Encyclopedia SpongeBobia


Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
Encyclopedia SpongeBobia
This is the page about the series. For other uses, see SpongeBob (disambiguation).

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. He lives among the two nearest neighbors named Patrick Star, SpongeBob's best friend, and Squidward Tentacles, a grumpy octopus. 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 broadcasted on May 1, 1999, as a "sneak peek" after the 1999 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 14 seasons. The series is currently in its fourteenth season, and has been renewed for a fifteenth.

Throughout the series, during some episodes, the fourth wall is broken, live-action scenes are shown, and sometimes the episode's title is mentioned during the episode. In some episodes, there are time cards which are often read by the French Narrator. During production of an episode, sometimes the episode's title gets renamed before it premieres. Sometimes the production of an episode is canceled, and some scenes of an episode can be deleted, either before or after the episode is produced. Some of the SpongeBob media is lost to the public. Various locations and objects are mentioned but not seen. Many films, television shows, and video games sometimes makes references relating to SpongeBob. Even internet memes originate from the series.


Man Ray Returns 001

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 the ten main characters, consisting of SpongeBob and his aquatic friends who live in Bikini Bottom.

SpongeBob SquarePants Porthole
Help Wanted 016

SpongeBob's debut appearance

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. 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
Help Wanted 030

Patrick's debut appearance

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
Help Wanted 058

Squidward's debut appearance

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. Squidward, despite being called "Squid"ward, is an octopus.

Mr. Krabs
SpongeBob SquarePants Mr Krabs Porthole
Help Wanted 062

Mr. Krabs' debut appearance

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 Mrs. Puff, one of his love interests.

Mr. Krabs is voiced by Clancy Brown, best known for his extensive live-action filmography. Stephen Hillenburg 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!"[5]

SpongeBob SquarePants Plankton Porthole
Plankton! 027

Plankton's debut appearance

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 also an episode writer. Stephen Hillenburg had created Plankton as a potential villain for the show in 1997. Doug Lawrence loved the character and used his writing skills and voice to prove that Plankton could work as a major antagonist.

SpongeBob SquarePants Karen Porthole
Plankton! 151

Karen's debut appearance

Main article: Karen Plankton

Karen is a waterproof computer.[6] 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."[7] Along with Plankton, Karen was promoted to a main cast member in the credits of the 2004 movie.

SpongeBob SquarePants Sandy Porthole
Tea at the Treedome 057

Sandy's debut appearance

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.

Mrs. Puff
SpongeBob SquarePants Mrs Puff Porthole
Boating School 030

Mrs. Puff's debut appearance

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.

SpongeBob SquarePants Pearl Porthole
Squeaky Boots 003

Pearl's debut appearance

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, but 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.[8] Hillenburg was strongly against revealing the identity of Pearl's mother and kept it a secret throughout the show.[9]

SpongeBob SquarePants Gary Porthole
Help Wanted 017

Gary's debut appearance

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 apparently 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

(Note, not all Guest Stars are listed here)

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
Marc Ceccarelli
Vincent Waller
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Paul Tibbitt
10 11 October 15, 2016 December 2, 2017 Marc Ceccarelli
Vincent Waller
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 November 1, 2023 Marc Ceccarelli
Vincent Waller
14 November 2, 2023 TBA TBD
The SpongeBob Movie: Search for SquarePants Derek Drymon

Spin-off media[]


The official logo for the "SpongeBob Universe."


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.

The SpongeBob Movie: Search for SquarePants was announced on February 15, 2022, during Paramount's Investor Event.[10][11] Its title and plot were confirmed on April 27, 2023.[12] The film is set to release theatrically in 2025.

On March 4, 2020, it was announced that two spin-off films based on the series for Netflix.[13] 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: The Sandy Cheeks Movie and Plankton: The Movie.[14][15]

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.[16] 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 show hosted by Patrick.

References in other media[]

See also: SpongeBob SquarePants in popular culture/Films, SpongeBob SquarePants in popular culture/Books and comic strips, SpongeBob SquarePants in popular culture/Video games, and SpongeBob SquarePants in popular culture/gallery.



SpongeBob SquarePants Original Theme Clip 1997


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

  • SpongeBob SquarePants is now the longest-running show on Nickelodeon, after it took the title from Nick News on December 15, 2022 and also the longest running animated show on Nickelodeon.
    • SpongeBob SquarePants is also the longest-running American children's animated TV series altogether, beating Arthur. Since the show has been renewed for a fourteenth season, it beat Arthur's record of 25 years, 4 months, and 14 days on the air on May 1, 2024 and it became the longest-running American children's animated TV series and the second longest-runner in Paramount Global American animated-television after South Park.
  • SpongeBob is the only NickToon and Nickelodeon show that premiered in the 1990s and is still airing new episodes on TV today. This does not include the Rugrats 2021 revival series, as the original series ended in 2004.
  • The URL "spongebob.com" was accessed to the original URL page in the past, but currently it's redirects to the page of nick.com.
  • Some of the characters were inspired by people from Stephen Hillenburg's life. Karen was inspired by Stephen Hillenburg's wife, Karen Hillenburg.[17] Mr. Krabs was inspired by one of Hillenburg's former bosses at a seafood restaurant.[18]
  • According to Vincent Waller, Stephen Hillenburg had several "rules" and guidelines for the show.[19] One rule was to never explain why Pearl and Mr. Krabs are different species.[19] Another rule was that the Krabby Patty has no animal meat in it.[19]
  • The show was originally rated TV-Y while the first four seasons were airing, along with a few episodes from season 5. Since then, it has been rated TV-Y7.
  • The episode "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" premiered on CBS in the USA, making it the first SpongeBob episode to premiere on an American network outside of Nickelodeon or any of its sister networks, and also the first time the show has aired on terrestial television.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has won 16 consecutive Favorite Cartoon Awards and 22 nominations for the award; with 21 winning 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.[20]
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is the most distributed property of Paramount Global.
  • It is widely rumored that in the early 2000s, Spike TV offered Stephen Hillenburg to make an adult show version of SpongeBob SquarePants that would've been similar to Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon", but Hillenburg declined the offer.
  • According to tweets by Vincent Waller, it takes anywhere from five to nine months to make a single regular-length episode.[21][22][23]


See also[]

External links[]


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