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 (based on a real island called the Bikini Atoll). 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Many of the ideas for the series originated in an unpublished educational comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which Hillenburg created in 1989.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", "Club SpongeBob", "My Pretty Seahorse", "That's No Lady", "Dying for Pie", "Idiot Box", "Just One Bite", "Chocolate with Nuts", "The Camping Episode", "F.U.N.", "Have You Seen This Snail?", "Pizza Delivery", "SpongeBob's Last Stand", "The Original Fry Cook", "Sand Castles in the Sand", "Krusty Towers", "Not Normal", "Plankton's Pet", "Your Shoe's Untied", "Fear of a Krabby Patty", "Roller Cowards", "Skill Crane", "Goodbye, Krabby Patty?", "Mimic Madness", "Something Smells", "Big Pink Loser", "Chum Bucket Supreme", "Pat the Horse", "Sailor Mouth", "Friend or Foe", "Plankton Paranoia", "Wet Painters", "Suction Cup Symphony", "Snowball Effect", "Karate Island", "Spy Buddies", "Planet of the Jellyfish", "Spongebob's Big Birthday Blowout", "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve", "Best Day Ever" (depending on your view), "Pest of the West", "Spongebob in Randomland", "Feral Friends", "Single Cell Anniversary", "Lost in Bikini Bottom", "Karen's Virus", 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 purest 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 short-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.
- 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.
- It's very funny.
- There are even some bad or mediocre episodes before and after the drop in quality, such as "Good Neighbors", "Little Yellow Book", "Grandma's Kisses", "To Love a Patty", "Dumped", "I'm With Stupid", "Squid Wood", "Atlantis SquarePantis", "I Was a Teenage Gary", "Driven to Tears", "Rule of Dumb", "Squid Baby", "Ink Lemonade", "The Nitwitting", and, most infamously, "SpongeBob, You're Fired".
- 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.
- Some episodes have recycled plots, either in a good way, or in a bad way. "Model Sponge" is "As Seen on TV", except completely rehash, has a boring and unmemorable story, has some parts that make no sense (like SpongeBob thinking Mr. Krabs fired him), and has some really dull jokes that hardly get a laugh.
- 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, not only because it's the very first season, but also because it uses traditional cel animation.
- Season 2's animation is filled with errors and washed-out colors, similarly to Season 6, though this is understandable since this is the very first season to use digital ink-and-paint animation.
- Season 6 arguably has the worst animation in the series as it suffers from washed-out colors, unappealing character designs, scary and disturbing facial expressions, and way too much close up gross-out humor.
- Season 7's animation, while looser, is really dull, weak, unimaginative, and unappealing.
- 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.
- The earlier seasons have a poor and some pretty bad blend of using CGI, especially for it's time.
- 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 34 and 77 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 30 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 (the showrunner from seasons 4 to the first half of season 9) for “disrespecting Hillenburg’s legacy”, as Hillenburg never wanted any spinoffs to happen. Rob Renzetti also criticized the spinoff. The said spinoff is mentioned in Sponge on the Run.
- 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 like a block of cheese.
- Due to its popularity, it spawned merchandise, from DVDs to lunchboxes, to mini shorts, etc.