SpongeBob Reviews: Season 1 (Hall Monitor/Jellyfish Jam)

titlecard_hall_monitor

Is this a boating school episode? It does start at boating school and end at boating school, but no one ever seems to think of it as a “boating school episode”. Maybe that’s because it’s not about SpongeBob’s attempt to get a license?

Well, whether or not this episode is thought of as a “boating school episode”, it does introduce kind of a weird element to that type of episode that I think has something to do with why I feel kind of “meh” about them. Mrs. Puff’s boating school seems to be run very much like… well, like a school. Like a middle school or high school.

I’ve never actually taken driving lessons because A) my anxiety makes the mere thought of driving absolutely terrifying and B) I have a death wish and so should probably never be allowed behind a wheel anyway. But I am pretty sure that in real life, driving lessons don’t work the same way as boating lessons do in the show. Right? Correct me if I’m wrong. At the very least, I’m fairly certain that there are no hall monitor duties involved in taking driving lessons.

I think I get why they write boating school as being like an actual school that kids and preteens would attend. I can kind of see why they’d want to have a setting like that in a kids’ show, so that they can make episodes about school-related problems for kids to relate to. But they also couldn’t have SpongeBob attending actual school because he isn’t a kid, however childish he may act. He lives on his own and he has a job and he’s an adult who’s just… very young at heart, I guess. So, making him go to boating school is a good way of getting a school setting into the show without bringing up questions about child labor laws in Bikini Bottom.

But that’s kind of the problem, I just don’t think there’s any need for a school setting in the show? If I wanted to watch a show about kids going to school and getting up to shenanigans there, I have plenty of shows I can turn to for that. SpongeBob doesn’t need that kind of setting, it doesn’t really add much to the show or to SpongeBob’s character and it all comes back to what I said about boating school episodes to begin with. It feel pointless.

Enough with the word vomit though JUST TALK ABOUT THE DAMN EPISODE, SOPHIE

Right, so, as one can probably guess from the title, this episode is about SpongeBob being made hall monitor for the day at boating school. Before his duties can begin, however, he insists on giving a speech. The speech goes on way too long and he ends up never actually getting to his duties. Seeing how dejected he is and feeling bad for him, Mrs. Puff allows him to wear the uniform until tomorrow. Mrs. Puff immediately knows that that was a mistake and it doesn’t take long for her to be proven right.

Oh, SpongeBob. He’s so very… SpongeBob in this episode. He’s well-meaning and has no shortage of enthusiasm, but he’s oblivious to the effect he’s having and completely lacking in common sense. He takes it upon himself to keep Bikini Bottom safe and of course all of his attempts to help end in disaster, but he doesn’t seem aware of this. Which is odd because one of his first attempts caused a massive accident involving lots of vehicles, how did he miss that? In any case, he has no idea of the damage he’s doing, and when he hears news of a “maniac” loose in Bikini Bottom he again decides it’s up to him to catch him. What he doesn’t know is that he is the maniac everyone is so afraid of.

This all culminates in a scene where Patrick (who SpongeBob enlisted to help him) sees a wanted poster for the maniac and doesn’t realize that it’s a picture of SpongeBob, and when he sees SpongBob in real life he believes it’s the maniac. Patrick describes to SpongeBob what the maniac is doing through a walkie-talkie, and neither of them realize that Patrick is just describing SpongeBob’s own actions until SpongeBob finally see a wanted poster himself and it dawns on him that he’s the maniac. Luckily, Mrs. Puff is the one who gets punished, as she shows up on the scene at the same time as the cops do and declares that SpongeBob is her responsibility. It’s lucky for SpongeBob, I mean, not for Mrs Puff.

That scene where Patrick spots the “maniac” is really the best part of the episode and the main reason that it’s worth watching. Everything before that is fine, though there isn’t much that particularly stands out for me. It’s basically a quintessential “SpongeBob is well-meaning but oblivious” episode, and I guess it’s one of the earliest examples of that side of SpongeBob’s character.

Rating: 6.5/10

jellyfish_jam

This episode tends to get mixed reactions, from what I’ve seen. People either think it’s boring or they think it’s really creative and fun. I used to me one of the former, but I think now I’d be more inclined to side with the latter.

This episode isn’t really packed with humor, nor is there much of a story to it, but there is something about it that’s just really fun. It’s about SpongeBob taking home a jellyfish from Jellyfish Fields, and apparently jellyfish know how to get TURNT. There’s  a scene where SpongeBob and the jellyfish dance to rave music and, according to Squidward, they do this for twelve hours. Twelve hours. Unfortunately the jellyfish ends up letting in a bunch of its jellyfish pals and they kind of take over SpongeBob’s house and turn it into a giant rave. And that’s basically the episode, jellyfish having a party in SpongeBob’s house.

I guess this episode is also Gary’s first significant role. I mean, he’s not actually in a lot of the episode, but he does wind up having an important role. When SpongeBob’s stereo breaks and the jellyfish become angry, Gary is the one that figures out that making music of their own calms the jellyfish down. This leads SpongeBob to discover that they can lure the jellyfish back to Jellyfish Fields with their music. Gary saved the day.

I like Gary a lot, he’s adorable and I love that the show actually manages to give Gary a consistent personality despite the fact that all he can say is “meow”. It’s cool that Gary really feels like a character and not just a prop. Also, I think I’m going to start up a count of how many episodes would have been over in two minutes if SpongeBob just listened to Gary from the beginning, because I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of them. It’s kind of funny how Gary ended up being one of the more sensible characters and a voice of reason a lot of the time, including here. Gary didn’t think keeping the jellyfish was a good idea and he was right. Always listen to Gary.

Honestly, I don’t really have anything clever to say about this episode, because what can you say about it? It’s just a very odd but very entertaining episode, and I think that’s all that really needs to be said about it. Sometimes there just isn’t much to analyze or talk about, sometimes this show is just nautical nonsense and that’s fine.

Rating: 7/10

Always Listen to Gary Count: 1

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