Can I just say that I’ve never really cared for April Fool’s Day?
In general, I’ve never really cared much for pranks. I suppose some of them can be funny, but usually I just think they’re unpleasant. Maybe that’s because I’ve always been pretty gullible so I’ve been a prime target for pranks most of my life and I rarely find them as funny as the person pranking me does. So an entire day dedicated to them is just a day of paranoia for me.
I think a good prank is one that leaves the victim laughing as much as the prankster, and what I like about this episode is that that seems to be the exact lesson it’s trying to impart.
As we find out from this episode, SpongeBob loves April Fool’s Day, and Squidward hates it. He hates it so much that when he realizes that today is April Fool’s, he tries to call in sick for work so he can avoid SpongeBob’s jokes. When he calls, he’s told that a famous art dealer wants to meet him. For some reason he falls for this and rushes to the Krusty Krab, only to find that it was a prank from SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs.
Squidward is upset and tries to leave, and the cool thing is that SpongeBob realizes he’s upset and promises not to prank him anymore! SpongeBob enjoys pranking people, but he never means to actually hurt them. He’s just trying to have fun and make people laugh. Most of his pranks are harmless. But when he realizes that this one didn’t make his victim laugh and that it actually upset him, he feels bad and says that he won’t do it anymore. That’s good! That’s a really good thing to be showing to kids! It doesn’t matter if it was “just a joke”, not everyone will take jokes the same way and you can still hurt someone.
So, SpongeBob continues pranking pretty much everyone except Squidward, but Squidward still finds his constant jokes and laughter annoying, even when they’re not directed at him. He plans his on prank on SpongeBob, basically a series of traps that look extremely painful. At the end of it, the only one laughing is Squidward. Hurt and humiliated, SpongeBob starts to cry and runs out of the Krusty Krab.
Feeling guilty about the prank, Squidward realizes that he needs to apologize to SpongeBob. This isn’t easy. Making apologies, especially toward SpongeBob, isn’t something that Squidward is used to. To the point where he can’t even bring himself to say the word “sorry”. There’s a pretty funny sequence where Squidward tries different methods of apologizing to SpongeBob without actually having to say the words to his face, but eventually Squidward’s conscience gets the better of him and it all comes out in a rush.
Squidward: All right, all right! I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I admit it, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hurt you, in fact SpongeBob, I like you! I like living next door, I like hearing your foghorn alarm in the morning and your high-pitched giggling at night! I also like Gary, Patrick, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, and all the other people I’m forced to be in contact with! And, and, and… [SpongeBob opens the door slightly]
SpongeBob: Squidward! Is all that true?
Squidward: Yes, SpongeBob. Yes, it’s all true.
SpongeBob: Even the part about the lima beans and the car chase?
Squidward: What the…? Yes, whatever! But you have to promise not to tell anybody.
Unfortunately for Squidward, this was all apparently another prank on him. Everyone is in SpongeBob’s house and they all heard him admit that he actually likes all of them. Ha! It kind of goes against what SpongeBob said earlier about not pranking Squidward anymore, but I think Squidward had this one coming. Squidward tries to turn it around and say that he was actually joking and didn’t mean a word of it, but… yeah, he’s not fooling anyone.
I like that this episode makes a distinction between a mean-spirited prank and a good prank. Jokes are fine and all, but there are lines that shouldn’t be crossed and those lines can be different depending on the person. It’s important to be considerate.
The ending is sweet too. I always like it when Squidward’s conscience gets the better of him. That sort of thing can very easily come off as forced, but it never does with Squidward. Probably because they don’t do it too often, and also because it’s never actually a huge departure from his character. Even when he’s trying to be nicer, he’s still Squidward. You can tell he’s trying, but there’s still a note of sarcasm and grumpiness in everything he says. It’s not a complete personality switch. Even the phrasing of his apology in this episode is tinged with annoyance. The way he describes SpongeBob’s alarm clock and his laughter, even though he’s saying he likes it, doesn’t actually sound all that flattering. And he says he likes all the people he’s “forced to be in contact with”, which is a funny way of saying it. Like he might like them despite himself but he still wouldn’t spend time with them voluntarily. It just sounds so perfectly in character even though the gist of what he’s trying to say goes against how he’s perceived (and he knows that it does, too).
For an episode which a premise that’s so out there, it sure does bore me.
So, Neptune, the god of the sea, exists in the SpongeBob universe. We don’t see him a lot. In fact we see him so little that you can forget about him easily, which is probably a good thing because he’s one of the more confusing parts of the show. It’s never really clear just how much Neptune matters. Like, he’s sort of their king, and he’s powerful, but how much effect does he have on the underwater world? Not to mention he looks completely different in the movie, which is also confusing. It’s best not to think about it too much, I guess.
Anyway, there’s apparently a Fry Cook Museum in Bikini Bottom, and in that museum is a golden spatula embedded in a greasy griddle. Legend says that anyone who can pull that spatula from the grease is destined to become King Neptune’s fry cook. SpongeBob, it turns out, is able to pull the spatula out easily. When Neptune appears to take his new fry cook to Atlantis, he doesn’t believe that SpongeBob is the one. For SpongeBob to prove his worth, he has to compete in a challenge against King Neptune. The first to make 1000 burgers wins.
So of course what happens is pretty obvious. Neptune uses his powers to make a thousand burgers while SpongeBob only manages to make one in the same time. But Neptune’s taste terrible, and SpongeBob’s tastes amazing, because love is the most important ingredient and all that crap. Sorry, I just… don’t care.
I’m trying to find something interesting to talk about in this episode but honestly I can’t find anything. Maybe that sounds harsh and I don’t mean for it to, it’s not like this episode is terrible exactly. I mean, I can’t find anything horribly wrong or offensive about it. But I just. I find it so boring.
None of the jokes really make me laugh or even smile? Like, I guess there’s that bit where Mr. Krabs places his bet on Neptune that makes me do that thing where I kind of… breathe out my nose slightly harder than usual because I’m amused but not enough to actually laugh? That’s pretty much the most I can say. And there isn’t much to say for characterization or even story for this episode either. I guess the story is creative or at least it’s definitely different from anything else in the season, but it doesn’t really interest me.
This is all coming out harsher than I intend it to. I don’t know, it’s not like I hate the episode but I really don’t care about it at all. It’s an effort for me to even finish this episode when I watch it.