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Spongebob Squarepants - Whale of a Birthday
As far as kid's shows are concerned it doesn't get much more popular than SpongeBob SquarePants. For the better part of seven years children everywhere have been following the adventures of Spongebob, his pal Patrick, and the many other residents of Bikini Bottom. While the popularity of the series has fluctuated over the years there has been some rejuvenation as of late thanks to the success of the movie.
Fans of the show have been receiving their spongy doses in a couple of forms; compilations and season sets. The compilations are better suited for children who just want to see their favorite episodes or don't care about watching the show in its entirety. I mean, this is a kid's show after all despite its wider appeal and off the wall sense of humor. The newest compilation has arrived with seven episode of krabby goodness so fans may want to pay attention.
The episodes that are featured here are all from the show's fourth season and aired earlier this year. They aren't exactly in sequential order based on airdate but that doesn't really matter in the end. Each of these episodes is hilarious, charming and successful in their own right. Casual fans will appreciate it more but those looking for some continuity will be left out in the dark.
The episodes that are presented in this set are:
"All That Glitters" - This episode was one of the funnier ones on this disc and featured a plot that involved SpongeBob's favorite spatula, Spat, breaking. Of course that would happen to anyone who had to grill a monstrous Krabby Patty the size of your head. With his trusty silver buddy in the hospital SpongeBob goes out and buys a shiny new spatula that costs him everything; including his clothes. Le Spatula takes on a life of its own and eventually SpongeBob is left with nothing; at least until he finds out that Spat is still alive. "All That Glitters" was pointless and cute but that's part of what makes this show entertaining.
"Whale of a Birthday" - The titular episode for this volume it's Mr. Krabs' daughter's birthday. It's not just any birthday though; this is the sweet 16th. With the Krab family future on the line for this party everything must go right. Unfortunately it doesn't, so that means it's up to SpongeBob to save the day by maxing out daddy's credit card at the mall. This episode had some amusing bits to it but wasn't as funny as I had hoped for.
"Once Bitten" - I loved this episode. "Once Bitten" tells a story about SpongeBob's pet snail, Gary. You see, Gary not only likes to ooze all over people's property but he takes it upon himself to start biting them too. Squidward gets hits butt nibbled on and Patrick comes along to say that he has Mad Snail Disease and is going to turn into a zombie. This prompts insanity as Gary terrorizes the town with his chompers.
"Chimps Ahoy" - In "Chimps Ahoy" Sandy finds herself in a spot of trouble when the Chimps come to Bikini Bottom demanding a great invention. Dejected she goes off to sulk while SpongeBob and Patrick being the daunting task of coming up with something cool. In the end it's a glorified banana peeler that impresses the monkeys and makes it so that Sandy can stay.
"Bummer Vacation" - This was a cute episode where SpongeBob is forced by Mr. Krabs to take a vacation. To you and I this may sound like a wonderful thing but SpongeBob has never officially had a vacation before so he doesn't know what to do. In the end he can't stay away from work so he crafts a plan to get him back into burger flipping.
"Wigstuck" - It's the nonsensical episodes that I find the most appealing with this show so when SpongeBob finds an ugly wig and decides to wear it all the time you can imagine that hilarity ensues. He and this trusty mop top walk around town and do nothing but tick people off. My favorite scene involved he and Sandy at a movie and the wig getting in everyone's way.
"That's No Lady" - In this episode Patrick is verbally attacked by a fish who is trying to sell him a time share. Instead of moving out of town though SpongeBob comes up with the idea of changing Patrick into a girl as part of a disguise. The story was kooky to say the least but seeing Patrick dressed up as a girl harkened back to the days where Bugs Bunny did the same thing. Yet another episode that was cute and funny the entire way through.
In the end a viewer's interest in this DVD will rest solely on their adoration for SpongeBob and how serious of a collector they are. If you absolutely must have every episode then you'll want to hold out for a complete collection. Otherwise this compilation is good for kids that just want to see SpongeBob and don't care about having it all. The episodes that are included here are generally entertaining and charming in their own right. I personally enjoyed "Wigstuck", "Once Bitten", and "That's No Lady" but the others were decent as well.
SpongeBob SquarePants is one vibrant looking children's show. The DVD presents some fantastic video quality that will please audiences though the disc isn't quite flawless thanks to some aliasing issues. Otherwise this disc is smooth sailing with an acceptable transfer that is as good, if not better than, what Nick aired earlier this year.
Presented with a 2.0 stereo English track the audio quality for this DVD is on par with what you'd expect from a children's show. There isn't a lot of technical merit but the target audience isn't exactly expecting a theatrical experience. I didn't encounter any problems with pitch or distortion so in that regard there aren't any flaws. No subtitles are included with this release.
"Your Brain On SpongeBob" features short promotional animations that are rather amusing but all together pointless. Kids might think they are funny though but they pale in comparison to the episodes themselves. Otherwise there are only some previews, DVD credits, and a DVD-Rom game for Nick Arcade.
Whether or not you will enjoy this release depends solely on what kind of viewer you are. If you're casual then you might be interested because the episodes here are indeed entertaining. If you are a collector then you'll want to hold out for the collection and pass this one off. Even so SpongeBob SquarePants is an entertaining children's show that brings a lot of laughs to the table. These seven episodes are very good and the DVD quality is acceptable for the offered material.