The airdate for â€œSpongeBob SquarePants â€“ Pest of the Westâ€ was April 11, 2008. It turned up on DVD four days later. In that light, you could say that the episode was essentially a commercial for the DVD, which contains six others that were sure to end up on video sooner or later. In fact, since the show started its run in 1999, a bunch â€œSpongeBobâ€ DVDs have come along with no end in sight. They sell lots of copies â€“ and why wouldnâ€™t they? Everybody loves this guy.
As a matter of fact, it seems like heâ€™s worth more and more as time goes by. The DVD goes for $16.99, which is nearly $2.43 per episode. In 2007, â€œâ€˜SpongeBob SquarePantsâ€™ â€“ Season 5, Vol. 1â€ included 23 episodes and cost $36.99: About $1.61 per episode, in other words. Two years earlier, â€œThe Complete 3rd Seasonâ€ DVD came with 20 episodes and cost $26.98, so thatâ€™s about $1.35 per episode. The price is slowly getting higher, but thatâ€™s all right, especially if you remember that youâ€™d have to pay $59.99 for HBOâ€™s â€œJohn Adams.â€ It may very well be worth it, depending on your point of view.
â€œPest of the Westâ€ opens with SpongeBob learning about the great-great-great uncle of his best friend, Patrick Star. (Heâ€™s a starfish, of course.) He made history years ago by trying to save everybody in Bikini Bottom from a mollusk invasion. (â€œTrying,â€ it seems, is the operative term here.) SpongeBobâ€™s green with envy: He starts researching his own family tree, hoping to find somebody famous hiding in it. Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel whoâ€™s got a famous relative of her own (her great-aunt struck oil in Texas), agrees to come along.
They find what theyâ€™re looking for in an old history book at the library: SpongeBob learns he was related to Sponge Buck SquarePants, the sheriff who restored Dead Eye Gulch in 1882. That opens the door to an entertaining parody of films like â€œThe Good, the Bad, and the Uglyâ€ and â€œHigh Noon,â€ where Sponge Buck braces himself for a duel with his rival, Dead-Eye Plankton.
Most of the episodes are irresistible, but the best is â€œThe Battle of Bikini Bottom,â€ where Patrickâ€™s affection for bodily filth disgusts squeaky-clean SpongeBob. This means war: SpongeBob tries bathing Patrick, who fires back with residue and slop.
The only duds here are â€œThe Inmates of Summerâ€ and â€œTo Save a Squirrel,â€ which take SpongeBob and Patrick and trap them in material that doesnâ€™t work â€“ thatâ€™s because they have unrewarding cameos from characters who canâ€™t support the laughs by themselves. R. Lee Ermey has a cameo as the brutal warden of a correctional facility, but he plays it so straight that itâ€™s no fun.
That doesnâ€™t mean the celebrity cameos are wholly unfunny, though. In â€œ20,000 Patties Under the Sea,â€ Gene Simmons plays a sea monster who confuses another character for dessert. Thatâ€™s probably worth $2.43, but like I say, it depends on your point of view.
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