Dunces and Dragons
|"Dunces and Dragons"|
|SpongeBob SquarePants episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
Episode 6 (66)
|Directed by||Alan Smart (animation and supervising)
Tom Yasumi (animation)
Zeus Cervas (storyboard)
Erik Wiese (storyboard)
|Written by||Zeus Cervas
|Original air date||February 20, 2006|
|Running time||22 minutes|
"Dunces and Dragons", also known as "Lost in Time", is the sixth episode of the fourth season and the 66th overall episode of the American animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. It was written by Zeus Cervas, Erik Wiese and Tim Hill, and the animation was directed by supervising director, Alan Smart and Tom Yasumi. Cervas and Wiese also functioned as storyboard directors. The episode originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on February 20, 2006 as a half-hour special.
The series follows the adventures and endeavors of the title character and his various friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. In this episode, SpongeBob and Patrick go back in time. There, they find that Mr. Krabs' ancestor is the ruler of the kingdom, which is being attacked by Planktonimor, Plankton's ancestor and an evil wizard. SpongeBob and Patrick, assisted by Squidly, a jester and ancestor of Squidward, and the Dark Knight, Sandy's ancestor, have to rescue Princess Pearl, ancestor of Pearl and King Krabs' daughter, who has been captured by Planktominor the wizard.
Tie-in promotions were made with Burger King, which released a series of toys based on the episode. "Dunces and Dragons" was the most successful of the season, drawing 8.6 million viewers, and was met with positive reviews. It was also elected as the third most-voted episode on the Best Day Ever Marathon, just behind two other episodes from the same season, "Karate Island" and "Wishing You Well".
SpongeBob and Patrick attend a jousting tournament at the Medieval Moments restaurant. Both accept an invitation for members of the audience to participate in the tournament. They are put on seahorses and given lances. The seahorses charge without warning and SpongeBob and Patrick are thrown out of the building into 11th-century Bikini Bottom.
A group of knights surround and imprison them, with Squidward's ancestor, Squidly the jester, locked in the dungeon for telling a bad joke that causes the king to have a stroke. Eventually, the king, Mr. Krabs' ancestor, King Krabs, orders SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidly to the throne room. They are to be executed but Princess Pearl, the 11th-century ancestor of the present-day Pearl, reminds King Krabs of the prophecy that two brave knights, having fallen from the sky, will be sent by the king to defeat the evil wizard, Planktonimor, Plankton's ancestor. During the princess' story, Planktonimor's dragon jellyfish kidnaps her. King Krabs then begs SpongeBob and Patrick to rescue her. The two gladly accept with Squidly in tow.
As SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidly near Planktonimor's tower, the guard, ancestor of Sandy Cheeks, the Dark Knight, blocks them. SpongeBob outwits the knight in a karate duel but spares her. In return the Dark Knight accompanies them on their quest. On reaching the top of the tower the dragon arrives. As the dragon is about to destroy him SpongeBob pulls out a Krabby Patty which the dragon eats, becoming subservient to SpongeBob. The dragon destroys Planktonimor and the heroes return to the kingdom to celebrate.
The seahorses again become aggressive, tossing SpongeBob and Patrick and they land on the ground. They find themselves in present-day Bikini Bottom at the joust, suggesting that SpongeBob and Patrick were dreaming.
"Dunces and Dragons" was written by Zeus Cervas, Erik Wiese and Tim Hill, with Alan Smart and Tom Yasumi serving as animation directors. Cervas and Wiese also functioned as storyboard directors. The episode originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on February 20, 2006. Before the episode's premiere, Nickelodeon released a preview clip of the episode on their broadband online platform, TurboNick, and the full episode aired on TurboNick following the television premiere. On January 26, Nickelodeon released the "SpongeBob: Dunces and Dragons" Flash game. Nickelodeon promoted the episode as "Lost in Time". Marjorie Cohn, Executive Vice President of Development and Original Programming for Nickelodeon, said "'Lost in Time' offers fans the opportunity to see SpongeBob and the gang in an outrageous new setting and historical time period. It's fun to watch SpongeBob in a suit of armor riding a seahorse, and bringing karate to the Middle Ages."
Marketing campaign for the episode was managed by Frank Tanki. Nickelodeon's Friday Night Slimetime premiered a special edition called Monday Knight Slimetime, for the episode. The game segments were replaced with themes and characters from the episode such as Jellyfish Joust and Slimy Sword Battle. The games began on February 20, and led up to the premiere of "Lost in Time". The winners were dubbed "Knights of the Square Table." Prior to the premiere Nickelodeon also aired a SpongeBob marathon from 4:00-8:00 p.m., showing episodes with hero themes.
Nickelodeon also tied-in with Burger King to release a promotional toyline based on the episode. The toyline consisted of 20 different figures. Burger King rolled out a global promotional sweepstakes called "Lost in Time With SpongeBob SquarePants", which offered customers a trip to one of the countries visited by SpongeBob in the episode. Participants wrote a 25-word adventure story. The prizes were a trip to England, Spain, Germany or Mexico plus spending money, a family trip to Orlando at the Nickelodeon Hotel, and 2,000 fans got the SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Time DVD.
The episode was released as a film in movie theaters across the United Arab Emirates. Due to its success, Burger King debuted the toyline in the Middle East. Yasser Abdel Azim, marketing manager for Burger King UAE, said, "Burger King is looking forward to bringing the fun and excitement of SpongeBob to our restaurants. Our young patrons will surely enjoy the memorabilia themed on the hilarious cartoon character."
"Dunces and Dragons" became available on the DVD of the same name on February 21, 2006. It was also included in the SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 4, Vol. 1 DVD on September 12, 2006. On September 22, 2009, "Dunces and Dragons" was released in the SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes DVD, alongside all the episodes of seasons one through five.
"Dunces and Dragons" drew 8.6 million total viewers and 5.2 million kids 2-11, making it the biggest audience of the year to date among children, behind the Super Bowl. The episode was also the highest-rated program on Nickelodeon in about five years.
The episode received positive reviews from media critics. In her review for the Sunday Gazette-Mail, Jacqueline Cutler wrote that "The yellow invertebrate, in his brown shorts and white shirt, is not going to corrupt children." She was positive on the episode and said, "Nothing offensive or suggestive. But a point of logic irks: How can a crab father a whale? 'Adoption,' explains my son, the fan." She rated the episode for three categories—Grade C for the "Mom" category, A for Sis, and A- for Bro. In his review for the DVD Talk, Paul Mavis positively reacted to the episode. He said "'Dunces & Dragons' puts a new spin on the old A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court theme and it's fun to see how the show's writers have adapted the characters from the show into this medieval setting." He added "This episode is also good because it shows an abnormally self-confident SpongeBob. I can't fathom (get it?) why fans of the show wouldn't like these new episodes, because they certainly haven't lost their silliness ... or their occasional edge ... Fans of SpongeBob SquarePants will find something to love in this set, if for no other reason, because it brings back many familiar supporting characters and features SpongeBob at what he does best: making us laugh."
Nancy Basile of About.com compared the episode to the then-television film of the series called SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis. She said "Atlantis SquarePantis seemed epic in scope, much like 'Dunces and Dragons'."
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- Basile, Nancy. "SpongeBob Atlantis SquarePantis DVD". About.com. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
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