I rarely watch SpongeBob Squarepants on TV, so usually the first time I see the episodes is when they're released on DVD. I read some of the poor reviews of this set and thought the show would probably be better than they suggested. I thought wrong. There really is some magic lost in this season. There are some flashes of the usual brilliance here and there but, mostly, these episodes are forgettable. They sometimes take an idea and push it to the absurdly extreme ("Night Light," "Rise and Shine," "Spy Buddies"). Also, some seem a lot shorter than the others. A good sign for the next volume is that Disc 2 is much better than Disc 1, which indicates improvement during the season. I'll definitely be checking out Volume 2.
Disc 1 (2 stars):
"Friend or Foe" (2-parter)--Mr. Krabs tells a tale of when he and Plankton were adolescent chums picked on by their classmates and how they came up with the idea to start a hamburger joint. Cute but that stupid Patchy the Pirate keeps showing up.
"The Original Fry Cook"--SpongeBob meets Mr. Krabs's first fry cook, Jim, who makes patties so good they take SB on a spiritual journey (what was in those patties, anyway? The flashbacks do look like they were set in the '60s...hmmmm). Feeling inferior, SB resigns, but Jim explains why SB is actually the best fry cook for Mr. Krabs. This episode is unrealistic. How can anyone be a better fry cook than SB? Just watch "SB v. the Patty Gadget."
"Night Light"--After reading a scary story, SB becomes afraid of the dark and uses so many night lights he summons Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy and a fiendish moth. This episode is very annoying.
"Rise and Shine"--Observe a typical Patrick morning. This episode is totally lame! We all know Patrick is a moron but come on! His stupidity here is bordering on the ridiculous! It also seems very short but, for this episode, that's probably a good thing.
"Waiting"--After sending in 99 Kelpo box tops for a prize, SB becomes obsessed with waiting for his free toy to arrive in the morning. Not very good, except for the Patrick/gift/cake/fork bit.
"Fungus Among Us"--SB gets the ick and infects the entire Krusty Krab. Gross.
"Spy Buddies"--Mr. Krabs hires Patrick and SB as spies to watch Plankton's inevitable next scheme. The ending of this one is a little much.
"Boat Smarts"--An instructional film from Mrs. Puff showing a driver with boat smarts (Squidward) and a driver without boat smarts (SpongeBob). For once, SW is the positive example; however, in this film, I think it would be better to be the driver without the boat smarts as the one with them keeps getting into accidents.
"Good Ol' Whatshisname"--Mr. Krabs creates a contest to see which employee can learn the names of all the Krusty Krab customers. The prize being a cruise, Squidward, for once, is a willing participant. SB, of course, already knows all the customers' names; SW has to resort to more unorthodox measures. One of the better episodes, but I'm a little puzzled by the ending. How did Patrick end up behind bars?
"New Digs"--Was something cut from this ep? SB trips because he put his eye blinders on before racing to bed and, in the next scene, he shoots into bed with no comment. Anyway, SB oversleeps and clocks into work late. SB, of course, is devastated and decides to live at the Krusty Krab: a dream come true for SW but not for Krabs or his customers.
"Krabs A La Mode"--Mr. Krabs won't let anyone turn up his thermostat, so Plankton creates a freeze at the Krusty Krab, but they use the icey conditions to make money another way.
Disc 2 (4 stars):
"Roller Cowards"--SB and Patrick are afraid to ride Glove World's new sensation: the Fiery Fist O Pain, but both are ashamed to admit it. The mascot of Glove World is called "Glovey Glove"--I think the writers are starting to lose some of their creativity. Good episode, though.
"Bucket Sweet Bucket"--Plankton gets SB, Patrick and even Squidward to renovate the Chum Bucket while Plankton goes after what he really wants. I like how Squidward painted the restaurant.
"Breath of Fresh Squidward"--SW gets so mad at his neighbors he installs an electric fence around his house. He, of course, gets shocked and turns into a friendly, work-loving chum who makes SB jealous.
"To Love a Patty"--SB makes the perfect Krabby Patty, falls in love, and spends all his time with "her" even as "she" rots. A shower cap on a Krabby Patty??? You've got to be kidding!
"SpongeBob Versus the Patty Gadget"--Patchy the Pirate (actually tolerable here) tells a story--in Dr. Seuss-like style--about SB competing against a patty-making machine built by Squidward. I like the line "The crowd was impressed, they cheered full of glee. All except Patrick who had to go pee." This episode, while short, is pretty funny.
"Money Talks"--Mr. Krabs's wish comes true: he can talk to money. Be careful what you wish for!
"Slimy Dancing"--Squidward thinks he's a shoe-in to win a dance competition. When he doesn't make the cut, he takes over SpongeBob's body (SB is a sponge, afterall).
"The Krusty Sponge"--Food critic Gene Scallop--who looks suspiciously like Today show's film/book critic Gene Shalit--reports on the Krusty Krab and praises SpongeBob. Mr. Krabs decides to market SB by using his image on everything (hmmmm, sounds familiar).
"Sing a Song of Patrick"--Patrick writes a song and SB helps him get it on the radio. Actually, this episode does not work on my disc. Did anyone else have that problem?