I’ve always really loved this episode, and rewatching it now I think it may give Plankton! some competition for my favorite season 1 episode.
I don’t have a lot of interesting stuff to say about this episode. Not that I ever have a lot of interesting stuff to say about anything, but you know. I just like this episode because I think it’s a hilarious scenario.
This episode actually does have a bit more of a story to it than most season 1 episodes. A bit. Squidward tricks SpongeBob and Patrick into fighting and ending their friendship, because… I don’t know why he does it. He wasn’t goaded into it, SpongeBob and Patrick weren’t really bothering him. He just does it for his own amusement. It’s actually one of the nastier things we’ve seen Squidward do, and definitely the nastiest thing he’s done at this point in the show. Squidward isn’t exactly nice in general, but the way he just sits back and laughs while SpongeBob and Patrick are fighting comes off as really mean in a way that he usually doesn’t. Squidward is sarcastic and rude and definitely not friendly, but he mostly keeps to himself or tries to, he rarely goes out of his way to hurt people like he does here. But that’s not exactly a complaint, because karma makes him pay for what he does almost immediately. SpongeBob and Patrick start to fight over Squidward, they both want him to be their new best friend. To get out of it, Squidward has no choice but to bring the two together again.
The idea of Squidward manipulating SpongeBob and Patrick into fighting, only for him to end up stuck in the middle of the two as they both try to make Squidward their new best friend, is really funny to me. Squidward’s plan (which was really mean) backfires on him so quickly and perfectly, and it’s absolutely what he deserves. It’s makes for a really amusing story, and the episode does well with it for the time it has.
This review is short but honestly I’m not sure what else to say about this one. I like the idea behind it, SpongeBob, Squidward and Patrick are all really funny in this episode, and there’s a lot of good jokes and gags. I just think it’s a really fun episode.
You know, I’ve never been a fan of boating school episodes.
Aside from No Free Rides (which is hilarious), they just don’t do a lot for me. I’m not sure why that is exactly. I think the whole boating school thing just always seemed a bit… pointless? That sounds silly though, cause like, what’s the point of anything in this show, right? I don’t know, I guess boating school episodes are predictable. You know that SpongeBob is never going to get his driver’s license, because the whole joke is that he can never get it. But wait, aren’t Plankton episodes just as predictable? You always know that he’ll never get the formula, after all. What makes Plankton episodes more fun for me, though, are the characters involved. They have a much more enjoyable dynamic for me that stops it from getting old too quickly. Not that I don’t like Mrs. Puff or her relationship with SpongeBob, because I do, but I guess I never latched onto them the way I latched on to other characters and relationships in this show.
Okay, okay, let’s just look at this episode in particular. It’s about SpongeBob preparing to take another driving test, despite having failed countless times in the past. Surely he can’t keep taking the test indefinitely, right? After a certain number of failures, wouldn’t they have to keep him from taking more tests or something? Oh right, I forgot trying to bring logic into SpongeBob is fighting a losing battle. Anyway, the root of SpongeBob’s problem is shown to us clearly early on. It’s not that he’s a bad student. He’s smart (in his own way) and he’s incredibly hard-working, and he’s actually great when it come to memorization. His problem is that his nerves always get the best of him. He panics and loses his focus and it’s all downhill from there.
Patrick comes up with the idea of putting a walkie-talkie in SpongeBob’s head so that Patrick can remind SpongeBob of what he needs to do as he’s driving. I’m not sure how this helps exactly, but somehow it does. SpongeBob drives very well during his test, to the surprise and relief of his teacher, Mrs. Puff. Until SpongeBob comes to the realization that he’s cheating (is he though?? debatable), and he gets so upset that he can’t drive properly anymore and ends up crashing, as he always does.
I like the fact that SpongeBob’s inability to pass his driving test comes down to nerves. It’s something I can definitely relate to. Due to my anxiety disorder, I’m very familiar with feelings of nervousness and panic in the face of tasks that should be fairly simple and making everything worse for myself. Thanks, anxiety!
About that cheating thing, though. First of all, I like that SpongeBob would rather fail honestly than pass by cheating. It’s kind of honorable. Second of all, I’m not sure he was really cheating? SpongeBob knows what to do, he just forgets it under pressure. He was able to follow Patrick’s instructions just fine, though, and isn’t that what’s important? Just being able to follow the rules while you’re driving? I guess the problem is that SpongeBob can’t have someone telling him what to do every time he needs to drive somewhere, but is it the pressure of a test that makes SpongeBob a bad driver or is it the pressure of driving in itself that makes him a bad driver? I’m inclined to think it’s the former, as we have seen SpongeBob drive various vehicles decently outside of boating school (continuity errors, I know, but still), and we also know that SpongeBob is a perfectionist who is desperate to please everyone and terrified of disappointing anyone. Does it really matter that someone is helping SpongeBob if all they’re doing is helping him stay calm and focused?
Am I overthinking this? Probably.
Moving on to other things, I really do like Mrs. Puff. Sometimes I forget how much I like her because I feel kind of “meh” about most of the episodes she’s in, but she’s a very funny character and she’s always pretty enjoyable even if I’m not particularly attached to her. We don’t really get a lot of her from this episode but she still manages to be amusing even if she doesn’t stand out much.
This episode is decent overall. It’s a good introduction to a part of the show we haven’t seen yet, though it is a part of the shows that I don’t really care for. That’s the problem for me, though. I’m just not really interested in the episode, even if it does have some funny bits. I don’t dislike it, I’m just kind of indifferent to it, and I don’t even really see other fans talk about it that much.