Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
If you were looking for the article about the character, then see SpongeBob SquarePants (character).

SpongeBob SquarePants, often shortened to SpongeBob, is an American animated television series created by former marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. It is chronologically the tenth Nicktoon to debut. The series is produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and United Plankton Pictures, Inc.

The series focuses on an optimistic 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 grumpy octopus named Squidward Tentacles. SpongeBob and Squidward work together at a fast food restaurant called the Krusty Krab. Their boss is a cheapskate crab named Eugene H. Krabs, who lives 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 the surface named Sandy Cheeks. The villains of the show are Plankton and his computer wife, Karen, who own a failing restaurant called the Chum Bucket across the street from the Krusty Krab.

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 (twelve total segments); creator Stephen Hillenburg said, "I thought if it did go to a full season that we'd get twelve chances to write stories and that might be it...twelve shows and get cancelled."[3] To his surprise, the show became a ratings success, and it has since run for 13 seasons. Season 14 has been renewed.


Conch Street.

The series is set in an underwater city named 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, 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, rain, flooding a building, inhabitants drinking liquids from glasses, bathtubs filled with what seems to be water, a seaside resort, and fish walking instead of swimming.


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

SpongeBob SquarePants Porthole.png

SpongeBob is a yellow sea sponge. He is outgoing, 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.[4]

SpongeBob SquarePants Patrick Porthole.png
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.

SpongeBob SquarePants Squidward Porthole.png
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.[5] Squids have ten limbs and thin, triangular heads, unlike Squidward.

Mr. Krabs
SpongeBob SquarePants Mr Krabs Porthole.png
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!"[6]

SpongeBob SquarePants Plankton Porthole.png
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.[7] Doug Lawrence loved the character and used his writing skills and voice to prove that Plankton could work as a major antagonist.[8] Plankton and Karen were promoted to main cast members in the credits of the 2004 movie.

SpongeBob SquarePants Karen Porthole.png
Main article: Karen Plankton

Karen is a waterproof computer.[9] 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."[10] Along with Plankton, Karen was promoted to a main cast member in the credits of the 2004 movie.

SpongeBob SquarePants Sandy Porthole.png
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.png
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.[11] 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.[11] As a compromise, Hillenburg created Mrs. Puff's Boating School, which introduced a teacher to the main cast while keeping SpongeBob as an adult.[12]

SpongeBob SquarePants Pearl Porthole.png
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. Pearl was one of the earliest characters that Stephen Hillenburg created, and he often tried to suggest story ideas about Pearl when he visited the writer's room.[11] Hillenburg was strongly against revealing the identity of Pearl's mother and kept it a secret throughout the show.[13]

SpongeBob SquarePants Gary Porthole.png
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. Bikini Bottom is home to many other sea creatures who make occasional appearances, including Old Man Jenkins, Larry the Lobster, and Fred.


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


Main article: List of episodes
Season Episodes Premiere Finale Showrunner
1 20 May 1, 1999 March 3, 2001 Stephen Hillenburg
2 October 20, 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 Paul Tibbitt
10 11 October 15, 2016 December 2, 2017 Vincent Waller
Marc Ceccarelli
11 26 June 24, 2017 November 25, 2018
12 November 11, 2018 April 29, 2022
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Tim Hill
13 26 October 22, 2020 TBA Vincent Waller
Marc Ceccarelli
Untitled fourth theatrical SpongeBob film TBA

Spin-off media


Main article: List of movies

Three films based on the series have been made. The first film, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, was released theatrically in 2004. It was directed, co-written, and produced by Stephen Hillenburg. The second film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, was released theatrically in 2015. The third film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, was only released theatrically in Canada in 2020 and had a digital release in all other territories.

A fourth feature-length film was announced on February 15, 2022, during Paramount's Investor Event.[14][15] No additional information is known at the time.

On March 4, 2020, it was announced that two spin-off films based on the series for Netflix.[16] On February 15, 2022, a third character-driven SpongeBob movie was officially announced during Paramount' Investor Event and will release on Paramount+ alongside Saving Bikini Bottom and Plankton.[17][18]

Spin-off series

Main article: List of spin-offs

Brian Robbins, the president of Nickelodeon, announced on February 14, 2019 that multiple SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off shows were in development.[19] The first, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, is a CGI-animated series. It features younger versions of the main characters attending a summer camp called Kamp Koral. The second spin-off, The Patrick Star Show, is a nonsensical variety show hosted by Patrick.



SpongeBob SquarePants Original Theme Clip 1997

The SpongeBob cast accepting the award for Favorite Cartoon at the 2015 Kids Choice Awards.

  • SpongeBob is the second longest-running show on Nickelodeon, after Nick News.
  • Some of the characters were inspired by people from Stephen Hillenburg's life. Karen was inspired by Stephen Hillenburg's wife, Karen Hillenburg.[20] Mr. Krabs was inspired by one of Hillenburg's former bosses at a seafood restaurant.[21]
  • According to Vincent Waller, Stephen Hillenburg had several "rules" and guidelines for the show.[22] One rule was to never explain why Pearl and Mr. Krabs are different species.[22] Another rule was that the Krabby Patty has no animal meat in it.[22]
  • Before Plankton became a main character, Nickelodeon wanted to cast a one-time guest star to provide his voice.[23]
  • The show was originally rated TV-Y while the first four seasons were airing. Since the fifth season, it has been rated TV-Y7.
  • The episode "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" premiered on CBS before its Nickelodeon debut.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has won 14 consecutive Favorite Cartoon Awards and 20 overall awards at the Kids' Choice Awards. The series won 2 awards in 2014, one for Favorite Cartoon and one for Favorite Animated Animal Sidekick (Patrick Star).
  • The original 1997 version of "Help Wanted" featured an opening with a different theme song. The show's current theme song had not been written at the time.[24]
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is the most distributed property of Paramount Global.
  • According to tweets by Vincent Waller, it takes anywhere from five to nine months to make a single regular-length episode.[25][26][27]
  • There was a temporary firewall between Nickelodeon and Paramount content from 2004 to 2015 that prevented designs from the first theatrical movie from being used in the show.[28] The firewall was lifted in 2015, allowing movie characters (such as Goofy Goober and Princess Mindy) to reappear in episodes.

See also

External links


  1. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRPep55zMCE&t=17s
  2. ^ https://www.vulture.com/2018/11/spongebob-squarepants-stephen-hillenburg-legacy.html
  3. ^ TBI Vision interview
  4. ^ Makin' Toons
  5. ^ Case of the Sponge "Bob"
  6. ^ Clancy Brown interview
  7. ^ Meet the voice behind a 'SpongeBob' character
  8. ^ Big Pop Fun podcast: Mr. Lawrence
  9. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20180502234851/https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/02/arts/spongebob-tony-nominations.html
  10. ^ Biographies Today: Stephen Hillenburg
  11. ^ a b c Stephen Hillenburg, artist and animator
  12. ^ TBI Vision: Stephen Hillenburg
  13. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/1154402000886304769
  14. ^ https://twitter.com/paramountplus/status/1493707479275827200?cxt=HHwWgMCjybrC27opAAAA
  15. ^ https://twitter.com/spongebob/status/1493708961497088000?s=21
  16. ^ https://www.mediaplaynews.com/its-a-spongebob-squarepants-vision-at-viacomcbs/
  17. ^ https://twitter.com/paramountplus/status/1493707479275827200?cxt=HHwWgMCjybrC27opAAAA
  18. ^ https://twitter.com/spongebob/status/1493708961497088000?s=21
  19. ^ https://variety.com/2019/tv/news/nickelodeon-brian-robbins-spongebob-lego-paddington-john-cena-1203139534/
  20. ^ https://podcasts.apple.com/si/podcast/jill-talley-karen-conspiracies-and-computers/id1586201809?i=1000552095911
  21. ^ http://nieonline.com/coloradonie/downloads/minipage/minipage7.15.15.pdf
  22. ^ a b c https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/1279471355549716480
  23. ^ https://www.webcitation.org/6OQnV9e4n?url=http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/8/0/b/80ba5601f7d09e93/BPF22_Mr._Lawrence.mp3?c_id=4442198&expiration=1396087344&hwt=77616525493ac25efba1ba04f5cd6efc
  24. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNfLaA5uzUg
  25. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/639616200775888896
  26. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/726440072145334273
  27. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/897105593420308480
  28. ^ https://twitter.com/VincentWaller72/status/1114208160208674816
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