SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television created by the late, great marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series chronicles the adventures and endeavors of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The series' popularity has made it a media franchise, as well as the highest-rated series to ever air on Nickelodeon, and the most distributed property of MTV Network. As of 2015, the media franchise has generated $12 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon.
Many of the ideas for the series originated in an unpublished educational comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which Hillenburg created in 1989. He began developing SpongeBob SquarePants into a television series in 1996 upon the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life, and turned Tom Kenny, who had worked with him on that series, to voice the title character. SpongeBob was originally going to be named SpongeBoy, and the series was to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy!, but these were both changed, as the name was already trademarked.
Nickelodeon held a preview for the series in the United States on May 1, 1999, following the television airing of the 1999 Kid's Choice Awards. The series officially premiered on July 17, 1999. It has received worldwide critical acclaim since its premiere and gained enormous popularity by its second season.
The character-driven toon chronicles the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of SpongeBob, an incurably optimistic and earnest sea sponge, and his undersea friends. Dwelling a few fathoms beneath the tropical isle of Bikini Atoll in the sub-surface city of Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob lives in a two-story pineapple. Instead of taking the logical approach to everyday challenges, SpongeBob approaches life in a wayward and unconventional way. Whether searching for the ultimate spatula to perfect his burger flipping technique at the Krusty Krab, or just hanging out with his best friend Patrick (an amiable starfish), SpongeBob's good intentions and overzealous approach to life usually create chaos in his underwater world.
Why It Rocks
- It's one of the most popular and iconic cartoons on television.
- Has so many great, memorable and hilarious episodes, such as "Help Wanted", "Band Geeks", "Idiot Box", "Just One Bite", "Jellyfish Jam", "Club SpongeBob", "Dying for Pie", "My Pretty Seahorse", "That's No Lady", "Chum Bucket Supreme", "The Camping Episode", "Pizza Delivery", "Wet Painters", "Chocolate with Nuts", "Spy Buddies", "Pickles", "The Fry Cook Games", "Karate Choppers", "Your Shoe's Untied", "Plankton Paranoia", "Sharks vs. Pods", "Sand Castles in the Sand", "Sailor Mouth", "The Secret Box", "Feral Friends", "Mimic Madness", "Suction Cup Symphony", "Clams", "No Free Rides", "Mind the Gap", "FarmerBob", "Karen's Virus", "Friend or Foe", "Krusty Towers", "Fear of a Krabby Patty", "F.U.N.", "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve", "Ripped Pants", "Spin the Bottle", "Life of Crime", "Shell of a Man", "Roller Cowards", "Mid-Life Crustacean", "My Leg!", "Something Smells", "Gary Takes a Bath", "Have You Seen This Snail?", "Best Day Ever" (depending on your view), "Imitation Krabs", "Wormy", "Skill Crane", "SB-129", "Rock Bottom", "Plankton's Pet", "Single Cell Anniversary", "Evil Spatula", "Pest of the West", "SpongeBob's Last Stand", "Squid Noir", "One Krabs Trash", "Frankendoodle", "Prehibernation Week", "Goodbye, Krabby Patty?" and the list goes on.
- Spawned tons of internet memes, such as "Is mayonnaise an instrument?" and "My leg!" (the latter of which got its own episode of the same name).
- Very talented voice actors, such as Tom Kenny.
- Good songs, such as "Sweet Victory" from Band Geeks.
- Nickelodeon's animation in its purist form.
- The characters have very distinct personalities, which give them a lot of charm.
- SpongeBob is the happy go lucky protagonist.
- Patrick is SpongeBob's dimwitted, yet good-natured friend.
- Squidward is SpongeBob's vain and grouchy neighbor.
- Mr. Krabs is SpongeBob's money-obsessed boss.
- Plankton is the self-tempered villain.
- Sandy is the smart and tough newcomer.
- Beside SpongeBob himself who first appeared in Help Wanted in season 1 and other characters like Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs, many other characters made their debuts including Sandy and Plankton in later episodes.
- It spawned two great theatrical movies, with a third one on the way.
- It spawned a merchandise since its popularity, from DVDs, to lunchboxes, to mini shorts, etc.
- A lot of the title cards and time cards are creative.
- Shares some elements with "Rocko's Modern Life" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show".
- Ever since the second half of Season 9 and most of the first half, the show has improved dramatically after its decline in quality and there have been a lot of unique episode plots that haven't been done before.
- The animation has also improved a lot and matches the style of zany cartoons from the Golden Age of Animation (especially the ones that Adam Paloian worked on) such as cartoons done by Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, Ward Kimball, and many others.
- The Japanese Dub.
- It's one of the few American shows to receive a Welsh dub.
- After The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, TTSW steadily declined in quality until Season 9.
- Some bad episodes, even before and after the drop in quality, such as "SquidBob TentaclePants", "Grandma's Kisses", "Dumped", "I'm With Stupid", "The Great Snail Race", "Driven To Tears", "Rule Of Dumb", "Squid Wood", "Are You Happy Now?", "Pet Sitter Pat", "Smoothe Jazz at Bikini Bottom", "Demolition Doofus", "Squid Baby", "Little Yellow Book" (But Spongebob did get karma for the bad stuff he did from Season 5-7, despite the fact that Squidward was in the wrong for humiliating Spongebob), "SpongeBob You're Fired!", "Sportz?" (depending on your view), "Cuddle E. Hugs", "Ink Lemonade" (the worst post-sequel era episode; some fans consider it the absolute worst SpongeBob episode overall), "Good Neighbors" (In which it involves Squidward being an antagonistic Jerk to Spongebob and Patrick), "I Was A Teenage Gary", and so on.
- Atlantis SquarePantis and Truth or Square weren't received very well, the former due to the execs forcing the crew to make it a TV movie, resulting in pointless songs and six character arcs, and the latter due to blatant bait-and-switches. In fact, Nickelodeon wasn't the best at making TV movies for SpongeBob, so due to negative reviews of these two movies, Nickelodeon made no more SpongeBob TV movies after Truth or Square. However, later in 2019, SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout aired for the series' 20th anniversary in July and was a well received TV movie, with some calling it a perfect apology for Truth or Square.
- After Hillenburg's temporary departure after the 2004 movie, a lot of the characters suffered from having multiple traits to having just one (ex. SpongeBob went from being charmingly optimistic to later just being annoying and happy all the time.)
- Some episodes have recycled plots.
- The animation, while still great, isn't always perfect and has a couple of hiccups.
- Season 1's animation (while very good) isn't as good as the animation from Season 2 onwards.
- Season 2's animation is filled with errors and washed out colors, similarly to Season 6.
- Season 6 arguably has the worst animation in the series as it suffers from washed out colors, unappealing character designs and way too much close up gross-out humor.
- Season 8's animation sometimes has framerate problems.
- Season 11's animation (while good) has a lot of weird and/or messed-up looking faces. "Krabby Patty Creature Feature", in particular, while decent, uses this over the top.
- While the animation in the current seasons is still great, the comedy has gotten stale due to the lack of a balance between slapstick and visual comedy and verbal comedy.
- Some jokes in the pre-movie era are innuendos, such as "SpongeBob watches Sea Anemone".
- The fact Squidward is actually an octopus and not a squid can be confusing to some people.
- Season 1 is the only season to be animated using cel animation, later seasons would use digital inking and painting animation.
- Many people already know the fact that, in the episode "Sleepy Time", SpongeBob's and Mr. Krabs' driver licenses are seen, revealing that the former was born on July 14th 1986 and the latter on November 30th 1942, making them around 32 and 75 years old, respectively. However, a fact that is largely ignored is that "Sleepy Time" first aired on January 17th 2000, making SpongeBob 13 years old and Mr. Krabs 57 years old. The franchise as a whole started on May 1st 1999, which would make SpongeBob 12 and Mr. Krabs 56. Plankton would also be 56, as he was shown to have been born around the same time as Mr. Krabs in the Friend or Foe episodes. On "Whale of a Birthday", it was revealed that Pearl turned 16 on May 12, 2006, meaning she is currently 29 years of age.
- It should be noted though that SpongeBob and Pearl Krabs are supposed to be adults in the show.
- There is going to be a third movie in 2020 called The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, as well as a spin-off called Kamp Koral. The latter, however, is already receiving backlash from fans, and even Paul Tibbitt for “disrespecting Hillenburg’s legacy”, as Hillenburg never wanted any spinoffs to happen. Rob Renzetti also criticized the spinoff.
- Creator Stephen Hillenburg died at the age of 57 on November 26, 2018 from ALS.
- The main character "SpongeBob' was named because Stephen Hillenburg is worried that people will confuse him as a block of cheese.