Bubblestand is one of those episodes that I always kind of forget exists, but when I do watch it I really enjoy it.
This episode is our introduction to the dynamic that SpongeBob and Squidward share. And Patrick too, but let’s be honest, it’s really more about SpongeBob and Squidward. It’s also kind of a further introduction to Squidward himself, since we only saw a bit of him in Help Wanted.
The plot is very simple. Like, very simple. Like, it’s kind of barely even a plot. But a lot of episodes from the earlier seasons were like that, there isn’t really a plot as in a cohesive story per se, rather they have a very simple scenario and they squeeze as many jokes as possible out of it. That’s definitely the kind of episode Bubblestand is. SpongeBob sets up a stand where he charges people a quarter to blow bubbles, and then stuff just happens, and there isn’t really much of a story to it, it’s just funny and entertaining and cute.
We don’t even really know why SpongeBob made the bubblestand. It seems like he, Squidward and Patrick are the only ones who live on that stretch of road, so he couldn’t have expected to get that many customers. Was it just a way to get Squidward to play with them? I think that’s what it was.
Help Wanted gave us an idea of who Squidward is but Bubblestand really defines him as a character, as well as his place in the show. He’s grumpy and snarky and cynical and narcissistic and basically the polar opposite of SpongeBob. He’s passionate about his clarinet, but he also can’t play it very well. Or can he? He plays it badly at the beginning of the episode but he play it pretty well at the end of it so…? He’s established as the bad guy pretty early on, when he makes fun of SpongeBob and Patrick for being interested in blowing bubbles, and he gets what’s coming to him by the episode’s end.
We learn something else about him too. He’ll act like SpongeBob’s hobbies are beneath him and like he wants nothing to do with them, and yet he has a strange curiosity for them despite what he says.
Not a whole lot to talk about with Bubblestand, and it’s not an episode that particularly stands out, but I do really like it. It’s a cute episode, and it characterizes Squidward, SpongeBob and Patrick well, even if it is kind of forgettable
Of all of the Spandy-heavy episode, Ripped Pants is probably my least favorite (in pre-movie, that is. I can’t remember if there’s one in post-movie that I like less). But, you know, it’s still a Spandy-heavy episode, so it’s still fairly enjoyable for me.
The thing about this episode is that it’s very repetitive. Which is the point, of course. The story revolves around SpongeBob realizing that ripping his pants makes everyone laugh, so he keeps the joke going until everyone is sick of it. The lesson of the episode is obvious within the first few minutes, even as a kid I knew where the episode was going long before it got there, so it’s not very interesting to watch.
That said, there are things I really like about Ripped Pants. For one thing, I love the beginning scene where SpongeBob is making Sandy laugh and it’s incredibly cute. I particularly liked SpongeBob’s impression of Squidward.
And after that cute scene, we’re introduced to Larry the lobster, one of my favorite minor characters. Larry is pretty full of himself and a bit of a jerk, but there’s also something weirdly endearing about him. I think it’s the fact that he’s actually pretty friendly, even when he’s saying things that, if you’re paying attention, aren’t actually very nice. Even he never seems to realize that there’s something off about what he’s saying. I don’t know, there’s something kind of funny and endearing to me about the fact that he’s really a pretty nice guy, or at least he tries to be, but he’s so blissfully unaware of how douchey he can sound sometimes.
Anyway, Sandy and Larry actually have a nice relationship too. They’re both athletic and they both enjoy weightlifting, and they’re both ridiculously strong. SpongeBob can’t really keep up with them, so once they start hanging out it doesn’t take long for SpongeBob to feel like he’s been left behind and for him to get jealous. That definitely wasn’t Sandy’s intention, but again she’s inattentive because of all of the fun that she’s having.
The only thing SpongeBob really has over Larry (or so he feels) is that he can make everyone (and in particular, Sandy) laugh, so he goes overboard with the ripped pants thing until no one finds it funny anymore, and one of his jokes goes too far and gets everyone angry with him.
It’s not a bad lesson, it’s just that the episode’s lesson is very predictable within the first few minutes. But it’s still a cute episode, and there’s some pretty funny stuff in it and a great song, so I still enjoy it.