Sigh. I don’t like this episode.
It’s difficult for me come up with anything interesting to say about this episode. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it enough to go into a passionate rant about it. I like parts of it, but nothing I can really talk about in depth.
I just… don’t really care about this episode? It bores me. I’m not into it. I’m not sure how else to explain it.
A common complaint about this episode is that SpongeBob is out of character in it. I criticized it for that too, but the thing to remember is that this is still just the first season and while the characters have been pretty well established so far they’re probably still figuring out a few things with them. SpongeBob’s decision to leave his job, his home, and his friends (and Gary I guess? No one mentions Gary) behind is inconsistent with what we know about SpongeBob now. Over the years the show has developed him, and we’ve gotten to know him, as being loving and slightly obsessive (well, maybe more than “slightly”) when it comes to his work and his friends. The idea of him being okay with leaving them behind to live with jellyfish in the wild wouldn’t make a lot of sense now. But for an episode in the first half of season 1, ignoring the later context and focusing only on what we’ve been shown up until this point? SpongeBob hasn’t shown quite the level of devotion he comes to show later. His behavior in this episode isn’t that ooc considering when this episode is in the show’s run, it’s only because of what we’ve been shown in later episodes that it seems that way. Make sense?
What’s funny is that even SpongeBob’s friends (using that word kind of loosely in Squidward’s case) don’t think that SpongeBob will see this through. When SpongeBob leaves, Sandy says that she thinks he’ll only last a week, and Squidward says he thinks SpongeBob will last eleven minutes (which is also a funny bit of meta humor).
Oh, speaking of Squidward, I’ve also heard complaints about him being ooc in this episode, because we see him celebrating SpongeBob’s absence at one point and people think that goes against Squidward’s deep-down affection for SpongeBob. Um… no? Listen, you’ll have a hard time finding someone who cares more about SpongeBob and Squidward’s relationship than me, but this is really not out of character for Squidward at all. Y’all have to remember that while Squidward does care for SpongeBob on some level, he also thinks SpongeBob is extremely irritating and only in certain situations will he act otherwise, usually when SpongeBob is visibly upset or hurt and often when Squidward himself is the cause of it. It’s not that weird for Squidward to be glad that SpongeBob isn’t around, especially when he doesn’t believe SpongeBob will be gone for very long. Squidward actively trying to prevent SpongeBob from being found when he gets lost in Whatever Happend to SpongeBob? That’s a bit much and I’d say it is ooc. Squidward celebrating some moments of peace while SpongeBob chases a pipe dream that definitely won’t work out? Nah, that’s not so weird.
Okay, moving on now. I will say this for Nature Pants, it’s a really nice looking episode. When SpongeBob gets to Jellyfish Fields, the scenery is colorful and vibrant and it’s very pretty to look at. Unfortunately not much of interest happens in Jellyfish Fields, at least not for me. There’s a funny bit where Sandy and Patrick stage a conversation to try to lure SpongeBob into coming back to Bikini Bottom with them, and when that doesn’t work there’s another funny bit later where Patrick tries to catch SpongeBob in a net the way they would catch jellyfish. “If I can’t have you as a friend, I’m gonna make you a trophy!” It’s both funny and slightly unsettling, but either way it definitely isn’t boring. Aside from that, watching SpongeBob try to fit in with the jellyfish doesn’t really do a lot for me, and the pretty scenery doesn’t captivate me for long.
Eventually SpongeBob does return home, where everyone is waiting for him with a surprise party ready. How did they know he would be coming back that very night? Were they just going to wait there for days hoping that he’d show up at some point? Anyway, SpongeBob is glad to be back and he’s realized that being with his friends in Bikini Bottom is truly where he belonged, not in Jellyfish Fields with wild animals. It’s sweet, I guess. I still don’t really care.
This is probably my least favorite season 1 episode, or it’s definitely going to be close to the bottom anyway. It’s not even really a bad episode, there’s good stuff in here! But as a whole I just… don’t care. I get bored watching this.
I thought about writing this review as if I hated the episode, you know, as a joke because it’s Opposite Day, but then I wondered if that might be more confusing than funny.
Plus, writing a hate-filled review wouldn’t be accurately opposite to my real opinion of it because my opinion is more I-like-it-but-kind-of-passively, so the actual opposite of that would be… I-dislike-it-but-kind-of-passively? And that’s harder to write about and it’s also not very entertaining.
Actually, passively liking something isn’t easy to write about either, so this is probably going to be a short review.
The idea behind this episode is neat. Squidward, fed up with living next door to SpongeBob, decides to move, but he knows that selling his house will be difficult with such annoying neighbors. So he tricks SpongeBob into believing it’s Opposite Day, in the hopes that SpongeBob will act opposite to how he normally does. In other words, quiet and out of the way!
Not too surprising that this doesn’t work for long. Squidward didn’t seem to think this all the way through, which isn’t surprising because, like Plankton, Squidward tends to have very little foresight. SpongeBob starts to overthink what acting opposite to his usual behavior really means. Does it mean he’s quiet and out of the way, or does it mean that he has to make a complete mess of his house, which he would normally keep spotless? Can it mean both?
It kind of makes me wonder, what would I do on Opposite Day? What would you do on Opposite Day? Does anybody know? What’s the opposite of our personality? If we have to approach every situation oppositely to how we normally would, how far could we take it? At what point does everything dissolve into complete anarchy? Hopefully most of us would know where to draw the line, but in SpongeBob’s case… well, he’s never been very good with doing things in moderation, has he? Too bad he can’t behave oppositely to that aspect of his personality.
Eventually SpongeBob comes to the conclusion that being the opposite of himself means he has to be Squidward. In a weird way, it makes sense. He and Squidward are definitely at opposite ends of the personality spectrum. This leads to disaster and hilarity when SpongeBob is the one who speaks to Squidward’s realtor, and completely ruins any chance of her selling Squidward’s house. The whole scene is gold and it’s a great way to end the episode.
I don’t often think about watching this episode but I always really enjoy myself when I do watch it. It’s got a lot of charm and humor, and it’s actually pretty clever. I’m not sure how to end this review since I’ve pretty much talked about this episode as much I can already, so I’m going to end it with my favorite joke in the episode and one of my favorite jokes in the entire first season and possibly the show
SpongeBob: Hello, Squidward! Oops. I mean, goodbye, Squidward! Aww, isn’t Opposite Day… [giggles]…terrible? [laughs]
Squidward: I’ll tell you what’s terrible! Living next to you! You’re the worst neighbor in history!
SpongeBob: Wow! That’s the nicest thing Squidward’s ever said to me!
Oh, SpongeBob. Honestly I think that joke is really underrated.