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Posts posted by JCM

  1. I'm back! Who better to describe my next show than Cosmo himself?

    8. Seinfeld

    One of the most influential sitcoms of all time, as well as one of the funniest, Seinfeld didn't have the warmth most of its predecessors had. It didn't have lessons, and in fact, it went out of its way to avoid having lessons. Its main characters weren't likable (the farthest thing from likable, actually) but it took the country by storm anyway. After watching just a few episodes of this show, you'll understand why. Two of the biggest shows of the 21st century, The Office and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, got much of their comedy from bad things happening to bad people, but Seinfeld did it better than either of them.

    There are many episodes I can point to as examples of the show doing what it does best, but none stand out more than The Soup Nazi, which I jokingly had listed as my Favorite Episode on my SBC profile (and still might, idk I don't feel like checking). The Soup Nazi is not only my favorite episode of Seinfeld but one of my favorite episodes of television. It takes something as mundane as buying soup and turns it into an absolute riot with stakes and a seemingly unconquerable villain while having everything wrapped up neat and tidy after 22 minutes. The Soup Nazi aired in one of the show's final seasons, and one of the incredible things about Seinfeld is that while most shows, especially sitcoms, get worse as they go on, Seinfeld only got better. The last season had what was probably the show's most experimental episode in The Betrayal, an episode with a plot that unfolded in reverse, and the finale stayed true to the show's philosophy by having no hugging and no tears, instead putting the main four of Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer exactly where they belonged: in prison.

    • Like 2
  2. 9. Atlanta


    A show that defies genre, Atlanta was already one of the most unique shows on TV during its first season, but over its next two seasons, it continued to redefine itself. Created by and starring Donald Glover, the series used everything Glover had learned from writing and acting in comedy to give us a social satire about race relations and the issues that come with fame that was hilarious and thought-provoking from its very first episode. With a stellar cast of names that get more famous by the year and that have great chemistry with each other, Atlanta didn't have to deviate much from what it did during its first season to make an impact, but it did, anyway, propelling it from just a very good show to one of the best of all time.

    If Atlanta had anything resembling a formula by the middle of Season 2, it was thrown out the window for Teddy Perkins, arguably the show's best episode. It didn't have too many ha-ha funny moments, and the show's central characters Earn and Alfred had virtually no part of the episode's plot, but it thrived despite that. Now secure in the knowledge that it could completely ignore what had worked before to tell the stories it wanted to tell, Atlanta became more of an anthology series, a Black, Black Mirror, in its third season, which aired earlier this year after a four-year break. Atlanta's more than making up for lost time by premiering its fourth season next months, and the only expectations we can have going into it is that the expectations we will have will be subverted.

    • Like 2
  3. 10. Invader Zim


    During the 90s, Nickelodeon revolutionized children's animation with so-called Nicktoons, cartoons made exclusively for the channel that, unlike the cartoons kids were used to watching on broadcast networks, weren't educational and weren't trying to sell them toys. It sounds crazy now, but at the time, it was seen as a huge risk, and it was a risk that paid off in a big way for the cable channel, sending what was already a growing brand into the stratosphere. By the time Invader Zim premiered in mid-2001, there had already been 15 Nicktoons, with the biggest success stories out of them being Rugrats, The Fairly OddParents, and of course, SpongeBob SquarePants.

    Invader Zim wasn't a success story. Far from it, in fact. It was the first Nicktoon not to reach 30 episodes or 3 seasons. In fact, its second season wasn't even completed before Nick gave it the axe. The show wasn't cancelled for being bad, though. Obviously, I wouldn't think that, or it wouldn't be on this list. The show was innovative, unpredictable, gorgeously animated, and of course, hilarious. It also happened to be super dark, darker than every other kid's show and most adult shows, too, which is why it's frankly bizarre that Nick greenlit it in the first place. I'm happy Nick did, though, because it gave us one of the classics of the form, one that still holds up even 20 years later.

    • Like 3
  4. In honor of my 11th SBC Anniversary, I'm going to do something I was supposed to do six anniversaries ago: my top ten TV shows list! I'm actually going to make it top 11 to reflect my eleven years on the site and to make up for taking so long with this. (I swear to God it's not to rip off Nostalgia Critic, please don't sue me Doug.)

    Without further ado, here's the first show on my list:

    11. The Mandalorian


    Three years ago, a new streaming service debuted in Disney+ that was expected to be the first to really give Netflix a run for its money. To challenge a giant like Netflix who was essentially synonymous with streaming at the time, Disney needed a real draw, a killer app that would do for their new service what Halo did for the Xbox. Jon Favreau's Star Wars show, the first live action show in the 40+ years of the franchise, turned out to be exactly that. Premiering on the same day as Disney+'s launch, it was critical in drawing interest to a service that wouldn't take long to become a giant in its own right, and it's easy to understand why.

    Fully embracing the Western genre that the Star Wars movies had only borrowed elements from, The Mandalorian tells the story of a bounty hunter who is forced to become the hunted when he refuses to give up a valuable prize, known by the show's fandom as Baby Yoda due to being...well...a baby who looks a lot like Yoda. The dynamic between the quiet, very serious Mandalorian and the innocent, playful child is the most engaging aspect of the show, and that combined with the stellar writing and the constant twists and turns the series throws at us makes it a classic after just two seasons. Whether you're a diehard Star Wars fan or somebody who couldn't care less about the movies, this is definitely a show worth checking out.

    #10 coming tomorrow

    • Like 3
  5. Week of June 26, 2022 to July 2, 2022

    1. Total Cartoon Legends! - 256 ( @4EverGreen )
    2. SBCinema - 107 ( @Jjs Goodman )
    3. Jjs' Riffing Theater 3000: Family Guy Funny Moments - 39 ( @Jjs Goodman )
    4. One-Time Star Wars Characters: Where Are They Now? - 26 ( @OWM )
    5. Oh Yeah! Collections - 23 ( @Steel Sponge )
    6. Tiki Land -21 ( @Steel Sponge )
    7. SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Translation - 20 ( @Steel Sponge )
    8. Power Rangers: Multiverse Force - 15 ( @Rebel the Wolfgirl )
    9. Mabel's Fables - 11 ( @JCM )
    10. Red Flag Savior: Rebirth of a Storm - 8 ( @Steel Sponge )

    Doubloons will be handed out later this week

    • Like 1
    • Wow 1
  6. Chapter 15

    One of Abuelita's earliest memories was watching the Grand Opening of Disneyland on her parents' black-and-white television. They had moved to Los Angeles from their home country of Colombia a year earlier, and the promise of a magical place where Abuelita could be whatever she wanted to be made her want to go to Disneyland more than anything else. However, her parents couldn't afford to take her to Disneyland after spending most of what they had moving the family to America, and she dreamed of one day being able to go to Disneyland herself.

    As an adult, Abuelita raised the woman who would one day mother Soos, and she promised her daughter than she would one day take her to Disneyland so she could live out the dreams her madre never could. Every time Abuelita got close to saving up enough to take them to Disneyland, however, the car broke down, or the washing machine broke, or some other emergency would happen that would empty their savings account and force them to start over again.

    Her daughter eventually accepted that the trip to Disneyland would never happen, and when Abuelita promised Soos that they would go to the happiest place on Earth together someday, his mother warned him not to get his hopes up. When Abuelita got the news that her daughter was in a car accident, she didn't believe it at first, but once she saw her teary-eyed grandson in the lobby of the Gravity Falls Hospital, an eight-year-old boy who had gone through something no eight-year-old boy should ever go through, she knew this awful thing she heard was true.

    The first thing Abuelita did when she saw Soos in that hospital lobby was kneel beside him, wipe the tears from his face, and promise him that his abuelita would always be there to protect him. 13 years later, Abuelita sat alone at her kitchen table the morning after her latest visit to the Mystery Shack and several of the places Soos loved to visit most, including the arcade and Big Gunz Laser Tag, once again unable to find him anywhere. Abeulita felt nothing but regret knowing that promise she made to her grandson in the hospital, just like the promises she made to him and his mother about going to Disneyland, had been impossible for her to keep.

    Abuelita heard a knock on her door, and when she opened it, she found Dipper standing there with the Stanmobile in her driveway.

    "What is going on?" asked Abuelita.

    "That guy you told me about, the father of mice, I think I know where we can find him!" said Dipper.



    Abuelita turned around.

    "I...I don't know," she said. "I'm not in the mood for theme parks."

    "Abuelita, this may be our only chance of bringing your grandson back. You have to come with us, because whoever made that prediction about the father of mice also predicted that you would be the one to speak to him."

    Abuelita sighed.

    "Okay," she said. "If it helps us find Soos, I will come with you."

    Abuelita turned back around and followed Dipper out the house before getting into the backseat of the Stanmobile with him. Stan pulled the car out of the driveway to get onto the road, and then he headed towards the interstate.

    Merlin lay on the bed inside of his jail cell. Though it was late afternoon, his cell had no windows or anything else connecting to the outside world, leaving it as dark as it was when he first woke up in the cell the night before.

    "Visitor!" said Deputy Durland from the hallway.

    "Another?" groaned Merlin.

    Since Abby left, at least a dozen people had visited Merlin, all showing the same bewilderment at so powerful a wizard being held by this tiny jail cell. Merlin wished for nothing more than to be able to blast the cell bars away and take control of this growing movement, but he knew he couldn't. He hated his magic for much of his childhood, as it was the reason his parents had abandoned him, but once he felt more comfortable with it, he couldn't imagine life without it. As another admirer, this time a young man, came up to his cell, Merlin stood up, spun in a circle, and struck a pose, causing the man to clap with joy.

    "I can't believe I'm really meeting you!" said the man. "I've lived in Gravity Falls all my life, and you're easily the best thing to happen to this crappy town!"

    "Thank you," said Merlin. "I hope the rest of the world feels as you do soon."

    "They will," said the man. "I joined that Children of Merlin group, and there's people from every country in it speaking so many languages. What you've created is something special, and I feel honored to be a part of it."

    Merlin nodded then sat down on his bed.

    "So," the man said, quieter this time. "I know you're trying to keep a low profile in here, but can you show me a little something?"

    "What do you mean?" said Merlin.

    "Like have something appear out of thin air! Make yourself float! Do something!"

    Merlin blushed.

    "I am not a court jester, here to perform tricks for your amusement! I have bigger plans for my magic, and you shall see it with the rest of the world when I'm ready to enact those plans!" he said.

    "Do you even have your magic anymore?" wondered the man.

    "Why would you ask me that?"

    "It just seems suspicious, you inside this cell you could easily escape from if you had the abilities you showed off downtown, your not being willing to give me even a tiny demonstration. How am I supposed to know those cops didn't tase the magic out of you?"

    "Believe what you'll believe," said Merlin. "But I'm not showing you anything."

    "You're not a wizard. You're a fraud," said the man. "You're a fraud, and I'll make sure everybody knows that!"

    The man took out a cell phone and started recording Merlin.

    "Do it! Turn me into a frog! Blast some of that scary magic at me! I bet you can't!" screamed the man.

    Merlin's face was fully red now.

    "Very well, then," said Merlin. "Take this!"

    Merlin pointed two open palms at the man, and nothing happened.

    "Please," whispered Merlin. "Please work."

    The man laughed.

    "Please, please work," repeated Merlin, trying his best not to cry.

    Deputy Durland came out of the hallway now.

    "Hey, time's up!" said Durland. "And what did I tell you before? No cell phones allowed in here!"

    "That's okay," the man said with a smile. "I got what I wanted."

    After Durland and the man left, Merlin allowed the tears he was holding in to stream from his eyes like blood from a wound. He knew now more than ever that he had to get his magic back if he didn't want everything he had done up until now to go to waste, but he didn't know how he actually would be able to do so.

    The Stanmobile reached Disneyland that night after over half a day of driving.

    "Alright," said Dipper. "The park closes in two hours, so we won't have a lot of time to do this."

    "Zoey got us VIP tickets, so we'll be able to skip the line," said Wendy.

    Zoey was one of Wendy's closest friends, the one she confided in more than anybody else in her friend group. Though the rest of her friends stayed in Gravity Falls with her for the summer, Zoey got a job as a cast member on one of Disneyland's attractions, a job she had been pursuing for years. Every night, Wendy called her, and she gushed about how fun her job was, how many great people she was meeting, and it made Wendy jealous. Zoey had always been the overachiever in her friend group, and it made her the victim of a lot of the jokes her friends made while she was away. Wendy resisted the impulse she sometimes had to get involved in the jokes, though, because she felt bad talking about Zoey behind her back.

    They met Zoey just outside of the Disneyland entrance. Zoey hugged Wendy as hard as she could then hugged Uncle Stan and Abuelita as well.

    "It's so great to see you all!" said Zoey.

    She knelt beside Dipper.

    "And you must be Dipper," she said. "What was it Wendy said about you? 'If only he were a few years older…'"

    Wendy punched Zoey in the arm, blushing.

    "Zoey, stop!" said Wendy.

    Dipper, who was now blushing too, cleared his throat.

    "Thank you for the help, Zoey," he said.

    "It's no problem," said Zoey. "I would do anything for my best pal. Now, let's go!"

    Zoey led Stan,, Abuelita, Dipper, and Wendy inside the park. Abuelita looked around, astonished that after nearly 60 years, she finally got to see that magical place she'd dreamed of for so long. Even in the dark, it was even brighter and more colorful than she thought it would be. For a moment, just one moment, her problems ceased to exist.

    Dipper's problems remained on his mind, however.

    "Where can I find the Pirates of the Caribbean ride?" he asked Zoey.

    "Don't worry, sport. We'll get there," she responded.

    A cast member in a Snow White costume waved at Dipper. He pretended he didn't see it.

    "Right now, we're in Main Street, USA," said Zoey. "The Pirates ride will be in New Orleans Square. If you want any souvenirs or candy…"

    "Candy?" interrupted Stan. "Say no more!"

    Stan ran into the nearest candy shop.

    "Can you go with him, Wendy? I have a feeling he's about to do something very illegal," said Zoey.

    "You're probably right," said Wendy, rolling her eyes.

    Wendy walked into the candy shop to find Stan pouring candy out of a dispenser and into a bag.

    "Can you believe they're just giving these away?" said Stan.

    "They're not giving those away. You have to pay for them," said Wendy.

    Stan grabbed a handful of candy from the bag and put it into his mouth.

    "Can't charge me for something you can't see!" said Stan with his mouth full.

    "Stan, don't be gross," said Wendy.

    A man at the counter looked at Stan and Wendy with annoyance.

    "Alright, we better get going," said Wendy.

    Wendy grabbed Stan by the arm and left the candy shop with him. They rejoined Dipper, Abuelita, and Zoey as they entered Adventureland.

    "The first attraction we'll visit is the Enchanted Tiki Land, the only attraction originally owned by Walt Disney himself," said Zoey.

    "Is that the one with the creepy birds? Hard pass," said Stan, eating another handful of candy.

    "Come on! Stop being lame!" said Wendy.

    "If it gets us closer to seeing Pirates of the Caribbean, I don't care," said Dipper.

    The five of them entered the building, which resembled an old Hawaiin shack. They spent a little over 15 minutes watching a show performed by animatronic birds before being led back out and heading to the next attraction: the Jungle Cruise.

    "This is one of our most popular attractions," said Zoey. "Once we're in one of the boats, our skipper will take us on a tour through the jungle rivers of Adventureland!"

    They found a half-empty boat and climbed into it. The skipper waited for more a few more people to enter the boat before untying it from the deck.

    "Hello, everyone," said the skipper. "I'd like to welcome you aboard the world-famous Jungle Cruise. My name is Dan and I'll be your skipper for as far as we get."

    The boat traveled through a murky-looking waterway. Fake fireflies illuminated their way and the various robotic animals around them.

    "Extraordinario," whispered Abuelita.

    Even Dipper was impressed by a realistic-looking elephant showering itself in the water.

    "That reminds me," said Dan. "Why did the elephant quit his job?"

    The passengers looked at each other with confusion.

    "He was tired of working for peanuts!" quipped Dan.

    Nobody in the boat laughed.

    "Boo!" said Stan. "Find another job!"

    "I would if I could," muttered Dan.

    "It's so amazing that you get to see this every day," said Wendy.

    "Huh?" said Zoey, who was clearly distracted by something.

    Wendy laughed.

    "Did you hear a word I said?" asked Wendy.

    "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention," said Zoey.

    Dan rattled off more of the spiels he memorized as they approached the end of the cruise ride. Dipper, Stan, Abuelita, Wendy, and Zoey climbed out of the boat with the rest of the passengers and headed towards New Orleans Square.

    "Your patience is about to be rewarded," said Zoey.

    "Finally!" said Dipper. "Now we can see what's under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!"

    Zoey raised an eyebrow.

    "Under?" she parroted. "Did Wendy tell you that urban legend about Walt Disney being buried under the ride?"

    Wendy looked down, expecting Zoey to tell Dipper something he didn't want to hear.

    "Well, I'm sure you'll be happy to know that urban legend isn't a legend at all! Disney's down there, and I met him!" said Zoey.

    Wendy looked back up.

    "What?" she said.

    "What?" said Dipper.

    "You heard me!" said Zoey. "If you want to meet Walt Disney, I know exactly how to find him!"

    Zoey led Dipper, Stan, Abuelita, and Wendy to the back door of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. She opened the door to reveal nothing but stairs leading into the darkness.

    "Are you sure you want to do this?" asked Wendy.

    "This is what we came here for!" said Dipper. "I have to do it. For Mabel."

    "And I must," said Abuelita. "For Soos."

    "And I guess I'm going too, since whatever's down there must be more interesting than those boring rides," said Stan.

    "I'll stay up here with Zoey. You three be safe," said Wendy.

    Dipper, Stan, and Abuelita went down the stairs, and Zoey closed the door behind them.

    "Why did you tell Dipper you saw Walt Disney down there? You're only setting him up for disappointment!" said Wendy.

    "At least I'm not the one who took him all the way here from Gravity Falls to chase a ghost," said Zoey.

    "I...I know I shouldn't have gotten his hopes up, but you should have seen him."

    "It's okay. I'm glad you brought him here. It only makes it easier for us to get rid of him."

    Wendy took a step back as Zoey locked the door to the stairs.

    "Get rid of him?" said Wendy. "What are you talking about?"

    Zoey sighed.

    "Zoe?" said Wendy. "What are you talking about?"

    "I...haven't been completely honest with you, either," said Zoey. "Do you know about the Children of Merlin?"


    "Well, it's a group I'm a part of, and Dipper is one of our special targets. He's one of two people Merlin singled out as a threat to him, along with his twin sister, Mabel."

    "Wait," said Wendy. "So you're going after Dipper and Mabel because some crazy wizard guy told you to?"

    "He's not some 'crazy wizard guy'. He's an agent of change. Do you think I actually love this job? Do you think I love keeping a smile on my face while children and man-children harass me and those who run this cruddy theme park disrespect me day after day? No...I hate it. I hate everything about it, and I hate that I'm forced to do it just to make it easier for my family to feed everyone. With Merlin in charge, that won't be an issue anymore. There will no longer be waste, and there will no longer be hunger. Girls like us won't have to be miserable just to survive!"

    "I'm not miserable," said Wendy. "And I didn't think you were, either. You made it sound like this was your dream job!"

    "Well, it isn't," said Zoey. "I thought it would be, but I was wrong."

    "Either way, you can't leave Dipper and the others down there!" said Wendy.

    "I've already notified park security about Stan stealing from the candy shop," said Zoey.

    "How do you know he stole that candy?"

    "Come on, it's Stan."

    "Fair enough."

    "Security will be here to pick him up soon, and I'll make sure Abuelita gets home safely."

    "What about Dipper?"

    "The leaders of the Children of Merlin will be here tomorrow to pick him up. What they do with him is out of my hands."

    "This is crazy," said Wendy. "Open the door and let me get my friends."

    "I'm sorry," said Zoey. "I can't let you do that."

    Wendy laughed in disbelief.

    "And here I was thinking we were friends!" she said.

    "We are!" said Zoey. "I swear you're the best friend I've ever had, but I can't betray the Children of Merlin."

    "Merlin! Merlin!" shouted Wendy.

    Wendy searched Merlin's name on YouTube and pulled up one of the videos she found of Merlin in a jail cell, pointing open palms at the camera and whispering to himself with a distraught look on his face.

    "You're willing to throw away over ten years of friendship for that?" said Wendy.

    "That...that video's fake! That can't be real!" said Zoey.

    "Get out of the way!" screamed Wendy.

    Zoey saw a flash of lightning in the distance, and she heard thunder boom shortly after.

    "Tut tut, it looks like rain," said Zoey.

    "I said...get out of the way," said Wendy through clenched teeth.

    Zoey raised her fists.

    "If you want to open this door, you'll have to fight me," said Zoey.

    Wendy threw a punch, and Zoey dodged it before punching Wendy in the stomach. Wendy then kneed Zoey in the face, and the rain started to fall as they continued fighting.

    Stan lit a match as he, Dipper, and Abuelita descended the stairs.

    "This is it!" said Dipper. "Just like Wendy told us! That's the secret chamber down there!"

    "Dipper," said Stan. "There is no secret chamber."

    Dipper, Abuelita, and Stan reached the bottom of the stairs, and they found themselves in about a foot of water.

    "Can I see the match, Grunkle Stan?" asked Dipper.

    Stan gave Dipper the match, and he and Abuelita struggled to follow him in the water.

    "Did you hear me, boy? There's not a secret chamber!" said Stan.

    Dipper stopped for a moment so Stan and Abuelita could catch up.

    "I know you miss your sister, but the answers you're looking for aren't down here," said Stan.

    "If this isn't a secret chamber, what is it?" said Dipper.

    "Probably a sewer. I shouldn't have come down here with my good shoes, but that's neither here nor there. I'm concerned about you, kid. This whole Walt Disney thing, it's crazy."

    "B-but the father of the mice. Abuelita said…"

    "I know what she said, but it could mean nothing or it could mean anything other than coming all the way here to look for a corpse!"

    "For what it is worth," said Abuelita. "I believe it means something."

    Stan rolled his eyes.

    "Thank you for the input, Abuelita, but I'll handle things with my nephew from here," he said.

    "We're so close," said Dipper. "I can feel it! We're so close to finding him!"

    "Dipper, I called your parents during one of our breaks," said Stan. "They aren't far from here, and after we're done at the park, I'm dropping you off with them."

    "What?" said Dipper. "Did you know about this, Abuelita?"

    "No, amigo," said Abuelita.

    Dipper glared at Stan before running deeper into the tunnel.

    "Dipper!" shouted Stan.

    "You should have more faith in the boy," said Abuelita.

    "Let me focus on my family while you focus on yours," said Stan before hurrying after Dipper.

    Dipper ran so quickly that his match went out, making it impossible for him to see anything around him. He felt the ground under him get weaker, but he kept running until it collapsed, plunging him deep into the water and making him aware of a light source not far away from where he floated. Dipper swam to the surface to get some air, and he heard Stan calling his name, with the calls getting louder, meaning he was getting closer. Dipper sank back into the water before Stan could notice him, and he swam as fast as he could towards the light source. The water got colder and colder until Dipper felt like the skin would peel off his body. Once he finally saw what the light was coming from, he nearly gasped before he thought better of it and swam back to the surface.

    "I found him!" shouted Dipper.

    Stan was standing at the edge of the hole Dipper fell into, holding another lit match.

    "What was that?" shouted Stan.

    "I found him!" repeated Dipper. "I found Walt Disney!"

    Merlin had fallen asleep in his jail cell when Durland approached it with a bucket of water.

    "Wakey, wakey," said Durland before throwing water over Merlin's face.

    "You insolent...what do you want?" said Merlin, coughing.

    "It's time for your walk," said Durland.

    Durland handcuffed Merlin before leading him to a small courtyard outside.

    "Like it? It was my idea," said Durland.

    "Why do you want me to walk this late at night?" said Merlin.

    "Can't just keep you in the cell all day getting fat off of my cheese and crackers," said Durland. "Now jog."

    Merlin started jogging, and he noticed clouds forming above him.

    "It's looks like it's going to rain!" said Merlin.

    "Good thing you're already wet, then," said Durland.

    Merlin grumbled and raised his arms to stretch them. Suddenly, his handcuffs were struck by lightning, causing his eyes to close and his body to go stiff before falling to the ground.

    "Oh, no!" said Durland. "Not again!"

    Durland ran to Merlin and grabbed his arm to feel his pulse, but he immediately got electrocuted, forcing him to drop the arm. Merlin's eyes opened again, and the first thing he felt was pain, but the pain transformed into something different, something better. Merlin raised an open palm, and electricity shot out, sending Durland into the wall. Merlin stood back up and raised both hands, which were now sparkling with electricity. He noticed a broom sitting by the door he came from, and he used an electric spark to bring it to him.

    "Hello, old friend," said Merlin.

    Merlin put the broom under him, pointed it at the sky, and flew off, leaving tiny sparks of electricity behind him.


    Chapter 16

    Lady Olivia waited with one of the king's guards outside of his throne room.

    "So, you're the new royal advisor?" said the guard.

    "Yes," said Olivia.

    "Did you hear what happened to the advisor before you?"

    "No, I wasn't made aware."

    "He brought the king tea when he requested sparkling cider, so the king had him executed."

    Olivia gulped.

    "I'm sure you'll do fine, though!" said the guard.

    The door to the throne room opened, and another guard came out of it. He nodded towards Olivia, who was now sweating, and the other guard stepped out of the way as she walked into the room. King Andrias, who ruled over all of Amphibia, was staring at a portrait of his ancestors as Olivia approached him, and he didn't turn around to greet her.

    "Good morning, Lady Olivia," said Andrias after nearly a minute-long silence.

    "G-good morning, king," said Olivia. "What did you want to discuss?"

    "I'll be going on a trip to Stony Gulch, and I'll need to you look after the castle while I'm gone," said Andrias.

    "Me? But I haven't even been your advisor for a day yet!" said Olivia.

    "I trust you'll do a good job," said Andrias. "And if you don't…well, I'm sure one of my guards have told you what happened to the advisor before you by now."

    Olivia's eyes filled with tears, and she looked down before taking a deep breath and looking up again.

    "I'll make sure to keep your castle safe," she said.

    Andrias put three fingers in his mouth, whistled, and waited for a large bird to fly into his room through the window. The bird startled Olivia, causing her to back away as Andrias climbed onto its back.

    "See you soon, Lady Olivia!" he said before pulling the reins of the bird and flying out through the same window the bird had just come in through.

    Mabel yawned as she walked down the stairs of the Curiosity Hut. She smelled pancakes and ran into the kitchen where The Curator was cooking them.

    "You got here just in time!" said The Curator. "I thought I'd have to eat all of these myself!"

    Mabel jumped into a chair and rubbed her hands together as The Curator put a plate with pancakes and syrup in front of her. Stuck to the syrup were various types of insects.

    "Oh right," said Mabel, disappointed. "You guys put bugs in everything."

    An orange frog walked into the kitchen.

    "Oh man!" he said. "Am I late for pancakes?"

    "Indeed, Bert," said The Curator. "Make sure to get here early next time."

    Bert sighed and began to walk out.

    "Wait! You can have mine!" said Mabel.

    "No, I couldn't," said Bert. "You're a guest."

    "I insist!" said Mabel.

    Bert shrugged and turned back around.

    "Okay, then," he said before extending his tongue to grab the pancakes from Mabel's plate and pull them into his mouth.

    "You better not expect me to make you more food after giving yours to the help!" scolded The Curator.

    "It's fine. I wasn't that hungry, anyway," said Mabel, ignoring her growling stomach.

    The Curator ate his pancakes then left the kitchen. Bert sat down beside Mabel.

    "So," said Bert. "What's with the costume?"

    Mabel blushed.

    "I'm sure you're fooling most of the other frogs around here, but not me," said Bert, wiping his mouth with a napkin.

    "I got this from a costume shop because my regular self...scares people," said Mabel.

    "Well, considering what I do for a job, it'll take a lot to scare me!" said Bert.

    "What do you do?"

    "All those creatures The Curator has frozen in wax in the museum? I caught them!"

    "Really? That sounds super dangerous."

    "It is! But the thrill of getting closer to these beasts than anyone before me makes it worth it!"

    "How do you catch them?"

    Bert took a small tranquilizer gun out of his pocket.

    "With this!" he said. "By injecting my target with a Scorpileo stinger, I can subdue the animal enough to bring it here and let The Curator do his thing!"

    Bert put the tranquilizer gun back into his pocket and stood up.

    "It was nice talking to you...whoever you are," he said.

    "Mabel. My name is Mabel."

    "Frogbert Wharton, but everybody calls me Bert."

    Mabel giggled.

    "Good to meet you, Bert," she said, shaking his hand.

    "Now I must be off. There was a sighting of a giant centipede around this time yesterday, and I think he would make a great addition to the Hut!" said Bert.

    "Can I go with?" asked Mabel.

    "I don't know," said Bert. "Can you run in that heavy thing? Cause you might need to if this goes sideways."

    Mabel nodded excitedly, and Bert smiled.

    "Alright, then," he said. "Mr. Ponds, I'm taking our guest with me on today's hunt!"

    "If she dies, you're responsible for burying her!" The Curator said from another room.

    "Don't worry," said Bert. "He's delightful once you get to know him."

    "Really?" said Mabel.

    "Nah," said Bert. "Let's go!"

    Bert and Mabel left the Curiosity Hut and headed towards the forest.

    "So," said Mabel. "Are you from here?"

    "Nobody's from the Stony Gulch. It's just a big tourist trap," explained Bert.

    "Then where are you from?"

    "I'm from Swamp Shiro, a town in Frog Valley. I lived there until I decided I wanted to travel to Newtopia for a chance at a better life. It was hard at first. Most Newtopians think us frogs are just a bunch of dumb rednecks, and while a lot of us are, I wanted to prove to them I was different. I made great progress, even being the first frog ever admitted to Newtopia University, but fighting centuries of prejudice takes time. After I graduated, I was unable to find work in Newtopia, so I came here."

    "You seem pretty smart to me. You could see through my disguise, anyway."

    Bert laughed.

    "It seems both of us know what it feels like to not belong," he said. "Is that why you left wherever it is you came from?"

    "Actually, I kind of got here by accident," said Mabel.

    "Well, I'm happy we met each other," said Bert. "Even if it was by accident."

    Mabel smiled.

    "Me too," she said.

    Bert and Mabel were deep in the forest when they noticed a large creature pass behind them. They both turned around.

    "Did you see that?" said Bert.

    "I noticed something," said Mabel.

    Bert took his tranquilizer gun out.

    "It knows we're here," he said.

    Bert picked up a rock and threw it as far as he could. After it landed, the ground shook, and Bert grabbed the arm of Mabel's costume with his free hand to keep them both steady.

    "What happens now?" Mabel whispered.

    The giant centipede shot out of the ground in front of them, revealing its huge body with hundreds of legs on each side. Bert backed away, pulling Mabel with him.

    "This," he said.

    Bert carefully pointed his tranquilizer gun at the centipede's underside, and once he was sure he had a straight shot, he pulled the trigger. A Scorpileo stinger flew from the gun towards the centipede as it turned around. The stinger hit the centipede's shell and shattered, causing the centipede to roar.

    "Well, that never happened before," said a nervous Bert.

    "Should we run now?" asked Mabel as the centipede barreled towards them.

    "Definitely," said Bert.

    Mabel and Bert ran in different directions as the centipede plunged into the area they were just standing in. Mabel stopped once she realized the centipede wasn't following her but Bert.

    "Oh, no. Bert!" she said.

    Mabel turned and ran towards the centipede, which was catching up to Bert quicker than he could run. Bert tripped over a root, and he cried as the centipede rose then descended on him with its mouth wide open. Bert closed his eyes, expecting these to be the final moments of his life, but when nothing happened after a minute, he opened them again. He gasped as Mabel floated above him, no longer wearing her costume and now with pink hair, green eyes, and a blue aura surrounding her. She was able to hold the centipede's mouth open with her bare hands, and as Bert watched in awe, she closed the creature's mouth, spun it around, and threw it to the ground, knocking the centipede unconscious.

    "What are you?" said Bert, standing back up.

    Mabel stared at her glowing blue hands with confusion as she floated to the ground.

    "I thought I knew, but apparently, I don't," she said.

    Mabel's hair and eyes returned to their normal colors, and the blue around her disappeared as she fell to her knees.

    "I...don't know what's happening," she said.

    "It's okay," said Bert. "We probably won't be able to fit that thing in the Hut, anyway. It's much bigger than I thought it would be."

    Bert took off his jacket and threw it over a shivering Mabel. As he waited for her to regain her strength, a bird wearing armor with a familiar symbol engraved upon it flew over them.

    "Is that...King Andrias?" said Bert.

    "I think I'm feeling better now," said Mabel.

    "You sure?"


    "Let's get back to the Hut, then."

    Bert and Mabel returned to the Curiosity Hut and found royal guards standing in the wax museum.

    "What's going on?" asked Mabel.

    "Sorry, this store is closed to visitors," said the guard.

    "We work here!" said Bert.

    "The owner was very clear about allowing nobody through until the transaction was complete," said another guard.

    "What does Mr. Ponds have that's so valuable the king is willing to come all the way here to get it from him?" wondered Bert.

    "That's none of your business. And also, we don't know," said the first guard.

    "Let us see him now!" said Bart.

    "Or what?"

    Bart punched the first guard so hard that he fell to the ground. Mabel and the second guard covered their mouths in surprise.

    "How dare you!" said the second guard. "Do you know what the punishment for assaulting a royal officer is?"

    Bart pointed his fist at the second guard.

    "Do you want to be next?" he asked.

    "No, sir! Go right through!" said the second guard.

    Bert ran to the Curator's office, and Mabel followed him. Once inside, they found the Curator excitedly watching King Andrias bring in large bags through the window as he held Mabel's chest.

    "What are you doing?" asked Mabel.

    The Curator's eyes widened once he saw Mabel and Bert.

    "Oh, my!" said the Curator. "This is awkward."

    "Where did you get that chest from?" asked Bert.

    "That weird-looking frog next to you brought it here! It's an ancient relic worth millions of coppers, which our king is graciously paying me right now. I'll never have to work again thanks to this thing!" said the Curator.

    "That 'thing' is mine!" said Mabel.

    "I don't see you holding it," said the Curator. "Stony Gulch has many rules, but one takes precedent over every other: Finder's Keepers!"

    "But I'm the one who found it! I gave it to you! I trusted you!" said Mabel, on the verge of tears.

    "Well, it seems your trust was misplaced," said the Curator.

    Bert grabbed Mabel's arm.

    "Come on," he said. "It isn't worth it. Mr. Ponds isn't worth it. Let him rot somewhere with all that money while we live our lives somewhere very far from here."

    Mabel ripped her arm away from Bert.

    "No," she said. "I want it back."

    Mabel shook as her sadness turned to anger. Bert noticed that the few strands of hair sticking out of her costume were now pink.

    "I want it back," she said. "Now!"

    Suddenly, Mabel's costume ripped apart as the blue aura surrounded her once more. Her eyes became green again as she blinked away some tears, and she ran towards the Curator with lightning speed.

    "What are you?" screamed the Curator.

    "Somebody who wants what's hers," said Mabel.

    Andrias watched Mabel with the same look of terror on his face the Curator had.

    "Impossible," he said. "You have the power of all three gems! How are you still alive?"

    Mabel took the chest from the Curator, who put up no resistance. Andrias pulled out the hilt of a sword, and a large, powerful blade of yellow energy popped out. He pointed the sword at Mabel.

    "No matter," he said. "Unless you give me that box of yours, you won't be alive for much longer."

    Mabel looked at the sword with surprise then left the room with Bart at the same lightning speed.

    "Well," said Andrias. "That didn't work."

    "I know it's a bad time," said the Curator. "But since you went to the trouble of bringing me all this money, how about letting me keep it?"

    Andrias pointed his sword at the Curator, causing him to back away.

    "Okay, okay, just a suggestion," said the Curator.

    Mabel and Bert stopped right outside the entrance to the Curiosity Hut. Mabel seemed visibly tired, and she dropped the chest as her blue aura flickered.

    "We have to get out of here," said Bert. "That thing you're holding...is that what sent you here?"

    Mabel nodded.

    "Well, try this...think about where you really want to be, and maybe the box will send us there," said Bert.

    "I...I don't know if I have the energy," Mabel said weakly.

    Bert took Mabel's hands in his own and squeezed them.

    "If you need more energy, use mine," he said.

    Mabel nodded again and closed her eyes. The gems on the chest began to glow, and the blue aura that surrounded Mabel now surrounded Bert, too. As Andrias stormed out of the Curiosity Hut, he was nearly blinded by the flash Mabel and Bert disappeared in.

    "Wow," he said.

    The royal guards came out of the building seconds later.

    "We did everything we could to stop them!" said the first guard, who now had a black eye.

    "It doesn't matter," said Andrias. "After a thousand years, I finally have confirmation that the box is still out there. The next time I see it...or one of those strange creatures with face bumps...I shall be prepared."

    Andrias went back into the Curiosity Hut and found the Curator in his office struggling to push one of the Andrias' bags of money out the window.

    "Hey," said the Curator. "Are you here to help?"

    "Of course not," said Andrias. "I'm just here to remind you that if we're even one copper short when we bring that back to Newtopia, we'll return to give you a very public execution. It seems boring in this town, so I'm sure the citizens would love to see somebody's head chopped off."

    The Curator gulped. As he pushed the final bag out the window, he watched it drop onto the back of the bird King Andrias flew into Stony Gulch on.

    "It's been excellent doing business with you," said Andrias before leaving.

    The Curator took a list of names and phone numbers out from one of the drawers of his desk. Since Bert wasn't likely to come back after today's events, he knew he had to seek a replacement, and one of the names on the list stuck out.

    "Frog Soos," read The Curator out loud. "I guess it couldn't hurt to give him a call."

  7. Week of June 19, 2022 to June 25, 2022

    1. Total Cartoon Legends! - 210 ( @Australia )
    2. SBCinema - 145 ( @Swiss Cheese )
    3. One-Time Star Wars Characters: Where Are They Now? - 21 ( @Chad )
    4. Most Wanted - 17 ( @Swiss Cheese )
    5. SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Translation - 15 ( @We Forgive You Germany )
    6. Mabel's Fables - 15 ( @Egypt )
    7. Power Rangers: Multiverse Force - 14 ( @Australia )
    8. Jjs' Riffing Theater 3000: Family Guy Funny Moments - 11 ( @Swiss Cheese )
    9. Oh Yeah! Collections - 9 ( @We Forgive You Germany )
    10. Tiki Land - 6 ( @We Forgive You Germany )
    • Like 1
  8. Chapter 14

    Octavian, King of Galacia, stood in his room, looking out the window of his palace as Livian, King of the Visigoths, approached it on a horse. The guards in front of the palace ordered him to drop his spear and swords before entering the palace, and he complied. Livian reached Octavian's room less than a minute later.

    "Did you hear the news carried by the raven?" asked Livian.

    Octavian pretended he didn't hear Livian at first, continuing to look out the window, but then he nodded.

    "The wizard Merlin has left and the witch Grimhilde has died, meaning there is nobody in New Britain powerful enough to repel an invasion," said Octavian.

    "With the combined strength of our armies, New Britain wouldn't stand a chance against us," said Livian.

    "And why exactly would I want to work with you?" asked Octavian.

    "I know about our history, brother, but right now, I'm focused on the same thing you are: getting Prince Charming out of there!"

    Octavian finally turned around to face his brother Livian.

    "I never should have let that monster take him from me," said Octavian. "I would love nothing more than to kill Merlin, but I suppose burning his kingdom to the ground and killing his wife will be good enough."

    "And I'll make sure you get to do both those things," said Livian.

    "Very well. I'll accept your help. But this doesn't change things between us."

    "No, of course not. After I help you get your son back and take my share of the riches from plundering New Britain, I'll return to my lands and stay out of yours."

    Octavian nodded again.

    "I'll get my soldiers ready," he said. "We leave at dawn."

    The first thing the Blue Fairy noticed as she regained consciousness was the smell of porridge in her nose. She looked up to find Evelyn stirring in a large pot with a wooden spoon.

    "W-what happened?" said the Blue Fairy.

    "You were defeated by Grimhilde," said Evelyn. "Then I killed her with a knife."

    "You didn't need to do that," said the fairy.

    "Well, I was quite tired of her going around and eating people, so I put a stop to it," said Evelyn. "You're welcome, by the way."

    The Blue Fairy stood up and found Soos at the kitchen table with an empty bowl.

    "Are you okay?" asked the fairy.

    "I will be after I try whatever Evelyn's cooking!" said Soos.

    Evelyn poured some of her porridge into Soos' bowl, and he finished it in seconds.

    "I do appreciate you keeping the boy alive," said the fairy.

    Evelyn poured porridge into a dog bowl then whistled. The Big Bad Wolf ran into the kitchen so quickly that he nearly sent the Blue Fairy back to the ground. Once he got to the dog bowl, he slurped up Evelyn's porridge.

    "I still don't know if I can trust you two," said the fairy. "But I suppose we'll need all the help we can get stopping Merlin, and you two know him better than anyone else."

    "That we do," said Evelyn. "But before we stop Merlin in his realm, we'll need to settle affairs in our own. Octavian and Livian have likely gotten word about Merlin and Grimhilde by now, so they'll be preparing their armies to invade New Britain, and without the magical defenses someone like you can provide, we'll lose."

    "I'm sorry," said the fairy. "The Council prohibits us from getting involved in human conflicts. We're allowed to help individual mortals with their problems, like I've done with Pinocchio, but anything that may have wider consequences, and especially anything that would determine the outcome of a war, is off-limits for us."

    "You don't understand," said Evelyn. "The Galacian and Visigothic kingdoms won't invade our lands seeking surrender. They'll be seeking to kill every man, woman, and child within these borders."

    "Why do those guys hate you so much?" asked Soos.

    "Octavian tried to invade once before, shortly after Merlin came to power. He lost, and to punish Octavian, Merlin kept his firstborn son, Prince Charming, as a prisoner."

    Soos gasped.

    "That's the dude I was with in the dungeon!" he said.

    "Yes, and he's also the heir to the Galacian throne," said Evelyn.

    "So, why don't you just give him his son back and call it even?" asked Soos.

    "I can't just 'call it even'. He already coveted these lands, and kidnapping his child was a transgression he will not forgive. War is coming, and without the Blue Fairy's help, New Britain won't exist for much longer."

    "Like I said, I can't help you," said the Blue Fairy. "You know what happened to the elves. I can't allow that to happen to my species."

    "What happened to the elves?" asked Soos.

    Evelyn sighed.

    "Many centuries ago, there was a thriving population of elves in these lands," said Evelyn. "One of the ancestors of the king who came before Merlin wiped them out when they supported a peasant uprising that ultimately failed. It's one of the first stories I was told on the manor I grew up on."

    "And it's why I cannot help you," said the fairy. "My recommendation is that you leave these lands before Octavian and Livian enter them."

    "This is my home," said Evelyn. "And with Merlin gone, I'm its sole ruler. I cannot abandon New Britain in its greatest time of need."

    Soos looked down at his empty bowl and saw a faint reflection of himself in it.

    "I'll help," said Soos.

    "What was that?" said Evelyn.

    "I'll help you in your war."

    "Why? You weren't born here. You were brought here by a madman, a madman I used to love, but a madman nevertheless."

    "You saved my life, so I can't just leave you here to die. Let me fight for you."

    "Have you ever even handled a sword?"

    "I can learn!"

    "This is crazy!" said the Blue Fairy. "Our focus needs to be on getting you back to where you came from. If the queen wants to die at the hands of hostile invaders, let her, but you don't need to get involved."

    "All my life, I've wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself," said Soos. "Bigger even than the Mystery Shack. This is my chance."

    Soos put his empty bowl on his head then knelt in front of Evelyn.

    "My queen, what are your commands?" he said.

    Evelyn blushed.

    "Okay," she said. "You're officially a soldier in the Royal Army. I'll let General Shang give you your instructions once he gets here."

    The Blue Fairy rolled her eyes.

    "If you two want to discuss suicide, so be it, but I'll have no part in it," the fairy said.

    The Blue Fairy disappeared, leaving nothing but blue specks of fairy dust behind.

    General Li Shang was the top military commander in China before escaping during the fall of the Han dynasty. He had spent nearly a decade traveling the continent as a merchant before being summoned to New Britain by Merlin, whose wife had taken great interest in a rare artifact he carried: the frozen egg of a dragon. After buying the egg, Merlin offered Shang a high-ranking position in his own army, and Shang rejected the offer at first, preferring his life as a merchant over the chaotic, often dangerous life he had as a commander. Once he saw Queen Evelyn, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, he changed his mind, and it didn't take him long to become the Royal Army's top general.

    Merlin, who had constantly been away from the palace searching for ways to expand his kingdom, entrusted General Shang with his palace's protection while he was gone. The more time he spent with Evelyn, the closer they had become, and eventually, they started an affair. The dragon egg Merlin purchased from Shang was unfrozen and hatched, and the dragon grew quickly, becoming a cornerstone of the Royal Army in less than a decade. Barbarian invaders were turned to ashes within seconds by Excalibur, which Merlin named the dragon. This led to a long period of peace and prosperity within the kingdom, and while Merlin thought about expanding it eastward or even capturing Galacia and the Visigothic Kingdom to the west, his ambitions grew with Excalibur, and he knew he wanted to take his kingdom somewhere no man had ever taken a kingdom before.

    As quickly as Excalibur grew, his death was just as sudden. Shang thought about it many times in the years since then. The dragons he heard legends about during his childhood were known to live for hundreds of years, and this dragon they had hatched and nurtured like a child of their own hadn't even lived for 20 years. Perhaps it had something to do with it being frozen in an egg for so long, or perhaps those legends he heard about were just legends and nothing more. Whatever the reason was for Excaliber's early demise, it caused Shang and Evelyn to drift apart, and he started having lower-ranking officers defend the palace when Merlin was gone instead of doing it himself. He suspected that Merlin knew about their affair but that the wizard king did not want to interfere with Evelyn's happiness, as when Shang informed him that he no longer wanted the castle guard duties, Merlin almost seemed relieved to hear it.

    Shang now stood at the palace doors for the first time in years, and when he knocked, the doors flung open, and Evelyn, as beautiful as he remembered, was now standing in front of him.

    "Hello, General Shang," she said.

    "Hello, Queen," responded Shang, trying to sound as formal as he could.

    Evelyn let Shang inside, and once they reached the kitchen, Shang noticed Soos, who was eating more of Evelyn's porridge. Soos looked up and waved with his mouth full. Shang hesitantly waved back.

    "Who's he?" asked Shang.

    "That's Soos, a visitor from another land," said Evelyn.

    "He couldn't have picked a better time to visit," muttered Shang sarcastically.

    Soos ran up to Shang and saluted.

    "As the newest soldier of Her Majesty's Royal Army, I am prepared to receive orders from you, SIR!" said Soos.

    "Really?" said Shang. "This is what I have to work with? You may as well offer my head to Octavian on a silver platter."

    "Come on," said Evelyn. "Assuming the Galacian and Visigothic forces leave at dawn, they won't get here for four more days, giving you four days to train Soos up into a proper soldier."

    "I'm a commander, not a magician," said Shang. "If we had our magicians, I wouldn't need to be here."

    "Please, Mr. Shang! Just give me a chance!" said Soos.

    Shang sighed.

    "Alright," he said. "Have you ever used a sword before?"

    "I have!" said Soos.

    "You have?"


    "Come on, man."

    "I have used one of those fake lightsabers. Does that count?"

    "I don't even know what that means!"

    "Then no, I haven't."

    "Alright, alright. Have you ever used a bow and arrow?"

    "I have!"


    "How did you know I was going to say 'not'?"

    "Listen," said Shang. "You clearly don't have the agility to become a capable swordsman in the time I have to train you, but I can teach you to be an archer, even a good archer, if you listen to exactly what I tell you to do between now and the start of our first battle."

    "You got it!" said Soos.

    "Great. Let's depart, then," said Shang.

    Shang and Soos left the palace, and Shang untied a pair of horses that had their reins connected.

    "Get on. We don't have all week," said Shang.

    "About that," said Soos. "I don't know how to ride a horse, either."

    "You have to be kidding me," said Shang.

    "We don't ride horses where I'm from!" explained Soos.

    "I would never want to live somewhere as primitive as wherever you're from," said Shang. "Get on."

    Shang tied the two horses together again, and he climbed onto a horse before helping Soos climb onto it behind him.

    "I'll make a man out of you yet," said Shang as he pulled the reins of the horse and they were carried off at a speed that startled Soos so much he nearly fell off.

    The sun began to set as Shang and Soos rode through the fields outside the castle, and Shang pulled the reigns tighter to ensure that they wouldn't have to spend too much time riding with only the stars lighting their path ahead. Shang knew that the next time the sun peeked out of the horizon, the armies of Galacia and the Visigoths would begin marching towards them, and while he had experienced fear many times during his military campaigns, he had never experienced a fear quite like this one. He didn't know what Evelyn saw in the kid riding with him, but he hoped that training him would help them get exactly what they would need to win this war: a miracle.

    • Like 1
  9. Late but might as well wing something for this:

    Long Gone Summer

    I had just finished the best day of my and every seventh grade student's year: the last day of seventh grade. I was sitting in front of the middle school, playing my Nintendo DS in the parking lot as I waited for my parents to pick me up. Rafael Hernandez, my best friend (and only friend) grabbed my shoulders from behind, startling me.

    "What the heck, dude?" I said. "I was about to punch you in the face!"

    "Sorry," he said, smiling.

    "I still might," I muttered.

    "What's got you so down? School's over! We're free!"

    "Until September, anyway."

    "There you go, seeing the negative side of everything! That's why nobody wants to hang out with you!"

    I shrugged.

    "There just isn't a lot to be positive about right now," I said.

    "What do you mean? According to my parents, the economy's starting to get better, meaning people can work again. We just made that Obama guy president, meaning racism is officially over. There couldn't be a better time to be alive!"

    "Yeah, I guess, but...I don't know. In school I had a routine. Now I'm going home for three months to burn my eyes out playing Pokemon. Maybe we'll go to the movie theater to watch Up a few more times, but that's it. We can't afford to do anything else."

    "So it's money you need? I can help with that!"


    "Well, my science teacher started watching this show Breaking Bad...it's boring, I wouldn't recommend it, but it gave my teacher the idea to sell meth, and he wanted my help, since...well..."

    "Since you're Hispanic?"

    "Well, yeah."

    "I thought you said racism was over."

    "Anyway, I did some research, and it turns out you can make a lot of money selling that stuff."

    "Jesus, Raf, you want to sell meth?"

    "No! God, no! The margins on meth are terrible! I want to sell heroin."

    I closed my DS and stood up.

    "I'm not having this conversation anymore," I said. "We can get in trouble just for talking about this!"

    "Come on! I have some connections back home in Colombia, and they were able to send me a kilo of the stuff. I'll give you half, and you'll be able to get 50, 60 bucks from that alone," said Rafael.

    "No," I said. "I am not selling heroin."

    By the end of June, I had sold my half-kilo of heroin, and I met with Rafael at his house to get another.

    "Oh, I'm so proud of you boys!" said Rafael's mom. "Not even 14 yet, and you're already successful businessmen!"

    "Go away, mom. You're embarrassing me," said Rafael.

    "Alright, alright. As soon as your friend gives me my cut, I'll go," she said.

    "Her cut?" I said.

    "Oh, yeah," said Rafael. "My mom's kind of in control of the whole operation, so she takes 20%."

    I rolled my eyes and took $10 out of my pocket before giving it to Rafael's mother.

    "Thank you so much, dear," said Rafael's mom. "And remember if you ever 'forget' to pay me, I'll send people to your house to kill your family. Oh! The cookies are almost ready!"

    Rafael's mom ran into the kitchen, and Rafael rubbed his arm with a sheepish look on his face.

    "My mom can be kind of intense sometimes, but she means well," he said.

    "I can't believe I can actually make my own money now," I said. "A trip to Disney World would probably cost us $400 which, taking your mom's cut into account, would be five kilos. Think we can make it happen?"

    "Absolutely! We were just being tested with the half-kilo to make sure we wouldn't smoke the product or do anything dumb like that. Five kilos is nothing."

    I tried some of Rafael's mom's cookies, making sure to keep my distance from her, and I left with the five kilos. My parents thought I got a job delivering newspapers, so once I got back home, I told them I was taking the bike out for work, and they didn't ask any questions. I rode my bike to the bad part of town, and it didn't take long for me to sell the five kilos. I returned Rafael's house, and his mom was surprised to see me when I walked in.

    "You already sold the product? You were only gone an hour," she said.

    I gave Rafael's mom five 20s.

    "Yep, it's sold, and there's the proof," I said.

    Rafael's mom smiled.

    "How would you like a bigger role in the organization?" she said.

    "What? Why are you promoting him and not me!" said Rafael.

    "Have you even sold your half-kilo yet?" his mom said.

    "N-no, but I'm working on it," said Rafael.

    Rafael's mom put a hand on my shoulder.

    "You are a golden boy. The best worker we've ever had. Enjoy your trip to Disney World. You have earned it," she said.

    I smiled and returned home just as it started to get dark. I surprised my parents with the $400 that night, and I hadn't seen them that happy since my dad got his hours cut due to the recession nearly a year before. I realized I had a special ability, an ability to sell heroin not just to drug addicts but to all kinds of people, even people who never thought they would do drugs in their wildest dreams. I was to heroin what Steve Jobs was to phones, what Bill Gates was to computers, and it was a gift I had no intention of letting go to waste.

    By the end of the summer, I was selling thousands of dollars of heroin a week. My relationship with Rafael went sour, probably because his mother liked me more than him, but I didn't care. I was able to buy my parents a new car with my "newspaper" money, and while I'm sure it didn't take them long to realize I didn't actually deliver newspapers, they didn't care to ask about it as long as the money kept coming in. I was on top of the world, believing nothing could stop me until the day before Labor Day and two days before the start of eighth grade, when everything came crashing down.

    I met a potential buyer near the lake, a tall man wearing sunglasses who had called me earlier that day saying he wanted to buy 100 kilos, which a lot more than anyone had ever requested from me. I called Rafael's mom right after that, and she told me that this could be a trick and that I would need to have a gun on me, but that it was fine to make the sale as long as I was safe.

    "Hello, there," said the buyer, waving as I approached him. "Can I see what you have?"

    "Can I see the money first?" I said.

    "Of course, of course."

    The buyer unlocked a briefcase to reveal lines and lines of hundreds inside. It was like something out of a movie. I had to stop myself from drooling as I looked at the money with my mouth agape. The buyer locked the suitcase again.

    "Your turn," he said.

    I unzipped my backpack to reveal the bags of heroin inside.

    "Can I try a sample?" said the buyer.

    I dipped my finger into one of the bags an rolled it around until my finger was completely white. I then let the buyer sniff my finger.

    "Wow, that's pretty strong!" said the buyer. "I guess now's a good time to tell you that I work for the DEA and that you're under arrest for the possession of drugs."

    My heart sank when I heard this, and for moment, I thought about getting the gun I buried under the bags of heroin and shooting the DEA agent, dumping his body in the lake, and pretending like none of this ever happened. The agent took off his sunglasses and glared at me in a way that made it crystal clear he knew what I was thinking.

    "If there's a gun in there, you'll be charged for that, too, and if you want to use the gun on me, well, I can't stop you, but it will make what is already a bad situation a whole lot worse. The DEA knows your name, they know where you live, and they know you're the biggest heroin distributor in this city," said the agent.

    I began to cry. I didn't want to give that smug agent the satisfaction of knowing he broke me, but it was all too much. The agent handcuffed me and threw my bag into the trunk of his van before making me get into the backseat. I spent the next few months in a holding facility being questioned, but I didn't give them any names, knowing my entire family was good as dead if I did that. I pled guilty to everything they charged me with and did three years in juvie before getting released for good behavior.

    If I could do it again? I would, because for that summer, that long gone summer, I felt invincible. I know now that I'm anything but, which is why I've retired from the drug trade, but that feeling, as fleeting as it was, is one I'll never forget.

    • Like 2
  10. Week of June 12, 2022 to June 18, 2022

    1. Total Cartoon Legends! - 202 ( @4EverGreen )
    2. SBCinema - 110 ( @jjsthekid )
    3. Tiki Land - 65 ( @Steel Sponge )
    4. One-Time Star Wars Characters: Where Are They Now? - 37 ( @OWM )
    5. SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Translation - 26 ( @Steel Sponge )
    6. Patrick Star in the Multiverse of Madness - 25 ( @JCM )
    7. Oh Yeah! Collections - 20 ( @Steel Sponge )
    8. Most Wanted - 19 ( @jjsthekid )
    9. Mabel's Fables - 18 ( @JCM )
    10. Power Rangers: Multiverse Force - 18 ( @4EverGreen )
    • Like 1
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  11. 133. The Bobfather

    Film: The Godfather

    Don Terminoob, leader of the SpongeBob Community crime family, is with his family and various family friends at the wedding between his daughter, Cha, and her fiance Poison Ivy. Terminoob is constantly distracted by people at the wedding who want him to do favors for them, much to Cha's annoyance, and Terminoob's youngest son, jjsthekid, is reminded of him doing something similar during his marriage to WhoBob, making him glad that he and his husband aren't involved in family affairs. Cha quickly forgives her father when the wedding's special guest, hip hop superstar Li'l Nas X, appears to sing at her wedding. WhoBob wonders how Terminoob was able to get someone that famous to perform, and jjsthekid reveals that Li'l Nas X owed Terminoob a favor for jumpstarting his career by threatening to kill his old record producer if he didn't let Li'l Nas X out of his contract to do a song with Billy Ray Cyrus. WhoBob is horrified when he hears this, and his resolve to keep jjsthekid away from the family strengthens.

    Terminoob finally joins Cha right before her nupitals, briefly dancing with her before she and Poison Ivy say their vows. The next morning, a lawyer for SBC visits the president of Viacom in Hollywood, letting him know that teenj, one of Terminoob's godsons, has been training his entire life to be a writer for SpongeBob and that Terminoob would appreciate it a lot if the president hired him. The president refuses, insulting the SBC family and making it clear to the lawyer that the tactics they used against Li'l Nas X's record producer won't work on him. He kicks the lawyer out, and the morning after that, he wakes up to find the severed head of his prized racing horse chilling with him in his bed. The lawyer returns to SBC's headquarters in New York shortly after that to give teenj the good news that he'll be hired to write for SpongeBob, after all.

    The lawyer arranges a meeting between himself, Terminoob, and Terminoob's oldest son, Clappy. They discuss an offer by Canadian mob boss sblover to pay him to distribute maple syrup through Terminoob's network. Terminoob believes it would be too dangerous, as they would go from simply being federal criminals to being international criminals if they got involved in the syrup trade. The lawyer believes, however, that if they don't do it, one of the other families in the city will, reducing SBC's influence as the other families become richer and more powerful thanks to the sweet, sweet syrupy gold. Terminoob still refuses to take sblover up on his offer, preferring to keep his business as clean and non-sticky as possible.

    Terminoob becomes curious about a rival family partnering with sblover and has one of his goons spy on the family. The goon gets caught, and after the family murders him, they order a hit on Terminoob. Terminoob is at Whole Foods using his ill-gotten gains to buy overpriced organic meat, gluten-free beer, and whatever kombucha is when he notices sketchy characters in the parking lot. Before he can get away, they gun him down. JCM, in a cameo as Terminoob's second-oldest son as well as the only son lame enough to want to go shopping with him, cries over his wounded father. Terminoob slaps him, telling him that a man doesn't cry, and then the don passes out from his injuries.

    jjsthekid is coming out of a theater with WhoBob after watching an early release of a quirky sci-fi movie known as Star Wars. WhoBob remarks that while it has an interesting premise, it will never catch on. jjsthekid agrees, and then he's horrifed to find headlines about his father's attempted murder in the newsstands. Clappy is trying to learn everything he can about Terminoob's would-be killers, prepared to start a war with the rival family as the SBC family's new leader. sblover meets with SBC's lawyer about brokering a peace between the families and getting Clappy to do the maple syrup deal Terminoob wouldn't. The lawyer, fearful of a war and greedy for syrup profits, agrees to do both things. sblover is disappointed later on to find that Terminoob survived the attack.

    During a meeting with jjsthekid and Clappy, the lawyer is unable to convince Clappy to call off his planned retaliation against sblover and the rival family even after revealing sblover has the entire Canadian police force on his payroll. jjsthekid has the idea to meet with sblover as a representative of the family at a public restaurant in order to guarantee his safety. One of their goons would hide a weapon where only jjsthekid would find it at the restaurant, and then when the time is right, jjsthekid would use the weapon to kill sblover. Clappy is surprised by his youngest brother's cunning but worried that if the plan goes sideways, not only would jjsthekid die, but Canada would declare war on the US to protect its maple syrup cartel. jjsthekid promises that he will be careful, so Clappy gives him the go-ahead, saying weird Italian stuff like "bada bing, bada boom" while he does it.

    sblover has a limo driver take him, jjsthekid, and a Canadian police escort to a restaurant only he supposedly knows about. jjsthekid follows sblover and the policemen into the restaurant, and after they talk about life, love, and syrup, jjsthekid excuses himself to go to the restroom. He finds the gun exactly where Clappy said it would be, and as soon as he leaves the restroom, one of the Canadian policemen notices the gun and lunges as jjsthekid, forcing him to shoot the cop and the other Canadian policemen before shooting a fleeing sblover. jjsthekid drops the gun and steps over sblover's body, checking his pulse to make sure he's dead, before leaving the restaurant. He then takes a cab to the airport and buys a plane ticket to Italy where he would spend the next few years in hiding.

    As predicted, Canada declares war on the United States after jjsthekid's murders, and more locally, SBC declares war on the rival family with murders orchestrated by Clappy. The mob war ends after Clappy is killed by mysterious assassins and Terminoob, now fully healthy, arranges a truce between the warring families, and the Canadian-American War ends after Canada burns down the White House (again) and the Ford administration is pressured into legalizing maple syrup. jjsthekid has many exciting adventures in the small Italian town he lives under a different identity in, and he even starts a relationship with a young woman who nearly makes him forget about WhoBob. The rival family is able to track jjsthekid to the small town, and the woman is killed by an explosive meant for jjsthekid when she starts his car. Terminoob arranges for jjsthekid's safe return to the US shortly after that, and after learning of Clappy's death, jjsthekid decides to start working for his father full-time.

    jjsthekid finds WhoBob, who is unhappy to learn jjsthekid has returned to the family business but who believes his claim that once he takes over the business he'll clean it up. As jjsthekid meets with Terminoob to discuss retaliation for Clappy's death, Terminoob laments that he couldn't keep jjsthekid away, and jjsthekid insists that he'll be fine. While playing with the son of jjsthekid and WhoBob in a garden, Terminoob drops dead from a heart attack. Now with full control of the business, jjsthekid has the head of the rival family murdered, and then he has the leaders of the rest of the Five Families killed for good measure. He has the person responsible for blowing up his mistress during his exile murdered next, leaving just one name on his list: Poison Ivy.

    jjsthekid meets with Poison Ivy, ostensibly to congratulate her on the girl she recently had with Cha but really to question her about what happened the night of Clappy's death. Poison Ivy reveals that Clappy believed in traditional marriage and preferred that Cha marry somebody who wasn't a living plant. In order to protect her marriage, Poison Ivy worked with the head of one of the other Five Families to have Clappy killed. She doesn't bother trying to lie to jjsthekid because she could tell he knew everything before she said a word, and jjsthekid confirms this. He takes out a herbicide and sprays Poison Ivy with it, killing her. Cha screams at jjsthekid as soon as she finds out about it, saying he's no better than his father, and jjsthekid ends the movie looking out of the window of his room in his penthouse, out at the city that is now his city, and a city he does not intend on relinquishing anytime soon, or at least until the paychecks for two lucrative sequels and two Oscar nominations come in.

    • Like 1
  12. Chapter 13

    Mabel woke up to find that she was now outside, laying between bushes with types of flowers that she had never seen before growing from them. She sat up and noticed a golden chest on her lap. She immediately recognized the chest, and she also recognized that the gems attached to the chest, which were blue, green, and pink when she last saw them, were now colorless. She took the chest with her down a rock road, and after several minutes of walking, she saw a large stone arch with the words "Stony Gulch" featured prominently at the top and a banner saying "Travelers Welcome" pinned to the arch right under the words. Under the banner, she saw what appeared to be large humanoid frogs, toads, and newts in a primitive city behind the arch.

    "How is this possible?" Mabel asked herself.

    Mabel walked into the city, and the first creature to notice her screamed aloud.

    "Monster!" it said.

    "Who, me?" asked Mabel.

    Others screamed upon seeing Mabel, and to her confusion, they all ran into the building closest to them.

    "Wait!" said Mabel. "I'm not a monster! I just…"

    Mabel sighed as she realized everyone was now in hiding.

    "I just wanted to know where I am," she said.

    Mabel looked at the names of the stores around her, and she decided to go into one that had the name "Costume Shop" above its entrance.

    "Hello?" said Mabel as she walked in.

    "We're closed due to a monster attack," said a toad sitting behind the store's counter and reading a magazine titled Amphibia Weekly.

    Mabel cleared her throat, and the toad nearly jumped out of its chair once it saw Mabel standing at the entrance.

    "W-what do you want?" asked the toad.

    "I just want to buy a costume," said Mabel. "One that will let me look more like everyone else."

    "We sell costumes here, not miracles," said the toad.

    "What's Amphibia?" said Mabel, noticing the title of the magazine.

    "Gee, what a shame," said the toad. "You're ugly and stupid."

    "Come on!" said Mabel, feeling embarrassed.

    "Amphibia is everything you see around you. It's the land that we walk on, the air we breathe. I, like my parents and the parents of my parents, am an Amphibian. What, pray tell, are you?"

    "I'm a human."

    "I've never heard of a human before, but if they all look as horrifying as you do, I hope you're the last one I meet."

    "Can you just let me buy a costume?"

    "Sure, take a look around. Might as well make up for some of the business I'm losing by you coming here."

    Mabel looked through the costumes on the wall, and she found a frog costume that fit her perfectly.

    "I'll buy this one!" she told the toad.

    "That will be seven coppers," said the toad.

    Mabel took a small bag out from under her sweater. She opened the bag, took out seven pennies, and dropped them on the counter. The toad looked at the pennies through a pair of binoculars before shrugging.

    "Good enough," he said.

    Mabel left the store in the frog costume, and the citizens of Stony Gulch, no longer seeing the "monster" around, left their hiding places soon after. Mabel asked around about the chest, but nobody knew anything about it. As the stores began to close, locals went into their homes, and visitors either went into one of the town's hotels or left the city on a bird or snail. Mabel had used what was left of her money to buy an ice cream cone, and after spending 20 minutes taking bugs out of it, she cautiously ate it, and it tasted almost exactly like the ice cream on Earth, minus the unfortunate bug aftertaste. She approached the only store that was still open as she finished the ice cream cone.

    "The Curiosity Hut," said Mabel, reading the store's name out loud.

    Mabel entered The Curiosity Hut, and the only source of light inside the store was the glowing mushrooms used to highlight various creatures frozen in wax. One of them, a group of gnome-like creatures on a platform with the label "Fromes" on it, caused her to shiver.

    "That's bringing back some traumatic memories," said Mabel.

    "Who goes there?" said a familiar voice.

    Mabel turned towards the voice, and she saw an outline of somebody she recognized in the darkness.

    "Grunkle Stan?" she said.

    "My name may be Stan…" the source of the voice began.

    Mabel gasped as she saw who the voice really belonged to, an orange frog with an eyepatch, a maroon-colored fez, a suit, and a cane.

    "...but I ain't nobody's Grunkle!" he finished.

    "I'm sorry," said Mabel. "You reminded me of someone I know."

    "That's all right!" he said. "Anyway, welcome to my Museum of Oddities! I go by many names, but you can call me 'The Curator'."

    "A little on the nose, but okay," said Mabel.

    "For the low, low price of 3 coppers, I can give you a tour of the museum," said The Curator.

    "Actually, I don't have any money right now," admitted Mabel.

    "No money! Then what are you doing here? What are you doing in Stony Gulch? Nobody comes around these parts unless they have money to spend!"

    "That's the thing," said Mabel. "I'm not from here. I'm not from Amphibia. I was brought here from another world by this."

    Mabel took the chest out of a bag she was keeping it in. The Curator's eye widened as he saw the chest.

    "Where did you get that from?" asked The Curator.

    "My Grunkle Stan, the guy I mentioned who looks exactly like you, was keeping it in a place kind of like this, but a little less creepy," said Mabel. "No offense."

    "None taken," said The Curator. "How about we make a deal? You let me hold onto that for the night, and I'll let you spend the night in a room I have in my attic, free of charge!"

    "You'd really do that for me?"

    "Sure! I probably have seven, eight years left, so I'll need as many good deeds as possible before I depart from this rotten planet!"

    "Oh, I'm sure you have more than that!"

    The Curator laughed. "I love your optimism!"

    The Curator took the chest from Mabel and headed towards another room. Mabel ran upstairs and found a room in the exact same location as her room in the Mystery Shack.

    "Wild," said Mabel.

    Mabel jumped onto a bed in the middle of the room, and large bed bugs crawled out from under it.

    "Gross! Gross! Gross!" screeched Mabel, hitting the bed bugs with her pillow as they lunged at her.

    After all of the bed bugs crawled out the window, Mabel sank in her bed, terrified of this world and wishing she was back home with her brother. As she tried to calm her nerves and go to sleep, Dipper wasn't the only person she thought of. She thought of Soos, Grunkle Stan, her parents...and she thought of Prince Charming. His face, his smile, the way she felt around him. Despite what Dipper told her, she couldn't believe it wasn't real. After everything she had seen in Gravity Falls, in that fairy tale world, and here in Amphibia, there wasn't anything she couldn't believe was real.

    The Curator thumbed through the pages of a book in his study room.

    "I know I saw it in here somewhere," he muttered.

    He stopped on a page that had a drawing of an item that looked exactly like Mabel's chest on it.

    "Jackpot!" he said.

    He read through the page, which had "BEWARE!" in big, bold letters on it. On the adjacent page were the words "Calamity Box", detailed drawings of the pink, blue, and green gems on the chest when Mabel found it, and the word "DANGER!", also in big, bold letters.

    "King Andrias is going to find this very interesting," said The Curator. "Very, very interesting indeed."

  13. Act III

    (Ianus circles the five Patricks in his UFO.)

    Ianus: Yes, yes, you'll do fine.

    Realistic Patrick: What do you mean "it's a Patrick that we're fighting"? One of us created that rift?

    Ianus: Yes. You see, in the trillions of universes out there, every single one has its own Patrick Star. You all come with a unique ability to mold the universe you're in and even travel between universes, but only one of you has actually discovered this ability, and unfortunately, he does not seek to use it for good.

    Squidina: What's that Patrick trying to do?

    Ianus: Destroy the multiverse using its own energy. That rift takes in energy from every universe it appears in, and it appears in a new one every second. Once that rift is in enough universes, it won't be able to contain all of that energy, exploding and turning every universe that has ever existed into little more than space dust.

    SpongeBob: Neptune! That's awful!

    CGI Patrick: Why would one of us want to do that?

    Ianus: I haven't spoken to this Patrick, but I imagine he's given up on life and wants to take as many lives as possible with him.

    Realistic Patrick: And how are we supposed to stop him?

    Ianus: Since a Patrick opened the rift, only a Patrick can close it, but it's so powerful by now that we'll need up to five of you to close it successfully.

    (The original Patrick looks at the others.)

    Patrick: Well, what are we waiting for? Let's save the multiverse!

    PSS Patrick: Yeah!

    CGI Patrick: Yeah!

    Lego Patrick: Yeah!

    Realistic Patrick: (rolls eyes) Whatever.

    Ianus: All right, get in. There's enough room for all of you.

    (The Patricks jump into the UFO, and Ianus flies it into the rift, leaving SpongeBob, Sandy, and Squidina behind.)

    SpongeBob: I hope they come back okay.

    Sandy: I still can't believe any of this. There's a multiverse, it's ruled by a two-headed amphibian, and the most important person in every universe is Patrick? The book I write about this will make me rich!

    Squidina: If you live to write it, anyway.

    Sandy: (nervous) Y-yeah! If I live to write it.

    (Ianus lands with the other Patricks in a universe where everything is chrome.)

    Lego Patrick: Where are we?

    Ianus: This is the original universe. The one that started it all.

    (Ianus points to a large chrome statue of a Patrick wearing no clothes.)

    Ianus: This Patrick died thousands of years ago and is currently worshipped as a god.

    Patrick: Why? He doesn't even know to wear pants!

    PSS Patrick: And I thought we were dumb!

    Ianus: Every universe is different, Patricks. Now let's focus on what we came here for.

    (Ianus and the Patricks walk through the streets, which are littered with the bodies of dead animals.)

    Patrick: What happened here?

    Ianus: The people of this planet attempted to create a device that would allow them to travel between universes many years after their Patrick died, but without a Patrick to assist them, the device failed horribly, wiping this planet's population out. Many other people in many other universes have tried the same, but without a Patrick's help, they all met a similar fate.

    PSS Patrick: Man, we must be really important.

    Ianus: Indeed, you are.

    (CGI Patrick notices Realistic Patrick keeping his distance from the others. He slows down until he and Realistic Patrick are beside each other.)

    Realistic Patrick: What do you want?

    CGI Patrick: You seem lonely. Do you want to be friends? We have so much in common!

    Realistic Patrick: No thanks, Stop Motion Patrick.

    CGI Patrick: Hey, I'm not stop motion! That's Lego Patrick!

    (Lego Patrick turns his head without moving the rest of his body.)

    Lego Patrick: Did somebody say my name?

    Realistic Patrick: Don't freakin' do that! That's weird as shit!

    Lego Patrick: You swear a lot.

    Realistic Patrick: Well, I'm a grown-up. That's what we do. Now, look at where the hell you're going.

    (Lego Patrick frowns and turns his head again.)

    CGI Patrick: Why don't you want to be friends with me? Is it my breath? I probably shouldn't have had those fried oyster skins for breakfast.

    Realistic Patrick: Your breath certainly isn't helping, but it's mostly that...friends inevitably disappoint you. I'm better off without them.

    Ianus: We're here.

    (Ianus and the Patricks approach a large building.)

    Ianus: This is where the device was built and likely where that rift came from. 

    Patrick: Do you think that evil Patrick is in there?

    Ianus: I know he is, so make sure you're on your toes.

    Patrick: But I don't have toes!

    Ianus: You know what I mean!

    Patrick: Not really.

    Ianus: (sighs) Just be careful.

    (Ianus and the Patricks walk into the building to find a Patrick wearing the original Patrick's pants with a black shirt facing away from them, typing into a keyboard connected to a big machine which is connected to an even bigger monitor. The monitor contains several small lines of code beneath a large, constantly increasing number.)

    Evil Patrick: I was wondering when you'd show up.

    (Evil Patrick turns around to reveal that his face is also similar to the original Patrick's but with a mustache.)

    Patrick: Oh, man! I could never grow a mustache!

    Ianus: Step away from the machine, Evil Patrick.

    Evil Patrick: Is that what you're calling me? I wouldn't say it's wholly inaccurate, but it's also not very original.

    Ianus: We're closing that rift.

    (Evil Patrick pulls out a knife.)

    Evil Patrick: No...you aren't.

    (Ianus charges at Evil Patrick and misses every knife strike before knocking the knife out of his hand and pinning him to the ground by his neck.)

    Evil Patrick: (hoarsely) It's too late! We've already reached the inflection point of 300,286 universes with a rift!

    Ianus: Really?

    (Ianus looks at the monitor with one face to find that the number on it is 300,285. Evil Patrick discreetly pulls a second knife out of his shirt and stabs Ianus with it before his second face can respond.)

    Evil Patrick: No, but we will now!

    (Evil Patrick pushes Ianus off him and presses the Enter button on the keyboard, causing the number on the monitor to increase by one before flashing red. The other Patricks watch in horror as Ianus lays bleeding and unresponsive on the floor and Evil Patrick stares at the monitor with a huge grin on his face.)

    Evil Patrick: The resetting of the multiverse...has begun.

    (End of Act III)

    • Like 1
  14. Week of June 5, 2022 to June 11, 2022

    1. Total Cartoon Legends! - 273 ( @4EverGreen )
    2. SBCinema - 100 ( @jjsthekid )
    3. Jjs' Riffing Theater 3000: Family Guy Funny Moments - 39 ( @jjsthekid )
    4. One-Time Star Wars Characters: Where Are They Now? - 29 ( @OWM )
    5. Oh Yeah! Collections - 19 ( @Steel Sponge )
    6. SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Translation - 18 ( @Steel Sponge )
    7. Patrick Star in the Multiverse of Madness - 16 ( @JCM )
    8. Power Rangers: Multiverse Force - 15 ( @4EverGreen )
    9. Most Wanted - 13 ( @jjsthekid )
    10. Mabel's Fables - 9 ( @JCM )
    • Like 1
    • Wow 1
  15. Act II

    (Lego versions of SpongeBob and Patrick are working at a construction site in the city of Brickini Bottom.)

    Lego Patrick: (sighs) This job is so exhausting, SpongeBob!

    Lego SpongeBob: I know, but when we're finally good enough to become Master Builders, it will all be worth it!

    (Suddenly, a giant hole appears in the sky above them.)

    Lego Patrick: What's that?

    Lego SpongeBob: Don't touch it, Patrick!

    (Lego Patrick's eyes sparkle as he stares at the hole in the sky.)

    Lego Patrick: But it's...so captivating.

    (Lego Patrick grabs Lego bricks from the construction site and uses them to build a staircase.)

    Lego SpongeBob: Patrick, no!

    (Lego Patrick reaches for the hole in the sky from the top of his staircase, and within seconds, he's sucked in.)

    Lego SpongeBob: Patrick!

    (In the Patrick Star Show universe, Patrick, PSS Patrick, and CGI Patrick are in Sandy's treedome with SpongeBob, Sandy, and Squidina.)

    Sandy: So wait, you're telling me that you met your Sandy at summer camp when you were a kid?

    CGI Patrick: Yeah!

    Sandy: And Treedome Enterprises was willing to send a critter that young underwater?

    CGI Patrick: I have no idea!

    Sandy: (scratches chin) Interesting.

    (Suddenly, Lego Patrick falls out of the hole in the sky and lands right in front of the treedome.)

    Squidina: Another Patrick!

    Sandy: How many of y'all are out there?

    (In a darker version of Bikini Bottom from a different universe, a hyper-realistic Patrick walks past many failing buildings until he sees one with a number on its door that he recognizes.)

    Realistic Patrick: Here it is.

    (Realistic Patrick walks into the building and sees several fish inside it smoking cigars and playing poker.)

    Realistic Patrick: Hello. I'm wondering if there's anyone here who has seen a friend of mine. He goes by the name of SpongeBob.

    (As soon as the fish hear that name, they all pull out their guns and point them at Realistic Patrick.)

    Realistic Patrick: It seems I've struck a nerve.

    Voice: Hey, hey! Put that shit away!

    (The owner of the voice comes out of another room to reveal it's a hyper-realistic SpongeBob. The fish put their guns back into their pockets and resume playing poker.)

    Realistic SpongeBob: Sorry about that. We have some bad people after us, so we can never be too careful.

    Realistic Patrick: It's good to see you again, anyway.

    Realistic SpongeBob: So, are you here because you're ready to join the business?

    Realistic Patrick: (shakes head) No. Drugs destroyed this city. If you went out once in awhile, you would see it. Kids addicted to whale blubber, people shooting up in the streets. I'm not here to join but to beg you to shut the operation down. Haven't you made enough money from it?

    Realistic SpongeBob: There's no such thing as "enough money". Sandy's pregnant again, didn't you hear?

    Realistic Patrick: She is? Damn, I thought she dumped your ass by now.

    Realistic SpongeBob: She's more understanding of what I do than you are. I'm trying to provide my kids with life I could never have. I want them to move a better city, go to a good school, become doctors, lawyers, start families of their own, and to allow them to do that, I've gotta keep the business going.

    Realistic Patrick: Come on, SpongeBob. You and I both know this isn't about the kids. You've been doing this for so long you don't know what else to do. You caught lightning in a bottle, cooking up shit nobody in this town ever tasted before. And you're afraid to drop the spatula and move onto something more respectable.

    (Realistic SpongeBob turns around and thinks for a moment.)

    Realistic SpongeBob: Maybe I am. It doesn't matter. I ain't shutting the business down, and if you think I am, you need to get those thoughts out of your head right now.

    Realistic Patrick: Then you can have this back.

    (Realistic SpongeBob turns around to find a ring with "BFF" engraved in it in Realistic Patrick's open palm.)

    Realistic SpongeBob: (gasps) Our friendship ring!

    Realistic Patrick: I can't be friends with somebody who continues to hurt people.

    (Realistic SpongeBob takes the ring, and his eyes fill with tears as he looks at it.)

    Realistic SpongeBob: Fine, then. Leave and don't come back, cause next time my people are preparing to blow your brains out, I won't intervene.

    (Realistic Patrick leaves the building and goes into his apartment building several blocks away. He's about to go to sleep in his room on the 21st floor of the building when he notices something outside the window.)

    Realistic Patrick: What the hell?

    (Realistic Patrick opens the window and sees clearly that it's a large red hole floating in the space in front of him. As he gets closer to it, he feels it pulling him in, and before he can get away from it, the hole consumes him and spits him out into the Patrick Star Show universe. Sandy and Squidina run to him and cover their mouths in horror once they see his face.)

    Realistic Patrick: Where am I? And why's everything look like a comic strip?

    Squidina: (whispering) This is definitely the ugliest Patrick.

    Realistic Patrick: Hey! I heard that! And you're no spring chicken, yourself!

    (Realistic Patrick stands up and brushes himself off.)

    Sandy: Welcome to our universe! You're the fourth Patrick to come from that rift in the sky today, so we think something big is about to happen that involves y'all!

    Realistic Patrick: Fourth Patrick?

    (Patrick, PSS Patrick, CGI Patrick, Lego Patrick, and SpongeBob join them.)

    Realistic Patrick: Yeah, screw this. I'm out.

    (Realistic Patrick jumps as high as he can, but he can't reach the interdimensional rift.)

    Realistic Patrick: Can somebody give me a hand?

    Squidina: No can do! Before we send you back to your universe, we have to find out why you and the other Patricks were sent here!

    Realistic Patrick: Maybe this all is just a coincidence.

    Sandy: I thought that could have been a possibility after the third Patrick, but now it's obvious this is anything but coincidence, and we're going to get to the bottom of it!

    Realistic Patrick: We aren't going to do anything!

    (Realistic Patrick grabs Lego Patrick and sticks his head into the ground.)

    Lego Patrick: Help! I don't consent to this!

    Realistic Patrick: I'm getting away from this freak show!

    (Realistic Patrick jumps onto Lego Patrick and reaches for the hole in the sky. Before he's able to enter it, a UFO flies out of it, knocking Realistic Patrick off of Lego Patrick.)

    SpongeBob: What the?

    (The UFO's window opens to reveal a frog with two faces inside of it.)

    Frog: Good! Everyone's here!

    Squidina: Who are you?

    Frog: I am Ianus, King of the Multiverse. I've brought these five Patricks together to help me stop the man who created this interdimensional rift you see behind me.

    Sandy: Why does it need to be Patricks?

    Ianus: Because, dear Sandra, it's a Patrick that we're fighting.

    (End of Act II)

    • Like 1
  16. I'm not resurrecting the old thread but I am bringing this back for June to coincide with the Spin-Off Festival. The top ten will be posted every week until July 3 and the authors who are top 5 in views by then will get as many doubloons as they have views. A spreadsheet with the raw values I'm using for the new SpongeBoard has also been pinned to the #writing channel of the Discord.

    Week of May 29, 2022 to June 4, 2022

    1. Total Cartoon Legends! - 261 ( @4EverGreen )
    2. SBCinema - 75 ( @jjsthekid )
    3. SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Translation - 66 ( @Steel Sponge )
    4. Most Wanted - 52 ( @jjsthekid )
    5. One-Time Star Wars Characters: Where Are They Now? - 31 ( @OWM )
    6. Patrick Star in the Multiverse of Madness - 29 ( @JCM )
    7. Power Rangers: Multiverse Force - 23 ( @4EverGreen )
    8. Oh Yeah! Collections - 17 ( @Steel Sponge )
    9. Supreme: The Ivory Icon - 10 ( @Rebel the Wolfgirl )
    10. Jjs' Riffing Theater 3000: Family Guy Funny Moments - 9 ( @jjsthekid )
    • Like 4
    • Wow 1
  17. Act I

    (Patrick is eating breakfast with his parents and sister Squidina in the Star family house.)

    Patrick's dad: It's so great to have you here on time for once, Patrick.

    Patrick's mom: Yes, you're becoming more of a man every day, son.

    Patrick: (with his mouth full) These pancakes are delicious!

    Patrick's dad: Some of your best work, Bunny.

    Patrick's mom: I love to hear it, Cecil.

    Patrick: Bunny? Cecil?

    (Patrick swallows the rest of his pancakes then points his fork at his "parents".)

    Patrick: WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?

    (Cecil and Bunny hug each other.)

    Bunny: Cecil, I'm scared.

    (Suddenly, another Patrick walks down the stairs.)

    Patrick 2: Sorry I'm late for breakfast again!

    Patrick: Who's that handsome fella?

    (Cecil faints in Bunny's arms.)

    Squidina: Holy fish paste! There's two of you!

    Patrick 2: What are you talking about, Squidina? He looks nothing like me!

    Patrick: Yeah, I don't wear a shirt!

    Squidina: There's only one logical explanation for this: an interdimensional rift must have taken a version of my brother from a parallel universe and sent him here!

    Patrick and Patrick 2: Huh?

    Squidina: I need to find Sandy! She'll understand this a lot better!

    (GrandPat walks into the kitchen.)

    GrandPat: What's all the commotion about?

    (GrandPat notices the second Patrick.)

    GrandPat: Oh, heck no! I'm way too old for these multiverse shenanigans! Wake me up when this is over!

    (GrandPat leaves. SpongeBob walks into the house moments later.)

    SpongeBob: Hello, Patrick and...Patrick? Oh, Neptune! How long have you had a twin?

    (Squidina facepalms.)

    Squidina: He doesn't have a twin, SpongeBob. The second Patrick is from another universe.

    SpongeBob: Oh! Like that issue of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy where they have to team up with their Silver Age counterparts to take down the Abominable Eight!

    Squidina: Yeah...something like that. Anyway, we need to talk to Sandy to figure out a way to send them back. Think dad will be okay, mom?

    Bunny: Oh, yeah! He just needs a few minutes of rest. You kids go along.

    (SpongeBob, Squidina, and the Patricks leave the house, and they notice a large red hole in the sky sucking up everything that comes near it.)

    Patrick: Hey! There was something like that over my rock! I thought it was a bagel, and when I touched it, it brought me here!

    Squidina: You thought that was a bagel?

    Patrick: A big, scary bagel, but the big, scary things are usually the tastiest!

    Patrick 2: This guy knows his stuff!

    Squidina: Come on. We're almost at the treedome.

    (The four walk into Sandy's treedome to find Sandy working on an invention.)

    Squidina: Hi, Sandy! Whatcha doing?

    Sandy: I'm building a machine that will cure my eyesight so I no longer have to wear these blasted things!

    (Sandy pushes up her glasses and turns around. She gasps when she sees the two Patricks with SpongeBob and Squidina.)

    Sandy: How was this done? Cloning?

    Squidina: No! That second Patrick came from a parallel universe!

    Sandy: I can't believe this. Parallel universes have only existed in theory until now. Patrick of all people being the first to discover one is very surprising.

    Patrick 2: And why is that?

    Sandy: Because you're an idiot.

    Patrick 2: (nods) Fair.

    Sandy: I have to study this further. We must dissect this second Patrick.

    (Patrick shivers.)

    Squidina: Instead of doing that, can we just send him to his old universe?

    Sandy: (sighs) Fine. How did he get here?

    Squidina: Through that rift in the sky.

    (Sandy leaves her treedome with the others and looks at the hole in the sky with intrigue.)

     Sandy: I'll need to do some experiments first, but getting Patrick back home may be as simple as putting him in that rift.

    (Sandy takes an acorn out from under her suit.)

    Sandy: This acorn has a tracker in it. After throwing it through that rift, I'll know everything about where it ends up.

    (Sandy throws the acorn as hard as she can through the hole. She then takes a device out and reads the findings on it.)

    Sandy: This is strange. It detects...a third dimension.

    (Suddenly, a CGI-animated Patrick falls from the hole and lands in front of Sandy, SpongeBob, Squidina, and the Patricks.)

    Squidina: What the?

    (Patrick 2 vomits.)

    SpongeBob: No! Not my new shoes!

    Patrick 3: Where am I? Why is everything flat? (rubs head) And who threw that acorn at me?

    Sandy: I'll answer that and more! But first...let's get everybody in the treedome before we spook any passersby the same way was just spooked Patrick.

    Patrick, Patrick 2, and Patrick 3: Which one?

    Sandy: This...will take some getting used to.

    (End of Act I)

    • Like 1
  18. sad this doesnt have a topic yet but i'm gonna make it so if you want my take on the movie click the spoiler

    it's in spoiler tags not because it's super spoily but because it's super long



    The last movie I watched in theaters, as well as the last one I reviewed, was Spider-Man: Far From Home, which was easily the darkest take on Spider-Man I’ve seen despite it having the usual MCU/Spidey goofiness throughout. Since the 80s, gritty, humorless takes on Batman have been the norm, with Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and Batman and Robin and the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold being notable exceptions to the rule. My first major Batman memory came shortly after watching the third Sam Raimi Spiderman movie. I went to see The Dark Knight opening weekend with my mother’s side of the family, and I knew so little about Batman at the time that I didn’t even know it was a Batman movie until he showed up on the big screen and growled “I don’t wear hockey pads”. It was one of the best theater experiences of my life, and TDK remains one of my favorite movies, Pulp Fiction being the only one I can definitely say is better.

    2008 wasn’t just the year I was introduced to the Nolanverse for the first time but the year I started seriously reading Batman comics. My 8th grade science teacher was obsessed with Batman and had pretty much all of his graphic novels, which he was happy to let me borrow. The first Batman comic I read was the aptly named Batman: Year One. The dark, almost noir aspects of the comic book was a refreshing change from the silly Spider-Man comics I was used to, and it didn’t take long for Batman to surpass Spider-Man as my favorite superhero. In many ways, it reflected a change to my mindset. 2008 wasn’t just the first year I started reading Batman comics but the first year I seriously read the news, and with a world mired in recession, war, and rising commodity prices (sound familiar?), it was hard for me to be as optimistic as I needed to be to be engaged in the Spider-Man mythos. Batman was a lot more believable to me. He didn’t have superpowers, he was just as effective with his mind as he was with his might, and his stories were often grounded enough that, like in the Nolan Batman movies and this newest Batman movie, you could avoid the sci-fi and fantasy tropes that are pretty much unavoidable when doing new stories about Spider-Man, Superman, or Wonder Woman.

    Now here’s where I talk about the newest Batman film, which I saw in a half-empty theater Wednesday afternoon: it wasn’t bad. It couldn’t touch The Dark Knight, and while I don’t remember much about Batman Begins at this point, I wouldn’t say The Batman is better than it, either. It’s probably better than The Dark Knight Rises, but that isn’t saying much. Visually, I haven’t seen a Batman movie more stunning than this one. While it didn’t have nearly as much memorable dialogue as TDK had, it had more moments that stick with you, moments that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie. It’s definitely not a film that follows the Disney playbook most MCU movies follow. As dark as FFH was compared to other Spider-Man movies, not even it could hold a candle to The Batman, which was so dark the candle would be extinguished as soon as it got anywhere near the lengthy, grisly, death-filled Warner Brothers product.

    Anybody who has read as many Batman comics as I have won’t be surprised by much of what happens in The Batman. While it doesn’t follow the Disney playbook, it does follow a playbook, and while I’m sure casual filmgoers won’t mind, it was still hard for me not to feel disappointed as somebody who has loved Batman for half my life. Seeing well-known storylines play out on the big screen is cool. I liked The Dark Knight Returns too much not to like the way The Dark Knight Rises and (the extended edition of) Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice adapted elements of what is arguably the most famous Batman story ever written. Even reading The Long Halloween and The Killing Joke didn’t diminish my enjoyment of TDK and in fact made me appreciate it more for how it seamlessly integrated material from those comics into the Nolanverse.

    The Batman’s devotion to focusing more on Batman as a detective than previous Batman movies makes it unique, yes, but it also makes it harder to stay engaged when you can predict a lot of what happens. I wish I had seen this as a 12 year who knew next to nothing about Batman, because I’m sure I would have loved it a lot more if I did. Unfortunately, I can only give my opinion as a 26 year old Batman superfan, and my opinion is that it doesn’t stack up compared to the previous live-action and animated incarnations of the Caped Crusader. I would still say it’s a 3/5 or even 4/5 movie, but it misses on an opportunity to be so much more.


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