Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Something I often wondered: what is the appeal (or lack thereof) of Spongebob Squarepants?

Asked by wundayatta (58367 points ) May 17th, 2012

My daughter used to like the show. It tended to make me nauseous. But the image is everywhere: from broken mugs to backpacks. Why? Why do you like it? What does it mean? Why does it feel good? What is its appeal?

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45 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

He’s a nifty dresser.

gailcalled's avatar

The name has a metrical charm and is assonant to boot.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

This is only a guess because I’ve never been able to stomach paying attention more than a few minutes to the cartoon but I think for modern kids who are exposed to so much, the more inane something appears or acts, the less than ordinary and they’re always wanting to be less and less ordinary then the more the appeal. Throw in some occasional social motto, too.

jca's avatar

I have never watched it but I heard once that he sends a message of positivity.

Blackberry's avatar

There will always be a small population of adults that like children’s shows. They can find some of it humorous and see a lesson.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Absurist post-modern humor
Or at least for the first three seasons.

Fly's avatar

There are so, so many reasons why Spongebob is sheer genius, but this pretty much sums it up.

GladysMensch's avatar

Spongebob is great. It has well developed characters, smart writing, and can be funny as hell. Yes, his voice is annoying, but that’s often referenced in the show as well. Plus, it’s just fun for the sake of being fun. I like that in a cartoon.

Trillian's avatar

I like Sponge Bob, I haven’t seen it in a while, but when I do, I always laugh. I think I’ll go get me a Crabby Patty right now!

ragingloli's avatar

It is annoying and repulsive and hideously deformed.

ucme's avatar

He has that priceless commodity about him that has had children of all ages captivated for generations, he’s thick as shit & this makes him funny/endearing.

wundayatta's avatar

@ucme Ok, I’m translating “thick” as stupid. Why is it that people find stupidity funny and endearing? Is that only in clowns (and are we saying that spongebob is a kind of clown)? I mean, a lot of real world stupidity makes us angry. We do not become endeared unless we don’t have a horse in the race, no?

ucme's avatar

@wundayatta You’d be correct in your translation. Clowns are stupid, but they’re not funny, just annoying. The basic premise of acting dumb is however created for comic effect, excluding the likes of Dan Quayle of course.
Mr. Bean & Borat being just 2 relatively modern examples.

gailcalled's avatar

I am almost embarrassed to say that I laughed so hard while watching “Borat” that I was practically on the floor of the theatre.

ucme's avatar

No need for embarrassment, embrace stupidity, I know I have….....eh, wait a minute!!!!

gailcalled's avatar

@ucme: I did specify almost.

wundayatta's avatar

The thing is that these “dumb” characters somehow seem to get the better of smarter, more powerful people (or in the case of spongebob, sea creatures). So is this our backhanded way of making fun of the rich and powerful? Is Spongebob, then, a subversive element of class warfare?

ragingloli's avatar

Borat was not stupid, the character just came from a different, highly conservative culture.
The dumbf*cks in Borat are the people Borat interacts with and whose idiocy is being exposed.

ucme's avatar

Ali G & Bruno, served masterclasses in winding up pretentious bastards.
Borat was & remains unashamedly stupid…....“Ayyy five!”

jca's avatar

@gailcalled: I was totally against Borat until a good friend told me “Go see it. It’s hilarious.” I also laughed till I cried, and have done so every time I’ve seen it. Da Ali G Show, also, hilarious. Bruno, too. How he does that stuff with a straight face, I don’t know.

TexasDude's avatar

Well for adults that enjoy the show, there is a lot of kitschyness and subtle adult humor in it.

Fly's avatar

@wundayatta Not at all! The whole idea is that Spongebob is effectively a child, and kids are meant to relate to the fact that he is nice and good-natured, and that he always wants to help people and do the right thing. Spongebob is, like a child, naive, but not stupid. Though it might seem so, Spongebob isn’t the stupid one- Patrick is. The show does teach that intelligence, riches, etc. aren’t everything (through Plankton, Mr. Krabs, Squidward), but it doesn’t teach that they can’t be good things. Sandy, for example, is very smart and she is one of the good characters.

Symbeline's avatar

I barely know what it’s about, although yeah, merchandise seems to be abundant. Can’t say much since I’ve never paid attention to it. Maybe I should some day. A talking sponge has to have some kind of merit.

ucme's avatar

When my kids were real little, they & I didn’t know the show even existed.
Now that they’re older, they love the little yellow bastard, just like this big kid.

ragingloli's avatar

This is what spongebob looks off camera

YARNLADY's avatar

It is a mystery to me. Probably the same appeal The Simpsons has to adults, which is also a mystery to me.

Blondesjon's avatar

If you have to ask, you’ll never know.

ucme's avatar

The Simpsons is fucking shit….......not very good & quite overrated.

SuperMouse's avatar

Personally I loathe the little yellow sponge. He and Patrick annoy the sh!t out of me. My kids love Spongebob and still watch the show whenever it happens to be on. Hence the potential devastation caused by the broken mug. I think they enjoy it because he is sweet and innocent and is well meaning without fail.

I have seen pretty much every episode and over the years Plankton, Mrs. Puff, Pearl, and Sandy Cheeks have grown on me. I especially like Sandy because she is a real bad a$$. Plus I dare anyone not to be enthralled by Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway as Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (Mr. Borgnine is Mermaid Man on the left and Mr. Conway is Barnacle Boy).

ccrow's avatar

Beats the hell out of me… my siblings all think Spongebob is great and I have no idea why.

ragingloli's avatar

I vastly prefer Anime over any western cartoon anyway.
At the very least they can be turned into porn.

NostalgicChills's avatar

I have no idea.
As immature as this sounds, Spongebob was and still is one of my favorite shows of all time. It never fails to make me laugh at it’s ridiculousness. I mean, it’s just so absurd, you have to laugh.
I guess it depends on what you find funny.

woodcutter's avatar

It is his infectious laugh.

ragingloli's avatar

Schenkelklopfer

woodcutter's avatar

Someone had to take over after “Ren and Stimpy”

Symbeline's avatar

I don’t know much bout Square Bob Spongepants, but I highly doubt that it can hold any kind of candle to the greatness that is Ren and Stimpy.

Fly's avatar

@woodcutter and @Symbeline Ren and Stimpy? Really? I have always found that show to be among the worst of the 90s Nickelodeon cartoons! Personally, I much preferred Doug, Hey Arnold, and Angry Beavers.

Symbeline's avatar

Hey Arnold was awesome, so was Rugrats. Never liked Doug though. That little bastard Skeeter lol. Meep meep!
Ren and Stimpy though, in my humble opinion, was great. Even without the shock value and being gross/disturbing just for the sake thereof, it had its own unique charm, by taking classic cartoon concepts and totally blowing them out of proportion. (and just being random satire all around)

One episode, where Ren decides to become a hermit in a cave, gave me genuine goosebumps…when he sees that ’‘mummified bugman’’, who all of a sudden has Ren’s face and points at him…I still can’t forget that. I can’t believe a cartoon freaked me the hell out like that.

woodcutter's avatar

Ren Hoek and Stimpson J. Cat were some of Nicks best actors. You Eeeeeeediot!!!!!

woodcutter's avatar

“Space Madness” was a fave of mine and my boy. You could tell there were some stoners creating that one Ha.

Symbeline's avatar

@woodcutter Y’ever seen the banned episode, Man’s Best Friend?

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