Celebrating 10 Years in Bikini Bottom: SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants—America’s favorite sponge—recently celebrated 10 years on TV. This is no easy feat considering most new television shows these days last about as long as a 30-second commercial. The Nickelodeon network ran a 50-hour marathon celebration last month, and both low- and high-brow media outlets couldn’t stop singing the praises of the fry cook at the Krusty Krab.

Above, there’s a video excerpt from The Atlantic (June 09), where the author deconstructs the “tormented irony and contagious optimism of a SpongeBob episode.”

Stephen Hillenburg (Film/Video MFA 92), creator of the series, was profiled in CalArts magazine earlier this year as a former Wasserman Scholar. The worldwide popularity of his sea sponge-meets-kitchen sponge character took him by surprise:

I never, ever imagined having a show on tv about a sponge – and I never imagined it being a huge success. I thought maybe we’d get one season, and I’d hoped that maybe it would become a cult thing and people would at least respect the show. All of us making it were really shocked that it took off the way it did.

That the show has taken off is a bit of an understatement. And now it seems that SpongeBob—with Patrick, Squidward and Mr. Krabs by his side—has quite a few more Krabby Patties to flip before the series ends.

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