This is a review I've been planning on for a while and because I hadn't prior watched any because it started in 1999 it came out around the time I was just in highschool (only cartoon I still watched some of at this point was Johnny Bravo) and so has no nostalgic value to me. Further more I need to add just how influential this show and is deems the last of the "classic" nicktoons, so given this and the fact it's ran so long I chose to see the first 6 episode of every season except 8 for which I could only find 2 episodes of so that I could review the show as a whole and not just it's peak. So enough interlude it's time to see if Spongebob holds up to older more cynical eyes and see just how kind time has been to it.
I honestly found the show to start off on the right foot as it imediately gave me a classic Nicktoons feel (classic nicktoons been a huge influence on my work work) which shouldn't come as any surprise given that it was created by Rocko writer Stephen Hillenburg. I must say the first 3 season did a great deal right it was lively, well written (the episode Nasty Patty being the best I've seen), even snuck a little stuff past the the radar in typical 90's fashion and was well animated, particularly in the first season which seemed to have the most animated experssions and most detailed animation in the show's entire duration (I loved the animation in season 1). Honestly I found the more site characters to be more entertaining then Spongebob and Patrick (Patrick can me annoying at times) like Squidward and Mr. Crabs being my personal favorites.
Before I sound too gushy over these first 3 seasons I think that I should add that it wasn't prefect as I noticed the first few episodes of season 2 were kinda hit and miss (ones like Bubble Buddy being particularly bad). Another problem (which I know many will disagree with) Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.....now I think Ernest Borgnine rules and it's clear he enjoys the part and I like how they got his co-star from McHale's Navy to play Barnacle Boy but while I thought the first episode with them was pretty damn funny I unfortunately found them to become an over milked joke and the episode Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III (another very lame season in early season 2) being particularly bad. Lastly the live action scenes.......these are honestly terrible beyond words, so much so that I found them to kill the enjoyment of some episodes (like the Christmas episode in season 2) because they can be very overused.
Now as many know that once the move was made after season 3 the show's creator left and Nick in an attempt to keep the money flowing replaced him with ex-Ren & Stimpy artist and writer Vincent Waller (he also worked on Duckman) which on paper seemed like a good match, but how well did this change really fair for the show? When I started on season 4 I would be lying if I didn't say I noticed a drop in quality being that the episodes while still having same moments kinda felt a little lackluster, I mean not as bad as some declines because season 4 could sometimes still be clever like the episode Selling Out which is actually a pretty biting satire on fast food franchises. So while season 4 wasn't great there was an overall sense that Vincent Waller was trying to maintain the spirit of the older episodes and while pretty hit and miss was still better then most cartoons in the mid 2000's. Had this been the extent of the shows decline then I could have lived with that.
Season 5 is where the shit really hits the fan for Spongebob, as once again the show declined in animation quality and the writing instantly found itself getting embarrassingly weak. Spongebob himself became kinda annoying in these episodes and seasons progressed I was finding more lame plot ideas and kinda embarrassing moments like inanimate objects being alive like toilets or Squidward's house talking (in possible the worse episode I've seen). Another thing was an increased reliance on grossout humor to try and cover it's lack in quality writing....those of you who watched for enough in might likely remember an particularly painful looking scene involving Squidward's toenail. While not really having any baring on the actual qaulity I noticed on later season you can hear that the voice's of Spongebob and Squidward have ages since the show started.These later season actually grew to be a real chore for me to sit through.
Much like the Simpson, Spongebob has run long past it's expiry date and it's quite a shame because I was actually pretty fond of what I saw of the first few season and as much as some might not like to hear it need to have the plug pulled on it because it's just not very good anymore. I know how it feels to wanna hold onto the past and as sad as it is to see the 90's go it's time to move on and hope that people make some creative new ideas in the future........surely the current animation drought won't last forever.