heads or tails of it. That should tell you how well it goes. Not that you ever would have suspected he had a chance of succeeding anyway.
For the record, he hides himself in a genie bottle, which is meant to be delivered to Mr. Krabs, who will then somehow mix it up with with the bottle where he keeps the secret ingredient. Yeah, ummm… Plankton’s previous plans have at least a semblance of sense, but this time he is rightfully mocked by Karen (not mercilessly enough, I say!). Things predictably go off-the-rails immediately, with the bottle ending up in the hands of Spongebob, who insists that Genie Plankton play by the rules and grant him three wishes. He lets his friends use the wishes (because “friendship is magic, too”), which means a golden clarinet for Squidward, an “extra head” for Patrick, and $1,000 for Mr. Krabs.
While Plankton is irredeemably evil, I actually kind of admire him for how honestly hardworking he is. He knows exactly what sorts of smoke and mirrors need to be pulled to convince everyone that magic is real, and he goes all-in with his efforts, even going so far as emptying his bank account to deliver the grand to Krabs. It’s an interesting thing how this show makes its main villain so pitiable. I don’t want a bad guy I can love to hate, I want one I love to feel bad for!
Spongebob writers, you’re trying to tell me that Sandy Cheeks has lived under the sea for all this time and she hasn’t taught Spongebob and Patrick what sports are? Okay, I guess we’ll just have to go with it, because when those two knuckleheads open up a delivery box full of gaming equipment (meant for Sandy), they assume that the items must be a device for retrieving books off the top shelf (golf club), a whipped cream holder (bowling ball), and portable snail bed (baseball mitt). Sensing a golden opportunity for schadenfreude, Squidward decides to teach the boys how to play sports, but with the rules adjusted for maximum opportunities for them to hurt themselves and each other. Eventually, a good portion of Bikini Bottom has come to spectate these shenanigans, providing the perfect public forum for Sandy to finally arrive and give Squidward his comeuppance.
While this show is definitely skilled at finding the funny in physical violence, it has to be careful that it does not take advantage of its most innocent characters too much. I think the calibration was just right enough this time, and hey, it helps that the equilibrium of good health can be restored rather easily in a cartoon world. Overall, “Sportz” is a prime example of Spongebob’s knack for grotesque close-up imagery, and it also gets major points for the cult of personality that springs up around Rule Giver Squidward (frighteningly quickly).
Quotes and Random Observations:
-I love the little detail of Gary watching football.
-Plankton reveals he attended “evil band camp” – it’s always a nice touch when a villain puts “evil” before otherwise benign phrases.
-“Who’s that bottle with my clod?”
-“All this pain is starting to hurt.”
-“Mama?” “Don’t want to hear it.”