Spongebob Squarepants: Practical to Impodent

Pretty self-explanatory: Spongebob became stupid.
February 06, 2014
Yes, another article about Spongebob on Retro Junk? In my opinion, Spongebob is indeed an old cartoon, and for the time it was on it certainly came into fruition after it's first season when it really hit it off. This article is a pretty long read, so for those who kind of just want to read something short and can't really stomach down a lot of words, then I advise you skip to the part where I mention Spongebob going bad where it gets interesting.

The Beginning: What an Original Cartoon!

My favorite logo of the show.

When our young Sponge first appeared on television, everyone was not at all surprised; for Nickelodeon is kind of a genius at making creative cartoons as they have in the past. Though Spongebob broke the line of plots that were starting to get boring in works before it that were solely dedicated to children (and two that really weren't), and actually added a bit of innovation to Nickelodeon's cartoon library.

The unforgettable bunch.

When the first episode aired, Spongebob looked pretty goofy; his pupils looked smaller, his teeth looked more segregated than in later episodes and the humor was definitely beyond different from what it turned into, but we will talk about that later. Anyway, this show had such an original concept; everything was very well done, the writing was spectacular and the humor was so good even people older than seven could enjoy this goofy cartoon. It would slowly develop the characters in this season, but then their development would shift a lot the following season from what this shaped them to be as.

See. There is the gap. Right there. And no I do not know why the Nickelodeon logo appears to be hollow here.

This season also developed a ton of running gags, the most memorable of which is Spongebob trying to get his driver's license. Fun Fact: he was going to get it in this season, but the writers changed the episode at the last minute to make it so he fails to get it, and proceeded to make that the running gag of the whole show that he never gets it. Aside from that are others such as Squidward constantly being annoyed, Plankton never getting the secret formula and whatnot.

Prosperous: A Truly Sanguine Sponge

And from this season onward, we now take heed of who the real main characters are; though not a single new one was really added after this point.

Following the phenomenal success of the first season, Nickelodeon quietly produced and broadcast a second season immediately. And this one was when the show began to take form of it's original humor, well still mixing a bit of the original season's style into it. The show still retained a kid-friendly atmosphere and was just as funny as the first season was.

Well, maybe not always kid-friendly if you remember this.

This season had just as much originality as the first, and actually added new content into it; the main thing of which was setting up all the main characters that would be remembered for a lifetime, though strangely enough I always thought Mrs. Puff was one of them, though I guess she was more of a recurring character. Spongebob certainly did well at pissing her off, I can tell you that much. Though this season did have a lot to be remembered for, aside from introducing adult humor into the show.

Band Geeks, the most remembered episode of Spongebob Squarepants, is an example of how far the show really came.

So this season left a light mark on the style of the cartoon, inside jokes that are unusually adult-like at times, though that same mark would take great effect in the following season.

Taking Form: Spongebob's Adult Side

The redesigned logo.

Spongebob Squarepants was one of the last shows to be apart of Nickelodeon's morphing logo theme where the logo shaped into a common thing seen in the cartoon. Aside from that, this season introduced a lot more adult humor that would definitely be remembered for year's to come and plenty of quotes that would leave the viewer to think different of a certain character. One of which was perhaps Squidward's "three good reasons" for wanting to run around in colored undies.

And let us not forget the panty raid.

This season was pretty much filled with adult humor. To sum up what we've talked about so far to describe it: Season 1 = Kid-Friendly, Season 2 = Adult/Kid-Friendly, Season 3 = Adult-Friendly. It had an adult joke in every other episode, though still retained it's sense of charm and originality as well and left a lot to be desired for. This season was the pinnacle of the show and what everyone has come to remember of it, and truly left a big mark on it's humor as it focused more on jokes and talking rather than the slapstick, though it still had plenty of that.

Just needs one more...I mean two more things!

So this season basically just added adult humor to the show in a way more than the last two did. Well, maybe just the last-last one, as the last one did add quite a bit. Spongebob was practically finished in inventing it's style of slapstick, humor and interesting plots; with the last episode being the most memorable of the whole season for introducing interesting plots. As Spongebob was practically at the epitome of success, with great success comes an even greater thing...
A New Development: The Spongebob Squarepants Movie

The most epic Nickelodeon film yet, and one of their last good ones.

A movie! Yes, Spongebob actually got a film. But not just a made-for-TV one, we're talking full-fledged movie theater action here! (if you've watched Spongebob, you could probably misinterpret that last sentence) And it was really good too. This film, however, was a sad point in the series where it faced cancellation. And for a few months, everyone became sad that our Sponge reached his end, despite being the highest-rated cartoon on Nickelodeon.

This movie truly would've been a good ending to the series, though. It definitely gave us more than enough unforgettable jokes.

Nickelodeon was getting desperate, though. With Rugrats also reaching it's end the same year, Nickelodeon needed to find another show to milk for money. The Fairly Oddparents was doing fine enough for that job, but that just wasn't enough for them. They needed more. And rather than coming up with a gimmick to introduce a new show to do the job, they had another idea in mind...

The Revival: Not as Good as You Would've Believed

"Someday, but not today." Remember what he was doing before saying that?

In 2005, Spongebob made a sudden comeback to the channel after being off in new episodes for almost a year. Many believed this season would've been one of the best the show offered, but it was the complete opposite. The series switched to a new style of humor yet again: dumb humor. Yes, Spongebob entered the dreaded generic path that most children's cartoons entered around the twenty-first century: when everything is so dumbed down that even some of the children watching it feel stupid at times. Also, Sandy is now a recurring character starting with this season. And when she does show up, it's merely to show Spongebob some ridiclous invention, that Spongebob will of course break; then she will get really mad at him then they will makeup and it ends.

The season had a few memorable episodes, though; but not too many in general as the previous ones.

The fourth season was pretty well-known because it was still slightly headed by Stephen Hillenburg, though Derek Drymon left the series. He was the head of the writers and a supervising producer if I remember correctly, so he had a major contribution in the show's main staff. And this wasn't just some furlough because they needed a break either. They intended for the show to end after the movie because their creativity juices were pretty much worn out or they had bigger projects to pursue. Following their departure, the result left Spongebob's trademark sophisticated humor and overall ingenuity that was developed during the previous seasons gone, and in their place was mere slapstick and childish antics. Though since Spongebob is a kid's cartoon, it would make sense that it would be for kids. But the later seasons have something to be remembered for, but it isn't for it's originality.

Paul Tibbitt: Should've Stayed a Writer

It's so beautiful.

Now, don't get me wrong here. I know Spongebob Squarepants is rated TV-Y7 so of course if it wants to go down a path where it's mostly for children that's fine; I was just admiring how much I appreciated the adult humor in the show. But, some of what they do show on some of the new episodes is something I certainly would not show my children. And some of the episode plots they do show nowadays is so facetious that I would be scared if I saw my child watching Spongebob.

I am pretty sure that still counts as blood.

Some of the stuff they do show in the new episodes is actually so disturbing that I am really surprised. I mean just a few seconds ago we were talking about how memorable this cartoon was. The fact that it has driven down such a path that is beyond what the show used to be is surely something to be appalled at. And most of what they show nowadays is actually just either really stupid, or really disturbing.

The Later Years: More of the Same

I have not seen this episode, and I do not want to.

Spongebob nowadays is nothing but trite, really. The plots are completely dried out, and they mostly rely on slapstick and horrendous new characters to add onto the show. Spongebob himself is just flat-out frivolous most of the time; especially to Squidward. I guess it's quality for children, but some of the quality is also for infants as well. And another some of the other quality shouldn't be for anyone, really.

This episode's plot basically involved Spongebob making Squidward go insane; and this was the end of the episode.

Wrap Up: My Thoughts About Spongebob Squarepants

So to sum up Spongebob Squarepants: the old episodes were comedy gold and offered the most innovative, intuitive and creative cartoon we had ever seen in years, well the new episodes simply offer nothing but lethargic, traumatizing, disturbing, hackneyed and flat-out dumb humor accompanied by pastiche or impotent plots. Spongebob basically interlopes on Squidward's life whenever he can and almost always leaves a mental wound on Squidward's sanity. The same goes with Mrs. Puff as well. Sandy become a minor character in the later seasons, up to the point where she barely even shows up anymore and only does so to show off her knowledge or some gadget. She occasionally sings, but her new songs are plain terrible and aren't as heartfelt as her old ones were. Plankton actually does beat Mr. Krabs a couple of times, so that was the only major twist in the show's main plot; though nothing ever carried over beyond the episode it begun on.

The episode when Spongebob got fired definitely should've been something that aired during the show's golden years and not it's new years, because it could've been a lot more interesting to see this as a plot that lasted a few episodes.

Overall, the show is not as scintillating as it once was and probably never will be again. And the second movie will probably be a disaster as well. Yes, I know this show is not intended for an audience older than twelve nowadays, but it was the fact that it could still be enjoyed by an older audience is what made it so unique. I really just had a lot on my mind about the way this show came to be, and also growing up and knowing it since it's beginning I figured I should finally make an article about it. If what you have to say in the comments involves mentioning how this cartoon is for children and, as an older person, my opinion shouldn't matter, I've heard that countless times and do not care. I am just trying to state how much the show has gone down from what it used to be and how I enjoyed watching it once before. Heck, if it was still made the way it was back then I would still watch it, maybe. Like I said: this show appealed to adults too, just because it was that good.
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