Are you ready J1 fans?! I can’t hear you! With just those two lines you can guess what I’ll be bringing up for this installment of “Cheesy Cartoons.” It’s an old sea tale about a young sponge living about his daily life and loves spending time having fun with his eccentric collection of friends. So shuffle on deck for this cheesy look at Spongebob Squarepants.
Following the cancellation of “Rocko’s Modrn Life”, Stephen Hillenburg began developing Spongebob Squarepants in 1996. He turned to Tom Kenny, who worked with him on that series, to voice the title character Spongebob. Nickelodeon held the series premiere on July 17, 1999. The series revolves around Spongebob Squarepants, a square shaped sea sponge who enjoys his job as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab, which is run by Mr. Krabs, a misery crustacean who loves money. Spongebob’s friends include Patrick Star, his dim-witted yet friendly pink starfish buddy, squirrel scientist Sandy Cheeks, ill-tempered octopus Squidward Tentacles and Gary, his pet sea snail who meows like a cat. In each episode of the series, Spongebob’s eccentric and overly optimistic behavior gets him in comedic situations that quickly become problematic with Patrick in tow. Most of these instances inadvertently draw in Squidward who has abundant dislike of Spongebob and Patrick largely due to their childlike behavior. Mr. Krabs and Sandy seem to be more tolerant of the duo antics with Sandy usually solving more of the boys’ problems than Krabs. Another key point is Plankton, Mr. Krabs entrepreneur rival and owner of the Chum Bucket, constantly trying to steal the recipe to Krabs’ Krabby Patties.
CHEESE FACTOR!! If you have been keeping track of the series since the beginning, you know that Spongebob and Patrick’s antics, which are supposed to be a brand-new kind of slapstick, can become out of control. At first, these situations were laughable in the show’s early years but have taken a sharp decline in recent years. The situations that Spongebob and Patrick put themselves in reach a level of absurdity that makes it more idiotic than funny. Several episodes consisted of them running around Bikini Bottom, screaming unnecessarily. The reason behind this behavior later is revealed to be something very insignificant. One example of this is when Spongebob thought his pet snail Gary was missing and he set about tearing up the town in search of him. He uprooted buildings and torn down walls, all the while Gary had been home the entire time. Annoying still is his hysterical pleas for Gary’s return. This aesthetic seems to run rampant in each episode with Spongebob’s high pitched shrill becoming irritating. Another are the karate episodes in which Sandy and Spongebob don large foam hands and protective headgear as they try to outdo each other with their martial arts skills. These episodes were entertaining at first but reached total idiocy when the torch was passed to Patrick who karate chopped Bikini Bottom to pieces while laughing idiotically. While on the subject, the off-the-wall antics of Spongebob and Patrick had the comedic substance that actually made them humorous in the show’s early years. But over the years, their brand of comedy has become nothing more than idiotic tomfoolery.
WHY WE WATCHED!! Shockingly, it is that same mindless, tomfoolery that makes Spongebob so darn likeable. The comedy may be off beat and ridiculous but it is kind of entertaining. And the antics Spongebob and Patrick get into makes want to watch to see what happens next.
Spongebob Squarepants is currently in its tenth season. The series has won a variety of awards, including six Annie Awards, eight Golden Reel Awards, two Emmy Awards, 12 Kids’ Choice Awards, and two BAFTA Children’s Awards. Despite these achievements, Spongebob Squarepants has been met with controversy including the title character’s sexual orientation and the declining quality of the series since the release of Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie in 2004. Within the first month of air, Spongebob Squarepants overtook Pokemon as the top-rated Saturday Morning cartoon and quickly became Nickelodeon’s top rated series by 2001, second to Rugrats. In that same year, the series became the top-ranked show not for Nickelodeon but on all of television. However, as of 2012, Spongebob Squarepants ratings have slipped, forcing Nickelodeon to reduce his rotation. Nevertheless, this has done nothing to tarnish the sponge’s reputation as he is still one of the top-rated shows in children’s programming. Spongebob is a hyper-energetic, eccentric yellow sponge who gets into ridiculously absurd situations with a cackle that make the hair on your neck stand on end. He’d been annoying if he wasn’t so adorable.