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Paramount Studios presents
SpongeBob SquarePants: Tide and Seek (1999-2001)

"Good people don't rip other people's arms off"
- Spongebob Squarepants (Tom Kenny)

Review By: Rich Rosell  
Published: July 28, 2003

Stars: Tom Kenny
Other Stars: Brian Doyle-Murray, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, John Rhys-Davies
Director: (various)

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:53m:24s
Release Date: July 29, 2003
UPC: 097368792647
Genre: animation


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB+B+ C

DVD Review

Here is yet another budget-priced ten episode SpongeBob collection (the sixth) from Paramount and Nickelodeon, and while rumors of full-season sets of this popular series have been spreading, these affordable discs will suffice. Tide and Seek consists largely of Season 1 and 2 episodes (including the gems Opposite Day and Squidville), with just one (Rock-A-Bye Bivalve) coming from Season 3. Nickelodeon airs SpongeBob Squarepants pretty often, and many of these episodes could be recited word-for-word by even the casual fans.

What's the SpongeBob buzz? Well, SpongeBob, as his theme song says, is the child-like sponge who "lives in a pineapple under the sea", in the town of Bikini Bottom, and has a pet snail named Gary. SpongeBob's best friends are a thickheaded, but well-meaning starfish named Patrick (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) and a squirrel (outfitted for deep sea diving) from Texas named Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence). His neighbor is a cranky, sarcastic, clarinet-playing squid known as Squidward (voiced by Rodger Bumpass). and who is constantly aggravated by the talkative, innocently-annoying SpongeBob. The little pants-wearing sea sponge is also the spatula-waving lead fry cook at The Krusty Krab, home of the delicious Krabby Patty.

This set hits a couple of comedic speed bumps (why is the tired Dumped included?), and, as a whole, is a little uneven when compared to some of the prior releases. Regardless, there are plenty of very funny moments, though the absence once again of the classic Rock Bottom is beginning to irritate me.

Here's what shows up on Tide and Seek:

Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy III
Original Air Date: 11/27/00
Season 2

"We're not supposed to touch anything, and that includes unfreezing supervillains." - SpongeBob

Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway's aging, semi-senile super heroes (referred to as Bikini Bottom's "noblest, boldest and oldest") make a brief appearance during this episode's open, but this one is primarily an excuse for SpongeBob and Patrick to house-sit their heroes' secret lair. Trouble sets in when the pair accidently release supervillain Man-Ray (voiced by John Rhys-Davies) from his tomb of frozen tartar sauce, and SpongeBob and Patrick take it upon themselves to try and teach him to be good. Watch out for the Orb of Confusion and the deadly Tickle Belt! Typo fans might notice John Rhys-Davies named spelled as John Rhys Davis in the credits.


Big Pink Loser
Original Air Date: 11/16/00
Season 2

"I want an award!" - Patrick

When Patrick accidently receives SpongeBob's "Outstanding Achievement in Achievement" award in the mail, the dim-witted starfish sets out on a mission to try and win his very own award, despite the fact that he seemingly can't do anything right. One character asks Patrick if he "just blew in from Stupid Town", and he goes on to prove it during a really funny scene where SpongeBob tries to instruct him on how to open a jar. Things get very Single White Female-ish when Patrick tries to literally become SpongeBob.


Opposite Day
Original Air Date: 09/11/99
Season 1

"I'm Squidward. He's Squidward. We're all Squidward." - SpongeBob

Here's a classic from Season 1, centering on Squidward's attempt to sell his Tiki head home. In order to do so, he has to quell the loud, wacky antics of neighbors SpongeBob and Patrick, and so he invents Opposite Day, where you are supposed to act opposite of your normal self. Of course, things get horribly out of hand, and the episode pays off handsomely when SpongeBob and Patrick transform themselves into Squidward for an encounter with the real estate agent. I don't if it was just me and my daughter Sammy, but we both believe we caught a couple of sly Rocky Horror Picture Show references in this one.


Squirrel Jokes
Original Air Date: 11/27/00
Season 2

"Quick, SpongeBob. Make a witty observation!" - SpongeBob

Mr. Krabs turns the Krusty Krab into the Komedy Krab Klub, and SpongeBob becomes a stand-up comedy headliner after he launches into a set of dumb-blonde type jokes about squirrels. This of course does not sit well with his undersea-living squirrel friend Sandy Cheeks, and this puts SpongeBob on the threshold of a moral dilemma: his friend or his career. The stand-up bits are hilarious, and feature plenty of flop-sweat, hecklers and even some crickets (for when the jokes really bomb).


Rock-A-Bye Bivalve
Original Air Date: 03/29/02
Season 3

"You know, Patrick, I don't think you can be the mom. You never wear a shirt." - SpongeBob

Patrick and SpongeBob come across an abandoned baby scallop, and decide to raise it as their own. This leads to some weird moments as Patrick becomes the "dad" and SpongeBob the "mom", and their friendship develops into a surreal pseudo-marriage. Bizarre, to say the least. A few good gags here (the contents of Patrick's briefcase, the really large amount of dirty diapers), but the episode's final joke did earn a "that's gross" from Sammy.


Dumped
Original Air Date: 03/05/01
Season 2

"What's wrong with me? Do I offend?" - SpongeBob

Sammy ranked this episode one of the least popular amongst her circle of 12-year-old friends, and I can see why. It's pretty much a one-joke premise, as SpongeBob's pet snail Gary takes a serious hankering to Patrick. The parallels between this and a broken romantic relationship are milked extensively (including sappy piano theme music), and the only moments that perk up Dumped is when SpongeBob brings home an ill-tempered, bushy-eyebrowed replacement snail named Larry.


Bossy Boots
Original Air Date: 10/26/00
Season 2

"Phooey on Squidward. He can't keep up with the times." - SpongeBob

Mr. Krabs' daughter Pearl (ok, she's a whale, he's a crab) comes home on summer vacation and takes over The Krusty Krab with her radical new management ideas, which include strange uniforms and renaming the place The Kuddly Krab. She ditches the trademark Krabby Patty in favor of a menu consisting solely of salads and tea, in an attempt to turn the place into a hip, teen hangout. Highpoints include a scene where SpongeBob tries to figure out what a salad is (he calls them "saa-lahds"). Perky alt-pop band The Capsules provide the music.


The Bully
Original Air Date: 10/05/01
Season 2

"Mrs. Puff, can I be excused for the rest of my life?" - SpongeBob

Everything is fine in Mrs. Puff's Boating School class until the arrival of a new student, Flats The Flounder. It seems Flats is something of a thug, and he spends the entire episode reminding SpongeBob that he is going to "kick his butt". There are a couple of real laugh-out-load moments, such as when SpongeBob hides in a toilet bowl, as well as his "violence road" speech at the end of the episode.


Sleepy Time
Original Air Date: 01/17/00
Season 1

"You know, Patrick, this is a dream. You can do anything you want." - SpongeBob

Here's one of the more surreal installments—it involves SpongeBob's ability to enter the dreams of his friends. The oddest bit occurs inside Gary the snail's dream (he's a book-loving genius who talks) and the funniest goes to evil Plankton (sadly, his only appearance on this collection), who has dreams of stomping Bikini Bottom like Godzilla marching through Tokyo.


Squidville
Original Air Date: 03/06/01
Season 2

"You're like a steamed vegetable, only smarter." - SpongeBob

From the "be careful what you wish for" department, Squidward wants to move (again) when SpongeBob and Patrick drive him crazy with their noisy reef blowers (think leaf blowers), and he finds what appears to be the idyllic sponge-free sub-division of Tentacle Acres. But perfection has a price, even if it does carry canned bread and have an interactive dance academy, and the neighborhood full of routine-loving Squidward clones becomes too much to handle. For all of you typo fans, a misspelling on the back cover refers to this episode as "Squidsville."

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicno


Image Transfer Review: All ten episodes are presented in their original 1.33:1 fullframe aspect ratio. As with past collections, colors are bright, lively and exceptionally well-rendered. I did notice some nasty ringing around Man Ray during the Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy III episode, but by and large this disc looks very nice.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishno


Audio Transfer Review: The audio transfer is a front-heavy 2.0 surround track, and is more than well suited for the animated material. Dialogue is mixed clearly, with character voices clear and upfront. There is some noticeable imaging across the front speakers, but it is infrequent.

Still, a very presentable mix.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 10 cues and remote access
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Spongebob Squarepants DVD and VHS collections, The Wild Thornberries Movie, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy Neutron DVD and VHS collections, and Tak: The Power of the JuJu video game.
1 Featurette(s)
Storyboard
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Stephen Hillenburg, Tom Kenny
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The supplements have been hit-or-miss on the various SpongeBob sets, and this one falls in the miss category. There are two rather dull episode commentary tracks (Sleepy Time and Dumped) on this collection, both done by creator Stephen Hillenburg and SpongeBob voice Tom Kenny. Despite my hopes that the tracks might have been done in character (though SpongeBob does do an intro to each), they are instead comparatively dry discussions that often simply narrate onscreen action. Tartar sauce!

The Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy III storyboards present the entire episode in black and white pencil sketch storyboard format, with no sound effects or music, only voice work. Segments like this have appeared on other SpongeBob discs, and they are actually quite entertaining.

All that remains is a deceptively-titled Behind The Scenes: Special Delivery segment that clocks in at a whopping :45 seconds. This was actually a commercial/promo from Nickelodeon, and shows the inside of Nick's mail room. Lame.

Also included are previews for assorted Nickelodeon titles. The disc is cut into ten chapters (one per episode), and does not include any subtitles.

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

Who cares if these episodes run incessantly on Nickelodeon? This is funny stuff, and this nearly two-hour collection features some great SpongeBob moments, even if the extras are weak.

Recommended.

Hey Nickelodeon, would it kill you to put Rock Bottom on the next set?

 


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