Spongebob Squarepants is one of the most unusual kids TV characters to become an icon. The small yellow sea sponge along with his pet snail Gary and best friend and starfish Patrick Star have left their mark on children’s TV and have become as iconic as the Sesame Street characters or Dora the Explorer. Spongebob Squarepants costumes, along with costumes of other characters from the show, are perennial Halloween favorites and other Spongebob merchandize like clothing, DVDs, video games and toys can be found in almost every child’s closet and playroom.
Originally the character of Spongebob Squarepants first appeared in 1984 when Marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg started drawing comics and animated figures. He was fascinated with animation and eventually left his job as a marine biologist to attend school to study animation. He received a Masters degree in animation and went to work for Nickelodeon in the last 1990s, when Nickelodeon’s children’s programming was just starting to take off. While he was working on several different shows for Nickelodeon he started developing the Spongebob character, his friends, and their city called Bikini Bottom more seriously. He pitched the show to Nickelodeon, where producers weren’t too sure about it at first, and went on to have one of the biggest successes that the channel has ever had with the show in its final form. The tenth anniversary of the show will occur in July, and a special documentary about everyone’s favorite sea creatures is in production to be broadcast in line with the anniversary.
One of the reasons why Spongebob is so popular is because the writers work hard to make it appeal to parents as well as kids. The trend of making content for kids TV shows and kids movies that has inside jokes which will make parents laugh and to include references that parents will find funny started with Spongebob Squarepants. The writers wanted to make sure that the parents who were watching TV with their kids were also engaged in the show and they wanted to encourage parents to watch TV with their kids. Including content that would be missed by the kids but would appeal to the parents was a brilliant way to make sure that adults and kids would both like the show.
The Spongebob Squarepants feature length film was a box office success, and amusement park and theme park rides and attractions based on the Spongebob world that feature underwater interactive displays, water slides and water attractions, and even song and dance shows are very popular and draw in thousands of visitors per year. Even after ten years the show is still popular and consistently one of the top three most watched kids shows. Spongebob Squarepants has been nominated for dozens of awards over the years ranging from Kid’s Choice awards to critics awards for excellence in children’s programming and awards from parents groups for the consistently high quality of the show.