SpongeBob SquarePants

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SpongeBob SquarePants
SBSP logo.png
  • Comedy[1]
  • Slapstick
  • Surreal humor
Developit by
Creautive director(s)
Theme muisic componerDerek Drymon
Mark Harrison
Stephen Hillenburg
Blaise Smith
Appenin theme"SpongeBob SquarePants Theme", performed by Patrick Pinney
Endin theme"SpongeBob Closing Theme", written by Steve Belfer and Nicolas Carr
Componer(s)Steve Belfer
Nicolas Carr
Sage Guyton
Jeremy Wakefield
Brad Carow (1999–2002)
The Blue Hawaiians (1999–2002)
Eban Schletter (2000–present)
Barry Anthony (2006–15)
No. o series10
No. o episodes211 (leet o episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Stephen Hillenburg
  • Paul Tibbitt (2008–17)
  • Co-Executive Producers:
  • Paul Tibbitt (2006–08)
  • Donna Castricone (1999–2002)
  • Helen Kafatic (2002–04)
  • Anne Michaud (2001)
  • Dina Buteyn (2005–10)
  • Jennie Monica Hammond (2010–present)
  • Supervising Producers:
  • Derek Drymon (2002–04)
  • Paul Tibbitt (2005–15)
  • Marc Ceccarelli (2015–present)
  • Vincent Waller (2015–present)
Lenth11 minutes (regular episodes anly)
22 minutes (special episodes anly)
Production company(s)
DistributorViacom International Media Networks (International)
Paramount Television
Oreeginal networkNickelodeon
Pictur format
Audio format
  • Advantage Audio Services (NTSC) (1999–2012)
  • Dolby Surround 5.1 (NTSC) (2009, 2012–present)
Oreeginal release1 Mey 1999 (1999-05-01) – present (present)
Freemit airtins

SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animatit televeesion series creatit bi marine biologist an animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series chronicles the adventures an endeavors o the title character an his various friends in the fictional underwater city o Disney XD Bikini Bottom. The series' popularity haes made it mak a media franchise, as well as the heichest rated series tae ever air on Nickelodeon, an the maist distributed property o MTV Networks. As of 2015, the media franchise haes generated $12 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon.[2]

Mony of the ideas for the series originated in an unpublished educational comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which Hillenburg creatit in 1989.[3] He began developin SpongeBob SquarePants intae a telly series in 1996 upon the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life, an turned tae Tom Kenny, who haed worked wi him on that series, tae vyce the title character. SpongeBob wis oreeginally going tae be named SpongeBoy, an the series wis tae be cried SpongeBoy Ahoy!, but thir war baith changed, as the name wis already trademarked.

Nickelodeon held a preview for the series in the United States on Mey 1, 1999, follaein the television airing of the 1999 Kids' Choice Awards. The series offeecially premiered on Julie 17, 1999. It haes received warldwide critical acclaim syne its premiere and gained enormous popularity by its seicont season. A featur film, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, wis released in theaters on November 19, 2004, an a sequel wis released on Februar 6, 2015. On October 15, 2016, the series began airing its current tenth season, beginnin wi the episode "Whirly Brains". In Mey 2017, the show wis annoonced tae be renewed for a 12t season.

The series haes won a variety of awards, includin six Annie Awards, aicht Golden Reel Awards, twa Emmy Awards, 12 Kids' Choice Awards, and twa BAFTA Children's Awards. Despite its widespread popularity, the series haes been involved in several public controversies, includin ane centred on speculation over SpongeBob's intendit sexual orientation, an anither focusing on the perceived declining quality of the show's content syne the release of the first film. In 2011, a newly describit species of fungi, Spongiforma squarepantsii, wis named efter the cartoon's title character.

Premise[eedit | eedit soorce]

Characters[eedit | eedit soorce]

Major characters in the series (from left to right): Squidward, Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob and Patrick.

The series revolves aroond its title character and his various friends. SpongeBob SquarePants is an energetic and optimistic sea sponge (awtho his appearance more closely resembles a kitchen sponge) who lifes in a sea pineapple and loves his job as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. He haes a pet snail, Gary, who meows lik a cat. Livin twa houses down from SpongeBob is his best friend Patrick Star, a dim-witted yet friendly pink starfish who lifes unner a rock. Despite his mental setbacks, Patrick still sees himsel as intelligent.[4] Squidward Tentacles is SpongeBob's next-door neighbor and co-wirker at the Krusty Krab.[5] Squidward is an arrogant and ill-tempered octopus who lifes in an Easter Island moai and dislikes his neighbors (especially SpongeBob) for thair childlike behaviour. He enjoys playin the clarinet and painting self-portraits, but hates his job as a cashier.

Anither close friend of SpongeBob is Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel from Texas.[6] She is a scientist and an expert in karate.[7][8] She lifes in an oak tree entrapped in a clear gless dome locked by an airtight, haund-turned seal. When ootside of her dwelling, she wears an astronaut-lik suit acause she canna breathe underwater.[5] Mr. Krabs, a miserly crab obsessed wi money, is the ainer of the Krusty Krab restaurant and SpongeBob's boss.[5] Krabs haes a teenage whale dochter named Pearl, whom he values equally wi his riches.[9] His rival, Plankton, is a smaw green copepod who ains a law-rank fast-food restaurant cried the Chum Bucket, locatit across the street from the Krusty Krab.[10] Plankton spends maist of his time planning to steal the secret recipe for Mr. Krabs's popular Krabby Patty burgers, sae as to gain the upper haund and put the Krusty Krab out of business.[11] The majority of Plankton's plans come from his intelligent yet sarcastic computer wife Karen, who is more competent and less conceited than him. When SpongeBob is nae wirkin at the Krusty Krab, he can eften be foond at Mrs. Puff's boating schuil (the underwater equivalent o a driver's education course). SpongeBob is perpetually unable to pass Mrs. Puff's exams, which is why he awmaist ayeweys walks aroond toun.[12]

Ither recurring characters appear throughout the series, sic as the muscular lifeguard of Goo Lagoon, Larry the Lobster; a pirate specter kent as the Flying Dutchman; and retired superheroes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, who are idolized by SpongeBob and Patrick. Most dooble-lenth episodes of the show are hosted by a live action pirate named Patchy and his pet parrot Potty, whose segments are presented in a dual narrative wi the animated stories.[13]

Setting[eedit | eedit soorce]

A blue coloured image of an atoll.
Bikini Atoll, a coral reef in the Pacific Ocean. Some hae pinpointed this as the real-world location of Bikini Bottom.

The series predominantly takes place in the benthic underwater city of Bikini Bottom which, accordin to some third-party sources, is locatit in the Pacific Ocean beneath the real-life coral reef kent as Bikini Atoll.[14][15] In 2015, Tom Kenny confirmed that the fictitious city wis named efter Bikini Atoll, but denied an Internet fan theory that connected the series' characters to actual nuclear testing that occurred in the atoll.[16]

The ceetizens live in maistly aquatic-themed buildings and uise "boatmobiles", amalgamations of cars and boats, as a mode of transportation. Recurring establishments present in Bikini Bottom include twa competin restaurants, the Krusty Krab an the Chum Bucket; Mrs. Puff's Boating School; and Shady Shoals Rest Home. Goo Lagoon, a popular beach hangout, is within the vicinity of the city, as is Jellyfish Fields. Thare are an aa a few episodes wi businesses sic as the grocery store, joke store, an mattress store.

When the crew began production on the pilot, thay war tasked wi designing the stock locations whaur "the show would return to again and again, and in which most of the action would take place, such as the Krusty Krab and SpongeBob's pineapple house".[17] The idea for the series wis "to keep everything nautical", sae the crew uised a great amount of rope, widden planks, ships' wheels, netting, anchors, boilerplates, an rivets in creautin the show's setting. Bubbles filing up the screen is an aa a nautical technique uised to transition from scene to scene.[17]

The series features "sky flowers" as a main setting material.[17] Thay first appeared in the pilot and hae syne acome a common featur throughout the series.[17] When series background designer Kenny Pittenger wis asked what thay war, he answered, "They function as clouds in a way, but since the show takes place underwater, they aren't really clouds".[17] Syne the series wis influenced by tiki, the background painters hae to uise a lot of pattern.[17] Pittenger said that the sky flouers war meant to "evoke the look of a flower-print Hawaiian shirt".[17]

Development[eedit | eedit soorce]

Early inspirations[eedit | eedit soorce]

Afore creautin SpongeBob SquarePants, Stephen Hillenburg taught marine biology to visitors of the Ocean Institute (locatit in Dana Point, California).[18]

Series creautor Stephen Hillenburg first became fascinated wi the ocean as a bairn. An aa at a young age, he began developin his artistic abilities. Houiver, thir twa interests wad nae coincide for a lang time—the idea of drawing fish seemed boring to him. During college, he majored in marine biology and minored in airt. Efter graduatin in 1984, he jynt the Ocean Institute, an organisation in Dana Point, California, dedicated to educating the public about marine science and maritime history.[18][19]

While Hillenburg wis thare, he creatit a precursor to SpongeBob SquarePants: a comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which wis uised by the institute to teach veesitin students about the ainimal life of tide pools.[19] The comic starred various anthropomorphic sea lifeforms, mony of which wad evolve intae SpongeBob characters.[20] Hillenburg tried to get the comic professionally published, but none of the companies to which he sent it war interested.[19]

Conception[eedit | eedit soorce]

Stephen Hillenburg, creautor of SpongeBob SquarePants

During his time of employment at the Ocean Institute, Hillenburg attended an animation festival and determined that he wanted to pursue a career in that field. He haed already been planning on returning to college for a master's degree in airt. Insteid, he chose to study experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts.[19] His thesis film, Wormholes, is about the theory of relativity.[21] It wis screened at festivals, an at ane of thir, Hillenburg met Joe Murray, creautor of the popular Nickelodeon animated series, Rocko's Modern Life. Murray wis impressed by the style of the film and offered Hillenburg a job.[21][22] Hillenburg jynt the series as a director and later, during the fowert season, he teuk on the roles of producer and creative director.[20][21][22][23]

Martin Olson, ane of the writers for Rocko's Modern Life, read The Intertidal Zone and encouraged Hillenburg to creaut a television series wi a seemilar concept. At that point, Hillenburg haed nae even considered creautin his ain series. Houiver, he realized that if he ever did, this wad be the best approach.[19][21][24] He began to faur develop some of the characters from The Intertidal Zone, includin the comic's "announcer", Bob the Sponge.[19] He wanted his series to staund out from maist popular cartoons of the time, which he felt war exemplified by buddy comedies sic as The Ren & Stimpy Show. As a result, Hillenburg decidit to focus on ane main character: the weirdest sea creature that he coud think of. This led him tae the sponge.[19] Bob the Sponge resembles an actual sea sponge, an at first Hillenburg continued this design.[19][21][22][25] In determining the new character's personality, Hillenburg drew inspiration from innocent, childlike figures that he enjoyed, sic as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis, and Pee-wee Herman.[19][22][26][27] He then considered modelin the character efter a kitchen sponge and realized that this idea wad perfectly match the character's square personality.[19][21][22]

To vyce the central character of the series, Hillenburg turned to Tom Kenny, whose career in animation haed stairtit alongside Hillenburg's on Rocko's Modern Life. Elements of Kenny's ain personality war employed in faur developin the character.[28][29] Initially, Hillenburg wanted to uise the name SpongeBoy — the character wad hae haed no last name, an the series wad hae been cried SpongeBoy Ahoy![25][30] Houiver, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered — efter vyce actin haed been completit for the oreeginal seiven-minute pilot episode — that the name "SpongeBoy" wis already in uise for a mop product.[30] Flaming Carrot Comics creautor Bob Burden an aa owned the trademark to a character of the same name.[31] In choosing a replacement name, Hillenburg felt that he still haed to uise the wird "Sponge", sae that viewers wad nae mistake the character for a "Cheese Man". He settled on the name "SpongeBob". "SquarePants" wis then chosen as a faimily name efter Kenny saw a picture of the character and remarked, "Boy, look at this sponge in square pants, thinking he can get a job in a fast food place."[26] Hillenburg loved the phrase upon hearing Kenny say it and felt that it wad reinforce the character's nerdiness.[26][32]

Pitching[eedit | eedit soorce]

"The execs from Nickelodeon flew out to Burbank, and we pitched it to them from the storyboards. We had squeezy toys, wore Hawaiian shirts and used a boom box to play the Tiny Tim song ['Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight'] that comes on in the third act. We really went all out in that pitch because we knew the pilot lived or died by if the execs lauched. When it was over, they walked out of the room to discuss it. We figured they would fly back to New York and we'd hear in a few weeks. We were surprised when they came back in what seemed like minutes and said they wanted to make it".

In 1997, while pitching the cartoon to Nickelodeon executives, Hillenburg donned a Hawaiian sark, brocht alang an "underwater terrarium with models of the characters", and played Hawaiian music to set the theme. The setup wis describit by Nickelodeon executive Eric Coleman as "pretty amazing".[21] When thay war gien money and twa weeks to write the pilot episode "Help Wanted",[21] Derek Drymon, Stephen Hillenburg, an Nick Jennings returned wi what wis describit by Nickelodeon offeecial Albie Hecht as, "a performance [he] wished [he] had on tape".[21] Awtho executive producer Derek Drymon describit the pitch as stressful, he said it went "very well".[21] Kevin Kay and Hecht haed to step ootside acause thay war "exhausted from lauching", which worried the cartoonists.[21]

In an interview, Cyma Zarghami, the current president of Nickelodeon, said, "their [Nickelodeon executives'] immediate reaction was to see it again, both because they liked it and it was unlike anything they'd ever seen before".[34] Zarghami wis ane of fower executives in the room whan SpongeBob SquarePants wis screened for the first time.[34]

Production[eedit | eedit soorce]

Executive producers and showrunners[eedit | eedit soorce]

"It reached a point where I felt I'd contributed a lot and said what I wanted to say. At that point, the show needed new blood, and so I selected Paul [Tibbitt] to produce. I totally trusted him. I always enjoyed the way he captured the SpongeBob character's sense of humor. And as a writer, you have to move on—I'm developing new projects".

Series creautor Stephen Hillenburg haes served as the executive producer over the course of the series' entire history, an functioned as the showrunner from the series' debut in 1999 until 2004. The series went on hiatus in 2002, efter Hillenburg halted production to wirk on a featur film of the series, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.[31] Ance the film wis finalized an the third season finished, Hillenburg resigned as the series' showrunner. Awtho he no langer haes a direct role in the production of the series, he still maintains an advisory role and reviews each episode.[34][36]

When the film wis completit, Hillenburg intendit for it tae be the series finale, "so [the show] wouldn't jump the shark." Houiver, Nickelodeon wanted more episodes,[31] sae Hillenburg appyntit Paul Tibbitt, who previously served on the show as a writer, director, an storyboard artist, to tak over his role as showrunner and produce faur seasons.[37] Hillenburg considered Tibbitt ane of his favorite members of the show's crew,[38] and "totally trusted him".[35] Tibbitt still holds the showrunner poseetion, an haes an aa functioned as a supervising producer syne 2005 and an executive producer syne 2008.[37][39]

On December 13, 2014, it wis annoonced that Hillenburg wad return tae the series in an unspecified poseetion.[40]

Writing[eedit | eedit soorce]

For SpongeBob SquarePants a team of five outline and premise writers creates the initial storylines. Writer Luke Brookshier said, "SpongeBob is written differently than many television shows".[41] Writing for an episode of the series starts wi a twa-page outline. A storyboard director then takes the outline and develops it intae a full episode — jokes and dialogue are added during this stage.[41][42] Anither writer for the series, Merriwether Williams, describit in an interview that she and Mr. Lawrence wad write a draft for an episode in an afternoon and be done at 4 o'clock.[42]

Hillenburg decidit early on, prior to stairtin the production of the series, that he wanted SpongeBob SquarePants tae be storyboard-driven, rather than script-driven.[43] This required an approach in which artists "would take a skeletal story outline and flesh it out with sight gags, dialogue and a structure that would strike a balance between narrative and whimsy".[43] Hillenburg oreeginally wanted "a team of young and hungry people" to wirk on the series.[33] The primary figures, who haed previously worked wi Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life, consisted of Alan Smart, Nick Jennings, an Derek Drymon.[33] Heid writer Steven Banks said, "The writers come up with an idea and write premises and outlines describing the story, and the storyboarders (who are also writers) write the dialogue while they draw the storyboard panels. Most other shows are script-driven. We don't write scripts and that has made all the difference!"[44]

The writing staff eften uised thair individual life experiences for inspirations to come up wi the storylines of the series' episodes.[33][35] For ensaumple, the episode "Sailor Mouth", in which SpongeBob and Patrick learn profanity,[35] wis inspired by creative director Derek Drymon's experience of getting in trouble as a bairn for uisin the f-wird in front of his mither.[33] Drymon said, "The scene where Patrick is running to Mr. Krabs to tattle, with SpongeBob chasing him, is pretty much how it happened in real life".[33] The end of the episode, in which Mr. Krabs uses even more profanity than SpongeBob and Patrick, wis inspired "by the fact that my [Drymon's] mother has a sailor mouth herself".[33] The idea for the episode "The Secret Box" an aa came from ane of Drymon's childhood experiences.[35][45] Hillenburg explained, "Drymon had a secret box [as a kid] and started telling us about it. We wanted to make fun of him and use it."[35]

Awmaist every episode is dividit intae twa 11-minute segments. Hillenburg explained that "[I] never really wanted to deliberately try to write a half-hour show".[35] He added, "I wrote the shows to where they felt right".[35] Each 11-minute segment takes about five month to produce.[46][47]

Voice actors[eedit | eedit soorce]

"Steve described SpongeBob to me as childlike and naïve. He's not quite an adult, he's not quite a kid. Think a Stan Laurel, Jerry Lewis kind of child-man. Kind of like a Munchkin but not quite, kind of like a kid, but not in a Charlie Brown child's voice on the TV shows".

— Tom Kenny[27]

SpongeBob SquarePants haes six main cast members: Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, and Mr. Lawrence.

Kenny provides the vyces of SpongeBob SquarePants, his pet snail Gary, the French Narrator, Harold SquarePants, Patchy the Pirate, an the Dirty Bubble. Kenny previously worked wi Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life and, whan Hillenburg creatit SpongeBob SquarePants, he approached Kenny to vyce the character.[48] The vyce of SpongeBob wis oreeginally uised by Kenny for a minor background character in Rocko's Modern Life.[30] Kenny says that SpongeBob's heich-pitched lauch wis specifically creatit tae be unique. Thay wanted an annoying lauch in the tradeetion of Popeye and Woody Woodpecker.[49]

Fagerbakke vyces Patrick Star[50] and ither miscellaneous characters. At the same time whan Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, an Tim Hill war writing the pilot "Help Wanted", Hillenburg wis an aa conducting auditions to find vyces for the characters.[33] Fagerbakke auditioned for the role of Patrick efter Kenny haed been cast.[51] In an interview, Fagerbakke compared himsel tae the character and said, "It's extremely gratifying".[52] Fagerbakke modeled his performance whenever Patrick is angry efter that of American actress Shelley Winters.[53]

Bumpass performs the vyce of Squidward Tentacles and ither miscellaneous characters. Arthur Brown, author of Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Cartoons!, haes compared Squidward's vyce to that of Jack Benny's,[5] a similarity Bumpass says is maistly unintentional.[54] Hillenburg oreeginally haed Mr. Lawrence in mind for the role of voicing Squidward.[33]

Clancy Brown provides the vyce of Mr. Krabs.[55]

Carolyn Lawrence provides the vyce of Sandy Cheeks.[56] Lawrence got the role of Sandy whan she wis in the Los Feliz neighborhood in Los Angeles. She met Donna Grillo, a casting director, on a sidewalk. Lawrence wis wi a friend who knew Grillo, an she said Lawrence haed an interestin vyce. Grillo brocht in Lawrence to audeetion and she got the pairt of Sandy.[57][58] Lawrence modeled her performance of Sandy efter that of American actress Holly Hunter.[59]

Mr. Lawrence vyces Plankton. Drymon said, "We knew Doug [Lawrence] from Rocko, where he was a storyboard director and where he also did the voice of Filburt. We were showing Doug the storyboard, and he started reading back to us in his Tony the Tiger/Gregory Peck voice. It was really funny, and we wound up having SpongeBob use a deep voice when he entered the Krusty Krab for the first time".[33] Hillenburg loved the vyce and decidit to gie Lawrence the pairt of series villain, Plankton.[33] Aside from Plankton, Mr. Lawrence an aa vyces recurring characters lik Larry Lobster.[60]

Karen, Mrs. Puff, Pearl, an the Flying Dutchman are voiced by Kenny's wife Jill Talley,[61] Mary Jo Catlett,[62] Lori Alan[63] and Brian Doyle-Murray,[64] respectively.[65] Mr. Krabs' mither, Mama Krabs, who debuted in the episode "Sailor Mouth", wis voiced by writer Paul Tibbitt.[66][67][68] Houiver, vyce actress Sirena Irwin owerteuk Tibbitt's role as the character reappeared in the fowert-season episode "Enemy In-Law" in 2005.[69] Tom Kenny portrays Patchy the Pirate, the president of the fictional SpongeBob SquarePants fan club, while series creautor Hillenburg voiced the character of Potty the Parrot.[70] Efter Hillenburg's departure as showrunner in 2004, Tibbitt wis gien the role in voicing Potty the Parrot.[71]

In addition tae the regular cast, episodes featur guest vyces from mony ranges of professions, includin actors, athletes, authors, musicians, an artists. Recurring guest vyces include: Ernest Borgnine, who voiced Mermaid Man from 1999 until his daith in 2012;[72] Tim Conway as the vyce of Barnacle Boy;[73] and Marion Ross as Grandma SquarePants.[74] Notable guests who hae providit vocal cameo appearances includes David Bowie as Lord Royal Highness in the television film Atlantis SquarePantis,[75][76] John Goodman as the vyce of Santa in the episode "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", Johnny Depp as the vyce of the surf guru, Jack Kahuna Laguna, in the episode "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One",[77] and Victoria Beckham as the vyce of Queen Amphitrite in the episode "The Clash of Triton".[78][79]

Voice recording sessions ayeweys include a full cast of actors, which Kenny describes as "getting more unusual".[80] Kenny said, "That's another thing that's given SpongeBob its special feel. Everybody's in the same room, doing it old radio-show style. It's how the stuff we like was recorded".[80] Series writer Jay Lender said, "The recording sessions were always fun ..."[81] For the first three seasons, Hillenburg and Drymon sat in on the record studio, an thay directed the actors.[82] In the fowert season, Andrea Romano teuk over the role as the vyce director.[82] Wednesday is recording day, the same schedule followed by the crew syne 1999.[82] Casting supervisor Jennie Monica Hammond said, "I loved Wednesdays".[82]

Animation[eedit | eedit soorce]

Approximately 50 fowk wirk thegither in animating and producin an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.[41] Throughout its run, production of the series haes been handled domestically at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California, while the finished animation haes been creatit overseas at Rough Draft Studios in Sooth Korea.[35][83] Storyboarding for each episode is done by the crew in California. The storyboards are then uised as templates by the crew in Korea,[35] who animate by haund, colour cels on computers, an paint backgrounds. Episodes are finished in California, whaur thay are edited and hae music added.[41] Every season, character designs are updated or modified to solve technical issues in the animation.[84]

During the first season, the series uised cel animation.[37] A shift wis made the follaein year to digital ink and paint animation.[37] In 2009, executive producer Paul Tibbitt said "The first season of SpongeBob was done the old-fashioned way on cells, and every cell had to be part-painted, left to dry, paint some other colours. It's still a time-consuming aspect of the process now, but the digital way of doing things means it doesn't take long to correct".[37]

In 2008, the crew shifted to uisin Wacom Cintiqs for the drawings insteid of pencils.[31] The fift season episode "Pest of the West" wis the first episode in the series to which the crew applee'd this method.[85] Series background designer Kenny Pittenger said, "The only real difference between the way we draw now and the way we drew then is that we abandoned pencil and paper during the fifth season".[31] The crew began the shift while thay war wirkin on the episode. Pittenger said, "It was while we were working on 'Pest of the West', one of the half-hour specials, that we made the switch ... did you notice?"[31] The shift to Wacom Cintiqs let the designers and animators draw on computer screens and mak immediate changes or undo mistakes. Pittenger said, "Many neo-Luddites—er ... I mean, many of my cohorts—don't like working on them, but I find them useful. There's no substitute for the immediacy of drawing on a piece of paper, of course, but digital nautical nonsense is still pretty fun".[31]

Syne 2004, the SpongeBob crew haes periodically collaborated wi the LA-based animation studio Screen Novelties to creaut stop-motion sequences for special episodes. The studio produced a brief claymation scene for the climax of the first theatrical film[86] and wis re-enlisted in 2009 to creaut an exclusive openin for the series' tenth anniversary special.[87][88] The abominable snaw mollusk, an octopus-lik creature made of clay who acts as the antagonist of the dooble-lenth episode "Frozen Face-Off," wis an aa animated by the company.[89] Animation World Network reportit that "within the SpongeBob creative team, there was always talk of doing a more involved project together" wi Screen Novelties.[89] As a result, the group wis asked to creaut an episode animated entirely in stop motion in 2011. This project became "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!”,[90] which reimagined the show's characters as if thay war pairt o a Rankin/Bass holiday film.[91] Tom Kenny, who is nae normally involved in the writing process, contreibutit tae the episode's plot; he said in 2012 that he and Nickelodeon "wanted to dae something juist lik thae auld schuil, stop-motion Rankin-Bass holiday specials...which I watched over and over again when I wis a kid growin up in Syracuse."[86] Unconventional materials sic as baking soda, glitter, wid chips and breakfast cereal war uised in mass quantities to creaut the special's sets.[92] Members of the Screen Novelties crew received ane win and twa nominations at the 30th Annie Awards,[93] a nomination at the 2013 Golden Reel Awards,[94] and a nomination at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival for animating the episode.[95] The team biggit a dowphin puppet named Bubbles, voiced by Matt Berry, for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.[96] Sequences involvin Bubbles included a blend of stop motion and traditional animation. A seicont special animated in stop motion, themed aroond Halloween and uisin the same Rankin/Bass-inspired character models, is currently bein produced for season 11.[97][98]

Music[eedit | eedit soorce]

"[The music haes gone] from maistly sea shanties and Hawaiian music à la Roy Smeck meets Pee-wee Herman—still the main style for the show—in the early episodes, but it nou includes film noir, West Side Story to [Henry] Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith and [Steven] Spielberg. Thare's Broadway-type scores and plain auld goofy, loopy, weird stuff. I try to push the envelope on this show wioot getting in the wey of the story, and I try to push it up and wey over the top when I can get away wi it, aw the time keepin it as funny and ridiculous as possible."

—Music editor Nicolas Carr[99]

The theme song wis componed by Mark Harrison and Blaise Smith,[100] while the lyrics tae the song war written by series creautor Stephen Hillenburg an the series' oreeginal creative director Derek Drymon. The melody wis inspired by the sea shanty "Blow the Man Down".[22] An auld oil painting o a pirate is uised in the openin sequence. It haes been dubbed "Painty the Pirate", and accordin to Tom Kenny, Hillenburg foond it in a thrift shop "years ago".[30] Patrick Pinney gies vyce to Painty the Pirate, singing the theme song as the character.[22] Hillenburg's lips war imposed onto the painting and muive alang wi the lyrics.[30] Kenny joked that this is "about as close o a glimpse as maist SpongeBob fans are ever going to get of Steve Hillenburg", acause of Hillenburg's private naitur.[22]

A civer of the song by Avril Lavigne can be foond on the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie soundtrack.[101][102] Anither civer by the Violent Femmes aired on Nickelodeon as a promotion for the series muivin to prime time.[103]

Steve Belfer, ane of Hillenburg's friends from CalArts, wrote and performed the music that is played over the end credits.[33] This theme includes ukulele music, per Hillenburg's request.[33] Drymon said, "It's sae lang ago, it's haurd tae be sure, but I remember Hillenburg haein the Belfer music early on, maybe afore the pilot".[33]

The series' music editor and main composer is Nicolas Carr.[99] Efter wirkin wi Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life, Carr struggled to find a new job in his field. He haed been considering a career chynge whan Hillenburg offered him the job. The first season's score primarily featurt selections from the Associated Production Music Library, which Carr haes said includes "lots of great auld corny Hawaiian music and big, full, dramatic orchestral scores."[99] Rocko's Modern Life an aa uised music from this library. It wis Hillenburg's decision to adopt the approach. The selections for SpongeBob SquarePants hae been describit by Carr as bein "more over-the-top" than those for Rocko's Modern Life.[99]

Hillenburg an aa felt that it wis important for the series to develop its ain music library, consisting of scores that coud be reused and re-edited throughout the years. He wanted thir scores tae be componed by unknowns, an a group of twal wis assembled. Thay formed "The Sponge Divers Orchestra", which includes Carr and Belfer. This group went on to provide the majority of the music for later seasons, awtho Carr still draws from the Associated Production Music Library, as well as anither library that he foondit himsel — Animation Music Inc.[99]

Broadcast[eedit | eedit soorce]

Tenth anniversary[eedit | eedit soorce]

"Ten years. I never imagined wirkin on the show to this date and this lang...I really figured we might get a season and a cult follaein, and that might be it."

Stephen Hillenburg[104]

Nickelodeon began celebrating the 10t anniversary of the series on Januar 18, 2009 wi a live cast readin of the episode "SpongeBob vs. The Big One". The readin — a first for the series — wis held at that year's Sundance Film Festival.[105][106] The episode, which wad nae premiere on TV until Apryle 17, featurt Johnny Depp as a guest starn.[107] Ither celebratory actions taken by the network included the launching o a new website for the series (spongebob.com) an the introduction of new merchandising. A "SpongeBob and water conservation-themed element" wis an aa added to Nickelodeon's pro-social campaign The Big Green Help.[105] In an interview, Tom Kenny said, "What I'm maist proud of is that kids still really lik [SpongeBob SquarePants] and care about it ... Thay eagerly await new episodes. People who war young children when it stairtit 10 years ago are still watching it and digging it and think it's funny. That's the loving cup for me".[108]

Three nichts afore the offeecial anniversary date, an oor-lang documentary of the series, Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants, premiered on VH1.[104][105][106][108][109] Critically acclaimed duo Patrick Creadon and Christine O'Malley creatit the film as a followup to I.O.U.S.A. – a documentary on America's financial situation. Creadon remarked, "Efter spendin twa years examining the financial heal of the United States, Christine and I war ready to tackle something a little more upbeat. Telling the SpongeBob story feels lik the perfect fit."[105] On Friday Julie 17, Nickelodeon merked the offeecial anniversary of the series, wi a 50-oor television marathon titled "The Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash Weekend". The marathon began wi a new episode, "To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants". Saturday saw a countdown of the tap ten episodes as picked by fans, as well as an airing of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The marathon finished on Sunday, which saw a countdown of episodes as picked by celebrities, as well as the premiere of ten new episodes.[105][110][111]

Nickelodeon continued celebrating the anniversary throu the rest of the year. An aicht-episode DVD set featurin "To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants" shortly followed the marathon, wi a Julie 21 release.[112][113] Next a 2,200 minute, 14-disc DVD set titled The First 100 Episodes wis released on September 22.[113][114][115] Finally, on November 6, an oor-lang television film, titled Truth or Square, debuted on Nickelodeon. The film is narrated by Ricky Gervais and features live action cameo appearances by Rosario Dawson, Craig Ferguson, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, LeBron James, P!nk, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and Robin Williams.[116][117][118] It wis released as pairt o a five-episode DVD set on November 10.[119]

Reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

Ratings and run-length achievements[eedit | eedit soorce]

Within its first month on air, SpongeBob SquarePants owerteuk Pokémon as the heichest rated Saturday-morning children's series. It held an average national Nielsen rating of 4.9 amang children aged twa throu eleven, denoting 1.9 million viewers.[120][121] Twa years later, the series haed firmly established itself as Nickelodeon's seicont heichest rated children's program, efter Rugrats. It haed gained a significant adult audience by that point – nearly 40 percent of the series' 2.2 million viewers war aged 18 to 34.[122] That year, 2001, Nickelodeon teuk the "Saturday-morning ratings crown" for the fowert straucht season.[123] In response to this weekend-foond success, the studio gae SpongeBob SquarePants time slots at 6 PM and 8 PM, Monday throu Thursday, to increase exposure of the series.[122][124] By the end of that year SpongeBob SquarePants boasted the heichest ratings for ony children's series, nae anly on Nickelodeon, but on aw of television.[125][126][127] Weekly viewership of the series haed reached aroond fifteen million, at least five million of which war adults.[125]

In October 2002, anither Nickelodeon series titled The Fairly OddParents ranked as the No. 2 program for children atween 2 and 11 year auld.[128] Its ratings at that time war awmaist equal to SpongeBob SquarePants' then-average of 2.2 million viewers per episode.[128] The Fairly OddParents even briefly surpassed SpongeBob SquarePants, causing the latter series to drop into second place — at this time The Fairly OddParents had a 6.2 rating and nearly 2.5 million child viewers, while SpongeBob SquarePants had a 6.0 rating and 2.4 million kids 2–11.[129] Nickelodeon "recognised" The Fairly OddParents for its climbing ratings and installed it into a new 8 P.M. time slot, previously occupied by SpongeBob SquarePants.[128] In an interview, Cyma Zarghami, then-general manager and executive vice president of Nickelodeon, said, "Are we banking on the fact that Fairly OddParents will be the next SpongeBob? ... We are hoping. But SpongeBob is sae unique, it's haurd to say if it will ever be repeated".[128]

Houiver, in 2012, it wis reportit that the series' ratings war declining.[130][131] The average nummer of viewers aged 2 to 11 watching SpongeBob at ony gien time dropped 29% in the first quarter from a year earlier, accordin to Nielsen.[132] Wall Street Journal business writer John Jannarone suggestit that the age of the series and oversaturation of the series might be contributing tae the decline of the series' ratings, an might an aa be directly responsible for the decline in Nickelodeon's oweraw ratings.[133] Media analyst Todd Juenger directly attributes the decline in Nickelodeon's ratings tae the availability of streaming video content on services lik Netflix, a provider of on-demand Internet streaming media.[134]

Philippe Dauman, the president and CEO of Viacom, contradicted the notion, saying he did nae think "the leemitit amount of Nick library content on Netflix ... haes haed a significant impact".[135][136] A Nickelodeon spokesman said SpongeBob is performing consistently well and remains the nummer ane rated animated series in aw of children's television.[133] He added, "Thare is nothing that we hae seen that pynts to SpongeBob as a problem".[133] Dauman blamed the drop on "some ratings systemic issues" at Nielsen, citing extensive set-top-box data that "daes in no wey reflect" the Nielsen data.[137]

Juenger noted that SpongeBob coud affect the ratings of ither Nickelodeon programming acause children eften chynge channels to find thair favorite programs, then stay tuned intae that network.[133] Nickelodeon recently reduced its exposure in television. In the first quarter of 2012, the network cut back on the nummer of episodes it aired by 16% compared wi a year earlier.[133]

On Apryle 22, 2013, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings annoonced thair intentions nae to renew thair existin deal wi Viacom.[138] Syne then, Viacom's deal wi Netflix expired, an shows sic as SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer war removed.[139] On Juin 4, 2013, Viacom annoonced a multi-year licensing agreement which wad muive its programs, sic as SpongeBob and Dora the Explorer, to Amazon.com, Netflix's tap competitor.[140][141] Amazon agreed to pey mair nor $200 million to Viacom for the license, its lairgest subscription streaming transaction ever.[142][143]

SpongeBob SquarePants is ane of the langest-running series on Nickelodeon.[144] It became the Nickelodeon series wi the maist episodes, during its aicht season, surpassing the 172 episodes of Rugrats wi 178.[145] In its ninth season, a tot of 26 episodes pushed the series over the 200th episode merk, reachin 204 produced episodes.[146][147][148] In a statement, Brown Johnson, animation president for Nickelodeon, said, "SpongeBob's success in reachin over 200 episodes is a testament to creautor Stephen Hillenburg's vision, comedic sensibility and his dynamic, lovable characters. The series nou joins the club of contemporary classic Nicktoons that hae hit this benchmark, sae we're incredibly proud".[149][150]

Critical reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

SpongeBob SquarePants haes received generally positive reviews from critics, an it haes been noted for its appeal towards different age groups. James Poniewozik of Time magazine describit the title character as "the anti-Bart Simpson, temperamentally and physically: his head is as squared-off and neat as Bart's is unruly, and he has a personality to match—conscientious, optimistic and blind to the faults in the world and those around him".[151] Accordin to Laura Fries of Variety magazine, the series is "a thoughtful and inventive cartoon about a hopelessly optimistic and resilient sea sponge ... Devoid of the double entendres rife in today's animated TV shows, this is purely kid's stuff ... However, that's not to say that SpongeBob is simplistic or even juvenile. It's charming and whimsical, but clever enough to appeal to teens and college-aged kids, as well".[152] The New York Times critic Joyce Millman said SpongeBob "is clever without being impenetrable to young viewers and goofy without boring grown-ups to tears. It's the most charming toon on television, and one of the weirdest. And it's also good, clean fun, which makes sense because it is, after all, about a sponge". Millman wrote, "His relentless good cheer would be irritating if he weren't so darned lovable and his world so excellently strange ... Like Pee-wee's Playhouse, SpongeBob joyfully dances on the fine line between childhood and adulthood, guilelessness and camp, the warped and the sweet".[153]

Robert Thompson, a professor of communications and director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, told The New York Times, "There is something kind of unique about [SpongeBob]. It seems to be a refreshing breath from the pre-irony era. There's no sense of the elbow-in-rib, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic that so permeates the rest of American culture–including kids' shows like the Rugrats. I think what's subversive about it is it's so incredibly naive–deliberately. Because there's nothing in it that's trying to be hip or cool or anything else, hipness can be grafted onto it".[154] In anither interview wi LA Times, he commentated on the show's adult audience: "[On one hand] It's a kind of time machine that transports parents back to when they watched TV in their footie [pajamas]. On the other hand, it's very hip in the way it's presented. It is very edgy to adults who know how to read and listen between the frames."[155] In a 2007 interview, Barack Obama named SpongeBob his favorite TV character and admitted that SpongeBob SquarePants is "the show I watch with my daughters".[156][157][158] British Prime Meenister Gordon Brown haes an aa said he watches the series wi his children.[34]

Awards and accolades[eedit | eedit soorce]

SpongeBob SquarePants haes received mony awards and nominations; amang thir are twa Emmy Awards ("Outstanding Special Class Animated Program" in 2010[159] and "Outstanding Sound Editing – Animation" in 2014);[160] six Annie Awards;[161][162][163][164][165][166] and twa BAFTA Children's Awards.[167][168] Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz included the series in thair 2016 book TV as the 22nt greatest American television series of aw time, statin that "SpongeBob SquarePants is an absurdist masterpiece that Salvador Dalí and Groucho Marx would have watched together in their smoking jackets".[169][170] In 2006, IGN ranked SpongeBob SquarePants 15t on its leet, "Top 25 Animated Series of All Time",[171] an in 2013, it ranked the series 12t on its leet, "The Top 25 Animated Series for Adults".[172] Additionally, the website's UK division ran a "Top 100 Animated Series" leet, an lik its US counterpart, ranked SpongeBob SquarePants 15t.[173]

The series is amang the "All-TIME 100 TV Shows" as chosen by Time television critic James Poniewozik in 2007. He said, "It's the most funny, surreal, inventive example of the explosion in creative kids' (and adult) entertainment that Nick, Cartoon Network and their ilk made possible".[174] Viewers of the UK television network Channel 4 voted SpongeBob SquarePants the 28t "Greatest Cartoon" in a 2004 poll.[175][176] TV Guide listed the character of SpongeBob SquarePants at No. 9 for its "50 Greatest Cartoon Characters of All Time".[177] In 2013, the publication ranked SpongeBob SquarePants the aicht "Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time".[178] In Juin 2010, Entertainment Weekly named SpongeBob ane of the "100 Greatest Characters of the Last 20 Years".[179]

Legacy[eedit | eedit soorce]

SpongeBob SquarePants wax statue, in National Wax Museum Plus, in Dublin, Ireland
Efter the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, SpongeBob became a fashion trend at the Tahrir Square (pictured) and led tae the creation o a Tumblr project cried "SpongeBob on the Nile".

In Julie 2009, Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York launched a wax sculpture of SpongeBob in celebration of the series' 10t anniversary. This made SpongeBob the first animated character to ever receive a statue made entirely out of wax.[180][181][182][183] In Mey 2011, a new species of mushroom, Spongiforma squarepantsii, wis describit, named efter the series' title character.[184]

The character haes an aa acome a trend in Egyp at Cairo's Tahrir Square.[185] Efter the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, SpongeBob became a fashion phenomenon, appearin on various items of merchandise from hijabs to boxer shorts.[186][187] The phenomenon led tae the creation of the Tumblr project cried "SpongeBob on the Nile". The project wis foondit by American students Andrew Leber and Elisabeth Jaquette and attempts to document every appearance of SpongeBob in Egyp.[188] Sherief Elkeshta cited the phenomenon in an essay about the incoherent state of politics in Egyp in an independent monthly paper titled Midan Masr. He wrote, "Why isn't he [SpongeBob] at least holding a Molotov cocktail? Or raising a fist?"[189] The phenomenon haes even spread to Libya, whaur a Libyan rebel in SpongeBob dress wis photographed celebrating the revolution.[190] Awtho The Guardian and Vice hae asserted that the trend haes little to no poleetical significance,[185][186] "joke" presidential campaigns hae been undertaken for SpongeBob in Egyp and Sirie.[186][188]

A clip wis posted to YouTube in Februar 2013 that features soldiers in the Roushie airmy and navy singing the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song as thay march.[191][192] Accordin tae the website that uploaded the video, this is ane of the "most popular marching songs" in the Roushie military.[191] The video garnered nearly 50,000 views within its first week.[192]

Criticism[eedit | eedit soorce]

Controversies[eedit | eedit soorce]

In 2005, an online video which showed clips from SpongeBob SquarePants and ither children's shows set tae the Sister Sledge song "We Are Family" to promote diversity and tolerance wis attacked by an evangelical group in the United States, acause thay saw SpongeBob bein uised to "advocate homosexuality".[193][194] James Dobson of Focus on the Family accused the video of promoting homosexuality, due to it bein sponsored by a pro-tolerance group.[194] The incident accentuated questions as to whether or nae SpongeBob is gay. Awtho the character haes enjoyed popularity wi gay viewers, series creautor Stephen Hillenburg haed already denied the issue three years earlier, clarifying at the time that he considers the character tae be "somewhat asexual".[195] Efter Dobson's comments, Hillenburg reasserted his poseetion, statin that sexual preference daes nae play a pairt in what thay are "trying to do" wi the series.[196][197] Tom Kenny and ither production members war distraught that sic an issue haed arisen.[30]

Dobson later stated that his comments war taken out of context, an that his oreeginal complaints war nae wi SpongeBob, the video, or ony of the characters in the video, but rather wi the organisation that sponsored the video, the We Are Family Foundation. Dobson indicated that the We Are Family Foundation posted pro-gay material on thair website, but later removed it.[198] Efter the controversy, John H. Thomas, the United Church of Christ's general meenister and president, said thay wad welcome SpongeBob intae thair ministry. He said "Jesus didn't turn people away. Neither do we".[199]

Jeffery P. Dennis, author of the journal article "Queertoons", argued that SpongeBob and Sandy are nae romantically in luve, while adding that he believed that SpongeBob and Patrick "are paired with arguably erotic intensity".[200] Martin Goodman of Animation World Magazine describit Dennis' comments regarding SpongeBob and Patrick as "interesting".[201][a] Ukrainian website Family Unner the Protection of the Holy Virgin, which haes been describit as a "fringe Catholic" group by The Wall Street Journal, levied criticism against SpongeBob SquarePants for its alleged "promotion of homosexuality".[203] The group sought to hae the series banned, alang wi several ither popular children's properties. The National Expert Commission of Ukraine on the Protection of Public Morality teuk up the matter for review in August 2012.[203]

In Apryle 2009, Burger King released a SpongeBob-themed advertisement featurin a parody of Sir Mix-a-Lot's song "Baby Got Back". The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood protested the ad for bein sexist and inappropriately sexual, especially contemplating that SpongeBob's fan base includes young children.[204][205][206][207][208] In offeecial statements released by Burger King and Nickelodeon, baith companies claimed that the campaign wis aimed at parents.[207][208]

"The children who watched the cartoon were operating at half the capacity compared to other children."

— Angeline S. Lillard, University of Virginia[209]

A 2011 study conducted at the University of Virginia and published in the journal Pediatrics suggestit that allouin preschool-aged audiences to watch the series caused short-term disruptions in mental function and attention span due to frequent shot changes.[210][211] A Nickelodeon executive responded in an interview that the series wis nae intendit for an audience of that age and that the study uised "questionable methodology and could not possibly provide the basis for any valid findings that parents could trust".[212][213]

Several episodes of the series hae been subject to controversy as well. In a report titled Wolves in Sheep's Claedin, which documents the increase in potentially violent, profane, an sexual content in children's programming, the Parents Television Council, a watchdog media group, claimed the season 2 SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Sailor Mouth" wis an implicit attempt to promote and satirize uise of profanity amang children,[214] while "SpongeBob's Last Stand" and "Selling Out" hae been accused of promoting environmentalism and left-wing politics due to thair negative portrayal of big business.[215] "SpongeBob, You're Fired", a 2013 season 9 episode, gained hivy controversy and sparked a poleetical debate over its portrayal of unemployment;[215] efter Fox News an the New York Post commented on the episode, Media Matters for America accused the twa organisations of uisin the episode to "attack the social safety net".[216] This statement wis echoed by Al Sharpton, who claimed conservatives' "new hero" tae be "a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea".[217]

Declining quality[eedit | eedit soorce]

Critics' reviews of early SpongeBob episodes praised the show for its wit, clever humour, an "uncanny brilliance".Template:Attribution needed[218] Houiver, in 2007, aroond the airing of season five, the tone and emphasis of the show began to chynge. Some fans "began to turn away from the show",Template:Attribution needed causin online fansites to "[become] deserted".Template:Attribution needed[132] Thay pyntit to a shift from clever humour to what thay perceived as "boring, unfunny humor ... geared ower muckle towards children".Template:Attribution needed[219]

Paul Tibbitt, showrunner from season fower tae the season 9 episode, "SpongeBob, You're Fired!" haes been the subject of criticism.[219] While The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie wis generally well received by fans of the show, it is an aa considered a turning point in the show's history, as mony fans believe the decline occurred efter the film's release,[132] whan Stephen Hillenburg resigned as showrunner and Tibbitt wis appyntit to replace him. Episodes produced syne the movie hae been variously categorized as "kid-pandering attention-waster[s]",[220] "tedious",[221] "boring" and "dreck",[222] a "depressing plateau of mediocrity",[223] and "lauch-skimpy".[224]

Ither media[eedit | eedit soorce]

Home video[eedit | eedit soorce]

SpongeBob SquarePants DVD releases
Season DVD release date
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 October 28, 2003[225] November 7, 2005[226] November 30, 2006[227]
2 October 19, 2004[228] October 23, 2006[229] November 30, 2006[230]
3 September 27, 2005[231] December 3, 2007[232] November 8, 2007[233]
4 September 12, 2006[234] November 3, 2008[235] November 7, 2008[236]
Januar 9, 2007[237]
5 September 4, 2007[238] November 16, 2009[239] December 3, 2009[240]
November 18, 2008[241]
6 December 8, 2009[242] November 29, 2010[243] December 2, 2010[244]
December 7, 2010[245][246]
7 December 6, 2011[247] September 17, 2012[248] September 12, 2012[249]
8 Mairch 12, 2013[250] October 28, 2013[251] October 30, 2013[252]
10[253] TBA TBA TBA

Comic beuks[eedit | eedit soorce]

In Februar 2011, creautor Hillenburg first annoonced the release of the 32-page bimonthly comic book series, SpongeBob Comics, based on the show.[254][255] The release merked the first time Hillenburg authored his ain beuks. He said, "I'm hoping that fans will enjoy finally having a SpongeBob comic book from me".[254][255] The comic book series is published by Hillenburg's production company, United Plankton Pictures, and distributed by Bongo Comics Group.[254][255] Awtho the characters of the series haed previously appeared in Nickelodeon Magazine an in Cine-Manga, the first issue of SpongeBob Comics merked the first time the characters hae appeared in thair ain comic beuks in the United States.[254][255] Hillenburg describit the stories from the comic beuks as "original and always true to the humor, characters, and universe of the SpongeBob SquarePants series".[254][255]

Chris Duffy, the umwhile senior editor of Nickelodeon Magazine, serves as managing editor of SpongeBob Comics.[254][255] Hillenburg and Duffy met wi various cartoonists—includin James Kochalka, Hilary Barta, Graham Annable, Gregg Schigiel, an Jacob Chabot—to contribute to each issues.[254][255] Retired horror comics writer and artist Stephen R. Bissette returned to write a special Halloween issue in 2012, wi Tony Millionaire and Al Jaffee.[256] In an interview wi Tom Spurgeon, Bissette said, "I've even broken my retirement to do one work-for-hire gig [for SpongeBob Comics] so I could share everything about that kind of current job".[257]

In the United Kingdom, Titan Magazines publishes comics based on SpongeBob SquarePants every fower weeks. Thir comics war first published on Februar 3, 2005.[258] Titan Magazines teamed-up wi Lego to release a leemitit edition SpongeBob-themed comic.[259]

Films[eedit | eedit soorce]

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies produced The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, an animated film adaptation of the series that wis released on November 19, 2004.[260] The film wis directed by creautor Stephen Hillenburg, an wis written by lang-time series writers comprising Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, Tim Hill, Kent Osborne, Aaron Springer, and Paul Tibbitt. Hillenburg and Julia Pistor produced the film, while the film score wis componed by Gregor Narholz.[261][262][263] The film is about Plankton's evil plan to steal King Neptune's crown and send it to Shell City. SpongeBob and Patrick must retrieve it and save Mr. Krabs' life from Neptune's raft and thair home, Bikini Bottom, from Plankton's plan. The film features guest appearances by Jeffrey Tambor as King Neptune, Scarlett Johansson as the King's dochter Mindy, Alec Baldwin as Dennis, an David Hasselhoff as himsel.[264] It received positive critical reception,[265][266] and grossed over $140 million warldwide.[267]

Twa television films war released. The twa television films are SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis released in 2007 and SpongeBob's Truth or Square released in 2009.

A sequel tae the 2004 film wis released in theaters on Februar 6, 2015.[268] The series' main cast members are reprise thair roles,[269] an the underwater pairts are tradeetionally animated in the manner of the series an the live-action pairts uses CGI animation wi the SpongeBob characters.[270][271] The film haes a budget seemilar tae the previous film and did nae cost mair nor $100 million to produce.[272][273][274]

On Apryle 30, 2015, Viacom annoonced a third movie wis in development.[275] On August 3, 2015, via Twitter, Vincent Waller confirmed that the sequel is in pre-production and that Paul Tibbitt will ance again direct.[276]

Music[eedit | eedit soorce]

Collections of oreeginal music featurt in the series hae been released on the albums SpongeBob SquarePants: Original Theme Highlights (2001), SpongeBob's Greatest Hits (2009), and The Yellow Album (2005). The first twa charted on the US Billboard 200, reachin nummer 171 and 122, respectively.[277][278] Several sangs hae been recorded wi the purpose o a single or album release, an hae nae been featurt on the show. For ensaumple, the song "My Tidy Whities" written by Tom Kenny and Andy Paley wis released anly for the album The Best Day Ever (2006). Kenny's inspiration for the song wis "underwear humor".[279] Kenny said, "Underwear humor is always a surefire lauch-getter with kids ... Just seeing a character that odd wearing really prosaic, normal, Kmart, three-to-a-pack underwear is a funny drawing ... We thought it was funny to make a really lush, beautiful love song to his underwear".[279] The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie – Music from the Movie and More..., a soundtrack album featurin the score of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, wis released alang wi the featur-lenth film in November 2004. Various artists includin the Flaming Lips,[280] Wilco,[281] Ween,[282] Motörhead,[283] the Shins,[284] and Avril Lavigne[285] contreibutit tae the soundtrack that reached nummer 76 on the US Billboard 200.[286]

Theme park rides[eedit | eedit soorce]

SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D film and ride opened in various locations, includin Six Flags Over Texas, Flamingo Land Resort, an the Shedd Aquarium.[287] The ride features water squirts, real bubbles, an ither sensory enhancements. In 2012, Nickelodeon teamed up again wi SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment and Super 78 to produce SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D: The Great Jelly Rescue.[288] The attraction opened in early 2013 at the Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration.[289] The attraction wis an aa released at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando in Orlando, Florida.[290][291][292] The seiven-minute film follows SpongeBob, Patrick and Sandy to thair auld hijinks while rescuing the jellyfish of Jellyfish Fields from Plankton's evil clutches.[289]

SpongeBob SquarePants appears at the Mall of America's Nickelodeon theme park re-branded from the Mall of America's Park at MOA, formerly Camp Snoopy, to Nickelodeon Universe in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota. The new theme park features a SpongeBob-themed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter custom roller coaster, the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge, which haes replaced the Mystery Mine Ride and Olde Time Photo store on the wast end of the theme park, which opened Mairch 15, 2008.[293][294]

On Mey 23, 2015, an interactive 3D show titled "SpongeBob SubPants Adventure" opened in Texas at Moody Gardens. Accordin to Moody Gardens President and CEO John Zendt, "Visitors will be able to interact with the Nickelodeon characters on a digital stage as they have never been able to do before."[295][296][297]

Video gemmes[eedit | eedit soorce]

Numerous video games based on the series hae been produced. Some of the early gemmes include Legend of the Lost Spatula (2001)[298] and SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom (2003).[299] The 2003 video game wis added tae the Greatest Hits by Sony.[300][301] It an aa served as the ingine basis for a video game based on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Heavy Iron Studios, the game's developers, tweaked the graphics to gie the game a sharper and more imaginative leuk than that of Battle for Bikini Bottom. Thay an aa increased the polygon count, added several racing levels, an incorporated mony of the creatures seen in the film.[302] In 2013, Nickelodeon published and distributed SpongeBob Moves In!, a freemium city-building game app developed by Kung Fu Factory for iOS.[303][304][305][306]

SpongeBob SquareShorts[eedit | eedit soorce]

Nickelodeon launched the first global SpongeBob SquarePants-themed short film competeetion, SpongeBob SquareShorts: Original Fan Tributes, in 2013.[307][308] The contest encourages fans and filmmakers aroond the world to creaut oreeginal short films inspired by SpongeBob for a chance to win a prize and a trip for fower fowk to a screening event in Hollywood. The contest opened on Mey 6 and ran throu Juin 28, 2013.[309][310] On Julie 19, 2013, Nickelodeon annoonced the finalists for the competeetion,[311][312][313] and, on August 13, 2013, the "under 18 years of age" category wis won by David of the United States for his "The Krabby Commercial", while the "Finally Home" short by Nicole of South Africa won the "18 and over" category.[314]

Merchandise[eedit | eedit soorce]

The popularity of SpongeBob SquarePants inspired merchandise from T-shirts to posters.[50] It wis reportit that the franchise generated an estimatit $8 billion merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon.[315] It is an aa the maist distributed property of MTV Networks.[282] SpongeBob is viewed in 170 countries speakin 24 leids, an haes an aa acome "a killer merchandising app".[316] The title character and his friends hae been uised as a theme for special editions of well-kent faimily buird gemmes, includin Monopoly,[317] Life,[318] and Operation,[319] as well as a SpongeBob SquarePants edition of Ants in the Pants,[320] and Yahtzee.[321]

In 2001, SpongeBob SquarePants signed a marketing deal wi Target Corporation and Burger King, expanding its merchandising.[122] The popularity of SpongeBob haes translated well intae sales figures. In 2002, SpongeBob SquarePants dolls sauld at a rate of 75,000 per week, which wis faster than Tickle Me Elmo dolls war selling at the time.[322] SpongeBob haes gained popularity in Japan, specifically wi Japanese weemen. Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom purposefully targeted marketing at weemen in the kintra. Skeptics initially doubted that SpongeBob coud be popular in Japan, as the character's design is very different from already popular designs for Hello Kitty and Pikachu.[323] Ratings and merchandise sales showed SpongeBob SquarePants haes caught on wi parents and wi college audiences.[324] In a recent promotion, college-oriented website Music.com gae away 80,000 SpongeBob T-shirts, fower times mair nor during a seemilar promotion for Comedy Central's South Park.[324]

Kids' meal tie-ins hae been released in snacks and fast food restaurants in mony pairts of the world, includin Burger King in Europe and North America, as well as Wendy's in North America, an Hungry Jack's in Australie. A McDonald's Happy Meal tie-in wi SpongeBob-themed Happy Meal boxes and toys wis released in Europe and ither international markets in the simmer of 2007.[325] In Australie, the advertisement for the McDonald's SpongeBob Happy Meal won the Pester Power Award acause the ads are entice young children to want its food acause of the free toy.[326] As a tie-in beverage for the DVD release of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, 7-Eleven released the leemitit edition "Under-the-Sea Pineapple Slurpee" in Mairch 2004.[327] Pirate's Booty released leemitit edition SpongeBob SquarePants Pirate's Booty snacks in 2013.[328][329]

In 2007, heich-end SpongeBob-themed electronics hae been introduced by Imation Electronics Products unner the Npower brand, includin MP3 players, digital cameras, a DVD player, an a flatscreen television.[330] Pictures of SpongeBob SquarePants an aa began to appear on the labels of 8 oz. cans of Green Giant cut green beans and frozen packages of Green Giant green beans and butter sauce, which featurt free stickers in 2007 as pairt of an initiative to encourage kids to eat thair vegetables.[331] The Simmons Jewelry Co. released a $75,000 diamond pendant as pairt o a SpongeBob collection.[182][332] In New Zealand, the UK-based Beechdean Group unveiled the SpongeBob SquarePants Vanilla Ice Cream character product as pairt o a licence deal wi Nickelodeon.[333] NZ Drinks launched the SpongeBob SquarePants bottled water.[334]

Build-A-Bear Workshop introduced the new SpongeBob SqaurePants collection in stores and online in North America on Mey 17, 2013.[335][336][337] Shoppers can dress thair SpongeBob and Patrick plush in a variety of claedin and accessories. Sandy Cheeks and Gary the Snail are an aa available as pre-stuffed minis.[338] Build-A-Bear Workshop stores nationwide celebrated the arrival of SpongeBob wi a series of special events from Mey 17 throu Mey 19.[339]

On Julie 13, 2013, Toyota, wi Nickelodeon, unveiled a SpongeBob-inspired Toyota Highlander.[340] The 2014 Toyota Highlander wis launched on SpongeBob Day at the San Diego's Giants v. Padres game.[341][342][343] The SpongeBob Toyota Highlander visited seiven U.S. locations during its release, includin the Nickelodeon Suites Resort Orlando in Florida.[344]

Footnotes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. Jeffery's comments were also published by the Journal of Popular Film & Television in an article called "The Same Thing We Do Every Night: Signifying Same-Sex Desire in Television Cartoons".[202] This is the article that is referred to by Goodman.

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