SpongeBob SquarePants is a fictional character, the titular character and protagonist of the American animated television series of the same name. He is voiced by actor and comedian Tom Kenny and first appeared on television in the series' pilot episode "Help Wanted" on May 1, 1999.

SpongeBob was created and designed by cartoonist and educator Stephen Hillenburg, who began developing the show shortly after the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life in 1996. Hillenburg intended to create a series about an over-optimistic sea sponge living in an underwater town. Hillenburg compared the character's personality to Laurel and Hardy and Pee-wee Herman. As he drew the character, he decided that a "squeaky-clean square" like a kitchen sponge fit the concept. The character's name is derived from "Bob the Sponge", the host of Hillenburg's comic strip The Intertidal Zone that he originally drew in the 1980s while teaching marine biology to visitors of the Ocean Institute. SpongeBob is a naïve and goofy sponge who works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab.

The character has received positive critical response from media critics and achieved popularity with both children and adults, though he has been involved in public controversy.[1] SpongeBob appeared in a We Are Family Foundation video promoting tolerance, which was criticized by James Dobson of Focus on the Family because of the foundation's link to homosexuality.

Role in SpongeBob SquarePantsEdit

SpongeBob is depicted as being a good-natured, optimistic, naïve, and enthusiastic yellow sea sponge residing in the undersea city of Bikini Bottom alongside an array of anthropomorphic aquatic creatures. He works as a fry cook at a local fast food restaurant, the Krusty Krab, to which he is obsessively attached.[2] At work, SpongeBob answers to Eugene Krabs, a greedy (though good-hearted) crab who shows SpongeBob favor,[3] alongside his ill-tempered, snobbish next-door neighbor Squidward Tentacles. His hobbies include jellyfishing, practicing karate under his sensei and friend Sandy Cheeks,[4] and blowing bubbles.[5]

SpongeBob is often seen hanging around with his best friend Patrick Star, one of his neighbors. SpongeBob's unlimited optimistic cheer often leads him to perceive the outcome of numerous endeavors and the personalities of those around him as happier than they actually are; for instance, he believes that Squidward Tentacles enjoys his company in spite of the fact that he clearly harbors an intense dislike for him (though they have been shown to get along on rare occasions.)[6] SpongeBob's greatest goal in life is to receive his driver's license from Mrs. Puff's boating school, but he panics and crashes whenever he is in a boat.[7] He lives in a submerged pineapple with his pet snail Gary.



Stephen Hillenburg by Carlos Cazurro

Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants

Stephen Hillenburg first became fascinated with the ocean as a child. Also at a young age, he began developing his artistic abilities. During college, he studied marine biology and minored in art. He planned to return to college eventually to pursue a master's degree in art. After graduating in 1984, he joined the Ocean Institute, an organization in Dana Point, California, dedicated to educating the public about marine science and maritime history.[8][9] While he was there, he initially had the idea that would lead to the creation of SpongeBob SquarePants: a comic book titled The Intertidal Zone. The host of the comic was "Bob the Sponge" who, unlike SpongeBob, resembled an actual sea sponge.[10] In 1987, Hillenburg left the institute to pursue an animation career.[10][11]

A few years after studying experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts,[11] Hillenburg met Joe Murray, the creator of Rocko's Modern Life, at an animation festival, and was offered a job as a director of the series.[10][12][13][14] While working on the series, Hillenburg met writer Martin Olson, who saw his previous comic The Intertidal Zone.[9] Olson liked the idea and suggested Hillenburg to create a series of marine animals. Hillenburg said, "a show ... I hadn't even thought about making a show ... and it wasn't my show".[9] It spurred his decision to create SpongeBob SquarePants and said, "It was the inspiration for the show".[9]

File:Bob the Sponge (The Intertidal Zone).jpg

Rocko's Modern Life ended in 1996.[15] Shortly afterwards, Hillenburg began working on SpongeBob SquarePants. For the show characters, Hillenburg started drawing and took some of the characters from his comic—like starfish, crab, and sponge.[9] At the time, Hillenburg knew that "everybody was doing buddy shows"—like The Ren & Stimpy Show—and thought that "I can't do a buddy show," so he decided to do a "one character" show instead.[9] He conceived a sponge as the title character because, according to him, it is "the weirdest animal."[10] Hillenburg derived the character's name from Bob the Sponge, the host of his comic strip The Intertidal Zone, after changing it from SpongeBoy due to trademark issues.[10][16]


  1. "US right attacks SpongeBob video". BBC News. January 20, 2005. Retrieved May 23, 2010.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. Writers: Stephen Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, Tim Hill (May 1, 1999). "Help Wanted". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon. 
  3. Writers: Luke Brookshier, Tom King, Dani Michaeli (July 23, 2007). "Spy Buddies". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 4. Episode 84a. Nickelodeon. 
  4. Writers: Aaron Springer, Erik Wiese, Merriwether Williams (December 31, 1999). "Karate Choppers". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 1. Episode 14b. Nickelodeon. 
  5. Writers: Walt Dohrn, Paul Tibbitt, Merriwether Williams (September 7, 2001). "The Secret Box". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 2. Episode 35a. Nickelodeon. 
  6. Writers: Aaron Springer, C. H. Greenblatt, Merriwether Williams (December 28, 2000). "Dying for Pie". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 2. Episode 24a. Nickelodeon. 
  7. Writers: Casey Alexander, Chris Mitchell, Tim Hill (April 1, 2006). "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 4. Episode 69b. Nickelodeon. 
  8. Welcome to the Ocean Institute”. Accesat la December 24, 2013. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 Wilson, Thomas F.(Interviewer); Hillenburg, Stephen (Interviewee). (May 29, 2012). Big Pop Fun #28: Stephen Hillenburg, Artist and Animator–Interview [Podcast]. Nerdist Industries.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 Hillenburg, Stephen. (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season [DVD]. Paramount Home Entertainment.
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Banks9
  12. Murray, Joe. (2003). The Origin of SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob SquarePants: The Complete First Season [DVD]. Paramount Home Entertainment.
  13. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Neuwirth50-51
  14. Lisa (Kiczuk) Trainor interviews Joe Murray, creator of Rocko's Modern Life”. The Rocko's Modern Life FAQ. 
  15. Rocko's Modern Life”. Accesat la May 21, 2013. 
  16. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Banks53
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