No Pictures Please
I'm not kidding when I say that this is not just my favorite episode of the season, but it's actually my favorite OF THE ENTIRE SHOW. It may seem like I'm exaggerating things, because let's be real here: this is just a comedic episode that works really well. But there's a lot more to this episode than meets the eye.
First off, there's the concept of Patrick being a tour guide. This is a relatively simple concept, but I think it's the perfect type of plot for Patrick in particular. I don't recall the show ever doing an episode where someone tours someone else Bikini Bottom, but this concept can really lead to so many interesting jokes and areas, as well as tons of character interactions. Let's start off by talking about the concept of the TIDAL ZONE. I actually think this is one of the most creative ideas that the show has ever brought. The fact that weird things can happen when in the Tidal Zone is something that can be really looked into and the way Rube acts throughout the episode further shows this. It's not like the episode just randomly has him be apart of the Tidal Zone, because then that would be a forced twist. But Rube's really odd speech and the fact that he's intrigued by so many of the weird things Patrick shows him give several hints that this character's not normal at all. The fact that the Tidal Zone is just randomly shown in the beginning does give off some decent foreshadowing because you wonder: Why did the writers add this in? What was the point of just throwing this random concept in an episode that's barely weird at all? This small scene in the beginning also helps develop the twist because as shown by the visuals, things that happen in the Tidal Zone are very weird, and become out-of-the-ordinary. Rube, as shown throughout the episode, is a character that isn't very normal, and does very weird things, like saying "AMAZING" all the time. And throughout the episode, he constantly snapshots things that could be seen as information that shouldn't get out to the public, like Krabby Patty structures or Squidward naked. It all comes together to make this concept fantastically written, and not to mention it parodies The Twighlight Zone really well in a hilarious fashion.
I also LOVE how Patrick is written in this episode. He does a lot of dumb things in this episode but he's actually shown to have some good knowledge about Bikini Bottom, so while of course he does a lot of dumb things throughout the episode to add to the comedy. He actually has good reactions to the people he interacts with, whether it's be his hilarious tour guide dialogue with Rube, where a lot of the time he acts as if he's bringing in an entire crowd yet he's only giving a tour to one person, or just general dialogue that comes off as hilarious due to how well-spoken they are. This is especially shown right from the beginning scene where Patrick attempts to ask a guy at a bus depot for balloons, even though they obviously don't have them. By itself, this just seems like Patrick being really stupid and being completely braindead, but what makes this work is how AWARE he is of the situation, and how he's so serious about getting the balloons that he'll use these really big vocabulary words like "restitution" and "penosterous." It mixes Patrick's dumb side as well as his semi-smart side, which we've seen before in episodes like Squidtastic Voyage, to make a scene which just hits with the comedy. Not to mention, there's some really great expressions from Patrick that further show how serious he is about a situation that isn't serious at all, further making this joke masterful. And this is just ONE joke in the episode, that comes TWENTY seconds in. There's other amazing jokes like how everyone on the REAL tour desperately needs to go to the bathroom, INCLUDING the guy driving the bus, which is a great joke because you'd expect this tour guy to not do the same things the regular citizens do, but not only does he do that, but he's even MORE desperate to go to the bathroom and even EXPLODES.
Every area Rube and Patrick go to is more creative than the last. Even though the episode's mostly about just them going to random areas, the amount of areas they DO go to is a ton, which provides the episode with a lot of substance because with every scene comes a new location. And it's not like the punchline is the exact same thing every time. Some different happens at each location and what happens is extremely creative and hilarious, unlike episodes like The Check-Up or Sailor Mouth where they act as if their one joke can drive the whole thing, even though that's not possible. What I like most about the jokes in this episode is a ton of them are implied, rather than stated out loud. If you didn't know, I LOVE implied jokes, because they can be interpreted in different ways and that gives them more rewatchability. While a lot of other episodes also do this, mostly from the earlier seasons, this episode takes the cake for the most amount of implied jokes. One example is when Patrick and Rube are eating another lunch. First off, there's a direct joke here that they're eating in a very messy manner, as well as how they look extremely spoiled in it, but then there's the implied joke that they're actually STEALING SPONGEBOB'S FOOD, which I simply find hilarious. There's other examples of implied jokes too, such as Rube and Patrick playing with the toilets, which could be interpreted as a hilarious inappropriate joke, and more.
There's also a lot of creative visual gags in this episode. For example, there's Squidward constantly shutting all the things in his house from Patrick and Rube, which is already funny enough, but then suddenly he opens and shuts one of the ocean FLOWERS, which is not only an unpredictable gag that works well as a visual gag, but is an excellent fourth wall break. And right afterwards, the episode hits the audience with ANOTHER really good visual gag of SpongeBob seeming like he's going over Patrick and Rube's heads, but then there's a twist that he was actually just running over some rocks shaped like the two. Yeah, another aspect I like about the episode is how RAPIDLY this episode shoots jokes at the audience. Remember how I said that there weren't a lot of in-between gags in Life Insurance? Well, this episode has tons of in-between gags. To give an example, there's this hilarious scene Patrick essentially trespassing some random guy's house, which is hilarious on its own and is another great example of an implied gag, but then there's this hilarious conversation in between that has tons of jokes thrown in just a 5 second conversation, like how the man called Patrick a "bad word," then it's revealed Patrick was trying to eat his mailbox, THEN he says he thought it was meatloaf, and then he gets his girls to throw the two out. That's FOUR gags that are shown in just this small conversation, and is simply another example of how perfect and excellent the humor here is.
There's also some really awesome animation here, that works really well here despite this being a more simple episode, unlike say, The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom. The scene I just mentioned has some really good lighting, but I think it's more the expressions than anything else. The beginning scene with everyone looking weird is shown with awesome expressions to really show how weird things can get in the Tidal Zone, but a ton of the gags work really well to exaggerate character's emotions further so the things they are doing are even more hilarious than they already were. I already mentioned the beginning, but then there's Squidward's hilarious expressions towards seeing Patrick and Rube in his house, or a really good showcase of Patrick and Rube out of breath that might just be better than how they usually show it. BUT MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SCENE has to go to the cemetery scene. First off, there's some awesome backgrounds here and the HD animation makes it look even more beautiful. But there's so many hilarious and well-timed gags in just this scene alone, such as the skeleton not actually seeming as evil as his original expression looked, and yes, this is yet another example of how well the expressions are shown to make jokes better, but then there's his great reaction, where he literally becomes INSANE and starts CHASING SpongeBob and Patrick in this crazy sequence, which eventually leads to the equally as good ending. What I noticed is that a lot of the sequences involve Patrick and Rube ruining someone else's day with the tour, but since each one is completely different and there's so many jokes to make each one feel unique and creative, the repetition is not a problem at all.
Honestly, I could continue praising this episode more and more, but I think you get the point by now that this episode is a masterpiece unlike any other episode. The episode has an awesome concept, excellent humor with tons and tons of jokes that are both obvious and implied and blend extremely well with the plot, giving tons of rewatchability to the episode, tons of creative character interactions and several locations throughout to give the episode lots of substance, and genius animation as usual in this season. But wait, you thought I was going to end off the review by giving this episode a godly? No no no, this is in fact BETTER than godly, and we can thank the Tidal Zone idea that this episode brought for that, with it being so cleverly shown in the episode through Rube's very deep and clever characterization, as well as an awesome parody. This has everything I want in a SpongeBob episode and puts even Fear of a Krabby Patty and Culture Shock to shame.
Episode Rating: ABOVE THE SCALE!!! (15/10)
Stuck on the Roof
Wow, this might just be the best pair in the series, because this was also quite genius.
The idea of SpongeBob being stuck on the roof (as the title implies), which once again, is a very simple premise, though at this point I think we all know this show's premises aren't what you'd call complex. And yeah, this concept is VERY cliche. I've seen plots about characters having a fear of heights, but I think this episode does a really good job at developing its plot, kind of like the previous few episodes have been doing. I like how once again the Krusty Krab vent is used, because things like this are what make episodes like these more interesting to watch. Oh, did you know that this episode starts off with SpongeBob dancing to music in a very modern fashion? Honestly, his dance doesn't come off as very cringy and it actually serves a good point in the episode as foreshadowing to a later moment in the episode where SpongeBob manages to keep the customers at the Krusty Krab by putting on music and dancing in a way that these fish would probably normally do. Plus, I think this is a good way to get the audience pumped for the episode with some pretty hyper music. Now, what I like about this episode is how it showcases SpongeBob's fear of heights. At first, he doesn't actually care about going up the Krusty Krab, which would seem weird from a viewer's perspective because you wouldn't understand why he suddenly had a fear of heights when he was able to climb up the ladder so fast, and obviously, most people who are afraid of HEIGHTS are also afraid of CLIMBING TO high heights. However, what this episode does to compensate for that is it makes SpongeBob start becoming afraid of heights after seeing the Krabby Patty he drops onto the ground. I really enjoy how dramatic this scene is, showing how much SpongeBob cares about the Krabby Patty, but then there's the scene where the Krabby Patty lands onto the ground, where it splats in this extremely gruesome manner. All of this showcase WHY SpongeBob ends up getting a fear of heights in the first place: he doesn't want to end up like the Krabby Patty. That is some pretty awesome writing right there and the fact that this is all implied makes it even better, because this episode actually tries to get the audience to try and interpret what it's trying to showcase and is kind of a similar case to No Pictures Please, except instead of implied humor, it's an implied plot point.
After that great scene, SpongeBob gets his fear of heights, and this episode shows another really great visual of exactly that with an extremely colorful yet dramatic sequence. After this scene, the episode actually gets pretty comedic, but I don't find this shift in tone to be very drastic because while the previous scenes were dramatic, they weren't extremely dramatic and it was mainly the implied meaning of the sequences that made them so dramatic. Plus, the episode still keeps a good story and conflict with SpongeBob being scared of heights, because obviously, SpongeBob still needs to man the grill and do his job, but he is unable to because he can't get down. Heck, there's another great plot point that also serves as a great joke where Patrick attempts to get SpongeBob down. I'm glad this season is improving Patrick's characterization episode by episode because here, he genuinely wants to help SpongeBob, but because of his stupidity, his attempt to bring him down ends up making SpongeBob even MORE afraid of heights, which works well as ironic humor, as well as a good slapstick joke with Patrick slamming into the ground, as well as good development of the plot. The first half of this episode truly develops how lonely SpongeBob is being on the roof all the time rather than being with his friends, and he can't even interact with his friends with other methods like making a shadow puppet. And not to mention there's a lot of hilarity that ensues throughout with tons of jokes. You might think, wouldn't the jokes ruin the serious story this is trying to tell? Well not really, as unlike episodes like Welcome to the Chum Bucket, where the story expects you to take it seriously yet decides to throw in jokes randomly completely ruining the pacing, here, the story is relatively light-hearted so the jokes don't feel out of place, yet the story still has a clear focus and develops itself really nicely, showing a really great balance between humor and story that might just be some of the best of that in post-sequel.
The second half resolves the conflict in a relatively simple way by having the grill go up to the roof, and I'll admit the first half is definitely better than this half, but this is still awesome. There's a lot of neat ideas shown throughout these sequences like a roof-version of the Krusty Krab, and like I mentioned earlier, SpongeBob putting on music to keep the customers entertained while they're inside, which once again, is great foreshadowing. And this episode still throws in a lot of jokes to spice up the action, specifically during this one scene where several characters are getting their food as its flying down from the sky, where there's some pretty decent dialogue and unpredictable gags. It almost feels like this episode's kind of like a typical real-life situation of someone being on the roof and making the most of it, because a lot of the things that happen in this are exaggerated versions of typical things that occur, such as a rainstorm preventing people from being outside, people being entertained by music, etc. I guess you can say this is a parody of real life? Either way, I simply enjoy how well this plot develops from just being SpongeBob being stuck on the roof to something really interesting. And yeah, the episode kind of forgets the main focus of the plot towards the end, but I think that was a much better take than having Mr. Krabs constantly attempt to get SpongeBob down, and it's definitely better than High Sea Diving, where the episode forgets the concept 2 minutes in and only barely remembers it towards the end for a small gag.
Honestly, even though this is a masterpiece, its sister episode overshadows it. If this was the sister episode of any other episode in this season, then this wouldn't be the case. But to conclude, this is a glorious episode with a really thoughtful plot, some awesome humor throughout, lots of creative plot points, especially for a concept that's relatively cliche, some interesting characterization of SpongeBob, and just a 100% entertaining plot overall. I have very little to say against this episode, because it's simply wonderful.
Episode Rating: Epic (9.5/10)