A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SpaceBob MerryPants is a Christmas special that's every bit as silly and absurd as the SpongeBob SquarePants series. Expect some body-related humor (a character burps and a large green cloud hovers, for instance), accidents that are meant to be laughable (scorched hands and a character's electrocution), some surprises and mild scares, and brief peril in which it seems like sea creatures may die as the oceans dry up. There's also some name-calling and teasing between two friends with different interests (cheerleading and science). Santa's presence helps the characters (especially SpongeBob) fix the trouble he causes, but overall this isn't a very spirited Christmas-themed story.
What's the story?
In SPACEBOB MERRYPANTS, Sandy (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) plans to take her science scouts -- SpongeBob (Tom Kenny), Pearl (Lori Alan), and Squidina (Jill Talley) -- for a campout on the moon, but things go awry when Squidward (Rodger Bumpass) accidentally tags along and SpongeBob inadvertently messes with the moon's orbit. Back on Earth, sea creatures face an uncertain future as the moon's pull on the ocean's tides changes, and the science scouts are powerless to fix it. But a Christmas miracle is in the works when the group happens upon Santa Claus (Lewis Black)! Can Jolly Old St. Nick help them set things right?
Is it any good?
This holiday special's absurd story is par for the course from the manic sea sponge and his ocean-dwelling friends, and its success depends heavily on viewers' tolerance for SpongeBob's unique brand of humor. If you love him, then this quirky Christmas tale will make you merry. If you don't, well, it's an easy one to skip.
Just like SpongeBob himself, SpaceBob MerryPants goes in lots of different directions at once, and it's fairly unpredictable as a result. It doesn't even out itself as a Christmas-themed special until late in its telling, so much so that Santa's appearance feels like an afterthought. That said, SpongeBob fans are sure to delight in astronomical amounts of silliness from these galactic travelers and their jolly newfound friend.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about friendship and how it is portrayed in SpaceBob MerryPants. Are SpongeBob's friends patient with him even when he causes trouble for them? Do you find it difficult to forgive a friend whose actions have affected you? How do you show your friends that you care about them?
Can you name a character strength you see in SpongeBob? How does Sandy show she's determined and unflappable when things go wrong? How does SpongeBob's carefree personality clash with Squidward's serious and no-nonsense nature? Are they friends? Why or why not?
Kids: What, if anything, did you learn about outer space in this story? What role does the moon have in affecting life on Earth? How would changes in the ocean's tides affect the human population?
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