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Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's a Spongebob Christmas Review

Does this special breath new life into Nick's most popular show?

Spongebob Squarepants is one of the most well-known cartoons of all time, and Nickelodeon's most popular. Pretty much everyone has seen at least an episode, it's something people my age grew up with. The earlier seasons are the ones I know, seen those episodes well over a thousand times. Sadly in recent years, the show has decayed in quality greatly. After the movie came out is when the decaying process started. The plots became mindless, Spongebob got dumber and the writing got to a point where older viewers were like "Just what the heck happened?" Spongebob was once one of the funniest cartoons, now it's just a dud. Every now and then you might find a clever new episode (such as The Two Faces of Squidward) but overall the series has gotten very bad. This new special was designed to be a brand new thing thing for the Sponge, to breath new light. The first thing you'll notice is that instead of the normal animation, it uses stop-motion. After watching the show for so many years, it's truly nice treat to see this. Underneath the pretty graphics is where the truth remains of course, whether or not the writing would be good. It surprisingly is, It's a Spongebob Christmas is definitely the greatest thing to happen to the Sponge since the movie.

The story is rather simple, but much different than the other Christmas episode we all know. Spongebob is all set for merry holiday, but Plankton has big plans. His latest scheme to nab the Krabby Patty Secret Formula involves using 'Jerktonium,' which when consumed it turns the user into, well, a jerk. So once Santa sees that all of Bikini Bottom has turned into jerks, he'll reward Plankton with the Secret Formula. Can Spongebob save the day? To do that he'll have to beat his mechanical duplicate Plankton built, the Robot Spongebob. With that said, this is definitely one of the best Spongebob adventures. I haven't seen any episode in awhile, so this was like watching a piece of my childhood come back. Spongebob is at his finest, displaying his really happy outlook on life with his naivety. (Thankfully the latter isn't overplayed like in the newer episodes.) One of my favorites lines was when he said "That wasn't very nice" when a citizen tells him off due to the Jerktonium

All the characters get to appear, Squidward, Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and no-talking appearances for Pearl and Mrs. Puff. It's really cool to hear all the familiar voices in the stop-motion animation. Speaking of which, the main thing about this special is the animation. Rather than go the usual route, they decided to go the Corpse Bride route, and it's gorgeous. This animation could easily pass for something in the theater. The episode would have still been good without it, but using stop-motion makes it something special. Interestingly, Sandy gets more of an important role than either Patrick or Squidward. I think that's a good thing, out of all the characters throughout the show, she's the most underused. Plankton's plan of turning everyone into jerks is clever enough to pass. It doesn't work on Spongebob, due to his love for the holiday, but gets everyone else. Even with all this happening, somehow a robot Spongebob gets a role here, and it's awesome. It even transforms and has a climatic fight with Spongebob, great stuff. I've never been a fan of the Patchy segments, but they were admittedly funny here.

It's a Spongebob Christmas is the best thing to happen to the Yellow Sponge in awhile. The stop-motion is just wonderfully done and fun to look at. The humor is back to being actually funny and smart, something older viewers like myself could enjoy. The characters are once again cool, and Spongebob even gets a little catchy song to himself. I don't know if future episodes will have quality like this, but at least it was such a great watch. Definitely give it a go, especially if you haven't seen Spongebob in years.


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