SpongeBob not so Squarepants

There is only one show on television where you will find a yellow sponge, a land squirrel, a stuck up squid and a pink star all colliding to form the very unique cast of one of the most popular children’s T.V shows of all time, SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob, the main character of the show, brings about a huge sense of positivity, laughter and fun no matter what the topic is in any of the given episodes that are aired. Hence, appealing to a younger audience platform on an everyday basis. If this is the case, then let me ask you this. Why is it that I still find my parents sitting in the living room watching SpongeBob Squarepants with enormous smiles on their faces along with much laughter? Well, that’s because little does anyone realize that the humor and appeal within the show is targeted and fit for an audience of mature adults, not kids. The real question though, is if the television program itself is trying to humor adults and kids at the same time, where is the line to be drawn? Because looking back on it now, I recall the countless amounts of times my eight year old self had to witness SpongeBob and Patrick naked and not think anything of it.

Now please, imagine your childhood self sitting on the couch watching Spongebob for hours on end. Did you ever think to ask yourself why your parents chose to watch it with you instead of doing anything else more productive with their days? Well, that’s because they would rather be entertained by a Sponge who seemingly has the humor appeal to a thirty year old instead of a three year old.

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From Spongebob and Patricks public nudity in a variety of different displays, to many sexual references and hidden bad language, how were the producers of the show able to hide such derogatory humor and jokes behind the simple face of a happy go lucky sponge? Truthfully, I don’t know! Kudos to them because until now, I never thought of Spongebob Squarepants, out of all shows possible, to be the one with such adultery humor hidden behind many laughs and songs of a Sponge. How was it that we missed it.

Well to my understanding, through the art of deception, the producers of SpongeBob were able to incorporate these mature jokes and references so masterfully while still maintaining a focus of child appeal. From the use of many bright colors and different characters, to the constant fun and uplifting atmosphere that the show displays is how without a second thought, a public nudity scene or a small sexual reference is not acknowledged at all. Until you really go back and evaluate the episodes in a different manner, you would never think anything of it. Because how could televisions most beloved bright yellow sponge ever think of doing or displaying anything far from what is right.

For example, season 4 episode 20 of the Spongebob Squarepants series was entitled, “Best Day Ever.” Now this could just be me over analyzing the situation, but if my assumptions are correct, this underlying reference and intention of the producers was to highlight the signature day of April 20th, or as some like to call it, an occasion for smoking or celebrating the smoking of marijuana.

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In the first place, why would producers and screenwriters even feel the need to add this sly component to what’s supposed to be a children’s show? Well, this makes me question… is it even meant to be show directed to an audience of children? My answer would be no, absolutely not. From what I can see, Spongebob and his group of friends are without a doubt appealing to a younger audience physically, but mentally, a child’s brain is not capable of understanding the humor that comes along with what the producers are choosing to display to the audience. Given this, who are the producers truly trying to attract towards the show and want as their viewers? Is the show meant to be for children as advertised or is it truly meant to be for adult viewers?

Overall, that is why the show has been and always will be so successful. Because not only does it attract younger viewers, but continuously has adults tuning in for more. Nevertheless, Spongebob will always hold the place of being an iconic figure to all, but what needs to be acknowledged is that Spongebob Squarepants is not a children’s T.V show. As much as I know this will put many at a disbelief, it’s the truth!

8 thoughts on “SpongeBob not so Squarepants

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. Spongebob has been an influential show in many different ways. I really agree with the point of the show being for any age group. I too find myself watching the show and laughing at many of the jokes in the show. I also think since the show has been around since we were children has an influence on us loving the show and the jokes so much. This relates to many of the Disney movies that also have adult humor in them so that adults enjoy the movies their children drag them to as well. Usually these jokes are hidden from the children but more mature audiences.

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  2. Zac Pennace

    This blog post was very well written. I only have watched sponge bob a few times during my childhood but never realized any of this when I watched. I find it interesting now that you have brought up this connection to how Sponge bob isn’t just a children’s show but also caters to adults. I never would realize that they would slip in some adult references. The producers definitely purposely based the episode 20 from season 4 to be based on 420 the cannabis holiday and by having their episode titled Best Day Ever in referring to the holiday of 420 being the best.
    Now that you brought up this connection I wonder how many cartoon shows for children that we watched as kids had hidden jokes that adults would understand and not their children. This is certainly a good way to get the parents to watch the tv show with their kids.

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    1. Michaela Pounds
      This was well written and thoughtful! I have honestly never thought about the obscenities that are evident in Spongebob. I think Spongebob’s writers were able to create the show so it was able to be enjoyed by multiple audiences, but it is definitely a problem for young children to be watching the show and parents probably don’t realize the show has innappropriate elements. It would be a good idea for parents to watch the show with their kids.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading this blog post I think this is a topic that has been discussed about humor but it brings up another point of view that I find very interesting. When I was younger I never really watched Spongebob, but I had always watched clips that my friends had shown me. I have heard before though that the show can be for children and adults. As I was reading I was trying to think of shows that are also similar to Spongebob that is a cartoon show and has that type of humor. There are jokes that can be so innocent but can be interpreted as jokes sometimes, I wonder if the writer of Spongebob had intended for it to have inappropriate jokes or if it was really meant to be innocent for little kids.

    As I continued to read your post I tried to think of cartoon shows that are similar. Can you think of any? I couldn’t think of any, but I watched them when I was so young that I wasn’t aware of the inappropriate suggested jokes.

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  4. Mike Cratty: First off, love the title. Looking back on Spongebob Squarepants as an adult, the subliminal messages are easy to see after some research and reminiscing. Some things are very upfront like Bikini Bottom, and Sandy Cheeks. The 4/20-Best Day Ever connection one is easy to miss as a kid, assuming that most kids don’t know all that much about marijuana. Great blog addressing a really interesting, potentially childhood ruining topic.

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  5. Ryan Salvaggio

    Growing up, Spongebob was one of my favorite shows as a kid and like most kids who watched it (and as you mentioned throughout your post), a lot of the jokes tended to go over my head as I was just watching and enjoying the zany acts all the characters would get into during an episode. That being said though, it’s funny to go back and watch such classic episodes and see just how many ‘inappropriate jokes’ and hidden innuendos were scattered all throughout various episodes. As you you did such a good job of mentioning, these are the types of things that got teens, adults, etc. interested in watching the show, while younger kids watched to see all of the fun hijinks Spongebob and his friends got into, not really paying attention to or understanding the more complex jokes on the show, adults were able to stay interested due to the inclusion of these jokes that only adults would be able to comprehend.
    Jokes like a naked Patrick handing a naked Spongebob a dollar (like you have pictured), Spongebob telling Patrick his “genius” is showing to which Patrick covers his private area and asks “where?” and an embarrassed Spongebob quickly changing the channel on his TV when Gary comes into the room all have their implications that only adults would be able to understand. I also found it interesting you brought up the ‘Best Day Ever’ episode as a reference to the cannabis holiday 420, I never really put two-and-two together on that reference but when you look deeper into the episode, the connections are definitely there.

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  6. John Sava
    I found this blog really insightful on how Spongebob Squarepants was able to get away with so many adult jokes. I watched Spongebob a lot when I was younger and did not notice some of the jokes. I think this article did a good job explaining why they made the jokes and how it would be useful to the creators of Spongebob and Nickelodeon. This shows main goal is to attract both kids and adults. It would be difficult to have have a show like Family Guy attract kids because the humor and characters would not attract kids. However, having bright colors, interesting looking characters and a positive environments help get kids to watch the show. In addition, adding in sneaky jokes like the episode The Best Day Ever being the 20th episode of the 4th season adults would find that funny. One thing that I would add to the article is other examples of cartoon shows that use adult jokes because there are other shows that do this. Attracting young and old viewers is something that other cartoons do other than Spongebob.

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  7. Chantalle Dumont-
    Almost all family and friends know that Spongebob Squarepants was/is one of my favorite shows of all time. The jokes and sayings within the show are easily quotable and often unforgettable. I agree with you on many aspects of the hidden inappropriate comments within the show, but what I admire the most about your post is the analyzation of the “Best Day Ever”. I truthfully have never looked at that episode in that light but I 100% agree with what you stated. As you explained, Spongebob can be viewed as a child’s cartoon or an adult comedy but I think that is why many children were not allowed to watch Spongebob because parents did not want to expose their children to the underlying humor.

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