SpongeBob SquarePants (often referred to simply as SpongeBob) is an animated children's television program airing on the Nickelodeon network that has won several Emmy awards. It was created in 1999 by Stephen Hillenburg. The show features a yellow sponge living in the Pacific Ocean in a town called Bikini Bottom with his friends and acquaintances. Although the show is marketed to children, it is a show that people of all ages can enjoy. Celebrities such as Mike Myers and Justin Timberlake are fans of the show. The show was made into two feature length films: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. (2015) A third movie is expected to be released in 2019. As of 2017, the show has been on for eighteen years and 211 episodes have been aired.
Hillenburg got the idea for the show while he was studying marine biology.
- SpongeBob SquarePants (voiced by Tom Kenny), the main character, is a happy-go-lucky sponge (shaped like a rectangular kitchen sponge, while his parents are ordinary sea sponges) who works at the Krusty Krab restaurant as a fry cook. The character has been praised as a symbol of a good attitude. He also enjoys jellyfishing and blowing bubbles.
- Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke), SpongeBob's best friend, is a starfish, known to have somewhat of a low intelligence. However, Patrick is extremely loyal, going so far as to brag about SpongeBob's (perceived) abilities, which SpongeBob usually meets in oft-heroic fashion. Patrick is often known for bursts of insight, which save the day, but which he promptly forgets.
- Squidward Q. Tentacles (voiced by Rodger Bumpass), an octopus, is SpongeBob's neighbor and co-worker at the Krusty Krab. He is cynical and often shows annoyance at the antics of SpongeBob and Patrick. He is also an amateur artist and plays the clarinet (usually very badly). Although he has six tentacles, and his name has "squid" in it, he is supposed to be an octopus.
- Eugene H. Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown), a crab, is the penny-pinching owner of Krusty Krab. He is often harsh to his employees but will occasionally show appreciation to them.
- Sheldon Plankton (voiced by Mr. Lawrence), the owner of the Chum Bucket, the restaurant across from the Krusty Krab that has no customers. He often tries to steal the secret formula of the Krusty Krab's Krabby Patty recipe to use in his restaurant with no success. He used to be best friends with Krabs before the fast food rivalry.
- Mrs. Puff, SpongeBob's boating school teacher. SpongeBob has attended her class in the beginning of the show never getting his license because he crashes during the driving portion of his tests.
- Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence), a paid scientist squirrel from Texas who lives in a treedome. She is a friend of SpongeBob and Patrick
- Pearl (voiced by Lori Alan), Mr. Krabs' teenage daughter. She is a whale.
- Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (voiced by Joe Whyte, [current] Ernest Borgnine [voiced Mermaid Man until his death in 2012] and Tim Conway), the elderly superheroes in the series. They often are found in a nursing home. SpongeBob and Patrick are their biggest fans. They often must stop villains and sometimes ask SpongeBob and Patrick for help.
- Larry the Lobster (voiced by Lawrence), minor character, and lifeguard of Goo Lagoon.
- Squilliam Fancyson (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), Squidward's rival who is very wealthy and much more successful than Squidward.
- Gary (voiced by Kenny), SpongeBob's pet snail that mews like a cat.
- Patchy the Pirate (played by Kenny), live-action pirate used in most SpongeBob specials
- French narrator (voiced by Kenny)
On occasion, the show has been frowned on for containing crude humor. Much of the gross-out humor present in the show became prominent after the first movie was released in 2004. On at least one occasion, the show has been caught making statements implying that global warming is caused by humans.
- Byrne, Ciar. "From Bikini Bottom to A-list celebrity: why the world loves SpongeBob SquarePants"; The Independent, 10 February 2005
- Springfield Newsleader, Newsleader in Education "Attitude", 6 January 2009