The Spongebob Square-Case

On May 1st, 1999 an sea sponge applied to work at The Krusty Krab as a fry cook. Showing off his unrelenting optimism and cooking skills, he won the hearts of Mr. Krabs (his future boss) and children everywhere. Now 20 years later, Spongebob Squarepants is a cultural icon.

Spongebob Squarepants changed Nickelodeon and cartoons forever. He was a beacon of humor in times of struggle, giving Americans reasons to laugh. The world was in need of his talents, and Spongebob was READY.

  • Spongebob’s History
    • Spongebob was created by Marine Biologist Steve Hillenburg
    • Originally the show was to be called Spongeboy Ahoy!
    • Because Spongeboy was trademarked by a cleaning supplies company, they were forced to change the name
    • Hillenburg wanted the word “sponge” in the title because he thought children might confuse him with cheese
      • “Oh great, now the talking cheese is gonna preach to us”
    • Steve Hillenburg first developed the idea from an unpublished comic called “The Inter-Tidal Zone that developed in the late 1980s
    • He worked on Rocko’s Modern Life after studying animation
      • After the cancellation of the show, he began developing Spongebob and asked Tom Kenny who voiced Heffer on Rocko’s Modern Life to do voicework
    • The big pitch
      • Derek Drymon was the creative director of Spongebob and was the voice acting coach for the pilot
      • Together Drymon and Hillenburg made the pitch for the show
        • Hillenburg and Derek Drymon wore Hawaiian shirts and blared beach music while pitching
        • They created a tiny model of Bikini Bottom with all the characters and gave a description of what they wanted the characters to be
        • They pitched the pilot “Help Wanted” to Nickelodeon Executives and had to excuse themselves because they needed to compose themselves
        • The executives decided immediately that they wanted to do the show
  • The Voices
    • Tom Kenny
      • Spongebob
      • Gary The Snail
      • The French Narrator
      • Also known for:
        • Adventure Time
        • The PowerPuff Girls
        • Rocko’s Modern Life
  • Bill Fagebakke
    • Patrick
    • Also known for:
      •  Coach (1989-1997)
      • How I Met Your Mother (2005-2014)
  • Roger Bumpas
    • Squidward
    • Also known for:
      • Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man
        • Doc Oc
      • Bit parts in Disney films and TV shows
  • Clancy Brown
    • Mr. Krabs
    • Also known for:
      • CTR
        • Dr. Neo Kortex
      • Schooled
        • Mr. Crosby
      • Highlander
      • The Shawshank Redemption
        • Byron Hadley
  • Douglas Lawrence Osowski “Mr. Lawrence”
    • Plankton
    • Larry the Lobster
    • The Artist at Sea
    • Fred (My Leg Guy) Although Fred has been played by many different actors
    • Also known for:
      • Rocko’s Modern Life
        • Fillbert
  • Carolyn Lawrence
    • Sandy Cheeks
    • Also known for:
      • Jimmy Neutron
        • Cindy Vortex
  • The Flying Dutchman
    • Bryan Doyle Murray
    • Also known for:
      • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
      • Caddyshack
  • Jill Talley
    • Karen
    • Also known for:
      • Mr. Show with Bob and David
      • The Loud House
    • *Karen is played by Tom Kenny’s wife, and Karen is the name of Steve Hillenburg’s wife

Source Material

  • “Zen and the Art of Writing” essay collection by Ray Bradbury and used the noun game
    • Everyone wrote 3-6 nouns on a paper and placed them in a hat; when they pulled one out, they did a story based on that noun
  • Literary References
    • “Squeaky Boots” is based off the story “The Tell-tale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe
    • “Club Spongebob” references “Lord of the Flies”
      • The Magic Conch Shell is similar to the Magic 8 Ball used by the characters in the novel
    • “Frankendoodle” references “Frankenstein” when Spongebob creates DoodleBob
  • Other References
    • Some references mentioned in this episode:
      • Toulouse-Lautrec reference:
      • In “Something Smells” Spongebob hides in his house with a mask on, referencing Phantom of the Opera. We wanted to find you a clip, but we couldn’t find a good one
  • Spongebob’s personality came from Jerry Lewis, PeeWee Herman, and Stan Laurel
  • Awards
    • Won Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program
    • British Academy Children’s International Award in 2007
    • Nominated 34 Kid’s Choice Awards and won 27
    • Best animated television production Annie Award 2005


Thank you, Steve Hillenburg!

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