Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Spongebob Science

When I'm looking for a fascinating show on science, I tend to shy away from classics such as NOVA, Mythbusters, or Bill Nye The Science Guy. No, for truly interesting demonstrations of science, I go to Spongebob.

Think about it for a second. In a simple half hour of animated wonder, you can discover fascinating creatures such as a squirrel that can wear SCUBA gear. Or a sponge that makes its home in a rare breed of pineapple that grows at the bottom of the ocean. And even more importantly, it's a land where fire can actually burn under water. Now THIS is science that our kids need to know. Thank god the show is on 24/7. I've told my kids in no uncertain terms that, if they want to be brilliant geniuses when they grow up and solve all the world's problems, they need to pay close attention to each and every fact-filled episode of that amorphous, yellow, porous demonstration of science at its finest and not miss a single moment. Even if it means watching the same episodes over and over again until all the knowledge has sunk in.

They seemed to be taking my advice to heart.

Okay don't get me wrong. Spongebob Squarepants is a brilliant show. Where else can you find a crab that apparently provides foodstuffs made of his own flesh and blood, a pet snail that meows like a cat, or a tiny plankton with dreams of conquering the burger industry? And Patrick? God, I love Patrick.

However, the one thing about the show that really gets my bunches in knots is the fact that simple scientific principles of underwater living are ignored during the writing process. I'm no scientist, nor am I a professional screen writer, but every time I watch the show I notice that approximately fifteen seconds into each episode, the writers fail to remember that their characters are sea creatures.

Here are some simple examples:

1. Spongebob is a professional bubble-blower. He blows fantastically complex bubbles. Under water.

2. In virtually every episode, a character falls to the ground in some sort of classic Wile-E-Coyote way. As opposed to taking advantage of, say, buoyancy.

3. Flames.

4. In at least one episode the gang hangs out at the beach, by a body of water. Forgetting they are IN a body of water.

I think the moment where I'd finally had enough of this was during an episode where Patrick somehow manages to form an intensely strong sense of smell. Sandy the squirrel walked past Patrick, and he held his nose because Sandy had a bit of a foul stench of wet squirrel to her tail, which was sticking out the back of her airtight scuba suit. Patrick proceeded to spray her down with air freshener, and she coughed and choked from the spray. So let's list what's wrong here. Sandy has an airtight suit on, but her tail sticks out. Her tail is fluffy and bushy, not wet and matted. Patrick sprays her with air freshener while she's wearing an airtight suit, yet she coughs and chokes at the fumes. Come on, people, we're better than this!

When I watch Spongebob, I can't help but feel the same way as when I watch a Bond flick, wanting to yell at the villian, "just stop talking and shoot Bond already! Forget the laser to his crotch! Likewise while watching Spongebob, I can't help but shout, "Float you idiot, float!"

1 comment:

Howard said...

I want a Mythbusters episode concentrating on this. I'm sure they can get fire underwater. I want to see them try to blow bubbles.