SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout is a 2019 made-for-television live-action/animated absurdist comedy special based on the American animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. It was written by Kaz and Mr. Lawrence, and was directed by Sherm Cohen, Dave Cunningham, and Adam Paloian.
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20 years has passed
It has been 20 years since SpongeBob SquarePants made his debut in public television. This yellow sponge has been running on TV for years and being the longest animation series since the Simpsons. Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob has created this cartoon and gave us something to laugh. SpongeBob has appeared in video games, specials and movies and in which he is planned to be in a third movie. Stephen Hillenburg originally wanted to end SpongeBob after the first movie SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and be done in season 3. However, after the movie, Nickelodeon wanted more SpongeBob after the success of the movie and this caused Stephen to leave from the show , but not entirely and thus led to him appointing his staff member Paul Tibbit to take over the seasons after the Movie. He was still involved and he served as executive producer. Stephen would later come back to do the sequel called SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water in 2015 and thus brought him back working on more episodes in season 9. In 2017, it was confirmed he was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a terminal disease. Nonetheless, he still worked to create more SpongeBob episodes even in his conditions. In November 26, 2018, he passed away. As a way to celebrate the 20 years of SpongeBob being on TV, Nickelodoan announced a big summer event that would later be a TV special dedication to SpongeBob. This special would include guest stars and even have the voices of the characters involved with the plot. In July 19, 2019, Nick released Big Birthday Blowout on TV.
source: Stephen Hillenburg Wiki
In this review, I am going to be specifically talking about this special.
Plot: Who’s Birthday is it today?
The special begins Patchy the Pirate and his parrot friend Potty going on a trip to deliver a birthday gift to SpongeBob.
The story begins with SpongeBob’s friends discussing on how to give SpongeBob the best surprise birthday party ever. Sandy and the gang sends Patrick to distract SpongeBob and get him out of the house so his friends can decorate his home. Patrick takes SpongeBob to a tour bus ride led by a fish named Rube. Rube is a character who looks like a tourist and appeared episodes such as “No Pictures Please” and then later reappeared in other episodes like “The Ballad of Filthy Muck”. SpongeBob, Patrick, Rube and the other fishes take the bus to “Surface Land”, a place where air is present and humans dwell. Meanwhile, SpongeBob’s friends, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, Mrs. Puff, Plankton and Bubble Bass, are bickering on how to plan out the perfect party. Things stresses out for Sandy when she is trying to bring order to the guests as they are constantly vandalizing SpongeBob’s house. In Surface Land, SpongeBob, Patrick and Rube explores the world and sees all the oddities of this new world.
Review: 20 years of comedy in one hour episode
So, after 20 years of having SpongeBob running on TV and being the longest late 90s cartoon, did this special live up to everyone’s expectations? In a way, yes, but there was some minor bumps in which I will talk about in two section. I want to talk about what I like about this special and then what I also didn’t care about or felt like it was unnecessary.
As a fan I like:
Unlike the past specials Nick has dished out on us like Atlantis SquarePantis or Truth or Square, Nickelodeon went far and wide to give us fans, especially the classic fans, a special made out of fanservice. In Personally, I think the fanservice in this cartoon was one of the highlights and in my opinion was my main focus. The plot of the special was good, it was simple and straight to the point and the pacing on the plot was appropriate. . SpongeBob and Patrick explores Surface Land while Sandy and her friends try to set up the best birthday party for SpongeBob. Even though it was a simple plot with two sides of the story, I think the one caught my eyes SpongeBob and Patrick’s trip. I would say 90% of the plot was about SpongeBob and the other 10% was his friend’s story. The characters in this special had unique interesting interactions mostly on SpongeBob’s friends story. Seeing characters like Squidward bicker with Bubble Bass and seeing Mrs Puff argue that she knows SpongeBob more than anyone else was fun to watch. In my opinion, the characters is the fanservice from my experience and this goes for both worlds. In the underwater world, SpongeBob’s friends invite all of the people SpongeBob ever interacted in these past episodes. Nickelodeon went all the back and threw in characters like the Tattletale Stranger, the Hoopla Fish, SpongeBob’s parents and even Mindy from the movie. Even Fred, the guy that always says “My Leg”, shows up and with much annoyance, gets fed up with saying “My Leg”. In the outside world, we got some pretty neat cast characters. David Hasslehoff (the same Hasslehoff from the movie) shows up hanging in the beach! If you thought Tom Kenny being Patchy wasn’t enough, he shows up again as JimBob, a fry cook who serves his boss at the Trusty Slab. In the halfway part of the special, SpongeBob and the bus goes to have lunch at the human version of the Krusty Krab called the Trusty Slab where the voices of SpongeBob and his friends play their role. Tom Kenny is JimBob and is a cook, Rodger Bumpass is Mr. Manward who has little patience with customers and the two customers are being played by Carolyn Lawrence and Bill Fagerbakke. Overall, the voices of the characters shows up and plays the characters in their own human form. The conclusion of the special was the grand finale to 20 years of SpongeBob. The way Patchy the Pirate finally got to me SpongeBob (in a awkward manner) brought a smile to my face. Also, the Happy Birthday song dedicated for SpongeBob made me happy as the yellow SpongeBob himself and Nick even included celebrities to join in the shout out. We had JoJo Siwa, Kel Mitchell, Rob Gronkowski and even Gilbert Gottfried. The special even leaves a special message saying “Thank you Steve Hillenburg”. It’s sad to see that he wasn’t able to see this while he is alive, but at least Nick was kind of enough to give credit to him. Overall, I think what I enjoyed the most of the special wasn’t much of the plot, but I really like characters and fanservice in which Nick wanted to remind us that SpongeBob is a special unique cartoon that can give us a good chuckle.
As a fan I dislike:
Even though I enjoyed this special, I did have moments where I felt it had mediocre moments. In the story plot wise, like I said, it was pretty simple. There was a moment where SpongeBob and Patrick and the people in the bus was trapped in a pet fish store, but that dilemma didn’t last long. In other words, the conflict in this special wasn’t dire or serious, but I guess it’s not something that should be a big of a deal and it’s not like the movies. I also want to talk about logic in this movie in regards to the characters in Surface Land and SpongeBob and his group. Throughout the special, SpongeBob and his friends are going around and exploring Surface Land and seeing the humans. What really bothers me is that some of the people doesn’t question the fact they see a driving fish tank and carrying talking fishes. It’s kind of like Stewie from Family Guy, where even though Stewie talks and he is a baby, some of the adults, depending on the plot, will either listen to him or pretty much ignore him. The only one that actually notice was the fish store owner and this is where the group gets trapped in that conflict. As a sidenote, the same owner is also the voice of for Mr. Krab’s daughter Pearl. As much as I like the characters that were part of this special, there was some I thought was either annoying or just questioning why be there in the first place. In Surface Land, SpongeBob and his friends visit a beach party dedicated for chili beans and this is where we see Kel Mitchell hosting it in a bean costume. I didn’t really see how this fits into the plot and I felt it was unnecessary. Speaking of characters, I didn’t really like some of the minor fish characters that were invited to SpongeBob’s house party. Some of the fish characters were either dumb or just obnoxious as they continued to make Sandy frustrated on planning the party. There was also this new fish for this special named Slappy who I thought looked kind of creepy. Either my taste in SpongeBob’s jokes aged or I didn’t get the humor, but I thought the comedy elements in the special was pretty average. I been watching SpongeBob for years and I enjoyed the old episodes, before the first movie, for the classic jokes and antics. Ever since, Stephen Hillenburg step down after the movie, the jokes in SpongeBob just hasn’t been the same. Overall, the special had some unnecessary moments and the jokes was pretty okay and I felt it was aimed for the younger generation.
Was this special, Big Birthday Blowout, really worth watching? As a fan of a SpongeBob SquarePants, I say yes. Nickelodeon wanted to go all out on this special and they wanted fans to remember the good times we had with this yellow talking sponge. I like the creative direction they did with both animation and live-action. I thought it was cool how Nick brought back the classic minor characters. The character interactions with SpongeBob’s friends during the party planning was pretty funny. Despite all this, this special did feel like it included stuff a bit too long. Some stuff could have been okay without. The jokes overall is decent but I think it was trying to aim for both audiences of young and old, but I thought it aimed for the younger kids. Still, I feel like this special was amazing and heartwarming. It was nice to see SpongeBob get love and attention and I like how everyone came together to say happy birthday.
What did you guys think about this special? Comment down below? Do you still watch SpongeBob SquarePants?