When Spongebob Squarepants first made an appearance in 1999, I didn’t think I was going to like it. Growing up, I loved watching cartoons but was more drawn to characters that were more structured and normal looking. Spongebob isn’t any of those, but I quickly changed my mind when I happened to watch an episode about this effervescent sponge who lives in Bikini Bottom, an underwater town and works for a burger joint called the Krusty Krabb. Spongebob, who is always garbed in his shirt, tie and brown pants, works for a miserly former sailor called Eugene Krabbs, and loves hanging out with his best friend Patrick Star, a starfish who wouldn’t be accused of being a rocket scientist, even on his best days. My favorite character in the show is Spongebob’s co-worker Squidward Tentacles, a surly squid and struggling musician who hates Spongebob on the surface but on occasion has come through for his “friend.” There are other supporting cast members and recurring characters that have made appearances on the show — Sandy Squirrel, a karate master/scientist doing research underwater; Mrs. Puff, Spongebob’s boating instructor; Plankton, who is always trying to steal the Krabby Patty formula; Larry the Lifeguard; Pearl, Mr. Krabb’s whale (literally) of a daughter; Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, aging superheroes whom Spongebob and Patrick idolize.
Its kind of embarrassing how I know all of these things, being an adult for quite some time now, but the show is just so entertaining I can’t help watching it to relax after a long day at work. Here’s the top reasons why I love Spongebob Squarepants.
1. It’s silly and funny. There are a lot of cartoons that try to replicate the success of Spongebob by creating characters that are as uncanny and weird as our yellow, workaholic and soft hearted hero, but they often take it a notch too high by making the show’s premise stupid rather than silly and fun like the general atmosphere in Bikini Bottom, where the situations and the schemes appeal to both the young and the young at heart.
2. It’s disgusting. For a kid’s show, there certainly a high level of decapitation and injury with Spongebob and his pals. Being a sponge, Spongebob doesn’t really feel pain (even during the episode where he is beat up by a bully), and writers are always careful to explain that this same characteristic isn’t applicable to everyone. Extreme close ups of Patrick’s disgusting habits and stuff are also a permanent staple in the show’s episodes. Yuck!
3. Squidward and Patrick. Spongebob’s neighbors and buddies, Squidward and Patrick are complete opposites and funny in both rights. While Squidward sees himself more of an artist, is cranky and intolerant of his neighbors’ antics (mostly jellyfishing and a myriad of silly activities), Patrick is simple minded and is oblivious to what is considered normal. He lives to have fun with Spongebob, doesn’t have a job, and manages to screw up anything that he does, but surprisingly always lands on his feet.
4. The music. On occasion, Spongebob and the gang perform songs and production numbers, original songs that depict their characters and current situations. The medleys are always upbeat and always has the tendency to stick in your head for sometime after listening to it once. My favorites so far are The Best Day Ever, The Campfire Song, Finding the Magic (I think that’s what the title is), and Sandy’s Texas song. Utterly embarrassing to have as a last song syndrome, especially if you’re a grown up (I speak from experience).
5. The moral lesson. More than comedy, Spongebob Squarepants is a show that knows kids, and as always, the kind hearted Spongebob prevails, although he gets in trouble a lot of times, and the scheming Plankton always gets his just desserts. Spongebob doesn’t shovel the morals down the kids throats but rather does it subconsciously, by illustrating how certain actions would result.