Entertaining? Often enough.
Creepy? It certainly has its moments.
Depending on the episode, it can even be entertaining and/or creepy on purpose.
Well... when I was writing these Recaps, I put off this episode for a long time. Because this one actually has a monster that really freaks me out, even into my 20s.
In all honesty, I tried to recap this episode several times, but I couldn't make it all the way through until now. So congratulations, Mr. Stine. You got under my skin. I hope you're happy.
But before I begin, a word of advice. If you're going to watch this episode, do not be eating ramen noodles.
|I made that mistake and paid the price for it.|
Anyway, Daniel's friend, the local token black kid Carlo (Ashley Brown), stops by on his bike.
Mr. Merton: "Hey, came to help us unpack?"
Carlo: "No. But I will."
Oh. Spoke too soon.
Kat (voiceover): "When we moved into our new house, everyone was happy. Everyone but me, that is."
...Okay, I guess this episode is being narrated now.
Killer heads into the kitchen as Kat's voiceover does the usual "I had a feeling something was going to happen" bit, and he starts growling at the cabinet under the sink, seemingly apropos of nothing.
This would be a good time to mention that dogs are R.L. Stine's favorite plot device. He's admitted many times that he prefers them to cats, which is why he makes cats into evil creatures and dogs into evil detectors. Expect for this episode, where the only Kitty to be seen is the main character, who also goes by Kat.
Kat tries to figure out what's under the sink after she puts the dog outside, and sees nothing but a couple of glowing eyes in the darkness under the sink.
Kat: "Oh, it's a kitty."
|No, you're a Kitty.|
SO MUCH NOPE ALL THE NOPE
Yes, I know it's a freaking 50-cent sponge from the Home Depot with a rubber mouth, but dang if that isn't some unnerving monster design. Living things should not have the texture of a sponge.
Kat freaks out, knocking the sponge onto the floor, but quickly regains her composure. After all, it must have been her imagination, right?
|NOPE NIGHTMARES HAVE BEEN MADE FLESH|
Daniel: "You were scared by a sponge?"
...It's a scary sponge.
Kat: "Killer was after it. He could tell! It has eyes and everything!"
Her dad whips up some explanation regarding the light reflecting off of its non-reflective surface, then punctuates this by accidentally dropping his wife's fine china when Killer bumps into him. She's understandably upset, so... wait, what?
|Amanda Tapping? Of Stargate SG-1?|
As Killer gets taken outside, the sponge and the broken china get thrown away. But as we see later that night, it only stuck for the china, since the creepy sponge scoots into the bathroom after Kitty's shower.
|Yes, I know you can see the shadow of the hidden stagehand... but this Bizarro-tribble still freaks me out.|
|OH GOD NO THAT'S NOT WHERE SPONGES GO|
|I made it through Jeff Goldblum turning into a fly-man just fine, and an episode of Goosebumps is freaking me out?|
Though he says the line through gritted teeth, making it sound more like he's swearing.
When Kitty's mom comes in to examine Daniel's foot, Kat tries to explain why the glass broke, but they're not exactly willing to listen to her crazy ramblings about a sponge. Luckily, Daniel barely got cut, so it's off to bed for everybody. Later, in the middle of the night, Killer ends up investigating the evil sponge under the bed.
|"Okay, look, pal. Here's the deal. You get outta Dodge, and there won't be no trouble between us."|
Daniel: "But cold pizza's got all the basic food groups on it."
Depending on the pizza, he has a point. Cereal and milk are filled with sugar. Let him eat the dang pizza.
Mom: "Uh-huh. And so does your face."
Parenting made easy. Just use the same insults as a teenager.
Daniel teases his sister by throwing a paper towel at her, claiming it has eyes, but she's more preoccupied with the fact that Killer's been missing all morning. And nobody's seen him. Also, just want to mention that Mr. Merton's chowing down on his son's forbidden pizza. That's some mighty fine parenting.
So Kat plans on riding around the neighborhood to try and find him.
Kat: "It's not like him to just run off like that."
|"He usually writes a note first."|
Kat (voiceover): "Bad things were happening, and they were getting worse. First it was my mom's smashed dishes, then my brother's cut foot. Now my dog had disappeared, and I thought 'What's next?'"
"What's next" is her brakes having been cut, sending her out of control down the hill. Half on her bike, half on her face.
|Sponge monster playin' fo' keeps, yo!|
|Well, that was a short episode.|
Even though she's alive, Kat's pretty banged-up, as is her bike.
Kat (voiceover): "This proved it. Something was definitely going on."
So she returns home to where Carlo and Daniel are watching Goosebumps on TV. Specifically, "Welcome to Camp Nightmare."
Carlo: "You scared?"
Way to critique your own show, guys.
Kat explains that she trashed her bike, and she blames the sponge for everything that's been going on.
Daniel: "Here she goes again. Killer sponge from Mars."
|No, Mars is covered in egg monsters. Get it right.|
Carlo: "This is better than The X-Files!"
|"Especially that piece of crap 'Schizogeny.'"|
|"Don't you dare insult that episode! Lisa Baiocchi was one of the best incidental characters that show ever had!"|
Daniel: "What if it's a new species or something?"
Kat: "Then it's about to get extinct."
Good on you, Kat. That thing is an affront to God and man.
Carlo: "Kat, this sponge is amazing. It needs to be studied."
Kat: "No, it needs to be dead."
Two action one-liners in thirty seconds? I like this girl.
Carlo: "I'm asking you in the name of science not to do this."
Screw science. If the dodo's allowed to go extinct, then this thing can too.
Kat buries the hideous creature in the backyard to kill it once and for all, hoping that her luck would change. From bad to worse, as her narration explains.
Later that night, Kat waits on the porch, squeaking a dog toy as a not-quite-version of "Lean on Me" plays in the background. Her dad comes out to her to tell her that she needs to come inside. Killer's still nowhere to be found, but she's convinced that everything will get better. But the next day, Kat and Daniel go outside to discover that all the plants in the yard are turning brown.
Kat: "Everything's dying."
|Well, yeah, that'll happen when you drench plants in spray paint.|
Kat: "We need an expert. I'm gonna take it to school. Maybe Miss Vanderhoff will know what to do with it."
|"Kat, Miss Vanderhoff teaches History."|
Miss Vanderhoff: "Aha. Just as I suspected. It's a sponge."
Kat: "I know that."
|"Don't patronize me, lady."|
Miss Vanderhoff: "Eyes? Sponges don't have eyes."
|This one begs to differ.|
Just for funsies after Kat leaves, the thing mentally wills a beaker of unidentified chemicals to break.
That night, Carlo consults his Encyclopedia of the Weird, despite the others' flippancy.
|"Sure, you laugh now. This thing's even more complete than Tobin's Spirit Guide."|
Kitty: "A Grool?"
Well, these days, it means something else, even beyond the Mean Girls quote.
|Google might be tempting you now, but you must resist.|
But according to Carlo's book, a "Grool" is a spongelike creature that emanates bad luck.
Carlo: "And then it feeds on the bad luck it causes."
I would say that this violates the Laws of Thermodynamics, since any living creature loses energy through heat over time, thereby making it impossible for any creature to be self-sustaining by generating its own food... But how exactly does one quantify the generation of bad luck through the Law of Conservation of Energy? Or actually feed on bad luck, for that matter?
Carlo: "Each time something bad happens, it gets stronger."
But Kat wants to cut to the chase.
Kat: "Does it say how to kill it?"
Carlo: "Mmm... no."
Why don't we bring the Ghostbusters in on this?
|And he has experience with psychomagnetheric substances.|
Daniel: "A what?"
Carlo: "A lanx. It's this little vampire potato that sucks the life force right out of you."
|Aww, that sounds adorable!|
Because A, Santa doesn't want this thing either. B, sponges are known for surviving in the ocean. And C....
Carlo: "If the owner gives the Grool away, the owner dies."
And Kat's the new owner, since she found it.
Kat: "But I left it with Miss Vanderhoff at school."
Carlo: "You what?"
And because they don't want to wait and see if giving the grool to another person for a day counts, they hastily decide to break into the school and steal it back.
|Hey, look, a night janitor. Or is he also a homeless man living in the auditorium?|
Oh, man, that particular combination of words is going to bring some random Googlers to my blog. A big hello to all of you! Sorry that you found a review blog instead of... well, we both know what you were looking for.
Anyway, the kids go to the room where Kitty left the thing and search the area, but they can't find anything, since the Grool already migrated to the janitor's cleaning supplies. But Daniel does find a wad of chewed gum under a desk, which is at least one inanimate object that R.L. Stine hasn't yet made into a horrifying monster.
|Tim Jacobus, the cover artist, on the other hand....|
So after this series of unfortunate events, there's nothing they can do. The Grool is growing exponentially, and the way out is blocked by chemicals.
|Oh no! You can't let red mix with green!|
|Plan A's never work. Might as well just skip them.|
Kat: "I love your big, beautiful eyes. All of them."
Carlo: "I love what you've done with your hair."
Kat: "And- and that skin. So damp, yellow, and absorbent."
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he.
But this doesn't solve the fact that the janitor is inhaling acid fumes. This misfortune makes the Grool grow again, but it also wakes the janitor up. So he leaps up and saves the day with the fire extinguisher, shrinking the Grool down to its original size.
|A rare instance of an adult saving the day.|
|A foolproof prison. Unless the tape wears out and the Grool feeds on the misfortune.|
Kat: "A potato?"
But as it turns out... um...
Is that a gaping fanged potato vagina?
|"Technically, it's a lanx."|
|Holy yonic sonalum, that's a gaping fanged potato vagina.|
1: Gaping fanged potato vagina.
And with... that, the episode ends. So because nothing I can say here will be able to top "gaping fanged potato vagina," it's time to review.