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SpongeBob SquarePants
Home Sweet Pineapple

review by Zach B.

 

 

Running Time: 95 minutes

Starring the voices of: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence

 

 

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $16.99

Features: Cast Bios

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo Surround, English Closed Captions, Episode Selections

Released: January 4th, 2005

 

 

I've gone on before on this very website about animation transending barriers. When people used to think of animation, they merely thought of it as a form of entertianment for children. However, in recent years, people have finally realized that animation is not just for kids and put that to use in various adult animated television series, adult animated movies and more. However, there has always been a select group of animated work that appeals to all audiences. During the 1990s, the empire that is Disney did this with their theatrical feature films be it hand drawn or computer animated (while more CGI films are popping up and raking in the dough from other studios and more adult audiences). More recently, however, television has been debuting and featuring cartoons aimed at both children and adults. Shows such as "Samurai Jack" and a lot of the cartoons made for Cartoon Network have been attracting a wider audience. More recently, however, Nickelodeon's own "SpongeBob SquarePants" has been breaking revolutionary barriers as far as demographics and popularity goes.

"SpongeBob Squarepants" was originally aimed for kids, but for some reason, older audiences have tuned in and can't resist its charm (myself included). The show, which debuted during the summer of 1999 on cable's Nick, has been giving its own "Rugrats" a run for its money and is arguably becoming more popular than their decade-old-plus Nicktoon. "SpongeBob" has only seemed to really gain its popularity in the past year or so. Just like "Rugrats," the show had a stable audience at first, but then blew up into something much more as time went on (a "SpongeBob" flick is due in theaters sometime in 2004). More than a third of its audience is made up of adults, even. But what makes "SpongeBob" so popular? What is so appealing about this very cartoon show? Let me try and find out why...

In case you are not familiar with the premise, "SpongeBob SquarePants" follows the adventures of a walking and talking sponge named SpongeBob SquarePants in the ocean area of Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob works as a cook at the Krusty Krab, has a pet snail named Gary and is always cheerful. Like most whimisical cartoon heroes, SpongeBob has good intentions but his intentions backfire. Of course, the backfires cause the comedy. Be it SpongeBob helping the lonely Plankton whereas Plankton is using him to get the secret Krabby Patty recipie or SpongeBob not realizing that jokes can grow old... fast. SpongeBob's compaions are his dimwitted friend Patrick Star who lives right near him, Texan squirrel Sandy and the easily annoyed Squidward, as well as his boss Mr. Krabs. So, adventures usually revolve around them, though Sandy and Mr. Krabs are more supporting characters and don't pop up as often as Squidward or Patrick.

I guess what appeals to me about "SpongeBob SquarePants" is that it's quite a unique show. I can't think of another show in history that was animated and its main star was a living sponge. The characters are well created and fun to watch, while the setting and idea of this weird, imaginary world on the ocean floor is pretty striking and easy to get into. But I think what kids and adults enjoy is the broad, weird and wacky humor the show features. It's more slapstick and crazy, and never tends to go over the top. Or maybe it's the same appeal that I have about the show being something different, and that it doesn't fail in what it creates and extends. It's just highly imaginative, original and entertaining.

For some reason, kids do identify with SpongeBob. However, SpongeBob is an adult. He lives alone, he works at a job and doesn't go to school or anything. Yet in many ways, he is a kid. He has those good intentions, he is playful and likes fun. He has this kid demeanor that I think younger audiences enjoy. He just acts like one big kid, and that's part of the fun I suppose.

The latest collection of the show, entitled "Home Sweet Pineapple," collects eight cartoons: "Home Sweet Pineapple" (where worms wreck SpongeBob's beloved home), "Band Geeks," "Sandy, SpongeBob and the Worm," "Ripped Pants," "Sandy's Rocket," "Culture Shock," "MuscleBob BuffPants" and "Employee Of The Month." And yes, you may have noticed that "Ripped Pants" appeared on the very first SpongeBob DVD release, nearly three years ago.

 

The episodes are in 1.33:1 full screen, and as usual Paramount has done a very good job with the transfers. If you've seen another SpongeBob DVD, then you know what to expect here. Other than some shimmering and noise, the show looks pretty good. Color saturation is expansive and bold enough and detail is quite fine. Overall the transfers are pretty sharp and colorful.

 

The English Stereo Surround tracks are more than ample enough for the episodes, and yet again, really do impress despite the limits in dynamics. The show's background music and theme song come through with a lot of pizzaz, dialogue is easy to hear and the sound effects are rather splendid and really hold their own (check out the slurping sounds the worms make when they eat something). Nicely done. English closed captions are also on this release.

 

Taken from a new SpongeBob book, there are Cast Bios for the show's main and supporting characters. These are all simple and fun, but fans of the show won't discover anything new here. Simply put, this extra is a plug for the book. Touché, Paramount.

 

It's still the same situation with these "SpongeBob" DVDs: good presentations of episodes, lack of extras and a somewhat steep retail price (and now even worse: and episode that has appeared on another SpongeBob DVD collections). Once again, die-hard fans of the show only.