Spongebob Essay Episode Script

For the titular character, see SpongeBob SquarePants (character).

SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series created by marine biologist and animatorStephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series chronicles the adventures and endeavors of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The series' popularity has made it a media franchise, as well as the highest rated series to ever air on Nickelodeon, and the most distributed property of MTV Networks. As of late 2017, the media franchise has generated $13 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon.[2]

Many of the ideas for the series originated in an unpublished educational comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which Hillenburg created in 1989.[3] He began developing SpongeBob SquarePants into a television series in 1996 upon the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life, and turned to Tom Kenny, who had worked with him on that series, to voice the title character. SpongeBob was originally going to be named SpongeBoy, and the series was to be called SpongeBoy Ahoy!, but both of these were changed, as the name was already trademarked.

Nickelodeon held a preview for the series in the United States on May 1, 1999, following the television airing of the 1999 Kids' Choice Awards. The series officially premiered on July 17, 1999. It has received worldwide critical acclaim since its premiere and gained enormous popularity by its second season. A feature film, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, was released in theaters on November 19, 2004, and a sequel was released on February 6, 2015. On June 24, 2017, the series began airing its eleventh season with the episodes 'The Check-Up/Spot Returns.' In May 2017, the show was announced to be renewed for a 12th season.

The series has won a variety of awards, including six Annie Awards, eight Golden Reel Awards, two Emmy Awards, 12 Kids' Choice Awards, and two BAFTA Children's Awards. Despite its widespread popularity, the series has been involved in several public controversies, including one centered on speculation over SpongeBob's intended sexual orientation. In 2011, a newly described species of fungi, Spongiforma squarepantsii, was named after the cartoon's title character.



Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants characters

The series revolves around its title character and his various friends. SpongeBob SquarePants is an energetic and optimistic sea sponge (although his appearance more closely resembles a kitchen sponge) who lives in a submerged pineapple and loves his job as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. He has a pet snail, Gary, who meows like a cat. Living two houses down from SpongeBob is his best friend Patrick Star, a dim-witted yet friendly pink starfish who lives under a rock. Despite his mental setbacks, Patrick still sees himself as intelligent.[4]Squidward Tentacles is SpongeBob's next-door neighbor and co-worker at the Krusty Krab.[5] Squidward is an arrogant and ill-tempered octopus who lives in an Easter Island moai and dislikes his neighbors (especially SpongeBob and Patrick) due to their childish nature. He enjoys playing the clarinet and painting self-portraits, but hates his job as a cashier.

Another close friend of SpongeBob is Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel from Texas.[6] She is a scientist and an expert in karate.[7][8] She lives in an oak tree entrapped in a clear glass dome locked by an airtight, hand-turned seal. When outside of her dwelling, she wears an astronaut-like suit because she cannot breathe underwater.[5]Mr. Krabs, a miserly crab obsessed with money, is the owner of the Krusty Krab restaurant and SpongeBob's boss.[5] Krabs has a teenage whale daughter named Pearl, whom he values equally with his riches. His rival, Plankton, is a small green copepod who owns a low-rank fast-food restaurant called the Chum Bucket, located across the street from the Krusty Krab.[10] Plankton spends most of his time planning to steal the secret recipe for Mr. Krabs's popular Krabby Patty burgers, so as to gain the upper hand and put the Krusty Krab out of business.[11] The majority of Plankton's plans come from his intelligent yet sarcastic computer wife Karen, who is more competent and less conceited than him. When SpongeBob is not working at the Krusty Krab, he can often be found at Mrs. Puff's boating school (the underwater equivalent of a driver's education course). SpongeBob is perpetually unable to pass Mrs. Puff's exams, which is why he almost always walks around town.[12]

Other recurring characters appear throughout the series, such as the muscular lifeguard of Goo Lagoon, Larry the Lobster; a pirate specter known as the Flying Dutchman; and retired superheroes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, who are idolized by SpongeBob and Patrick. Most double-length episodes of the show are hosted by a live action pirate named Patchy and his pet parrot Potty, whose segments are presented in a dual narrative with the animated stories.[13]


The series predominantly takes place in the benthic underwater city of Bikini Bottom which, according to some third-party sources, is located in the Pacific Ocean beneath the real-life coral reef known as Bikini Atoll.[14][15] In 2015, Tom Kenny confirmed that the fictitious city was named after Bikini Atoll, but denied an Internet fan theory that connected the series' characters to actual nuclear testing that occurred in the atoll.[importance?][16]

The citizens of Bikini Bottom are mainly anthropomorphic sea creatures such as fish, crabs, lobsters, squids, octopuses, whales, starfish, sharks, sea sponges, eels, shrimp, and plankton, while other marine animals such as jellyfish, clams, seahorses, sea snails, worms, and manatees are not human-like and are presented as pets or wildlife. The citizens live in mostly aquatic-themed buildings and use "boatmobiles", amalgamations of cars and boats, as a mode of transportation. Recurring establishments present in Bikini Bottom include two competing restaurants, the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket; Mrs. Puff's Boating School; and Shady Shoals Rest Home. Goo Lagoon, a popular beach hangout, is within the vicinity of the city, as is Jellyfish Fields.

When the crew began production on the pilot, they were tasked with designing the stock locations where "the show would return to again and again, and in which most of the action would take place, such as the Krusty Krab and SpongeBob's pineapple house".[17] The idea for the series was "to keep everything nautical", so the crew used a great amount of rope, wooden planks, ships' wheels, netting, anchors, boilerplates, and rivets in creating the show's setting. Bubbles filing up the screen is also a nautical technique used to transition from scene to scene.[17]

The series features "sky flowers" as a main setting material.[17] They first appeared in the pilot and have since become a common feature throughout the series.[17] When series background designer Kenny Pittenger was asked what they were, he answered, "They function as clouds in a way, but since the show takes place underwater, they aren't really clouds. Because of the tiki influence on the show, the background painters use a lot of pattern."[17] Pittenger said that the sky flowers were meant to "evoke the look of a flower-print Hawaiian shirt".[17]



Early inspirations

Series creator Stephen Hillenburg first became fascinated with the ocean as a child. He also began developing his artistic abilities at a young age. Although these two interests would not overlap with each other for a long time—the idea of drawing fish seemed boring to him—Hillenburg pursued both during college, receiving a major in marine biology and a minor 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.[18][19]

While Hillenburg was there, his love of the ocean began to influence his artistry. He created a precursor to SpongeBob SquarePants: a comic book titled The Intertidal Zone, which was used by the institute to teach visiting students about the animal life of tide pools.[19] The comic starred various anthropomorphic sea lifeforms, many of which would evolve into SpongeBob SquarePants characters. Hillenburg tried to get the comic professionally published, but none of the companies that he sent it to were interested.[19]


While working as a staff artist at the Ocean Institute, Hillenburg entertained plans of eventually returning to college for a master's degree in art. Before this could materialize, he attended an animation festival, which inspired him to make a slight change in course. Instead of continuing his education with a traditional art program, Hillenburg chose to study experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts.[19] His thesis film, Wormholes, is about the theory of relativity.[21] It was screened at festivals, and at one of these, Hillenburg met Joe Murray, creator of the popular Nickelodeon animated series, Rocko's Modern Life. Murray was impressed by the style of the film and offered Hillenburg a job.[21][22] Hillenburg joined the series as a director and later, during the fourth season, he took on the roles of producer and creative director.[21][22][23]

Martin Olson, one of the writers for Rocko's Modern Life, read The Intertidal Zone and encouraged Hillenburg to create a television series with a similar concept. At that point, Hillenburg had not even considered creating his own series. However, he realized that if he ever did, this would be the best approach.[19][21] He began to further develop some of the characters from The Intertidal Zone, including the comic's "announcer", Bob the Sponge.[19] He wanted his series to stand out from most popular cartoons of the time, which he felt were exemplified by buddy comedies such as The Ren & Stimpy Show. As a result, Hillenburg decided to focus on one main character: the weirdest sea creature that he could think of. This led him to the sponge.[19]The Intertidal Zone's Bob the Sponge resembles an actual sea sponge, and at first, Hillenburg continued to utilize this design.[19][21][22] In determining the new character's personality, Hillenburg drew inspiration from innocent, childlike figures that he enjoyed, such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis, and Pee-wee Herman.[19][22][27][28] He then considered modeling the character after a kitchen sponge and realized that this idea would perfectly match the character's square personality.[19][21][22]

To voice the central character of the series, Hillenburg turned to Tom Kenny, whose career in animation had started alongside Hillenburg's on Rocko's Modern Life. Elements of Kenny's own personality were employed in further developing the character.[29][30] Initially, Hillenburg wanted to use the name SpongeBoy — the character would have had no last name, and the series would have been called SpongeBoy Ahoy![30] However, the Nickelodeon legal department discovered — after voice acting had been completed for the original seven-minute pilot episode — that the name "SpongeBoy" was already in use for a mop product.[30] A character of the same name was also already trademarked by Flaming Carrot Comics creator Bob Burden.[31] In choosing a replacement name, Hillenburg felt that he still had to use the word "Sponge", so that viewers would not mistake the character for a "Cheese Man". He settled on the name "SpongeBob". "SquarePants" was then chosen as a family name after Kenny saw a picture of the character and remarked, "Boy, look at this sponge in square pants, thinking he can get a job in a fast food place." Hillenburg loved the phrase upon hearing Kenny say it and felt that it would reinforce the character's nerdiness.

Assembling the crew

Derek Drymon, who served as creative director for the first three seasons, has said that Hillenburg wanted to surround himself with a "team of young and hungry people".[27] Many of the major contributors to SpongeBob SquarePants had previously worked with Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life: this included Drymon, art directorNick Jennings, supervising directorAlan Smart, writer / voice actor Doug Lawrence (often credited as Mr. Lawrence), and Tim Hill, who helped develop the series bible.[27][28]

Although Drymon had a significant influence on SpongeBob SquarePants, he was not initially offered a role on the series. As a late recruit to Rocko's Modern Life, he had not established much of a relationship with Hillenburg before SpongeBob's conception. Hillenburg first sought out Drymon's storyboard partner, Mark O'Hare - but O'Hare had just created the soon-to-be syndicated comic strip, Citizen Dog,[27] and while he would later join SpongeBob as a writer,[33] lacked the time to get involved with both projects at the outset.[27] Drymon has said, "I remember Hillenburg's bringing it up to Mark in our office and asking him if he'd be interested in working on it...I was all ready to say yes to the offer, but Steve didn't ask; he just left the room. I was pretty desperate...so I ran into the hall after him and basically begged him for the job. He didn't jump at the chance."[27] Once Hillenburg had given it some thought and decided to bring Drymon on as creative director, the two began meeting at Hillenburg's house multiple times a week to develop the series. Drymon has identified this period as having begun in 1996, shortly after the end of Rocko's Modern Life.[27]

Jennings was also instrumental in SpongeBob's genesis.[34] Kenny has called him "one of SpongeBob's early graphics mentors".[28] On weekends, Kenny joined Hillenburg, Jennings, and Drymon for creative sessions, in which they captured ideas on a tape recorder.[28] Kenny performed audio tests as SpongeBob during these sessions, while Hillenburg enacted voices for the other characters.[28]

Hill contributed scripts for several first-season episodes (including the pilot)[35][36][37][38] and was offered the role of story editor, but turned it down - he would go on to pursue a career as a family film director.[39][40] In his stead, Pete Burns was brought in for the job. Burns hailed from Chicago and had never met any of the principal players on SpongeBob before joining the team.[27]


"The execs from Nickelodeon flew out to Burbank, and we pitched it to them from the storyboards. We had squeezy toys, wore Hawaiian shirts and used a boom box to play the Tiny Tim song ['Livin' in the Sunlight, Lovin' in the Moonlight'] that comes on in the third act. We really went all out in that pitch because we knew the pilot lived or died by if the execs laughed. When it was over, they walked out of the room to discuss it. We figured they would fly back to New York and we'd hear in a few weeks. We were surprised when they came back in what seemed like minutes and said they wanted to make it".

— Derek Drymon[27]

In 1997, while pitching the cartoon to Nickelodeon executives, Hillenburg donned a Hawaiian shirt, brought along an "underwater terrarium with models of the characters", and played Hawaiian music to set the theme. The setup was described by Nickelodeon executive Eric Coleman as "pretty amazing".[21] When they were given money and two weeks to write the pilot episode "Help Wanted",[21] Derek Drymon, Stephen Hillenburg, and Nick Jennings returned with what was described by Nickelodeon official Albie Hecht as, "a performance [he] wished [he] had on tape".[21] Although executive producer Derek Drymon described the pitch as stressful, he said it went "very well".[21]Kevin Kay and Hecht had to step outside because they were "exhausted from laughing", which worried the cartoonists.[21]

In an interview, Cyma Zarghami, the current president of Nickelodeon, said, "their [Nickelodeon executives'] immediate reaction was to see it again, both because they liked it and it was unlike anything they'd ever seen before".[41] Zarghami was one of four executives in the room when SpongeBob SquarePants was screened for the first time.[41]

Executive producers and showrunners

"It reached a point where I felt I'd contributed a lot and said what I wanted to say. At that point, the show needed new blood, and so I selected Paul [Tibbitt] to produce. I totally trusted him. I always enjoyed the way he captured the SpongeBob character's sense of humor. And as a writer, you have to move on—I'm developing new projects".

—Stephen Hillenburg, The Washington Post[42]

Series creator Stephen Hillenburg has served as the executive producer over the course of the series' entire history and functioned as the showrunner from the series' debut in 1999 until 2004. The series went on hiatus in 2002, after Hillenburg halted production to work on a feature film of the series, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.[31] Once the film was finalized and the third season finished, Hillenburg resigned as the series' showrunner. Although he no longer has a direct role in the production of the series, he still maintains an advisory role and reviews each episode.[41][43]

When the film was completed, Hillenburg intended it to be the series finale, "so [the show] wouldn't jump the shark." However, Nickelodeon wanted more episodes,[44] so Hillenburg appointed Paul Tibbitt, who previously served on the show as a writer, director, and storyboard artist, to take over his role as showrunner and produce further seasons.[45] Hillenburg considered Tibbitt one of his favorite members of the show's crew,[46] and "totally trusted him".[42]

On December 13, 2014, it was announced that Hillenburg would return to the series in an unspecified position.[47].

As of Season 9, Former writers and storyboard directors Vincent Waller and Marc Ceccarelli are the current Supervising Producers/Showrunners.


According to writer Luke Brookshier, "SpongeBob is written differently than many television shows".[48] Initial storylines are created by a team of five outline and premise writers. A two-page outline is then developed by storyboard artists into a full episode — jokes and dialogue are added during this stage.[31][48] Unlike most of its contemporaries, SpongeBob SquarePants does not use written scripts.[48][49] Brookshier has likened this storyboarding process to how cartoons were made "in the early days of animation."[48]

The decision to eschew scripts for storyboards is one that Hillenburg made early on in the series' development.[31]Rocko's Modern Life had also used storyboarding, and having worked on that series, Hillenburg felt strongly about adopting the process for SpongeBob SquarePants — even though Nickelodeon was beginning to show a greater preference for script-driven cartoons.[27][50] Another writer for the series, Merriwether Williams, described in an interview that she and Mr. Lawrence would write a draft for an episode in an afternoon and be done at 4 o'clock.[51]

The writing staff often used their individual life experiences for inspirations to come up with the storylines of the series' episodes.[27][42] For example, the episode "Sailor Mouth", in which SpongeBob and Patrick learn profanity,[42] was inspired by creative director Derek Drymon's experience of getting in trouble as a child for using the f-word in front of his mother.[27] Drymon said, "The scene where Patrick is running to Mr. Krabs to tattle, with SpongeBob chasing him, is pretty much how it happened in real life".[27] The end of the episode, in which Mr. Krabs uses even more profanity than SpongeBob and Patrick, was inspired "by the fact that my [Drymon's] mother has a sailor mouth herself".[27] The idea for the episode "The Secret Box" also came from one of Drymon's childhood experiences.[42][51] Hillenburg explained, "Drymon had a secret box [as a kid] and started telling us about it. We wanted to make fun of him and use it."[42]

Almost every episode is divided into two 11-minute segments. Hillenburg explained that "[I] never really wanted to deliberately try to write a half-hour show".[42] He added, "I wrote the shows to where they felt right".[42] Each 11-minute segment takes about five months to produce.[52][53]

Voice actors

Further information: List of SpongeBob SquarePants cast members and List of SpongeBob SquarePants guest stars

"Steve described SpongeBob to me as childlike and naïve. He's not quite an adult, he's not quite a kid. Think a Stan Laurel, Jerry Lewis kind of child-man. Kind of like a Munchkin but not quite, kind of like a kid, but not in a Charlie Brown child's voice on the TV shows".

— Tom Kenny[28]

SpongeBob SquarePants features the voices of Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Mr. Lawrence, Jill Talley, Carolyn Lawrence, Mary Jo Catlett, and Lori Alan. Most one-off and background characters are voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, Sirena Irwin, Bob Joles, Mark Fite and Thomas F. Wilson.

Kenny voices SpongeBob SquarePants and a variety of other characters, including SpongeBob's pet snail Gary and the French narrator. He also physically portrays Patchy the Pirate in live-action segments of most special episodes. Kenny previously worked with Stephen Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life and, when Hillenburg created SpongeBob SquarePants, he approached Kenny to voice the main character.[54] Kenny originally used the voice of SpongeBob for a minor character on Rocko.[30] He forgot how to perform the voice initially and did not intend to use it afterward. Hillenburg, however, used a video clip of the episode to remind Kenny of the voice.[30] When Hillenburg heard Kenny perform the voice, he immediately knew he wanted it for his character. He said to Nickelodeon executives, "That's it—I don't want to hear anybody else do the voice. We've got SpongeBob."[28] The network insisted on auditioning more actors, but Hillenburg turned them down; in the words of Tom Kenny, "one of the advantages of having a strong creator is that the creator can say, 'No, I like that—I don't care about celebrities.'"[28] While Kenny was developing SpongeBob's voice, the show's casting crew wanted him to have a unique, high-pitched laugh in the tradition of Popeye and Woody Woodpecker.[55]

Fagerbakke voices Patrick Star[56] and other miscellaneous characters. At the same time when Hillenburg, Derek Drymon, and Tim Hill were writing the pilot "Help Wanted", Hillenburg was also conducting auditions to find voices for the characters.[27] Fagerbakke auditioned for the role of Patrick after Kenny had been cast.[57] Fagerbakke recalled that during his audition for the role of Patrick, "Hillenburg actually played for me a portion of Tom [Kenny]'s performance [as SpongeBob], and they were looking for a counterpoint."[57] In an interview, Fagerbakke compared himself to the character and said, "It's extremely gratifying".[58] Fagerbakke modeled his performance whenever Patrick is angry after that of American actress Shelley Winters.

Squidward Tentacles is voiced by Rodger Bumpass, who describes Squidward as "a very nasally, monotone kind of guy." He said that the character "became a very interesting character to do" because of "his sarcasm, and then his frustration, and then his apoplexy, and so he became a wide spectrum of emotions".[60] Arthur Brown, author of Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Cartoons!, has compared Squidward's voice to that of Jack Benny's,[5] a similarity Bumpass says is mostly unintentional.[60] Voice acting veteran Clancy Brown voices Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob's boss at the Krusty Krab. Hillenburg modeled Mr. Krabs after his former manager at a seafood restaurant, whose strong Maine accent reminded Hillenburg of a pirate.[61] For the character, Brown decided to use a "piratey" voice with "a little Scottish brogue" after hearing Hillenburg's description of his boss. According to Brown, his Mr. Krabs voice was mostly improvised during his audition and it was not challenging for him to find the correct voice.

Mr. Lawrence had met Hillenburg previously on Rocko's Modern Life. When working on the pilot episode of SpongeBob, Hillenburg invited him to audition for all of the characters.[63] Since other voices had been found for the main cast already, Lawrence started out by voicing a variety of minor characters. This included Plankton, who was initially only set to appear in one episode.[63][27] Mr. Lawrence recalls that Nickelodeon executives told Hillenburg, "'we could stunt-cast this. You know, we could have Bruce Willis do this voice.' And Steve was just like, 'it's Doug [Lawrence], don't you hear it? This is the character! This is the guy!'"[63] Jill Talley, Tom Kenny's wife, voices Karen Plankton.[64] Being a Chicago native, she uses a Midwestern accent for the character.[65] Electronic sound effects are underlaid by the series' audio engineers to create a robotic sound whenever she speaks.[66] Talley and Mr. Lawrence often improvise Plankton and Karen's dialogue. Lawrence called improvisation his "favorite part of the voice over" in 2009.[67] He elaborated in a 2012 interview, saying, "I always enjoy the back-and-forth. [Talley and I] start to actually overlap so much talking to each other that [the voice directors] have to tell us, 'hey, stop doing that, separate what you're saying!'"[63]

Carolyn Lawrence voices Sandy Cheeks. When Lawrence was on a sidewalk in Los Feliz, Los Angeles with a friend who knew SpongeBob SquarePants casting director Donna Grillo, her friend said to Grillo that Lawrence had "an interesting voice". Grillo invited Lawrence to audition and she got the role.[68][69] Mrs. Puff's voice is provided by American actress Mary Jo Catlett,[70] who is known for her live-action roles on television programs from the 1970s such as Diff'rent Strokes and M*A*S*H.[65] As of 2017, voicing Mrs. Puff has become her only remaining regular television role; Catlett described herself as "basically retired" in 2013, since she feels that voicing Mrs. Puff requires less preparation than her performances in person.[71] Lori Alan voices Pearl Krabs.[72] During her audition for the role, Alan was shown an early drawing of the characters and took note of how Pearl was much larger than the rest of the cast. She decided to reflect the character's size in her voice by making it deep and full in tone. She aimed to make Pearl's voice invoke the sound of whales’ low vocalizations while also sounding "spoiled and lovable."[73] In an interview with AfterBuzz TV, Alan said that she knew Pearl "had to sound somewhat like a child," but needed "an abnormally large voice."[74]

In addition to the regular cast, episodes feature guest voices from many ranges of professions, including actors, athletes, authors, musicians, and artists. Recurring guest voices include: Ernest Borgnine, who voiced Mermaid Man from 1999 until his death in 2012;[75]Tim Conway as the voice of Barnacle Boy;[76]Brian Doyle-Murray as the Flying Dutchman;[77] and Marion Ross as Grandma SquarePants.[78] Notable guests who have provided vocal cameo appearances includes David Bowie as Lord Royal Highness in the television film Atlantis SquarePantis,[79][80]John Goodman as the voice of Santa in the episode "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!", Johnny Depp as the voice of the surf guru, Jack Kahuna Laguna, in the episode "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One",[81] and Victoria Beckham as the voice of Queen Amphitrite in the episode "The Clash of Triton".[82][83]

Voice recording sessions always include a full cast of actors, which Kenny describes as "getting more unusual".[28] Kenny said, "That's another thing that's given SpongeBob its special feel. Everybody's in the same room, doing it old radio-show style. It's how the stuff we like was recorded".[28] Series writer Jay Lender said, "The recording sessions were always fun ..."[84] For the first three seasons, Hillenburg and Drymon sat in on the record studio, and they directed the actors.[85]Andrea Romano became the voice director in the fourth season,[85] and Tom Kenny took over the role during the ninth.[86] Wednesday is recording day, the same schedule followed by the crew since 1999.[85] Casting supervisor Jennie Monica Hammond said, "I loved Wednesdays".[85]


Approximately 50 people work together in animating and producing an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants.[48] Throughout its run, production of the series has been handled domestically at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California, while the finished animation has been created overseas at Rough Draft Studios in South Korea.[42][87] Storyboarding for each episode is done by the crew in California. The storyboards are then used as templates by the crew in Korea,[42] who animate by hand, color cels on computers, and paint backgrounds. Episodes are finished in California, where they are edited and have music added.[48] Every season, character designs are updated or modified to solve technical issues in the animation.[88]

During the first season, the series used cel animation.[45] A shift was made the following year to digital ink and paint animation.[45] In 2009, executive producer Paul Tibbitt said "The first season of SpongeBob was done the old-fashioned way on cells, and every cell had to be part-painted, left to dry, paint some other colours. It's still a time-consuming aspect of the process now, but the digital way of doing things means it doesn't take long to correct".[45]

In 2008, the crew shifted to using Wacom Cintiqs for the drawings instead of pencils. The fifth season episode "Pest of the West" was the first episode in the series to which the crew applied this method. Series background designer Kenny Pittenger said, "The only real difference between the way we draw now and the way we drew then is that we abandoned pencil and paper during the fifth season".[17] The crew began the shift while they were working on the episode. Pittenger said, "It was while we were working on 'Pest of the West', one of the half-hour specials, that we made the switch ... did you notice?"[17] The shift to Wacom Cintiqs let the designers and animators draw on computer screens and make immediate changes or undo mistakes. Pittenger said, "Many neo-Luddites—er ... I mean, many of my cohorts—don't like working on them, but I find them useful. There's no substitute for the immediacy of drawing on a piece of paper, of course, but digital nautical nonsense is still pretty fun".[17]

Since 2004, the SpongeBob crew has periodically collaborated with the LA-based animation studio Screen Novelties to create stop-motion sequences for special episodes. The studio produced a brief claymation scene for the climax of the first theatrical film[89] and was re-enlisted in 2009 to create an exclusive opening for the series' tenth anniversary special.[90] The abominable snow mollusk, an octopus-like creature made of clay who acts as the antagonist of the double-length episode "Frozen Face-Off," was also animated by the company.[92]Animation World Network reported that "within the SpongeBob creative team, there was always talk of doing a more involved project together" with Screen Novelties.[92] As a result, the group was asked to create an episode animated entirely in stop motion in 2011. This project became "It's a SpongeBob Christmas!”,[93] which reimagined the show's characters as if they were part of a Rankin/Bass holiday film.[94] Tom Kenny, who is not normally involved in the writing process, contributed to the episode's plot; he said in 2012 that he and Nickelodeon "wanted to do something just like those old school, stop-motion Rankin-Bass holiday specials...which I watched over and over again when I was a kid growing up in Syracuse."[89] Unconventional materials such as baking soda, glitter, wood chips and breakfast cereal were used in mass quantities to create the special's sets.[95] Members of the Screen Novelties crew received one win and two nominations at the 30th Annie Awards,[96] a nomination at the 2013 Golden Reel Awards,[97] and a nomination at the 2013 Annecy International Animated Film Festival for animating the episode.[98] The team built a dolphin puppet named Bubbles, voiced by Matt Berry, for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.[99] Sequences involving Bubbles included a blend of stop motion and traditional animation. A second special animated in stop motion, themed around Halloween and using the same Rankin/Bass-inspired character models, is currently being produced for season 11.[100][101]


"[The music has gone] from mostly sea shanties and Hawaiian music à la Roy Smeck meets Pee-wee Herman—still the main style for the show—in the early episodes, but it now includes film noir, West Side Story to [Henry] Mancini, Jerry Goldsmith and [Steven] Spielberg. There's Broadway-type scores and plain old goofy, loopy, weird stuff. I try to push the envelope on this show without getting in the way of the story, and I try to push it up and way over the top when I can get away with it, all the time keeping it as funny and ridiculous as possible."

—Music editor Nicolas Carr[102]

The theme song was composed by Mark Harrison and Blaise Smith,[103] while the lyrics to the song were written by series creator Stephen Hillenburg and the series' original creative director Derek Drymon. The melody was inspired by the sea shanty "Blow the Man Down".[22] An old oil painting of a pirate is used in the opening sequence. It has been dubbed "Painty the Pirate", and according to Tom Kenny, Hillenburg found it in a thrift shop "years ago".[30]Patrick Pinney gives voice to Painty the Pirate, singing the theme song as the character.[22] Hillenburg's lips were imposed onto the painting and move along with the lyrics.[30] Kenny joked that this is "about as close of a glimpse as most SpongeBob fans are ever going to get of Steve Hillenburg", because of Hillenburg's private nature.[22]

A cover of the song by Avril Lavigne can be found on the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie soundtrack.[104][105] Another cover by the Violent Femmes aired on Nickelodeon as a promotion for the series moving to prime time.[106]

Steve Belfer, one of Hillenburg's friends from CalArts, wrote and performed the music that is played over the end credits.[27] This theme includes ukulele music, per Hillenburg's request.[27] Drymon said, "It's so long ago, it's hard to be sure, but I remember Hillenburg having the Belfer music early on, maybe before the pilot".[27]

The series' music editor and main composer is Nicolas Carr.[102] After working with Hillenburg on Rocko's Modern Life, Carr struggled to find a new job in his field. He had been considering a career change when Hillenburg offered him the job. The first season's score primarily featured selections from the Associated Production Music Library, which Carr has said includes "lots of great old corny Hawaiian music and big, full, dramatic orchestral scores."[102]Rocko's Modern Life also used music from this library. It was Hillenburg's decision to adopt the approach. The selections for SpongeBob SquarePants have been described by Carr as being "more over-the-top" than those for Rocko's Modern Life.[102]

Hillenburg also felt that it was important for the series to develop its own music library, consisting of scores that could be reused and re-edited throughout the years. He wanted these scores to be composed by unknowns, and a group of twelve was assembled. They formed "The Sponge Divers Orchestra", which includes Carr and Belfer. This group went on to provide the majority of the music for later seasons, although Carr still draws from the Associated Production Music Library, as well as another library that he founded himself — Animation Music Inc.[102]



Main article: List of SpongeBob SquarePants episodes

Bikini Atoll, a coral reef in the Pacific Ocean. Some have named this as the real-world location of Bikini Bottom.

From SpongePedia, the First SpongeBob Wiki.

Episode Article: The Bully



(at Mrs. Puff's Boating School, SpongeBob is arranging his pencils on his desk)

SpongeBob: Excuse me, miss?

Nancy: I don't want to have to report you again.

SpongeBob: (laughs) I was just wondering... (points to the 'Homework' pencil while the other two pencils say 'Quiz' and 'Essay') ...is it the Homework Pencil on the left side of the paper next to the quiz pencil, or over on the right side all by itself? Or...

Nancy: I think it goes stuck inside your--

SpongeBob: Wait, I got it! The Quiz Pencil goes right over here next to the Essay Pencil (moves the pencil) and the essay pencil gets turned sideways toward the notepad, (turns it sideways) just in case I have to write an essay.

Mrs. Puff: (walks in) Good morning class. Sorry I'm late. I got caught in traffic on the way in here when that whole 'I'm- going-to-be-doing-this-for-the-rest-of-my-life' thing reared its ugly head and I... Anyway, we have a new student starting today, so let's all put on a happy face for Flat the flounder. (opens the door to show a skinny flounder from the front but when he turns sideways, he's large. The entire class, except SpongeBob, has masks, painted with faces, on) Tell the class something about yourself, Flats.

Flats: Well, I like to kick people's butts. (Mrs. Puff laughs)

Mrs. Puff: What a card! Now Flats, it's time to pick your seat. Just go ahead and sit anywhere you'd like. (the class move their desks away from the middle of the room, except SpongeBob. Flats sits in the empty seat next to him) Okay class, as you remember last week...

SpongeBob: (to Flats) Hi, I'm SpongeBob!

Flats: Hi, SpongeBob. I'm going to kick your butt. (Stunned, SpongeBob laughs)

SpongeBob: That joke was almost funnier the second time.

Flats: (leans over SpongeBob) No. I mean it.

SpongeBob: (giggles) That time it almost seemed like-- (Close-up, Flats rips off his shirt and chest hair to show 'I Mean It') -you did mean it. (eyes have shrunken. raises hand) Mrs. Puff?

Mrs. Puff: Yes, SpongeBob?

SpongeBob: Can I be excused for the rest of my life? (Mrs. Puff chuckles)

Mrs. Puff: Why no, SpongeBob. I'm in the middle of a coffee-fueled sermon right now. You can't afford to miss this information.

SpongeBob: Yes, Mrs. Puff. (puts his hand down) Sorry, Mrs. Puff (Flats smiles).

Mrs. Puff: Now, can I please have a volunteer to come up to the board? How about you, Flats? (Flats approaches the board) Please draw for us a diagram of a basic four-way intersection, Flats. (draws an image on the board) Please turn and show the class what you drew, honey. (Flats turns, has drawn pictures of SpongeBob being beat up, SpongeBob screams) My, how very creative! We have an artist in the class. (everyone applauds, except SpongeBob. Cut to SpongeBob running in the halls and into the bathroom. He hides in one of the toilets)

SpongeBob: I just don't understand. Why would Flats want to kick my butt? I haven't said 2 words to the guy! (cut back to SpongeBob saying "Hi, I'm SpongeBob!" SpongeBob counts on his fingers and gasps) Oh no, that's 3! What am I going to do? (hears the door open) What was that? Someone's coming. They're getting closer. I've just got to act natural. (fish opens the lid and sees a real sponge)

Fish: Oh that's real nice. (walks out)

SpongeBob: Phew, I thought for sure that was gonna be... (Flats opens the stall) Flats!! Uh, hello, sir. Kick any good butts lately? Yeah, I remember last week, I was kicking this guy's butt real good. And he leans over and says, 'Hey, you know, life's like a bucket of wood shavings. Except for when the shavings are in a pail, then it's like a pail of wood shavings!' (giggles)

Flats: Hey, that story really speaks to me.

SpongeBob: Really? What's it say?

Flats: It says now, I'm going to kick your butt twice as hard. (Flats leaves. SpongeBob flushes the toilet, making water spray out of his holes. Cut to later where SpongeBob is walking down the hall writing on a clipboard)

SpongeBob: ...and I leave Gary's water bowl to Gary, and my curtains to... oh Neptune, I just can't do this. (the school phone rings and SpongeBob picks it up) Death row, next in line speaking.

Patrick: (on phone) Hi, I'd like to place an order for delivery.

SpongeBob: Patrick? Is that you? (cut back to Patrick's rock)

Patrick: Yeah, hey Mario. Let me get a large double olive, double- (cut back to SpongeBob)

SpongeBob: Patrick, listen! It's me, SpongeBob! I need your help!

Patrick: (on phone) You're working at Pizza Castle now?

SpongeBob: What? No, listen! I'm in big trouble. There's a new guy at school here and he wants to kick my butt! Listen, you're big and strong, do you think you could come down here and maybe rough him a bit? Just to get him off my back? Please, Patrick, I'm so scared, it feels like I'm gonna throw up.

Patrick: (on phone) No, they're not closed. I know, you want olives.

SpongeBob: Patrick, you there?

Patrick: (on phone) Oh, I'm sorry, SpongeBob. I was just talking to my old community college buddy, Flats. (SpongeBob gets shocked) (Cut to Patrick's rock where Flats is sitting on the couch enjoying a beverage) I bumped into him at the soda store, isn't that funny? (cut back to SpongeBob shrinking in the background) It must have been years since we've seen each other. Well, let me get going. He's got to go back to school soon. He says he's going to kick somebody's butt. (SpongeBob drops the phone and runs away shrieking)

Patrick: (on phone) Hello? Is this Pizza Castle? (cut to Mrs. Puff's room where SpongeBob smacks into the door)

Mrs. Puff: Come in, SpongeBob.
(door opens, and SpongeBob falls off onto his back).

SpongeBob: Mrs. Puff, can I be in a different class?

Mrs. Puff: But why?

SpongeBob: I can't tell you.

Mrs. Puff: Why ever not?

SpongeBob: I just can't, Mrs. Puff. My physical being is at stake, let's just leave it at that.

Mrs. Puff: SpongeBob, you can tell me anything. You've got to believe that.

SpongeBob: Well, okay. But only if you promise to keep it between us.

Mrs. Puff: Of course.

SpongeBob: Flats says he's going to kick my butt!

Mrs. Puff: What? There shall be no butt-kicking in any class of mine! This is an adult program. SpongeBob, just leave it to me.

SpongeBob: Aw, thanks Mrs. Puff. I knew I could count on you. (cut to SpongeBob eating a sandwich outside. The bell rings and everyone goes back in the classroom)

Mrs. Puff: Have a nice lunch, SpongeBob? (walks in the classroom)

SpongeBob: Yes, Mrs. Puff.

Mrs. Puff: (whispers) Psst. SpongeBob, I talked to Flats for you. I used your name. It was all a big misunderstanding.

SpongeBob: You what?!?

Mrs. Puff: He was never going to kick your butt at all! You see SpongeBob, Flats is from a town where kicking someone's butt means that he wants to be your friend. (Behind Mrs. Puff's back Flats grins evilly and threatens SpongeBob by making a sand sculpture of him and kicking it) And maybe play some sports with you on weekends.

SpongeBob: (shudders in shock) I've got diarrhea! (runs off and sees an older flounder with a mustache in a boat) Huh? Are you Flats' dad?

Flats' Dad: Why, yes I am.

SpongeBob: Okay, see, I didn't know where else to turn! Patrick couldn't help me, and Mrs. Puff only made it worse. I sit next to your son Flats in school, and he is a fine boy in all, and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but he wants to kick my butt. (Flats is on the boat)

Flats: Dad, what're you doing?

Flats' Dad: Uhh, nothing, son.

Flats: What did I tell you about talking to strangers?

Flats' Dad: (to SpongeBob) Now he's going to kick my butt! (SpongeBob shrieks and runs away, Runs past crowd. Crowd watches him surprised.)

SpongeBob: Out of my way! Out of my way! (points) Can't you see he's gonna kick my butt?! (a bunch of fish look over to an older fish at a bus stop)

Old Man: Hi there young people, nice day today.

Harold: So, you like kicking butts, do ya? Well we'll show you, old man! (the fish start beating up on the old fish while SpongeBob hides in a garbage can)

SpongeBob: Okay, okay, I got to skip town, start a new life, live under a pseudonym! "BobPants SpongeSquare". Yeah, that's good. Grow a beard, and then shave it off, and live happily ever after. (Flats is behind him driving a dump truck)

Flats: Yeah, except you forgot the part where I kick your butt. (SpongeBob gasps three times and runs off while still in the garbage can. Flats chases after him in the truck and chuckles evilly. As SpongeBob is running down the road, trash falls out of the garbage can, including a banana peel. Flats screams when he sees the banana peel on the ground. When the dump truck runs over the peel, it flips upside down and crashes. Cut to later where Flats is in a hospital where Flats opens his eyes to see SpongeBob holding some flowers)

SpongeBob: Hey Flats, you feeling better?

Flats: What? Where am I?

Doctor: (walks in) Why, you're in the hospital. This young boy saved your life. He performed CPR for five hours straight.

SpongeBob: Yeah. They said you'd be okay after the first few minutes, but I just wanted to be sure.

Flats: Wow, I'm touched. I'll have to remember that when I'm kicking your butt. (SpongeBob acts shocked, sound of glass shattering is heard) Those flowers for me? (SpongeBob runs out of the hospital screaming)

SpongeBob: He's still gonna kick my butt! (the fish look at the old fish again)

Harold: How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man?

Old Man: I love the young people. (The fish walk up to the old fish. Cut to SpongeBob running back to his house)

SpongeBob: Oh Gary, I'm too young to have my butt kicked! There are so many things in life I haven't gotten to do! (cut to SpongeBob in an office building at a desk, on the phone) Hang on, I'll transfer your call. (cut back to a knock on the door) Who is it? (door falls down. SpongeBob sees Flats and screams) Flats!

Flats: It's butt-kicking time.

SpongeBob: Gary, there's something I want you to know, but I'm too scared to remember what it is. (Flats cracks his knuckles, then cracks them with a walnut smasher. SpongeBob breaths harder and harder. Flats brushes his teeth and gargles before spitting it out. SpongeBob starts hyperventilating)

Flats: Let's do it!

SpongeBob: Go away, Gary. I don't want you to see this. It'll be too ugly. (Gary gets out a camera from his shell)

Flats: Are you ready?

SpongeBob: Hold on. (puts a blindfold over his eyes) Okay, I'm ready. (Flats punches SpongeBob but it doesn't hurt him) I said I'm ready. (Flats tries again but the same result happens) Didn't you hear me? I said I'm ready. (Flats punches him again and this time SpongeBob giggles) That tickled. (Flats keeps punching him but nothing seems to hurt SpongeBob, SpongeBob repeatedly laughs every time he is punched) Gary, I'm absorbing his blows like I was made of some kind of spongy material! Do you known what that means? I get to go to work tomorrow! (cut to next day where SpongeBob is in the Krusty Krab kitchen, grilling, and Flats is still punching SpongeBob, then scene cuts to him playing cards with Gary, chasing jellyfish, walking out of the bathroom, sleeping, and eating breakfast with Flats still punching him. Cut to boating school as SpongeBob is sitting at his desk and Flats is punching, but not as hard. Flats pants. He passes out from exhaustion) Flats, are you okay? (everyone cheers) Do not cheer me, my fellow adult classmates. Flats was the real victim here. A victim of a society that's riding down a violent road to nowhere; a road I call... (clenches fist) ...'Violence Road'. (Mrs Puff walks in)

Mrs. Puff: Sorry I'm late, class, I-- (gasps as she sees SpongeBob's fist and Flats on the ground in a close-up) SpongeBob! I can’t believe you beat up a new student! (zoom out of school) I'm going to kick your butt! (maybe she is going to be a bully again)

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