SpongeBob SquarePants (seasons 1-5, 9b-present) (2024)

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This article is dedicated to Stephen Hillenburg (The creator of the show, 1961-2018), Ernest Borgnine (the actor/voice provider of Mermaid Man, 1917-2012), and Tim Conway (1933-2019), There will be the ocean men and by the power of Neptune, Stephen, Ernest, and Tim, unite!

SpongeBob SquarePants, also simply referred to as SpongeBob, is an American animated comedy television series created by former marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. It is chronologically the tenth Nicktoon to debut. The series is produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and United Plankton Pictures, Inc. The series chronicles the adventures and endeavors of an accident-prone yellow sea sponge 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 Networks. As of 2015, the media franchise has generated $12 krabbillion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon and is currently one of the most well-known and beloved franchises and cartoons to date.

Contents

  • 1 P​remise
  • 2 Creation
    • 2.1 Origins
    • 2.2 Conception
  • 3 Pitching
    • 3.1 Executive producers and showrunners
      • 3.1.1 Season 4
    • 3.2 Return
    • 3.3 Writing
    • 3.4 Voice actors
    • 3.5 Animation
    • 3.6 Music
  • 4 Praised Qualities
  • 5 Criticized Qualities
  • 6 Great SpongeBob episodes (including bad seasons)
    • 6.1 Season 1 (1999-2001)
    • 6.2 Season 2 (2000-2003)
    • 6.3 Season 3 (2001-2004)
    • 6.4 Season 4 (2005-2007)
    • 6.5 Season 5 (2007-2009)
    • 6.6 Season 6 (2008-2010)
    • 6.7 Season 7 (2009-2011)
    • 6.8 Season 8 (2011-2012)
    • 6.9 Season 9 (2012-2017)
    • 6.10 Season 10 (2017)
    • 6.11 Season 11 (2017-2018)
    • 6.12 Season 12 (2019-2020)
    • 6.13 Season 13 (2020-2023)
    • 6.14 Season 14 (2023-present)
  • 7 Reception
    • 7.1 In ratings
    • 7.2 In general
    • 7.3 Pre-Movie Era
    • 7.4 Post-Movie Era
    • 7.5 Post-Sequel Era
    • 7.6 Controversies
      • 7.6.1 Other
    • 7.7 Legacy
  • 8 Internet Popularity
  • 9 Merchandise
  • 10 Trivia
  • 11 Videos
  • 12 Comments

P​remise[]

A square yellow sea sponge named SpongeBob SquarePants lives in a pineapple with his pet snail, Gary, in the city of Bikini Bottom on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. He works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. During his time off, SpongeBob has a knack for attracting trouble with his starfish best friend, Patrick. An arrogant octopus Squidward Tentacles, SpongeBob's neighbor, dislikes SpongeBob because of his childlike behavior.

Creation[]

Origins[]

Series creator Stephen Hillenburg first became fascinated with the ocean as a child and began developing his artistic abilities at a young age. Although these interests would not overlap for some time—the idea of drawing fish seemed boring to him—Hillenburg pursued both during college, majoring in marine biology and minoring in art. After graduating in 1984, he joined the Ocean Institute, an organization in Dana Point, California, dedicated to educating the public about marine science and maritime history.

While Hillenburg was there, his love of the ocean began to influence his artistry. He created a precursor to SpongeBob SquarePants: a comic book titled The Intertidal Zone used by the institute to teach visiting students about the animal life of tide pools. The comic starred various anthropomorphic sea lifeforms, many of which would evolve into SpongeBob SquarePants characters. Hillenburg tried to get the comic professionally published, but none of the companies he sent it to were interested.

A large inspiration to Hillenburg was Ween's 1997 album The Mollusk, which had a nautical and underwater theme. Hillenburg contacted the band shortly after the album's release, explaining the baseline ideas for SpongeBob SquarePants, and also requested a song from the band, which they sent on Christmas Eve. This song was "Loop de Loop", which was used in the episode "Your Shoe's Untied".

Conception[]

While working as a staff artist at the Ocean Institute, Hillenburg entertained plans to return eventually to college for a master's degree in art. Before this could materialize, he attended an animation festival, which inspired him to make a slight change in course. Instead of continuing his education with a traditional art program, Hillenburg chose to study experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts. His thesis film, Wormholes, is about the theory of relativity. It was screened at festivals, and at one of these, Hillenburg met Joe Murray, creator of the popular Nickelodeon animated series, Rocko's Modern Life. Murray was impressed by the style of the film and offered Hillenburg a job. Hillenburg joined the series as a director, and later, during the fourth season, he took on the roles of producer and creative director.

Martin Olson, one of the writers for Rocko's Modern Life, read The Intertidal Zone and encouraged Hillenburg to create a television series with a similar concept. At that point, Hillenburg had not even considered creating his series. However, he realized that if he ever did, this would be the best approach. He began to develop some of the characters from The Intertidal Zone, including the comic's "announcer", Bob the Sponge. He wanted his series to stand out from most popular cartoons of the time, which he felt were exemplified by buddy comedies like The Ren & Stimpy Show. As a result, Hillenburg decided to focus on a single main character: the "weirdest" sea creature he could think of. This led him to the sponge. The Intertidal Zone's Bob the Sponge resembles an actual sea sponge, and at first, Hillenburg continued to use this design. In determining the new character's behavior, Hillenburg drew inspiration from innocent, childlike figures that he enjoyed, such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis, and Pee-wee Herman. He then considered modeling the character after a kitchen sponge and realized this idea would match the character's square personality perfectly.To voice the series' central character, Hillenburg turned to Tom Kenny, whose career in animation had started alongside Hillenburg's on Rocko's Modern Life. Elements of Kenny's personality were employed to develop the character further. Initially, Hillenburg wanted to use the name SpongeBoy—the character had no last name—and the series was to have been called SpongeBoy Ahoy! However, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered—after voice acting had been completed for the original seven-minute pilot episode—that the name "SpongeBoy" was already copyrighted. In choosing a replacement name, Hillenburg felt he still had to use the word "Sponge", so that viewers would not mistake the character for a "Cheese Man". He settled on the name "SpongeBob". "SquarePants" was chosen as a family name after Kenny saw a picture of the character and remarked, "Boy, look at this sponge in square pants, thinking he can get a job in a fast food place." When he heard Kenny say it Hillenburg loved the phrase and felt it would reinforce the character's nerdiness.

Pitching[]

While pitching the cartoon to Nickelodeon executives, Hillenburg donned a Hawaiian shirt, brought along an "underwater terrarium with models of the characters", and played Hawaiian music to set the theme. The setup was described by Nickelodeon executive Eric Coleman as "pretty amazing". They were given money and two weeks to write the pilot episode "Help Wanted". Drymon, Hillenburg, and Jennings returned with what was described by Nickelodeon official Albie Hecht as "a performance [he] wished [he] had on tape". Although executive producer Derek Drymon described the pitch as stressful, he said it went "very well". Kevin Kay and Hecht had to step outside because they were "exhausted from laughing", which worried the cartoonists.

In an interview, Cyma Zarghami, then-president of Nickelodeon, said, "Their [Nickelodeon executives'] immediate reaction was to see it again, both because they liked it and it was unlike anything they'd ever seen before". Zarghami was one of four executives in the room when SpongeBob SquarePants was screened for the first time.

Before commissioning the full series, Nickelodeon executives insisted that it would not be popular unless SpongeBob was a child who went to school, with his teacher as a main character. Hillenburg recalled in 2012 that Nickelodeon told him, "Our winning formula is animation about kids in school... We want you to put SpongeBob in school." Hillenburg was ready to "walk out" on Nickelodeon and abandon the series since he wanted SpongeBob to be an adult character. He eventually compromised by adding a new character to the main cast, Mrs. Puff, who is a boat-driving teacher. Hillenburg was happy with the compromise and said, "A positive thing for me that came out of it was [how it brought] in a new character, Mrs. Puff, who I love."

Executive producers and showrunners[]

Until he died in 2018, Hillenburg had served as the executive producer for the series' entire history and functioned as its showrunner from its debut in 1999 until 2004. The series went on hiatus in 2002, after Hillenburg halted production on the show itself to work on the feature film The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Once the film was finalized and the third season finished, Hillenburg resigned as the series' showrunner. Although he no longer had a direct role in the series production, he maintained an advisory role and reviewed each episode.

When the film was completed, Hillenburg intended it to be the series finale, "so [the show] wouldn't jump the shark." However, Nickelodeon wanted more episodes. Hillenburg appointed Paul Tibbitt, who had previously served on the show as a writer, director, and storyboard artist, to take over his role as showrunner to produce additional seasons. Hillenburg considered Tibbitt one of his favorite members of the show's crew, and "totally trusted him".

Season 4[]

On May 16, 2004, former writer Jay Lender said on the now defunct SpongeBob Area that there would be more episodes made: "I believe Nickelodeon is making a handful of new episodes right now, 10 or fewer. Steve's involvement is limited, but the show is in good hands with Paul Tibbitt." Despite concerns over a possibly similar situation over what happened with The Ren & Stimpy Show and its creator, Lender said "that's not what's happening here" and assured that "Steve and Derek are exactly as involved as they want to be with the new episodes." Former writer Sam Henderson also stated that the show was back: "I know that SB is going back into production, but I'm not involved (at least I think). I know that Paul Tibbitt is in charge and Steve Hillenburg & Derek Drymon are not." He theorized that as to the reason of why these new episodes were being made was "that they want to be able to have an even 65. The real money in television is when a show is rerun in syndication, and 65 is the minimum amount to be eligible."

Kaz was called up by Paul Tibbitt to return at some point as well: "Paul called me a few weeks ago to work on a SpongeBob or two. He said he wouldn't be ready for me until late June and July. Of course I said YES. He told me that Nickelodeon ordered four new half-hours. Ten makes more sense -- ----, why not do one more whole season? I believe the characters are strong enough work out 24 more stories. I'm not sure what Paul Tibbitt is thinking about. I know that Carl Greenblatt (my second writing/storyboard directing partner) did a freelance storyboard for one of the new episodes under Paul Tibbitt. [this would end up being the season premiere "Fear of a Krabby Patty"] There's no gag order on information as far as I know." However, by July 2004, he never got the call back and eventually went off to work on Cartoon Network's Camp Lazlo.

On July 5, 2004, Jay Lender responded to two emails about a new season he had gotten from both of SBM's moderators, now confident that there would be new episodes, and (as Kaz said) there would be four half-hours. As far as he was aware, the show would still be staffed by series veterans, production began a few months before, and these episodes were likely part of the fourth season. It was likely that these episodes weren't coming before the movie, (although stranger things had happened) and it was possible that they wouldn't even come at all (Lender said "Nick would be crazy not to make more but I wouldn't bet my life on them following through---they're famously fickle about these things.")

Return[]

On December 13, 2014, it was announced that Hillenburg would return to the series in an unspecified position. On November 26, 2018, at the age of 57, Hillenburg died from complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which he had been diagnosed with in March 2017. Nickelodeon confirmed via Twitter the series would continue after his death. In February 2019, incoming president Brian Robbins vowed Nickelodeon would keep the show in production for as long as the network exists.

As of the ninth season, former writers and storyboard directors Vincent Waller and Marc Ceccarelli act as showrunners.

Writing[]

According to writer and storyboard artist Luke Brookshier, "SpongeBob is written differently to many television shows." Unlike most of its contemporaries, SpongeBob SquarePants does not use written scripts. Instead, storylines are developed by a team of five outline and premise writers. A two-page outline is then assigned to a team of storyboard directors, who produce a complete rough draft of the storyboard. One of the methods used to assemble storyboards was to use Post-it notes. Most of the dialogue and jokes are added during this stage. Brookshier has likened this process to how cartoons were made "in the early days of animation."

The decision to eschew scripts for storyboards is one that Hillenburg made early in the series' development. Rocko's Modern Life had also used storyboarding derived from short outlines, and having worked on that series, Hillenburg felt strongly about adopting the process for SpongeBob SquarePants—even though Nickelodeon was beginning to show a greater preference for script-driven cartoons. Another series' writer, Merriwether Williams, explained in an interview that she and Mr. Lawrence would write a draft for an episode in the afternoon and be done at 4:00 pm.

The writing staff often used their personal experiences as inspiration for the storylines of the series' episodes. For example, the episode "Sailor Mouth", where SpongeBob and Patrick learn profanity, was inspired by creative director Derek Drymon's experience as a child of getting into trouble for using the f-word in front of his mother. Drymon said, "The scene where Patrick is running to Mr. Krabs to tattle, with SpongeBob chasing him, is pretty much how it happened in real life". The end of the episode when Mr. Krabs uses even more profanity than SpongeBob and Patrick, was inspired "by the fact that my [Drymon's] mother has a sailor mouth herself". The idea for the episode "The Secret Box" also came from one of Drymon's childhood experiences. Hillenburg explained, "Drymon had a secret box [as a kid] and started telling us about it. We wanted to make fun of him and use it."

Almost every episode is divided into two 11-minute segments. Hillenburg explained: " never really wanted to deliberately try to write a half-hour show". He added, "I wrote the shows to where they felt right".

Voice actors[]

SpongeBob SquarePants features the voices of: Tom Kenny, Bill fa*gerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett, and Lori Alan. Most one-off and background characters are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, Sirena Irwin, Bob Joles, Mark Fite, and Thomas F. Wilson.

Kenny voices SpongeBob and several other characters, including SpongeBob's pet snail Gary, and the French narrator. He also physically portrays Patchy the Pirate in live-action segments of most special episodes. Kenny previously worked with Stephen Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life. When Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants, he approached Kenny to voice the main character. Kenny originally used the voice of SpongeBob for a minor character on Rocko. He forgot how to perform the voice initially and did not intend to use it afterward. Hillenburg, however, used a video clip of the episode to remind Kenny of the voice. When Hillenburg heard Kenny perform the voice, he knew immediately he wanted it for his character. He said to Nickelodeon executives, "That's it—I don't want to hear anybody else do the voice. We've got SpongeBob." The network insisted on auditioning more actors, but Hillenburg turned them down; in the words of Tom Kenny, "One of the advantages of having a strong creator is that the creator can say, 'No, I like that—I don't care about celebrities.'" While Kenny was developing SpongeBob's voice, the show's casting crew wanted him to have a unique, high-pitched laugh in the tradition of Popeye and Woody Woodpecker.

fa*gerbakke voices Patrick Star and other miscellaneous characters. At the same time when Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, and Tim Hill were writing the pilot "Help Wanted", Hillenburg was also conducting auditions to find voices for the characters. fa*gerbakke auditioned for the role of Patrick after Kenny had been cast. fa*gerbakke recalled that during this audition, "Hillenburg actually played for me a portion of Tom [Kenny]'s performance [as SpongeBob], and they were looking for a counterpoint". In an interview, fa*gerbakke compared himself to the character and said, "It's extremely gratifying". Whenever Patrick is angry fa*gerbakke models his performance after American actress Shelley Winters.

Squidward Tentacles is voiced by Rodger Bumpass, who describes him as "a very nasally, monotone kind of guy." He said the character "became a very interesting character to do" because of "his sarcasm, and then his frustration, and then his apoplexy, and so he became a wide spectrum of emotions". Arthur Brown, author of Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Cartoons!, has compared Squidward's voice to that of Jack Benny's, a similarity Bumpass says is mostly unintentional. Voice acting veteran Clancy Brown voices Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob's boss at the Krusty Krab. Hillenburg modeled Mr. Krabs after his former manager at a seafood restaurant, whose strong Maine accent reminded Hillenburg of a pirate. Brown decided to use a "pirate" voice for the character with "a little Scottish brogue" after hearing Hillenburg's description of his boss. According to Brown, Mr. Krab's voice was mostly improvised during his audition and it was not challenging for him to find the correct voice.

Mr. Lawrence had met Hillenburg before on Rocko's Modern Life. While working on the pilot episode of SpongeBob, Hillenburg invited him to audition for all the characters. Since other voices had been found for the main cast already, Lawrence began by voicing a variety of minor characters. This included Plankton, who was initially only set to appear in one episode. Mr. Lawrence recalls that Nickelodeon executives told Hillenburg, "'we could stunt-cast this. You know, we could have Bruce Willis do this voice.' And Steve was just like, 'it's Doug [Lawrence], don't you hear it? This is the character! This is the guy!'" Jill Talley, Tom Kenny's wife, voices Karen Plankton. Being a Chicago native, she uses a Midwestern accent for the character. Electronic sound effects are underlaid by the series' audio engineers to create a robotic sound when she speaks. Talley and Mr. Lawrence often improvise Plankton and Karen's dialogue. Lawrence called improvisation his "favorite part of the voice-over" in 2009. He elaborated in a 2012 interview, saying, "I always enjoy the back-and-forth. [Talley and I] start to overlap so much talking to each other that [the voice directors] have to tell us, 'Hey, stop doing that, separate what you're saying!'"

Carolyn Lawrence voices Sandy Cheeks. She was in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, with a friend who knew SpongeBob SquarePants casting director Donna Grillo. Her friend said to Grillo that Lawrence had "an interesting voice". Grillo invited her to audition and she got the role. American actress Mary Jo Catlett, who is known for her live-action roles on television programs from the 1970s such as Diff'rent Strokes and M*A*S*H provides Mrs. Puff's voice. As of 2017, voicing Mrs. Puff has become her only regular television role; Catlett described herself as "basically retired" in 2013 since she feels that voicing Mrs. Puff requires less preparation than her performances in person. Lori Alan voices Pearl Krabs. During her audition for the role, Alan was shown an early drawing of the characters and noted that Pearl was much larger than the rest of the cast. She decided to reflect the character's size in her voice by making it deep and full in tone. She aimed to make it invoke the sound of whales' low vocalizations while also sounding "spoiled and lovable." In an interview with AfterBuzz TV, Alan said she knew Pearl "had to sound somewhat like a child," but needed "an abnormally large voice."

In addition to the regular cast, episodes feature guest voices from many professions, including actors, athletes, authors, musicians, and artists. Recurring guest voices include Ernest Borgnine, who voiced Mermaid Man from 1999 until he died in 2012; Tim Conway as the voice of Barnacle Boy from 1999 until he died in 2019; Brian Doyle-Murray as the Flying Dutchman; and Marion Ross as Grandma SquarePants. Notable guests who have provided vocal cameo appearances include the late David Bowie as Lord Royal Highness in the television film Atlantis SquarePantis; John Goodman as the voice of Santa in the episode "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!"; Johnny Depp as the voice of the surf guru, Jack Kahuna Laguna, in the episode "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One"; and Victoria Beckham as the voice of Queen Amphitrite in the episode "The Clash of Triton".

Voice recording sessions always include a full cast of actors, which Kenny describes as "getting more unusual". Kenny said, "That's another thing that's given SpongeBob its special feel. Everybody's in the same room, doing it old radio-show style. It's how the stuff we like was recorded". Series writer Jay Lender said, "The recording sessions were always fun ..." For the first three seasons, Hillenburg and Drymon sat in the recording studio and directed the actors. Andrea Romano became the voice director in the fourth season, and Tom Kenny took over the role during the ninth. Wednesday is recording day, the same schedule followed by the crew since 1999. Casting supervisor Jennie Monica Hammond said, "I loved Wednesdays".

Animation[]

Approximately 50 people work together to animate and produce an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Throughout its run, the series' production has been handled domestically at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California. The finished animation has been created overseas at Rough Draft Studios in South Korea. The California crew storyboards each episode. These are then used as templates by the crew in Korea, who animate each scene by hand, color each cel on computers, and paint backgrounds. Episodes are finished in California, where they are edited and have music added.

During the first season, the series used cel animation. A shift was made the following year to digital ink and paint animation. In 2009, executive producer Paul Tibbitt said: "The first season of SpongeBob was done the old-fashioned way on cells [sic], and every cell sic had to be part-painted, left to dry, paint some other colors. It's still a time-consuming aspect of the process now, but the digital way of doing things means it doesn't take long to correct".

In 2008, the crew began using Wacom Cintiqs for the drawings instead of pencils. The fifth season episode "Pest of the West", one of the half-hour specials, was the first episode where the crew applied this method. Series background designer Kenny Pittenger said, "The only real difference between the way we drew now and the way we drew then is that we abandoned pencil and paper during the fifth season". The shift to Wacom Cintiqs let the designers and animators draw on computer screens and make immediate changes or undo mistakes. Pittenger said, "Many neo-Luddites—er ... I mean, many of my cohorts—don't like working on them, but I find them useful. There's no substitute for the immediacy of drawing on a piece of paper, of course, but digital nautical nonsense is still pretty fun".

Since 2004, the SpongeBob crew has periodically collaborated with the LA-based animation studio Screen Novelties to create stop-motion sequences for special episodes. The studio produced a brief claymation scene for the climax of the first theatrical film. It was re-enlisted in 2009 to create an exclusive opening for the series' tenth-anniversary special. The abominable snow mollusk, an octopus-like creature made of clay who acts as the antagonist of the double-length episode "Frozen Face-Off", was also animated by the company. Animation World Network reported that "within the SpongeBob creative team, there was always talk of doing a more involved project together" with Screen Novelties. As a result, the group was asked to create an episode animated entirely in stop motion in 2011. This project became "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", which reimagined the show's characters as if they were part of a Rankin/Bass holiday film. Tom Kenny, who is normally uninvolved in the writing process, contributed to the episode's plot; he said in 2012 that he and Nickelodeon "wanted to do something just like those old school, stop-motion Rankin-Bass holiday specials ... which I watched over and over again when I was a kid growing up in Syracuse." Unconventional materials such as baking soda, glitter, wood chips, and breakfast cereal were used in mass quantities to create the special sets. Members of the Screen Novelties crew received one win and two nominations at the 30th Annie Awards, a nomination at the 2013 Golden Reel Awards, and a nomination at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival for animating the episode. The team built a dolphin puppet named Bubbles, voiced by Matt Berry, for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. Sequences involving Bubbles included a blend of stop motion and traditional animation. A second special animated in stop motion, themed around Halloween and using the same Rankin/Bass-inspired character models, was produced for season 11.

Music[]

Mark Harrison and Blaise Smith composed the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song. Its lyrics were written by Stephen Hillenburg and the series' original creative director Derek Drymon. The melody was inspired by the sea shanty "Blow the Man Down". An old oil painting of a pirate is used in the opening sequence. Dubbed "Painty the Pirate", according to Tom Kenny, Hillenburg found it in a thrift shop "years ago". Patrick Pinney voices Painty the Pirate, singing the theme song as the character. Hillenburg's lips were imposed onto the painting and moved along with the lyrics. Kenny joked this is "about as close of a glimpse as most SpongeBob fans are ever going to get of Steve Hillenburg", because of his private nature.

A cover of the song by Avril Lavigne can be found on the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie soundtrack. Another cover by the Violent Femmes aired on Nickelodeon as a promotion when the series moved to prime time.

Steve Belfer, one of Hillenburg's friends from CalArts, wrote and performed the music heard over the end credits. This theme includes ukulele music at Hillenburg's request. Drymon said, "It's so long ago, it's hard to be sure, but I remember Hillenburg having the Belfer music early on, maybe before the pilot".

The series' music editor and main composer is Nicolas Carr.[117] After working with Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life, he struggled to find a new job in his field. He had considered a career change before Hillenburg offered him the job. The first season's score primarily featured selections from the Associated Production Music Library, which Carr has said includes "lots of great old corny Hawaiian music and big, full, dramatic orchestral scores." Rocko's Modern Life also used music from this library. Hillenburg decided to adopt this approach. Carr has described the selections for SpongeBob SquarePants as being "more over-the-top" than those for Rocko's Modern Life.

Hillenburg felt it was important for the series to develop its music library, consisting of scores that could be reused and re-edited throughout the years. He wanted these scores to be composed of unknowns, and a group of twelve was assembled. They formed "The Sponge Divers Orchestra", which includes Carr and Belfer. The group went on to provide most of the music for later seasons, although Carr still draws from the Associated Production Music Library, as well as another library that he founded himself—Animation Music Inc.

Praised Qualities[]

  1. The animation is nice and near perfect for Nickelodeon standards from the start, and it improves vastly as the years go by 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, Chuck Jones, Ward Kimball, and many others.
    • It was also the HUGE improvement to Nickelodeon's Animation Studios' direction compared to their failed pilot, "Terrytoons Presents: Crubside".
  2. The premise is interesting since unlike most other cartoons, this one takes place underwater in the Pacific Ocean.
  3. The character designs are cute and appealing.
  4. The opening is iconic.
  5. It spawned multiple great licensed tie-in video games.
  6. The show is very adventurous in scope as there are a lot of cool and interesting places, even outside of Bikini Bottom.
  7. Well-done voice acting, such as Tom Kenny, who voices the title character as well as his pet snail, Gary, and the French narrator. Special mention to when he does amazing impressions of other characters such as "Mimic Madness".
  8. Great and memorable songs, such as:
    • "Ripped Pants" (voiced by Peter Strauss)
    • "F.U.N. Song"
    • "Sweet Victory" (voiced by David Glen Eisley)
    • "Campfire Song Song"
    • "If Only I Could Join You"
    • "He's Flying"
    • "All You Need Is Friends"
    • "I Can't Keep My Eyes Off of You"
    • "Down The Well"
    • "The Bubble Song"
    • "Fueling The Bus"
    • "Attitude of Gratitude"
    • "A Day Like This"
    • "Oh Krusty Krab"
    • "Santa Has His Eye on Me"
    • "Don't Be a Jerk (It's Christmas)"
    • "It's High Tide Time We Went on Tour"
    • "Never Give Up"
    • "Best Day Ever"
    • "Who Am I?"
    • "Gary's Song (Gary Come Home)"
    • "Without You (This Grill is Not a Home/Greasy Spoon)"
    • "Texas (I Wanna Go Home)".
    • "We’ve Got Scurvy".
  9. Amazingly hilarious, clever, and self-aware humor. "Wet Painters" for example has Patrick acknowledge the show's overuse of time cards by having him hold the "Three Hours Later" time card, telling SpongeBob to get on with the painting since he is running out of time cards.
  10. The show is willing to go a little out of its way to handle more mature topics at times but does it in a subtly child-friendly way that doesn't feel too dark and keeps the comedic tone, examples include:
    • "Suds", which handles the subject of self-medication.
    • "Hooky", "Just One Bite", and "Skill Crane" talk about the subject of addiction, with the first one talking about peer pressure.
    • "Plankton Paranoia", which focuses on the subject of paranoia and anxiety.
    • "Squirrel Jokes", deals with the subject of stereotyping and racism through SpongeBob's mockery of squirrels during his comedy act at the Krusty Krab talent show.
    • "Pressure" can also be interpreted as discrimination and competition.
    • "Squid's Day Off", whose main theme is an obsessive-compulsive disorder by featuring Squidward obsessively going back and forth to the Krusty Krab during his vacation, fearing SpongeBob (who is taking his place as the cashier while Mr. Krabs is in the hospital) causing any trouble (i.e. causing a fire) while he's gone, only to find out that he's just waiting there normally, waiting for Squidward to finish with his errands.
    • "Nasty Patty" talks about the subject of murder, even though the Health Inspector wasn't murdered (but that was what Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob thought).
  11. Though the show is mostly comedy, there is a fair share of heartwarming and sweet moments such as SpongeBob hugging Gary in some episodes.
  12. There are so many likable, memetic, and memorable characters with very distinct personalities like:
    • SpongeBob SquarePants is the good-hearted, quirky, and happy-go-lucky yet intelligent protagonist.
    • Patrick Star is SpongeBob's dim-witted, yet good-natured and well-meaning best friend.
    • Squidward Tentacles is SpongeBob's vain and grouchy neighbor but he has a fair share of care for SpongeBob inside and is very relatable.
    • Mr. Krabs is Pearl's father and the greedy boss of SpongeBob and Squidward.
    • Plankton is the short-tempered and envious yet comedic villain.
    • Sandy Cheeks is the smart and tough newcomer.
    • Mrs. Puff is the beleaguered boating teacher.
    • Karen is Plankton's snarky, but sensible computer wife.
    • Pearl Krabs is Mr. Krabs' bratty but cheerful and friendly teenage daughter.
    • Gary is SpongeBob's loyal pet snail.
    • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are affectionate parodies of Batman and Robin or Aquaman and Aqualad or Flash and Kid Flash, respectively.
    • Larry the Lobster is the muscular and fun-loving bodybuilder.
    • Fred is the long-suffering background character.
    • Bubble Bass is the gluttonous, uppity, arrogant yet nerdy and neckbeard LARPer.
    • Old Man Jenkins and Old Man Walker are old and forgetful fish.
    • Scooter and Sandals are happy-go-lucky surfer fish.
    • And the Flying Dutchman is the bombastic pirate ghost.
  13. There are so many great, hilarious and memorable episodes from these seasons (see below).
  14. A lot of the title cards and timecards are creative. As mentioned in WTSANNAR#4, there was even a funny 4th wall-breaking joke made with them in "Wet Painters", when Patrick says "Can you move it along? I'm out of time cards" as well as the narrator groaning in "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve".
  15. 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.
  16. The first 3 seasons (otherwise known as the pre-movie seasons) are arguably the best seasons of the show, spawning so many memorable episodes, three of them (Pizza Delivery, Band Geeks and Chocolate with Nuts) being considered the best of the series, among other episodes like SB-129, Ripped Pants, F.U.N, The Paper, Something Smells, Big Pink Loser, Dying for Pie & its sister episode Imitation Krabs, Christmas Who?, Frankendoodle, Graveyard Shift, Idiot Box, Wet Painters and sister episode Krusty Krab Training Video, The Camping Episode, Plankton's Army, etc. Season 3 is generally regarded as better than Season 2 due to having more episodes considered the best of the series by fans.
    • Seasons 4 and 5, despite not being as great as the pre-movie seasons, are still good and have recently been bunched up with seasons 1-3 by some people to form the Golden Age of SpongeBob. Some people have gone far enough to state that Seasons 4 and 5 are as good as, if not, even better than the pre-movie seasons.
    • The Post-Sequel era, while not as great as the pre-movie era, is still pretty good and is a huge step up from seasons 6-8. This era has spawned many good episodes like Food Con Castaways, Mimic Madness, Mind the Gap, Karen’s Virus, My Leg!, and Pat The Dog. This era is better than the 5th season due to having rare character interactions and even more creative ideas. They're on par with or only very slightly worse than Season 1.
  17. Ever since season 9, the show has improved dramatically after its decline in quality (see Reason #2 in the Bad Qualities section below) and there have been a lot of unique episode plots that haven't been done before.
    • Season 8 is perhaps the least bad and can be seen as an improvement over seasons 6 & 7, as the animation has improved (despite its frame-rate issues), SpongeBob's voice has returned to its original pitch since Season 3, has more great episodes like "Frozen Face-Off" and "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", some characters reverted to their original personalities like Sheldon J. Plankton, Karen Plankton, Pearl Krabs, and SpongeBob SquarePants, and is considered average at best. However, it still has many of the same problems as the previous two seasons. Overall, Season 8 is not necessarily bad, but it’s very average.
    • Although Season 6 was the season where the series' decline became very noticeable, it was alright during its first four half-hours, despite having some stinkers, like "Penny Foolish" and "Gone". It wasn't until "The Splinter" that the seasonal rot officially kicked in and became much more noticeable (technically "Spongehenge" started the downfall of the show but still).
    • Season 7 FINALLY got slightly better in the second half, as infamous episodes were not as common anymore. Plus there are fewer Squidward Torture Episodes and the animation is less jarring to watch than Season 6 and Late Season 5.
  18. The Japanese dub is just as good as the original English version, which makes it into an anime.
    • The Latin Spanish dubbing of the first seasons is also very good, with the voices of Luis Carreño as Bob Esponja (Kaihiamal Martínez in the first season), Paul Gillman as Patricio, Renzo Jiménez as Calamardo, etc.
    • The Brazilian Portuguese dub was well received by Brazilian fans thanks to the wonderful job of Wendel Bezerra (SpongeBob's Brazilian voice actor).
  19. The background music is composed of either Hawaiian-style ukulele or pirate sea shanties which matches the show's underwater aesthetic. It is very calming to listen to, with a lot of memorable tracks such as "Grass Skirt Chase" and "The Rake Hornpipe".
  20. It had three Christmas specials: "Christmas Who?" "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" and "SpongeBob's Road to Christmas", and a two-part stop-motion Halloween special called "The Legend of Boo-Kini Bottom", with top-notch, stop-motion animation, the same stop-motion animation from "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", all of them being great, hilarious and memorable.
  21. After Stephen Hillenburg passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as ALS, the show made a couple of tributes to him. The first time was when Tom Kenny described how he was a good friend to him for a long time. The second was mentioned on the birthday special which is "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout", and the third one was on the third movie, Sponge on the Run.
  22. Lots of good morals here and there, such as:
    • Trying something new even if you don't want to. ("Just One Bite")
    • Don't care if people make fun of you. ("Grandma's Kisses")
    • Being yourself. ("Ripped Pants" and "MuscleBob BuffPants")
    • Always be kind to one another. ("Best Day Ever" and "Band Geeks")
    • Never take jokes way to the extreme. ("Pranks a Lot")
    • Never make fun of your friends. ("Squirrel Jokes" and "Pressure")
    • Don't be upset if people don't like you. ("Something Smells")
    • Being honest. ("The Donut of Shame")
    • Never break into someone's home without their permission. ("Survival of the Idiots")
    • You can't always get what you want. ("Squidville" and "SB-129")
    • Don't leave your life just to hang out with your favorite animals and be grateful for what you have. ("Nature Pants")
    • Always stand up for yourself. ("Pickles")
  23. The Patchy the Pirate segments in the show can be very entertaining, with Patchy being one of the funniest characters in the show due to his rivalry moments with his parrot, Potty.
  24. The show has had some creative parodies before such as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy being parodies of Batman and Robin, Glove World being a reference to Disney World or Disneyland, and the Krusty Krab being a parody of McDonald's.

Criticized Qualities[]

  1. Some of the characters are unlikable in their ways before and after dark age.
    • Mr. Krabs is most likely the least tolerable, due to his perceived exaggeration of his parsimony and his cruel actions (such as "Jellyfish Hunter" and "Wet Painters") throughout the series' run.
    • Sometimes, SpongeBob can be annoying to other people for no reason, especially Squidward.
    • King Neptune is the mean-spirited and cruel ruler of Bikini Bottom who hates and disrespects SpongeBob the most.
    • Likewise, Patrick can sometimes be clueless and have no common sense at times.
    • While he is still likable, Squidward has his unlikable moments, such as in "SpongeBob In Randomland", he becomes happy after finding out that SpongeBob might be dead, which is not like him in the earlier episodes (especially Dying for Pie). He is also still often used as a punching bag in many modern episodes, like "Under the Small Top" and "Who R Zoo?"
    • The background characters/incidentals (excluding Scooter) can also be very unlikable, mostly due to their tendency to start angry mobs.
      • There was one scene in "Your Shoe's Untied" when they saw Mr. Krab's underwear and became offended and left the Krusty Krab. Even though some of them were shown to be not wearing any pants, making them hypocrites.
      • Despite being more innocent and likable compared to most incidentals, Scooter can be annoying, especially because of his laugh.
  2. Quantity over quality: Like The Simpsons, Family Guy, and South Park the series ran for way too long (it started in 1999 and there are no signs of the show ending anytime soon), spanning a total of 14 seasons and 299 episodes and counting. The show itself isn't bad by all means and is a great show overall. Also, starting in Season 6, Nickelodeon began ordering more episodes per season compared to the 20 episodes per season in the first 5 seasons (except for season 10, which only had 11). As a result, it will sometimes jump the shark.
    • It is a very infamous example of becoming Nickelodeon's cash cow along with The Loud House (the 2nd cash-cow) and The Fairly OddParents (the original cash-cow). Series creator Stephen Hillenburg wanted the series to end after season 3 with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, but Nickelodeon greenlit the series for a fourth season due to popular demand, leading Hillenburg to resign and offer his position as showrunner to co-worker, Paul Tibbitt. Hillenburg remained an executive producer until he eventually returned in season 9 with The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water until he died in 2018. However, we can't blame the popular demand on Nickelodeon themselves because if the television executives at Nickelodeon wanted to greenlight a fourth season after the movie's success, then why not?
  3. The series went downhill between the first and second movies.
    • It began to go downhill during seasons 4 & 5, but it didn't get too noticeable until season 6 when the series was hit with a massive decline in quality (season 7 is just as bad, though seasons 8 is a mixed bag). The series thankfully has gotten much better since season 9.
  4. It can have hiccups here and there.
    • Season 1, while great, can be considered weak for some in comparison to Seasons 2 and 3, mainly due to the characters being less developed and having weaker comedy. This can be excusable since, just like any other first season of any show, they are just getting started.
    • Season 4, while good and considered the best season of the post-movie era, is considered the start of the show's decline and can be considered unnecessary by some fans. It was great during its first half (despite the major stinker, "Good Neighbors"), but midway through the season with "All That Glitters", the decline started to kick in and the episodes started to become a mixed bag.
    • Season 5, while decent, has more bad episodes (especially for second half) compared to season 4 (or even the first three seasons) and the characters' flanderizations slowly started to kick in, with Sandy (and SpongeBob in "To Love a Patty, unfortunately being the earliest offender).
    • Also not helped by the fact that Seasons 6 & 7 sped up the decline.
      • Season 6, while only slightly better than Season 7, kick-started all of the problems and that is when the show's decline became apparent. It's also has the worst animation. Plus unlike Seasons 7 and 8, this season ended quite badly (even though it started and ended on production/number code on surprisingly good). This season has the most Squidward Torture p*rns on the entire show and is also home to some of the worst episodes of the entire show.
      • Season 7 is by a hair, the worst season of the whole show, especially during its first half as it not only has the most rehashed episodes from the earlier seasons (like how this season alone has three episodes that rip-off "Imitation Krabs"), and showed so much flanderization (which is evident with both Patrick and Mr. Krabs) but also some of the worst, infamous, and notorious episodes such as "A Pal for Gary", "One Coarse Meal", amongst others.
    • Season 8, while an improvement over Seasons 6 & 7, is infamous for having the most episodes that feel as though the writers were obsessed with the idea that Patrick has a low amount of intelligence.
    • Season 9, while a step-up from seasons 6-8, is still not as good as the first three (or four and five to a lesser extent) seasons, as it still has a few flaws such as characters like Mr. Krabs and Patrick still being flanderized and having mediocre episodes, with the most infamous ones being "Little Yellow Book", "Squid Baby", "The Fish Bowl", and especially "SpongeBob, You're Fired". However, at this point, almost all of the characters have recovered from their flanderization.
    • Seasons 13 and 14, while not as bad as Dark Age seasons, are the weakest "newer" seasons as they increase Squidward as a punching bag and have more mediocre episodes. Plus, they have sometimes added Sloppy References to the Golden Era in an Attempt to gain Viewers. But it didn't work as one recent episode got 0.08 million viewers.
  5. There are even a handful of bad/mediocre episodes:
    • "I Was a Teenage Gary"
    • "Fools in April"
    • "Wormy" (only the horsefly part)
    • "Grandma's Kisses"
    • "Dumped"
    • "I'm With Stupid"
    • "Party Pooper Pants" (an sad ending to Walt Dohrn's career)
    • "New Student Starfish"
    • "The Great Snail Race"
    • "Krabby Land"
    • "Good Neighbors"
    • "Funny Pants" (which started the trio (Luke Brookshier, Tom King, and Steven Banks') career in a poor way)
    • "SquidBob TentaclePants"
    • "All That Glitters" (which started the decline of the series and is considered one of the worst episodes of the show)
    • "Once Bitten"
    • "Bummer Vacation"
    • "Wigstruck"
    • "Squidtastic Voyage"
    • "The Thing"
    • "Driven to Tears"
    • "Rule of Dumb"
    • "Squid Wood" (an awful ending to season 4 in airing order)
    • "The Gift of Gum" (a mediocre way to end season 4 in production order)
    • "Rise and Shine"
    • "Waiting"
    • "Fungus Among Us" (an worst start for Richard Pursel's career)
    • "Boat Smarts"
    • "Good Ol' Whatshisname"
    • "To Love a Patty"
    • "Breath of Fresh Squidward"
    • "Blackened Sponge"
    • "A Flea in Her Dome"
    • "Atlantis SquarePantis" (an average first TV movie and the second decline of the series)
    • "Picture Day"
    • "Pat no Pay"
    • "SpongeHenge" (which started the downfall of the show)
    • "WhoBob WhatPants?"
    • "Stanley S. SquarePants" (which ended Season 5 on a weak note in production order)
    • "Squirrel Record" (which started Season 9 in number-code/production order in the weak note)
    • "Gary's New Toy"
    • "Squid Defense"
    • "Squid Baby"
    • "Little Yellow Book"
    • "Bumper to Bumper"
    • "Kenny the Cat" (an average ending for Erik Wiese's SpongeBob career)
    • "SpongeBob You're Fired" (a terrible way to end the post-movie era in production order and overall destroyed Mr. Krabs' character)
    • "The Fish Bowl"
    • "Married to Money"
    • "Mutiny on the Krusty"
    • "House Worming" (a poor way to restart Richard Pursel's career since Season 8)
    • "Sportz?"
    • "Out of the Picture"
    • "Ink Lemonade" (the most infamous of the post-sequel era)
    • "Appointment TV"
    • "Squirrel Jelly" (ended Zeus Cervas's writing career in the dark way)
    • "The Nitwitting"
    • "SpongeBob's Bad Habit"
    • "Jolly Lodgers"
    • "Hiccup Plague"
    • "Kwarantined Krab" (which ended season 12 on a sour note in airing order)
    • "Squidward's Sick Daze"
    • "Plane to Sea"
    • "FUN-Believable"
    • "Squidiot Box" (which is probably one of the worst examples of breaking continuity of the series and also features a bunch of fan service)
    • "The Flower Plot"
    • "Yellow Pavement" (an very average sequel of "Boat Smarts")
    • "My Friend Patty"
    • "SquidBird"
  6. 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 Nickelodeon executives forcing the crew to make both into two TV movies, resulting in throwing in some pointless songs and six character arcs that could have been used as their episodes. In the latter's case, it’s also due to the blatant bait-and-switches. As a result of the negative reviews that both TV movies got, Nickelodeon made no more TV movies for the show after "Truth or Square", but thankfully didn't involve flanderization. However later in 2019, "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" aired for the series' twentieth anniversary in July and was a well-received TV movie, with some calling it the perfect apology for "Truth or Square".
  7. While the animation is generally great, it isn't always perfect and has some hiccups:
    • Season 1's animation, while still good, looks inferior to later seasons due to it being done in traditional cel form, while Season 2 onwards uses digital ink-and-paint.
    • Season 2's animation, while a step up from that of season 1, is filled with errors and some episodes have color inconsistencies, (most notably the episodes with washed-out colors on DVD) similar to season 6. Though to be fair, this is understandable since this is the very first season to use digital ink-and-paint animation.
    • Season 4's animation starts off looking clunky (due to weird face expressions during the early episodes ("Fear of the Krabby Patty" to "Funny Pants")) and inferior to seasons 2 and 3 but gets better as the season progresses and the lighting has noticeably improved.
    • Season 6 arguably has the worst animation as it relies way too much on closeup gross-out images. Though, it got toned down a bit during season 7.
    • The animation in later season 9b-12, while great, has a lot of weird and/or creepy-looking facial expressions that can make some fans lose interest in it. "Krabby Patty Creature Feature" as well as episodes that Bob Jacques (Ren & Stimpy) animated, in particular, while he does a decent job, uses this over the top. Though it got toned down a bit by Season 13.
    • The earlier seasons have a poor blend of CGI and 2D animation, especially for Season 2, 3 and its time.
  8. While most jokes are funny, some of them are unfunny or outdated such as some of the jokes in "Prehibernation Week". Likewise, before the movie, there are (poorly) covered-up innuendos, such as:
    • SpongeBob watching a sea anemone in the episode "Your Shoe's Untied", which is a metaphor for watching p*rnography.
    • Finally, in "Texas", SpongeBob said "Patrick, your genius is showing", and Patrick thought he said "penis" and said, "Where?!".
    • Bringing in the most infamous moment in Season 2 from the episode "Wormy". In this episode, it features a close-up of an actual horsefly. Not to mention this but not only did Wormy scare SpongeBob, Patrick, and the residents of Bikini Bottom, but a lot of young viewers.
      • There is even gross-out humor from time to time that mostly comes from close-ups that can be pretty disturbing, even though thankfully it's being toned down, the most infamous case being the gross face Spongebob made in "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob".
  9. While most of the dubs were good, the Persian and Tibetan dubs were not well received for being illegal dubs.
  10. Character development is nearly devoid in the series, despite having 14 seasons.
    • The post-sequel era can have unnecessary character removals. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy have largely disappeared from the show, following the deaths of their voice actors Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway, and Stephen Hillenburg requested not to recast the characters. Thankfully, there is still a stick to continuity regarding them instead of being forgotten about entirely. But that's beside the point, the point is that probably after around "Patrick-Man!", Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy had little to no main roles and were given less focus. Even when the two do appear in an episode, they are either used as cameos or minor continuity and nothing else.
  11. Nickelodeon has a horrible habit of poorly scheduling the airing of new SpongeBob episodes. Since Season 5, Nickelodeon has tended to air episodes out of order and inconsistently, resulting in episode segments airing months or even years apart from each other.
    • "Gary Takes a Bath", "Goo Goo Gas", "Yeti Krabs", "Pineapple RV", "My Two Krabses", "Hiccup Plague", and "Kwarantined Krab" all aired a year or longer past their sister episodes. Four of these episodes were from Season 12, which as stated below has the weirdest airing pattern of any season.
    • Season 9 took a long time to air. It premiered in July 2012 and didn't end until approximately five years later in February 2017, mostly because production was halted due to the production of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
    • Season 12 also took a very long time to air. It premiered in November 2018 and didn't end until approximately four years later in April 2022. In addition, this is perhaps the worst example of episodes being aired out of order, as countless episode segments air far apart from each other. This was most likely due to Nickelodeon's terrible scheduling.

Great SpongeBob episodes (including bad seasons)[]

Season 1 (1999-2001)[]

  1. "Help Wanted" (which started the series and the pre-movie era on a positive note)
  2. "Tea at the Treedome" (Sandy's debut; which started the series and pre-movie era in the number code/production order in the good note)
  3. "Reef Blower"
  4. "Bubblestand"
  5. "Ripped Pants"
  6. "Jellyfishing" (despite being the very first "Squidward Torture" episode)
  7. "Plankton!" (Plankton and Karen's debut)
  8. "Naughty Nautical Neighbors"
  9. "Boating School" (Mrs. Puff's debut)
  10. "Pizza Delivery" (one of the best episodes from the series)
  11. "Home Sweet Pineapple"
  12. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy"
  13. "Pickles"
  14. "Hall Monitor"
  15. "Jellyfish Jam"
  16. "Sandy's Rocket
  17. "Squeaky Boots"
  18. "Nature Pants"
  19. "Opposite Day"
  20. "Culture Shock"
  21. "F.U.N."
  22. "MuscleBob BuffPants"
  23. "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost"
  24. "The Chaperone"
  25. "Employee of the Month"
  26. "Scaredy Pants"
  27. "SB-129"
  28. "Karate Choppers"
  29. "Sleepy Time"
  30. "Suds"
  31. "Valentine's Day"
  32. "The Paper"
  33. "Arrgh!"
  34. "Rock Bottom"
  35. "Texas"
  36. "Walking Small"
  37. "Neptune's Spatula"
  38. "Hooky"
  39. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy 2"

Season 2 (2000-2003)[]

  1. "Your Shoes Untied" (which started season 2 on a high note)
  2. "Squid's Day Off"
  3. "Something Smells"
  4. "Bossy Boots"
  5. "Big Pink Loser"
  6. "Bubble Buddy"
  7. "Dying for Pie"
  8. "Imitation Krabs"
  9. "Wormy" (minus the horsefly closeup, which is frightening to younger viewers)
  10. "Patty Hype"
  11. "Squidville"
  12. "Prehibernation Week" (despite Sandy's behavior)
  13. "Life of Crime"
  14. "Christmas Who?"
  15. "Survival of the Idiots"
  16. "No Free Rides"
  17. "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic"
  18. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy 3" (Man Ray's debut)
  19. "Squirrel Jokes"
  20. "Pressure"
  21. "The Smoking Peanut"
  22. "Shanghaied" (which started Zeus Cervas (tho uncredited)' career in the good note)
  23. "Gary Takes a Bath"
  24. "Welcome to the Chum Bucket"
  25. "Frankendoodle"
  26. "The Secret Box"
  27. "Band Geeks" (often considered the best episode of the series)
  28. "The Graveyard Shift"
  29. "Krusty Love"
  30. "Procrastination"
  31. "Sailor Mouth"
  32. "Artist Unknown"
  33. "Jellyfish Hunter"
  34. "The Fry Cook Games"
  35. "Squid on Strike" (despite the downer ending, which ended Season 2 on the production code on good note)
  36. "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm" (which ended season 2 on a high note)

Season 3 (2001-2004)[]

  1. "The Algae's Always Greener" (which started season 3 on a high note)
  2. "SpongeGurad on Duty"
  3. "Club SpongeBob"
  4. "My Pretty Seahorse"
  5. "Just One Bite"
  6. "The Bully"
  7. "The Nasty Patty"
  8. "Idiot Box"
  9. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy 4"
  10. "Doing Time"
  11. "Snowball Effect"
  12. "One Krab's Trash"
  13. "As Seen on TV"
  14. "Can You Spare a Dime?"
  15. "No Weenies Allowed"
  16. "Squilliam Returns"
  17. "Krab Borg"
  18. "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve"
  19. "Wet Painters"
  20. "The Krusty Krab Training Video"
  21. "Chocolate with Nuts" (Also considered the best)
  22. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy 5"
  23. "Clams"
  24. "Ugh"
  25. "Mid-Life Crustacean"
  26. "Born Again Krabs"
  27. "I Had an Accident"
  28. "The Camping Episode"
  29. "Missing Identity"
  30. "Plankton's Army" (which ended Jay Lender and Sam Henderson's career on the well note)
  31. "The Sponge Who Could Fly" (which ended Mark O'Hare's career on this show on the high note)
  32. "SpongeBob Meets The Strangler" (which ended the pre-movie era on the number code on a great note)
  33. "Pranks a Lot" (Which ended the pre-movie era as well as all of five (Derek Drymon, Caleb Meurer, Carson Kugler, Kent Osborne, and Merriwether Williams)'s careers on a pretty high note)

Season 4 (2005-2007)[]

  1. "Fear of a Krabby Patty" (Which started the Post-Movie era and ended C.H. Greenblatt's career and started Vincent Waller's career since Season 1 on a high note)
  2. "Shell of a Man"
  3. "The Lost Mattress"
  4. "Krabs vs. Plankton"
  5. "Have You Seen This Snail?"
  6. "Skill Crane"
  7. "Selling Out"
  8. "Dunces and Dragons" (first episode that Robert Ryan Cory take over as the character design)
  9. "Enemy In-Law"
  10. "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture" (a great start for Casey Alexander's career in this show)
  11. "Patrick SmartPants"
  12. "Krusty Towers"
  13. "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired"
  14. "Chimps Ahoy" (to some started Sandy's flanderization)
  15. "Ghost Host" (despite started Robertryan Cory's gross-out designs)
  16. "Whale of a Birthday"
  17. "Karate Island"
  18. "Wishing You Well"
  19. "New Leaf"
  20. "That's No Lady"
  21. "Hocus Pocus"
  22. "Night Light"
  23. "Born to Be Wild"
  24. "Best Frenemies"
  25. "The Pink Purloiner" (which ended Season 4 in the good note in number code order).
  26. "Best Day Ever" (produced on Season 5) (a heartwarming start of Nate Cash and Tuck Tucker's career in packing order)

Season 5 (2007-2009)[]

  1. "Friend or Foe" (which started season 5 and ended Tim Hill's career on a high note in production order)
  2. "The Original Fry Cook"
  3. "Night Light" (produced on Season 4)
  4. "Spy Buddies"
  5. "Best Day Ever"
  6. "New Digs"
  7. "Krabs a la Mode"
  8. "Roller Cowards"
  9. "Bucket Sweet Bucket"
  10. "Money Talks"
  11. "SpongeBob vs. The Patty Gadget"
  12. "Slimy Dancing"
  13. "The Krusty Sponge" (though it does a good impression on how Nickelodeon is nowadays)
  14. "Sing a Song of Patrick"
  15. "The Donut of Shame"
  16. "The Krusty Plate"
  17. "Goo Goo Gas" (which ended season 5 on a high note as well as good seasons in airing order)
  18. "Le Big Switch"
  19. "BlackJack"
  20. "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob"
  21. "The Inmates of Summer"
  22. "To Save A Squirrel"
  23. "Pest of the West"
  24. "20,000 Patties Under the Sea"
  25. "The Battle of Bikini Bottom" (not to be confused with Battle for Bikini Bottom video game)
  26. "The Two Faces of Squidward" (which ended Season 5 in the number code/production order in the good note)
  27. "Banned in Bikini Bottom"

Season 6 (2008-2010)[]

  1. "Square Roots: The Story of Spongebob Squarepants"
  2. "Krabby Road" (which started season 6 on a high note in airing order)
  3. "Nautical Novice"
  4. "Spongicus" (which started season 6 on a high note in production order and DVD order)
  5. "Suction Cup Symphony"
  6. "Not Normal"
  7. "A Life in a Day"
  8. "Patty Caper"
  9. "The Slumber Party"
  10. "Grooming Gary" (despite being similar to "The Great Snail Race")
  11. "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One"
  12. "Porous Pockets"
  13. "Ditchin'"
  14. "Krusty Krushers"
  15. "Grandpappy the Pirate"
  16. "Professor Squidward"
  17. "Komputer Overload"
  18. "Overbooked"
  19. "Toy Store of Doom" (despite being similar to the Rugrats episode "A Toy Palace")
  20. "No Hat for Pat"
  21. "Sand Castles in the Sand"
  22. "Chum Bucket Supreme"
  23. "Single Cell Anniversary" (which ended season 6 on a high note in production order and DVD order)
  24. "Chum Caverns"

Season 7 (2009-2011)[]

  1. "I ❤️ Dancing" (which started Season 7 on a decent note in airing order)
  2. "Growth Spout"
  3. "The Inside Job"
  4. "Kracked Krabs
  5. "Squidward in Clarinetland"
  6. "Back to the Past"
  7. "The Bad Guy Club for Villains"
  8. "Gary in Love"
  9. "The Great Patty Caper"
  10. "Enchanted Tiki Dreams"
  11. "The Abrasive Side"
  12. "Krusty Dogs" (despite being similar to "Bossy Boots")
  13. "The Masterpiece"
  14. "Love That Squid"
  15. "Perfect Chemistry"

Season 8 (2011-2012)[]

  1. "Accidents Will Happen" (which started season 8 on a high note in production order)
  2. "The Other Patty"
  3. "The Hot Shot"
  4. "Frozen Face-Off" (which started Screen Novelties' career on the good note)
  5. "Walking the Plankton"
  6. "Mooncation"
  7. "Ghoul Fools"
  8. "Mermaid Man Begins"
  9. "Plankton’s Good Eye"
  10. "The Way of the Sponge"
  11. "The Krabby Patty that ate Bikini Bottom"
  12. "Fiasco!"
  13. "Planet of the Jellyfish"
  14. "Free Samples"
  15. "Karen 2.0"
  16. "Squiditis”
  17. "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" (which also ended season 8 on a high note in airing order)
  18. "Chum Fricassee”
  19. "The Good Krabby Name"
  20. "Move It or Lose It"
  21. "Hello Bikini Bottom!" (which ended season 8 on a good note in production order)

Season 9 (2012-2017)[]

  1. "Extreme Spots" (which started season 9 and the HD era on a decent note)
  2. "Patrick-Man!" (despite Patrick's behavior)
  3. "Eek, an Urchin!"
  4. "Jailbreak!"
  5. "Evil Spatula"
  6. "Plankton's Pet"
  7. "It Came From Goo Lagoon" (which ended the post-movie era on a high note in airing order)
  8. "Lost in Bikini Bottom" (which started the post-sequel era on a high note)
  9. "Pull Up a Barrel"
  10. "What's Eating Patrick?"
  11. "Patrick! The Game"
  12. "Mall Girl Pearl"
  13. "Bulletin Board"
  14. "Food Con Castaways"
  15. "Pineapple Invasion"
  16. "The Whole Tooth" (which ended season 9 on a high note)
  17. "Goodbye, Krabby Patty?"

Season 10 (2017)[]

  1. "Mermaid Pants"
  2. "Unreal Estate"
  3. "Mimic Madness" (often considered the best of the post-sequel era and possibly the entire series)
  4. "Krusty Katering"
  5. "Burst Your Bubble"
  6. "Trident Trouble"
  7. "Patrick's Coupon"
  8. "Feral Friends"

Season 11 (2017-2018)[]

  1. There's a Sponge in My Soup"
  2. "The Legend of Boo-kini Bottom"
  3. "Krabby Patty Creature Feature" (despite the over-the-top facial expressions)
  4. "Squid Noir"
  5. "Scavenger Pants"
  6. "Doodle Dimension"
  7. "Bottle Burglars"
  8. "Teacher's Pest"
  9. "High Sea Diving"
  10. "My Leg!"
  11. "Fun-Sized Friends"
  12. "Mustard O' Mine"
  13. "Whale-Watching"
  14. "Krusty Kleaners"
  15. "Plankton Paranoia"
  16. "Goons on the Moon"
  17. "Karen's Virus"
  18. "Bubbletown"
  19. "Girls Night Out"

Season 12 (2019-2020)[]

  1. "Sandy's Nutty Nieces"
  2. "Karen's Baby"
  3. "The Krusty Bucket"
  4. "SpongeBob in RandomLand" (despite the Squidward's Suicide reference)
  5. "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" (An excellent way on celebrating the 20th anniversary of the series)
  6. "The Krusty Slammer"
  7. "Dirty Bubble Returns"
  8. "The Goofy Newbie"
  9. "Bubble Bass's Tab"
  10. "Kooky Cooks"
  11. "Handemonium"
  12. "Krusty Koncessionaires"
  13. "Dream Hoppers" (which ended season 12 on a high note in production order)

Season 13 (2020-2023)[]

  1. "A Place For Pets" (which started season 13 on a high note)
  2. "Under The Small Top"
  3. "Goofy Scoopers"
  4. "Pat The Dog"
  5. "Something Narwhal This Way Comes"
  6. "C.H.U.M.S"
  7. "SpongeBob's Road to Christmas" (the only double-length episode of this season)
  8. "Potato Puff"
  9. "There Will Be Grease"
  10. "The Big Bad Bubble Bass"
  11. "Sea-Man Sponge Haters Club"
  12. "Food PBFFT! Club"
  13. "Upturn Girls"
  14. "Say Awww!"
  15. "Patrick The Mailman"
  16. "Captain Pipsqueak" (a great ending for Richard Pursel's career)
  17. "Squidferatu"
  18. "Welcome to Binary Bottom"
  19. "You're Going to Pay... Phone"
  20. "A Skin Wrinkle in Time"
  21. "Wallhalla"
  22. "Karen for Spot"
  23. "Ma and Pa's Big Hurrah"
  24. "SpongeBob on Parade"
  25. "Delivery to Monster Island"
  26. "Ride Patrick Ride"
  27. "Sir Urchin and Snail Fail"
  28. "Dopey Dick"
  29. "Plankton and the Beanstalk"
  30. "Spatula of the Heavens"
  31. "Gary's Playhouse"
  32. "Swimming Fools"
  33. "The Goobfather"
  34. "Big Top Flop"
  35. "Sandy Help Us!" (which ended season 13 on a high note)

Season 14 (2023-present)[]

  1. "Single-Celled Defense" (which started season 14 on a high note)
  2. "Buff for Puff"
  3. "We Heart Hoops"
  4. "SpongeChovy"
  5. "BassWard"
  6. "Momageddon"
  7. "Pet the Rock"
  8. "Tango Tangle"
  9. "Necro-Nom-Nom-Nom-I-Con"
  10. "Don't Make Me Laugh"

Reception[]

In ratings[]

Within its first month on air, SpongeBob SquarePants overtook Pokémon as the highest-rated Saturday-morning children's series on television. It held an average national Nielsen rating of 4.9 among children aged two through eleven, denoting 1.9 million viewers. Two years later, the series had firmly established itself as Nickelodeon's second highest-rated children's program, after Rugrats. SpongeBob SquarePants was credited with helping Nickelodeon take the "Saturday-morning ratings crown" for the fourth straight season in 2001. The series had gained a significant adult audience by that point—nearly 40 percent of its 2.2 million viewers were aged 18 to 34. In response to its weekend success, Nickelodeon gave SpongeBob SquarePants time slots at 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM, Monday through Thursday, to increase the series' exposure. By the end of 2001, SpongeBob SquarePants boasted the highest ratings for any children's series, on all of television. Weekly viewership of the series had reached around fifteen million, at least five million of whom were adults.

In October 2002, another Nickelodeon series, The Fairly OddParents, ranked as the number two program for children between two and eleven years old. Its ratings at that time were almost equal to SpongeBob SquarePants' then-average of 2.2 million viewers per episode. The Fairly OddParents even briefly surpassed SpongeBob SquarePants, causing it to drop into second place. At this time, The Fairly OddParents had a 6.2 rating and nearly 2.5 million child viewers, while SpongeBob SquarePants had a 6.0 rating and 2.4 million child viewers aged two to eleven. Nickelodeon "recognized" The Fairly OddParents for its climbing ratings and installed it in a new 8:00 PM time slot, previously occupied by SpongeBob SquarePants. In an interview, Cyma Zarghami, then-general manager and executive vice president of Nickelodeon said, "Are we banking on the fact that Fairly OddParents will be the next SpongeBob? ... We are hoping. But SpongeBob is so unique, it's hard to say if it will ever be repeated."

In 2012, however, the series' ratings were declining. The average number of viewers aged two to eleven watching SpongeBob at any given time dropped 29% in the first quarter from a year earlier, according to Nielsen. Wall Street Journal business writer John Jannarone suggested the series' age and oversaturation might be contributing to its ratings' decline and might also be directly responsible for the decline in Nickelodeon's overall ratings. Media analyst Todd Juenger attributed the decline in Nickelodeon's ratings directly to the availability of streaming video content on services like Netflix, a provider of on-demand Internet streaming media.

Philippe Dauman, the president, and CEO of Viacom, contradicted that notion, saying: "We are getting nice revenues through these subscription VOD deals", adding Netflix only has "some library content" on its service. A Nickelodeon spokesman said, "SpongeBob is performing consistently well and remains the number one rated animated series in all of children's television." He added, "There is nothing that we have seen that points to SpongeBob as a problem." Dauman blamed the drop on "some ratings systemic issues" at Nielsen, citing extensive set-top-box data that "does in no way reflect" the Nielsen data.

Juenger noted SpongeBob could affect the ratings of other Nickelodeon programming because children often change channels to find their favorite programs, then stay tuned to that network. Nickelodeon reduced its[clarification needed] exposure on television. In the first quarter of 2012, the network cut back on the number of episodes it aired by 16% compared to a year earlier.

On April 22, 2013, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced their intentions not to renew their existing deal with Viacom. Viacom's deal with Netflix expired and shows such as SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer were removed. However, seasons five through eight of SpongeBob are still available to stream on Netflix in Canada. On June 4, 2013, Viacom announced a multi-year licensing agreement that would move its programs, such as SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer, to Amazon.com, Netflix's top competitor. Amazon agreed to pay more than $200 million to Viacom for the license, its largest subscription streaming transaction ever.

SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the longest-running series on Nickelodeon. It became the network's series with the most episodes during its eighth season, surpassing the 172 episodes of Rugrats. In the ninth season, its 26 episodes brought the number of episodes produced to 204. In a statement, Brown Johnson, Nickelodeon's animation president said, "SpongeBob's success in reaching over 200 episodes is a testament to creator Stephen Hillenburg's vision, comedic sensibility, and his dynamic, lovable characters. The series now joins the club of contemporary classic Nicktoons that have hit this benchmark, so we're incredibly proud."

In general[]

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. However, reception for seasons varies widely.

Pre-Movie Era[]

Seasons 1-3 have been highly praised among fans and critics for their humor, writing, and characters. These seasons also have tons of amazing episodes, like "Band Geeks", "My Pretty Seahorse", "SB-129", "Chocolate with Nuts", "Pizza Delivery", "Imitation Krabs", "Idiot Box", "F.U.N.", "The Secret Box", "Club SpongeBob" and the list goes on. However, some episodes like "I'm With Stupid", "The Great Snail Race", and "I Was a Teenage Gary" wasn't well received.

Post-Movie Era[]

Seasons 4 & 5 received mixed to positive reception with some liking these seasons and considering it on par with seasons 1-3, and some disliking these seasons because of minor flanderization of some characters, and some bad episodes. These are still a handful of fan-favorite episodes such as, "That's No Lady", "Best Day Ever", "Friend or Foe", "Fear of a Krabby Patty", "Roller Cowards", "Have You Seen This Snail?", and "Krabs a la Mode," but there were a couple of stinkers such as "Fungus Among Us", "To Love a Patty", "Good Neighbors" and "Atlantis SquarePantis."

Seasons 6 & 7 were heavily panned by fans and critics for flanderization of the characters, weaker writing, storylines, animation, humor, and unnecessary mean-spirited moments, and therefore have been widely regarded as the worst seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants, with season 7 being considered the absolute worst season of the entire show overall (although few people were arguable that season 6 is worse, according to both PieGuyRulz and PhantomStrider), while season 8 & 9a is often regarded by many to be a mixed bag. These seasons have tons of bad, awful, or mediocre episodes, like "A Pal for Gary", "One Coarse Meal", "The Splinter", "Boating Buddies", "Squid's Visit", "Rodeo Daze", "Truth or Square", "Rodeo Daze", "Cephalopod Lodge", "Hide and Then What Happens?", "Yours, Mine and Mine", "A Day Without Tears", "Big Sister Sam", "Slide Whistle Stooges" and the list goes on. Despite how terrible these seasons are, they still have some solid fan favorites, like "Not Normal", "Sand Castles in the Sand", "Suction Cup Symphony", "The Bad Guy Club for Villains", "Enchanted Tiki Dreams", "Perfect Chemistry", "Grandpappy the Pirate", "Spongicus", "Nautical Novice", 'Planet of the Jellyfish", "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", and "Hello Bikini Bottom!".

Seasons 8 received mixed reviews with some liking them as an improvement over seasons 6 & 7 and most saying that they are just as bad as the latter season mentioned.

Season 9a received a much better reception than the last 3 seasons.

Post-Sequel Era[]

Season 9b onwards has been mostly positive as well, with improved writing, storylines, and humor than that of seasons 6-8.

However, Seasons 13 onwards has been positive to mixed as well.

Controversies[]

In 2005, an online video that showed clips from SpongeBob SquarePants and other children's shows set to the Sister Sledge song "We Are Family" to promote diversity and tolerance was attacked by an evangelical group in the United States. They saw SpongeBob being used to "advocate hom*osexuality". James Dobson of Focus on the Family accused the video of promoting hom*osexuality because it was sponsored by a pro-tolerance group. The incident prompted the question of whether SpongeBob is gay. Although the character has enjoyed popularity with gay viewers, series creator Stephen Hillenburg had already denied SpongeBob is gay three years earlier, clarifying at the time he considered the character to be "somewhat asexual". After Dobson's comments, Hillenburg reasserted his position, stating that sexual preference does not play a part in what they are "trying to do" with the series. Tom Kenny and other production members were distraught that the issue had arisen. Dobson later said his comments were taken out of context and his original complaints were not with SpongeBob, the video, or any of the characters in the video, but rather with the organization that sponsored the video, the We Are Family Foundation. Dobson said they posted pro-gay material on their website but later removed it. After the controversy, John H. Thomas, the United Church of Christ's general minister and president, said they would welcome SpongeBob into their ministry. He said: "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we."

Queer theorist Jeffery P. Dennis, an author of the journal article "Queertoons", argued that SpongeBob and Sandy are not romantically in love, but added he believed SpongeBob and Patrick "are paired with arguably erotic intensity". Martin Goodman of Animation World Magazine called Dennis' comments regarding SpongeBob and Patrick "interesting". Ukrainian website Family Under the Protection of the Holy Virgin, which has been described as a "fringe Catholic" group by The Wall Street Journal, criticized SpongeBob SquarePants for its alleged "promotion of hom*osexuality". The group sought to have the series banned, along with several other popular children's properties. The National Expert Commission of Ukraine on the Protection of Public Morality took up the matter for review in August 2012. Questions of SpongeBob's sexuality resurfaced in 2020 after Nickelodeon's official Twitter account posted an image of the character, in rainbow colors with text celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its allies during Pride Month. Although the post did not make any assertions about SpongeBob's sexual orientation, numerous users responded on social media, claiming they already had their suspicions that he might be gay or reasserting Hillenburg's description of asexuality.

In April 2009, Burger King released a SpongeBob-themed advertisem*nt featuring a parody of Sir Mix-a-Lot's song "Baby Got Back". The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood protested the ad for being sexist and inappropriately sexual, especially considering SpongeBob's fan base includes young children. In official statements released by Burger King and Nickelodeon, both companies claimed the campaign was aimed at parents.

Other[]

A 2011 study conducted at the University of Virginia, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggested that allowing preschool-aged audiences to watch the series caused short-term disruptions in mental function and attention span because of frequent shot changes, compared to control groups watching Caillou and drawing pictures. A Nickelodeon executive responded in an interview the series was not intended for an audience of that age and that the study used "questionable methodology and could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust."

Several of the series' episodes have also been the subject of controversy. In a report titled "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing", which documents the increase in potentially violent, profane, and sexual content in children's programming, the Parents Television Council, a watchdog media group, claimed the season 2 SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Sailor Mouth" was an implicit attempt to promote and satirize use of profanity among children. "SpongeBob's Last Stand" (season 7) and "Selling Out" (season 4) have been criticized for promoting environmentalism and left-wing politics because of their negative portrayal of big business. "SpongeBob, You're Fired" (season 9) caused widespread controversy and sparked a political debate over its portrayal of unemployment; after Fox News and the New York Post commented on the episode, Media Matters for America accused the two organizations of using the episode to "attack the social safety net." This statement was echoed by Al Sharpton, who claimed conservatives' "new hero" to be "a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea." In 2014, the education minister of Kazakhstan, Zabira Orazalieva, deemed the show too violent for children, labeling the titular character a "self-absorbed hooligan" who "regularly inflicts violence on others in his community and seems to enjoy what he does."

In 2019, University of Washington professor Holly M. Barker stated that the show promotes "violent and racist" colonialism since Bikini Bottom is named after Bikini Atoll, a place where natives were resettled by the US government for nuclear testing. Barker also pointed out the cultural appropriation of Pacific culture in the show. Because of such content, children have "become acculturated to an ideology that includes the U.S. character SpongeBob residing on another people’s homeland", according to Barker. ViacomCBS eventually pulled the episode "Mid-Life Crustacean" (season 3), first aired in 2003, out of circulation in March 2021, presumably due to its ending in which SpongeBob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs partake in a panty raid. "We determined some story elements were not kid-appropriate", a Nickelodeon representative stated. A later episode, "Kwarantined Krab" (season 12), was also made unavailable for release, over its similarities to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legacy[]

In July 2009, Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York launched a wax sculpture of SpongeBob in celebration of the series' 10th anniversary. SpongeBob became the first animated character sculpted entirely out of wax

The character has also become a trend in Egypt at Cairo's Tahrir Square. After the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, SpongeBob became a fashion phenomenon, appearing on various merchandise items from hijabs to boxer shorts. The phenomenon led to the creation of the Tumblr project called "SpongeBob on the Nile". The project was founded by American students Andrew Leber and Elisabeth Jaquette and attempts to document every appearance of SpongeBob in Egypt. Sherief Elkeshta cited the phenomenon in an essay about the incoherent state of politics in Egypt in an independent monthly paper titled Midan Masr. He wrote, "Why isn't he [SpongeBob] at least holding a Molotov co*cktail? Or raising a fist?" The phenomenon has even spread to Libya, where a Libyan rebel in SpongeBob dress was photographed celebrating the revolution. Although The Guardian and Vice have asserted that the trend has little to no political significance, "joke" presidential campaigns have been undertaken for SpongeBob in Egypt and Syria.

A clip was posted to YouTube in February 2013 that features soldiers in the Russian army and navy singing the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song as they march. According to the website that uploaded the video, this is one of the "most popular marching songs" in the Russian military.

Following Hillenburg's death in November 2018, more than 1.2 million fans signed a petition for the National Football League to have the song "Sweet Victory" from the season 2 episode "Band Geeks" performed in his honor at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show. Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium's Twitter account, the venue of the show, tweeted a GIF of SpongeBob dancing in "Band Geeks" in December. Maroon 5 who were performing at the game, included a brief clip of SpongeBob in a preview video, leading fans to believe the song would be performed. While the song's opening was ultimately included, it served as a transition into artist Travis Scott's set, which left many fans disappointed. In response to fans' disappointment at not hearing the complete "Sweet Victory" song during the halftime show at the Super Bowl LIII, the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League showed a clip of the full "Sweet Victory" song during a game at the American Airlines Center. In the clip, the characters' band uniforms are recolored green after the Stars.

Several species of organism have been named after SpongeBob. In May 2011, a new species of mushroom, Spongiforma squarepantsii, was described and named after the series' title character. In 2019, a species of sea sponge, Clathria hillenburgi, was named in honor of Hillenburg, also referencing his creation of SpongeBob SquarePants. In 2020, a species of abyssal sea star, Astrolirus patricki, was described and named after Patrick Star; individuals of this species were found to be closely associated with hexactinellid sponges, and it was thus named after Patrick as a reference to the character's friendship with SpongeBob.

In honor of Stephen Hillenburg, a non-profit fan project, titled The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Rehydrated, was released online on May 1, 2022. It consists of a recreation of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie reanimated by 300 people with re-recorded music and dialogue. Amid the YouTube premiere, the video was taken down by Paramount Global due to copyright laws. As a result, the hashtag #JusticeForSpongeBob became trending on Twitter against Paramount Global's action. The video was restored the following day.

Internet Popularity[]

Online memes relating to SpongeBob SquarePants have achieved widespread popularity on the Internet, so much so that Vox's Aja Romano declared in 2019 that "Spongebob memes came to rule Internet culture." A subreddit devoted to memes based on the animated series has, as of May 2019, accumulated over 1.7 million subscribers, a figure exponentially higher than subreddits devoted to the series itself.

Matt Schimkowitz, a senior editor for Know Your Meme, told Time that a combination of factors make SpongeBob memes so popular. He speculated that nostalgia, alongside the cartoon's young audience, contributed to SpongeBob Squarepants's outsized presence in Internet meme culture. Schimkowitz further added that memes derived from the series are exceptionally good at expressing emotions.

Michael Gold of The New York Times concurred. The writer opined that because of the show's "high episode count" and that it was "so ubiquitous at the beginning of the 21st century," SpongeBob SquarePants became "easy meme fodder."

Nickelodeon and members of the SpongeBob cast have expressed approval for the trend. Tom Kenny told Time that he found SpongeBob memes relatable and good-natured. Kenny said that while the show's characters can be considered complex, they are also simple, creating a wealth of content for meme creators to work with.Template:Cite Nickelodeon has manufactured a line of toys based on some of the show's most recognizable meme formats and has even included references to well-known memes in video games.

Among the show's most popular memes are the mocking SpongeBob meme, referring to an image macro from the episode, "Little Yellow Book," a screenshot of a surprised Patrick Star from the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, an image of Spongebob appearing exhausted in the episode, "Nature Pants," and a particularly disheveled illustration of Squidward from "Squid's Day Off."

Merchandise[]

The popularity of SpongeBob SquarePants inspired merchandise from T-shirts to posters. In 2009, it was reported that the franchise had generated an estimated $8 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon. The series is also the most distributed property of Paramount Media Networks. SpongeBob is viewed in 170 countries speaks 24 languages, and has become "a killer merchandising app".The title character and his friends have been used as a theme for special editions of well-known family board games, including Monopoly, Life, and Operation, as well as a SpongeBob SquarePants edition of Ants in the Pants, and Yahtzee.

In 2001, Nickelodeon signed a marketing deal with Target Corporation and Burger King, expanding its merchandising. The popularity of SpongeBob has translated well into sales. In 2002, SpongeBob SquarePants dolls sold at a rate of 75,000 per week—faster than Tickle Me Elmo dolls were selling at the time. SpongeBob has gained popularity in Japan, specifically with Japanese women. Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom purposefully targeted marketing at women there. Skeptics initially doubted that SpongeBob could be popular in Japan, as the character's design is very different from already popular designs for Hello Kitty and Pikachu. Ratings and merchandise sales showed SpongeBob SquarePants has caught on with parents and college audiences. In a 2013 promotion, college-oriented website Music.com gave away 80,000 SpongeBob T-shirts, four times more than during a similar promotion for Comedy Central's South Park.

Kids' meal tie-ins have been released in fast food restaurants in many parts of the world, including Burger King in Europe and North America, as well as Wendy's in North America, and Hungry Jack's in Australia. A McDonald's Happy Meal tie-in with SpongeBob-themed Happy Meal boxes and toys was released in Europe and other international markets in the summer of 2007. In Australia, the advertisem*nt for the McDonald's SpongeBob Happy Meal won the Pester Power Award because the ads enticed young children to want its food because of the free toy. As a tie-in beverage for the DVD release of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, 7-Eleven released the limited edition Under-the-Sea Pineapple Slurpee in March 2004. Pirate's Booty released limited edition SpongeBob SquarePants Pirate's Booty snacks in 2013.

In 2007, high-end SpongeBob-themed electronics were introduced by Imation Electronics Products under the Npower brand, including MP3 players, digital cameras, a DVD player, and a flatscreen television. Pictures of SpongeBob SquarePants began to appear on the labels of 8-ounce cans of Green Giant cut green beans and packages of frozen Green Giant green beans and butter sauce in 2007, which featured free stickers. This was part of an initiative to encourage kids to eat their vegetables. The Simmons Jewelry Co. released a $75,000 diamond pendant as part of a SpongeBob collection. In New Zealand, the UK-based Beechdean Group unveiled the SpongeBob SquarePants Vanilla Ice Cream character product as part of a licensing deal with Nickelodeon. NZ Drinks launched the SpongeBob SquarePants bottled water.

Build-A-Bear Workshop introduced the new SpongeBob SquarePants collection in stores and online in North America on May 17, 2013. Shoppers can dress their SpongeBob and Patrick plush in a variety of clothing and accessories. Sandy Cheeks and Gary the Snail are also available as pre-stuffed minis. Build-A-Bear Workshop stores nationwide celebrated the arrival of SpongeBob with a series of special events from May 17 through May 19.

On July 13, 2013, Toyota, with Nickelodeon, unveiled a SpongeBob-inspired Toyota Highlander. The 2014 Toyota Highlander was launched on SpongeBob Day at the San Diego Padres v. Giants game. The SpongeBob Toyota Highlander visited seven U.S. locations during its release, including the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando in Florida.

In April 2019, Nickelodeon released a series of toys adapted from various SpongeBob Internet memes. These included "Handsome Squidward", "Imaginaaation SpongeBob", "Mocking SpongeBob", "SpongeGar", and "Surprised Patrick". Shortly after the release of the line, most of the toys sold out on Amazon.com.

Trivia[]

  • This series spawned a large number of internet memes.
  • This is the fourth largest page on the entire wiki.
  • Season 1 is the only season to be animated using cel animation as later seasons would use digital inking and painting animation.
  • To this day, SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most well-known and beloved cartoons of all time.
  • Many people already know the fact that in the episode "Sleepy Time", SpongeBob's and Mr. Krabs' driver's licenses are seen, revealing that the former was born on July 14th, 1986 and the latter on November 30th, 1942, making them around 35 and 79 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 Friend or Foe. On "Whale of a Birthday", it was revealed that Pearl turned 16 on May 12, 2006, meaning she is currently 31 years of age. In the Kamp Koral sneak peek she was a baby which reveals that KK: SBUY takes place in 1990 or 1991.
    • It should be noted though that SpongeBob and Pearl Krabs are supposed to be adults in the show.
  • There is a spin-off called Kamp Koral - SpongeBob's Under Years that was released on Paramount+ on March 4, 2021. The spin-off, however, quickly received 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, even though he said he didn't see any spinoffs happening. Rob Renzetti also criticized the spinoff. Said spinoff is promoted in Sponge on the Run.
    • There's also a new spin-off called The Patrick Star Show with Patrick as the protagonist. Patrick's family is different in the show, as Herb is replaced by Cecil, Margie is replaced by Bunny, Sam may or may not be replaced by Squidina (yes, the Squidina from Goons on the Moon) as the show is set between Patrick and Sam's separation and reunion, and Billy Bob is replaced by GrandPat Star. There are explanations from Vincent Waller, Ariel "Pinkie" Davis, and Ian V. on why Patrick's parents and sister are different. Vincent responded: "We felt the original iterations of the characters, while they worked for that episode, they were boring as characters. They were NOT entertaining or fun. These two are so much more fun." for why Herb and Margie are replaced. April says that Squidina is Patrick's adopted sister. And Ian V. says: "As someone who's on the show I can say they're officially just a redesign of the old parents (his dad even still has the same voice) into...stars! I just love coming up with these ridiculous explanations for it is fun." It is unexplained why Billy Bob is replaced by GrandPat Star.
  • The episode "Gary Takes A Bath" was the only episode to air on Nicktoons before it aired on Nickelodeon.
  • Creator Stephen Hillenburg passed away at the age of 57 on November 26, 2018, from ALS.
  • In 2002, SpongeBob was ranked #9 in TV Guide's Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters list (which also included Angelica Pickles at #7 and Ren and Stimpy at #31). He was notably the most recently created character to be featured on the list at the time of its publication.
  • Stephen Hillenburg created Plankton and Karen as potential villains for the series, but he decided in 1997 that they didn't have much potential and that the "Plankton wants to steal a Krabby Patty" plot would become stale after a while. He wanted to have them be one-off characters, and Nickelodeon suggested hiring a one-time guest star like Bruce Willis for the voice of Plankton. However, staff writer Doug/Mr. Lawrence (who became the voice of Plankton) was convinced that his character had untapped potential; he gave Hillenburg a set of episode outlines about Plankton and Karen, many of which were used throughout the first three seasons. The episodes were popular with the writing team, and Plankton and Karen officially became the main characters in the credits of the first theatrical movie. Lawrence considers season three as the first season where Plankton is part of the main cast.
  • It has its channel on Paramount+ called "SpongeBob Universe", which airs nothing but SpongeBob content 24/7.
  • Though the show wasn't meant to go on after the first three seasons, it still made the show pretty famous and it spawned a lot of cool merchandise.
  • An anime-styled video titled "Bubble Bass Arc", the first episode of a web series "Suponibobu", also known as "The Spongebob Anime" premiered on the YouTube channel Narmak on July 24, 2020, and soon went viral, gaining 16,238,407 views. However, the episode is suitable for more mature audiences, and is said to be removed on YouTube for violating the "Child Safety Policy".
  • The main character "SpongeBob" was named because Stephen Hillenburg was worried that people would confuse him for a block of cheese.
    • Stephen also wanted to call him "SpongeBoy", and the show SpongeBoy Ahoy, until he learned the name SpongeBoy was trademarked by a cleaning company. This appears in a gag where Mr. Krabs says" Sponge boy, me Bob!"
  • Due to its popularity, it spawned merchandise, from DVDs to lunchboxes, to mini shorts, etc.
  • The show was going to have a completely different intro with a more action-styled music piece, still images, and no lyrics. The intro was later changed to fit the show's style.
  • When the show debuted in May 1999, it surpassed Pokémon as the highest-rated Saturday-morning children's animated series on television. It is also one of the highest-rated shows on Nickelodeon for years, the other being The Loud House.
  • Mr. Lawrence auditioned for the role of SpongeBob, using the same voice he'd later use for Plankton (which comes across as serious vocal dissonance for anyone more familiar with the character's more famous high-pitched voice).
  • Barnacle Boy was originally a character called "Barnacle Bill", a salty old sailor whose body is a piece of log with his head sticking out, similar to Seamus from Family Guy. While he never appears in the show, he's the titular character of the two-part comic "The Ballad of Barnacle Bill" in the SpongeBob comic.
  • In early sketches, Plankton was going to be so small that every shot of him would require an off-camera character to hold a magnifying glass over him, but it made acting too difficult, resulting in some artistic liberties being taken with his size.
  • Several US Publications such as USA Today named the Krabby Patty among other fictional foods that many have wanted to exist in real life, and according to the New York Daily News, four restaurants serve a similar burger to the Krabby Patty, which include the Snow Crab Crispy Rice, phu*ket Fantasy, Angry Crab Benedict, and Soft Shell Crab Taco. The fictional burger also inspired real-life gummy confectionery treats, primarily in New England. However, the candies were not well received and were the subject of controversy, as a doctor from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine warned the parents the candy was produced in China and was contaminated as it was made using Chinese milk. In 2019, a reporter with the student newspaper of Capital University gave the gummy candies a rating of 2 out of 10 in their review of Halloween candy. It was featured in the SpongeBob merchandise, the burger was portrayed by an actor on stage at the SpongeBob Musical at Palace Theatre, and Katy Perry used it as a second costume on the red carpet at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • SpongeBob was originally designed to resemble an actual sea sponge, but Stephen Hillenburg couldn't do an appealing caricature of one. He went with a synthetic sink sponge instead to give the character a "squeaky clean nerd" appearance, as well as to imply that he's "a square peg trying to fit into a round hole."
  • 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".
  • According to Vincent Waller, an episode revealing Pearl's mother was written and reached the early development stages; however, Stephen Hillenburg was strongly against solving the mystery and shelved the episode indefinitely.
  • This show has spawned theories. One example is that the fish were mutated into people-like after the nuclear testing of Bikini Atoll. Another example is that the secret formula is crab meat.
  • Nick wanted the cast to be grade-schoolers instead of adults, due to the success of Hey Arnold!. Hillenburg was so opposed to this that he nearly abandoned the series until he put SpongeBob in boating school as a compromise.
  • Reef Blower was originally intended to have dialogue, but became a dialogue-free episode due to the sound equipment being damaged.
  • Storyboard artist Adam Paloian mentioned one episode that had some storyboards but was ultimately never made. It's called A Day In The Life Of Plankton, a 4-5 minute short with minimal dialogue that would've focused on Plankton when he isn't stealing the formula, just doing mundane things.
  • According to Vincent Waller, one of Stephen Hillenberg's original ideas for the series was to have Sandy be SpongeBob's girlfriend. Though they've been ship-teased at times, the show ultimately leaves them as really good friends.
  • One early design for SpongeBob gave him a green baseball cap, seen at the end of "Home Sweet Pineapple".
  • Patrick was intended to be a surly bar owner at one point.
  • The line from the episode "Something Smells", "Once upon a time, there was an ugly barnacle. He was so ugly that everyone died! The end." became a popular internet meme in 2013.
  • Squidward originally had eight legs, but the animators thought it made him look too burdened, and that he was harder to animate, so they cut them down to six.
  • The name of the Krabby Patty was originally going to be the Barnacle Burger, and the Krusty Krab was originally the Crusty Crab.
  • At one point, Rob Paulsen auditioned for the voice of SpongeBob. Jess Harnell and Mr. Lawrence (as mentioned above) auditioned as well.
  • In 2021, the episode "Mid-Life Crustacean" was removed from Paramount+ because of the infamous panty raid scene. The episode "Kwarantined Krab" was also removed from Paramount+ and put on hold from airing in the US due to its plot being unintentionally similar to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic. Nick does plan to air "Kwarantined Krab" when the COVID-19 Pandemic is no longer a concern, though many fans believe that the will be released before the COVID-19 Pandemic ends and before 2030. But it was finally released in the US on April 29, 2022.
  • Patrick Star has his show called “The Patrick Star Show” and you can watch the first episode here.
  • Minecraft once made a caption on the main menu saying "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" which was made to reference this show.
  • It is the first Nickelodeon cartoon to reach its eleventh season.
  • The show has its own FANDOM site named Encyclopedia SpongeBobia.
  • The series is very popular in Germany where it's known as SpongeBob Schwammkopf, which may explain David Hasselhoff's appearance in The Movie. It also arguably has the best dub out of all the countries. The series is so popular in Germany that there are multiple SpongeBob SquarePants albums (14 as of 2021) containing original/cover songs that are exclusive in Germany and are sang by the characters. The series even has its music channel called "MusikSpongeBob" on YouTube, and a website dedicated entirely to these albums released annually. Even popular German singers and musicians (such as Markus Becker, MC Fitti, and Roland Kaiser) are heard singing alongside SpongeBob.
  • SpongeBob has a large cult following in Japan among not just children, but young women as well, who find him cute, cool, and unique. Yeah, the kids love their SpongeBob over there; that is for sure.
  • The show is still popular to this day with its current airings on NHK and TV Osaka. There was even a SpongeBob restaurant that opened up in Tokyo which sold exclusive food and merchandise.
  • SpongeBob is quite popular in China, especially with adults, and contrary to the parody on YouTube, has had no Executive Meddling by those Dirty Commies and a fairly decent dub.
  • The Russian army enjoys marching to the theme song.
  • SpongeBob is one of the most popular cartoons in Mexico (despite the dub being made primarily in Venezuela). There, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water topped the box office for two weeks in a row. Also, while SpongeBob merchandise isn't as common as it used to be in the United States, the merchandise is everywhere in Mexico. And when show creator Stephen Hillenburg died, the Spanish tag for SpongeBob was the third most popular tag of the day on Twitter, which also happened when the show turned 20. The 20th-anniversary campaign that happened in North America also happened in Mexico, with promotions not happening in the US being tied to it, like these donuts. The third film The Spongebob Movie Sponge On The Run even gained an original song called "Agua" by Tainy and J Balvin which was performed entirely in Spanish with two English lyrics as a response to SpongeBob 's popularity in Mexico.
  • On January 13, 2023, ''SpongeBob SquarePants'' got its very first crossover as it crossovers with its two spin-off shows ''Kamp Koral: SpogneBob's Under Years,'' and ''The Patrick Star Show.''
  • Between 2007 and 2013, SpongeBob SquarePants dominated Nickelodeon as episodes aired very frequently and took up a majority of the schedule, just because it was pulling in better ratings than other shows, albeit to a much lesser extent as with Cartoon Network's over-airing of Teen Titans Go! between 2014-2017. In 2012, however, the series' ratings began dipping significantly, mainly due to a variety of reasons such as the series' declining quality, the rise of internet streaming, or the network's over-saturation of SpongeBob SquarePants. As of 2015, the network now reduces the excessive number of airtime for SpongeBob SquarePants, to return diversity to the schedule. However SpongeBob marathons still air on Nickelodeon once in a while, but it's not as frequent as before.
    • During this period, it is alleged that Nickelodeon created an unwritten policy stating that any new Nicktoons had to IMMEDIATELY match or beat the average ratings for SpongeBob, or it would be deemed a failure and burned off on the Nicktoons channel. Shows such as Robot & Monster, TUFF Puppy, Harvey Beaks, and It's Pony! were all well-received critically, but didn't get the ratings Nickelodeon desired. In one infamous example, Making Fiends was never even given a chance by Nickelodeon and was unceremoniously punted to Nicktoons, which treated the series as best it could with the material it had (21 segments spread across six half-hour episodes) and even became the network's highest-rated series before Nickelodeon pulled the plug because, as TheMysteriousMrEnter said, it "wasn't SpongeBob, at a time when Nickelodeon only wanted SpongeBob and tolerated The Fairly OddParents).
  • Casey Alexander and Zeus Cervas, who previously worked as storyboard artists in the show's earlier seasons, serve as the main screenwriters of these seasons, as they wrote the majority of episodes of these seasons.
  • One of the writers of these seasons, Richard Pursel, wrote some of the most infamous episodes of these seasons such as "A Pal for Gary" and many Squidward torture episodes such as "Cephalopod Lodge" and "Choir Boys" for example, previously worked on the infamous before working on this show.
    • Editor note: But not to get angry about him but... He returned to work on this show as a writer in 2021.
  • The 5th season ended on the day that the 7th season started, which is the only season to end during a season premiere.
  • This is the largest page on the wiki.
  • C.H. Greenblatt the writer of this show is also the writer of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, and also starred as Fred Fredburger in the last two seasons.

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