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SpongeBob SquarePants - The First 100 Episodes (Seasons 1-5) Review




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Rating
Video:   9/10
Audio:   8/10
Extras:   4/10

Great Packaging!
by Gord Lacey (All reviews)
9/29/2009

    "Are you ready....?!" for spongetacular adventure, comedy and drama? Go ahead, backstroke through ten years of hilarity with "Help Wanted," "Spongebob's House Party," "Christmas Who?" and "Dunces And Dragons." You'll laugh and guffaw as you cruise through this massive DVD collection with SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Squidward, and, yes, even Plankton.

    Whether you're a super-absorbent fan or just beginning to soak up the wonderful world of SpongeBob, these first 100 episodes are all you need to become an expert on Bikini Bottom and our most beloved sponge. It's all here: "Ripped Pants," "The Camping Episode," "Goo Goo Gas," "Atlantis Squarepantis" and much much more!

    Are you getting a nice squishy feeling inside? You know you Are. that's because a rising tide of Happy is lapping at the shores of your brain!

    Wow. 100 episodes and a tidal wave of special features. Talk about going to your Happy Place!
100 episodes in one set, and what a set it is! I absolutely love the packaging for this - a sturdy plastic case holds a slipcase, which holds all 7 double-slim cases (14 discs). The set includes the first 100 episodes, in production order, plus a bonus disc:

Disc 1 (3:04:51)
Help Wanted/Reef Blower/Tea at the Treedome (22:59)
Bubblestand / Ripped Pants (22:08)
Jellyfishing / Plankton! (22:07)
Naughty Nautical Neighbors / Boating School (22:07)
Pizza Delivery / Home Sweet Pineapple (22:09)
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy / Pickles (22:06)
Hall Monitor / Jellyfish Jam (22:07)
Sandy's Rocket / Squeaky Boots (29:08)

Disc 2 (3:05:27)
Nature Pants / Opposite Day (22:49)
Culture Shock / F.U.N. (22:07)
MuscleBob BuffPants / Squidward, the Unfriendly Ghost (22:08)
The Chaperone / Employee of the Month (22:08)
Scaredy Pants / I Was a Teenage Gary (22:07)
SB-129 / Karate Choppers (22:38)
Sleepy Time / Suds (22:49)
Valentine's Day / The Paper (28:41)

Disc 3 (3:07:51)
Arrgh! / Rock Bottom (22:50)
Texas / Walking Small (22:15)
Fools in April / Neptune's Spatula (22:21)
Hooky / Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II (22:59)
Your Shoe's Untied / Squid's Day Off (22:55)
Something Smells / Bossy Boots (22:54)
Big Pink Loser / Bubble Buddy (22:25)
Dying for Pie / Imitation Krabs (29:12)

Disc 4 (3:07:26)
Wormy / Patty Hype (22:45)
Grandma's Kisses / Squidville (22:56)
Pre-Hibernation Week / Life of Crime (22:23)
Christmas Who? (22:44)
Survival of the Idiots / Dumped (23:02)
No Free Rides / I'm Your Biggest Fanatic (22:14)
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III / Squirrel Jokes (22:57)
Pressure / The Smoking Peanut (28:25)

Disc 5 (2:51:31)
Shanghaied / Gary Takes a Bath (28:47)
Welcome to the Chum Bucket / Frankendoodle (22:55)
The Secret Box / Band Geeks (22:57)
The Graveyard Shift / Krusty Love (22:50)
Procrastination / I'm With Stupid (22:56)
Sailor Mouth / Artist Unknown (22:55)
Jellyfish Hunter / The Fry Cook Games (28:11)

Disc 6 (3:06:21)
Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm / Squid on Strike (23:19)
The Algae's Always Greener / Sponge Guard on Duty (22:33)
Club SpongeBob / My Pretty Seahorse (22:33)
The Bully / Just One Bite (21:44)
Nasty Patty / The Idiot Box (22:57)
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV / Doing Time (22:10)
The Snowball Effect / One Krabs Trash (22:07)
As Seen on TV / Can You Spare a Dime? (28:58)

Disc 7 (3:06:29)
No Weenies Allowed / Squilliam Returns (23:38)
Krab Borg / Rock-a-Bye Bivalve (22:56)
Wet Painters / Krusty Krab Training Video (22:19)
SpongeBob's House Party (21:48)
Chocolate With Nuts / Mermaid Man And Barnacle Boy V (22:55)
New Student Starfish / Clams (22:54)
SpongeBob B.C. (20:55)
The Great Snail Race / Mid-Life Crustacean (29:04)

Disc 8 (2:44:46)
Born Again Krabs / I Had An Accident (23:38)
Krabby Land / The Camping Episode (22:53)
Missing Identity / Plankton's Army (22:56)
The Lost Episode (The Sponge Who Could Fly) (22:05)
SpongeBob Meets the Strangler / Pranks A Lot (22:57)
Fear of a Krabby Patty / Shell of a Man (22:19)
The Lost Mattress / Krabs vs. Plankton (21:34)
Have You Seen This Snail? (28:29)

Disc 9 (3:02:48)
Skill Crane / Good Neighbor (23:17)
Selling Out / Funny Pants (22:04)
Dunces and Dragons (22:22)
Enemy In-Law / Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI (22:02)
Patrick SmartPants / SquidBob TentaclePants (21:35)
Krusty Towers / Mrs. Puff You're Fired (21:38)
Ghost Host / Chimps Ahoy! (21:45)
Whale of a Birthday / Karate Island (28:05)

Disc 10 (3:00:52)
All That Glitters / Wishing You Well (22:37)
New Leaf / Once Bitten (21:42)
Bummer Vacation / Wigstruck (21:54)
Squidtastic Voyage / That's No Lady (21:23)
The Thing / Hocus Pocus (21:39)
Driven to Tears / Rule of Dumb (21:43)
Born To Be Wild / Best Frenemies (21:39)
The Pink Purloiner / Squid Wood (28:15)

Disc 11 (3:07:31)
The Best Day Ever / The Gift of Gum (22:47)
Friend or Foe (21:50)
The Original Fry Cook / Night Light (21:56)
Rise and Shine / Waiting / Sing a Song of Patrick (22:03)
Spy Buddies / Boat Smarts / Good Ol' Whatshisname (22:00)
New Digs / Krabs รก la Mode (22:02)
Roller Cowards / Bucket Sweet Bucket (21:49)
To Love a Patty / Breath of Fresh Squidward (33:04)

Disc 12 (3:04:05)
Money Talks / SpongeBob vs. The Patty Gadget / Slimy Dancing (22:41)
The Krusty Sponge / Sing a Song of Patrick (21:47)
A Flea In Her Dome / The Krusty Plate / Donut Of Shame (21:50)
Goo Goo Gas / Le Big Switch (21:48)
Atlantis SquarePantis (40:31)
Picture Day / Pat No Pay / Blackjack (21:52)
Blackened Sponge / Mermaid Man vs. Sponge (33:36)

Disc 13 (2:19:08)
The Inmates of Summer / To Save a Squirrel (22:45)
Pest of the West (21:52)
20,000 Patties Under the Sea / Battle in Bikini Bottom (22:01)
What Ever Happened to SpongeBob? (21:51)
The Two Faces of Squidward / SpongeHenge (21:45)
Banned in Bikini Bottom / Stanley S. SquarePants (28:54)

Video

The video on this release is pretty nice, and is presented in the original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Colors are nice and vibrant, as they should be on an animated release. Quality is going to vary a bit given this set spans 5 seasons of the show. Earlier episodes can look soft at times, and the quality isn't quite as good as the later episodes. There's some slight compression during high-motion scenes. There's a "Play All" option for each disc, a needed option when there are so many episodes on each disc. It's worth noting that the set doesn't include full episodes; there's one show opening and one set of closing credits per disc.

Though this has nothing to do with the video quality of the release, I found the "Episode Selection" screens to be a tad frustrating. As I went through each disc to get the times of the episodes I found I had to use the directional buttons far more than I would have liked to. It seemed as though I was constantly moving up and down so I could select the next episode, then moving again so I could play it. It would have been nice to be able to press left or right from the "Play Episode" selection to get to the next episode, or previous episode. Minor issue, but still one worth noting.

Audio

There's a decent stereo track on this release. It sounds like the broadcast version of the show, if not a little cleaner. There are some nice directional effects used in these episodes (I'm a sucker for directional audio). It's not going to blow you away, but it represents the original material nicely. Episodes only contain an English language track, nothing else.

Extras - How we rate extras

Commentary Tracks
Spy Buddies - Paul Tibbitt (Co-Executive Producer), Luke Brookshier (Storyboard Director) and Tom King (Storyboard Director)
New Digs - Tuck Tucker (Storyboard Director), Steven Bands (Story Editor) and Richard Pursel (Writer)
Roller Cowards - Paul Tibbitt, Luke Brookshier and Tom King Bucket Sweet Bucket - Vincent Waller (Creative Director), Steven Banks and Richard Pursel
To Love a Patty - Paul Tibbitt, Vincent Waller and Andrew Overtoom (Animation Director)
Money Talks - Luke Brookshier and Tom King
SpongeBob vs. The Patty Gadget - Luke Brookshier and Tom King
Goo Goo Gas - Luke Brookshier and Tom King
The Inmates of Summer - Paul Tibbitt and Aaron Springer (Storyboard Director)
The Two Faces of Squiward - Paul Tibbitt, Vincent Waller and Steven Banks
Banned in Bikini Bottom - Paul Tibbitt, Vincent Waller and Steven Banks

Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants (42:51)
This is the single-best feature that's appeared on a Nickelodeon DVD set. Anyone I can think of associated with the show is interviewed for this, and it includes a number of interviews with celebrity fans, newscasts, and other interesting SpongeBob-related pieces. Amazing piece, and it's presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1).

Life Lessons From Bikini Bottom (8:22)
You can learn a lot from SpongeBob, just watch this featurette.

"Help Wanted" the Seven Seas Edition (9:01)
Watch "Help Wanted" in numerous languages. The country flag and name appears in the right corner so you know what language you're listening to (the languages switch automatically, and aren't separate audio tracks).

Kick-Wham-Pow-Bob Music Video (1:41)
A short music video featuring music by Pantera. Yes, Pantera.

Summary

This is a pretty awesome set, from the packaging to the excellent documentary on the series. I absolutely love the thick plastic case that houses the double-thin cases. Man, that's one sturdy, sturdy packaging, and it's so refreshing to see a company release a deluxe set in high-quality packaging instead of shoddy packaging which could damage the discs (though I'd had a report of the hubs breaking off in at least one set, and I found a similar problem with my disc 14, which was loose inside, though not scratched).

I didn't sit and watch all 100 episodes for the review, instead I jumped around a bit to measure the quality of individual episodes. There were some I had seen before on previous sets, and some that were new to me. My dog watched a few episodes with me as well - he was mesmerized by what he saw on the screen. Unfortunately I don't think he likes Mr. Crabs as he managed to get ahold of the case (discs 9 and 10) and gnawed the packaging (it's destroyed, but the discs are fine).

It's tough to say whether this set is worth buying if you already own the season sets, but I can tell you the documentary is excellent. It's not all "rah, rah, SpongeBob is great," as they touch on some of the controversy that the show brought ("Is SpongeBob Gay?!"). I loved seeing some of the guest star interviews, clips from other shows, and interviews with celebs that dig the yellow guy. They certainly spent some cash putting this together, but it's an amazing piece, and if you chose not to pick up the set, please find a way to rent the 14th disc.


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