Why I Adore SpongeBob SquarePants
November 17, 2020 by Mason Bell

Just the mention of SpongeBob SquarePants elicits emotion from people. Either they’re extremely annoyed at the characters dumb behavior, or they find the show to be an affront to the values of our culture. As a young mother, I found the show to be an excellent way for the kids to unwind from a daunting day of middle school.

Back then, I took the show at face value. The quirkiness of the characters entertained and delighted. To this day, we still spend time watching the show, as its content gets better with age.

Learning to write compelling fiction for middle graders, I have come to fully appreciate the show’s ease at building endearing characters and its ability to tell the same old stories in a new way.

The characters on SpongeBob SquarePants are some of the best I’ve seen on television. The dominant character, SpongeBob, is a well-meaning, overly optimistic sponge who remains in character regardless of plot needs. The viewer may not always know what he will do next, but it will always align with who he is at his core.

With the character arcs spanning several seasons, we are continually introduced to their dreams and disappointments. We feel SpongeBob’s pain when he can’t pass the boating exam. We laugh at Patrick Star’s joy when an empty cardboard box becomes a place of imagination. This fleshing out of the characters makes them real and definitely not one dimensional as most kid’s programs tend to be.

And because the other characters remain consistent, each episode has a good deal of tension. Squidward, the pessimistic cashier of the Krusty Krab, continually finds himself having to deal with the overly enthusiastic SpongeBob. These scenes are comedic gold. Mr. Krabs and Plankton, once good friends, now compete to make the best hamburger under the sea.

In Bikini Bottom, the fictional city of SpongeBob, the dialogue is used to perfection and miscommunications are common. This is due in part to each character having a well-defined point of view. SpongeBob takes everything with a positive outlook. Squidward sees the annoying in everything. Mr. Krabs only sees dollar signs. Though they are all looking at the same plotline, they manage to react in their own crazy way.

But it’s the setting of Bikini Bottom that always reels me in, immersing me in life along the seabed where buildings rise from the sand and fish sunbath on the beach. Subtle hints dot each scene, reminding you of the location. Dimmer switches in the Krusty Krab have turn dials like a ship’s wheel. The native Texan, Sandy Cheeks, lives in a reverse fish tank, called an air dome.

Every writer knows that character development, immersive settings, and exciting plotlines are essential to a magnificent story. SpongeBob SquarePants has masterfully used all three to entertain people young and old for more than two decades.