Saturday, July 25, 2009

SpongeBob is Everywhere

You may have noticed that SpongeBob has been popping up even more than usual over the past few weeks. It's because the show recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Say what you will of the yellow sponge, but you can't deny his popularity. People (kids especially) LOVE SpongeBob. VH1 recently debuted a documentary special "Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob Squarepants", Nickelodeon aired a 50-hour marathon last weekend, and Nick Mag currently has an "Ultimate SpongeBob Issue" on news stands. The Atlantic also recently published a great article called SpongeBob's Golden Dream which I think does a unique job of putting everything in perspective.

I posted some spongy thoughts on my blog as well. And I wanted to take this post to highlight some great SpongeBob art.

Sherm Cohen is an amazingly talented cartoonist who worked on the show in the early days as a writer, storyboard artist, and director. His artwork frequents the covers of Nick Mag, and he's one of the best SpongeBob artists around in my opinion. He just posted a bunch of illustrations he did for the Village Voice (posts 1 and 2) a few years back that are some of the best SpongeBob imagery I've seen outside of the show. Here are a few favorites:

And then there are the often sick and twisted drawings of Robertryan Cory. About a month ago he started posting production art from the show on his Flickr account and he keeps adding to it. He seems to be tasked with the more elaborate, exaggerated, grotesque, and cartoony drawings needed in the show. They are some of my favorite drawings PERIOD as of late, and definitely worth your attention.

You may be annoyed by his laugh, you may be tempted to label the shows overly hyper-active, and you may be sick of all the merchandising (I love this camera), but now that the show has been on for over a decade, I think it's a good time to reflect on the phenomenon that is SpongeBob. A character like this only comes around once a generation (once a century, even—I would easily qualify SpongeBob as the new Mickey Mouse). From The Atlantic article:

...the SquarePants writers are interested in stories, even in lessons. Again and again, a kind of innocence triumphs—over fear, over snobbery, and over skepticism.

Trotting along bright-hearted, laughing his spray-on headache of a laugh, he will not succumb to complication. His corner of the world is all levity. Embrace him, drained adult. Where you see his little yellow flag, salute it; it’s a sign of life.

Here's to that!

SpongeBob © 2009 Viacom International Inc. All rights reserved. NICKELODEON, SpongeBob SquarePants, and all related titles, logos, and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. SpongeBob Created by Stephen Hillenburg.


Maribeth Bush said...

I work in a K-2 school - so there's no escaping SpongeBob and friends! This past spring, a first grader visiting my office drew a detailed picture of SpongeBob's house and Patrick's house. He asked me to put it on my door. Every student who came to my office after that knew immediately that the drawings were of SpongeBob's and Patrick's houses (Patrick lives in a pineapple?) - the show is quite a common denominator among kids!

With that said, I have to admit I've never actually seen a SB show. I'm guessing it must be on one of the regular networks? I know I should really educate myself more on this topic... for my student's sake, of course (wonder if I can get any professional development credit hours for getting an education in everything SpongeBob?). ; )

Allie said...

Ha! I doubt you'd get credits... but it'd certainly make you happy!
And Patrick lives under a rock. Either he was visiting spongebob in the little artists drawing, or he got a house remodel. That was nice of him to give Patrick a fancy new pineapple house.
Those gross drawings of spongebob are fantastic.
One of the things that I love so much about Spongebob is that he's simple. He's a sponge. He's happy. He's silly. And he's not mean to anyone. Unless you've got a chip on your shoulder or think you're too cool for school, its dang hard not to laugh when watching it.
Thanks for posting all those pictures and links!
Here's a link to a short clip of my favorite character on the show, Man Ray.
Man Ray!

Maribeth Bush said...

Allie, mistake. Notice I used a question mark when I said "Patrick lives in a pineapple?" ; ) I have no doubt in the first grader's accuracy re: the wonderful world of SpongeBob and friends - just doubt in my recollection of what the student explained to me about which house belonged to which character. Clearly I was wrong in what I remembered - and the drawing was of SpongeBob's pineapple house, and Patrick's rock house. I think it was specifically SB's pineapple house that all the other kids noticed when they came to my room after that. : )

Bob Flynn said...

Let's get our pineapple house facts straight, people! ;)

Definitely schedule some time Mr. Squarepants. He's on Nick at least every other time I check the channel. And he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

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