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A Pal for Gary (SpongeBob SquarePants)

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A Pal for Gary
A Pal for Gary title card.png
Don't let the title fool you. This is not a pet.
Series: SpongeBob SquarePants
Part of Season: 7
Episode Number: 131b
Air Date: January 2, 2010
Writer: Casey Alexander
Zeus Cervas
Richard Pursel
Previous episode: Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful
Next episode: Yours, Mine and Mine


A Pal for Gary is the second half of episode 131 of season 7 from SpongeBob SquarePants.

Summary

When SpongeBob thinks that Gary is lonely while he is at work, he buys another pet named Puffy Fluffy as a playmate for Gary. Whenever SpongeBob is not present, the new pet terrorizes Gary, but SpongeBob thinks Gary is being mean to it.

Why It Should Put Gary Down Right Now

"Gary! You put Fluffy down right now!" Um, SpongeBob? How can Gary put Puffy Fluffy down if he's inside his mouth? Even Patrick wasn't that stupid.
  1. For starters, it is rather unoriginal, as it hinges around the overused cliché where the innocent character gets punished despite committing no wrongdoings whereas the one(s) who did do the wrongdoings get(s) away scot-free, while not the case with the villain. Not only is it beaten into the ground by this point, but it's always been mean-spirited and never pleasant to watch. Needless to say, this episode is no exception.
  2. It is also notorious for being solely made to put Gary through absolute hell (which feels like a far more egregious and poorly written version of the three Sylvester & Porky Pig episodes like "Claws for Alarm" from Looney Tunes; where Sylvester had to keep Porky safe from any type of danger despite Sylvester doing nothing to warrant any form of suffering and Porky being mostly oblivious to nearly everything). Not only have they used the cliché for really horrible attempts at comedy, but they do the sinful act of depicting SpongeBob as being overly oblivious to everything that was happening around him, which is going to be explained below as you read along.
  3. SpongeBob SquarePants is at his absolute worst in this episode (along with Choir Boys), as his idiotic flanderization had gone too far this time. This is evident when:
    • He intends to get a pal for Gary because he felt upset that the latter is all alone, even though Gary has always been doing fine and has never minded being alone.
    • He finds a pet store with nudibranchs owned by a merchant, at which he ignores her warning about Puffy Fluffy and steals him without paying.
    • He sends Gary to bed (with Puffy Fluffy) as he thinks the former was ignoring Puffy Fluffy, even though Puffy Fluffy is acting psychopathically towards Gary.
    • He assumes Gary to have destroyed his library and almost his whole house, which is nonsensical as it would be impossible for a normal pet to destroy a house in a single night.
    • Instead of being scared of him, Spongebob, being stupid, thinks Puffy Fluffy's monster form is one of Puffy Fluffy's friends.
    • In the most infamous, controversial, and infuriating scene of the episode, he obnoxiously scolds Gary and tells him to put Puffy Fluffy down, when Gary was being held captive inside Puffy Fluffy's mouth and this was right in front of SpongeBob; yes, SpongeBob has always been portrayed as naïve from time to time, but never too stupid to realize that one of his "pets" is eating the other! Even Patrick, at his dumbest in seasons 6-8, isn't this dumb!
      • Granted, this could be considered dark humor, and as such. It can be considered funny if it was in an adult show like Family Guy or The Simpsons, not in a kid show like SpongeBob SquarePants.
    • When Puffy Fluffy runs away, SpongeBob calls for him to come back, although the former had held him captive.
    • Even at the end, he still blames Gary, despite how the latter had saved his life and prevented him from being devoured by Puffy Fluffy.
    • He takes Gary to work, even though the Krusty Krab already made a policy banning pets earlier in the episode, which is straight-up hypocritical.
    • Despite in prior episodes that SpongeBob can communicate with Gary and know his feelings, here, he completely ignores Gary's personal space and assumes that he is helpless.
  4. Generic story where the property of their owner is jealous of the new one, except it's taken to a direction of so low that it's already become horrible.
  5. Puffy Fluffy does nothing other than terrorizing Gary. That's what his character is.
  6. The scene where Puffy Fluffy puts one of his tongues in SpongeBob's mouth is disgusting.
  7. Puffy Fluffy's vicious design with long, jagged teeth and multiple Sarlacc-like tongues is very disturbing, nightmarish, grotesque, and looks more like something out of a rejected Johnny Quest episode, especially for an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, although it does fit well with the solid tone about how the original must face the chaotic new pet, but still.
  8. Terrible ending: After Puffy Fluffy runs away when Gary rescues SpongeBob, SpongeBob yells for him to come back (despite almost getting eaten) acts ungrateful towards Gary, and still blames him by telling him "what do you have to say for yourself?", instead of apologizing or being grateful to Gary for saving his life. And after all that, he takes Gary everywhere he goes, especially the Krusty Krab. Not helping is that Mr. Krabs uses Gary as free labor, even though he created a policy banning pets from the Krusty Krab.
    • The ending also thinks that SpongeBob giving Gary a job is a very happy and funny ending, but it's a very upsetting, dumb, and unfair ending when you think about it. But it is unlikely that Gary's situation is permanent as the show is a loose string as it always has been since later episodes show Gary being in SpongeBob's house while the latter's at work. But still, this is just too much for a character like Gary.
  9. SpongeBob never gets any comeuppance for how he mistreated Gary (other than almost getting eaten by Puffy Fluffy, but it isn't enough).
  10. Wasted potential, the idea of an episode where the protagonist buys an animal that looks harmless when in truth it's a dangerous creature was a neat idea of a SpongeBob episode and could have made some creative and funny gags that involve the creature, but Gary had to be put through it, which ruins the episode greatly.
  11. Plot Hole: It has been shown in multiple episodes, including this one, that SpongeBob has a pet clam named Shelley in his bedroom. The whole point of this episode is getting a new pet for Gary to play with, even though SpongeBob already has another one. With that in mind, that makes SpongeBob’s motivation, and the whole episode for that matter, exceptionally pointless.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Puffy Fluffy got what he deserved in the end.
    • On that note, Puffy Fluffy has not been seen as a protagonist since this episode.
  2. The opening scene is decent, as it feels like something from a normal SpongeBob SquarePants episode.
    • Depending on your view, it's funny to see SpongeBob throw away the snail food can which hits a lot of things.
  3. Gary using the leash as a lasso to open the cabinet and grab some snail food before beginning to watch a cowboy show is a decent set-up for the climax. Likewise, Gary's attack on Puffy Fluffy to save SpongeBob was awesome.
  4. The scene where SpongeBob says "Oh, these enchiladas are hot, hot, hot!" was the only good joke in this episode.
  5. In the Polish dub, SpongeBob tells Puffy Fluffy to put Gary down rather than the other way around.
  6. Gary is still a likable character since he saves SpongeBob and gets rid of Puffy Fluffy.
  7. Despite his hypocrisy, Mr. Krabs is also tolerable since he understands SpongeBob's needs to tend to Gary.
    • Speaking of Mr. Krabs, this is one of the few episodes in the show's dark age where he has his old personality.
  8. The episode's dark tone could've worked if it wasn't for the episode's mean-spirited nature.
  9. The battle scenes between Gary and Puffy Fluffy are kinda fun to watch.
  10. Gary being scolded by SpongeBob while uncalled for is considered karma for chasing away Mrs Wormsley in Pet or Pests

Reception

"A Pal for Gary" was universally panned by fans, some of whom had considered it one of, if not the worst in the series along with One Coarse Meal; it, alongside "Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful", is also the lowest-rated episode of the series on IMDB, as it has a 3.3 rating there[1].

Top Ten Youtuber StephanieSparda in his "Top ten favorite First Bosses" refers how he too also despise this episode, during the #1 Segment, he stated that SpongeBob SquarePants was his favorite TV Show ever until the poorer episodes were made after the film, and right as he says that, the Title Card of "A Pal for Gary" appears with the Tec Tights that reads "F@#K this episode in particular!", tho despite that, he still enjoys watching the first three seasons, and still loves SpongeBob SquarePants.

The MysteriousMrEnter took this episode FAR more seriously and dramatically when he reviewed this episode for his second Animated Atrocity, such as the dramatic music that plays when it showed the title card after asking what his next review is, needing associations from Thomasmemorycentral to review this episode, showing a scene where a guy throws a TV out the window which represents how he reacted after watching this episode, and having Thomasmemorycentral review the rest of the episode while he does a bunch of random synanikings off-screen after showing the infamous "SpongeBob tells Gary to put Puffy Fluffy down scene", such as shooting someone with a gun and running over someone with a car, despite that, however, he amendments that the episode is not nearly as bad as "One Course Meal". He later put the episode at the #6 spot on his Top 10 WORST SpongeBob SquarePants episode list.


However, Doug Walker likes this episode, as he praised it for its idea and dark humor.

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