SpongeBob SquarePants may be one of the hardest shows to quantify critically. The entire purpose of the show is to defy description beyond the simplest tagline of “A pants-wearing sponge has loads of adventures undersea with his friends”. That’s it. That’s the show. Anything else and you’re diving into episodic particulars. It can’t claim any sense of continuity or really, any sense at all. Can you believe it then, that this show about nothing at all (like Seinfeld…but for the ADHD-afflicted among us) has made it into and through its sixth season? Typical of children’s programming, the season has split between two volumes and this release marks the first half.
The unfortunate part of this release is there’s a good chance, being the doting parent that you are, that you’ve already purchased part of it as one of the many 4-episode samplers they released prior to this semi-seasonal set. Double-dipping isn’t a new concept for the DVD buying masses, but doing so without warning falls on the head of the studio as much as it does the consumer. Nowhere on the box will you find warnings or suggestions that maybe you’ve already bought portions of this set as previous releases. Instead, the parent has little more than a list of episodes on the back to use as a guide in their quest to appease their clamoring child’s desires for more yellow, porous entertainment. Perhaps the more attentive parent [read: the one who’s had to endure the episodes playing over and over again in the background] will recognize them by their titles, whereas the rest will most likely find themselves with a few duplicates.
To help alleviate that issue, if you’ve bought any of the following SpongeBob SquarePants DVD releases, be warned you’ve already purchased some of the episodes in this 24 episode set:
Truth or Square (1 episode overlaps)
SpongeBob Squarepants vs. The Big One (all episodes overlap)
Spongicus (all episodes overlap)
To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants (all episodes overlap)
Now, unto themselves, the discs aren’t really a bad deal (thought there’s already some overlap among them). The average buyer deserves to have a little bit of foreknowledge before they go out and buy a set only to have the kids coming back to them moments later saying “we’ve already seen these.” It’s a parent’s worst nightmare: 320 minutes of purchased entertainment that the kids have already seen. Granted, most kids who find SpongeBob entertaining will watch the same episodes over and over and over – but you should still know what you’re getting.
To further clarify the issue, here’s a complete list of the episodes on this two-disc set:
“Spongicus”, “Suction Cup Symphony”, “House Fancy”, “Krabby Road”, “Penny Foolish”, “Nautical Novice”, “Gone”, “SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One”, “A Life in a Day”, “Sun Bleached”, “Giant Squidward”, “No Nose Knows”, “Patty Caper”
“Plankton’s Regular”, “To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants”, “Squid’s Visit”, “ The Splinter”, “Slide Whistle Stooges”, “Boating Buddies”, “The Krabby Kronicle”, “The Slumber Party”, “Grooming Gary”, “Truth or Square”.
DVD Bonus Features
The two extra features include seven additional shorts (a few more minutes of quiet) and the SpongeBob History song, which your child already knows by heart. If you just asked them and they didn’t, they will. Soon enough. Because kids like Kool-Aid.
Will your kids eat this up? You know they will. If you were wise enough to cut back and not buy your kids all the mid-season DVD releases then you’ll find a nice cost-effective alternative in this volume 1 set. If you did already buy one or two of the sampler DVDs, then maybe you should consider just purchasing the remaining single-DVD release which is probably sitting in a bargain bin somewhere for about $7. Otherwise you’re going to be that unfortunate parent who finds their kids tired and done with the brand new set you just bought them faster than you expected.
"SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 6, Volume 1" is on sale December 8, 2009 and is rated NR. Animation, Children & Family, Comedy. Directed by Alan Smart, Derek Drymon, Paul Tibbitt. Written by Stephen Hillenburg, Tim Hill, Derek Drymon. Starring Bill Fagerbakke, Clancy Brown, Rodger Bumpass, Tom Kenny.