This post could also be titled “A Defense of Spongebob.” As anyone who has had a conversation with me about cartoons already knows, I love Spongebob. This seemingly made just for kids cartoon has layers of hilarity built in to every episode, and should not be lightly dismissed by anyone. You all knew it was just a matter of time until this post came, so enjoy and start watching this fabulous cartoon. It is on all weekend, afterall.
First of all, it takes place in a town called Bikini Bottom. And Spongebob lives in a pineapple. Underwater! That’s hilarious! One of his best friends is a squirrel who lives underwater on a research assignment in a glass dome. He idolizes superheros that are old and have arthritis and dementia. His neighbor is a squid who, for some reason, lives inside an Easter Island head and plays the clarinet very poorly.
The number of absurdities in every episode is huge, and unlike “traditional” kid’s cartoons, there is not (usually) a moral at the end. It’s a show just to be a show, and it ends up being so funny without trying to teach its viewers any lessons, except that being friendly and loving your job is good, and being a world-domination-obsessed Plankton is bad.
One of my favorite things about Spongebob is how much he loves his job. He works at a fast food restaurant flipping burgers all day. Not something most of us would aspire to, or even really enjoy. But he loves it! Every Krabby Patty he makes is showered with love, and that’s why Krabby Patties are so delicious. They’re made with love; Spongebob even calls them “an absolute good”.
Spongebob pours his heart into every patty he cooks, and takes tremendous pride in making a meal that his customers love. The implication is that the reason that our fast food is not good (McDonalds, et al) is that there is no love that goes into its making. Not even the greed of Mr. Krabs can ruin the goodness of the Krabby Patty. If we carry this to its logical end, it stands to reason that the problem with fast food in our world (or at least the critique the cartoon is offering) is that it has no love behind it, not that the corporations are greedy. I don’t necessarily agree with this, as I would argue that the greed of fast food companies is the primary reason that the food is so awful.
I don’t want this to devolve into a diatribe on food policy (if you’re looking for that, it can be found here). Mostly, I want to draw attention to how hilariously awesome Spongebob is. If you haven’t seen it or are one of the many who automatically dismiss it because it’s kid-friendly, think again. It’s witty, entertaining, and so funny. After all, one of the main characters is a Plankton with an obsessive desire to rule the world. He’s a plankton! One of the smallest creatures in the ocean. Don’t pretend like you’re too good to watch cartoons.