Here’s a great article from The Atlantic (magazine, not ocean) about SpongeBob SquarePants turning 10 , complete with something the print-version couldn’t include which is a podcast commentary the author recorded over a few minutes of an episode. If you read the article or listen to the commentary, its clear the author James Parker truly does appreciate the greatness of Spongebob, and didn’t just draw the short straw forcing him to write about a stupid yellow sponge. Here’s some great observations…
SpongeBob SquarePants knows its own power; deep inside the show there’s even a SpongeBob-size critique of marketing going on. Bikini Bottom is periodically swept by fads and crazes, its denizens rushing around in a volatile teenybopper horde, cheering or booing or raving on the beach to shudders of Dick Dale-ish guitar. This is the Beach Blanket Bingo thread in the show’s aesthetic, its harking-back to the first deliria of the youth market. SpongeBob and Patrick themselves are feverishly suggestible—no gimmick or promotion targeted at them can possibly miss.
What introduced me to the show was when my son was two months old he got a touch of pneumonia, so we camped out at the hospital for a few days, and being the children’s wing, of course they had NickToons where Spongebob airs about 21 hours out of the day. So we watched an episode on how to make a Krappy Patty. My wife and I were almost in tears laughing, which we figured was partly due to the delirium of having your child in the hospital. But when we returned home, we set the DVR to start recording the show, which was a mistake since, again, SpongeBob airs almost every minute of the day. So instead I bought the first season off iTunes, and we’ve been working through them from there. We’re somewhere in the middle of 3 now, so I don’t know if the show stays this good forever, but it is unbelievably good so far. At least once an episode, I’ll think to myself, “if I were writing this, I’d get really weird and have them do this next…” And then they’ll do that exact thing, or something even weirder. And The Atlantic articles points this out too, its not a freak-out Ren & Stimpy weirdness, its something
So any animators who haven’t also discovered Spongebob, get to it. Someone told me 9 years ago I should have been watching it, and I thought this person had just gone crazy watching too many kid shows with his kids… I was wrong. Vincent, I was wrong. Here’s a few of my favs so far (to keep it simple for first-timers, these are all half-episode titles from Season 1)…
- Ripped Pants
- Musclebob BuffPants
- SpongeBob 129
- Jellyfish Jam
And to prove how right I am, I’ll risk some copywrong infringement and upload a minute from Jellyfish Jam. Click the pic to watch. Enjoy…
Click to watch Spongebob bust a move in this video!