Despite the fact that the majority of “Spongebob” fans are generally in agreement that the later episodes, in a word, suck, “Spongebob” is about to enter his tenth season on the air (yes, it’s still on, and yes, we were as surprised as you are to learn that).
So, what do we do when something we once loved overstays its welcome and becomes a shell of the marvelous entity it once was? Why, we wax nostalgic, of course. What follows is a list of the five best episodes of “Spongebob Squarepants,” which remind us of just how good this show used to be.
5. Just One Bite
Anyone who has ever gone on a diet and tried to resist the call of bad food surely fell in love with this episode. Here, Spongebob finally convinces stubborn Squidward to try a Krabby Patty. Up to this point, Squidward has always reacted with disgust when presented with a Krabby Patty, despite never having actually eaten one. What follows is best described as a junkie looking for his next fix. Squidward loves the Krabby Patty and becomes obsessed with eating more of them. At one point, he even eats one out of the garbage - junkie indeed. Squidward keeps his obsession a secret until Spongebob catches him in the act, where he then promptly eats all of the Krabby Patties stored in the Patty Vault. Spongebob warns Squidward that the patties will all “go to his thighs” and, to bring a cliche to delightful life, Squidward’s thighs then subsequently explode.
4. Rock Bottom
This episode, in which Spongebob accidentally takes the wrong bus home from Glove World and ends up lost in Rock Bottom, is unique in that it doesn’t feel like any other episode of “Spongebob” up to this point. It is downright eerie, and if we didn’t yet feel that this show was too mature for young children, we certainly felt it now. Spongebob has to find his way home amongst the unknown terrors that lurk in the night, and even though it’s only a cartoon, we find the hairs on our arms standing on end. Perhaps the creepiest part of the episode is the final scene, in which they show Patrick on the bus and on his way back to Bikini Bottom, completely oblivious to Spongebob’s plight. The juxtaposition of Patrick’s calmness to the past fifteen minutes we just sat through makes this episode memorable enough to strike a chord with us years after the fact.
3. The Camping Episode
Two words: Sea Bear. It’s hard not to crack up at Squidward’s misfortune here as the sea bear mercilessly and repeatedly kicks his ass. Just the look on the sea bear’s face as he swims away each time is enough to leave you in stitches. And then, just when you thought it was impossible to do so, the episode gets even funnier. Spongebob mentions how the sea bear is nothing compared to the sea rhinoceros, which is summoned by the sounds of a sea bear attack. But Squidward should be safe, as long as he’s wearing his anti-sea-rhinoceros underwear. You know where this is going - next stop: comedy gold.
2. Band Geeks
“Is mayonnaise an instrument?” “Band Geeks” is in every “Spongebob” fan’s top five episodes of all-time, if not at number one. Plankton is delightfully robust in this episode (“CORRECT!”), and nothing short of a comedy of errors ensues when Squidward tries and fails to transform the show’s main characters into a talented band in an effort to upstage his brother Squilliam. Just as entertaining as the plethora of quotes and gags in this episode is the stadium performance, led by Spongebob, of “Sweet Victory,” where the band proves they’ve truly got what it takes after Squidward quits as manager and Spongebob takes over.
1. Idiot Box
“Band Geeks” shows up in the number one spot as many folks’ favorite episode, but “Idiot Box” has a special place in our hearts. This is because it perfectly displays the power of a child’s imagination when pitted against the more cynical adult mind. Who out there among us didn’t have more fun with the box an item came in than the item itself? Spongebob and Patrick drive Squidward delightfully insane when he keeps looking in the box, expecting to find something way more mind-blowing than the two of them seemingly using only their “imagination.” And what really drives it home is the “plaque” Squidward finds in the box that serves to “commemorate” the “brave pirates” that were Spongebob and Patrick. Of course, when Squidward finally gets his hands on the box, he thinks he has finally gotten in touch with his imagination when he pretends he’s in a race-car and actually hears the sounds of one. Though, sadly, for Squidward and as a metaphor for all adults in general, the noises he hears are nothing more than the garbage truck that is picking up the box and taking it off to the dump with him inside.