I am a great fan of Ren and Stimpy. Although it does not tend to have the underlying political commentary of animations like The Simpsons or South Park (or if it does, it is much more subtle), it is ludicrously surreal - and that is where the comedy resides. When I first heard about SpongeBob Squarepants, I simply assumed that it was just another irritating children's TV show that had no appealing factor for adults. But then I found out that it was produced by the same people who did Ren and Stimpy. Understandably, I was intrigued.
SpongeBob Squarepants is a sea sponge who looks like a kitchen sponge and wears square pants. He resides in the strange land called Bikini Bottom and works at the Krusty Krab Café, where his disdain at not getting a much-deserved promotion leads him on a voyage that could determine the fate of his world. You see, King Neptune has had his precious bald-patch-covering crown stolen by the evil Plankton, who works for the rival fast food café, Cham Bucket. Plankton intends to take over the world by any means necessary and the mayhem he instigates can only be stopped by the innocent SpongeBob and his much loved but consistently stupid best friend Patrick, a star-fish.
Aside from David Hasselhoff, we get the vocal talent of Scarlett Johansson (as King Neptune's daughter), Alec Baldwin (as a hit-man) and Clancy Brown (as Mr.Krabs). Much as I wanted this to be yet more Ren and Stimpy-like antics, it was nothing like that great comedy animation (but apparently the TV-show is supposed to be much sharper, with more adult in-jokes). This is much more child-friendly and also much, much more adult un-friendly. That means that there was no underlying subtext, little Python-esque surreal humour and only a few double-entendres thrown into the mix to keep you amused while you keep your kids amused, which is the only way this kind of show entertains: through kids. I cannot see myself watching this with my friends after a few beers (something which Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons and South Park are all great for). But kids will absolutely love it.
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