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SpongeBob SquarePants, also simply referred to as SpongeBob, is an American animated television series and media franchise. It is chronologically the tenth of Nickelodeon's Nicktoons. It was created by Stephen Hillenburg, a former marine biologist. It is produced by United Plankton Pictures and Nickelodeon Animation Studio.

The main character is an accident-prone sea sponge named SpongeBob SquarePants, who lives in an underwater pineapple with his pet snail Gary. His neighbors are his best friend, Patrick Star, and a sour octopus named Squidward. SpongeBob works for a cheapskate crab named Mr. Krabs, who lives in an anchor with his whale daughter Pearl. SpongeBob is enrolled in a boat-driving school run by Mrs. Puff, a pufferfish, and often spends time with a thrill-seeking squirrel from land named Sandy. The villains of the show are Plankton and his computer wife Karen, the owners of a failing restaurant called the Chum Bucket. The series is set in the Pacific Ocean in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, under the island of Bikini Atoll.

The series was first broadcast on May 1, 1999, as a "sneak peek" after the Kids' Choice Awards. It officially began airing on July 17 of the same year. The show was initially only greenlit for 6 half-hour episodes (12 total segments), but the first season was extended because it was cheaper to produce than Nickelodeon's other cartoons at the time. The series has since run for 12 seasons, with a 13th season greenlit.

Overview

Season Episodes Premiere Finale Showrunner
1 20 May 1, 1999 April 8, 2000 Stephen Hillenburg
2 October 26, 2000 July 26, 2003
3 October 5, 2001 October 11, 2004
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
4 20 May 6, 2005 July 24, 2007 Paul Tibbitt
5 February 19, 2007 July 19, 2009
6 26 March 3, 2008 July 5, 2010
7 July 19, 2009 June 11, 2011
8 March 26, 2011 December 6, 2012
9 July 21, 2012 February 20, 2017 Paul Tibbitt
Vincent Waller
Marc Ceccarelli
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water
10 11 October 15, 2016 December 2, 2017 Vincent Waller
Marc Ceccarelli
11 26 June 24, 2017 November 25, 2018
12 November 11, 2018 Ongoing

Setting

Conch Street

Conch Street

The series is set in an underwater city called Bikini Bottom, which is located on the floor of the Pacific Ocean beneath Bikini Atoll. The citizens are mostly fish of different colors who live in ship funnels and drive boatmobiles. Main locations within Bikini Bottom include Conch Street, the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket, Mrs. Puff's Boating School, Sandy's treedome, Jellyfish Fields, and Goo Lagoon. Special episodes of the show are usually presented from Patchy's house in Encino, California.

Bubbles are seen whenever something moves quickly, and they fill the screen to transition between scenes. As a cartoon, it includes many unrealistic occurrences that could not happen underwater: fires, tears, flooding a building, inhabitants drinking liquids from glasses, and bathtubs filled with what seems to be water, among other things.

Characters

The show stars an ensemble cast of ten main characters, consisting of SpongeBob and his aquatic friends who live in Bikini Bottom.
SpongeBob
SpongeBob SquarePants Porthole

SpongeBob is a yellow sea sponge. He is nerdy, optimistic, and passionate about life. He lives in a fully-furnished pineapple house. He loves his job as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant called the Krusty Krab. His greatest goal in life is to earn his boat-driving license. He has been diligently attending Mrs. Puff's Boating School for years, but he never passes. He is best friends with Patrick and has a pet snail named Gary.

SpongeBob is voiced by Tom Kenny. Stephen Hillenburg originally called the character "SpongeBoy," but renamed him after finding out that the name was already used by a mop company. He originally drew SpongeBob in the shape of a natural sea sponge, but later decided that a "squeaky clean square" would fit SpongeBob's nerdy personality.[1]

Patrick
SpongeBob SquarePants Patrick Porthole
Main article: Patrick Star

Patrick is a pink starfish. He lives under a rock and wears floral swim trunks. He is SpongeBob's best friend and spends his time without SpongeBob waiting for him to come back. Patrick is rather unintelligent and can make poor decisions that get both him and SpongeBob in trouble. Patrick's attitude is usually relaxed and easygoing, but when someone is mean to him or SpongeBob, he can get angry.

Patrick is voiced by Bill Fagerbakke. Stephen Hillenburg created Patrick as a "surfer dude" character who could hang out with SpongeBob during his time off from school and work. Hillenburg wanted to convey the behavior of starfish— slow-looking but capable of violent movement- in Patrick's demeanor.

Squidward
SpongeBob SquarePants Squidward Porthole
Main article: Squidward Tentacles

Squidward is a turquoise octopus. He is SpongeBob's coworker at the Krusty Krab and lives in an Easter Island Head next door to him. Squidward loves to paint self-portraits and play his clarinet. He is usually grumpy because nobody recognizes his artistic talents. He often gets annoyed with SpongeBob's optimism, but truly appreciates SpongeBob's friendship at times.

Squidward is voiced by Rodger Bumpass. Stephen Hillenburg designed Squidward as an octopus because their bulbous heads give the look of an inflated sense of self-importance. Squidward is usually drawn with six limbs because giving him a full set of eight was too difficult to animate.[2] Squids have ten limbs and thin, triangular heads, unlike Squidward.

Mr. Krabs
SpongeBob SquarePants Mr Krabs Porthole
Main article: Eugene H. Krabs

Mr. Krabs is a red crab. He owns the Krusty Krab and is Pearl's single father. He lives with his daughter Pearl in a hollow anchor. He is obsessed with money and will do almost anything to make a profit, even if it means overworking his employees SpongeBob and Squidward. The only people who have more control over him than money are Pearl and his girlfriend, Mrs. Puff.

Mr. Krabs is voiced by Clancy Brown, best known for his extensive live-action filmography. Stephen Hillenburg disliked having a "big-name" actor on the show, but felt that Brown's voice fit the character perfectly. Brown has defended Mr. Krabs as a character, saying he is "not a bad guy, just like your local banker or businessman. He loves Pearl too!"[3]

Plankton
SpongeBob SquarePants Plankton Porthole
Main article: Sheldon J. Plankton

Plankton is a green copepod (a type of plankton). Along with his computer wife Karen, he runs a restaurant called the Chum Bucket across the street from the Krusty Krab. He sells food made from chum, which is bait made from fish meat. Because of this, the Chum Bucket rarely gets any customers. Plankton's goal is to steal the Krabby Patty formula and rule the fast food world with Karen by his side. He is a skilled inventor, but his machines usually go wrong.

Plankton is voiced by Doug Lawrence, who is mainly an episode writer. Stephen Hillenburg had created Plankton as a potential villain for the show in 1997, but later feared that Plankton's stories would be repetitive and decided he would be better as a one-time character.[4] Doug Lawrence loved the character and used his writing skills and voice to prove that Plankton could work as a major antagonist.[5] Plankton and Karen were promoted to main cast members in the credits of the 2004 movie.

Karen
SpongeBob SquarePants Karen Porthole
Main article: Karen Plankton

Karen is a waterproof computer. She lives in the laboratory of the Chum Bucket, where she calculates evil plans to help her husband Plankton steal the Krabby Patty formula. She is the smartest resident of Bikini Bottom but sometimes feels that her intellect is wasted on Plankton. Karen has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor. Despite being a machine, Karen has a wide range of emotions and cares a lot about Plankton deep down.

Karen is voiced by Jill Talley, who is married to Tom Kenny. Stephen Hillenburg named Karen after his wife, Karen Hillenburg. He based Karen's deadpan humor on his wife's personality, calling her "the funniest person I know."[6] Along with Plankton, Karen was promoted to a main cast member in the credits of the 2004 movie.

Sandy
SpongeBob SquarePants Sandy Porthole
Main article: Sandy Cheeks

Sandy is a brown squirrel. She wears a diving suit and lives in an air-filled Treedome to breathe underwater. Sandy is a daredevil who loves practicing karate and extreme sports. Having come from the U.S. state of Texas, she talks with a Southern drawl and loves rodeos. She earns a living by working as a scientist.

Sandy is voiced by Carolyn Lawrence. Stephen Hillenburg stated in 2014 that he created Sandy as "a strong female character that could be a friend to SpongeBob but not a love interest." Tim Hill wanted to add a romantic aspect to the show when he helped Hillenburg with the series' pitch bible, but this did not end up occurring.

Mrs. Puff
SpongeBob SquarePants Mrs Puff Porthole
Main article: Mrs. Puff

Mrs. Puff is a beige pufferfish. She is SpongeBob's teacher at boating school. She knows everything about boats and how to drive them. Mrs. Puff is extremely determined and will stop at nothing to get SpongeBob his driver's license. After so many years with SpongeBob as her perpetual student, she has become paranoid and prone to outbursts. She is always trying to come up with new lessons that could help SpongeBob succeed, but they never work.

Mrs. Puff is voiced by Mary Jo Catlett. Stephen Hillenburg called Mrs. Puff the "most important" character to the series' history.[7] In 1997, Nickelodeon told him that they would only produce the show if SpongeBob was a kid who went to school, with his teacher as a main character.[7] As a compromise, Hillenburg created Mrs. Puff's Boating School, which introduced a teacher to the main cast while keeping SpongeBob as an adult.[8]

Pearl
SpongeBob SquarePants Pearl Porthole
Main article: Pearl Krabs

Pearl is a gray-colored sperm whale. She is a self-conscious teenager who just wants to fit in with the fish of Bikini Bottom. Because she is so big, she has a hard time blending in. Pearl usually stomps around and shakes the seafloor below her. She is Mr. Krabs' daughter and lives with him in their hollow anchor house.

Pearl is voiced by Lori Alan. Stephen Hillenburg was inspired to create Pearl while working as a tour guide for whale watches at the Ocean Institute. He named Pearl as his favorite character and often tried to suggest story ideas about Pearl when he visited the writer's room.[7] Hillenburg was strongly against revealing the identity of Pearl's mother and kept it a secret throughout the show.[9]

Gary
SpongeBob SquarePants Gary Porthole
Main article: Gary the Snail

Gary is a light blue sea snail with a pink shell. He lives with SpongeBob in their pineapple home. Gary's mannerisms are based on a housecat, and he meows to communicate with others. SpongeBob can seemingly understand Gary and often sees him as a voice of reason.

Gary's meows are provided by Tom Kenny. His speaking voice in "Sleepy Time" is provided by Dee Bradley Baker, and his translation collar in "Chatterbox Gary" is voiced by Keith David. Gary was not featured in Stephen Hillenburg's original drawings for the show; he was added as a new character during the production of the pilot.

Recurring characters

Special episodes of the show are hosted by a live action pirate named Patchy and his pet parrot Potty. Patchy is the president of a fictional SpongeBob fan club and dreams of meeting SpongeBob himself. Potty is a crude marionette puppet who likes to make fun of Patchy's enthusiasm and causes trouble for him. An unseen scuba diver called the French Narrator often introduces episodes and narrates the time cards. His voice is a reference to the oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, who was an idol to Stephen Hillenburg.

Recurring guest characters appear throughout the series, such as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, a pair of elderly, semi-retired superheroes of whom SpongeBob and Patrick are big fans. Bikini Bottom is sometimes haunted by a pirate ghost called the Flying Dutchman, who glows green and owns a floating pirate ship. The sea is ruled by a merman god named King Neptune, who lives in a palace with his family. News in Bikini Bottom is usually presented by a field reporter named Perch Perkins and a newsreader, the Realistic Fish Head.

Cast

SpongeBob-SDCC-Cast-Signed-Poster

A Comic-Con poster signed by some of the main cast members.

Main article: List of cast members
Main cast
Supporting cast
Guest roles
Main article: List of guest stars
Musical guests

Popularity

SpongeBob SquarePants is the only cartoon to consistently make the Top 10 list in the Nielsen ratings, and is the first "low-budget" Nicktoon, according to the network, to become extremely popular. Low-budget cartoons had not previously garnered as much esteem as higher-rated (and higher-budgeted) shows, such as Rugrats. When SpongeBob first aired in 1999, it gained a significant number of viewers in the ratings, eventually becoming more popular than Rugrats had ever been.

SpongeBob did not gain its popularity until around 2000, and it has remained popular since then, despite a five-month hiatus from April to October that year. It has extremely high ratings on TV.com, scoring an average of 9.0. SpongeBob SquarePants ranked #15 in IGN's Top 100 Best Animated Series, just five spots behind the top 10 list, but was able to place in the top 20.

SpongeBob is one in a long line of animated series 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. The show has become popular with younger viewers due to its silly characters, grade school-level jokes, fast pace, and colorful art style, while older viewers tend to praise the show for its writing, dialogue, cultural references, and innuendos. Certain innuendos also are intended to go over younger viewers' heads. For example, SpongeBob tries to show his grandma that he is a mature adult by wearing sideburns and a derby, and listening to "free-form jazz." In another example, when Squidward tricks SpongeBob and Patrick into thinking he is a ghost, a coral reef sculpted like Toulouse-Lautrec's can-can girls stands in the background (leading to a pun by Squidward). These are jokes most children would not understand. Numerous marine biology in-jokes are woven into the show. There are also often complex, ironic scenarios that need close attention.

While most Nicktoons after 1998 revolved around human kids with strange lives and feature many pop-culture references (e.g. The Fairly OddParents), SpongeBob chose to go for a formula that was used in previous Nicktoons such as Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life, with non-human adults in crazy, unrealistic situations, using minimal pop-culture references.

Part of the show's appeal has to do with the childlike nature of SpongeBob and his best friend, Patrick, 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, reminiscent of a hard rock concert, or Patrick turning to SpongeBob after they had nurtured a baby clam in the episode "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve," holding his arms out saying "Let's have another."

Unlike most shows on Nickelodeon, SpongeBob features well-known independent musicians who contribute to its soundtrack. Alternative rock bands, such as Wilco, The Shins, The Flaming Lips, and Ween (who have contributed two original songs to the show and their 1997 song "Ocean Man" to the movie soundtrack), 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. David Bowie was a special guest on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Atlantis SquarePantis," which aired on November 12, 2007.[10] The episode drew a total of 8.8 million viewers, the biggest audience in the show's eight-year history.[10] A second SpongeBob SquarePants feature film, entitled The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was released in theaters on February 15, 2015.[11][10]

The TV movie "Atlantis SquarePantis" references numerous other movies or stories. David Bowie's character, Lord Royal Highness (with his upper class accent), and the locals looked remarkably like the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine - quite fitting for an underwater adventure. When the characters arrive at his habitat, he falls down as he proceeds down the red carpet (as Willy Wonka does in the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory film), before leading them on a tour. A case can also be made for the yellow road used in the tour being a reference to The Wizard of Oz - along with the movie being a musical.

Merchandising and marketing

Merchandise based on the show ranges from Kraft macaroni and cheese, Kellog's cereal, and video games to boxer shorts, flip-flops, pajamas, t-shirts, and slippers.

The show also spawned a large and popular merchandise line at Hot Topic, Claire's, RadioShack, Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys "R" Us stores in the United States as well as the Zellers, Wal-Mart, and Toys "R" Us stores in Canada, and a limited selection of merchandise at Kmart and Target in Australia.

There were many SpongeBob kids meal tie-ins at Wendy's restaurants for the special "Party Pooper Pants" 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 "Dunces and Dragons" special, and in 2007 for the "Friend or Foe' special featuring containers for BK Chicken Fries designed to look like SpongeBob. In November 2007, another Burger King kids meal was released to tie-in with the TV movie "Atlantis SquarePantis," and in April 2008 there were kids meals to tie-in with "Pest of the West."

A McDonald's Happy Meal tie-in was not released in North America until 2012, but has already been released in Europe in the United Kingdom and Germany in early 2003 at about the same time a Catscratch Happy Meal was released in the United States and Canada. On July 21, 2012, the episodes "Face Freeze!," "Demolition Doofus," "Extreme Spots," and "Squirrel Record" premiered. Toys of SpongeBob were released in America in summer 2012.

In Japan, SpongeBob had a kids meal tie-in with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), which featured different toys based on the TV series.[12]

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

A tie-in beverage for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2001 at 7-Eleven convenience stores was created, a pineapple-flavored Slurpee, 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 Turner Network Television (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.

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 Water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin in the summer of 2005. LEGO received license to produce SpongeBob SquarePants building sets, which are available in stores now. SpongeBob appeared at the Mall of America's then-new-at-the-time theme along with the rest of the Nicktoons in a Nickelodeon theme park re-branded from the Mall of America's Park at MOA (formerly Camp Snoopy) to Nickelodeon Universe in 2006 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota. The theme park features a SpongeBob-themed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster, the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge, which replaces the Mystery Mine Ride and Olde Tyme Photo store on the eastern end of the theme park.

Other items featuring SpongeBob include special edition Monopoly, The Game of Life and Operation board games 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.[13]

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 nuclear (Junior) 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 (though not to the cartoons themselves). 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.

History

Development (1993–1998)

SpongeBob-SquarePants-main-characters-cast-by-Stephen-Hillenburg

Stephen Hillenburg's first sketch of the main characters

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). He teamed up with creative director Derek Drymon. 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 (A.K.A. "Mr. 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 1998.

SpongeBob used to be named SpongeBoy,[14] and used to wear a red hat with a green base and a white business shirt with a tie. The show itself also used to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy! However, the name "SpongeBoy" did not make it into the show since the name was already trademarked by a mop company. Hillenburg later chose the alternative name "SpongeBob," based on a previous character he had created named Bob the Sponge. Mr. Krabs and Pearl's last name was originally spelled with the letter C rather than K, but Stephen Hillenburg thought Ks were funnier.

Old Spongebob Promo

Old Spongebob Promo

The first SpongeBob commercial

Early SpongeBob SqaurePants Promo (1999)

Early SpongeBob SqaurePants Promo (1999)

Kids Choice Awards promo

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 were enjoyable to both younger and older audiences.

Peak years (2000–2003)

SpongeBob characters online spot

Early online spot, featuring the older character designs

Between 2000 and 2001, the show had flourished into Nickelodeon's No. 2 children's program, after Rugrats. Nearly 40 percent of the show's audience of 2.2 million were aged 18 to 34 [144]. As a result, Nickelodeon expanded the show's exposure on television from Saturday morning to almost-prime time, broadcasting at 6 PM, Monday through Thursday [144]. In 2001, Nickelodeon took the "Saturday-morning ratings crown" for the fourth straight season, grabbing a 4.8 rating/21 share (1.9 million viewers) in kids 2-11, jumping 17% compared to the previous year [145]. During its third season, SpongeBob SquarePants passed Rugrats and earned the title of the highest-rated children's show on cable, with a 6.7 rating and 2.2 million kids 2 to 11 in the second quarter of 2002, up 22% over 2001 [144][146][147]. Forbes called the show "a $1 billion honeypot," and said that the show was "almost single-handedly responsible for making Viacom's Nickelodeon the most-watched cable channel during the day and the second most popular during prime time" [144]. It was also reported that, of the 50 million viewers who watch it every month, 20 million are adults.[148][149]

Unfortunately, things changed later in the year. Due to rumors of a movie, there was 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 after it was released on DVD in early 2004.

Hiatus and movie era (2003–2005)

SpongeBob SquarePants character size chart

Character heights and sizes

In late 2002, Stephen Hillenburg and the show's staff members decided to stop making episodes and work on the 2004 film: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, after completing the production of the third season.[3] As a result, the show went into a "self-imposed" two-year Hiatus on television.[4] During the break, Nickelodeon expanded the programming for both the second and third seasons to cover the delay. However, according to Nickelodeon executive Eric Coleman, "there certainly was a delay and a built-up demand."[5] Nickelodeon announced nine "as-yet-unaired" episodes would be shown.[6] "The Sponge Who Could Fly" first aired during a two-hour "Sponge"-a-thon, while the other eight were broadcast subsequently.[6]. Gary Takes a Bath from Season 2,would also air in July 2003, two years after its sister episode Shanghaied. The last 2 episode segments from season 3 "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler" and "Pranks a Lot" were delayed for the longest amount of time. In October 2004, the last 2 episode segments were finally aired, just 1 month before the show's first film.

It was announced late in 2004 that SpongeBob would be continuing with a new season in 2005. Hillenburg resigned from his position as the showrunner and stopped coming into the studio each day. He passed the job onto his good friend, Paul Tibbitt, with Vincent Waller taking over Drymon's job as creative director. Hillenburg continued to be credited as the executive producer for every episode of seasons four through twelve; this was a "vanity credit" rather than an actual acknowledgment of work.

The movie finally released in November 2004. In late 2004, Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke and the rest of the crew confirmed they have completed four new episodes for broadcast on Nickelodeon in early 2005,[15][16] The hiatus ended on May 6, 2005, when the 4th season officially premiered.

Comeback (2005-present)

Season 4

TV advertisements for the show's fourth season first aired publicly during the 2005 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The new episodes began airing on May 6, 2005. The first new episodes of season 4 were "Fear of a Krabby Patty" / "Shell of a Man." After airing six new episodes on Fridays from May 6May 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.[15]

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 /Once Bitten"), October ("Wigstruck"), and November ("Best Day Ever") — drawing 6.7 million viewers — "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. The Best 10 Ever airs after "Best Day Ever."

Season 5

The new episodes aired in an event called "Patrick For President." The event happened on February 19, 2007 and officially beginning the airing of the fifth season which featured more potty humor than previously shown. A special episode from season 5 aired on April 13, 2007. On July 23, 2007 Nickelodeon aired a special event, called the "NEW NEW NEW NEW NEW Week," in which from Monday to Friday, two new episodes of season five (except for "Squid Wood" from season 4) would air. This continued until August 3, 2007.

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 eight new episodes. Season 5 officially finished airing on July 19, 2009 with the TV episode premiere of "Goo Goo Gas."

Season 6

SpongeBob SquarePants approved a sixth season, which consisted of twenty-six episodes. It started the sixth season on March 3, 2008, starting a week of new episodes, starting with "Krabby Road." On March 29, right after Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2008, Spongicus/Nautical Novice aired. Then, on April 11, "Pest of the West," a special, aired.[16] Then on June 2, 2008, SpongeBob Premiere Factor 5 aired episodes.

Nick aired 7 new episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants on November 28, 2008 with the episodes "The Slumber Party /Grooming Gary," "Krusty Krushers / The Card," "Porous Pockets," and "Dear Vikings / Ditchin'" during SuperStuffed Nicktoons Weekend in November 2008.

Beginning on February 16, 2009, Nickelodeon aired a week of new episodes, beginning with "Shuffleboarding" and "Cephalopod Lodge." This was the first premiere week not to have episodes on Friday.

Season 7

In the summer of July there was a 10th Anniversary Marathon that aired 12 new episodes (six in season 7) starting on July 17, 2009. The first episode from season 7, "Tentacle-Vision" aired on July 19, 2009 in the morning. Then, another episode didn't air until October 24, 2009 with "The Curse of Bikini Bottom." Then a TV movie called "Truth or Square" aired in November 2009. This was done to celebrate the 10th anniversary.

In a special, Super Stuffed Nicksgiving Weekend formerly, Super Stuffed Nicktoons Weekend 2 new episodes aired on November 27, 2009.

In 2010, the first two episodes aired on January 2. On September 11, 2010 a special called Nick Saturdays started with "Yours, Mine and Mine" and" Kracked Krabs." Nick Saturdays aired new episodes of Nicktoons on Saturdays. On September 26, 2010, it was announced that when season 8 was believed to have already started, that season 7 was going to have 26 episodes instead of 20, so season 8 wasn't premiered yet. This was confusing to many SpongeBob fans.

Season 8

SpongeBob characters cast 2016

Promotional artwork of the characters in oil-painted styles

In December 2009, Nickelodeon ordered enough episodes to bring the series up to 178 episodes. Season 8 first aired on March 26, 2011 with the episodes "Oral Report" and "A Friendly Game." Another episode called "Sentimental Sponge" aired on April 2, 2011. After this, there was a new episode every Saturday in June, which was similar to the "New Episodes Every Friday in March" event in 2002. 4 new episodes aired on November 25, 2011, as part of Super Stuffed Nicktoons Weekend. There were no new episodes until March 31, 2012, which preceded a two-week premiere event from April 2 to April 13. On April 11, 2012, with the airing of "Squiditis" (173a), it surpassed Rugrats (which had 172 episodes) Nickelodeon's longest-running cartoon. A second Christmas special named "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" premiered on December 6, 2012 to conclude the season.

Season 9

On January 3, 2011, Nickelodeon ordered 26 episodes for a ninth season, which began airing in 2012. It will bring the number of episodes up to 204, making SpongeBob SquarePants the first Nicktoon to pass the 200-episode milestone. Season 9 consists of episodes 179-204. It premiered on July 21, 2012, with the premiere of "Extreme Spots" and "Squirrel Record." This season makes the series transition on 1080i HD (widescreen 16:9).

On September 21, 2014, Vincent Waller tweeted that production of season 9 was halted half way through to concentrate further on "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water." He states that season 9 is now in production again.

On December 10, 2014, Paul Tibbitt tweeted that Stephen Hillenburg was to return as Executive Producer in January 2015.

Season 10

Season 10 premiered in October 2016 in the United States. The production of the season officially began on October 12, 2015, and started airing with "Whirly Brains" on October 15, 2016.

Season 11

On March 2, 2016, Nickelodeon confirmed that season 11 was in the works. Season 11 premiered on June 24, 2017 with "Spot Returns" and "The Check-Up."

Season 12

On May 5, 2017, Vincent Waller tweeted [17] that the series was renewed for season 12. Season 12 premiered on November 11, 2018 with "FarmerBob." Hillenburg was unable to return due to his death in November 2018.

Crew

Main article: List of crew members
Name Position Years
Steven Banks Head Writer 2005-2012
Steven Belfer Music
Michael Bell Writer / Storyboard Director 2005
Peter Burns Writer 1999
Nicolas Carr Music 1999–present
Bradley Carow Music
Sherm Cohen Storyboard Supervisor / Artist, Writer, Director 1999-2005; 2015–present
Sean Dempsey Animation Director 1999-2004
Derek Drymon Writer / Storyboard Artist/Creative Director, Story Editor/Executive Producer 1999–2004
Steven Fonti Writer / Storyboard Director 1999
C.H. Greenblatt Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director 2000–2005
Sage Guyton Music
Sam Henderson Writer, Storyboard Director 2001-2004
Tim Hill Writer 1999-2007
Stephen Hillenburg Creator/Executive Producer Since 1999, 1999-2004; 2015–2018
Paul Tibbitt Writer/Storyboard Director

Supervising Producer

Executive Producer

1999-2004

2004-2014

2015–2017

Derek Drymon Storyboard Director 1999–2004
Kaz Writer, Storyboard Artist 2002-2004; 2015–present
Chuck Klein Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director 1999-2007
Doug Lawrence (a.k.a. "Mr. Lawrence") Writer, Story Editor 1999–present
Jay Lender Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director 1999-2004
John Magness Storyboard Artist
Mark "Thurop" Van Orman Storyboard Artist
Chris Mitchell Writer, Storyboard Artist 1999; 2005-2007
Caleb Muerer Storyboard Artist
Mark O'Hare Writer, Storyboard Artist, Director 1999-2003
Andrew Overtoom Animation Director 1999–2012-present
Andy Rheingold Executive in Charge of Production
Ted Seko Storyboard Artist
Alan Smart Animation Director 1999; 2004–present
Aaron Springer Writer / Storyboard Artist, Director 1999-2012
Jimmy Stone Animation Director
Brad Vandergrift Storyboard Artist / Storyboard Director/Writer 2005–present
Jeremy Wakefield Music
Vincent Waller Writer / Storyboard Artist, Director /Creative Director (2005–present) 1999; 2005–present
Frank Weiss Animation Director 2001-2003
Erik Wiese Writer / Storyboard Artist 1999-2007
David Wigforss Special Effects
Merriwether Williams Story Editor / Writer 1999-2004
Tom Yasumi Animation Director 1999–Present
Oliver Truby Storyboard Supervisor
Stephen Hillenburg Modeling. Creator 1999–2018
Derek Iversen Lighting, writer 1999–present
Vanessa Coffey Executive In Charge Of Production
Seamus Walsh Minor Director (1 Episode)

DVD/Blu-ray Releases

DVD Name Episodes Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
The Complete 1st Season 41 October 28, 2003 November 7, 2005 November 30, 2006
The Complete 2nd Season 39 October 19, 2004 October 23, 2006 November 30, 2006
The Complete 3rd Season 37 September 27, 2005 December 3, 2007 November 8, 2007
Season 4 Volume 1 18 September 12, 2006 N/A N/A
Season 4 Volume 2 20 January 9, 2007 N/A N/A
The Complete Fourth Season 38 November 13, 2012 November 3, 2008 November 7, 2008
Season 5 Volume 1 20 September 4, 2007 N/A N/A
Season 5 Volume 2 21 November 18, 2008 N/A N/A
The Complete Fifth Season 41 November 13, 2012 November 16, 2009 December 3, 2009
Season 6 Volume 1 24 December 8, 2009 N/A N/A
Season 6 Volume 2 23 December 7, 2010 N/A N/A
The Complete Sixth Season 47 November 13, 2012 November 29, 2010 December 2, 2010
Complete Seventh Season 50 December 6, 2011 September 17, 2012 September 12, 2012
The Complete Eighth Season 47 March 12, 2013 October 28, 2013 October 30, 2013
The Complete Ninth Season 49 October 10, 2017 TBA TBA
The Complete Tenth Season 22 October 15, 2019 TBA TBA
Blu-ray Name Episodes Release dates
Title Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 0 March 29, 2011 March 29, 2011 March 29, 2011
It's a SpongeBob Christmas! 11 November 6, 2012 Canada

October 15, 2013 USA

October 15, 2013 N/A
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 0 June 2, 2015 July 27, 2015 July 1, 2015
The SpongeBob Movie Collection 0 February 6, 2018 N/A N/A

Awards

The following list shows the awards the show has won:
  • Annie Awards for Best Animated Television of 2005, 2011

Note: SpongeBob SquarePants won the Annie Award for Best Writing in an Animated Television Production in 2006 and Best Voice Acting in a Television Production in 2010.

  • Kids' Choice Awards for Favorite Cartoon Show of 2003-2007, 2009-2019

Note: SpongeBob SquarePants lost to Avatar: The Last Airbender in the 2008 Kids' Choice Awards, making it the show's first loss after a five-year consecutive winning streak.

  • Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program of 2010
  • The show had been nominated for an Emmy Award eight times from 2002-2009. It had also been nominated for an Annie Award eight times as well.

Spinoffs

No SpongeBob spin-offs were greenlit while the series' creator, Stephen Hillenburg, was alive. Hillenburg was strongly against spin-offs and "aging down" the characters. Despite Hillenburg's objections, Nickelodeon's new president Brian Robbins announced on February 14, 2019—just months after Hillenburg's death—that multiple SpongeBob SquarePants spinoffs were in development. According to Robbins, the spin-offs will tell new stories and introduce some new characters into the franchise.[18]

Of the spin-off announcements, Paul Tibbitt (Hillenburg's good friend and his successor as showrunner from 2005-2015) said: "This is some greedy, lazy executive-ing right here, and they ALL know full well Steve would have HATED this. Shame on them."[19]

It's for all these reasons that the spin-offs have been protested by fans of the series and there have been petitions to get the spin-offs cancelled. 

Brian Robbins, who had just become the president of Nickelodeon, said he feels there is an avenue to "tell an original story about SpongeBob and Patrick, or maybe tell a Sandy Cheeks stand-alone story, or can Plankton have his own? I think the fans are clamoring for it." He further said "That's our Marvel Universe... You have this amazing show that's run for almost twenty years."[20] These spinoffs could take the form of new series, specials and feature-length movies.[21]

On June 4, 2019, it was announced that the series' first-ever spin-off was in development, titled Kamp Koral. It is based on one of Brian Robbins' own spin-off ideas, featuring some of the characters as children at a summer camp. It will rewrite some of the characters' first interactions.

Trivia

SpongeBob SquarePants Original Theme Clip 1997

SpongeBob SquarePants Original Theme Clip 1997

  • The original 1997 version of "Help Wanted" featured a unique opening with a different theme song. The show's current opening theme had not been written at the time.[22]
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon's longest-running cartoon. Nickelodeon's longest-running show is Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, which ran for 23 years from 1992 to 2015.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is the most-distributed property of MTV Networks.
  • According to Vincent Waller, it takes approximately nine months to make a single episode.[23]
  • Until Nickelodeon Japan returned in 2018, SpongeBob SquarePants was one of the few Nickelodeon shows to still air in Japan after the original Nick Japan closed down on September 30, 2009.
  • In 2005, Jesus-is-savior.com, a Westboro Baptist Church-apologist website, has criticized the show of promoting homosexuality and sodomy among children.[24]
  • Since October 2017, airings of pre-movie episodes in the US are sped-up slightly, likely due to Nickelodeon's modern practice of trying to get as much commercial time as possible.
    • In Australia and New Zealand, pre-movie/season 9+ episodes run at their normal speed while seasons 4-8 are sped up by around 3%.

See also

External links

References

  1. ^ Makin' Toons
  2. ^ Case of the Sponge "Bob"
  3. ^ Clancy Brown interview
  4. ^ Meet the voice behind a 'SpongeBob' character
  5. ^ Big Pop Fun podcast: Mr. Lawrence
  6. ^ Biographies Today: Stephen Hillenburg
  7. ^ a b c Stephen Hillenburg, artist and animator
  8. ^ TBI Vision: Stephen Hillenburg
  9. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/1154402000886304769
  10. ^ a b c BOWIE 'SPONGE' MAKES SPLASH. New York Post (November 15, 2004). Retrieved on 2004-12-07.
  11. ^ http://durancemagazine.org/2012/03/paramount-announces-that-a-second-spongebob-squarepants-movie-will-come-in-2014/
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ www.segaarcade.com/pr/SpongeBob.asp. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
  14. ^ "SpongeBob Exposed! The Insiders Guide to SpongeBob SquarePants" book
  15. ^ www.star-ecentral.com/news/story.asp?file=/2005/12/27/tvnradio/12578379&sec=tvnradio. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
  16. ^ www.zap2it.com/tv/news/zap-mightybamypoehlerSpongeBobsixthseason,0,6061089.story?coll=zap-news-headlines. Retrieved on 2007-02-23.
  17. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/860648340857380864
  18. ^ https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/nickelodeon-brian-robbins-spongebob-lego-paddington-john-cena-1203139534/
  19. ^ Paul Tibbitt on Twitter
  20. ^ https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/nickelodeon-brian-robbins-spongebob-lego-paddington-john-cena-1203139534/
  21. ^ https://www.nickpress.com/press-releases/2019/02/14/nickelodeon-embarks-on-new-direction-with-its-biggest-most-wide-ranging-content-slate-ever-new-shows-are-all-that-and-much-more
  22. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNfLaA5uzUg
  23. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/897105593420308480
  24. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4190699.stm
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