THE T&C GUIDE TO GUILTY PLEA­SURES

AD­MIT IT: YOU MAY PACK DOS­TOYEVSKY AND RAW AL­MONDS, BUT ONCE YOU’RE LY­ING ON THE SAND IT’S ALL ABOUT TABLOIDS AND TOS­TI­TOS. HAVE NO SHAME: AS EV­I­DENCED HERE, EVEN THE MOST HIGH-MINDED AMONG US RE­QUIRE IN­DUL­GENCES.

Town & Country (Philippines) - - CONTENTS / SEPTEMBER - Pho­to­graphs by Don Penny Styled by Will Kahn Jay McIn­er­ney

Ad­mit it: You may pack Dos­toyevsky and raw al­monds, but once you’re ly­ing on the sand it’s all about tabloids and Tos­ti­tos. Have no shame—as ev­i­denced here, even the most high-minded among us re­quire in­dul­gences.

sponge­bob squarepants

of the many good rea­sons to have kids, hav­ing li­cense to watch car­toons with them is pretty high on the list. I felt I was con­tribut­ing to their ed­u­ca­tion by in­tro­duc­ing my son and daugh­ter to the Looney tunes clas­sics. My daugh­ter pre­ferred live ac­tion shows like Lizzie

McGuire and Han­nah Mon­tana, but I spent many sat­is­fy­ing hours on the couch with my son watch­ing The Pow­er­puff Girls and The Simp­sons. Dis­cov­er­ing Sponge­Bob SquarePants was, for us, the equiv­a­lent of Keats first look­ing into Chap­man’s Homer. My son is now an adult, but I’m still watch­ing Sponge­Bob, 18 years af­ter its de­but.

I’m not quite sure how to ex­plain this ob­ses­sion, al­though over the years I’ve dis­cov­ered I’m not alone among my con­tem­po­raries. some- times, af­ter my wife has pub­licly aired her amuse­ment about this in­ex­pli­ca­ble pro­cliv­ity, I’ve got­ten whis­pered con­fes­sions from other devo­tees. Like most of the great car­toons,

Sponge­Bob is sprin­kled with cul­tural ref­er­ences that go over the head of its os­ten­si­ble au­di­ence, such as, just to pluck one out of the wa­ter, the in­ter­mit­tent ap­pear­ance of smooth jazz pur­veyor Kelpy g—a squid ver­sion of sax­o­phon­ist Kenny g—the fa­vorite mu­si­cian of the cur­mud­geonly mid­dle­brow artiste squid­ward. Kids may not get the ref­er­ence, al­though they prob­a­bly un­der­stand that squid­ward’s taste in mu­sic is be­ing mocked, al­beit gen­tly. In con­trast to his dour neigh­bor squid­ward, the epony­mous yel­low sponge­bob squarepants is re­lent­lessly sunny. He lives in a pineap­ple-shaped house next door to squid­ward, whose house re­sem­bles an easter Is­land head, and to his best friend, pa­trick, a dimwit­ted starfish who lives un­der a rock. al­though he is child­like in ev­ery re­gard, sponge­bob has a job he loves as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, work­ing for an ex­ploita­tive, Mam­mon-wor­ship­ping crab. Mr. Krabs’s arch­neme­sis is plank­ton, a cy­clo­pean sin­gle-celled vil­lain whose sisyphean mis­sion in life is to steal the se­cret recipe for the Krabby patty and thereby achieve world dom­i­na­tion, and in­creased rev­enue for his own restau­rant, the Chum bucket.

When the world is too much with me, and I can’t watch an­other minute of Cnn, I turn to nick­elodeon to con­tem­plate the be­nign mys­ter­ies of bikini bot­tom. Why does sponge­bob live in a pineap­ple? the show takes place un­der­wa­ter, and yet the char­ac­ters em­ploy fire and con­sume soft drinks. Why does the nar­ra­tor speak with a bad French ac­cent? and why is Mr. Krabs’s daugh­ter pearl a whale? un­til I have the an­swers to th­ese ques­tions, I think I’ll keep

watch­ing.

T&c Jay McIn­er­ney is the wine critic for Town & coun­try.

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