SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television created by the late, great marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. It has aired since May 1, 1999.
Note: This article will mainly focus on the first five seasons of the series. For the ninth season onwards, see this page.
The character-driven toon chronicles the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of SpongeBob, an incurably optimistic and accident-prone 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 These Seasons Rock
- It's one of the most popular and iconic cartoons on television.
- Very talented voice actors, such as Tom Kenny. Special mention to when he does amazing impressions of characters in "Mimic Madness".
- 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 SquarePants is an accident-prone and happy-go-lucky protagonist.
- Patrick Star is SpongeBob's dimwitted, yet good-natured friend.
- Squidward Tentacles is SpongeBob's vain and grouchy neighbor.
- Eugene H. Krabs is SpongeBob's money-obsessed boss.
- Sheldon J. Plankton is the short-tempered villain.
- Sandy Cheeks is the smart and tough newcomer.
- Mrs. Puff is the beleaguered boating teacher.
- Karen Plankton is Plankton's sensible computer wife.
- Pearl Krabs is Mr. Krabs' bratty, yet likable teenage daughter.
- Gary the Snail is SpongeBob's loyal pet snail.
- Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are affectionate parodies of Batman and Robin.
- There are so many great, memorable and hilarious episodes, such as:
- "Help Wanted"
- "Band Geeks"
- "My Pretty Seahorse"
- "Dying for Pie"
- "That's No Lady"
- "Idiot Box"
- "Big Pink Loser"
- "Fear of a Krabby Patty"
- "Friend or Foe"
- "Pizza Delivery"
- "Your Shoe's Untied"
- "Krusty Towers"
- "Gary Takes a Bath"
- "Club SpongeBob"
- "Chocolate with Nuts"
- "Best Day Ever" (depending on your view)
- "Roller Cowards"
- "Jellyfish Jam"
- "Imitation Krabs"
- "Skill Crane"
- "Krusty Krab Training Video"
- "Pest of the West"
- "Have You Seen This Snail?"
- "Wishing You Well"
- "The Camping Episode"
- "Snowball Effect"
- "Sailor Mouth"
- "Karate Island"
- "Pre-hibernation Week"
- "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve"
- "Wet Painters"
- "Goo Goo Gas"
- "Spy Buddies"
- "As Seen on TV"
- "Rock Bottom"
- "Something Smells"
- 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.
- Awesome and memorable versions of the intro, especially the normal one, the textless one, and the Christmas Who? one.
- Hilarious fourth wall breaks, such as Squidward talking to the viewers in the beginning of "The Two Faces of Squidward", and Bunny Wunny playing Puka A in "Bunny Hunt".
- A lot of the title cards and time cards are creative. There was even a funny joke made with them in "Wet Painters", when Patrick says "Can you hurry it along? We're running out of time cards."
- Shares some elements with "Rocko's Modern Life" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show". Which makes sense, as some of the SpongeBob crew worked on those shows before coming to work on SpongeBob.
- 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 is just as good as the original English version.
- It's very funny, which explains all the memorable quotes and internet memes it spawned.
- The background music is Hawaiian-style ukulele, which matches the show's underwater aesthetic and is very calming to listen to, with a lot of memorable tracks such as "Grass Skirt Chase".
- Out of all the ten main characters, Mr. Krabs can be the debatably least tolerable character due to a perceived exaggeration of his parsimony throughout the series' run. Though, he's still likable at times. In fact, he was more likable in the earlier seasons.
- The series went downhill between the first and second movie.
- While Season 4 is still good, it marks the start of the series' decline in quality as a few bad episodes have been put in this season, which makes it worse than Seasons 1-3.
- While Season 5 is decent, it is considered to be the last "good season" before the dark age of the show. The decline becomes a tiny bit more noticeable as there are a few more bad episodes than season 4.
- Seasons 6-8 is when the decline really began to kick in.
- Thankfully, the series redeemed itself since Season 9.
- Even before the bad seasons, there were still bad episodes, such as:
- "I Was a Teenage Gary"
- "Grandma's Kisses"
- "Good Neighbors"
- "I'm With Stupid"
- "To Love a Patty"
- "Rule of Dumb"
- "Party Pooper Pants"
- "The Great Snail Race"
- "Fungus Among Us"
- "Squid Wood"
- "Atlantis SquarePantis"
- "Driven to Tears"
- "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?"
- "Funny Pants"
- "All That Glitters"
- "The Sponge Who Could Fly"
- "Krabby Land"
- The first two TV movies, “Atlantis SquarePantis" and “Truth or Square”, were not well received. In the former’s case, it’s due to the executives forcing the crew to make it a TV movie, resulting in pointless songs and six character arcs. In the latter’s case, it’s due to the blatant bait-and-switches. As a result of negative reviews that these two movies got, Nickelodeon made no more movies for the show after “Truth or Square”. However, later in 2019, “SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout” aired for the series’ twentieth anniversary in July and was a well-recieved TV movie.
- The animation, while great for the most part, isn't always perfect and has some hiccups.
- Season 1's is in traditional cel form. While it is good, it's not as good as the animation in Season 2 onwards, which are done in digital ink-and-paint.
- Season 2's animation, while great, is filled with errors and some episodes have color inconsistencies (most notably the episodes with 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 4's animation looks a bit clunky in the first few episodes but gets better as the season progresses.
- The earlier seasons have a poor and sometimes pretty bad blend of CGI and 2D animation, especially for its time.
- Some jokes in the pre-movie era are (poorly) covered-up innuendos, such as SpongeBob watching a sea anemone in the episode "Your Shoe's Untied", which is basically a metaphor for watching pornography. Another is in the episode "Gary Takes a Bath" where SpongeBob warns Gary not to drop the "doubloons" (soap) and then winking making a reference to prison rape, which got that episode banned in the UK.
SpongeBob SquarePants has received universal critical acclaim, being praised for its appeal to different age groups, and the show has earned numerous awards and accolades throughout its run. James Poniewozik of Time magazine described the title character as "the anti-Bart Simpson, temperamentally and physically: his head is as squared-off and neat as Bart's is unruly, and he has a personality to match—conscientious, optimistic and blind to the faults in the world and those around him.
- 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 released in 2021 on demand called The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, as well as a spin-off called Kamp Koral - SpongeBob's Under Years. The latter, however, is already receiving backlash from fans, and even Paul Tibbitt (the showrunner from Season 4 to the first half of Season 9) for “disrespecting Hillenburg’s legacy”, as Hillenburg is often said as not wanting any spinoffs to happen, despite the fact that he actually said he didn't see any spinoffs happening. Rob Renzetti also criticized the spinoff. Said spinoff is referenced 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 was worried that people will confuse him for a block of cheese.
- Due to its popularity, it spawned merchandise, from DVDs to lunchboxes, to mini shorts, etc.
- SpongeBob himself is based on Bob the Sponge from Hillenburg's old educational book, "The Intertidal Zone".
- In 1999, Nickelodeon released a press statement summarizing the first four episodes. At the time, these episodes were planned to be released in production order: "Help Wanted," "Tea at the Treedome," "Squeaky Boots," and "Jellyfishing." Sometime in April 1999, Nickelodeon decided to air the episodes in a different order instead; it was called the "packaging order." This order does not relate to production or airing order, and it most notably moved "Squeaky Boots" (the third produced segment overall) to episode 8b, much later than it was produced.
- In 1997, a draft of the pilot episode was completed. This is known today as "Help Wanted".