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SpongeBob SquarePants (born July 14, 1986) is the eponymous character of the Nickelodeon animated comedy SpongeBob SquarePants. He was designed by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg, and is voiced by Tom Kenny. SpongeBob is a childish, eccentric sea sponge who lives in a pineapple in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. He works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, a job which he is exceptionally skilled at. SpongeBob is very immature and is a constant annoyance to those around him, but he is very good natured.

Character

SpongeBob is a sea sponge, but he is drawn to resemble a kitchen sponge, being rectangular and bright yellow. In earlier episodes, he is wider near the top and gets skinnier going further down, but in more recent episodes, he is a more regular square. SpongeBob has large blue eyes, a stubby nose, a large mouth with prominent front buck teeth, and dimples with three freckles on each cheek. He typically wears a white shirt with a red tie, black leather shoes with shoelaces, and brown rectangular pants with a black belt shown in episode: "I'm With Stupid". (the entire outfit is sometimes referred to as his "pants"), hence his name. While working at the Krusty Krab, he wears a tall, white hat with a small blue anchor on it as a uniform. SpongeBob sleeps with his street clothes on, including his shoes. Though SpongeBob has always been voiced by Tom Kenny, his voice has changed over the course of the series; his voice is lower than normal in the pilot episode "Help Wanted", and after the movie his voice gets slightly higher-pitched (and, as some fans say, more annoying).

SpongeBob is a very clueless, immature, and hyperactive character with a happy-go-lucky personality. He is an extremely determined person, and will often stop at nothing to accomplish a task. He is also somewhat dramatic to the people who are kind to him, escpecilly the mailfish when in Karate Island. He hugged the Mailfish and Mailfish says "Do we have to go through this every time I deliver you the mail?" He is also very over-confident and tends to make a big deal of small problems, such as losing his name tag in "Missing Identity". SpongeBob is very kind-hearted and innocent, and very rarely acts openly mean to anyone, even his enemies. He is a very selfless and loyal person, especially towards those close to him. His selfless nature is most notably shown in "Best Day Ever", where he sacrifices his "perfect day" to help his friends. Despite his well-meaning intentions, SpongeBob's actions often annoy and cause trouble for those around him, most notably his next-door neighbor, Squidward. SpongeBob's innocence also makes him overly trusting and very gullible, and he is easily manipulated by people who intend to use and/or harm him, such as Squidward, Mr. Krabs and Plankton. Even though he's generally good natured and easygoing, when frustrated and angered, Spongebob can be sarcastic, rude and 'foul-mouthed'to his friends, even Mr Krabs ( the one he usually respects). In Missing Identity, he is rude to Patrick all the time. The funny fact is, Squidward is the only character that Spongebob never insults when he's angry, and, strangely, the main character that SpongeBob rarely angry at, even though Squidward has the most antagonistic side to SpongeBob

Creation and development

Stephen Hillenburg intended to create a series about an over-optimistic sponge that annoys other characters. Hillenburg compared the concept to Laurel and Hardy and Pee-wee Herman. As he drew the character, he decided that a "squeaky-clean square" (like a kitchen sponge) fit the concept.[1]

The first concept sketch portrayed the character as wearing a red hat with a green base and a white business shirt with a tie. SpongeBob's look gradually progressed to brown pants that was used in the final design.[1] SpongeBob was designed to be a kid-like character who was goofy and optimistic in a style similar to that made famous by Jerry Lewis.[2]

Originally the character was to be named SpongeBoy but this name was already in use.[1] This was discovered after voice acting for the original seven minute pilot was recorded in 1997. The Nickelodeon legal department discovered that the name was already in use for a mop product.[3] Upon finding this out, Hillenburg decided that the character's given name still had to contain "Sponge" so viewers would not mistake the character for a "Cheese Man." Hillenburg decided to use the name "SpongeBob." He chose "SquarePants" as a family name as it referred to the character's square shape and it had a "nice ring to it".[4]

Although SpongeBob's driver's license says his birthdate is July 14, 1986, which would make the character 12 years old at the time of his debut appearance on May 1, 1999, Hillenburg joked that he is fifty in "sponge years". He explained that SpongeBob actually has no specific age, but that he is old enough to be on his own and still be going to boating school.[1] The decision to have SpongeBob attend a boat driving school was made due to a request from Nickelodeon that the character attend a school.[5]

SpongeBob is voiced by veteran voice actor Tom Kenny. Kenny previously worked with Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life, and when Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants, he approached Kenny to voice the character.[6] Hillenburg utilised Kenny's and other people's personalities to help create the personality of SpongeBob.[3]

The voice of SpongeBob was originally used by Kenny for a background character present in a crowd scene in Rocko's Modern Life. Kenny forgot the voice initially as he created it only for that single use. Hillenburg however remembered it when he was coming up with SpongeBob and used a video clip of the episode to remind Kenny of the voice.[3] Kenny says that SpongeBob's high pitched laugh was specifically aimed at being unique, stating that they wanted an annoying laugh in the tradition of Popeye and Woody Woodpecker.[7]

When SpongeBob SquarePants is broadcast in non-English languages, the voice actors Dubbing (filmmaking)|dubbing SpongeBob's voice use Tom Kenny's rendition of the character as a starting point but also add unique elements. For example the French version has SpongeBob with a slight Daffy Duck style lisp.[3]

Biography

According to his driver's license in the episodes "Sleepy Time" and "No Free Rides", SpongeBob was born on July 14, 1986. SpongeBob SquarePants lives with his pet snail Gary in a large pineapple-shaped house on 124 Conch Street, Bikini Bottom. His next-door neighbor, Squidward Tentacles, who lives in an Easter Island head, hates SpongeBob and is constantly annoyed by his antics. SpongeBob is oblivious to this, and believes Squidward to be his friend. Beside Squidward's house is the home of SpongeBob's best friend, Patrick Star, who literally lives under a rock.

SpongeBob works at the Krusty Krab, Bikini Bottom's most popular restaurant, where he is a fry cook and prepares all food served at the Krusty Krab, most notably Krabby Patties. The first episode of the series depicts SpongeBob applying for and being hired to this job. He says that it has been his lifelong dream to join the Krusty Krew, and that only now is he "ready". When he applies for the job, Squidward and Mr. Krabs, wanting no part of him, send him on a fool's errand for a "hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and turbo drive". While he it out searching for one, several hundred hungry anchovies arrive and overwhelm Squidward and Mr. Krabs. SpongeBob soon returns, having actually found a hydrodynamic spatula, and saves their lives by feeding the anchovies, showing off his amazing cooking skills in the process.

SpongeBob is not only extremely good at his job, being able to produce a Krabby Patty within seconds, but has a strong passion and an abnormal love for it; he enjoys his job more than any other activity, and is saddened whenever he cannot be at work. He also has a similar obsession with Krabby Patties themselves; he has on numerous occasions proclaimed them to be the best food in the world, and in "Just One Bite" and "Shuffleboarding", he is shocked and horrified to see one thrown away. Spongebob is one of the few characters to have fingers and the only main character to wear shoes.

SpongeBob's skills as a fry cook could accurately be described as superhuman; in episodes such as "Help Wanted" and "Employee of the Month", he is seen making them at rates of hundreds or even thousands per minute. He has won 374 consecutive Employee of the Month awards at the Krusty Krab. In "Friend or Foe", it is shown that SpongeBob, as an infant, made a perfect patty on his first attempt. In "Neptune's Spatula", he is able to pull the Golden Spatula from the grease, making him the "chosen one" of King Neptune. In that same episode, it is shown that the burgers made by Neptune himself are horrible compared to SpongeBob's.

Squidward, the restaurant's only other employee, runs the cashier and takes orders. Squidward is the polar opposite of SpongeBob; he hates his job (as well as the Krusty Krab itself) and performs it poorly. SpongeBob's and Squidward's boss, Eugene Krabs, is extremely greedy, selfish and abusive of his employees. He pays them extremely poorly, far below legal minimum wage, and is unhealthily obsessed with money. Despite this, SpongeBob is unquestioning of Mr. Krabs and looks up to him as an authority figure.

While not working, SpongeBob spends much of his time playing with his best friend, Patrick. Like SpongeBob, Patrick is childish, moronic and fun-loving. The two have known each other since early childhood, and are members of the "Best Friends Forever Club". Their usual activities include jellyfishing, bubble blowing, and various others. Their antics are of constant annoyance to their neighbour, Squidward, who has on numerous occasions been put in harm's way as a direct result of their actions. Despite Squidward openly hating SpongeBob and Patrick, they are completely oblivious to this and believe they are his best friends. SpongeBob and Patrick's favourite superheroes are Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, who they convinced to come out of retirement.


SpongeBob's other best friend is a squirrel from the surface named Sandy Cheeks, who wears a special suit and helmet to survive underwater. SpongeBob first met Sandy when he saw her wrestling a giant clam, which he helped her defeat. Sandy then invited SpongeBob to her home, an airtight terrarium known as the Treedome, and SpongeBob, not knowing what air is, accepts. When he comes to the Treedome and realizes that there is no water, he begins drying up and attempts to survive without water, telling himself that he doesn't need it and that "Water is for quitters!" Eventually, however, he gives in and starts panicking. Eventually, Sandy gives SpongeBob and Patrick bowls of water to wear over their heads, which they typically wear whenever they visit the Treedome.

Unlike Patrick, Sandy is very intelligent, both technologically and practically, but is tolerant of SpongeBob's stupidity and enjoys his company, and in some episodes, it is implied that Sandy has even raisen SpongeBob's intelligence considerably. They enjoy doing extreme sports together, most notably Karate. SpongeBob's skill in karate is shown to vary considerably between episodes; at times, he equals and even outmatches Sandy in skill, while at other times he is incompetent to the point where Sandy can send him flying a considerable distance with a single punch; in "Karate Island", Sandy openly states that her karate skills are better than SpongeBob's by "a country mile." SpongeBob has also, on various occasions, been hinted to have a crush on Sandy.

SpongeBob also attends Mrs. Puff's Boating School, where he is periodically tested for his driver's license. However, he becomes extremely nervous and reckless when behind the wheel of a boat, and has consistently failed his test countless times, often injuring Mrs. Puff and/or damaging the school in the process. According to the episode "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired", SpongeBob has failed the exam 1,258,056 times, and is the only person in the history of the school to ever fail it. In that same episode, Mrs. Puff describes SpongeBob as "unteachable". Despite his inability to drive a boat, SpongeBob has been shown to be able to drive/ride various other things, including a rock, a rocket ship, a sandwich and a submarine.

Although SpongeBob has several friends, and many of the citizens of Bikini Bottom often treat him quite friendly, most, if not all, citizens of Bikini Bottom have been shown to have some degree of dislike for him. In the episode "Gone", it is shown that a holiday called "National No SpongeBob Day" has been started by the citizens of Bikini Bottom. As its name suggests, it is an entire day dedicated to getting away from SpongeBob, where the people leave Bikini Bottom for the day. Even Patrick goes, stating that everyone needs at least one day away from SpongeBob's laughter. In the ceremony, they build a giant wooden effigy of SpongeBob, burn it down, dance on the ashes (though some, like Squidward, are actually shown kicking the ashes). SpongeBob is more honoured than insulted by this, as he was the "inspiration" for the holiday.

Sometimes, SpongeBob is a nudist. He is shown naked in Ripped Pants, Nature Pants, The Paper, Hooky, Pranks a Lot, All That Glitters, Rise and Shine, Overbooked, and Model Sponge. SpongeBob got nude when he wanted to live with the jellyfish in Nature Pants. And in Model Sponge, SpongeBob, got undressed when he's used in a sponge commercial. In Pranks a Lot, SpongeBob amd Patrick had to strip in order to use the invisible spray. In Overbooked, during the presentation, he is requested to undress and enter the machine. SpongeBob does so. He removes the gown from inside and leaving himself naked throughout the evening.

Abilities and talents

Like many other cartoon characters, SpongeBob has been shown to have numerous extraordinary abilities and attributes over the course of the series. Due to his soft, pliable frame, he is capable of shape shifting, has some degree of invulnerability, being able to absorb any type of physical impact, shown most notably in the episode "The Bully". In episodes such as "Graveyard Shift", it is shown that he can quickly regenerate parts of his body that are injured or removed. SpongeBob is usually shown to be boneless (sea sponges being invertebrates), but has been shown to have a skeleton in various episodes. Being a sponge, he is also absorbent, and can expand his body by absorbing liquids, as shown in episodes such as "Culture Shock", "Gary Takes a Bath" and "Squirrel Jokes". When he cries, he often re-absorbs his tears. Despite all of these abilities, SpongeBob is shown to be very weak physically; he uses stuffed animals as "weights" in his personal exercise room, and in "Ripped Pants", he struggles to lift a small wooden branch with marshmallows on the ends. His weakness is taken to an extreme in the episode "MuscleBob BuffPants", where he is unable to lift a drinking straw. However, like many aspects of the show, his strength (or lack, thereof) is highly inconsistent between episodes, and he has been shown to have considerable strength on various occasions, most notably in "The Fry Cook Games", where he is revealed to have an incredibly muscled body when he fights Patrick.

Spongebob also has some mastery of karate, but is always different in each episode. In some episodes, he is shown to be a highly skilled fighter, being able to equal or even outmatch Sandy on occasion. However, in most of the series, he is shown to only be playful with karate, as he is usually beaten by Sandy.

Despite his general idiocy, SpongeBob has been shown to be extremely talented in many fields, even sometimes having a super-human intellect. In fact, driving a boat is one of the few things Spongebob is bad at. When he puts his mind to a task, he can accomplish anything, such as in "SpongeHenge", where he spends ages constructing a circle of stone statues that produce a sound identical to his voice, simply to lure the jellyfish away from him. In "Squilliam Returns", he is able to become a master of fancy dining by removing everything from his mind except "fine dining and breathing". Thanks to his vivid imagination, SpongeBob has in various episodes been shown to be superior to Squidward as an artist, most notably in "Artist Unknown", where he effortlessly produces a perfect rendition of Michelangelo's David, adept with a shell to block his genatailia. SpongeBob also possesses a vast knowledge of subjects he is interested in, such as jellyfishing, Krabby Patties and their history, and boating (thanks to years of education in boating school). In episodes such as "Ripped Pants", "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" and, most notably, "Band Geeks", SpongeBob is shown to possess a fantastic singing voice. He uses a nose as a flute, which he is very good at.

Family

Main article: Squarepants Family

SpongeBob has many relatives, most notably his parents, who appear in several episodes. Unlike SpongeBob, who has the appearance of a kitchen sponge, most of SpongeBob's relatives, while still cartoony, resemble actual sea sponges, being round in shape and brownish in color.

In "SB-129", a robotic descendant of SpongeBob named "SpongeTron" is seen, as well as a primitive ancestor. "Ugh" features a caveman version of SpongeBob known as "SpongeGar". SpongeGar is distinctly different from the primitive sponge seen in "SB-129", being more evolved and closer to his modern counterpart. "Pest of the West" features SpongeBuck SquarePants, an ancestor who saved Dead Eye Gulch in what is now Bikini Bottom from Dead Eye Plankton in 1882.

Antagonistic Side

While Spongebob has been portrayed as an obliviously happy, he is not excused from negative emotions. On more than one occasion, Spongebob has fallen into an unstoppable rage. A good example would be in "Krusty Love", when Mr. Krabs goes too far after forcing Spongebob to run out and buy expensive things for Mrs. Puff, Krabs chiding Squarepants every time he returned. Spongebob (supposedly) swore Mr. Krabs for about twenty seconds after the umpteenth time the former situation occurs. Another time would be in "Best Day Ever" after Spongebob's Best Day Ever miserably failed. Spongebob has also been known to do this on a much smaller scale, like when he swore again in "Sailor Mouth" after losing a boardgame to Patrick. Also he was the main antagonist in the episode, Rock A Bye Bivalve.

Quotes

  • "I'm ready!"
  • "Good morning world and all who inhabit it!"
  • "Order up!!!"
  • "Jumping Jellyfish!!"
  • "Holy Krabby patties!"
  • "Kare-a-tay!"
  • "Holy shrimp!"
  • "Barnacles!"
  • "Tartar sauce!"
  • "Fish paste!"
  • "Ah, shrimp!"
  • "I'm ugly and I'm proud!
  • "Sandy, you may not have noticed, but I is 100% mam-male."
  • "What could be better than serving up smiles?"
  • "K-R-A-B-B-Y-P-A-T-T-Y says I!"
  • "I'M READY TO PARTY!! ARE YOU READY TO PARTY!?"
  • "Extra credit!"
  • "You don't need a license to drive a sandwich."
  • "I'm ready, promotion!"
  • "I'm ready, depression."
  • "Gary!!! You are gonna finish your dessert, and you are gonna like it!!!"
  • "Well, it's no secret that the best thing about a secret is secretly telling someone your secret, thereby secretly adding another secret to their secret collection of secrets. Secretly."
  • "Good afternoon, sir. Could we interest you in some chocolate?"
  • "So, how long have you two ladies known each other?"
  • "I like Squidward…"
  • "Let's change our names to 'Why' and 'Bother'."
  • "No, let's save that for when we're selling real-estate"
  • "BobPants SpongeSquare!"
  • "Wanna see me run to that mountain and back?…Wanna see me do it again?"
  • "I'm a Goofy Goober, yeah!"
  • "I'm a Goofy Goober, ROCK!!!"
  • "Wonderful weather we're having"
  • "Okay, see you around"
  • "We've been smackledorfed"
  • "C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E-S-O-N-G SONG"
  • "I call this one the Campfire song song"
  • "Ah, now wasn't that relaxing"
  • "The most important meal of the day, servin it up, Gary's way, pop!!"
  • "You know I've been feeding this to Gary for years, And I don't know what it taste like"
  • "There it is. The finest eating establishment ever established for eating. The Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty, with the Help Wanted sign on the front. I've waited years for this moment. I'm gonna go in there, march straight up to the manager, look at him straight in the eye, lay it on the line, and - I can't do it!"
  • "The world is your litter box!!!"
  • "And you don't even need to use a bowlwlwlwlwlwl!!!"
  • "TEAM KRUSTY KRAB!"
  • "And the best part, no breaks! OWWWW!!!"
  • "I gotta pinch myself because I must be dreaming"
  • "Can I make a Krabby Patty now?"
  • "Life is as extreme as you wanna make it."
  • " Remember that time that me and Sandy got married?"
  • "Patrick go home and check your mailbox."
  • "Soiled it!"
  • "Squidward, that wasn't the peace treaty that was just a copy of the peace treaty"
  • "Yah, Triple Gooberry Sundae's tonight?
  • "It matters not whether one is dirty or clean... for can cleanliness exist without filthiness? And would we know filthiness without cleanliness? We must not reenact the history that divides us...rather we must embrace that which draws us together! Oh must we be free to choose our own path!"

Reception

Throughout the run of SpongeBob SquarePants, the SpongeBob character has become very popular with both children and adults. The character's popularity has spread from Nickelodeon's original demographic of two to eleven year olds, to teenagers and adults,[8] including college campuses and celebrities such as Sigourney Weaver and Bruce Willis.[9] Salon.com indicates that the unadulterated innocence of SpongeBob is what makes the character so appealing.[10] SpongeBob has also become popular with gay men, despite Stephen Hillenburg saying that none of the characters are homosexual. The character draws fans due to his flamboyant lifestyle and tolerant attitude.[11]

The popularity of SpongeBob translated well into sales figures. In 2002, SpongeBob SquarePants dolls sold at a rate of 75,000 per week, which was faster than Tickle Me Elmo dolls were selling at the time.[2] SpongeBob has gained popularity in Japan, specifically with Japanese women. Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom purposefully targeted marketing at women in the country as a method of building the SpongeBob SquarePants brand. Sceptics initially doubted that SpongeBob could be popular in Japan as the character's design is very different to already popular designs for Hello Kitty and Pikachu.[12]

Not all reception for SpongeBob has been positive. Many viewers, particularly older/more mature ones, find his character to be very obnoxious and annoying. Such issues have been amplified since season four and onwards, in which the character's antics and mannerisms are significantly upplayed. AskMen's Top 10: Irritating '90s Cartoon Characters ranked SpongeBob at number four. The publication said that his well meaning attitude is extremely annoying.[13]

Trivia

  • On the cover of the "SpongeBob's Box of Books" box, SpongeBob's passage way to the esophagus was dark purple, in the books, it was maroon.
  • In the episode Selling Out, Spongebob has green eyes.
  • There is a parody of Spongebob and it's called called spengbab.
  • SpongeBob may be telepathic, and a few episodes may prove that he is.

-Dying for Pie Spongebob says hi to Mr. Krabs in Squidward's thoughts.

-Sleepy Time Spongebob affects his friends' dreams.

-The Great Snail Race Spongebob asks Gary "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Gary thinks about T.V, Spongebob replies negatively.

- Big Pink Loser Spongebob thinks "At least I'm safe inside my mind". Patrick thinks the same, Spongebob screams. The only way to know what Patrick is thinking is that Spongebob is telepathic.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ a b c d >Banks, Steven (2004-09-24). SpongeBob Exposed! The Insider's Guide to SpongeBob SquarePants, Schigiel, Gregg (Illustrator), Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon. ISBN 978-0689868702.
  2. ^ a b Strauss, Gary (2002-05-17). Life's good for SpongeBob. USA Today. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  3. ^ a b c d Farhat, Basima (Interviewer) (mp3). Tom Kenny: Voice of SpongeBob SquarePants - Interview (Radio production). The People Speak Radio. http://www.thepeoplespeakradio.net/archives/mp3/tps-2006-12-05-kenny.mp3. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  4. ^ >Neuwirth, Allan (2003-04-01). Makin' Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies. Allworth Press, 51. ISBN 1-58115-269-8. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  5. ^ Stephen Hillenburg created the undersea world of SpongeBob. Orange County Register (2002-02-12). Retrieved on 2008-11-09.
  6. ^ Orlando, Dana (2003-03-17). SpongeBob: the excitable, absorbent star of Bikini Bottom. St Petersburg Times. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  7. ^ SpongeBob's Alter Ego. CBS News (2002-12-30). Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  8. ^ Park, Michael Y. (2002-10-09). SpongeBob HotPants?. FOXNews. Retrieved on 2008-11-09.
  9. ^ Imperiale Wellons, Nancy (2001-05-01). SpongeBob cartoon proves its hip to be SquarePants.. Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved on 2008-11-09.
  10. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (2004-09-19). "The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie". Salon.com. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  11. ^ BBC Staff (2005-01-20). US right attacks SpongeBob video. BBC News. Retrieved on 2007-06-11.
  12. ^ Kageyama, Yuri (2007-01-24). SpongeBob Goes Trendy to Win Japan Fans. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
  13. ^ Murphy, Ryan. Top 10: Irritating '90s Cartoon Characters. AskMen. Retrieved on 2008-11-08.
Main characters
SpongeBob SquarePants Porthole

SpongeBob

SpongeBob SquarePants Patrick Porthole

Patrick

SpongeBob SquarePants Squidward Porthole

Squidward

SpongeBob SquarePants Mr Krabs Porthole

Mr. Krabs

SpongeBob SquarePants Pearl Porthole

Pearl

SpongeBob SquarePants Sandy Porthole

Sandy

SpongeBob SquarePants Mrs Puff Porthole

Mrs. Puff

SpongeBob SquarePants Plankton Porthole

Plankton

SpongeBob SquarePants Karen Porthole

Karen

SpongeBob SquarePants Gary Porthole

Gary

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