SpongeBob SquarePants (or simply known as SpongeBob) is an Emmy award-winning American animated comedy series and media franchise. It's one of Nickelodeon's Nicktoons show and is currently the most watched show on Nickelodeon. In 2007, it was named by TIME magazine as one of the greatest television shows of all time, it also broke a record for the amount of episodes aired in one year, with 47. 2003 broke a record for least episodes aired in one year, with only 6.
Even though its original network is Nickelodeon, SpongeBob is now broadcast across the world, and appeared on MTV2 for a short time in 2006. It was created by former marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg and is produced through his production company, United Plankton Pictures, Inc. and Friends Academy Television, Inc. The series is set in the Pacific Ocean, in the city of Bikini Bottom and on the surrounding lagoon floor. The pilot episode first aired along with two other episodes in the United States on Nickelodeon after the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards on May 1, 1999. The "official" series premiere followed on July 17, 1999, after a short hiatus, with two episodes, "Bubblestand/Ripped Pants". Then more episodes aired throughout the rest of 1999.
SpongeBob SquarePants is an active, happy sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, while his grouchy, miserable neighbor, Squidward Tentacles lives in an Easter Island-like house, Squidward's name was made as "Squidward" although he is an octopus but Stephen wanted to make it catchy, so that's why Squidward's name was named as Squidward and not Octoward. Squidward's name came from the English name 'Edward'. SpongeBob's other neighbor and best friend is a chubby pink starfish named Patrick Star, who lives under a huge rock with a compass on the top. SpongeBob and Patrick live on both sides of Squidward on Conch Street. They often go to the Krusty Krab or Jellyfish Fields.
Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants characters
- SpongeBob SquarePants - A very friendly, funny, and happy-go-lucky sea sponge who loves jellyfishing and works at the Krusty Krab as the fry cook. He is the main protagonist of the show.
- Patrick Star - A dim-witted, pink starfish and SpongeBob's best friend. He is somewhat foolish, selfish and silly, but is usually loyal to SpongeBob. He is the show's deuterogamist. He has sometimes shown hints of intelligence.
- Squidward Tentacles - SpongeBob's next door neighbor and co-worker at the Krusty Krab, where he is the cashier. Squidward is a smart, artistic and somewhat sociopathic octopus. He hates SpongeBob and Patrick due to their childlike behavior, and openly displays his hatred towards them. Despite this, they are completely oblivious to his hatred of them. He believes he is an amazing artist and clarinet player, but quite the opposite in reality. SpongeBob is convinced that Squidward is a good-hearted person who loves to have fun, but just doesn't know it. He is the show's anti-hero.
- Sandy Cheeks - A clever Texas squirrel that has to wear an oxygen tank to breathe underwater. Inside her house she wears a purple and green frilly bikini, which some fish find indecent. Sandy is a smart and strong squirrel, and is an expert in Karate and has often helped SpongeBob and Patrick out whenever they get into trouble. She is one of the show's tritagonists.
- Mr. Krabs - A crab who is in charge of the Krusty Krab restaurant, where SpongeBob and Squidward work. He is addicted to money, believing that money is a living thing, and is therefore selfish and greedy. He is 70, and sometimes acts as the show's secondary antagonist.
- Gary the Snail - SpongeBob's pet. His only sound is a "meow," similar to a cat, but in the episode "Opposite Day", Gary barks once to be in the "holiday spirit". In fact, he is considered to be a sea cat, like a worm is considered a sea dog. He is one of the show's tritagonists.
- Sheldon J. Plankton - A copepod, who is Mr. Krabs' arch rival and the show's main antagonist. He intends on getting the secret Krabby Patty formula and putting the Krusty Krab out of business, although he has only succeeded a few times, and even those successes were destroyed. Despite this, his restaurant, The Chum Bucket, is a complete failure, due to the fact that Plankton can't cook, and because he spends too much time attempting to steal the formula in order to do so.
- Mrs. Puff - A pufferfish, and SpongeBob's boating teacher. Mrs. Puff is eager to get SpongeBob out of her class, as she sees him as a homicidal maniac, and has made an obsession of it. She is a widow - her husband was captured and turned into a pufferfish lamp.
- Pearl Krabs - Mr. Krabs' teenage daughter. She is a whale who acts like a stereotypical American teenage girl. Her father thinks he's spoiling her, when quite frankly, he is doing the opposite.
- Karen Plankton- Plankton's computer W.I.F.E. (Wired Integrated Female Electroencephalograph) She often assists him with his plans to ruin Krabs. Karen is sometimes mobile.
- Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy - Two old, retired superheroes who are adored by SpongeBob, Patrick, and members of the "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" Fan Club.
- Larry the Lobster - A buff, fit lobster, usually found at Goo Lagoon, Bikini Bottom's local beach.
- Perch Perkins - The Bikini Bottom TV Reporter. He has orange skin, but in the movie, he had purple skin as his first appearance.
- Patchy the Pirate - The president of the SpongeBob SquarePants fan club. He hosts live-action segments, accompanied by his frenemy Potty, and does not realize that SpongeBob is a fictional character.
There seems to be little continuity between the episodes, as the characters often meet a horrible fate, only for everything to be returned to normal in the end. Numerous examples are as follows:
- In numerous episodes, the Krusty Krab and sometimes the entirety of Bikini Bottom itself is completely destroyed seemingly beyond repair, usually due to a mishap caused by SpongeBob.
- In "Clams", Mr. Krabs is eaten (save for his head and left arm) by a giant clam.
- In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", SpongeBob traps Squidward in a giant bubble and sends him to the surface, where he is swarmed by seagulls.
- In "Wishing You Well", Mr. Krabs, in an attempt to prove to SpongeBob that magic doesn't exist, wishes that he was steamed and served with melted butter, which comes true seconds later.
- In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV", SpongeBob uses the gadgets in Mermaid Man's utility belt to shrink Bikini Bottom and its inhabitants down to microscopic size, much smaller than even Plankton.
- In "SquidBob TentaclePants", in a frantic attempt to physically combine himself with SpongeBob again in order to re-create the ultimate show business spectacle, Squidward meddles with Sandy's "Molecular-Separator Ray" in such a way that the resulting disaster leaves Squidward, Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob, Patrick, Plankton, Larry the Lobster, Sandy, Pearl, and Mrs. Puff eternally fused together into one giant life form.
- In "Stanley S. SquarePants", Squidward and Sandy move and do not return in the episode.
- In "Hocus Pocus", SpongeBob turns Patrick into a jar of mayonnaise.
- In "Shell Shocked", Gary's shell breaks and he uses Mr. Krabs' head as a shell.
- In "Face Freeze! ", SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs develop "Frozen Faces" at the end of the episode.
- In "Hooky" Patrick is caught and is returned as a can of tuna.
Other continuity errors include paradoxes, such as someone saying that someone doesn't exist but that person does exist later, or the looks and personality of one person changes and other errors.
- In "Enemy In-Law", Mr. Krabs claims that the Krabby Patty formula has been passed down his family, yet in "Friend or Foe," it is shown that Mr. Krabs and Plankton invented the formula together purely by accident.
- At end of "Roller Cowards", SpongeBob and Patrick bought their backbone. SpongeBob and Patrick have no backbone.
- SpongeBob is interchangeably shown both with and without a skeleton.
- In many episodes, the character Old Man Jenkins appears with many different personalities and histories.
- In many episodes, Bikini Bottom is interchangeably portrayed as a big city ("Pizza Delivery", "Pre-Hibernation Week", "Patty Hype") and a small town ("WhoBob WhatPants?").
- When Patrick thought he was ugly in "Something Smells", he said "What is my sister going to think? Oh, wait, I don't have a sister..." and in "Rule of Dumb", Patrick is the only child of Herb and Margie Star. However, the episode "Big Sister Sam" is named after and revolves around Patrick's sister Sam.
However, there does seem to be some continuity shown in some instances. Examples are:
- Mr. Krabs robot from "Imitation Krabs" appearing in "New Leaf".
- The seven "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy" episodes.
- In "Driven to Tears", Patrick references "Have You Seen This Snail?" by saying to SpongeBob, "Don't forget to feed Gary. Because sometimes you forget to feed him".
- In "Whelk Attack" SpongeBob says "I've had the Suds", referring to the episode "Suds".
- In "Summer Job", by the way Mr. Krabs talks, it seems that a relation between him and Mrs. Puff in Krusty Love has broken up.
- In "Driven to Tears", Patrick didn't get arrested for crimes he committed and later got arrested for them in "Good Ol' Whatshisname".
- Plankton could have been in jail long enough to forget the formula in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
- In "The Wreck of the Mauna Loa", Mr. Krabs says that he's checked "every dumpster" in search of the Mona Loa, but, in the episode "Shell Shocked", SpongeBob finds Mr. Krabs in a dumpster, supposedly looking for the Mauna Loa.
Although bubbles are often seen throughout an episode, occurrences such as tears flooding a building, inhabitants drinking liquids from glasses, bathtubs filled with what seems to be water, and even a beach for citizens to swim in all fracture the underwater setting.
SpongeBob SquarePants is the only cartoon to consistently make the Top 10 list in the Nielsen ratings, and is the first "low budget" Nickelodeon cartoon, according to the network, to become extremely popular. Low-budget cartoons had not previously garnered as much esteem as higher-rated (and higher-budgeted) shows, such asRugrats. When SpongeBob aired in 1999, it gained a significant number of viewers in the ratings, eventually becoming more popular than Rugrats had ever been. SpongeBob follows other Nickelodeon shows that have attracted "older" followers, including: The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko's Modern Life, the Kablam! skits, Action League Now! and The Angry Beavers. Other shows have followed in this trend as well: Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Fairly OddParents won a similar fan base when they aired in 2001, and the latter is now second only to SpongeBob in popularity, while the former was cancelled despite gaining a cult following. The show debuted in 1999, and during that time, Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon were still the biggest crazes. SpongeBob did not gain its popularity until around 2000, and it has remained popular since then, despite a five-month hiatus from April to October in that year. It has extremely high ratings on tv.com scoring an average of 9.0. SpongeBob SquarePants ranked 15 in IGN's Top 100 Best Animated Series, just five spots behind the top 10 list, but was able to place in the top 20.
SpongeBob is one in a long line of cartoons that is designed to appeal to adults as well as children. This has a lot to do with the absurd way underwater life and situations are represented, and with the situations, references, and words used, which younger viewers might not understand. Certain innuendos also are intended to go over younger viewers' heads. For example, SpongeBob tries to show his grandma that he is a mature adult by wearing sideburns and a derby, and listening to 'free form jazz'. In another example, when Squidward tricks SpongeBob and Patrick into thinking he is a ghost, a coral reef sculpted like Toulouse-Lautrec's can-can girls stands in the background (leading to a pun by Squidward). These are jokes most children would not understand. Numerous marine biology in-jokes are woven into the show. There are also often complex ironic scenarios that need close attention.
While many newer cartoons revolve around pre-adolescents with strange lives and feature many pop-culture references (e.g. The Fairly OddParents), SpongeBob chooses to go for a formula that was used in highly successful older Nick cartoons such as Ren and Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life, with non-human young adults in crazy, unrealistic situations, using minimal pop culture references.
Part of the show's appeal has to do with the childlike nature of SpongeBob and his best friend, Patrick Star, both of whom are adults but display an innocence typical of human children. However, the characters are not immune from more adult avocations, including rock musicianship in a stadium performance, reminiscent of a hard rock concert, or Patrick turning to SpongeBob after they had nurtured a baby clam, holding his arms out saying "Let's have another."
Unlike most shows on the Nickelodeon network, SpongeBob features well-known independent musicians who contribute to its soundtrack. Alternative rock bands such as Wilco, The Shins, The Flaming Lips and Ween (who have contributed two original songs to the show and their 1997 song "Ocean Man" to the movie soundtrack), as well as metal bands Pantera, Motörhead and Twisted Sister have made appearances on the show and movies soundtracks, and heavy metal group Metallica even released a T-shirt featuring cartoon versions of themselves playing live with the characters SpongeBob and Patrick. British rock singer David Bowie was a special guest on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Atlantis SquarePantis, which aired on November 12, 2007. The episode drew a total of 8.8 million viewers, the biggest audience in the show's eight-year history. A second SpongeBob SquarePants feature film is currently in development and is expected to be released in theaters sometime in 2014, shortly after the 10th season debuts. It is currently unknown whether or not it will be a sequel to the 2004 film.
The TV movie Atlantis SquarePantis referenced numerous other movies or stories. David Bowie's character Lord Royal Highness (with his upper class accent) and the locals looked remarkably like the Blue Meanies from Yellow Submarine - quite fitting for an underwater adventure. When the characters arrived at his habitat, he fell down as he proceeded down the red carpet (as Willy Wonka did in the "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" film), before leading them on a tour. A case can also be made for the yellow road used in the tour being a reference to The Wizard of Oz - along with the movie being a musical.
The show became so popular with teenagers and adults that the series was broadcast on MTV and featured on Spike TV. A quote by Patrick ("It's gonna rock!" from the episode Mid-Life Crustacean) has been used as a promotional tag-line for rock stations. Ren and Stimpy, among others, had followed a similar path. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, released on November 19, 2004, features a cameo appearance by actor David Hasselhoff, in a parody of his role from the Baywatch TV series.
A second feature film, entitled The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 2, is currently in development and is expected to be released in theaters sometime in 2014. It is currently unknown whether or not it will be a sequel to the 2004 film.
A tenth season is due for roll-out in the same year and unlike the previous seasons, it will have 37 episodes instead of 26, bringing the episode count up to an impressive 241!
Merchandising and marketing
Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants merchandise
Merchandise based on the show ranges from Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Kellogg's cereal, and video games to boxer shorts, flip-flops, pajamas, t-shirts, and slippers.
The show also spawned a large and popular merchandise line at Hot Topic, Claire's, RadioShack, Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys "R" Us stores in the United States as well as the Zellers, Wal-Mart, and Toys "R" Us stores in Canada, and a limited selection of merchandise at Kmart and Target in Australia.
There have been kids meal tie-ins at Wendy's Restaurants for Party Pooper Pants Special in 2002 and at Burger King restaurants in 2001, 2003, and for the movie in 2004. In 2006, another kids meal tie-in for Burger King was introduced for the Dunces and Dragons special, and in 2007 for the Friend or Foe? special featuring containers for BK Chicken Fries designed to look like SpongeBob. In November 2004, another Burger King Kids Meal was released to tie-in with the new episode "Atlantis SquarePantis", and of March 2006 to April 2008 there are Kids Meals to tie-in with "Pest of the West".
A McDonald's Happy Meal tie-in has not been released in North America yet, but has already been released in Europe in the United Kingdom and Germany in early 2003 at about the same time a Catscratch Happy Meal was released in the United States and Canada. In 2012, Face Freeze!/Demolition Doofus/Extreme Spots/Squirrel Record. toys of SpongeBob were released in America.
In Japan, they had a kids meal tie-in with Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) which featured different toys based on the TV series.
SpongeBob was also featured on VH1's I Love the 90s: Part Deux as part of a commentary by Michael Ian Black and "Weird Al" Yankovic among other celebrities.
A tie-in beverage for the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie in 2001 at 7-Eleven convenience stores has been created, a pineapple-flavored Slurpee, which was discontinued in 2005.
Events in the past with the SpongeBob SquarePants theme include an exhibit at Underwater Adventures Aquarium in the Mall of America called SeaCrits of Bikini Bottom during the summer of 2003. In October 2004, a NASCAR Busch Series race was named The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300, presented by Lowe's and broadcast on Turner Network Television (TNT) featuring Jimmie Johnson's #48 Lowe's stock car and Kyle Busch's #5 stock car painted for the race with the SpongeBob Movie paint schemes. There were contests tied in with the movie where fans could win SpongeBob-related items or a trip to the Cayman Islands.
The motion simulator/interactive movie ride "Escape from Dino-Island 3D" at Six Flags Over Texas was turned into "SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D", with water squirts, real bubbles, and other sensory enhancements. The SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D ride opened at the Noah's Ark Dive-In Theater located at Noah's Ark Water park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin in the summer of 2005. LEGO received license to produce SpongeBob SquarePants building sets, which are available in stores now. SpongeBob appeared at the Mall of America's then-new-at-the-time theme along with the rest of the Nicktoons in a Nickelodeon theme park re-branded from the Mall of America's Park at MOA (formerly Camp Snoopy) to Nickelodeon Universe in 2006 in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb of Bloomington, Minnesota. The theme park features a SpongeBob-themed Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster, the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge, which replaces the Mystery Mine Ride and Olde Tyme Photo store on the eastern end of the theme park.
Other items featuring SpongeBob include special edition Monopoly, The Game of Life and Operation board games as well as a SpongeBob SquarePants edition of Ants in the Pants and Yahtzee. SEGA Corporation introduced a ticket redemption game based on the show that has become popular with most video arcades.
The SpongeBob SquarePants market saturation has become something of a joke. In the comic strip "Sherman's Lagoon", Hawthorne the crab is showing off a small nuclear (Junior) reactor, and Herman the shark says "Boy, that SpongeBob will endorse anything!"
When the complete first season of SpongeBob SquarePants was released in the United Kingdom, it included some heavy editing (though not to the cartoons themselves). The audio commentaries were cut out, and only two extras were left in, possibly to avoid a 12 rating. A similar approach was taken with the second season; it included no audio commentaries and only one extra, Around the World with SpongeBob SquarePants.
Currently, there is a promotion from Burger King that promotes the song Baby Got Back. It features the King and dancers dressed like SpongeBob and in some scenes, some parts of SpongeBob episodes. It promotes that if you get a kids meal and you get a SpongeBob toy with it.
SpongeBob's history can be traced back to 1993 when Rocko's Modern Life first aired. One of the producers was Stephen Hillenburg, a cartoon worker/marine biologist who loved both his careers. When Rocko's Modern Life was canceled in 1996, Hillenburg began working on SpongeBob(although sketches trace back to 1987). He teamed up with creative director Derek Drymon, who had worked on shows such as Doug, Action League Now!, and Hey Arnold!. Drymon had worked with Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Lifeas well, as did many SpongeBob crew members, including writer-directors Sherm Cohen and Dan Povenmire, writer Tim Hill, voice actors Tom Kenny and Doug Lawrence (aka "Mr. Lawrence"), actor-writer Martin Olson and animation director Alan Smart. Another crew member with previous Nickelodeon cartoon experience was former Angry Beavers story editor Merriwether Williams, who worked on that show for its first few seasons and switched to SpongeBob in July 1998.
During production of the show, Bobson provided a concept of short comics with the same style of the show, but the characters looked different. SpongeBob used to be named SpongeBoy, and used to wear a red hat with a green base and a white business shirt with a tie. The name "SpongeBoy" did not make it into the show since the name was already officially trademarked by Bob Burden, creator of Flaming Carrot. Hillenburg later chose the alternative name "SpongeBob". The original name was once referenced in the show by Mr. Krabs' line, "SpongeBoy, me Bob!." The Krusty Krab was originally spelled with the letter C rather than K, but Stephen Hillenburg thought Ks were funnier and it would fit his Ukrainian heritage .
SpongeBob aired its first episode, "Help Wanted/Reef Blower/Tea at the Treedome", after the 1999 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. At this time, Rugrats was the most popular show on Nickelodeon and had already outlived dozens of other lower-budget cartoons. SpongeBob, with its generally lower-class animation and humor style more rooted in clever word-play and culture-references unlike the potty humor that made Rugrats so popular, was expected to be just another one of those shows. Following early struggles, its ratings soared, and a year after release, it surpassed Rugrats as Nickelodeon's highest rated show. SpongeBob's signature voice (provided by Tom Kenny) and humorous style were enjoyable to both younger and older audiences.
Peak years (2000-2003)
The first part of 2002 saw SpongeBob at its peak. The beginning of the third season produced many classic episodes and focused on the same style and animation concepts.
Unfortunately, things changed later in the year. Due to rumors of a movie, there was speculation that the show would be canceled and that 2002 would feature the last season of new episodes. Fans were devastated and online petitions were widely distributed to convince Nickelodeon to produce more episodes by showing continuing fan support. "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler/Pranks a Lot" was the last episode of this season, and aired in October 2004 after it was released on DVD in late 2003.
Hiatus and movie era (2003-2005)
A hiatus from 2003 to 2005 challenged viewer loyalty. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie earned over $85,000,000 in revenue in the United States, considered to be under-expectations: People assumed that the show's popularity showed something of a decline at the time of its release. The Rugrats Movie, on the other hand, debuted when the animated series upon which it is based, Rugrats, was at the height of its popularity. Interestingly, that movie, despite its great popularity and success, would also be considered Rugrats'' "jump the shark" moment by fans, while the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie was generally well received by fans who saw it.
It was announced late in 2001 that SpongeBob would be continuing with a new season in 2002. Hillenburg, despite the rumors, did not actually leave the show but resigned from his position as the show's executive producer (this job now belongs to Derek Drymon, with Paul Tibbitt taking over Drymon's job as creative director.)
After the new episodes in September 2002, no new episodes aired until January 24, 2003. The year had ended only showing six episodes, and the movie aired in 2004. The hiatus ended on May 6, 2005, when the 4th season officially premiered.
TV advertisements for SpongeBob's fourth season first aired publicly during the 2005 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The new episodes began airing on May 6, 2005. The first new episodes of Season 4 were "Fear of a Krabby Patty"/"Shell of a Man". After airing six new episodes on Fridays from May 6 – May 20, Nickelodeon showed no new episodes until September 2005.
For the first time in the series' run, Nickelodeon began airing 11-minute segments of new episodes separately, spread over two weeks. This practice began with the airing of the episode "Selling Out" on September 23; its companion episode, "Funny Pants," premiered the following week.
The Star Online eCentral reported in December 2005 that Nickelodeon had ordered 20 more episodes, bringing the show’s total to 100.
Nickelodeon aired the special "Have You Seen This Snail?" in November 2005. However, it was not until February 2006 that new episodes resumed, starting with "Dunces and Dragons" and continuing until June 2 2006. Further new episodes appeared during September 2006 ("New Leaf/Once Bitten"), October ("Wigstruck"), and November ("Best Day Ever") — drawing 6.7 million viewers — Best Day Ever was a 25-hour 100-episode SpongeBob TV event ending with The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie although the Nickelodeon narrator made a goof about the marathon being 24 hours instead of the actual 25 hours. Fans voted for "Karate Island" as the most popular SpongeBob episode. The Best 10 Ever airs after Best Day Ever.
The new episodes in 2007 started airing on January 15, showing seven new episodes on February 19, 2007, officially beginning the airing of the fifth season which featured more potty humor than previously shown. 2007 also had two episodes on KCA, March 31, and a special on April 13, 2007. On July 23, 2007 Nickelodeon aired a special event, called the "SpongeBob New-New-New-New-New Week" in which from Monday to Friday, two new episodes of season five (except for "Squid Wood", from season four) would air. This continued until August 3, 2007.
On November 12, 2007 SpongeBob's first TV movie, "Atlantis SquarePantis" premiered, after a SpongeBob marathon. A behind the scenes feature aired after the movie. Also on November 23, 2007, there was another SpongeBob marathon including a rerun of Atlantis SquarePantis and eight new episodes.
SpongeBob SquarePants approved a sixth season, which consisted of twenty episodes. It started the sixth season on March 3, starting a week of new episodes, starting with "Krabby Road". On March 29, right after Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards 2008, Spongicus/Nautical Novice aired. Then, on April 11, "Pest of the West", a special, aired. Then on June 2, 2008, SpongeBob Premiere Factor 5 aired episodes.
A new TV special "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?" aired on October 13, 2008. After the TV movie, a DVD was release on October 14, 2008 with the unknown episode, "Goo Goo Gas". After the DVD "WhoBob WhatPants", Nick aired 7 new episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants on November 28, 2008 with the episodes "The Slumber Party/Grooming Gary", "Krusty Krushers/The Card", "Porous Pockets" and "Dear Vikings/Ditchin'" during SuperStuffed Nicktoons Weekend in November 2008.
Beginning on February 16, 2009, Nickelodeon aired a week of new episodes, beginning with Shuffleboarding and Cephalopod Lodge. This was the first premiere week not to have episodes on Friday.
In the Summer of July there was a 10th Anniversary Marathon that aired 12 new episodes (6 in Season 7) starting on July 17, 2009. The first episode from Season 7, "I Heart Dancing" aired on July 19, 2009 in the morning. Then another episode didn't air until October 24, 2009 with "The Curse of Bikini Bottom". Then a TV Movie, "Truth or Square" aired in November 2009. This was done to celebrate the 10th anniversary.
In a special, Super Stuffed Nicksgiving Weekend formerly, Super Stuffed Nicktoons Weekend 2 new episodes aired on November 27, 2009.
In 2010 the first two episodes aired on January 2. On September 11, 2010 a special called Nick Saturdays started with "Yours, Mine and Mine" and" Kracked Krabs". Nick Saturdays aired new episodes of Nicktoons on Saturdays. On September 26, 2010, it was announced that when Season 8 was believed to have already started, that Season 7 was going to have 26 episodes instead of 20, so Season 8 wasn't premiered yet. This was confusing to many SpongeBob fans.
In December 2009, Nickelodeon ordered enough episodes to bring the series up to 178 episodes. Season 8 first aired on March 26, 2011 with the episodes "Oral Report" and "A Friendly Game". Another episode called "Sentimental Sponge" aired on April 2, 2011. After this there was a new episode every Saturday in June, which was similar to the "New Episodes Every Friday in March" event in 2002. 4 new episodes aired on November 25, 2011 as part of Super Stuffed Nicktoons Weekend. There were no new episodes until March 31, 2012, which preceded a two-week premiere event from April 2 to April 13. It will consist of episodes 153-178. On April 11, 2012, with the airing of "Squiditis" (173a), it surpassed Rugrats (which had 172 episodes) Nickelodeon's longest-running cartoon. The ending of Season 7 and all of Season 8 brought SpongeBob back to his glory he had achieved back in 2002. Season 8 saw the old humor and some of the more mature scenes brought back. SpongeBob had reached his highest peak so far. Many adult fans had come back and started to comment good things about SpongeBob. At the rate that Season 8 is going at, Season 9 will bring even better episodes, there may even be a Season 10 in the upcoming future. A second Christmas special called "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!" premiered on December 6, 2012.
On January 3, 2011, Nickelodeon ordered 26 episodes for a ninth season, which began airing in 2012. It will bring the number of episodes up to 204, making SpongeBob SquarePants the first Nicktoon to pass the 200-episode milestone. Season 9 consists of episodes 179-204. It premiered on July 21, 2012 with the premiere of" Extreme Spots" and "Squirrel Record". This season notes transition on 1080i HD (widescreen 16:9).
On May 21, 2012, NickAndMore announced the coming of a tenth season of the show, slated to air sometime around the release of the 2014 theatre film. An unusual notice about this season is that is has 37 episodes, which will bring episode number to 241. This is the longest season
Criticism of Decline in Quality
The more recent SpongeBob SquarePants episodes have widely been criticized for not living up to the standards of the older ones. Many critics believe the decline in quality began after the release of "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie", with the beginning of the fourth season. Fans also began to turn away from the series, and online fan sites became deserted.
A huge change was the resignation of series creator Stephen Hillenburg from being the series' producer, leaving that job to Derek Drymon. Drymon appointed writer Paul Tibbitt to produce the show beginning with fourth season. With this change brought many new writers, and many former writers (Kaz, Sam Henderson, C.H. Greenblatt, etc.) moved on to different projects. The only original writers with the show today are storyboard artist Aaron Springer, animation director Tom Yasumi, writer Doug Lawrence, and writer Paul Tibbitt who took over production. One critic said:
"I've been a fan of SpongeBob SquarePants for a long time, and consider it to be one of the best cartoons in the past ten years. But I also have to confess that the cheerful sponge and I parted company some time ago. I'm not sure I can peg the exact moment I stopped paying close attention to the hit series. I think it occurred sometime around the special episode "Dunces and Dragons", though I also remember feeling doubts about where things were headed while watching "SpongeBob B.C.". I really couldn't put my finger on what bothered me about those specials... but there was definitely something off-putting about them, and not long afterward I stopped seeking out new episodes. ...it's a disappointment to watch as the show becomes something it once wasn't: Just another kid-pandering attention-waster".
Although the show is still criticized today, some SpongeBob fans believe it could be making a comeback. The television movie "Truth or Square" gained a largely positive feedback from fans, in contrast to other post-movie episodes. Many episodes from Season 8 and future seasons are also gaining mostly high ratings and positive reviews. While it is common for a show to decline over time, it is quite rare for a show at this point to redeem quality. An example would be The Simpsons, which, despite being criticized for decline in quality, has maintained a large viewership and attracted new fans.
- Tom Kenny: SpongeBob SquarePants, Gary the Snail, French Narrator, Patchy the Pirate, Mr. SquarePants, miscellaneous characters
- Bill Fagerbakke: Patrick Star
- Rodger Bumpass: Squidward Tentacles, Dr. Gill Gilliam
- Carolyn Lawrence: Sandy Cheeks
- Clancy Brown: Eugene Krabs
- Dee Bradley Baker: Squilliam Fancyson, miscellaneous characters
- Mr. Lawrence: Sheldon J. Plankton, Larry the Lobster, miscellaneous characters
- Lori Alan: Pearl Krabs
- Mary Jo Catlett: Mrs. Poppy Puff
- Scarlett Johansson: Princess Mindy
- Sirena Irwin: miscellaneous characters
- Lauren Tom: miscellaneous characters
- Stephen Hillenburg: Potty the Parrot
- Brian Doyle-Murray: Flying Dutchman
- Jill Talley: Karen (Plankton's computer wife)
- Paul Tibbitt: Mrs. Krabs
- Thomas F. Wilson: miscellaneous characters
- Carlos Alazraqui: miscellaneous characters
- Clea Lewis: miscellaneous characters
- Sara Paxton: miscellaneous characters
- Ollie Young: miscellaneous characters
- Johnny Depp: Jack Kahuna Laguna
- Ernest Borgnine: Mermaid Man (1999- 2012)
- Tim Conway: Barnacle Boy.
- Charles Nelson Reilly: Dirty Bubble. ("Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II")
- John Rhys-Davies: Man Ray.
- Jim Jarmusch: self. ("Hooky")
- John Lurie: self. ("Hooky")
- John O'Hurley: King Neptune. ("Neptune's Spatula")
- Kevin Michael Richardson: King Neptune. (voice in "Party Pooper Pants")
- Amy Poehler: Grandma.
- Pat Morita: Master Udon. ("Karate Island")
- Martin Olson: live-action sequence as Chief of the Superheroes. ("Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V")
- Junior Brown: Sandy Cheeks ("Texas"; sang the last line: "I want to go home.") NOTE: Brown also sang the entire "SpongeBob SquarePants Theme Song" over the closing credits; however, because Nickelodeon usually runs advertising or promotional spot announcements during the closing credit sequences, the soundtrack is obliterated on both Nickelodeon and Nickelodeon 2 telecasts of this episode. Junior Brown's vocals may, however, be heard in their entirety on broadcasts of "Texas" that are telecast on the Nicktoons network, which runs the credits without the promotional vocals that it adds on its two flagship stations.
- David Glen Eisley: SpongeBob SquarePants when he was singing Sweet Victory. ("Band Geeks")
- Pantera: "Pre-Hibernation" plays in "Pre-Hibernation Week".
- Ween: "Loop de Loop" is on a record Gary the Snail plays for SpongeBob to teach him how to tie his shoes in "Your Shoe's Untied".
- Patton Oswalt: Jim the Original Frycook in "The Original Fry Cook".
- Marion Ross: Grandma in "Grandma's Kisses".
- Gene Shalit: Food Critic Gene Scallop in "The Krusty Sponge".
- Mark Hamill: The Moth in "Night Light".
- Nigel Planer and Rik Mayall, UK comic actors (best known for anarchic 1980s sitcom The Young Ones) guest-starred as "Dr. Marmalade" and "Lord Reginald" in the episode "Chimps Ahoy".
- David Bowie: Lord Royal Highness (L.R.H.) in the "Atlantis SquarePantis" episode.
- Christopher Guest: guest-starred as SpongeBob's klutzy cousin, Stanley SquarePants in the episode "Stanley S. SquarePants.
- Johnny Knoxville: Guest stared as Johnny Krill, the leader of the Drasticals in the Episode "Extreme Spots".
- Micheal McKean: Guest stared as Captain Frostymug the captain of the Milkshake Academy in the episode "License to Milkshake".