SpongeBob’s Evolution

SpongeGar, one of SpongeBobs prehistoric ancestors from the episode Ugh.

Source: Nickelodeon

SpongeGar, one of SpongeBob’s prehistoric ancestors from the episode “Ugh.”

Emma Visconti, Assistant Editor and Staff Writer

As new trailers come out weekly for the new 3D-animated SpongeBob SquarePants movie, “Sponge on the Run,” there is a great opportunity to look back at SpongeBob in general– its rags to riches evolution as a show, the lovable characters, and the impact it’s had on pop culture. 

On May 21, 2020, the show “SpongeBob SquarePants” will reach its 21-year anniversary. That’s longer than any other show on Nickelodeon, the children’s entertainment channel that broadcasts the show. Though this amount of time doesn’t hold a candle to other big names such as the Simpsons, which has been airing for over thirty years, it’s still a feat to talk about for most audiences.

For the past twenty years, SpongeBob has had the chance to evolve, not only as a character, but also as a production. Even though the show has been around for a long time, not many people know of the show’s humble beginnings. The late Stephen Hillenberg, who created the show, was a marine biologist for most of his life. He had a deep love for the animals he worked with and wanted to educate people about them in a fun way. 

In the 1980s, the character Bob the Sponge was born, and Hillenberg turned him into a comic for the visitors of the marine biology institute where he was working. Bob the Sponge hardly resembled the character of SpongeBob that many people know and love today. Bob, instead of being square, was more realistic in design. He looked more like a real sea sponge. He did have sunglasses and a mouth, though, which are two things a sea sponge does not have. 

“Bob the Sponge?” questions Lis Aureolos, an eighth-grader at McAuliffe Middle School. She continues, “I didn’t know there was a Bob the Sponge. I just know SpongeBob.” 

There was no critical reception of Bob the Sponge, due to the fact that he was only on comic strips. Hillenberg thought he could go further with the sea sponge, though. Around 1994, SpongeBoy was created. His design was more akin to the design of modern day SpongeBob. From then on, SpongeBoy evolved into SpongeBob. Then, the show was created. 

Season one of “SpongeBob SquarePants” was well-received across most audiences. The season currently has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Through season one, iconic characters such as Squidward Tentacles, Patrick Star, and, of course, SpongeBob SquarePants were introduced. 

“I’ve been watching SpongeBob since I was little,” Kaia Householder, a McAuliffe eighth-grader, states. “I didn’t even know he was anyone other than SpongeBob before.” This goes to show that even fans who have been watching SpongeBob since they were kids have no idea about his evolution into the character he is today. 

SpongeBob, as a show, has had a major impact on pop culture. Many of us can agree that it has given us lovable characters, entertaining quotes, and even memes. Taking a look back on the titular character and his evolution over the years is a good way to appreciate all the show has given us.