THANXFDR: SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS

In this heartwarming seasonal series, the Crossfader staff will be running you through some of the media-related things that they’re most thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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I haven’t watched an episode of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS in well over a year, except for the occasional time where I want to preach that “Band Geeks” is the funniest episode there is and need to run through it with analysis. But I’m not here to talk about how SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS kept me in a trance throughout my childhood with its bright colored talking sea animals (objects?) and some weird restaurant that reminded me of In-N-Out. I’m here to thank the creators of SpongeBob for not just giving children their first inklings of what would later develop to be a sense of humor, but also for giving me a role model.

Yeah, I’m saying that one of my first role models as a kid was a talking sponge with buck teeth and an annoying laugh. When I was younger, my mother would tell me that if I kept watching it, I’d eventually start laughing like him too. (Was she teasing? I’m still unsure.) I’m talking about a time when 50% of the content on Nickelodeon was SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. I always remember making sure to sit at one particular edge of the dinner table so I could have a perfect view of the TV, and if I ever thought something was particularly funny, I would shove my hands into my family’s faces to get them to pay attention too. That led to some “television-free dinners.” In retrospect, maybe they cared less for my health and more for their sanity.

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This is how they must’ve felt

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Regardless, the result of watching hours of a boisterous cartoon left me with a deep attachment to SpongeBob. I had a SpongeBob backpack, SpongeBob bed sheets, and even a SpongeBob wastebasket. It was definitely an obsession, but I believe that the underlying cause for that is because I saw a bit of myself in SpongeBob, or rather, maybe I saw who I wanted to be in him.

No, I didn’t want to be a talking sea-sponge or a fry cook, but I wanted to be the bubbly, optimistic person who always put their best foot forward and who was always ready to handle things. And I when say, “ready”, I mean, ready.

 

This isn’t to say that all of the other cartoons of the early 2000s didn’t do a good job of empowering the young minds of children, but SpongeBob always had a smile on his face. There wasn’t really anything special about him either, besides living under the sea; he was just a hard working sponge who truly cared for his friends and family.

Even though one doesn’t normally think about this, SpongeBob is really passionate about what he does. Of course, it’s funny about how crazy he is about working fast-food, but it’s also a perfect example to follow of someone who puts 100% into everything that they’re doing. It’s admirable and endearing. I hope to one day be doing something I love as much as SpongeBob loves being a fry cook at the Krusty Krab.

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SpongeBob’s dedication to fast food is simply admirable

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Nevertheless, SpongeBob loves his friends and family. He’s willing to go to the ends of the Earth for them. In THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE, he nearly sacrifices himself on a dangerous quest for Mr. Krabs’s life. Bringing up “Band Geeks” again, he convinces everyone to band together and help Squidward out, even though he can be disagreeable and egocentric. He is even friendly to the show’s main “antagonist,” Plankton, most of the time. And not to mention, all of the aforementioned people are usually just as annoyed by him as the adults who are forced to watch the show. It seems that no matter how horrid the person is, SpongeBob never greets them without a smile and a laugh.

That’s the trait I love about him the most, and wish that I could retain in my own life. Because of SpongeBob, I have learned to always keep an open mind about people, accept change and growth, and always see the best in everyone I come into contact with.

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If we were all just as kind as SpongeBob, we’d live in a better world

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I used to always bang on my parent’s bedroom door saying “I’m ready” for my ride to school. Just like SpongeBob I was determined and eager to start adventures every day. I always strive to be as opportunistic, caring, and happy as SpongeBob. So thank you, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS’s Stephen Hillenburg, for giving me such a unique, entertaining, and joyful character to look up to over the years. I’m honored to share the same birthday as you, and I understand why you decided to leave the show after the first movie. We all know the episodes prior to it are far superior, anyways.

Michelle Vera

Michelle is a guest contributor for Crossfader Magazine. She self-published a book about fairies when she was eight. It sold two copies.

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