Sponge BobSponge Bob SquarePants or simply SpongeBob (we’ll call him here as SpongeBob) is a character of an animated series (cartoons) that lasted for 13 seasons and 267 episodes from 1999 to 2020. The last episode of the show is to be aired, which means, it is still ongoing. The home video of seasons 12 and 13 are to be released in 2021 (or maybe in 2022). Nickelodeon, the airing company owning the rights to SpongeBob, promised in 2019 that SpongeBob as a series would be produced for so long as Nickelodeon itself would exist. So, season 13 shan’t be the last one for sure.
The series and characters were created by Stephen Hillenburg (1961-2018). He continued to work on the show for as long as he could before his death. He was not just an animator but also a marine scientist.
The SpongeBob show was an immediate success since the first series. Before the second season aired, SpongeBob was already insanely popular. The first three seasons of the show attracted also much attention from the creators of online memes, which used various shots from the SpongeBob show to create their memes. The show has spawned a significant number of spin-offs, films, merch, toys, and has a list of awards received during its lifetime airing. It is one of the US’s longest aired shows ever and has grossed billions of dollars of revenue. The list of awards that the SpongeBob show received includes:
• 8 Golden Reel
• 6 Annie
• 4 Emmy
• 18 Kid’s Choice
• 2 BAFTA Children
In total, considering these and all the awards that SpongeBob universe has, there are 75 of them as of mid-2021. It also has 143 nominations, which did not generate victory. The biggest part of the prizes was brought by cartoon series and spin-offs, while only 2 prizes were brought by films, and 12 were brought by a Broadway musical.
Description of SpongeBob and other characters of his universe
Stephen Hillenburg passionately wanted to educate children, adolescents, and adults about marine life, which he loved. And he even wrote a comic book, where many early ideas of SpongeBob were designed. The book, however, was never published professionally but served him as a source of inspiration when he created not just SpongeBob himself but also other dwellers of the underwater Bikini Bottom, a fictional marine city, where SpongeBob resides with the rest of the series participants.
SpongeBob is a parallelepiped-bodied sponge of a moderate yellow color with blotches of olive color scattered all over his body. He has very slender and disproportionally small extremities compared to the size of his body. He does not have any visible neck and his body and head are actually visual continuations of one another. His face takes the biggest part of his front side being positioned where the head normally would (as it’s impossible to differentiate the head from the rest of his body). The face consists of a pair of large eyes with a blue iris and black pupils. He has a long nose and a large mouth, with 2 teeth protruding out of it, being located factually on its upper lip. He is wearing office clothes (not a suit, though, but a short-sleeved shirt and shorts instead of regular office trousers). The shirt is white, the shorts are brown, and the tie is red. His legs end with white socks and the feet are covered with a pair of black boots. The character appeared in 1999.
The SpongeBob is conceived as a regular sea sponge but got its shape of a kitchen sponge in the process of its creative design – this, according to the creator’s vision, SpongeBob looking like a regular kitchen sponge should underline the hilariousness of the character and its unlikeness to anything that lives beneath the sea surface. He is created as a naturally cheerful kid-like creature, without lots of brains but with a positive thinking and optimistic look into the future, no matter what. He has a bunch of friends who are in various situations in the course of the series. The biggest part of the show is to depict the hilarious situations that they all got into and explore the underwater life, although not realistic but largely simplified and too positive. SpongeBob is created as an adult, who has the main job as a waiter and a fry cook at the Krusty Krab diner, but occasionally, he takes other jobs in this same diner and in the underwater territory he lives with other creatures. We’ve counted over 50 job positions he has ever had along the course of cartoons and films. SpongeBob lives in a submerged pineapple.
Tom Kenny, a voice actor for SpongeBob, has given the idea of the last name of SpongeBob – SquarePants. Before this, the SpongeBob was conceived as a guy without any last name.
Other characters of the show include:
• Patrick Star. He is a starfish living under the rock. He is a silly-looking goofy-minded creature, who considers himself not retarded but intelligent (although his nearly every action proves him to be not intelligent). He has a pink body and wears Hawaiian shorts. The rest of his body is naked. One of the tentacles of his starfish body serves him as the head, the other two as hands, and the rest two as legs. Occasionally, he wears other things like glasses, pants, shirt, or belt. He is the SpongeBob’s best friend and these two are super close to one another. They are goofing around very frequently. Today Patrick has his own show and has taken part in spin-offs and movies.
• Squidward Tentacles. A very arrogant octopus, a neighbor of SpongeBob and Patrick. He works as a cashier in the same diner SpongeBob works in.
• Mr. Krabs is the owner of the diner and he runs it as if it were a pirate ship.
• Plankton and Karen. These two are the owners of a competing diner, which is very rarely visited by anyone. They dream of overtaking the ownership of Krusty Krab’s diner and stealing the recipe of one of KK’s most successful dishes. They come up with various plans, which constantly fail.
• Sandy Cheeks is a squirrel, who lives underwater using an air-filled dome made of glass to breathe therein and wears a diving suit to walk out of it. Some believe she is the closest romantic partner of SpongeBob (but others believe instead, it is Patrick).
• Mrs. Puff. She is a blowfish (porcupine fish), a teacher in a boating school, where SpongeBob occasionally visits classes in an attempt to receive a boat-driving license. Although SpongeBob knows all the rules at 100% and is excellent in passing a theoretical part, he always fails in the practical exam, crashing into something, which makes Mrs. Puff inflate into a round shape (resembling thus a safety car airbag).
• Pearl Krabs is a non-physical daughter of the diner’s owner. She’s a sperm whale. Mr. Krabs treats her as his real daughter who will inherit the diner when he grows old and she grows up. As of the time being, she is a teenager visiting a school and loves going shopping and listening to pop music.
• Gary the Snail is a pet of SpongeBob who meows like a cat although it is a sea snail.
Nearly all characters of the cartoon series are various kinds of fishes but just a few characters. There are also supporting characters, which account for 66 more taking bigger or lesser roles in cartoons and/or movies.
SpongeBob has created one of the world’s biggest merch markets on the planet, which is branded with a fictional character. The currently existing list of merch includes:
• Themed and branded DVDs, CDs, VHS
• 10 official music albums (2001-2017)
• 137 official books of various formats, including sticker boxes, manga, and visual novels (2000-2012)
• Toy books
• Table games
• Statues of characters of the SpongeBob universe
• 14 LEGO sets
• 5 series of Internet meme-based official toys
• Clothing: t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, hoodies, leggings, joggers, swimsuits and other swimwear, apparel for babies, socks, shorts, slippers, nightgowns, head wears
• Accessories: bags, facial masks, shields, hats, jewelry, cases for smartphones, stickers, collectibles, decks of playing cards
• Drinkware: water bottles, glassware, tumblers, mugs
• Things for home: kitchen supplies and kitchenware (like forceps, salt and pepper shakers), products for pets, sleeping bags, towels, yoga mats, wall art, standees
• Other official things: gift cards and personalized presents
• Unofficial toys for children: water blasters, inflatable wearables for the body and head, Monopoly games, figurines, plush toys
• Branded wallets, notebooks, cloth patches, greeting cards, and mock paintings (‘The Scream’ of Edvard Munch, for instance, where instead of the screaming person, Squidward Tentacles is depicted who screams from seeing the approaching SpongeBob who’s positioned instead of people in the background as they are in the original picture).
It is hard to correctly estimate the yearly market volume of all sold merch but it is believed that all sales in the SpongeBob’s universe surpass 13 billion dollars by 2020 (accumulatively).
Official and simple video games themed with SpongeBob
Beginning with 2001, many official games were started to be released, in addition to the fan-created ones. They all have been created for various platforms, including consoles, computers, and hand-carried devices: PlayStation, Windows, Game Boy, GameCube, Xbox, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Nintendo, and Wii. There are 53 official games and several hundreds of unofficial (including simple online games).
Because SpongeBob and other characters are potentially very diverse, they can be easily associated with a number of activities that they do, not just inside the cartoon and films but also in general. That’s why a swarm of existing today online games with this character have so many options of classification. They can be:
• finding hidden objects
• match 3
• taking adventure
• playing various sports games, like football or basketball
• undergoing questionnaire
• interacting with things in the distance, like precise throwing of knives
• demonstrating skills
• assembling jigsaws
• arcade and action games.
We can also give supplementary characteristics to the SpongeBob simple online games based on their nature:
• creating or destructing
• cooking and serving
• chasing or avoiding
In addition to the named options of characterizing them, they can be classified in these ways:
• by the general theme or participating characters or creatures: ghosts, zombies (and other monsters), superheroes, humans, faunal/floral
• the basic theme, idea, or goal of the game: Christmas, Halloween, music, transportation, food, roller coaster, sports, vehicles, seasons of the year
• premises where the action happens: arena, house, restaurant, on the street, school, amusement park, island, cafeteria
• by the nature of ambiance created by the simple online game: regular, mystic, paranormal, horror
• by the usage of controls: mouse-using/tapping only or with the participation of a keyboard
• by a person: first-person or third-person.
Films, spin-offs, and a Broadway musical
There are 4 films within the universe of SpongeBob that are currently shot or planned: in 2004, 2015, 2020, and one to be assigned with the release date. Based on the budgets of the three first (164 million dollars) and their worldwide box office ($470.2 million), they can be considered moderately successful as a whole even though the budget of the last one was $60 million but the box office in cinemas was just $4.8 million. The Paramount Studios, who made the film, completely recouped its cost after selling the distribution rights to Netflix. The 2020’s movie made a lot of money in the TV on-demand shows, which are typically not disclosed, unlike the cinema box offices. There are grounds to believe that not only it recouped but also brought a nice profit after all. That’s why it was decided to make the fourth movie (since the third, eventually, was a commercial success).
The TV spin-off of the show is called Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.
The Patrick Star show eventually began to be elaborated in 2020 – following 20+ years of the absence of the will of main creators to give him a show of his own. The premiere of the Patrick Star show has to happen in the summer of 2021.
An unnamed Squidward-based spin-off was planned by Netflix in 2020 but there are no further details about its elaboration and premiere.
SpongeBob has received its own themed rides in family amusement parks.
A musical (named the same as the name of the main character is) was premiered on Broadway in 2016 and it was running until 2019, winning 12 rewards, including Broadway’s most prestigious Tony Award (in 2018).