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(NOTE: There are those I already *know* I will watch in the near future, so Nightmare On Elm Street 5-7 are not on the list)
Anyone is free to offer me more suggestions.
NOTE: If I pick fewer episodes from some seasons, it doesn't neccessarily represent how good those seasons are or not, it's just harder to pick top 10 episodes from them.
Note: Only movies I rated at least 5.5 or higher in entertainment value can be on a list like this (although the lowest here is a 6). Movies rated lower might still be funny to some extent, but more questionable. Also, at least half of the movie has to be at least amusing, or it's just a bad movie with a handful of good "comedy".
(It has to be mostly unintentional, so the two Jack Frost movies as well as Leprechaun sadly couldn't make the list)
Two Squiggys for the price of one
Squiggy's sister Squendolyn is coming to town. Looking out for his sister he wants to get her a date and asks Carmine to take her out. He refuses at first, but relents when he's offered 100 dollars. But once he starts spending time with her he can't stand her. Will Carmine pull through?
David L. Lander gets fairly underused in this season. Given that the cast is now smaller you naturally think he'd be given more to do.
Thankfully this episode gives him some great moments to show off his talent. The premise might seem a little out-there, but it's not the first time they do a story revolving around a lookalike double (The Other Woman). And Lander manages to make every scene as Squendolyn a riot.
Carmine's attempts to avoid her are very funny, especially when Squendolyn develops a crush on him. You understand his discomfort to an extent. She's not exactly the most attractive woman in the world, and just like Squiggy she's eccentric and weird. Not wanting to be cold he tries his best to live with the situation, even though he clearly wants out.
I like the conversation between Squendolyn and Laverne when she's gushing about Carmine. Laverne showing the kind of seductive dance Shirley used to do to seduce him is a sweet tribute. It shows how she picked up a few life lessons from her friend. It's kinda sad at the same time though since that makes you really miss her.
When Carmine and Squendolyn get invited to a party is when he finally cracks. A lot of hungry women start flirting with him and he's forced to turn them all down. Once Squiggy arrives (being surprisingly smooth by the way) and tells him he spent all the money he was gonna get however Carmine decides he's gonna do whatever he wants and ditch his sister.
Maybe he didn't have the nicest time, but this puts ol' Carm pretty low on the decency scale. Squendolyn is still a sweet person underneath, and getting left in the middle of a date is humilating. It's amazing how even with the mirror counterpart to Squiggy, Lander gives her a compassionate and empathetic moment where you start to look beyond her appearance and just see her a human being who wants to be loved.
Carmine rightfully feels guilty once he realizes what a blow this is to her self esteem, and tries to make amends to her before she goes back. When he tells her that she's a beautiful and sensitive woman, the words struggle coming out his mouth, like he can't believe what he's saying. But afterwards when he's talking to Laverne he notices how much of an impact she's left on him. He's always gone for looks before, not thinking deeper about whether their company is intellectually or emotionally meaningful (Shirl being the major exception obviously).
When Squiggy arrives at Cowboy Bill's with two ladies yet again (Damn, what a playboy this man is today!) Carmine tells him what he's learned, so Squiggy tells them that he won't join them since he thinks their insides are ugly. Squiggy assuming Carmine thinks they're awful people just because they're hot is really funny to me.
Definitely better than you'd expect.
The only sore spot in the trilogy
Ed and Lorraine are dealing with the demonic possession of a young boy named David. They fight with tooth and nail to get the demon out and succeed, but their troubles only worsen once it takes over Arne's body instead...
The biggest problem with the movie starts in the very opening scene. The openings for the first two Conjurings are really creepy and makes you at unease for what kind of horrors will come next. But here it feels like the same kind of exorcism scene everyone seems to do ever since The Exorcist came out. Except instead of harrowing and unsettling it's over-the-top in the cheesiest possible way.
And that's the kind of "scares" you will get through the whole thing. Not only were the jumpscares far too many, but so easily telegraphed as well. Every false moment of relief you can tell will be interrupted by someone popping up when they turn around or someone grabs them with their rusty claws. I'm not against all forms of jumpscares (I know very well James Wan used them as well), but there has to be some kind of tension, a chilling atmosphere that make the jumpscares when they do actually happen pay off. It's a sign of laziness the director can't let the audience get a little nervous before they drop the big monster on them. Speaking of the monsters as well, how come that every bad horror movie has really fake-looking digital effects? You're too distracted by how ridiculous it looks to get any kind of reaction out of them. Crooked Man and The Nun both felt real and really got under your skin. The Occultist was a decent villain, and Eugenie Bondurant does a good enough job at making her threatening, but even she is still a victim of occasional poor CGI work.
But what about the story? Does it make up for the lack of scares? There is potential with a case where someone claims to be controlled by the devil after committing a murder, and whether or not you can make it hold up as a legal defense. The legal aspect is so irrelevant to the plot at hand however that the movie doesn't remember to bring it up again until the ending. Instead we're dealing with a mystery where the connections are too loose to be interesting. The weirdest plot twist has to be when they build up Kastner (a former priest) to possibly be connected to a Satanic cult, and then it turns out he's just the stepfather of the woman who turned into a demonic creature. So what was the point of all the scenes between him and the Warrens? Just pure exposition?
There are still a few positives. Ed and Lorraine save this movie from reaching the bottom, and it's largely due to Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga. You love seeing them as these characters, and even though the whole backstory of them falling in love is underexplained (Are they implying their love was forbidden or something?), their chemistry is very believable and makes for some of the few suspenseful moments in the film. When Lorraine has to cover in fear as a possessed Ed tries to strike her repeatedly with a hammer you really feel bad for her since she has to run for her life from someone she loves.
Ruari O'Connor and Sarah Catherine Hook, even though their characters are not all that interesting (Before Arne gets possessed by the devil we don't know much about him at all other than him thinking about proposing to his girlfriend) both do a good job. Julian Hillard is also solid as David, the boy whose waterbed was probably bought at IKEA.
The ending is okay, I guess. A moment of sweetness between Ed and Lorraine. But the real highlight is the credits, where we get to hear an audio tape of the case this movie is based on. Even though I'm not a believer of the occult or anything, that's the only part I actually found creepy, if not for the sounds alone.
I should've known I was in for a letdown when James Wan jumped ship, but I was hoping the change in director wouldn't affect the movie's quality too much, and the tone would generally still be in the spirit of the first two Conjurings.
Instead, this is just another modern horror film without much style or class.
Krabby Patties without the patties
After discovering the grease trap is full, Mr. Krabs orders SpongeBob and Squidward to clean it out. After dumping the grease at The Chum Bucket though, he accidentally gives Plankton an idea to revilatize his business.
This isn't the funniest episode ever, but I found it enjoyable due to the story. The satire of industries such as McDonald's and other fastfood industries happily endangering the public's health just to make money is very well-executed. SpongeBob of course is the voice of reason, and realizes eventually that Mr. Krabs is putting people's lives in danger.
While this isn't the most joke-packed story however, there were still some funny parts in it. Squidward vanishing into thin air when Mr. Krabs wants him to help clean out the grease trap at no extra pay is an amusingly surreal moment. The names he and and Plankton uses to thinly disguise products that are nothing more than pure grease really shows there is no low they can't stoop to when they're at their greediest.
The biggest highlight is SpongeBob trying to inform the health inspector that Mr. Krabs and Plankton are serving people grease. It's so hilarious how both of them go out of their way to try and shut them up, even going so far as dumping him in a trash can and rolling it off a cliff. When down on the ground though he still manages to get the message through with his now frail voice. The health inspector closes both resturants and orders the owners to clean up the grease.
Due to SpongeBob being absorbent, cleaning up the grease proves to be easy. Patrick licking it off him and SpongeBob's ensuing panic at him doing so made me chuckle.
SpongeBob decides to quit his job after he thinks Mr. Krabs is about to fire him.
I like the first act with SpongeBob worrying about being "the little guy" that Krabs is gonna let go, even trying to stretch himself out as looking taller than Squidward. While it's kinda unusual they reveal so early that Mr. Krabs is actually just letting him pet bird go, it does make for a funny scene later on when SpongeBob gleefully tells him he's enjoying his new fresh start. The old crab just gets confused and has no idea what he's talking about.
The plot isn't exactly original (SpongeBob trying to find something new he's good at, his TV star aspirations), but it still works well. Patrick has an amusing role in trying to helping him find a new job (Not to mention adds to the bizarre products the series is known for with Drinkable Sausage) and the final scene featuring the job SpongeBob winds up having is hilarious.
Hans (the giant hand) just grabbing him and forcing him to clean the most unsanitary, horrible places, combined with a sleazy director makes it a very memorable scene. If I have any flaws with this episode it's that this scene overshadows a lot of the other jokes, even though they are mostly amusing. But since I was engaged and didn't find myself getting bored watching it, I can't complain. Hans telling SpongeBob to keep quiet while he reads a newspaper at the toilet is a good conclusion gag.
Mmm, try again.
Someone's In The Kitchen With Sandy:
After accidentally getting stuck in Sandy's space suit, Plankton gets the idea to steal her fur and imitate her so he can get close to the Krabby Patty formula.
Wow. Yikes. This is one of the worst Plankton stories ever. Nothing about the plot makes sense. First of all, how can anyone be dumb enough to believe that a creepy-looking eyeless pile of flesh is the real Sandy? I can buy maybe SpongeBob, but Mr. Krabs should be smarter than to fall for that.
Secondly, why didn't Sandy put on her spacesuit? She wouldn't have to suffer the ridicule of the town and could get her fur back with no problem.
Thirdly, she's not even naked. Why are the citizens calling her naked when some of them actually wear less clothes than she does? It's so god-damn stupid I don't even know how they didn't see how faulty the logic there was.
And you look aside the flaws in the plot, is there anything even remotely entertaining to be found here? Well, Plankton's interaction with Larry was amusing. Mr. Krabs wearing a maid outfit is worth a smile at least. SpongeBob showing Plankton a part of the contract that he can't give him the formula even if they are "closer than two catfish in a skillet" gave me a chuckle.
Other than those few moments, the humor is godawful. Sandy getting bullied by the town is not only tiresome and as I mentioned earlier illogical, but it's also depressing. I don't come to SpongeBob to feel like I'm watching a showcase of schoolyard bullies picking on someone for no good reason.
The scenes with Plankton aren't much better. Mr. Krabs leaving the formula in plain sight for him to steal while obviously partly intended as a joke still feels very lazy since it doesn't create much of a struggle for Plankton besides SpongeBob's incredible obliviousness. SpongeBob giving him cooking lessons is one of the worst excuses for filler they've ever used. Every single second of it is boring as hell, and makes a usually funny and cheery character surprisingly dull.
Eventually Plankton has had it with SpongeBob telling him repeatedly to put on a hamburger bun correctly and snatches the formula. Sandy bursts into The Krusty Krab and manages to tackle herse... I mean Plankton in her fur and traps him in a jar of mustard. It starts to burn him like acid and has him screaming in agony. Somehow this punishment seems a little too sadistic in nature. But here comes the biggest insult, the main reason I hate this segment as much as I do: despite catching the thief for them Sandy gets arrested! WHY? They don't even thank her for trapping Plankton inside the jar and reduce the punishment to a fine or something. Nope, instead she gets treated like the real criminal, and we're supposed to find this funny I guess. I don't. I think it's an appallingly stupid ending to an already stupid episode.
The Inside Job:
Feeling burnt out lately, Plankton does nothing but sit around and watch TV. Karen convinces him to get out of the slump and comes up with a plan so brilliant that even he didn't think of it: to get inside of Mr. Krabs' brain and find out the ingredients for the formula there!
Now this is more like it. If SITKWS wasted an aweome character, this one understands why he's still compelling, and how even an age-old format can work with the right mind and idea for it.
At first we are treated to the sight of a Plankton lazily sitting on the couch watching a hamster run around in a wheel. It's funny seeing him passive in a blissful way, when he's otherwise either moping around or coming up with evil plans. Karen is the one to give him the boost that he needs.
I love the sight gag of Plankton getting ready to crash into Mr. Krabs' brain and extract secrets, only for it to turn out to be a cardboard cutout. Somehow Krabs standing completely still doing nothing didn't leave him suspicious in any way. He get inside SpongeBob's brain instead, much to his chagrin. But Karen tells ol' Plank not to give up just yet. He just has to steer him into giving him the formula instead.
After mixturing with the brain too much, SpongeBob goes completely blind. Plankton is naive to this and is visibly confused when he hears him squirt soap into the Krabby Patty. In the end, he's come up with a patty more disgusting than the one Krabs made out of sponges once.
Once SpongeBob gains his sight back and sees to his horror what he's serving the customer, he asks Krabs to remind him of the Krabby Patty formula. This entire scene had me dying with laughter. Since Plankton messes up the hearing as well Krabs has to tell him the fomula over and over again, even resorting to screaming it through a megaphone. If Plankton didn't hear I guarantee someone else must've. Then as he finally manages to fix the hearing back to normal, Krabs and SpongeBob agree just to the whole thing be since nothing gets communicated anyway. Plankton's reaction to missing such a perfect chance is top-notch.
As a last resort, he just decides to do a deepdive and find out if the formula's available in the memory bank. The visual representation of SpongeBob's mind is to say the least... interesting. He not only has separate parts of the brain marked for completely mundane things, but has an entire room that looks just like his real home, with a Gary and everything. Except Gary of course is made up of brain parts.
This is where things *truly* go awry. You see, he doesn't just access SpongeBob's secret, but actually becomes him. Hearing him do the classic squeaky laugh is really something. And since he isn't Plankton anymore he points out to Karen that bringing the formula to The Chum Bucket would be stealing. Exasperated Karen decides this plan is doomed to fail and ejects him out of the body. At the wrongest possible moment Patrick enters The Krusty Krab. Plankton lands on his forehead and transforms into looking and sounding like Patrick.
Plantrick having no idea what Karen's talking about when she shows her disappointment is a perfect ending. Just like with SpongeBob, Mr. Lawrence really captures Patrick's personality and tone to a tee.
What a bizarrely mixed bag. The first segment is one of the worst in the entire series, while the second shows why SpongeBob is still a valued part of my calendar every week. Well, that's how it goes sometimes.
Stucks to be you
Pearl is dealing with incessant growing pains, which makes her extremely hungry. But no matter how much food Mr. Krabs "gets" her, nothing seems to help.
This was an enjoyable segment. Mr. Krabs's cheapness showing through is to be expected, but I like how genuinely worried he is about his daughter's health. I like the scene where Mrs. Puff defends herself after he tries to steal what he thinks are peanuts but are actually... birdlike animals? I have no idea what they're supposed to be.
The lie that he tells the cops once they suspect he's up to something is hilarious. Cop scenes in this show can be very annoying, but this is one of the few times where the cops make me laugh. Of course he's Santa Claus, he's carrying a big sack around after all.
Krabs even steals from Squidward's house, who turns out to have some really fancy food. And when that's not enough, he also steals from SpongeBob. I find it adorable that instead of acknowledging he broke into his house he thinks his boss invited himself to a slumber party. Squidward calling the police results in a pretty funny punchline as well, with Mr. Krabs giving one of his gold teeth as a trade. The characters even call out how weird it is that he had a gold tooth all of a sudden.
SpongeBob finds a solution to Pearl's eating problem when he says he can make a Krabby Patty with a secret ingredient that cures her completely. What's the ingredient though, you ask? It's love. The fact that the explanation is so nonsensical followed by the awkward reaction really cracks me up.
There were some surreal visual gags I liked too, such as an uneaten cracker going "What am I, chopped liver?" only for a jar of chopped liver to reply "No, I am." Not to mention Squidward's house saying "Oh well, I needed to lose some weight anyway." Given this is not the first time it's had a life of its own I'm convinced there's something strange going on with his house.
Pearl's characterization is admittedly one-note, but since she was never one of my favorites I didn't see this as a major issue.
Stuck In The Wringer:
SpongeBob gets stuck in the wringer and has a most unlucky day.
This much-despised story is the reason this episode has such a low rating. And I can easily see why. But even though it's plagued with issues I actually believe it had potential.
The jokes in the first half are actually not too bad. Patrick giving a patriotic speech with a large Krabby Patty flag appearing in the background is amusing. I chuckled at The Krusty Krab customer getting hurt first in his foot, then back and face. My favorite gag though is a kid nonchalantly using SpongeBob as a bike rack.
Yet, even the first half still has a problem which makes the episode go downhill later on: Patrick making SpongeBob even more stuck with Forever Glue. He says he's stuck, so Pat helps him by... making him even more stuck? That's so dumb it doesn't even make sense.
The montage at the carnival with Patrick failing miserably to cheer his friend up wasn't entertaining either. You just feel bad for the guy not being able to do anything. Then of course there is the most infamous part of all: SpongeBob lashing out at Patrick for his carelessness, but getting the blame instead. It's clear we are supposed to feel sorry for *Patrick* despite the fact that this is all his fault. One of them says to SpongeBob he deserved to get stuck since he has no heart, which is total bullshi't. I really don't understand what they were thinking here.
Finally, we reach Patrick first ignoring SpongeBob but deciding to check on him anyway after he feels guilty. Despite the fact that the plot is a sad mess at this point I still thought SpongeBob staring at the TV static, then with a weak chuckle saying "I love that part." when it gets turned off was funny. The fake moral lesson once he gets freed is also so dumb it works. People take that part a little too seriously, in my opinion.
But instead of giving us a sigh of relief since SpongeBob's finally out of the wringer, they decide to get him stuck AGAIN with Patrick joining him this time. Then he asks if he should get the glue. So he's not only dumb, but he has the memory of a goldfish too?
It seems like this one was trying to go for frustration humor, but there's a difference between frustrating in a silly, comedic way and frustrating to the point where you annoy the audience. And the emotional conflict it attempts is a failure since it sides with the wrong character.
In general, I don't consider Stuck In The Wringer bottom 10 material, but I can see why someone would. Its worst moments are probably enough for most to call the whole affair a disaster. Growth Spout however is solid and does well with a simple premise, so just stick with that one.
2 shots at fame
Squidward gets upset his favorite show Fab And Fancy gets cancelled (he sure seems to like shows with the word "Fancy" in them), but gets excited once he discovers an easy opportunity to get his own television spot. Unfortunately a certain yellow neighbor risks jeopardizing his chance...
This is a solid Squidward-centric story. Stories where he tries to be successful can be of varying quality, some of them too cruel in their treatment of him. But although he's unlucky here, it's very entertaining and never goes too far.
SpongeBob's enthusiasm and stupidity once he goes to tell Squidward he's on TV, not realizing he's interrupting him right on the air made me chuckle. It's even funnier once Patrick butts in, then accuses his friend of lying when he runs back home and doesn't see himself on the screen since he just ran away from the studio.
The disaster gets even bigger once Squid decides to let the nincompoops assist him just so they'll stop bothering him. We know from MMBB VI to never, ever trust Patrick with a camera. Confusing Squidward for the paintings of him as well as mindlessly wagging the camera up and down. It's not until he literally ties Patrick to the camera that it's finally still. SpongeBob screws up in an amusing way as well by putting the microphone inside his mouth several times.
It collapses entirely once the whole town joins in, for example Mr. Krabs advertising Krusty Krab live on air and Plankton turning his death ray on everything and wrecking the place. Pearl in her cheerleading outfit yelling "Fight, team, fight!" has to be the best part of it though. Not really sure what Sandy was doing however. Her role was a little confusing.
I also thought it was strange Squidward got kicked out of his own house. He could've just been asked to go into a different room. Nevertheless, seeing Zeus The Guitar Lord and the Bikini Bottom residents rocking it out is a fun, energetic ending. You feel a little bad for Squidward sure, but his cockiness throughout makes it feel less jarring to see him lose.
I ♥ Dancing:
SpongeBob realizes how much he loves dancing and starts doing it everywhere he can. A talent scout discovers him and suggests entering a dance competition. Green with jealousy, Squidward is set on making him lose so he won't be able to perform when it's time.
We already saw these two dance in in Slimy Dancing, but that's pretty much where the similarities end. I often find it enjoyable when Squidward is scheming, and his attempts to wear down SpongeBob makes for really good comedy. His absurdly impressive dancing had me laughing the whole time, particularly when he forms a flirty mermaid with the ribbon.
Eventually, Squidward finally thinks of a dance which the sponge can't do, which causes him to collapse from exhaustion. The devious plan worked out perfectly. And indeed, he actually wins the audition. I love how boring and one-note his winning dance is. Something tells me this judge doesn't set very high standards. But lo and behold, Squilliam is here! Although he won the audition, they were only looking for a partner to Squilliam in his show. And not only that, he has to perform that silly dance SpongeBob showed him earlier to absolute perfection. For some reason I found it funnier when Squilliam shows him, just because of that added "UH!" at the end.
SpongeBob is an awfully good sport about losing as well, even sitting in the audience and casually telling Patrick he was up for the part.
Despite the hit-and-miss quality of this season, it's nice to see it start off on a promising note.
Not with a bang, but a wimp
Laverne is dating a new guy. Wheezer is nice and makes her really happy, but one day when a bunch of sleazebags start up trouble he fails to protect her. He feels embarrassed by it and vows to no longer be a wimp.
I really didn't like this episode. Wheezer is a very annoying character who spends every scene pouting over not being strong, calling himself a wimp repeatedly. It's one thing to have low confidence in yourself, but he's so obsessed with living up to a silly macho ideal that he gets on your nerves. Jim Belushi's performance was also weak. He can be funny in the right roles, but here his over-the-top acting only made me dislike the character more.
There is also a dream sequence consisting of someone forcibly dancing with Laverne, then a bunch of other guys trying to dance with her too. Wheezer tries to fight them, but repeatedly fails. All of this is without dialogue. Usually I like this show's parodies of classic media, but this was just a waste of time. I kept waiting for it to end, and it just went on and on.
The saving graces were Laverne and Frank, who thankfully are likable and amusing enough to save it from being bottom of the barrel. I most of all enjoyed the conversation Laverne has with her father trying to convince him to set up a person to fight Wheezer so he gets a chance to protect her. Frank's bewilderment over this odd request is both funny and understandable.
There is also another guy flirting with Laverne with Wheezer once again failing to protect her. The part with her knocking him down on the ground is a truly badass moment.
That dips into another issue I had. Since Laverne is never in much danger (Wheezer should worry about himself more than anything) and is able to fight effortlessly, the stakes become very low. It's hard to sympathize with Wheezer for this reason.
The final scene where the bully comes back and Laverne makes Wheezer think he scared him off just with intimidation made me chuckle. All she had to do was wave her purse and he ran off like a mouse.
This season isn't a trainwreck so far, but this one makes you miss Shirley more than ever. She could liven up even the lesser episodes.
La Verónica (2020)
It's all about the front
Verónica has a big aspiration in life: To gain 2 million followers so she can become the beauty company Beaut's next icon. But in the process of achieving that goal, she also jeopardizes her marriage and family life.
I'll be honest, when I saw the description "Her life falls apart, one post at a time.", I thought it would be an annoying exercise in portraying shallowness in such a flashy manner it would feel like nothing more than a vanity piece, kinda like The Bling Ring.
But when I was finally forced to give it a chance, it turned out to be have much more brimming under the surface. You see, Verónica is not just an attention seeker, she's a vacuous sponge who drags everyone down with her in the process. No matter whether it's a friend or a family member, if she's not able to use them to the benefit of her popularity, they're worthless to her. Everyone has to conform to her standards instead of the opposite.
Her relationship with husband Javier is a joke. He constantly has to be at the center of her attention, even though he has a very demanding job as a football player and has to help, or more accurately be the *only* one taking care of their daughter. To make it worse she is constantly jealous despite his incredible faithfulness to her. The scene where she accuses him of blowing a kiss at someone (which he did because she was a fan), then exaggerates the story more and more with every sentence is one of the funniest parts of the film. Or how about when she makes him cheat on her just to get it overwith, but cries like crazy because he was enjoying it? You can really not blame Javier for becoming exhausted with her drama.
She's also jealous at the attention given to the baby, without once considering they'd be closer to each other if she took care of it too. The carelessness she shows towards her child Amanda is the main reason this is such a disturbing character. Whenever she cries she puts on deafening music to cancel out the noise instead of comforting it, and even when it's not crying she still feels nothing but absolute contempt. We are given details on how she had another daughter in the past that died, which an investigator suspects she was responsible for. The script does try to misdirect us a little, but the confirmation that she was behind the death is not a surprise. What does jolt you however is the way she was killed. It was more than pure neglect, she *wanted* this child to die. It brings another creepy layer to the disgusting behavior she displays towards Amanda, and brings about the tragic climactic point where she decides to repeat her past "mistake" once again.
The acting from Mariana Di Girólamo is superb. Her facial expressions and body language really sell you on self-obsessed Verónica is, and fully convinces you there's no limit whatsoever to how far her villainy can go. She's pitiable, yet unlikable enough that you don't start to feel bad for her. Even when cornered by her investigator she coldly issues a threat that she will turn the case around to make him look like the bad guy instead. The evil circle of vacuousness never ends.
The directing is always focused on the characters facing the camera and very little else, which might sound unimaginative, but is actually the most suitable look for this story.
An engrossing character drama with a touch of black comedy, La Verónica is one of the most surprising gems from The Gothenburg Film Festival.
The beginning of the infamous eighth season
Shirley arrives home to ecstatically tell Laverne some news: She's getting married. Laverne is initially happy for her, but starts to worry about ending up alone after getting taunted. And how will Carmine react once he finds out about the marriage?
Let's get the negatives out of the way: It's difficult to buy into this relationship at first. Not because I don't believe Shirley wouldn't eventually fall in love with and marry a doctor, but the fact that this is someone who we've never even met nor heard of before creates a level of confusion.
And if you thought that was much, Carmine met someone and is in a serious relationship as well. I think they missed an opportunity at an interesting conflict by only having Shirley finding someone new while Carmine still has feelings for her. It feels a bit forced, like they want to avoid the whole thing feeling too depressing.
Lastly, if Walter is getting shipped off to sea and Shirley stays with Laverne for a year more until he's back, how will they explain her leaving earlier than that?
But thankfully, the weaknesses in the story are overcome by the laughs. Maybe it's because this is one of her last showings, but I continue to be impressed by Cindy Williams' gift of making every little gesture and line reading funny. Her sudden shock and disgust at Carmine finding someone new even though she was just telling him remorsefully she's getting married is a stitch. Not to mention her sudden mood shift shortly after when she says she's happy for him. I'm gonna miss the dynamic between them almost as much as her banter with Laverne.
Frank serves a good role as well, being so enthusiastic about Shirley's marriage like she was his second daughter. The part where he starts to cry just before the ceremony is some hilarious physical acting from Phil Foster.
Lenny and Squiggy (who sadly say goodbye to Shirl even earlier than Laverne) get a lot of great scenes. It's both surprising and kinda sweet that they are genuinely happy for her sake instead of getting jealous and upset. Though Squiggy is still somewhat suspicious about her new partner, which is just what you'd expect from him. The remarks they make about Laverne though somewhat cruel are still funny, such as Squiggy's nonsensical joke that he's gonna be riding on a dinosaur 100 years from now.
The wedding itself is perfectly absurd. Walter got into an accident and broke every bone in his body, so he's all wrapped up in bandages. Essentially, Shirley's marrying the mummy. The priest (played by character actor Richard Stahl) has a very memorable line:
"You may now kiss the bride... if you're able.
Squiggy compares the husband to The Mummy's Bride and starts making ghostly noises, which scares Lenny. Eventually he goes so overboard he frantically runs out of the room. Gotta love the silly games they have with each other.
Most importantly, what makes this episode work is the friendship and respect Laverne and Shirley show towards each other. This has been evident from the start, but is extra important to be reminded of towards the end. When they hug and wish each other luck in life, it feels so painfully real and sad. This is pretty much the end of an era. It's not gonna feel the same when I'll have to watch Laverne living all on her own.
Zooned out during the first story, the second one is funnier
Who R Zoo?
SpongeBob gets kicked out of the zoo after getting too close to the animals. Instead of pouting however, he decided to build a zoo on his own - made out of bubbles.
This is a fairly mediocre segment. While the plot sounds fun on paper, the problems that seem to permeate the newer seasons are present here: the music is way too loud and frequent, the facial expressions are needlessly exaggerated and often used in place of actual jokes.
And when I mean that the music overpowers the lines, I'm not kidding. There were times where a character said something I completely missed due to not being able to hear a word. I thought the point of crisper audio was to make the dialogue clearer.
SpongeBob is also overexcited to an annoying degree, where it seems like he's on caffeine pills all the time.
Still, a few chuckles manage to come through all the noise. I liked Plankton being terrified of the zoo animals with Karen dismissively calling them cute only to be attacked and start panicking herself. Patrick hiding inside of SpongeBob's body was one of the few visual gags that worked.
Other than that, there's not much that stands out.
A health inspector comes to The Krusty Krab to see if everything is in order. When he arrives he has a shocking announcement to make: One of the people currently residing there are sick! Everyone are put under quarantine. Which one of them could be infected?
Oh yes, folks. I'm covering the infamous banned episode that Nickelodeon doesn't want you to see. The only reason I'm even able to talk about it right now is because someone was actually able to find an English version of it. With all that controversy aside, is it worth watching in the end?
Well, it's certainly a better attempt at an infection panic story than Fungus Among Us. What makes it work so well is that instead of focusing on how gross the disease is, the humor mostly stems from the interplay and reactions from the characters. Mr. Krabs shows to have a screw loose right away, where he tells a story of how he once locked a sick crewmember on his ship in the freezer. When SpongeBob asks if he was ever let out, Krabs vaguely answers that "someone" probably did. Amusingly dark joke.
Plankton, who was hiding in one of the cups, doesn't care about the quarantine and heads out of the resturant. Only to immediately get blasted with a flamethrower. Mr. Lawrence nails the joke with his usually hilarious screaming.
Mr. Krabs is so intent on reusing his old trick that he asks the other five left at the place (SpongeBob, Patrick, Pearl, Squidward and Mrs. Puff) if any of them would be willing to volunteer for a trip to the freezer. Jesus, Krabs. The ever so noble SpongeBob relents after seeing everyone fighting with each other. The mood becomes melodramatic and he asks them to remember him as full of life. Mr. Krabs interrupting by shutting the door made me chuckle. Mrs. Puff says she can't look, but asks if it still can be described how it's like to be there. That's very cold. No pun intended.
We get a funny reveal where it turns out that the freezer is a giant fun winter wonderland where SpongeBob can ski and do all sorts of fun things.
Patrick is tempted to join the sponge after seeing that he's having ice cream. He comes back, but Krabs is horrified at how infected he looks. He forcefully throws him back into the freezer. Shortly after, Pearl calls out Squidward for scratching his arm and says he's the sick one. Following her daddy's paranoid footsteps, it seems. The best part though has to be how Mrs. Puff gets thrown in just for yawning. Noboby can make a single bodily movement without suspicion at this point.
Finally, Pearl gives Krabs money back from the mall since she didn't spend all of it. If you thought he was crazy before, right now he's so frantic about the Clam Flu that he berates her for accepting change covered with germs. Well, maybe on second thought he's being sensible. There are things in the world more important than money.
Inside the freezer, Mrs. Puff makes Pearl come to the realization that it's Mr. Krabs who has the Clam Flu. Squidward demands they take action, but SpongeBob wants to stay. Until the ol' squid reminds him he'll never be able to make Krabby Patties again.
Once the five of them band together to catch Mr. Krabs we get an energtic chase sequence. Unlike WRZ?, the quick pacing and hectic music fits since the story's been naturally building up to a crazy finale.
The character animation of Mr. Krabs as SpongeBob tries to retrieve him from under the grill is pretty funny. His worn demeanor looks even more demented when his body's scrunched.
After a while, Mr Krabs crashes into a window and a garbage can falls down on Mrs. Puff. Due to her inflatable nature, she managed to spread garbage across the entire resturant. The health inspector comes by and is about to tell them that he actually held the chart upside down and no one there is sick at all. But when he sees everyone got infected by *other* diseases instead he not only quarantines the resturant, but instructs his workers to drop it somewhere safer. It falls down on The Chum Bucket. I feel like they could've ended on a stronger joke than that. We've already seen Plankton's eatery destroyed as a final punchline before.
There are a few issues such as the unfunny (though I guess somewhat necessary) grossout moments, and the pace while much calmer could nevertheless stand to be toned down a little. But overall, I enjoyed Kwarantined Krab. The coincidences to the ongoing pandemic will unnerve some people, but if you can look past that this is still nothing more than a wackily entertaining SpongeBob toon. While the apprehension towards airing it on TV is unsurprising, it was unfair to exclude it from the latest season box set. Hopefully these final words will be outdated in the future with the hopes that this episode no longer gets treated the way Mr. Krabs treats his crew: Like the plague.
This slumber party is far from snoozeworthy
The Slumber Party:
After Pearl forces her dad out of the house to enjoy a slumber party, Mr. Krabs orders SpongeBob to spy on her.
This is one of the season's highpoints for sure. Immediately you start chuckling at the sight of Mr. Krabs falling asleep in front of the TV looking like a worn-out middleage bachelor, and it only gets better once he tries to control Pearl's sleepover. His idea of snacks are a bunch of crackers with a glass of water, and additional ketchup packages as condiments. Then he puts up a giant sign outside listed with a ton of authoritarian rules. Some of these rules are amusingly ridiculous, such as "No rhubarb and strawberry pies" and "No exchanging of underwear garments". Pearl understandably gets infuriated by this and kicks him out.
Mr. Krabs goes over to SpongeBob's house to ask for help. SpongeBob mistakenly thinks he's come over for a sleepover and literally shoots up into the air like a rocket with joy. The animation in that sequence is enjoyably energetic.
The cheesy horror movie SpongeBob and Krabs watch on TV with teenagers turning into zombies is appropriately cheesy and silly. But the old crab is more horrified by the destruction of property than the actual zombies, which leads him destroy SpongeBob's house as demonstration of how it could happen to him too. The lack of self-awareness on his part and SpongeBob somehow not minding that his home got turned into a total wreck makes this the most hilarious part of the entire episode.
We then cut what we assums is SpongeBob in disguise calling herself Girly Teengirl, claiming to come from Farawayville. Pearl and her friends chase away her away, which leaves her running off in tears. Krabs and Sponge then arrive, wondering who that was. Tom Kenny's delivery on SpongeBob's response "I don't know, but she is uuuugly" gave me a big laugh.
The actual plan is for him to pose as a pizza delivery salesman, which leads to Pearl and the gals putting him down in the box as a pizza. He gets sent back to Mr. Krabs. Krabs not realizing the "pizza" is his employee, but then casually continuing to eat him anyway is some classic subtle humor.
SpongeBob returns to the party once again, this time as a piano salesman. This plan fails even quicker, with the girls dropping a piano at the end. Finally, he comes there as himself, begging to be let in and get to prove how fun he really is. The fact that Pearl has to tell her friends not to pour hot oil on him is darkly comic. He gets 10 seconds to prove his worth, but they are still satisfied and throw him down into the root beer cellar. Poor guy.
But (un)fortunately, he gets the idea to drink as much root beer as he possibly can, thinking it will be the ultimate chance to show he knows how to party. He drinks a bit too much however and turns into a terrifying blubbering creature which the Pearl and the others think is a zombie. And just like in the horror movie, the house also gets destroyed.
Fed up with her dad after his repeated attempts to control the slumber party, she steals his money to host a private beach party as punishment. SpongeBob trying to cheer Krabs up by offering him a root beer is amusingly endearing.
Hellbent on making Gary win The Bikini Bottom Pet Show, he tries to prop him up as much as he can, which the snail is less than happy about.
This is not the most memorable ever, but still amusing enough for its runtime. The pretentious owner and SpongeBob's naivety over how Gary doesn't want to be part of the competition makes for some solid gags. I think they strike a decent balance making SpongeBob oblivious, but not to the point where he is unbearable. He is clearly not hurting Gary on purpose, and his euphoria over how happy of a day it will be if he and Gary win makes his overeagerness understandable.
Plus what he does is nothing compared to the other owners. One of them putting on very ill-fitting sunglasses over his snail's eyes looks incredibly painful. The over-the-top cruelty displayed is funny, albeit in a shocking way.
SpongeBob and Patrick go to the contest together, but only one of them gets to come in. Patrick's meltdown over being kept behind the red rope is the starfish at his wacky best.
After getting his protests ignored for too long, Gary steps up to the podium and starts ranting about the injustice done to him and the others by their owners. I was worried he was going to start talking, but thankfully it's all in snail language. This results in an entertaining over-the-top riot where every snail retaliates and starts attacking their owners. One of them getting too small sunglasses put on the same way he did it to his snail. SpongeBob realizes his mistake and apologizes to Gary. After the winner is announced he thinks that Gary is the one who won. But instead it was actually Patrick, who got in by dressing as a snail. He barks like a dog since apparently he forgot how they sound. I'm not that big on this ending gag. It felt stupid more than anything else.
Overall, Grooming Gary is a somewhat underrated segment which is not quite as hard to watch as it could've been. It never goes too far in showing Gary's agony, and SpongeBob is characterized just fine. It lacked a bit in humor however, and the story doesn't progress at the quickest pace. The Slumber Party is the clear standout, but this one is all right too.
This boat crashes and burns
After trying to get away from an insidiously annoying SpongeBob, Squidward uses his boat as an escape route. When he gets pulled over for speeding however, he's forced to go back to boating school. To his horror, he discovers that a certain yellow menace goes there too...
While not unwatchable to the same degree as Slide Whistle Stooges, this is still an awful episode. Once again SpongeBob is being obnoxious more than endearing, and we just get to see Squidward being tormented to the point going nuts with no clever jokes or anything to make up for it. If anything it's simply depressing. When he sees that SpongeBob attends boating school too, he literally gets so stressed out about it that he cries.
In the classrom everything moves at a really slow pace for some reason, where we get a lengthy scene with Squidward explaining in detail why he has to go to boating school, and then SpongeBob being offered to give his own side of the story. The punchline is amusing to be fair, but not enough so to warrant being dragged out this much.
The worst thing however is how SpongeBob has now made the full-fledged transformation into stalker. The quick joke where he was standing outside of Squidward's house for 3 days in House Fancy or "I like Squidward" in 20,000 Patties Under The Sea was fine and amusing since it didn't take up the whole plot.
When they base a whole episode around that however, it becomes creepy and annoying really fast. SpongeBob staring at Squidward in an obsessed manner while breathing in the most unsettling manner possible not just once, but *thrice* has to be one of the worst jokes of the series. One of the few times I actually shuddered instead of laughing at something that apparently was supposed to be funny.
And when it's lunchtime Squidward can't even eat his lunch without being bothered. He has to get into a misunderstanding which results in him getting beat up by a muscular brute. Maybe in the right context this might have been chuckleworthy, but after how much he has suffered already this just becomes another annoyance.
When SpongeBob, Mrs. Puff and Squidward start driving together we finally get something else in terms of humor, such as the very random but still amusing scene of a scientist strapping a test subject crazy for potato chips while planning to shrink him. The boating trio get shrunk down instead when they accidentally crash into the lab, though once they fall into a drain and out of a drinking fountain everyone are back to their normal sizes. What a shame. While not original, that could at least have been more enjoyable to watch than what most of the story consists of.
When it's time for the big test, Squidward demands that SpongeBob leaves him the hell alone and for ONCE he finally listens. Unfortunately Squid has no idea what to answer on the questions though, so he begrudgingly asks for help. But since he told him they are no longer "boating buddies" he *of course* has to waste time convincing him they now are.
And just when the bell rings and he had no time to fill out any answers, Mrs. Puff tells him he has to spend another week in boating school. Jesus, you feel so bad for this guy it's painful.
The Krabby Kronicle:
After seeing people line up to buy a tabloid magazine, Mr. Krabs decides to start his own sensationalist newspaper. When the first story SpongeBob brings in is boring though, he forces him to use his "imagination" in order to create articles that bring in the money. Thankfully this segment is much better written than Boating Buddies. It teaches a good lesson about how it's more important to print the truth than coming up with colorful lies.
SpongeBob's first report involving Patrick staring at a lamp post is funny. Mr. Krabs changing it to say Patrick marries the lamp post is even funnier. When Krabs demands that SpongeBob writes the stories to be more interesting, he cleverly phrases it as coming up with practical jokes that everyone will have a good laugh at.
The scenes of everyone partaking in normal activities getting twisted into looking like something else are all pretty clever and enjoyable. My favorite has to be the weird fish in a trenchcoat who for some reason wants to punch Larry The Lobster just once to get to know how it feels like. Obviously this gets subverted into making it look like someone actually beats Larry up. I gotta say though, what a meanspirited gym instructor who kicks a giant muscle mountain out just for getting beaten one single time. Maybe Mr. Krabs is not the only monster here.
Sandy somehow being declared dumb because of a picture where she gleefully chomps into a nut has to be the most hilariously big stretch. The Neptunian Science Committee thinking she doesn't even know how to read made me laugh out loud.
Plankton gets his business closed down after an article says his chum consists of chum from real people. Unlike in Plankton's Regular where he also gets punished unfairly, this instance is amusingly silly in its execution.
After getting fed up with being pressured to make up life-destroying lies, SpongeBob comes up with the biggest story yet: an exposé of his boss's poor treatment of his employee while forcing him to create rumors! Considering how often he blindly follows along on Krabs' plans, it's very satisfying to see him stand up for himself for once. SpongeBob might love his job and devoted to Mr. Krabs like no other, but he still knows right from wrong.
Getting yelled at by all the customers and losing his cash, Krabs is down in the dumps. Until he gets the idea of printing new money using the newspaper press.
Okay, so he didn't learn anything and continues to act like a greedy maniac, but sometimes it's funny to see just how desperate he can get trying to stay on top. My only issue is that SpongeBob should have called out him and say this is wrong too. Patrick showing up having married a lamp post was a good joke to end on though. He's so dumb that he fell for a rumor about himself and made it a reality.
Patty cape, Patty cape, baker's man...
Mr. Krabs has run out of the secret ingredient needed to give Krabby Patties their special taste, and is expecting a new delivery. He orders SpongeBob to guard it carefully so nobody steals it. And yet, someone manages to steal it right under his nose! Who's the culprit?
This was a pretty welldone comical mystery story. SpongeBobs determination as he goes around investigating everyone is a joy to watch. I love when he gets more self confident than usual in order to fullfill a goal. It reminds me a bit of when he was a lawyer in Krabs Vs. Plankton.
Speaking of that, Plankton is naturally the first one to be suspected. He gets caught redhanded eating Krabby Patties cooked by himself... except that he's just been experimenting with different flavors in attempts to figure out what the hidden ingredient is. You gotta feel bad for his complete lack of self awareness in somehow thinking raw sewage would even feasibly measure up to a success.
The second one to be interrogated is Sandy. This is the start of the rollicking running gag where SpongeBob assumes what someone's genius plan was in order to steal the formula. With Sandy he assumes she used an invisibility ray, froze time, shot a laser blast through the suitcase and ran off with the ingredient. Unamused, she tells him to consider the fact that she might have just ordered more food for the winter. She even confronts him with the receipt, which makes SpongeBob recall the large order he had to prepare earlier. It's highly unusual for her to buy tons of Krabby Patties for what I assume is a ghastly amount of money instead of searching for acorns, but works for the scene's pay-off.
The third suspect is Gary. Yes, SpongeBob's own freaking pet. And the plan SpongeBob claims that he had for stealing the ingredient is so wildly convoluted to a hysterical degree. It's so inspired I almost don't even want to spoil it.
After going through the grilling, Gary says that he saw someone leaving The Krusty Krab with a black suitcase. When Patrick hears the description, he deduces that the person seen was Squidward.
SpongeBob and Patrick arrive at his house and indeed see a black suitcase, but instead it contains tap dancing shoes. Understandably upset, Squidward throws them out of the house. Well... actually he *moves* his house instead of simply kicking them out. He's gotten more creative over the years.
SpongeBob's forced to admit to his boss that he never found out who committed the crime. Mr. Krabs unexpectedly then accuses his own frycook of stealing the secret ingredient. He lays out his supposed plan (in the same uproarious fashion as SpongeBob did with the earlier suspects) which involved him planting a decoy as a distraction in order to snatch the briefcase and make a quick buck from Plankton.
After the story is finished, he almost calls the cops before they catch him and makes him admit that he stole it himself so he could save 2 dollars on delivery. This is easily one of the dumbest and meanest things that he's ever done. You question just how much Mr. Krabs values his devoted employee. He does at least get punished at the end when the judge sentences him to give away free Krabby Patties for a full day.
We also get to see him strapped to a chair while watching in horror as the customers line up and SpongeBob happily gives them away. In concept I actually like this idea for an ending, but it's executed way too weirdly. Why does the cops hold his eyeballs and laugh at the same time? It's kinda creepy, but not in a way that I think was intended. This is just a nitpick however.
I have mixed feelings about this segment. It has a lot of potential, but simply doesn't live up to it.
To start with the positives, Plankton's in very good form. You feel happy for him when someone actually appreciates his incredibly simplistic fast food. And seeing him get to gloat in front of his nemesis is pretty satisfying.
Mr. Krabs' characterization is a bit iffy since unlike other times when he goes against Planky, he didn't do anything to deserve it this time. The fact that he can't let him have out of his generous amount of customers makes him come across as petty to a borderline childish degree. It does make sense for the story, but pushes his likability even more than Patty Caper. Some of SpongeBob's attempts to make Nat eat a Krabby Patty are amusing though, such as "tripping" over a rock and trying to get one inside his mouth, plus his godawful imitation and disguise of Karen as he gets into The Chum Bucket.
Mr. Krabs breaking into The Chum Bucket at night with Plankton pointing out how ironic this scenario is gave me the biggest chuckle. Krabs is just completely dumbfounded and somehow can't see how they've literally switched roles.
There are two pain gags on different occasions I found rather strange. First Plankton rips his own skin off out of frustration, then SpongeBob gets his skin ripped off too when a door closes on him. The second instance is especially bizarre given the face that he makes before it falls off. While they are brief and easily ignorable, you still wonder why they're there in the first place.
The main problem I have is the ending. The customer comes storming into The Chum Bucket proclaiming how he can't eat this crap anymore, and has been having stomach problems since he started consuming chum. Karen paid him to be a customer because she got tired of her husband's endless complaining. Plankton breaks down and cries at this revelation while Krabs chuckles at him.
First of all, this puts Mr. Krabs in the worst light possible since we see him laugh at someone who we feel sad for and gets no comeuppance for it. As for the big twist, it would have worked much better if Karen wasn't so cold and unlikable. If she did it because she just wanted to see him happy it could at least have been a solid bittersweet conclusion, where even though things didn't work out for the best she didn't mean anything bad by it. By making Karen act like Plankton's an irritating crybaby however, it results in the ending being far too much of a downer.
The second half of the episode is just okay, but Patty Caper is worth a watch.
The Michael Richards Show (2000)
Not horrible, but not very good either
The premise revolves around private detective Vic Nardozza. Every week he gets a case assigned and he tries his best to solve them, always with wacky consequences. We also get to see the personal lives of his boss and co-workers.
This show really takes its sweet time to find its footing. The first couple episodes are hard to watch in every single way. The writing and humor feels awkward, the characters don't gel together and Michael Richards, as talented as he is, can still barely squeeze a laugh out of me. He gets a few nice slapstick moments, but that's it. The theme song is nice at least.
The cases are also dealt with in a very labored way, as if the writer can't think of how to make them interesting.
About halfway through, it starts to get a little better. Some of the jokes are actually legitimately funny, the characters start to click more and even the acting in some areas improves.
I inititally found Tim Meadows the most annoying part of the cast, but he gets to prove his worth after a while. William Devane gets the bad luck of portraying one of the most boring characters, but in the final episode he finally has a chance to prove he has comedic chops.
It's fun to see guest stars like Gregory Itzin, Ed Begley Jr. and Jeff Garlin(!) make appearances as well.
There are even some successful attempts at satire, which was definitely unexpected.
However, even when the series gets better there are still parts where I just feel bored, and due to ending so quickly it never reaches its full potential. Who knows, maybe in season 2 this could have been one of the better post-Seinfeld projects Richards acted in.
But because it got cancelled after only 8 episodes this simply remains a curiosity at best.
Hey, what are Friends for?
Ross and Rachel have a very bad day. They're both going through bad relationship breakups. Rachel leaves her fiancé at the altar when she realizes she doesn't love him, and Ross is recovering from a recent divorce. Having no place to stay, Monica suggests she moves in with her and the guys.
I was quite critical of Friends earlier in my life. I couldn't warm up to the characters, the humor didn't totally click and it just didn't stand out as a particularly innovative show. However, I only actually saw one episode in full (and I didn't pay attention there anyway, so even that barely counts), and being a fan of sitcoms I wanted to give it one more proper try instead of writing it off just yet.
The first notable thing is how my impression of these characters is completely different this time around. Even though there is some typical "first episode" jitters visible, they have a solid dynamic and you buy how they've known each other for years. The only one new to the group is Rachel, whom I will talk about in a minute.
The person I found the funniest one of the bunch is Joey. Matt LeBlanc really nails the easy-going, chill attitude. The jokes are pretty hit-and-miss as a whole, but most of the lines he get got chuckles out of me, especially his remark when Ross says "Hello" in the most depressing manner possible. He also has a pretty funny speech where instead of "fish in the sea" he uses ice cream flavors as an allegory for how there are women out there for everyone. Chandler has some amusing lines too.
Phoebe's role as the wacky one needs some finetuning, but she has her moments.
Monica doesn't really get anything funny to work with, but has a likable energy.
As controversial of a character Ross seems to be, he's not so bad here. You sympathize with his plight and he has a cute scene with Rachel towards the end. It kinda surprises me how quickly they consider the possibility of pairing these two together. I'm used to The X-Files where Mulder and Scully take 7 freaking seasons to kiss and when Scully gets pregnant he only donates his sperm instead of actually having sex with her.
Luckily, the circumstances don't make it seem that farfetched. You can understand Rach feeling flattered Ross has had a longtime crush on her, and for him to ask her out so soon shows some real guts. Although this does beg the question: How come that earlier when Monica introduced her friends to Rachel, Ross didn't admit that he recognizes her? Eh, maybe he's embarrassed.
Besides that scene at the end though, Jennifer Aniston is the weakest point so far. Her acting looks very forced, and overdoes her lines much more compared to the rest of the cast. She's good in the aforementioned scene though, so maybe her strongest suit is sublety. However, this is the pilot we are talking about after all, so maybe her comedic chops improve eventually.
Some of the humor is pretty good, but when a joke fails I just kinda sit there with a confused expression. The constant repeating of "Paul The Wine Guy" is a very cliché bit and especially doesn't work when we don't get much of an insight to why he is called that. It feels like the leadup to a punchline that never comes. Chandler mocking Joey for acting in Pinocchio would probably make someone else fall out of their chair, but I personally just found it silly.
In conclusion, this is a somewhat imperfect start, but still good. Laverne & Shirley didn't start off with a bang either, it took a couple episodes before I really started loving Shirley for instance. With some polishing, this could turn out to be a better series than I first took it for.
Clearly written by stooges
After retrieving a spatula from the ceiling, SpongeBob accidentally slips and gets a splinter into his thumb.
Right from the start, something feels very off about this one. We've seen SpongeBob excited over work many times, and usually I really enjoy seeing him get ready for another productive day. I don't know what it is about this one though, but he acts a lot more annoying than usual. He's so hyperactive that you wonder if he had any crack with his coffee this time. After that we are treated to a pointless scene where his spatula gets stuck in the ceiling and he has to retrieve it. Sure it leads into the main story, but I don't think it would've been impossible to get to it more effectively.
Once we get to the infamous splinter part is when things go even more downhill. Did you enjoy seeing SpongeBob scratch himself constantly in Fungus Among Us? Well, you are gonna love seeing him writhe in agony over his splinter throughout. I actually consider this instance even worse since the pacing is so agonizingly sloooooow throughout. Scenes just feel like they go on and on with no real punchline to them.
Patrick being an idiot doctor in Suds was perfect since while he absolutely made the problem worse, he genuinely cared about solving his friend's problem, and at least seemed to know what he wanted help with. This time he spent what must be a half minute having SpongeBob's foot in his mouth for no apparent reason. Then he drives a stake into the splinter (What did you think you were dealing with, a freaking vampire?) which unsurprisingly worsens the problem. But instead of realizing his mistake he just dismissively tells him the appointment is over and to call him later if he still can. Not only does none of this strike to me as remotely funny, but he comes off like an uncaring jerk.
After that we get Squidward manipulating SpongeBob into thinking Mr. Krabs is gonna get mad and fire him if he sees he has a splinter. This might have been funny had it been accompanied by any clever jokes, but instead it's boring and kinda unpleasant. Squidward is written too sadistic for any of it to feel natural, so it just ends up being frustrating.
Mr. Krabs confronts SpongeBob, so he's forced to reveal the giant throbbing splinter. Carefully, Krabs removes it and is met by confetti, then a sudden spray of disgusting green pus gushes out. If this alone was supposed to make me laugh, the irony is lost on me.
The final joke with Squidward injuring himself to get a workers compensation was pretty funny, and I liked SpongeBob's reaction to Squidward's note telling him he's annoying, but other than there is not much in the source of humor.
And another thing, the animation was really bad as well. For the first four episodes of season 6 it looked fine, but here the facial expressions were weird in a bad way several times, not to mention the unfunny gross visuals.
In short, The Splinter doesn't seem to have much reason to exist other than making you cringe.
Slide Whistle Stooges:
Discovering the fun of slide whistles, SpongeBob and Patrick start playing them everywhere, driving their neighbor Squidward totally insane.
Okay, hear me out. The Splinter is really awful, and definitely one of the dullest that the show has to offer. And yet I still consider Slide Whistle Stooges even worse. Why? Well...
The biggest problem are the actual slide whistles. Not only do they play damn near constant in every single scene, but every joke is exactly the same. Someone does something or walks and sudden slide whistle noises follow. Hey, normal mundane activities are not supposed to sound like slide whistles! Funny, right? No. Not even close.
Secondly, SpongeBob and Patrick are unlikable beyond belief. No matter how many times they get told to stop playing their stupid whistles, they won't listen. In fact, they are trying to FORCE him to play along. He does so eventually, but what the writers behind this story don't seem to understand is that what made Squidward joining the fun so compelling in past episodes is that despite how much he pretended to find their activities lame, he actually got a bit curious and couldn't help but go play their games anyway. This time however, he only starts playing the slide whistle after constantly being harrassed and pretty much baited into doing it.
Thirdly, when he starts playing the slide whistle himself the jokes still play out the exact same. He pulls the same stupid pranks as his idiot neighbors, and we even get a repeated gag with another character flipping through a book and being met by slide whistle sound effects.
As Squidward continue these shenanigans, all the Bikini Bottom citizens get pissed and try to get him to knock it off. While this isn't funny by any means, it's understandable they are annoyed. However, cheering when he possibly crashes to his *death*? I don't have anything against dark humor, but this is just so dumb that it's not even funny. Even for Bikini Bottom that's an unusually cruel reaction.
Finally, we cut to the hospital, where Squidward somehow got saved by the slide whistle stuck in throat (which makes no fu-cking sense whatsoever), that the doctor can't remove because he's terrible at his job, I guess. Then, as if I wasn't already sick of Sponge and Pat's moronic antics, they decide to "cheer him up" by playing slide whistles again! CAN'T YOU IDIOTS SEE THAT SLIDE WHISTLES HAVE DONE NOTHING GOOD FOR HIM? I can't even believe what I'm watching at this point. They also go around harrassing everyone else at the hospital, which for some inexplicable reason is met by uproarious laughter. How come that all of them are okay with those two playing slide whistles, but not Squidward? What a bunch of hideous hypocrites.
Easily one of the worst episodes ever, especially due to Slide Whistle Stooges.
Nice weather and episode we're having
Squidward gets sick of SpongeBob's typical toomfoolery and begs him to be normal. SpongeBob takes it to heart, and wants to learn what it means to be normal. Once he does however, he takes it a step too far...
This is a classic story of losing your own identity in order to fit into the norm. Feeling like you don't belong just because you act "different" is definitely something I can relate to, and that's demonstrated here perfectly.
After watching an amusing PSA on how to become normal, SpongeBob knows exactly what he has to do. I like not having Squidward onboard right away. He's gotten so used to his annoying behavior he's majorly creeped out at first. Why is this spongey menace suddenly sitting on a private office typing on a computer talking with a monotone voice?
I really love Tom Kenny's voice acting in this segment. He manages to strike a good balance of making his character sound uncanny, yet also strangely pleasant at the same time. You can almost understand the appeal of listening to this calm and balanced guy instead of the shrieky fire alarm you're used to.
However, things soon start to turn bad with SpongeBob's new personality. Since all the Krabby Patties are printed instead of made with care all the customers complain about them tasting like paper. Which is a funny reveal from seeing them come out of the computer looking like normal patties.
Then he decides to go to Squidward's house for some comfort after getting forced out by Mr. Krabs, but it gets even worse there. He starts pointing out everything that sticks out after Squid's appearance as well, most of all the large hanging nose. He angrily kicks SpongeBob out of his house. When you've become so normal you annoy SQUIDWARD of all people, things have definitely gone too far.
Determined to turn back to his old self, he goes to Patrick so he can learn how to have fun again. This sequence is similar in some ways to Patrick SmartPants, but the creativity of the activites they come up with is fresh and fun enough to work. When he's almost back to norm... ABnormal, you feel bad for him when he suddenly changes to his bland shape again. It's gotten so ingrained into his DNA he will never be the good ol' SpongeBob again.
Until he sees Squidward's new "normal" face, which scares him so much he's cured! I love the final punchline, where he coldly says "Nice weather we're having, isn't it?", and SpongeBob's too grateful being himself again to care about the creepy transformation.
If there's only one nitpick I have, it's that "Hi, how are ya?" does get a little bit old after a few times, but other than that this is a fantastic gem.
Expecting a day full of work and fun, SpongeBob slowly discovers that everyone have vanished into thin air.
The biggest strength in this segment is the atmosphere. The idea of everyone leaving you behind is a scary idea, and Bikini Bottom looks different when it's totally empty. I've always liked the look of night time scenes in this show, and you get quite a few of them here.
There's also a great deal of comedy. SpongeBob's impressions of everybody are hilarious. The one that especially made me laugh for some reason is Mrs. Puff. He sounds so much like her it's scary.
It leads to him getting a boating license all by himself and driving recklessly through town. Even though he's still a shoddy driver and didn't earn the license for real, it's oddly satisfying. And at least he can't hurt anyone if there's no one there.
It gets weird later on though. Eventually the loneliness drives SpongeBob insane and he practically starts dating his boat. And when he tries to break it off it starts stalking him. How the boat follows around him like in a horror movie made me die of laughter. Over-the-top stuff like that just works for me.
When he's at his most desperate, everyone finally returns in a bus. Turns out they were away on a No SpongeBob Day. All right, I understand why people hate this ending. And yes, it's odd that even Gary and Patrick would want to get away from him. However, I still had to chuckle at everyone burning a giant wicker sponge and literally stomping on the ashes afterwards. It's dark, but so silly I can't take it seriously. Plus Patrick gets karma when everyone goes on a No Patrick Day and leaves him behind instead. Of course he gets naively excited first too, not understanding an event like that obviously leaves him out.
Overall, a very ambitious and cleverly written episode of SpongeBob. If only it didn't have to be followed by a certain wood-related accident.
Plankton turns The Chum Bucket into a Colloseum to lure customers away from The Krusty Krab.
While this segment is low on laughs, it makes up for that with the cool story. It's celebratory and exciting, and for the first time since the movie Plankton feels legitimately evil. His primary goal is to steal Mr. Krab's customers, but also decides to make one of them unwillingly participate in a deadly arena fight.
The chase scene between Patrick and the lionfish has solid stakes, and features SpongeBob at his bravest. I find it very amusing how excited he first gets over the idea of a Roman-style arena fight, most likely from all those swords-and-sandals movies like Spartacus. As soon as he sees Patrick come in however he instantly panicks.
Plankton charging 10 dollars for chum sticks made me laugh, and got an even funnier callback in the ending as Krabs uses the same trick by charging 10 dollars for every Krabby Patty (when they previously cost 1). When the customer tells him it's too much, Krabs points to the new "financial advisor", which is the lionfish we saw earlier.
He, SpongeBob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs then break out in laughter, followed by dead-eyed blank stares and everybody walking away. It's an odd ending, but I found it funny somehow.
Suction Cup Symphony:
After Squidward hears about the Bikini Bottom Symhony Orchestra competition, he's determined to write a composition so great there's no way he won't win. But to his chagrin he keeps getting disturbed by all the noise outside...
The humor throughout is rollicking. At first we have Squidward practicing his clarinette, which sounds so atrocious SpongeBob mistakes it for bad gas. Him trying to cover for Squidward by pretending the noises come from somewhere else is not only hilarious, but actually very nice of him. He doesn't want Squid to feel embarrassed.
Then as usual, he and Patrick start to annoy Squidward. What makes it stand out is how they don't just act like clowns, but have a reason for it. Patrick breaks his ass while falling (which is accompanied by a very funny sight gag where it's literally shown broken, to the point where his bones stick out), so his friend has to perform some very painful procedures on him. These procedures only get more and more absurd. The best one of them is Patrick getting electrocuted during the cat scan like he was in the chair.
Squidward's frustration as he tries to work but can't concentrate with all the noise outside is very understandable. His struggle makes you root for him since you know how much he wants a spot in the competition.
There are some very fun visuals such as Squidward literally melting of happiness when he thinks about the positive reception over his composition, a rainbow shining over his head which drops to the floor like paint when he gets disturbed and the homage to Squid's Day Off when his piece has finally been written.
The climactic scene as he presents it to the jury is a joy to behold. He somehow wrote Patrick and SpongeBob's activities outside *into* the actual piece, so we get to see it juxtaposed with his more traditional music. When he's met by confused murmurs afterwards he thinks he's lost, but when he starts to walk away everyone applauds. It's a heartwarming and satisfying victory.
A different kind of Tailspin
While grocery shopping, Mr. Krabs spots SpongeBob picking up a penny outside. At first he tries to let it go, but soon grows obsessed and wants to do everything he can to obtain it.
The first time I saw Penny Foolish I didn't care for it, but watching it again it's grown on me. Mr. Krabs' obsession and methods of trying to get the penny are so insane that it becomes entertaining.
I especially liked the scene where musters up the energy to build a movie theater just to SpongeBob can pay a penny to go see a (fake) movie. The fact that he would spend this much money building a phoney theater to get ahold of a penny is hilariously ironic. But of course SpongeBob says he doesn't have a penny, so the theater gets torn down. I find it funny how he doesn't question this at all, but instead is disappointed he didn't get to see the movie.
Then there's the melodramatic Powerpoint presentation promoting a charity made up on the spot; Pennies For The Penny-Less. No pickle figuring out who the penny-less one is. Mr. Krabs' reaction to SpongeBob reiterating he has no penny is hilarious.
There is also a part earlier on where Mr..Krabs shakes SpongeBob upside down and his brain falls out instead. It's followed by an amusing chase sequence with Sponge running after his brain while Krabs is trying to steal his penny. It's a bit unusual to get another gag related to SpongeBob's brain so soon after House Fancy. But hey, it made me laugh, so it worked.
The running gag where citizens only hear Mr. Krabs chirping like a dolphin from a distance made me chuckle.
The only time it falls flat for me (and this is also a problem with Nautical Novice) is when it comes to the ending. The penny turning out to be a dried-up gum makes no sense since even from afar we could see what SpongeBob picked up from the ground wasn't green. The gum then turning out to be a 500-dollar bill is even *more* convoluted. But if we pretend this makes sense, I still don't like Mr. Krabs continuing to dig for the penny in the backyard. He just showed you he doesn't have one! Get over it, Krabby.
Besides that though, it's a solid segment with memorable jokes.
The boating school class on going on a field trip to the Nautical Museum. SpongeBob wants to look good in front of Mrs. Puff, so he studies hard on boating history to impress her. When he accidentally starts steering a large ship though, things start to get out of hand...
SpongeBob's facial expression after intensely paging through books all night was amusing. He looks like an exhausted middleage man who just lost a divorce trial.
It was fun to see SpongeBob get so confident after reading up on all the history of boating. He becomes cocky, but only because he really thinks Mrs. Puff will be proud of him. The way he keeps interrupting her so he can suavely share his own knowledge on boats is really funny.
It gets exciting as well when he gets stuck behind the wheel and has to learn how to safely stop the boat before it crashes into a building. He's so determined and serious about the importance of this task you gotta love it. The pirate laugh he comes up with is great. You really get to cheer at the sponge as he overcomes this unexpected difficulty and drives the whole class to safety.
That's why it's so disappointing when they reveal he never drove the boat in the first place, someone was dragging it all along. How was such a complicated move as reverse 180 tailspin possible in that case? The guy dragging the boat would have to be stronger than Hulk Hogan. Oh well. At least he's nice enough to offer SpongeBob some ice cream as consolation.
Just like Penny Foolish a fun 11 minutes, even though the ending is a bit worse in this instance.
This episode of SpongeBob might have its imperfections, but is pretty good overall.
An episode I fancy
Squidward gets ready to watch his favorite show House Fancy, but is distraught when he discovers his arch nemesis cousin Squilliam is on it. Desperate to prove himself, he claims he has the fancier house. But can he make that lie a reality in just 2 hours?
I thought this was a very enjoyable segment. Squilliam is always a fun rival, and his incessant bragging when he shows off his mansion is amusing. The 130-foot unibrow statue is also a wonderfully ridiculous item. SpongeBob also has a good role when he tries to help Squidward redecorate the house. I don't know why, but him just casually admitting he's been spying on him made me chuckle.
SpongeBob absorbing and accidentally painting the entire house with thick paint and vacuuming himself inside are good gags. I especially like the part where Patrick gives him back the brain he borrowed for the weekend through the vacuum cleaner. We also get one of the strangest jokes the show has ever done when Patrick uses the toilet and it in pain climbs up in Squidward's arms and dies. It's so crazy you gotta laugh.
Everything blows up due to SpongeBob's incompetence, but Squidward still wins when Nicholas Withers sees his "house" as a post-modern work of art. It pokes fun at pretentious modern art, but is also a satisfying ending since we rarely get to see Squid go out with victory.
All right, you all came here to hear about it: the toenail scene. While it's definitely gross and a pointless addition, it doesn't last long enough to ruin the whole thing. And SpongeBob's reason for continuing to move the couch was amusing. I think if they didn't go for grossout and just made it a regular pain gag it would've worked better.
Plankton escapes from prison and returns to his humble abode, but Karen doesn't want anything to do with him. He gets a bit nostalgic seeing an old guitar he used to play. Then SpongeBob comes walking singing about the task of making Krabby Patties. This gives him a devious idea...
SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward coming together to form a band (unaware of Plankton's devious master plan) was an entertaining story. The initial part with SpongeBob singing is a little too lengthy, but I laughed at him nearly chopping Plankton in half as he describes his work task.
The obliviousness from the band members over the name Plankton And The Patty Stealers is my favorite joke. Sometimes it's unbelievable how dumb SpongeBob and Patrick are. Plankton trying to read Sponge's mind through mind control so he can sing out the formula, but getting mundane nonsense such as feeding Gary and brushing his teeth made me chuckle too.
Squidward of course takes this more seriously than anyone, assuming the band's success will make him famous. He looks even more handsome buff than he did in The Two Faces Of Squidward. The designs of the other band members are cool too.
SpongeBob eventually catches onto the plan though and the police come to arrest Plankton. Not sure how they managed to arrive so early considering no one told them where he was or even called them, but I'll bite. What does disappoint me a bit however is that we never get to hear a full song before he gets caught. I don't expect Sweet Victory, but at least something would've been nice. Nevertheless, a very good segment.
Not so swell when the business goes to hell
Banned In Bikini Bottom:
SpongeBob is happy to work at The Krusty Krab. In fact, he seems even happier than usual. He starts singing about it loudly, which causes trouble when a group of old ladies stop by and witness it. The leader Miss Priss gets so prissed off she decides to ban Krabby Patties from Bikini Bottom!
I didn't expect very much from the rather generic-sounding plot, but it turned out to be more enjoyable than I thought it would be.
The song that SpongeBob keeps belting out is amusingly catchy, and Squidward has a funny line when he makes a dry joke about the way the old ladies look, asking if their clothes came from the mortician.
Mr. Krabs' facial expression as he freaks out about losing his business cracked me up. A nice bit of creativity from the animators.
Plankton decides to usurp the opportunity when he hears The Krusty Krab has been closed to steal the formula, but to his nuisance discovers it's been re-opened at SpongeBob's house. Not a bad idea, Krabs. I like his scene with Patrick when he gets flustered at having to utter the secret password. Apparently his threat to let him in or otherwise is the actual password. Sometimes you've really got to ponder how Patrick's mind works.
The jig is up for Krabs and co. When Plankton gives off the secret location to the police. Bug when Ms. Priss accidentally trips and swallows a Krabby Patty she finds it so delicious she starts singing herself. This would've been a fairly weak ending, but Plankton ending up on one of the burgers as Priss decides to eat another one was amusing.
When it comes to flaws, the old ladies are some of the uglier character designs in the series. Something about them just looks weird and offputting. Ms. Priss is also a rather uninteresting villain. I know she's supposed to be a parody of moralists who ban everything they don't like or understand, but she doesn't have any funny lines of her own.
As a whole, solid.
Stanley S. SquarePants:
The family tree gets expanded once more in this season as SpongeBob's cousin Stanley comes for a visit. But as he soon will find out, he's the biggest clot the world has ever seen.
While slightly weaker than Banned, this is still a good segment. I tend to like segments where SpongeBob is the straightman, and this is one of them. His line "There's nothing good on TV anyway". As his cousin destroys the television is sold by Tom Kenny's deadpan delivery.
The visit to Patrick's house as Stanley gets taught how to do nothing is a highlight. The increasing uncomfortableness as he struggles to sit still and not move while Patrick just hangs his head backwards looking lobotomized really made me laugh.
I feel a bit mixed on the character of Stanley, but he does get to shine in one scene. When he stands behind the counter at The Krusty Krab and sees a customer, he's so delighted he starts taking pictures with him dressed up in various clothes. The customer naturally gets annoyed and a lot of other ones are left in a long queue waiting to order.
The part where several relatives of Squidward and Mr. Krabs show up made me smile. Especially the teenage relative of Squidward.
Mr. Krabs solution for what to do with Stanley making him work at The Chum Bucket with the intention of making his rivalry's place explode is a good final joke.
All right, my problem with Stanley is that while he is a clumsy oaf, he's also kind of a jerk. Letting SpongeBob constantly cover for his mistakes at work makes him more unlikable than was probably intended. And tripping over a rock just so he can accidentally pop Sandy's spacesuit was a little cheap as well.
For being the 100th episode these two segments don't feel all that celebratory, but are still worth watching on their own merits.
Family Guy: Stewie's First Word (2020)
Oh, good heavens!
After getting annoyed over Mindhunter lagging and his favorite snack not being served at church, Stewie loses his temper and lets out a swear. Everybody gets shocked, most of all Lois who never could hear him until now. As a result of the event, she becomes shut out by everyone.
Although the plot sounded weird on paper (Chris, Meg and even Peter in one episode have all interacted with Stewie before), it turned out to be a pretty solid satire of the social stigma on swearing. People always pretend that they care so much just to hold up an image, like you are immediately more of a lowlife just for letting out some steam sometimes. Teaches a good lesson about how swearing can feel good whenever you just want to voice your frustration. Oddly enough the parts where Lois got shunned are not really super funny, but they do feel true to life.
The callback to Peter falling down the stairs and swearing like a good Christian instead amused me. A clever way of referencing a wellknown gag without just doing the exact same thing again.
Stewie saying "Mommy" as his second word after having missed Lois but refusing to say it again for Instagram was a pretty funny way to conclude it. Anything with Stew acting like a real baby tends to be good.
The first act plot with Peter and his magic 8-ball also had some entertainment in it. The best joke is the ending to it where he asks if FOX has a steady future with all the streaming platforms on the uprise. It radiates "no" so strongly it explodes.
However, something that really got on my nerves this time were the meta jokes. Sure, the stageplay reveal was sort of creative, but mostly they were just distracting and seemed to get more obnoxious every time. I like Principal Shepherd usually, but he was pretty irritating here. And this is like the third time they have done the "We don't know how to end this" bit. Come on, guys.
The Caillou stuff also didn't do much for me, given how they didn't really go beyond "Caillou is bald 'cause cancer" or "Annoying narrator". The yoga instructor having diarrhea but urging everyone to stay calm wasn't very funny either.
Overall a decent premiere, even if it's fairly flawed like last season's Yacht Rocky.
Pingu: Pingu's Dream (1990)
A huge walrush
Pingu's mom reads Pingu a bedtime story, which sends him soundfully asleep. Suddenly the roof of the iglo is magically lifted, and he's lifted out of it too, still lying in his bed. Even weirder things start happening...
This is a cool episode. Pingu always had a bit more of an edge than other clay animated childrens shows, and this is probably the most prime example. The animation with the bed's legs moving is very fluid and creative in the ways they come up for them to shift size. I also like how Pingu later starts to laugh when the bed starts walking, like he's riding on the back of a horse.
Of course, there's something more ominous going on too. The walrus popping up with his giant head is pretty eerie, even more so with the synthesizer music playing at the same time. It's right out of an 80's horror movie. At first nothing more happens, we just see the walrus following Pingu's every step as the bed continues walking off with him. What is it gonna do?
And what happens next shows how it got the reputation it has: the walrus jumps right out of the water and scares the living sh'it out of not only Pingu, but the audience! It's an unusually startling moment for such an innocuous series, perhaps even more so because of it. But as it turns out, the walrus is quite friendly and only wants to play with Pingu. You even start to find it kinda cute. But the unsettling face lingers on like a curse. Even when it gets playful, you still feel a wind blowing in your hair.
Pingu wakes up, safe and sound in his bed. He cries to his mom about the horrific dream he had. We sigh in relief as we don't have to stare at that face anymore.
Even though this is definitely a creepy one, I don't think it should have been banned. Kids have nightmares, so it's only natural to depict them in their weirdness and odd characteristics. As we can see, Pingu never really got into any real danger. The walrus wasn't even dangerous. Nevertheless, if you want a glimpse at some iconic TV history, I highly suggest you give it a look.
The Simpsons (1989)
One of the greatest cartoons ever made... to a point.
In 1987, something revolutionary happened: A new kind of family was introduced, something we had never seen before. We got acquainted with a family that was extremely dysfunctional, but no less loving than the Drummonds, Douglasses or the Keatons. While those were entertaining to watch as well, it was important to highlight that not everyone has it quite as together in their life.
Conflicts stir up, someone might feel neglected, you sometimes struggle even trying to get by. The Simpsons' money troubles remind me in a way of my own family. My mother could sometimes be poor and struggle with the economy, but always took care of us and gave me all the love I could possibly hope for. In short, whether you were a Bart, Lisa, Homer or Marge, there was something in at least one of them you could relate to. I was very compassionate towards animals and spoke out against meat consumption just like Lisa. At times I thought my dad was like Homer as well.
And not just that, but many of the other characters were great as well. Some of my absolute favorites were Mr. Burns, Smithers (the two of which I've often imitated), Moe, Lenny, Dr. Hibbert, Apu, Hans Moleman, you name it. And the humor at its best was satirically profound, whimsically wacky and daring. There were few other shows like it.
This was the case for the first ten seasons. The next four it got more cartoonish and less down-to-earth than before, but still managed to be a lot of fun. But as time went on, the show became less and less smart and more dumbed down in nature. It got especially bad once we got to the HD era.
And in trying desperately to get with the times such as constantly referencing Apple products, making politically correct changes (Such as removing Apu, deleting one of their beloved classic episodes just because of a controversial guest star and recasting characters just because it's seen as "wrong" to voice a black character if you're white), it's become not only depressing to see the show go down further in quality, but to see its crew actively trying to tarnish its legacy. I worry that all the negative aspects of the later years will end up becoming so distracting I'll forget about all of the good memories it's given me.
So in short, there are two different ideas of The Simpsons: A show that changed the TV landscape forever, and one that lost its own identity along the way and forgot what made it such a beloved series in the first place.
In the end, the golden years are worth all the stars I can give it, and the worst years only 3/10. Maybe even 2/10.
But due to my undying love for The Simpsons at its best, I can't bring myself to rate it any lower than 10/10 anyway. Take that for what you will.
Okay, I don't consider it one of the best ever. I just had to make that pun. But it's still great.
Oscar goes to a resturant for a meal when a woman asks him if she can borrow his paper. All a sudden she faints on his shoulder, and he tries to get someone to help her until she wakes up. As it turns she has barely eaten and has nowhere to stay. Oscar invites her to come stay at his apartment while Felix is gone.
I really like episodes where Oscar's empathetic side comes through. While on the surface he's a womanizing slob he also cares a lot about people's well-being. As a result the bonding moments between him and Lisa as they get to know each other are very sweet.
The sequence where Felix comes home unexpectedly early and he prepares for a good night's sleep without the knowledge of a woman lying in bed is the episode's highlight. This show can mine comedy out of every little detail. Just the sound Felix makes as he gargles in the bathroom washing down water cracks me up. His bedazzled expression when he realizes his bed is occupied is equally rollicking, followed by Tony Randall's superbly delivered line "It's not my birthday."
Although Felix is much more sceptical towards Lisa staying over (understandable as he was given no heads-up at all), he comes to like her too. She doesn't just share Oscar's interest in sports, she also shares Felix's passion for classical music and ballet. Those parts are full of as much charm as her interactions with Oscar. This couldn't be accomplished so well if not for Marlyn Mason's splendid guest performance. She makes her character so compelling you'd want to meet this person yourself.
In classic Odd Couple fashion, a bizarre misunderstanding occurs when first Oscar invites her to go to a game, then Felix asks her to go with him to a photography session. Unable to choose between them she (they kinda decided before she had time to say "yes" anyway), she cancels both meetups. But that's not the only reason she cancels. She wasn't planning on staying for that long either way, as the two of them discover her packing a suitcase.
It's definitely pretty manipulative of her to play buddy-buddy with Oscar and Felix only to abruptly decide to leave. But her reason for doing so is pretty sad. She doesn't want to grow too attached and she apparently prefers just meeting new people every week, drifting from apartment to apartment. They tell her that is not a way to live, but she insists that she's happy.
By the time she leaves they feel both confounded and a bit empty. Here they get to meet such a special woman, only to suddenly be out of their lives, being out on the streets again.
It's a depressingly realistic ending. How do we really help someone who has no place to stay? How can a person be so content with never finding a real home?
It does end on a funny final note to lighten things up, with Oscar going back to the resturant with Felix where he met Lisa, using the same fainting trick she did. Even so though, her ambigious fate remains in my mind.