The moment you’ve all been waiting for is almost here -America’s favourite deep-sea sponge who “lives in a pineapple under the sea” is coming to the surface. Whether or not you’re a diehard fan or SpongeBob SquarePants, you would’ve at least heard in passing that Paramount Pictures will soon release the sequel to the adventure comedy, “The SpongeBob SquarePants” movie.
Its 2004 prequel was based on the popular television cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants”, which shows the adventures of the title character and his various friends. And did you know that it will feature the same voice cast as that in the first film to portray the characters as the television show including Tom Kenny as SpongeBob and Bill Fagerbakke as Patrick Star?
But before the new movie, titled, “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water”, is released in our cinemas (in 3D, no less!) next week, load up on some of these SpongeBob facts that you might not have known about – until now, that is ;)
1. SpongeBob was the brainchild of an actual marine biologist
Remember this name – Stephen Hillenburg. Not only was he the director of the previous movie, he’s also essentially the creator of the popular character! Stephen was a former marine science teacher (he taught Marine Biology at the Orange County Marine Institute) who has a degree in natural resource planning with a marine resources emphasis. Because he loved drawing, he created a comic book called “Intertidal Zone for the Institute”, which debuted an early version of SpongeBob.
See for yourself:
As to why he made SpongeBob (the character, in particular) he said:
I really wanted to do something about one character, based on an innocent who is surrounded by more cynical beings…A sort of awkward, nerdy, goofball, oddball. I drew these natural sponges for a while and gave them googly eyes and it didn’t come together until I drew a sink sponge one day. I thought, ‘This is the guy.” He’s the square peg, literally, in this world of animals.
Stephen later went on to work as creative director for the Nickelodeon animated series, “Rocko’s Modern Life” and fellow animators saw the potential appeal of SpongeBob.
2. SpongeBob’s original name was “SpongeBoy”
Every cartoon character goes through a tedious naming process in order for it to have a nice ring to it and SpongeBob is no different. In fact, the show ‘s title was initially going to be named “SpongeBoy” but unfortunately, or should we say fortunately, the name was copyrighted – for a mop. Despite the fact that the show creator couldn’t use “SpongeBoy”, he made sure to keep the word “sponge” in the name of his protagonist.
Why? Simple. Purely because of the way the character looks, he was worried that children might mistake him for a block of cheese instead. Hey, can’t blame the guy.
Also, according to his driving license, he was born on 14th July 1986, which makes him a Cancer. It also means that SpongeBob is 29 years old this year. Whoa!
3. Patrick was supposed to be an angry bar owner
When the pilot episode was in progress, a starfish character entered the picture, which would later be known as the lovable dummy Patrick Star. However, the original starfish in the first “SpongeBob” story had “a huge chip on his shoulder because he was pink”. Yup, the beta version of Patrick Star owned a roadside bar and was a bully, apparently! Oh man, aren’t you glad that quickly changed?
As for the person who was chosen to voice Patrick, he’s Bill Fagerbakke, best known as “How I Met Your Mother” character Marshall’s dad. Now, Bill has a naturally deep voice, but just for his role as Patrick, he needed to be an immense rumbler.
As such, Bill himself said that he had to “swallow” his voice further for the role:
I just kinda pretend my mouth is in my chest and I just slooowww down.
The result? A complete opposite of SpongeBob SquarePants, who’s known to be a high-pitched whiner! Oh, and while we’re on that topic of Patrick, he also has a sister named Sam. She mostly makes grunting noises.
4. What is this Squidward creature is he’s not, in fact, a squid?
For those of you who have been following the TV cartoon series long enough, you’d know that Squidward Q. Tentacles has been referred to as both a squid and an octopus throughout the series run. Although it has been, for a long time now, one of the most popular SpongeBob-related arguments, here’s the thing – he’s not a squid. The only reason why he often gets confused with one, other than his namesake, is because he only has 6 tentacles. The creators have once or twice confirmed in the past that Squidward is, in fact, an octopus.
The reason they didn’t give him 8 tentacles? Because they though he would “look too burdened” and “weigh him down too much visually”.
5. The fish who goes, “My Leg!” has a name
You know that greenish-brown fish (sometimes blue or bright purple) who’s famed for screaming “My leg!” while under duress in various episode? He actually has a name and his name is Fred. He was first seen in the episode “Reef Blower”. However, he is barely seen in the episode, as he was in a car as SpongeBob zoomed past him. His name was first revealed in the episode, “Patty Hype”, but people don’t remember him much for anything else other than the running gag in which he cries, “My leg!” when something such as an explosion takes place.
Fred’s popular quote first appeared in the episode “Boating School.”
6. True story: There is actually a not-so-Nickelodeon-friendly SpongeBob SquarePants parody
Animation studio Camp Chaos produced a 2-season series on VH1 and MTV2 called ILL-ustrated in 2003 and 2004. One of the animated shorts created for the show, “SpongeBong HempPants”, was a not-too-subtle re-imagining of SpongeBob SquarePants if the characters were shaped like marijuana or the paraphernalia necessary to enjoy the drug. The shorts were never run on TV “due to concerns about sister network Nickelodeon”.
The episodes however did end up on YouTube, where they have been viewed over 6.3 million times:
The real show’s stoner-friendly reputation remains intact today, helped by the parody and the oft-repeated fact that the episode title of season 4’s 20th episode is titled “Best Day Ever”.
7. Some of Hollywood’s A-listers have appeared on the show, against the creator’s wishes
At least initially, Stephen Hillenburg was against celebrities providing guest voices for his creation, out of fear of a comparison to “The Simpsons”. He only made 2 exceptions to his own rule during the first 3 seasons of “SpongeBob SquarePants”, and they were Tim Conway and Ernest Borgnine, who played SpongeBob’s favourite superheroes, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. As soon as Stephen resigned as showrunner, Bikini Bottom welcomed the likes of Ferrell, Fey, Williams, Amy Poehler, Johnny Depp, Victoria Beckham, LeBron James, Pink, Patton Oswalt, and other established stars to get adults to watch.
And to be fair, there are adults who are fans of “SpongeBob SquarePants”. Why, you ask? Tom Kenny, who supplies SpongeBob’s high and nasal voice said:
SpongeBob’s job is to just be positive and think that every day is going to be the best day ever. The people around him either find that delightful or…just irritating.
Can’t say that we disagree!
8. Where in the world is Bikini Bottom?
Bikini Bottom (formerly known as Bikini Gulch, possibly known as Dead Eye Gulch, temporarily known as Bikini Bikini Bottomshire) is the main setting in the series. It’s home to almost all of the characters. The city has a proper population of about 538 and consists of various businesses, including restaurants, stores, and manufacturers. Bikini Bottom also has a stable economy, a balanced education system, questionable health care (as seen in “The Lost Mattress”) and labor laws, a structured government, and a firm law enforcement system. Heck, there are even stadiums, amusement parks, and other recreational facilities (such as “Glove World”).
Bikini Bottom was first mentioned in the “Plankton!” episode but first appeared in the “Help Wanted” episode. Here’s the thing: Bikini Bottom is an underwater city beneath the real island of Bikini Atoll.
The island is located in Micronesia.
It was also the site of many nuclear tests done by America in the 40s and 50s. Eep!
9. Stephen Hillenburg didn’t want Justin Timberlake to sing about SpongeBob
For the movie’s soundtrack, Avril Lavigne sang a Canadian punk-pop version of the theme song, while Jeff Tweedy wrote the original Wilco song “Just a Kid”, The Flaming Lips came up with the song “SpongeBob and Patrick Confront the Psychic Wall of Energy,” which frontman Wayne Coyne initially envisioned as a duet with Justin Timberlake.
Alas, Stephen Hillenburg was against the idea. He was said to have told Wayne Coyne:
I don’t want any of those sort of commercial weirdos on there. I don’t like those commercial people. I like you guys, and Wilco, and Ween.
10. Researchers named a newly discovered fungi, “Spongiforma Squarepantsii”
Researchers at San Francisco State University christened a new species of mushroom, “Spongiforma squarepantsii” in 2011, on account of its resemblance to the sea sponge. When the researchers also noted that the spore-producing area of the fungus found in the forests of Borneo resembled a seafloor “carpeted in tube sponges”, it sealed the deal.
The new mushroom is only one of two species that belong in the genus Spongiforma. It has a “fruity or musty” odour. The other one is found in central Thailand, but differs in its colour and odour.
11. “SpongeBob Squarepants” is the longest running Nickelodeon series ever!
Surpassing Rugrats’ previous record of 172 episodes, “SpongeBob SquarePants” broadcasted its 200th episode during the show’s 9th season. The show hasn’t aired an original episode since March 2014 though — it was on hiatus in order to complete production on their second movie, “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”, set for release in March in Malaysia. The 3D sequel was initially supposed to come out one week later on 13th Feb, but Paramount Pictures moved the release date forward to avoid competition with “Fifty Shades of Grey“.
Not sure if they knew what they were talking about when they assumed that “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water” would be competition to “Fifty Shades of Grey” but the movie will be released in Malaysia cinemas come 5th March 2015.
Watch the trailer here:
For more information, visit the movie’s official website.