You know, sometimes an episode is so good, that it kind of works against it.
What I mean is, sometimes certain episodes get a lot of attention, and usually for good reason, but then people get so tired of that episode always being talked about and quoted, or they become hyper aware of every little flaw in the episode due to overexposure backlash, that they start to forget why it was considered good in the first place.
Of course, all of this is pretty subjective. My favorite episode is Dying For Pie, and that’s hardly an obscure favorite. People talk about it and quote it all the time, and it hasn’t affected how much I enjoy the episode. But in general, overexposure backlash does have a big effect on fandom, and I’d be lying if I said it never has an effect on me. I feel like that’s something I’ll be talking about a lot during these reviews, because honestly of all the fandoms I’m in (and I’m in a lot of fandoms) the SpongeBob fandom seems to be the one most concerned with this.
Something Smells is a really good episode, though. The plot is about, of all things, having bad breath. SpongeBob eats a disgusting concoction of ketchup, onions, and an entire potted plant (believe it or not, this was supposed to be an alternative sundae), and as a result his breath is so bad that nobody can stand being around him for fear of being sick. Does SpongeBob not brush his teeth? If his breath is really that bad, wouldn’t he be able to smell it too? Well in any case, Patrick (who can’t smell SpongeBob’s breath due to not having a nose) convinces SpongeBob that everyone must be reacting this way to him because he’s ugly. Pretty simple plot, and they squeeze as many jokes out of it as they possibly can.
It’s no wonder this episode gets quoted so much, this is honestly a really funny episode. I always forget just how funny it is, though, because I see and hear the quotes so much that I’ve grown tired of them. But when I watch the episode and see the quotes in context, I remember, oh hey, that’s really funny.
This is a strange episode for me, because I only really appreciate it when I’m actually watching it. Not that I dislike it the rest of time, not even close, but I always expect to be bored by it, simply because of overexposure. It’s good, but I always forget that, so I’m not totally sure what to do with it.
Another Pearl episode, and one that’s mostly enjoyable.
In this episode, Mr. Krabs announces that Pearl will be working at the Krusty Krab while she’s on break, and she’ll basically be running the place. She’s free to make any changes she wants to the decor and the menu and the uniforms and even the name of the restaurant. Squidward is not into the idea and it doesn’t take long before he quits. SpongeBob actually likes the flowery pink uniforms, as well as the overly cutesy decor and the new name (the “Kuddly Krab”). I’m reminded of Pearl’s dream in Sleepy Time, and once again wondering if she’s supposed to be a teenager or a six year old. I’ve just never met a teenager who likes cutesy-ness to this degree, but okay.
SpongeBob draws the line when Pearl changes the menu, though. Instead of Krabby Patties, all they serve now is salad. I’ve never met a teenager who would rather eat a salad than a burger, but okay. This prompts SpongeBob to tell Mr. Krabs that Pearl is ruining the Krusty Krab, and to his surprise Mr. Krabs agrees. The changes Pearl have made are costing them more money than they’re earning, but Mr. Krabs doesn’t want to fire his daughter. So he makes SpongeBob do it instead.
As it turns out, Pearl is miserable at the Krusty Krab too. Working there is cutting into her social life too much, but she’s afraid of what Mr. Krabs will think if she quits. SpongeBob tells her that he’ll fire her and take the heat from Mr. Krabs later. It’s kind of a clever resolution. Mr. Krabs and Pearl both want the same thing without knowing it, and they’re able to get it without thinking they’ve hurt the other’s feelings. SpongeBob assures Mr. Krabs that Pearl took the news well, and Pearl is assured that SpongeBob will be the one in trouble with Mr. Krabs, not her (and as far as she knows SpongeBob is voluntarily taking the fall for her). Everyone gets what they want and no one is hurt in the end.
I’ve come to notice something about Pearl. People talk a lot about how much many of the characters change in post-movie, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone talk about how Pearl changes. Maybe people don’t notice it because in pre-movie Pearl wasn’t around a whole lot and we didn’t get that much characterization from her. What we do get of her in pre-movie paints her as kind of spoiled and entitled but still sweet and loving. She’s very willful and this can make her act like a brat at times, but she does love Mr. Krabs and she even seems to be fond of SpongeBob, and she wouldn’t deliberately try to hurt them. Post-movie Pearl is… I mean, sometimes we see a bit of her sweet side, but most of her screen time in post-movie is spent yelling and crying because she didn’t get what she wanted. It’s a shame that that ends up being the characterization that everyone remembers for Pearl, but I guess since her characterization has never been the strongest it’s not too surprising. (As a side note, I really liked Mall Girl Pearl and I thought Pearl herself was great in it.)
All this to say, as far as Pearl characterization goes, this is probably one of my favorite episodes for her. We get a good sense of how much she and Mr. Krabs care about each other, although they’re apparently not great at communicating, and I liked that she and SpongeBob seemed to have a cute friendship. They get along very well and they genuinely enjoy working with each other, at least until the salad issue comes up.
Compared to most season 2 episodes, this isn’t a very memorable one, simply because it gets outshined by a lot of later episodes. But it’s pretty enjoyable anyway. There’s not as many laugh-out-loud moments as others have, but it does get a chuckle from me here and there and even when I’m not laughing, I’m not bored by it. It’s a cute episode.