"The first three seasons of Spongebob were great. It was an absurd masterpeice of the highest order that made Ren and Stimpy look like "Washington Week in Review" in comparison. It had comedy that kids could relate to as well as something for us adults, mainly in the characters that resemble people we see in real life every day: the eternal optimist (Spongebob), the psychotic best friend (Patrick), the "foreigner" just trying to adapt to new surroundings (Sandy), the "accomplished neophyte" that lacks any real skill (Squidward), and the cheapskate (Mr. Krabs).
Unfortunately, in its fourth season, Spongebob jumps the shark, probably due to the departure of creator and marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg. The cartoon inhabitants of Bikini Bottom have become just exaggerated caricatures of their past incarnations - they are cartoons of cartoons. The clever dialogue and straightforward storylines of past seasons have been replaced with slap-stick physical comedy and overly complex storylines that are boring for children and too inane for adults.
So why, you might ask, am I giving it three stars? Because it still has its moments. In particular, I really loved "Patrick Smartpants" which was nothing short of a series classic. Patrick and Sponge Bob are jellyfishing when Patrick runs off a cliff and loses his head, which Sponge Bob (accidentally) replaces with brain coral. Patrick then becomes a genius, discussing classical music with Squidward and complex physics and calculus with Sandy. I also liked the half hour episode, "Have You Seen This Snail? (Where's Gary?)" in which SpongeBob tries to beat a paddle-ball world record and forgets to feed Gary -- for 10 days. Gary runs away to downtown Bikini Bottom where he is taken in by a kindly old woman who indulges him in every way possible. This is fine with Gary until he finds out why he is being fattened up, and promptly returns home to a lonely and penitent SpongeBob.
There were other good episodes, but the bad episodes are pretty awful. For example, I found myself just plain bored with "Dunces and Dragons", in which Spongebob and Patrick get transported to medieval times, and the season openers "Fear of A Krabby Patty" and "Shell of a Man" were so bad they were just plain embarrassing to watch. Also, although this show has always had some mild adult humor built into it, mainly in the form of witty dialogue, the episode "SquidBob TentaclePants" is way too scary for small children. It is very much like the 80's version of "The Fly" - where SpongeBob and Squidward get spliced together in Sandy's transporter machine. The results of these animated Frankenstein-like mixtures might be funny to adults, but I can see it inducing nightmares in small children. Graphic horror is just not what you expect when you tune in to SpongeBob.
All in all, I think these first twenty episodes of season four form a "take it or leave it" kind of season, which is just not how I would have ever expected to describe any season of SpongeBob."
"I'd use a more sophisticated word like impaired"---Patrick
mwreview | Northern California, USA | 09/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with some of the other reviewers that this season, although containing a few excellent episodes, is weaker than the previous three. The cool wittiness that appeals to adults, like myself, is just not there. Some of the story lines seem stale or, if they have possibilities, don't really go anywhere. There are a handful of episodes from the previous seasons I do not like but, on this DVD, there are only a handful I consider stellar ("Have You Seen This Snail?," "Enemy-In-Law," "Patrick Smartpants"), the rest either OK, mediocre, or far below average. Fortunately, most of the better ones are towards the end so that may bode well for the second volume from season 4. As much as I like SpongeBob, I cannot give this season five stars. Here's what you get:
Disc 1: "Fear of a Krabby Patty": To compete with the Chum Bucket, Mr. Krabs changes the Krusty Krab hours to 24 hours a day. By day 43, SpongeBob starts to hallucinate about giant krabby patties. Enter psychiatrist Dr. Peter Lankton (guess who he is). Pretty good idea but I found the ending to be rather stale. "Shell of a Man": Mr. Krabs plans to go to his Navy reunion and reunite with his shipmates who remember him as "Iron-abs Krabs," but Krabs has molted out of his shell. To save his boss from humiliation, SpongeBob poses in his molted shell. "The Lost Mattress": Finally, some other characters get involved! An old, lumpy mattress causes Mr. Krabs back pain. SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward buy him a new mattress and dispose of the old one. One problem: all of Krabs's money was in the old one! Again, a good idea, but the humor was surprisingly bland. Includes some not-too-subtle social commentary on the medical industry. "Krabs vs. Plankton": Plankton slips on the Krusty Krab floor and decides to sue for negligence. What he wants, of course, is the krabby patty secret formula.
"Have You Seen This Snail?": Two-parter which, thankfully, does not include the Patchy the Pirate fillers that were part of the original broadcast. A paddleball contest distracts SpongeBob from feeding Gary the snail, so Gary runs away and finds an owner who goes to the opposite extreme. This episode is wittier than the others so far. Gary tying the bib around his neck for dinner is so cute! Patrick's side remarks are also a plus. This one is more like earlier SpongeBob episodes. Other clever details: Granny's "killer stereo system" and the clap on/clap off lights. "Skill Crane": Mr. Krabs gets a machine that has a crane that picks up toys. Of course, SpongeBob wins on every quarter but Squidward, who can never win, becomes addicted. "Good Neighbors": Squidward's relaxing Sunday turns out to be anything but thanks to a certain couple of neighbors. "Selling Out": In song, Mr. Krabs admits he would trade his own daughter for riches. It stands to reason, then, that he'd sell the Krusty Krab to a ruthless takeover chain Krabby O'Mondays. When Krabs sees what's been done to his restaurant, he change his mind, but is it too late? "Funny Pants": To stop SpongeBob's incessant laughter, Squidward warns him he is in danger of burning out his laugh box (SpongeBob's response: "Is that what happened to you, Squidward?").
Disc 2: "Dunces and Dragons": Another two-parter. It's not as good as the first one; in fact, I think it is overdone. SpongeBob and company take on the roles of Medieval characters. "Mermaidman and Barnacleboy VI: The motion Picture": To protest a MM & BB movie that uses actors in place of their heroes, SpongeBob gathers his friends to film their own version starring the real MM & BB. The Sandy "Did somebody say `boom'?" gag is really run into the ground. It ended very abruptly. We see unhappy faces in the audience (of so-called MM & BB super fans) but no reaction that would be expected. Very stale and more silly than funny. "Enemy-In-Law": Fed up with his computer wife, Plankton falls in love with a lady crab who happens to be Mr. Krabs's mother. This is an excellent episode. Very funny and witty. I like the line: "Roses are red, violets are blue, world domination has nothing on you." "Patrick Smartpants": This is a very clever episode. Patrick jumps off a cliff and knocks the tip of his head off. Once SpongeBob finds and replaces it, Patrick becomes a genius. More intellectually mature than his absorbent and yellow and porous friend, Patrick no longer wishes to see him. He soon finds out that friendship is more important than his new found super-intelligence. Who knows, if he had stayed on his intellectual path, Patrick might have found the cure to some underwater disease. Alas, Bikini Bottom will never know.
"SquidBob Tentacle Pants": It's the day before Squidward's clarinet recital (now, how did he manage to swing such a gig?) but Sandy's transforming machine metamorphosizes Squidward and SongeBob together. At times, this episode is a little creepy. I like when Sqiidward comes out in the gothic robe and an audience member admits she's scared. As another reviewer pointed out, this does remind one of the Treehouse of Horror episode where Bart morphs with a fly. "Krusty Towers": By the title, I thought this would be a Fawlty Towers take-off. Alas, it does not go in that direction. Mr. Krabs converts the Krusty Krab into a hotel where any "ridiculous request" is granted (and, of course, charged). Squidward quits so he can become a customer and takes their slogan to the extreme. We get to see Squidward's mom! Squidward requests cookies like his mother makes them, so Krabs and SpongeBob kidnap Squidward's mother. When Squidward concedes that the cookies are just like his mother makes them, he adds, "too bad she wasn't a better cook." "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired": Is SpongeBob un-teachable or is Mrs. Puff to blame for his endless boating test failings? Watch this episodes to find out. You may be surprised (or not). "Ghost Host": The Flying Dutchman's ship broke down near SpongeBob's house (some witty scenes in this one, especially when the FD falls through the basketball hoop) so he decides to stay in SpongeBob's pineapple to haunt him. When SpongeBob grows board with his guest's pranks, the FD thinks he is "a ghost of his former self." SpongeBob thinks he should try scaring the one who doesn't believe in ghosts: Squidward. "Wishing You Well": Mr. Krabs starts a new sideline by having his own wishing well built. Too much singing in this one."
A rip-off or worth owning? Either way, the first part of Sea
Norman | Escondido, CA | 07/01/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"On September 12, you can expect the first 20 episodes of Season 4 to come to DVD. These episodes are:
Fear of a Krabby Patty/Shell of a Man The Lost Mattress/Krabs vs. Plankton Skill Crane/Good Neighbors Selling Out/Funny Pants MM and BB VI: The Motion Picture/Enemy-In-Law Patrick Smartpants/SquidBob Tentaclepants Have You Seen This Snail? (aka Where's Gary?) Dunces and Dragons (aka Lost In Time) Krusty Towers/Mrs. Puff, You're Fired Ghost Host/Chimps Ahoy! Whale of a Birthday/Karate Island
Before the fourth season came on the air, rumors were floating around that creator Stephen Hillenburg left the show after making the Spongebob movie, yet if you look in the credits of the season 4 episodes, you see that he still remains in his Executive Producer post. Regardless, whether he left his post or not, SpongeBob still remains as the best cartoon on TV so far. Granted, there has been a noticeable decline coming from the first few episodes in this set, but then things started to get better and funnier as the show went on; It seemed the season took a while to find its legs.
As you can see, the SpongeBob has always been trying something new: We get an entire episode focused on Spongebob's silly laugh (see Funny Pants), and a sixth Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episode, which although it's not as good as the other MM&BB episodes, I still find it quite funny, because it plays a joke on the stupidity of Hollywood making mediocre movies based on things we know and love; there's also not one, but two episodes that are truly 30 minutes long-Have You Seen This Snail and Dunces and Dragons-and not marred half the half-hour episode by the annoying Patchy the Pirate; Mr. Krabs does something to his restaurant, the Krusty Krab, by selling it to sludge-making food company in Selling Out, and turning the restaurant into a hotel in one of the funniest episodes ever, Krusty Towers; And we finally get to see what happens when Patrick becomes as smart as a scientist in Patrick Smartpants, and what happens when SpongeBob and Squidward "stick together" in an experimental accident in SquidBob TentaclePants, claimed by SpongeBob's voice Tom Kenny as his favorite episode. There's still plenty more content to check out in this set.
In addition, the set also includes a behind-the-scenes featurette on the voices behind the SpongeBob cast, and two animatics of the episodes Fear of a Krabby Patty and Dunces and Dragons. Although all this seems really good, I am quite confused; this set contains half the season when already the previous three DVD sets came out with three full seasons. Paramount should've waited for the show to complete its full season and realeased that full season on DVD then. But either way, I hope the set comes at a reasonable price, just like the other sets."
WHAT A RIP-OFF!!!!!!!!
Michael Res | Hammond, IN USA | 11/03/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Season 4, Volume 1 of Spongebob was released prior to my writing this review and I looked it over at Target so I do actually know what I'm talking about. My low rating has nothing to do with Spongebob in general nor has it anything to do with the episodes contained in this half season. The rating is directed at Paramount, the manufacturers of this product and the fact that they are selling half a season(half as many episodes on half as many discs) for the same price as each of the three previous complete seasons. The list price on each of the complete seasons that have been released so far has been $36.98. Each of the complete seasons includes approximately 40 episodes on 4 discs. Season 4, Volume 1 also lists at $36.98 and it only includes 20 episodes(actually, it's 18 but two of them are double-length episodes) on 2 discs(Amazon's product information for this set claims it's 1 disc and another customer reviewer claims it's 3 discs. Both are incorrect. It's positively 2 discs). The logical conclusion that can be drawn here is that when they release volume 2 of Season 4 it will include 20 more episodes and cost another $36.98. In other words you will have spent twice as much for the complete 4th season as you did for any of the previous complete seasons. If Paramount was in such a hurry to get these 20 episodes out(which I'm sure they were since Chri$tma$ is right around the corner) why didn't they put it out at half the cost of a complete season? I guarantee that if all of us suckers go out and buy this(which I must admit, if I can't find any alternative I will because I LOVE Spongebob) and Volume 2 when it's released, any subsequent seasons will be packaged and released in the same way and you'll be able to count on spending twice as much for each upcoming season as you did for any of the first three seasons. The only assumption I'm making is that Volume 2 will contain 20 episodes and cost the same as Volume 1 but I think that's a pretty logical conclusion."
Michael Res | 11/19/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I love Spongebob and i have the three seasons on DVD, but this is bad. I don't know why the episodes are so bad. The re are a few good ones, like krusty towers and uh, well... thats mostly it. Some of my friends like to watch spongebob with me, but i feel embarrassed when i watch these with them. The storylines can be hard to follow and there are corny songs in some episodes. Very few episodes are funny at all. If you compare classics like "Pickles" and "Band Geeks" to these new episodes, there's no comparison. Patrick smartpants and karate island are waaaaaay overated. Also, on the best day ever thing on Nick, I was in utter disbelief that with the exception of the camping episode, all of the top ten was season 4. NO ONE i know likes these new episodes. I feel like the "best day ever" was an advertisement, not honest voting results. I'd chose ANY episode from season 1 over #5 "Ghost host". Also, whats with this vloume one crap. We should be charged WAAAAAAY less for low quality AND quantity (amount of episodes). Did Hilenberg run out of ideas? Dunces and dragons's humor was the kind where you could tell they were trying to be funny, but you either didn't get the joke or it just wasn't funny. I think I have made my point clear. I 100% recommend seasons 1, 2, and 3. I 100% DON'T recommend this garbage. Another thing, these new episodes like "bummer vacation" not on vol. 1 are just as bad.
Oh, i gave it 2 stars because despite my heavy critisism, it's not THAT bad."