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SpongeBob SquarePants, 'The Clash of Triton': New episodes prove the importance of being SpongeBob

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Kicking off a week of new episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, “The Clash of Triton” was a typically swift, clever half-hour. The plot involved a celebration of the birthday of underwater king Neptune (voice provided by John O’Hurley) — he was turning 5,000 years old — under the affectionate planning of his wife, Queen Amphritrite (a fine comic turn by Victoria Beckham).

All was not happiness, however: Neptune’s son, Triton, voiced by former Skid Row/Gilmore Girls guy Sebastian Bach, had been long ago banished by the king for declining to accept his role as the future ruler of the aquatic underworld.

The plot was merely an excuse for the real humor that is uniquely SpongeBobbian: his dithering chatter, his eternal optimism, the way he proclaimed that “today is Work Without Your Hands Day!” with his hands stuck in his square pants.

The values of SpongeBob remain intact. The script’s rapid-fire gags, the show’s wildly bright color palette, and the series’ resolute avoidance of heavy-handed messages combine to give Stephen Hillenburg’s SpongeBob its adventurous energy.

SquarePants just doesn’t seem to get old, does it?