SpongeBob SquarePants is the titular protagonist of the Nicktoon of the same name. He is voiced by Tom Kenny and first appeared on television in the series' pilot episode, "Help Wanted", on May 1, 1999. SpongeBob was created and designed by former marine science teacher Stephen Hillenburg, who originally used the character in an educational book he wrote in the 1980s. Thanks to success and popularity of the franchise, SpongeBob has become a household name and the official mascot of Nickelodeon, and also appears in the current Nickelodeon Movies logo.
As shown in "The Secret Box", SpongeBob has known his best friend Patrick since they were both little babies. SpongeBob moved into his sunken pineapple house with his pet snail, Gary, one day after moving out of his parents' house. He later met his next-door neighbor, Squidward. His teacher is Mrs. Puff and his boss is Eugene Krabs.
SpongeBob is an excitable and charming young sponge. He and Patrick often annoy Squidward without really knowing it.
In 1984 Stephen Hillenberg graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in marine biology. He was teaching the subject at California's Orange County Marine Institute when he created Intertidal Zone, a campus comic book about sea life. Among the characters: a joyfully dim sponge creature. Hillenburg eventually moved on to pursue animation full-time, landing a job as creative director of the Nickelodeon series Rocko's Modern Life. One of the show's animators convinced him to develop Intertidal Zone into its own show, and Hillenburg came up with an underwater city populated with quirky sea creatures. When he pitched it to Nickelodeon in 1997, he reportedly placed a filled fish tank on the conference table and described all the different creatures inside to the assembled suits. Then he dropped a cartoon drawing of SpongeBob into the tank and said, "This is the star of your new show." The show debuted two years later.
According to his driver's license in "Sleepy Time", SpongeBob was born on July 14, 1986—making him just thirteen years old as of the episode's airing in 1999.
Much of SpongeBob's early education is unknown; however, it was mentioned that his kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Shell. Also, he encountered a fellow elementary classmate named Dennis in "The Sponge Who Could Fly". He also mentioned that he was voted most clumsy in high school, and was never able to get a date for his junior prom.
SpongeBob is currently in boating school, run by his dedicated teacher Mrs. Puff. He knows every answer to Mrs. Puff's oral exams and is the most committed student in her class. However, SpongeBob's anxious nerves always take over when he gets behind the wheel of a boat, leading to his very frequent failures at passing the driving exam.
He still doesn't have his boating license.
For a long time, SpongeBob held a desire to work at the Krusty Krab. After a pep talk from Patrick, he decided to apply for a job as a fry cook to the restaurant's owner, Eugene Krabs. SpongeBob, being an excellent fry cook himself, wanted to master the art of creating a Krabby Patty. Mr. Krabs hired him, but first wanted to see how capable he was. He sent him to buy a hydro-dynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments (which would be seen occasionally in later episodes). To Mr. Krabs' shock, SpongeBob returned with said spatula in the nick of time (the Krusty Krab had been invaded by anchovies). SpongeBob fed all of them with Krabby Patties, and Mr. Krabs was extremely pleased. SpongeBob was hired soon after. He is also responsible for keeping up the good work at making Krabby Patties for the customers so he can satisfy Mr. Krabs with money he'll get when the people pay for the food.
He frequently gets days off at the Krusty Krab Restaurant, and as a result he spends his free time with his best friend Patrick Star, and especially enjoys practicing karate with his other friend Sandy Cheeks. He also likes eating jelly, and collecting the jellyfish at Jellyfish Fields. To date, he has caught, named, and let go every jellyfish in Jellyfish Fields at least once, except the blue jellyfish, until the end of the episode "Jellyfish Hunter".
SpongeBob also likes to blow bubbles, surf, sun bathe, and play the ukulele. His favorite TV show is The New Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. SpongeBob is such a fan of the show that he and Patrick together brought them out of retirement. They also pretend to be Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
SpongeBob is a fun-loving, hyperactive, clueless, childish, and accident-prone sea sponge with a happy-go-lucky personality. Despite being portrayed this way, he is relatively smart and knows about what is right, an example being telling Patrick angrily not to draw his picture of calling Mrs. Puff a "big, fat, meanie" because she's a teacher. He is extremely determined and will often stop at nothing to accomplish a task. He is also somewhat dramatic to the people who are kind to him: for example, to the mailfish. He is also over-confident. Sometimes, though, he shows his devious side when trying to get Mr. Krabs and Plankton to work together. He sometimes makes mountains out of molehills, such as losing his name tag. It is also suggested that he deceived the Tattletale Strangler in an elaborate plot to get him back to jail.
SpongeBob is very kind-hearted and innocent, and very rarely acts openly mean to anyone, even those who find him an annoyance and act cruelly to him. He is a very selfless and loyal person, especially towards those close to him. His selfless nature is most notably shown in "Best Day Ever," where he sacrifices his "perfect day" to help his friends. Despite his well-meaning intentions, SpongeBob's actions often annoy and cause trouble for those around him, most notably his next-door neighbor, Squidward Tentacles.
SpongeBob can become scared easily and usually panics when frightened. He is afraid of the dark and clowns. He also hates hot sauce. Occasionally, SpongeBob is too ignorant to notice impending danger and his unworldly thinking may put himself or others in peril. He also cannot detect lies or malice as easily as the other characters, mainly due to his naïve nature. In "A Pal for Gary," when Gary is being violently attacked and nearly eaten by Puffy Fluffy, SpongeBob takes no action and instead accuses Gary of harassing Puffy. Another example is "Home Sweet Rubble," when it takes SpongeBob a few moments to realize that his house is in serious need or repair.
Furthermore, SpongeBob also goes to great lengths to impress others and achieve his goals as seen in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II," where SpongeBob wrongly attacks an innocent Atomic Flounder to impress Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. SpongeBob attempts to steal Patrick's box in "The Secret Box." He also tries to steal Betsy Krabs' underwear along with Patrick and Mr. Krabs in "Mid-Life Crustacean." In "Doing Time," SpongeBob and Patrick force the receptionist of the local bank to give them all his money. This was done in an attempt to get arrested and free Mrs. Puff from jail. In "Hall Monitor," SpongeBob enters the window of a couple's house and disturbs them while on hall monitor duties. In "The Thing," SpongeBob and Patrick break into the zoo at night to free "Smelly" from his cage. In "Safe Deposit Krabs," he and Patrick break into the local bank at night to free Mr. Krabs from the safe vault. In "The Great Snail Race," SpongeBob overexerts Gary as a preparation method for the following snail race. This causes extreme discomfort to Gary and eventually results in him collapsing on his way to the finish line; however, SpongeBob eventually noticed the error in his ways. In "Employee of the Month," SpongeBob sets up many traps on Squidward in an attempt to sabotage his Employee of the Month Award. In "Just One Bite," SpongeBob handcuffs himself to Squidward, forcing him to eat a Krabby Patty. In "Shuffleboarding," he and Patrick, while dressed as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy respectively, go around arresting citizens for actions that do not count as crimes, such as chewing gum too loudly and being too old. In "SpongeBob's Last Stand," SpongeBob and Patrick resist the government-sanctioned construction of the Shelly Superhighway and encourage the rest of the town to join their protest through a song. The police eventually notice the boys rebelling against the government's authority and imprison them in the middle of nowhere. However, on SpongeBob's part, his arrest was for playing the sitar without a license.
SpongeBob also feels the need to impress Mr. Krabs and to protect the Krusty Krab and the Krabby Patty secret formula at all costs. In "Call the Cops," SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs impersonate police officers in hopes of retrieving the secret formula. He also likes to impress his boating teacher, Mrs. Puff, despite his reckless driving. Beginning with "Boating School," an ongoing plot point is SpongeBob failing his driver's test due to his inability to drive safely. His poor driving skills have caused him to run over pedestrians, rapidly switch lanes, drive on the sidewalk, crashing into buildings and property, harm his passengers, and lastly damage his vehicle. Despite all the damage he causes, SpongeBob is never arrested or charged for his dangerous driving; instead, Mrs. Puff is, who the authorities believe is failing to educate him.
These actions can often lead to SpongeBob entering by trespassing. SpongeBob and Patrick have a frequent tendency to enter Squidward's house without his consent, which reaches its epitome in "Good Neighbors" and becomes a plot point of the said episode. Additionally, in "Survival of the Idiots," he and Patrick invade Sandy's treedome during the winter with little regard to the "Keep Out" sign on her door. In "The Thing," after getting caught by the SWAT Team, SpongeBob and Patrick hide from them by trespassing into the sewers. SpongeBob also invades the sewers with Squidward in "The Sewers of Bikini Bottom," although they did it to retrieve the safe, so this can be justified. In "Toy Store of Doom," SpongeBob and Patrick stay in Toy Barrel past its open hours and hide in a dollhouse so as not to be caught by the security guard.
SpongeBob's personality trait of wanting to impress others and achieve his goals has to lead to him having a history. However, due to his naïvety and gullibility, a lot of these crimes have been committed unintentionally or through the manipulation of others, mainly Squidward, Plankton, Karen, or Mr. Krabs. He has been arrested a total of seven times: for "stealing" a balloon in "Life of Crime," attempting to rob a bank in "Doing Time," failing to invite the police to his party in "Party Pooper Pants," littering Patrick's driver's license in "Driven to Tears," playing sitar without a license in "SpongeBob's Last Stand," falsely accused public disturbance in "Cave Dwelling Sponge," and unintentionally terrorizing a majority of Bubbletown in the episode of the same name.
SpongeBob's innocence also makes him overly trusting and very gullible, easily manipulated by people who intend to use and/or harm him, such as Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton, and he is clumsy. In "Walking Small," SpongeBob assists Plankton in driving the attendants at Goo Lagoon away to make an unauthorized development to its property. However, this was done out of manipulation, and SpongeBob regrets his actions after learning Plankton's motive, therefore returning the beach to its previous state. In "Sandy's Rocket," SpongeBob and Patrick go around capturing everyone in Bikini Bottom and trapping them in the spaceship, believing that the entire population is formed of aliens.
Even though he is generally good-natured and easygoing, SpongeBob can get angered easily. When frustrated and angered, SpongeBob can be sarcastic, rude, and condescending to his friends, even Mr. Krabs, whom he treats as a father figure. Squidward is the only character whom SpongeBob never insults when he is angry, except for the episodes "Can You Spare a Dime?" and "Breath of Fresh Squidward."
In "Hooky," SpongeBob is encouraged by Patrick to ditch work during his shift, which causes the unsupervised grill to produce mass amounts of smoke. In "Hall Monitor," he lets his rank of hall monitor go to his head and becomes known as the maniac for his destruction of the city before receiving a scolding from his teacher who was arrested for it. During "Ditchin'," SpongeBob ditches boating school to attend the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy meet and greet, which affects his driver's education and eventually gets Mrs. Puff arrested. He believed King Neptune's trident was his spatula and decided to help all of Bikini Bottom when he was destroying the town after going mad with power in "Trident Trouble." Even Santa stated in Goons on the Moon, that he is a menace despite his good nature.
Despite his overall kindness, SpongeBob occasionally shows a lack of empathy for others and forces people into situations against their will. In the episode "Rodeo Daze," he kidnaps the Bikini Bottomites with bubbles in persuasion for them to save from a rodeo. Additionally, in the episode "A SquarePants Family Vacation," he sends his friends letters promising that everything they love will be at his house, only for it to be a hoax and a plea for them to view his slideshow.
Although SpongeBob has several friends, and many of the citizens of Bikini Bottom often treat him quite friendly, most, if not all, citizens of the city have been shown to have some degree of dislike for him. In the episode "Gone," it is shown that a holiday called "National No SpongeBob Day" has been started by the citizens of Bikini Bottom. As its name suggests, it is an entire day dedicated to getting away from SpongeBob, where the people leave Bikini Bottom for the day. Even goes, stating that everyone needs at least one day away from SpongeBob's laughter. In the ceremony, they build a giant wooden effigy of SpongeBob, burn it down, dance on the ashes, and depart Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob is more honored than insulted by this, as he was the "inspiration" for the holiday.
SpongeBob is a yellow sea sponge with olive green holes. He wears brown pants, a white polo shirt, red necktie, white knee-high socks with red and blue stripes, and black leather shoes. He also has light blue eyes, with 3 eyelashes on each one, rosy cheeks with three freckles on each one, and a pink chin. His underwear consists of white cotton low-rise briefs.
- Patrick Star - SpongeBob has been best friends with Patrick for as long as he can remember. Even though Patrick is dim-witted, SpongeBob looks at him as a genius. Patrick lives under a rock two houses away from SpongeBob. The pair love jellyfishing, bubble-blowing, playing childish games. However, neither one notices the fact that they are incredibly naive, and both are optimists.
- Sandy Cheeks - Sandy and SpongeBob became friends upon their first meeting. They like to practice karate together as well as hang out in Goo Lagoon. Sandy often looks at SpongeBob as immature, but laughs at his brand of humor. In "Truth or Square", SpongeBob revealed that they once starred in a play with each other, pretending to marry each other.
- Pearl Krabs - Pearl is another one of SpongeBob's good friends. They have ended up in romantic situations (like going to prom and going on a love-themed ride together), but the two are just friends. Pearl thinks SpongeBob is stylish, fashionable and very helpful (even with dull tasks like helping her get rid of barnacles).
- Squidward Tentacles - SpongeBob is always under the impression that Squidward and he are great friends, but Squidward thinks otherwise. He has even stated to SpongeBob (directly) that he hates him, but SpongeBob never takes him seriously. He and Patrick also love to play with him, but always end up making "every 11 minutes of his life" (which is how long an episode segment is) filled with misery.
- Eugene Krabs - Mr. Krabs is SpongeBob's boss and fatherly figure, carrying with him tales of the sea and warnings. Occasionally, SpongeBob has gotten in trouble with him, but Mr. Krabs is proud of him nevertheless.
- Mrs. Puff - SpongeBob idolizes Mrs. Puff as a teacher and she frequently acts as a motherly figure to him. SpongeBob longs to be Mrs. Puff's best student, trying his hardest to gain "Good Noodle" stars and ace every oral exam. Unfortunately, his helplessness behind the wheel can leave Mrs. Puff exasperated.
- Sheldon Plankton - Plankton and SpongeBob were enemies in the older seasons and SpongeBob usually defeats his plans for stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula. In the newer episodes, after SpongeBob helped him into finding Spot and saving Karen, they are friends and at the same time business rivals.
- Karen Plankton - Initially Karen saw SpongeBob as an enemy, and she advised Plankton to use him to get the secret formula. However, SpongeBob has teamed up with her on occasion, most notably in "Frozen Face-Off" and the second film and they gave currently a more positive relationship after he saved her life from a virus.
- Gary the Snail - Gary is SpongeBob's cherished pet. SpongeBob has owned Gary ever since he was a young boy living with his parents.
Songs sung by SpongeBob
From the show
- "Ripped Pants" (voiced by Peter Strauss)
- "F.U.N. Song"
- "Sweet Victory" (voiced by David Glen Eisley)
- "Campfire Song Song"
- "If Only I Could Join You"
- "He's Flying"
- "All You Need Is Friends"
- "Oh Baby"
- "Down The Well"
- "The Bubble Song"
- "Fueling The Bus"
- "Good-Bye, Atlantis"
- "Attitude of Gratitude"
- "A Day Like This"
- "Oh Krusty Krab"
- "Santa Has His Eye On Me"
- "Don't Be A Jerk (It's Christmas)"
- "It's High Tide Time We Went On Tour"
- "Never Give Up"
- "Who Am I?"
From the movies
- "Goofy Goober Song"
- "Now That We're Men"
- "Goofy Goober Rock" (voiced by Jim Wise)
- "The Best Day Ever"
- "Thank Gosh It's Monday"
From SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical
- "Bikini Bottom Day"
- "No Control"
- "When the Going Gets Tough"
- "Just a Simple Sponge"
- "Hero Is My Middle Name"
- "Tomorrow Is"
- "Chop to the Top"
- "(I Guess I) Miss You"
- SpongeBob is one of the only two characters who is playable in every installment of the Nicktoons Unite! video games (the other being Danny Fenton).
- In 2002, SpongeBob was ranked #9 in Template:W's Top 50 Greatest Cartoon Characters list (which also included Angelica Pickles at #7 and Ren and Stimpy at #31). He was notably the most recent character featured on the list at the time of its publication.
- In the Welcome to the Wayne episode "Like No Market on Earth", SpongeBob briefly appears as one of Equimorph's transformations, referred to as "SpongeRobert RectangleShorts".
- According to Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob is asexual, meaning he has no sexual desire, though he could fall in love.
- He is left-handed.
- SpongeBob's star sign is Cancer♋.
- At the beginning of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, SpongeBob says that he has been named Employee of the Month 374 times in a row. This would mean that, by the time of the movie's events, he had been working at the Krusty Krab for over 31 years.
- However, the episode "Breath of Fresh Squidward" has Squidward actually being named Employee of the Month and breaking SpongeBob's winning streak.