Let’s just jump right into this one. We see that SpongeBob’s grandmother tends to treat SpongeBob like a baby, as is typical for grandmothers to do, I suppose. SpongeBob actually enjoys it, but after being made fun of rather viciously for it by Squidward and some guys at the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob decides that he has to start acting more mature. Patrick offers to help him with this, and goes along with SpongeBob the next time he visits his grandmother.
When SpongeBob insists on being treated like an adult, his grandmother complies. She doesn’t give him kisses as he requests, she doesn’t feed him cookies or read him stories or give him a sweater with love in every stitch. She does, however, do all of these things for Patrick, who has suddenly decided that he doesn’t want to act like an adult after all, and she gives SpongeBob “adult” things like steamed coral to eat and office supplies as a gift. It’s not made clear if she’s doing this to prove a point or if she thinks SpongeBob will genuinely like these things. I’m inclined to think it’s the former.
Eventually SpongeBob can’t take it and he sobs uncontrollably about how he doesn’t want to grow up and it might be the most relatable thing SpongeBob has ever done. After calming him down, his grandmother assures him that he can be an adult and still enjoy cookies and kisses from his grandma. That’s a nice note to end things on, or it would be. The episode actually ends with Squidward and the guys from the Krusty Krab, who were apparently spying on SpongeBob for some reason, laughing at him.
All right, so, for the most part, I like this episode, I think it’s funny and I like the point it’s trying to make. I like the message that being mature doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy things that are “childish” sometimes. Growing up doesn’t mean you have to change completely.
However, the episode undermines its own message with the ending. It’s hard to believe the whole “it’s okay to be a little childlike sometimes” thing when the last thing we see in the episode is SpongeBob being laughed at for being childlike. Our last impression isn’t going to be of how happy SpongeBob and his grandmother were in the end, it’s of how SpongeBob is still being made fun of and it’s a very sour note to end things on.
This episode answers the question I think everyone has asked at some point: why doesn’t Squidward just move?
Well, to be fair, I guess Opposite Day also kind of answered that question, but this one takes it further. Because in this episode, Squidward actually does move away, and to a place that should be paradise to him, but it turns out to not be the perfect solution he thought it would be.
Squidward didn’t have much a choice but to move because SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally destroy his house while playing with reef blowers at the beginning of the episode. Usually that happens at the end of an episode, when it doesn’t matter, but if it happens at the beginning that’s a whole other story. So he sees this ad for a place called Tentacle Acres, a gated community that is exclusively for squids/octopi/whatever the fuck Squidward is, and moves there.
It really does seem like Squidward’s paradise at first. Everyone is exactly like him and it has everything he could possibly want, from an interpretive dance studio to canned bread. As the days go by, however, the novelty starts to wear off. Every day is the same, nothing new or interesting happens. Even paradise gets boring when it’s always the same.
Then Squidward finds a reef blower and starts to play with it, despite the fact that he mocked SpongeBob and Patrick for playing with reef blowers earlier. It’s pretty cute watching Squidward have fun with it for a while. His antics soon start to bother the other citizens of Tentacle Acres, however, who corner him and with a list of his grievances.
Squidward: Grievances! This town is a grievance! There should be a law against so many stuck-up tightwads living in one place! This city needs to be destroyed!… or at least painted a different color.
Ha, the irony of Squidward calling anyone a “stuck-up tightwad” is almost too much.
I really like this line though, because this is where we see what sets Squidward apart from the other citizens. It seems that living next to SpongeBob has rubbed off on him. It’s given Squidward passion and a sense of whimsy that I don’t think even Squidward knew he had. But it’s there, and that’s why, in the long run, he couldn’t be happy living in a place like Tentacle Acres. For all that SpongeBob annoys Squidward, he also makes his life more interesting. Squidward doesn’t fit in with “his own kind” as much as he thought he did.
So, Squidward leaves Tentacle Acres in spectacular fashion, using the reef blower as a jet pack and flying right over SpongeBob and Patrick, who have come to find Squidward and are positive that the guy that just flew over them can’t possibly be him.
This is easily in my top 5 favorite episodes, I think it really demonstrates how clever this show can actually be. I like what this episode says about Squidward and the ways that living next to SpongeBob has in some ways affected him positively. It’s sweet and smart and just a great Squidward episode.