The Lasting Legacy of SpongeBob SquarePants

by Jackie Sizemore

SpongeBob has been sharing his childlike outlook on life since 1999, and with a third movie coming in 2020, the famous sponge won’t be stopping anytime soon.

As a millennial, SpongeBob SquarePants has been around my entire childhood and adulthood. I spent many evenings watching SpongeBob reruns while babysitting the kids in my neighborhood, watching their faces light up when SpongeBob outsmarted Plankton’s latest scheme. It seemed like no matter how many times they saw the same episode, they could still find something new to giggle at. Throughout high school, SpongeBob became more of a symbol, and I watched him show up on peers clothes, backpacks, and cars.

SpongeBob has been living it up in his pineapple under the sea home in Bikini Bottom as a Nickelodeon Animation Studios show. SpongeBob SquarePants is a lovable sponge whose greatest joys in life are going on adventures with his best friend, Patrick, and making the perfect Krabby Patty at his burger-flipping job. Like any good main character, SpongeBob is always getting into messes, ruining the town, destroying his house, or annoying his character foil, the clarinet-playing, often depressed Squidward. But no matter how big Spongebob’s freak-outs get or how hard villainous Plankton tries to steal the super-secret Krabby Patty formula, SpongeBob can always find something to laugh about– even if he is the only one finding humor in the situation.

The show of nautical nonsense has won 9 Primetime Emmy Awards as well as many other awards for voice acting, producing, and songs. At Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards, the show has won “Favorite Cartoon” for the past 10 years in a row. SpongeBob SquarePants has a connection to another popular animated series as voice actor Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob and SpongeBob’s pet snail, Gary, also voices Adventure Time’s Ice King and other characters. Celebrities such as David Bowie, Robin Williams, Gene Simmons, Amy Sedaris, and Jon Hamm have also lent their voice talents to the SpongeBob SquarePants for minor characters.

Before the popular Broadway musical adaptation featuring an actor screaming while running around in a full-sized Krabby Patty costume, SpongeBob had two movies. The first was The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) featuring a South Park inspired poster that declared, “Bigger. Better. More Absorbent.” Then, in The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015), the Krabby Patty formula has been stolen leaving SpongeBob and friends to go onshore to battle the pirate owner of “Beard Burgers”. In this movie, the underwater squirrel scientist Sandy Cheeks is transformed into a regular, non-clothes wearing fox squirrel. The third movie’s release date has been delayed until July 31, 2020, but the movie’s title, It’s a Wonderful Sponge seems like a promising start.

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