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Template:Infobox TV ratings SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series and media franchise. It is currently one of Nickelodeon's and Nicktoons Network's most-watched shows. In 2007, TIME named it one of the greatest television shows of all time.[1] Although its original network is Nickelodeon, SpongeBob is now broadcast around the world. It was created by artist, animator and former marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg, and is produced through his production company, United Plankton Pictures, Inc.

The series is set in the Pacific Ocean, in the fictional city of Bikini Bottom and on the surrounding lagoon floor. The pilot episode first aired in the United States on Nickelodeon after the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on May 1, 1999. The "official" series premiere followed on July 17, 1999, as part of the Nickelozone block, with the second episode, "Bubblestand/Ripped Pants."

The series star is a character who is a sea sponge, but in shape and color his body more closely resembles a kitchen sponge.

PremiseEdit

SpongeBob SquarePants is a sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, while his octopus neighbor, Squidward Tentacles, lives in a moai. SpongeBob's other neighbor and best friend is a pink starfish named Patrick Star, who lives under a rock. SpongeBob and Patrick live on either side of Squidward Tentacles, much to Squidward's despair.

SpongeBob's house-pet is a snail named Gary, who meows like a cat. Although Gary only speaks in a few episodes, the characters have shown an ability to understand him. In addition to this, underwater worms bark exactly like dogs, and are kept on chains. Jellyfish are the equivalent of bees; buzzing, "stinging" with poison, and producing delicious "jelly", mocking the name "jellyfish", while still referring to a bee's honey. Clams act as birds, and fish act as the citizens of the community but generally are not important characters.

Although the denizens of Bikini Bottom live under water, they mostly do not float, and gravity usually applies. A flurry of bubbles accompanies actions in many of the episodes to remind the viewer that the setting is underwater. However, the laws of physics in Bikini Bottom change somewhat from time to time, but mostly the water acts like air. For instance, characters can pour a glass of liquid, just as we do above the sea. Bikini Bottom has functional baths, pools, and toilets, and there are lakes and streams. In Battle for Bikini Bottom and a regular beach setting, Goo Lagoon, underwater liquid is referred to as goo. Once, during an episode set in a wilderness area, Patrick questions how a camp fire is possible on the lagoon bottom. As soon as the question is asked, the fire is immediately extinguished with a sizzle.

SpongeBob works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, a fast-food restaurant, with Squidward as the cashier. The Krusty Krab is owned by Mr. Krabs. Sheldon Plankton is Mr. Krabs's arch enemy who owns a low-rank fast-food restaurant called the Chum Bucket across the street from the Krusty Krab. The Chum Bucket has almost never had a customer, and Plankton spends most of his time plotting to steal the recipe for Mr. Krabs's popular Krabby Patty burgers. Only in the movie does he succeed; the formula is never actually revealed to the audience. This fact is mocked in the Krusty Krab Training Video episode, where the episode cuts off before the video reveals the recipe. Plankton's computer wife, Karen, alternately helps him in his schemes or bickers with him.

Sandy Cheeks is another friend of SpongeBob. She is a squirrel that lives in an underwater dome in Bikini Bottom. She was sent there to do research for her chimpanzee bosses. Sandy is from Texas, and speaks with a Texan accent. Sandy is an expert at karate. When not inside her tree-dome, she wears an astronaut-like suit because she cannot breathe in water. Sandy hibernates once a year.

Instead of cars, the residents of Bikini Bottom drive boats, known as "boatmobiles". SpongeBob is still in boating school after failing the driving test over seventy-two times.

SettingEdit

File:BikiniBottomTNL.JPG

SpongeBob and his friends live in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. Bikini Bottom is like a regular city with a downtown, suburbs, coastal areas, its own airport, bus system, and fair park. Stephen Hillenburg said once that Bikini Bottom was loosely based on Seattle, Washington.Template:Fact An example of this statement is in the episode "Pre-Hibernation Week". Sandy and SpongeBob were fighting on a tall structure called the Sea Needle, referring to the Space Needle, a tall structure in Seattle. Hillenburg has said that he wants to leave the location of Bikini Bottom to the imagination, claiming that the Baywatch scene from the movie was just a reference to his favorite show of all time.

Bikini Bottom is a city that is the main setting of the series, located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean,[2] It is where the series' main characters live and where most of the episodes take place. The city consists of various businesses, including restaurants, stores, and manufacturers. The city has a stable economy, balanced education and health systems, a structured government, and a firm law enforcement system. There are even stadiums, amusement parks, and other recreational facilities.

Bikini Bottom's geography is shown as consisting of mountains, dense forests, lakes, lagoons, caves, grasslands, reefs, rivers, and barren desert wastelands.

The city is divided by its main road, Conch Street, which runs from downtown and past the homes of SpongeBob, Squidward, and Patrick, through the Krusty Krab, the Chum Bucket and the Reef Theatre cinema. The road intersects with Barnacle Road and Coral Avenue. Anchor Way is not far off from Conch Street. Conch Street runs north-south as revealed in the SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom video game. Downtown Bikini Bottom is located in the northernmost point of the city, while SpongeBob, Squidward, and Patrick's House are on the southern part of the road. Goo Lagoon is located west of the road, while Jellyfish Fields is to the east. Other establishments are located more southerly, including Sandy's house, Shady Shoals retirement home, the Krusty Krab, the Chum Bucket, and the Movie Theater. The Kelp Forest is located more southerly.

In the center of Bikini Bottom, the citizens work and live in large, gray buildings made of metal. There are some other forms of buildings, mostly aquatic-themed as seen above. Further out from the town citizens need to use whatever is available and easy to live in, such as Patrick's rock, SpongeBob hollowed-out pineapple, and the Easter Island Head Squidward lives in.

InhabitantsEdit

Bikini Bottom's populace, like that of the rest of the series, consists of various anthropomorphic fish, whales, crabs, sponges, squid, starfish, anchovies, lobsters, sharks, and most other forms of sea life, including sea monsters. Some forms of sea life, like jellyfish, seahorses, snails, and worms aren't anthropomorphic, and are treated like pets or wild animals. For example, snails resemble cats, and worms resemble dogs. The first known land creature to live in Bikini Bottom was the Dark Knight, an ancestor of Sandy Cheeks, before the 12th century. Sandy is the only land creature seen living in modern Bikini Bottom. Land creatures like humans, bugs and birds are scarcely seen. Inhabitants of Bikini Bottom are called "Bikini Bottomites".

HistoryEdit

The history of Bikini Bottom can be traced back to the Permian period. During a time-travel incident, Squidward accidentally invents the sport of jellyfishing. Years later, SpongeGar, Patar, and Squog, ancestors of SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward, discover fire.

File:BikiniBottomshire.JPG

In the Medieval Era, Bikini Bottomshire is under the rule of King Krabs, ancestor of Mr. Krabs, and is under attack by the evil wizard, Planktonomor, ancestor of Plankton. SpongeBob and Patrick are transported to this time after a jousting accident, which fulfills a prophecy. Princess Pearl, the daughter of King Krabs, is kidnapped by Planktonomor's fire-breathing jellyfish, and taken hostage at Planktonomore's tower. Fulfilling the prophecy, SpongeBob and Patrick save Princess Pearl and defeat Planktonomor. Later, during a parade celebrating SpongeBob and Patrick's heroic deeds, King Krabs invents the Krabby Patty, which would be passed down through the Krabs family, the formula being kept secret.

Somewhere around the 18th century in Old West, one of Plankton's ancestor, Dead-Eye Plankton, takes over Bikini Gulch and renames it Dead-Eye Gulch. A big, western-style show down happens between Dead-Eye Plankton, and SpongeBob's ancestor, SpongeBuck SquarePants.

On November 30, 1942, Eugene Krabs was born, along with the birth-friend, Sheldon Plankton. In his childhood, he is discovered as a financial genius. Soon, he went to Poseidon Elementary. The two opened up a restaurant but an argument began between them and they became bitter rivals. Mr. Krabs fell into a deep depression, which seemed endless; however, a bankrupt retirement home, gave him hope. Mr. Krabs decided to buy the building and rename it, marking the establishment of the Krusty Krab. The financial success of the Krusty Krab took off and became a premier eating establishment in Bikini Bottom.

In the present time, Bikini Bottom has had various occurrences of destruction. In "Dying for Pie", a bomb pie falls on Squidward's face, causing a nuclear explosion. In "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", an Alaskan Bull Worm strikes Bikini Bottom, making Sandy hunt it down. Bikini Bottom is moved away, but the worm crushes it. In "Wormy", while Sandy is out of town, SpongeBob and Patrick release a butterfly out of fear. They proceed to cause mass hysteria that leads to the city's destruction. Global warming also takes effect in the short "The Endless Summer." Another atomic explosion occurs in "The Krusty Plate" when SpongeBob decides to clean with his "nuclear cleaning gun" on maximum power. It is revealed in the episode, WhoBob WhatPants? that Bikini Bottom's population is 738.

EntertainmentEdit

In Bikini Bottom, entertainment contributes to the social interaction within the city. The Krusty Krab houses shows such as The Annual Squidward Tentacles Talent Show, a weekly talent show, and The Komedy Krab, a comedy show. The city has a popular cinema, The Reef, but it is destroyed in the episode "Something Smells". Bikini Bottom also has many forms of media, such as news, magazines, radio, and television that contribute to Bikini Bottom's wide spread of news and entertainment. The city paper is called the Bikini Times. It features the regular news, as well as daily comics. There is another newspaper that is called the Bikini Bottom Inquirer, a parody of The National Inquirer. There also are boy bands and rock bands; the first being Boys Who Cry, a parody of The Cure's single "Boys Don't Cry"; Stingray 5000, a possible parody of Powerman 5000, who had released a record entitled "You Rock My Clams"; and Ned and the Needlefish.

Krusty KrabEdit

The Krusty Krab, owned by Eugene H. Krabs, is the most popular restaurant in Bikini Bottom. It has two main employees: SpongeBob SquarePants, the fry cook, and Squidward Tentacles, the cashier. Both employees have difficulties with working together: Squidward hates SpongeBob, and SpongeBob in turn exacerbates the situation by remaining completely naive toward Squidward's spiteful attitude. Originally there was a frycook named Jim who left on account of Mr. Krab's small salary. Sheldon J. Plankton, the owner of the Krusty Krab's rival restaurant, The Chum Bucket, is always trying to find out the mystery ingredients for the Krabby patty formula.

Like many buildings in the show, the Krusty Krab does not have a specific floor plan. In most episodes, however, the restaurant includes the main dining room with doors leading to Mr. Krabs' office, the kitchen, and a restroom. The building's exterior is based on a New England lobster trap. In the front, the Krusty Krab has a parking area, even though boats are usually not seen in it. In the back of the Krusty Krab, a dumpster is seen in most episodes. The Krusty Krab has regular hours from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm, but is closed on Sunday.

The food served at the Krusty Krab consists of its specialty, the world-famous Krabby Patty burgers, as well as several other options including Kelp Fries, a parody of french fries, Coral Bits, Dr. Kelp, a parody of Dr. Pepper soft drink, and Silly Meals, a parody of McDonald's happy meals. The menu is similar to that of Checkers Drive-In, McDonald's, Burger King, and Hungry Jack's. They have also sold Krusty Krab pizzas in "Pizza Delivery".[3]

Characters Edit

Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants characters
  • SpongeBob SquarePants — A very friendly and optimistic Sea Sponge that loves krabby patties, jellyfishing, karate, and blowing bubbles. He works at the Krusty Krab as the lone fry cook.
  • Patrick Star — SpongeBob's best friend; a dimwitted, pink starfish.
  • Squidward Tentacles — SpongeBob and Patrick's next door neighbor and SpongeBob's co-worker at the Krusty Krab, where he is the cashier. He hates both his neighbors and is not afraid to show it.
  • Sandy Cheeks — A clever squirrel and scientist from Texas. Sandy is able to live underwater in Bikini Bottom by wearing an air helmet and space suit. She is another best friend of SpongeBob.
  • Eugene H. Krabs — A crab who runs the Krusty Krab restaurant where SpongeBob works. He absolutely adores money, displaying miserly characteristics as well as being selfish and greedy, even to his daughter.
  • Pearl Krabs — Mr. Krabs's teenage daughter. She is a whale who acts like a stereotypical American teenage girl. Also she seems to be spoiled as her father both pampers and deprives her throughout the series.
  • Gary the Snail — SpongeBob's pet, his only sound is a "meow" like that of a cat. In fact, snails in Bikini Bottom are analogous to cats, just as worms are to dogs and jellyfish are to insects.
  • Sheldon J. Plankton - A small and evil plankton who runs the Chum Bucket, a rival competitor to the Krusty Krab even though it receives no customers. He is also Mr. Krabs arch rival, intent on getting the secret Krabby Patty formula to put the Krusty Krab out of business. Many episodes revolve around his plots to do this. But, the episode "friend or foe" makes it hard to tell if Plankton and Mr. Krabs are friends or foe.
  • Mrs. Puff — A pufferfish that is SpongeBob's boating teacher. Mrs. Puff dislikes SpongeBob and is eager to get him out of her class. She usually gets in to jail after SpongeBob's foolish acts. A widow, her husband was captured and turned into a pufferfish lamp.
  • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy — Elderly, retired superheroes who are adored by SpongeBob, Patrick and members of the "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy" Fan Club.
  • Karen - Plankton's computer wife. She often aides her husband in devising plans to steal the secret formula.
  • Patchy the Pirate is a non-animated pirate played by Tom Kenny. He hosts all of the 30-minute SpongeBob specials, such as House Party and The Lost Episode.

Popularity Edit

SpongeBob SquarePants is the only cartoon to consistently make the Top 10 list in the Nielsen ratings, and is the first "low budget" Nickelodeon cartoon, according to the network, to become extremely popular. Low-budget cartoons had not garnered as much esteem as higher-rated, higher-budgeted shows, such as Rugrats, although when SpongeBob SquarePants aired in 1999, it had gained a significant enough number of viewers in the ratings to be considered popular, eventually becoming more popular than Rugrats had ever been. SpongeBob follows other Nickelodeon shows that have attracted "older" followers: The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko's Modern Life, the Kablam! skits, Action League Now! and The Angry Beavers. Other shows have followed in this trend as well: Invader Zim and The Fairly OddParents won a similar fan base when they aired in 2001, and the latter is now second only to SpongeBob in popularity, while the former was cancelled despite gaining a cult following. The show debuted in 1999, and during that time, Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon were still the biggest crazes. SpongeBob did not gain its popularity until around 2000, and it has remained popular since then. It has achieved the "Great" rating on tv.com, with a 8.7 rating, the third best rating in Nickelodeon, the first being Avatar: The Last Airbender with a rating of 9.3 and the second being The Fairly OddParents with a rating of 8.8. Template:Fact

Broad appeal Edit

SpongeBob is one in a long line of cartoons that is designed to appeal to adults as well as children. This has a lot to do with the absurd way underwater life and situations are represented, and with the situations, references, and words used, which younger viewers might not understand. Certain innuendos also are intended to go over younger viewers' heads.[4] For example, SpongeBob tried to show his grandma that he was a mature adult by wearing sideburns and a derby, and listening to free form jazz or when Squidward tricked SpongeBob and Patrick into thinking he was a ghost, a coral reef sculpted like Toulouse-Lautrec's can-can girls stands in the background are jokes most children would not understand. Numerous marine biology in-jokes are woven into the show. There are also many water jokes made. The most common one is the one in which you set a fire under the sea.

Part of the show's appeal has to do with the childlike nature of SpongeBob and his best friend, Patrick Star, both of whom are adults but display an innocence typical of human children. However, the characters are not immune from more adult avocations, including rock musicianship in a stadium performance and raising children.

Unlike other Nickelodeon shows, SpongeBob features well-known independent musicians who contribute to its soundtrack. Alternative rock bands such as Wilco, The Shins, The Flaming Lips and Ween, as well as metal bands Pantera, Motörhead and Twisted Sister have made appearances on the show and movies soundtracks, and heavy metal group Metallica even released a T-shirt featuring cartoon versions of themselves playing live with the characters SpongeBob and Patrick. British rock singer David Bowie was a special guest on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Atlantis SquarePantis, which aired on November 12, 2007.[5] The episode drew total 8.8 million viewers, the biggest audience in the show's eight-year history.[5]

The TV movie Atlantis SquarePantis referenced numerous other movies or stories. David Bowie's character Lord Royal Highness and the locals looked remarkably like the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine. When the characters arrived at his habitat, he fell down as he proceeded down the red carpet, similar to what Willy Wonka did in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, before leading them on a tour. A case can also be made for the yellow road used in the tour and a reference to The Wizard of Oz - along with the movie being a musical.

The show became so popular with adolescents and adults that the series was broadcast on MTV and featured on Spike TV. A quote by Patrick, "It's gonna rock!" from the episode Mid-Life Crustacean, has been used as a promotional tag-line for rock stations.Template:Fact Ren and Stimpy, among others, had followed a similar path. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie features a cameo appearance by actor David Hasselhoff, in a parody of his role from the Baywatch TV series.

Merchandising and marketing Edit

Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants merchandise
File:Lexington Barbecue Festival - Spongebob.jpg

Merchandise based on the show ranges from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Go-Gurt, Kellogg's cereal, and video games to boxer shorts, flip-flops, pajamas, t-shirts, slippers and radios.

The show also spawned a large and popular merchandise line at Hot Topic, Claire's, Waldenbooks, Borders Books, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, KB Toys, Big Lots, Wal-Mart, Shopko, Meijer, Kmart, Sears, JCPenney, Kohl's, Lowe's, T.J. Maxx, Toys "R" Us and Ames stores in the United States as well as the Zellers, Wal-Mart Canada and Toys "R" Us stores in Canada, and a limited selection of merchandise in Australia at Kmart Australia and Target Australia.

There have been kids meal tie-ins at Wendy's for "SpongeBob's House Party Special" in 2002 and at Burger King restaurants in 2001, 2003, and for the movie in 2004. In 2006, another kids meal tie-in for Burger King was introduced for the "Lost in Time" special, and in 2007 for the "Friend or Foe" special featuring BK Chicken Fries designed to look like SpongeBob. In November 2007, a Burger King Kids Meal was released to tie-in with the new episode "Atlantis SquarePantis". The most recent tie-in kids meal for Burger King features "Pest of the West" toys.

A McDonald's Happy Meal tie-in with SpongeBob-themed Happy Meal boxes and toys has not been released in North America yet, but was released in Europe in the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and also in Australia in early 2007 at about the same time a Catscratch Happy Meal was released in the United States and Canada.Template:Fact In Australia, the advertisement for the McDonald's SpongeBob Happy Meal won the Pester Power Award for the fact that the ads are enticing young children to want its food because of the free toy.Template:Fact

In Japan, they had a kids meal tie-in with KFC which featured different toys based on the TV series.[6]Template:Dead link

SpongeBob was also featured on VH1's I Love the 90s: Part Deux: I Love 1999: Part Deux as part of a commentary by Michael Ian Black and "Weird Al" Yankovic among other celebrities.

As a tie-in beverage for the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, 7-Eleven convenience stores created a pineapple-flavored Slurpee in 2004, which was discontinued in 2005.

Events in the past with the SpongeBob SquarePants theme include an exhibit at Underwater Adventures Aquarium in the Mall of America called SeaCrits of Bikini Bottom during the summer of 2003. In October 2004, a NASCAR Busch Series race was named The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300, presented by Lowe's and broadcast on TNT featuring Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's stock car and Kyle Busch's #5 stock car painted for the race with the SpongeBob Movie paint schemes. There were contests tied in with the movie where fans could win SpongeBob-related items or a trip to the Cayman Islands.

File:Db 2008 SpongeBob61.jpg

The motion simulator/interactive movie ride "Escape from Dino-Island 3D" at Six Flags Over Texas was turned into "SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D", with water squirts, real bubbles, and other sensory enhancements. The SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D ride opened at the Noah's Ark Dive-In Theater located at Noah's Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin in the summer of 2007. LEGO received license to produce SpongeBob SquarePants building sets, which are available in stores now. SpongeBob appears at the Mall of America's new Nickelodeon theme park re-branded from the Mall of America's Park at MOA, formerly Camp Snoopy, to Nickelodeon Universe in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota. The new theme park features a SpongeBob-themed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter custom roller coaster, the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge, which has replaced the Mystery Mine Ride and Olde Time Photo store on the west end of the theme park next to the Dora the Explorer ferris wheel and across from the Pepsi Orange Streak. The theme park opened March 15, 2008. The SpongeBob Rock Bottom plunge features a statue of SpongeBob and Patrick riding a bus down a 90° angle holding a giant rubber glove.

In 2007, some new high-end SpongeBob-themed electronics have been introduced by Imation Electronics Products under the Npower brand, such as MP3 players, digital cameras, a DVD player, and a flatscreen television.[7]

Other items featuring SpongeBob include a special edition Monopoly board game, Life and Operation board game as well as a SpongeBob SquarePants edition of Ants in the Pants and Yahtzee. SEGA Corporation introduced a ticket redemption game based on the show that has become popular with most video arcades.[8]Template:Dead link

Pictures of SpongeBob SquarePants also started to appear on the labels of 8 oz. cans of Green Giant cut green beans and frozen packages of Green Giant green beans and butter sauce which featured free stickers in 2007 as part of an initiative to get kids to eat their vegetables. [9]

The SpongeBob SquarePants market saturation has become something of a joke. In the comic strip "Sherman's Lagoon", Hawthorne the crab is showing off a small Junior nuclear reactor, and Herman the shark says "Boy, that SpongeBob will endorse anything!"

When the complete first season of SpongeBob SquarePants was released in the United Kingdom, it included some heavy editing. The audio commentaries were cut out, and only two extras were left in, possibly to avoid a 12 rating. A similar approach was taken with the second season; it included no audio commentaries and only one extra, "Around the World with SpongeBob SquarePants".

A SpongeBob SquarePants 2009 calendar has been released featuring the caption on the bottom right corner of the front cover, "Celebrating his 10th Anniversary!", which will be on May 1 and July 17, 2009 respectively.[10]

HistoryEdit

Development (1993 – 1999)Edit

SpongeBob's history can be traced back to 1993 when Rocko's Modern Life first aired. One of the producers was Stephen Hillenburg, a cartoon worker/marine biologist who loved both his careers. When Rocko's Modern Life was canceled in 1996, Hillenburg began working on SpongeBob, although sketches trace back to 1987.Template:Fact He teamed up with creative director Derek Drymon, who had worked on shows such as Doug, Action League Now!, and Hey Arnold!. Drymon had worked with Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life as well, as did many SpongeBob crew members, including writer-directors Sherm Cohen and Dan Povenmire, writer Tim Hill, voice actors Tom Kenny and Doug Lawrence, actor-writer Martin Olson and animation director Alan Smart. Another crew member with previous Nickelodeon cartoon experience was former Angry Beavers story editor Merriwether Williams, who worked on that show for its first few seasons and switched to SpongeBob in July 1999.

During production of the show, Bobson provided a concept of short comics with the same style of the show, but the characters looked different. SpongeBob used to be named SpongeBoy,[11] and used to wear a red hat with a green base and a white business shirt with a tie. The name "SpongeBoy" did not make it into the show since the name was already officially trademarked by Bob Burden, creator of Flaming Carrot. Hillenburg later chose the alternative name "SpongeBob". The original name was once referenced in the show by Mr. Krabs' line, "SpongeBoy, me Bob!." The Krusty Krab was originally spelled with the letter C rather than K, but Stephen Hillenburg thought Ks were funnier and it would fit his Ukrainian heritage.

Rise In Popularity (1999 - 2000)Edit

SpongeBob aired its first episode, "Help Wanted/Reef Blower/Tea at the Treedome", after the 1999 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. At this time, Rugrats was the most popular show on Nickelodeon and had already outlived dozens of other lower-budget cartoons. SpongeBob, with its generally lower-class animation and humor style more rooted in clever word-play and culture-references unlike the potty humor that made Rugrats so popular, was expected to be just another one of those shows. Following early struggles, its ratings soared, and a year after release, it surpassed Rugrats as Nickelodeon's highest rated show. SpongeBob's signature voice, provided by Tom Kenny, and humorous style was enjoyable to both younger and older audiences.

Peak years (2000 – 2003)Edit

The show began its second season in 2000 with more high-quality animation and even more popular episodes. By then it was clear to the world that SpongeBob had opened the door to many other cartoons to use more "adult" senses of humor and come from smaller companies. In 2001, The Fairly OddParents aired from the then-small Frederator company. It focused on a sense of humor similar to SpongeBob’s, only more realistic, slightly crazier and more suggestive to "adult" topics, and with more pop culture references; this show managed to become a hit as well and currently ranks behind SpongeBob as Nick's second most popular show. That same year, Invader Zim aired, created by comic book writer Jhonen Vasquez; it had a dark but silly sense of humor, similar to Vasquez's other comic books, that managed to attract a very loyal cult following consisting more of teens and adults than young children. SpongeBob, however, was the leader of all these shows and had by this time started its now famous merchandise line.

The first part of 2002 saw SpongeBob at its peak. The beginning of the third season produced many of classic episodes and focused on the same style and animation concepts as the second season.

Unfortunately, things changed late in the year. Due to rumors of a movie, there was high speculation that the show would be canceled and that 2002 would feature the last season of new episodes. Fans were devastated and online petitions were widely distributed to convince Nickelodeon to produce more episodes by showing continuing fan support. "SpongeBob Meets The Strangler/Pranks A Lot" was the last episode of this season, and aired in October 2004. It was also released on DVD at the end of 2003. Following this, the movie was released in November 2004.

Hiatus and movie era (2003 – 2005)Edit

A hiatus from 2003 to 2005 challenged viewer loyalty. This was before the program's lowest ratings with "Survival of the Idiots" on March 5, 2001 aired, causing speculation that the show might even be cancelled after the movie's release.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie earned over $85,000,000 in revenue in the United States, considered to be under-expectations. It was announced late in 2004 that SpongeBob would be continuing with a new season due in 2005. Hillenburg, despite the rumors, did not actually leave the show but has resigned from his position as the show's executive producer. The job now belongs to Derek Drymon, with Paul Tibbitt taking over Drymon's job as creative director.

Comeback (2005 – 2008)Edit

TV advertisements for SpongeBob's fourth season first aired publicly during the 2005 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The new episodes began airing on May 6, 2005. One noticeable difference between the earlier seasons and the new episodes is the voice of Spongebob himself. Although Tom Kenny still voices the character, from the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie forward, the voice of the main character is slightly different. Another difference in the new episode is the style of the animation. Although the new animation is more smooth and is technically superior, some fans did not like the change.

The first new episode of Season 4 was "Fear of a Krabby Patty"/"Shell of a Man". After airing three new episodes on Fridays from May 6 – May 20, Nickelodeon showed no new episodes until September 2005.

For the first time in the series' run, Nickelodeon began airing 11-minute segments of new episodes separately, spread over two weeks. This practice began with the airing of the episode "Selling Out" on September 23; its companion episode, "Funny Pants," premiered the following week. The Star Online eCentral reported in December 2005 that Nickelodeon had ordered 20 more episodes, bringing the show’s total to 100.[12]

Nickelodeon aired the special "Have You Seen This Snail?" in November 2005. However, it was not until February 2006 that new episodes resumed, starting with "Dunces and Dragons" and continuing until June 2, 2006. Further new episodes appeared during September 2006 ("New Leaf" and "Once Bitten"), and November ("The Best Day Ever" and "Wigstruck") — drawing 6.7 million viewers — the Best Day Ever was a 25-hour 100-episode SpongeBob TV event ending with the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie although the Nickelodeon narrator made a goof about the marathon being 24 hours instead of the actual 25 hours. Fans voted for Karate Island as the most popular SpongeBob episode. In December 2006, SpongeBob SquarePants was approved for a sixth season, which consisted of thirteen episodes, unlike the usual twenty.[13]

The new episodes in 2007 started airing on January 15, showing three new episodes back to back on February 19, 2007, officially beginning the airing of the fifth season which featured more potty humor than previously shown. On July 23, 2007 Nickelodeon aired a special event, called the "SpongeBob New-New-New-New-New Week" in which from Monday to Friday, a new episode of season five would air. This continued until the end of the second week.

On November 12, 2007 SpongeBob's first TV movie, "Atlantis SquarePantis" premiered, after a SpongeBob marathon. A behind the scenes feature aired after the movie. Also, on November 23, 2007, there was another SpongeBob marathon including a rerun of Atlantis SquarePantis and four new episodes as part of a Nickelodeon Thanksgiving event. The event also named the "Sweet Victory" scene in "Band Geeks" as the greatest moment in Nicktoons history.

On March 13, 2008, it was announced that SpongeBob SquarePants will have an additional thirty-nine episodes, which includes the remaining episodes of season six, and a season seven.[14][15][16] There is still an episode from the fifth production season which has yet to air.

Ongoing Seasons (2008 – Present)Edit

Season six officially premiered with five new 11-minute episodes airing in a marathon from March 3 to March 7, 2008. This premiere week was advertised as, "SpongeBob Gimmie 5 Week". In April 2008, another SpongeBob special, "Pest of the West", aired after a marathon of SpongeBob episodes, chosen by voters in the previous weeks. Burger King had a special line of Kids Meal toys for the event, and it was released to DVD shortly thereafter. From June 2 to June 6, 2008, Nickelodeon aired a SpongeBob SquarePants marathon entitled SpongeBob Premiere Factor 5 (SPF5), in which a new 11 minute segment would be shown each day. Another premiere week aired from August 4 to August 8, Nick aired a 5 new Spongebob marathon entitle Bikini Bottom Confidential, which a new 11 minute segment would be shown each day.

On October 13, 2008, Nickelodeon aired another SpongeBob special, advertised as, "WhoBob WhatPants?". But the episode is titled, "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?". The theme song's lyrics were rearranged to be "WhoBob, WhatPants", rather then the usual "SpongeBob SquarePants." From November 26 to 30, 2008, Nickelodeon is returning SuperStuffed Nicktoons Weekend. On Friday, November 28, 2008, seven brand new episodes aired.

As of yet, no announcements have been made for an eighth season, or for his 10th anniversary.

CastEdit

Guest appearancesEdit

CrewEdit

Name Position Years
Steven Banks Head Writer 2004 – present
Steven Belfer Music
Mike Bell Writer/Storyboard Director 2005 – present
Peter Burns Writer 1999 – present
Nicholas Carr Music
Bradley Carow Music
Sherm Cohen Storyboard Supervisor/Artist, Writer, Director
Sean Dempsey Animation Director
Derek Drymon Writer 1999 – present
Storyboard Artist 1999 – present
Creative Director 1999 - 2005
Story Editor
Executive Producer 2005 - present
Steven Fonti Writer/Storyboard Director 1999
C.H. Greenblatt Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director 2000-2006 (left the show to work on Chowder on Cartoon Network)
Sage Guyton Music
Sam Henderson Writer, Storyboard Director
Tim Hill Writer
Stephen Hillenburg Creator 1999 – present
Executive Producer 1999 – 2005
Writer 1999 – present
Storyboard Director 1999 – present
Kaz Writer, Storyboard Artist
Chuck Klein Writer, Storyboard Artist & Director
Doug Lawrence Writer, Story Editor
Jay Lender Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director
John Magness Storyboard Artist
Heather Martinez Storyboard Artist
Chris Mitchell Writer, Storyboard Artist 1999
Caleb Muerer Storyboard Artist
Mark O'Hare Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director
Andrew Overtoom Animation Director
Andy Rheingold Executive in Charge of Production
Ted Seko Storyboard Artist
Alan Smart Animation Director 1999 – present
Aaron Springer Writer/Storyboard Artist & Director
Jimmy Stone Animation Director
Paul Tibbitt Writer/Storyboard Director/Supervising Producer/Creative Director
Co-Executive Producer
2004 – present
2006 – present
Brad Vandergrift Storyboard Artist
Jeremy Wakefield Music
Vincent Waller Writer/Storyboard Artist & Director/Technical Director (2005 – present)
Frank Weiss Animation Director
Erik Wiese Writer/Storyboard Artist
David Wigforss Special Effects (CG visual effects animator)
Merriwether Williams Story Editor/Writer
Tom Yasumi Animation Director
Oliver Truby Storyboard Artist Supervisor

DVD Releases Edit

DVD Name Ep # Release dates Additional Features
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season 1 41 October 28, 2003 November 7, 2005 November 30, 2006 This three disc boxset includes the 41 episodes from Season 1.
Season 2 39 October 19, 2004 October 23, 2006 November 30, 2006 This three disc boxset includes the 39 episodes from Season 2.
Season 3 37 September 27, 2005 December 3, 2007 November 8, 2007 This three disc boxset includes the 37 episodes from Season 3 as well as the pilot episode for the series.
Season 4
Volume 1
20 September 12, 2006 November 3, 2008 TBA This two disc boxset includes the first 18 episodes from Season 4.
Season 4
Volume 2
20 January 9, 2007 November 3, 2008 TBA This two disc boxset includes the last 20 episodes from Season 4.
Season 5
Volume 1
20 September 4, 2007 TBA TBA This two disc boxset includes the first 20 episodes from Season 5.
Season 5
Volume 2
21 November 18, 2008 TBA TBA On July 28, Nickelodeon and Paramount announced that SpongeBob SquarePants: Season 5, Vol. 2 will be released on 11/18/08. It will contain 21 episodes over two DVDs. The specific episodes included hasn't yet been announced. Extras will include original animatics, music videos, and a "Spongebob underwater talk show".

Awards Edit

Year Association Award Category Notes Result
2000 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Music Episodes: "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" and "Pickles" Won
2000 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Sound Episode: "Karate Choppers" Won
2001 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Female Performer in an Animated Television Production Mary Jo Catlett as Mrs. Puff in "No Free Rides" Nominated
2001 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production Tom Kenny as SpongeBob in "Wormy" Nominated
2001 Annie Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement for a Song in an Animated Production Peter Straus and Paul Tibbitt for the song "The Very First Christmas" Nominated
2001 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Sound Episodes: "Rock Bottom" and "Arrgh" Won
2001 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Music Episodes: "Fools In April" and "Neptune's Spatula" Nominated
2002 Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) Nominated
2002 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television - Animation Episodes: "Secret Box" and "Band Geeks" Won
2002 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Music Episodes: "Jellyfish Hunter" and "The Fry Cook Games" Nominated
2002 Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming Won
2003 Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) Episodes: "New Student Starfish" and "Clams" Nominated
2003 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Music Episodes: "Wet Painters" and "Krusty Krab Training Video" Won
2003 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation Episodes: "Nasty Patty" and "Idiot Box" Won
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Won
2004 Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) Episode: "SpongeBob B.C. (Before Comedy)" Nominated
2004 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Music Episodes: "The Great Snail Race" and "Mid-Life Crustacean". Won
2004 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television Animation — Music Episode: "Mid-Life Crustacean". Nominated
2004 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Won
2005 Annie Awards Best Animated Television Production Won
2005 Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) Episodes: "Fear of a Krabby Patty" and "Shell of a Man" Nominated
2005 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television: Animated Episodes: "Pranks A Lot" and "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler" Nominated
2005 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Won
2005 Satellite Awards Best Youth DVD Complete Second Season DVD Nominated
2005 Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming Nominated
2006 Annie Awards Best Writing in an Animated Television Production C.H. Greenblatt, Paul Tibbitt, Mike Bell, and Tim Hill in "Fear of a Krabby Patty" Won
2006 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television: Animated Episode: "Have You Seen This Snail?" Nominated
2006 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Won
2007 Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) Episodes: "Bummer Vacation" and "Wigstruck" Nominated
2007 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Won
2007 Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Children's Programming Nominated[17]
2008 Annie Awards Best Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production Tom Kenny in "Spy Buddies" Nominated
2008 Golden Reel Award Best Sound Editing in Television: Animated Episode: "SpongeHenge" Nominated
2008 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Cartoon Nominated
2008 Emmy Awards Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour) Episodes: "The Inmates of Summer" and "The Two Faces of Squidward" Nominated

Episodes and media releases Edit

Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes

Episodes:

Season Episodes First Airdate Last Airdate
Season 1 20 May 1, 1999 April 8, 2000
Season 2 20 October 26, 2000 September 6, 2002
Season 3 20 October 5, 2001 October 11, 2004
Season 4 20 May 6, 2005 July 24, 2007
Season 5 20 February 19, 2007 TBA
Season 6 20 March 3, 2008 TBA
Season 7 TBA TBA TBA

Films:

Title Release Date Note Length
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie November 19, 2004 Theatrical Movie 3-Part
Atlantis SquarePantis November 12, 2007 TV Movie 2-Part


ControversiesEdit

In 2005, SpongeBob appeared in a Sister Sledge video with other cartoon characters. Some right wing groups in the USA attacked the video as promoting homosexuality.[18] SpongeBob is seen as an icon for adult gay men in the US because he regularly holds hands with his friend, Patrick.[19] However Stephen Hillenburg states SpongeBob is not gay and he is asexual.[20]

ShortsEdit

  • Astrology With Squidward
  • Patrick the Snowman
  • Plankton's Holiday Hits
  • How The You-Know-Who Stole You-Know-What!
  • 12 Days of Nickmas
  • The Endless Summer[21]
  • A Random Act of SpongeBob- promotion for The Best Day Ever. These shorts were broadcasted during promos. They can now be seen on the SpongeBob Season Four Volume 2 DVD Box Set.
  • The Foe-Gotten Years- promotional shorts for "Friend or Foe?"
  • Journey to Atlantis by Vantis- promotional shorts for "Atlantis SquarePantis".
  • Pest of the West Shorts- Promotion for Pest of the West. Shorts feature: "Saloon Door Sarrows" Parodie of an old short film from the 1910s. It shows SpongeBob’s great, great, great, etc. Grandfather, SpongeBuck trying to get into a saloon, but the doors will not open. "How to be a Tough Guy" SpongeBob wants to learn how to be a tough cowboy. And "Spur Skates" a parody on most commercials and a parody of roller skates.
  • What if SpongeBob were Gone?- promotional shorts where Sandy, Pactrick, and Mr. Krabs try to do things when SpongeBob is gone missing.

MusicEdit

  • The SpongeBob SquarePants theme song is primarily based on the sea shanty, "Blow the Man Down". It is sung by Painty the Pirate, voiced by Patrick Pinney, and can be found on the soundtrack SpongeBob SquarePants: Original Theme Highlights. This song is popularly misattributed to "Weird Al" Yankovic. A cover of the song by Avril Lavigne can be found on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (soundtrack). Another cover by the Violent Femmes, which aired as a commercial on Nickelodeon to promote Season 2, can be viewed in the special features of the Nautical Nonsense/Sponge Buddies DVD. A choral version was recorded for the SpongeBob Christmas special where the last repetition of "SpongeBob SquarePants" was replaced by, "It's the SpongeBob Christmas special." The theme song is occasionally utilized as marching cadence. An instrumental version of the opening theme is used in Italy. [22]
  • Traditional sea shanties are used for the musical themes in the show. Most commonly used is that of "Drunken Sailor". In the episode "Krusty Krab Training Video," a young Eugene Krabs is shown walking to a soda vending machine, la-laing the shanty "Blow the Man Down." Various songs used in SpongeBob SquarePants come from the Associated Production Music library, some of which have also been used in shows such as The Simpsons,Ren & Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, The X Factor, Camp Lazlo, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Bill Nye The Science Guy, and The Adventures of Pete and Pete. For competition-based episodes, some of Sam Spence's NFL Films music is used (such as "A Golden Boy Again" used in episodes such as The Fry Cook Games and "Ramblin' Man from Gramblin" is used in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V. "The Lineman" is also used extensively in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episodes.) Ironically, one of Spence's more famous songs for the NFL Films library of music is an orchestral version of "Drunken Sailor" called "Up She Rises", first suggested by Steven Sabol to his father Ed because he liked the song at summer camp.
  • Also used to great comedic and dramatic effect in the show, is Hawaiian steel guitar music. Various compositions featuring the Hawaiian steel convey happy, sad, or goofy emotions and situations. Many are traditional Hawaiian melodies such as "Aloha 'Oe" and are performed by classic steel guitar artists.
  • A number of songs are written and recorded by surf instrumental guitar-based rock bands, including The Woodies and The Langhorns. The MelTones' songs "Kung Fu Saturdays," "Polynesian Adventure" and "Rocket Sled To Oahu" were used in the series. The Surfdusters' songs "Henpecker", "Dementia" and "Kona Angel" were also used in the series.
  • In the episode "Prehibernation Week," the music is played by the heavy metal band Pantera. Whenever SpongeBob does something dangerous, the music starts playing. The opening credits have a shot that reads "Special musical guests Pantera".
  • The guitarist Newton Faulkner sometimes plays SpongeBob SquarePants in his set and has even invented a Jungle version: JungleBob.
  • The episode "SpongeBob B.C." features background music including a track best known to British viewers as the theme to 1970s TV sitcom Terry and June. The music was written by John Shakespeare, a former member of 1960s pop group The Ivy League.
  • The episode "Band Geeks" ends with a shortened version of the song "Sweet Victory", which was written and performed by David Glen Eisley and Bob Kulick.

MagazineEdit

In the United Kingdom, a SpongeBob SquarePants magazine is currently being published by Titan Magazines every four weeks. It was first published on February 3, 2005. The issue published on February 1, 2007 was the second anniversary of the magazine. The magazine contains comic strips, fan letters, competitions and several features including games.

Channel details Edit

Country Channel Title
Template:Flagicon United States Nickelodeon, Nicktoons Network SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon Canada YTV, VRAK.TV SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon Germany Super RTL, Nickelodeon SpongeBob Schwammkopf (SpongeBob SpongeHead)
Template:Flagicon Japan Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network スポンジ・ボブ (SpongeBobu)
Template:Flagicon France Nickelodeon, Télétoon Bob l'éponge (Bob the Sponge)
Template:Flagicon Indonesia Global TV SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon Malaysia TV9, Astro-Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Italy Italia 1, Nickelodeon SpongeBob
Template:Flagicon Netherlands Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon Belgium Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon United Kingdom Nickelodeon, Nicktoons SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon Australia Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon El Salvador Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Brazil Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Russia Nickelodeon, TNT Губка Боб Квадратные Штаны
Template:Flagicon Denmark Nickelodeon SvampeBob Firkant
Template:Flagicon Sweden Nickelodeon SvampBob Fyrkant
Template:Flagicon Finland Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon United Arab Emirates Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Pakistan Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Philippines Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Thailand Nickelodeon, Nick on TV5
Template:Flagicon Singapore Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Hong Kong Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Macau Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon India Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Bangladesh Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Sri Lanka Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon Vietnam Nickelodeon
Template:Flagicon South Korea Nickelodeon EBS 네모네모 스펀지송; 보글보글 스폰지밥
Template:Flagicon New Zealand Nickelodeon SpongeBob SquarePants
Template:Flagicon Spain Nickelodeon Bob Esponja
Template:Flagicon Portugal Nickelodeon Bob Esponja Calças Quadradas
Template:Flagicon Turkey CNBC-e SüngerBob KareŞort
Template:Flagicon Greece Star Channel Μπομπ Σφουγγαράκης (Bob Sfougarakis)
Template:Flagicon Mexico Nickelodeon Bob Esponja
Template:Flagicon Iceland Stöð 2, MTV Europe Svampur Sveinsson

FootnotesEdit

  • Template:Fnb The episodes are numbered by when they are aired, when two episodes (except for the specials) are aired at once, they both share the same number.

ReferencesEdit

Template:Reflist

External linksEdit

Template:Wikiquote


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