A yellow square warms the hearts of millions
Spongebob, the star of the series Spongebob Squarepants, is a 20-something fry cook who lives in a pineapple with his pet snail, Gary, and goes on kooky adventures with his best bud, Patrick. Patrick is a sea star who doesn’t work, loves to eat, and lives under a rock. Spongebob’s grumpy neighbor, Squidward, is an octopus striving for greatness with mediocre talents. Sandy Cheeks, a land squirrel, is Spongebob’s genius friend and Mr. Krabs is Spongebob’s money-hungry boss at the fast-food restaurant, The Krusty Krab.
The first Spongebob episodes began airing on Nickelodeon in 1999. It is Nickelodeon’s longest-running cartoon show. The show has 281 episodes and 13 seasons so far. Nickelodeon has built an empire under the sea with tons of Spongebob merchandise. You can go to major retailers like Target or Walmart and find plenty of hoodies, shirts, sweatpants, and toys featuring Spongebob and his pals. Even smaller retail chains like Marshalls, Mad Rags and TJ Maxx carry Spongebob apparel. People of all ages (including this writer) love wearing Spongebob clothing.
Spongebob has evolved over the years. In the beginning, he was a sponge, working at the Krusty Krab, and helping his idiot friend, Patrick. Patrick lives under a rock on the same street as Spongebob. He doesnt have a job and spends most of his time either eating or sleeping. Patrick lives by himself and despite not working, always seems to have money on him. Spongebob had common sense and smarts. You could easily distinguish between him and Patrick. Now, over twenty years later, Spongebob is nearly as brain dead as Patrick.
I noticed the change around season 5. The animation was much better than in season 1. Spongebob became so much more annoying towards Squidward. He would practically stalk Squidward. Spongebob would be in Squidward’s house and Squidward would have a fit. He’d yell and scream and threaten Spongebob with bodily harm. Spongebob would just laugh as if Squidward had just told a joke. He wouldn’t react to Squidward’s anger.
People find Spongebob’s behavior to be hilarious. I’ll admit that the little yellow guy is funny, but sometimes I find him aggravating. How can you not see when someone is mad at you? Is Spongebob naive, on the specttrum, or just plain stupid? I don’t know. My assessment of his actions keeps shifting after each episode.
But Spongebob is the balm we need in this hectic times. With a pandemic gaining new strength and social unrest on the rise, we could all use a character that is oblivious to the suffering of others. Spongebob makes us laugh, cry, and shake our heads. He’s the life of the party even if he’s the only one there. He’s loyal to his friends and doesn’t have any enemies. Spongebob is a one of a kind character. And we’re lucky to have him.