Spongebob Squarepants just became a grown-up. Yes, the greatest cartoon of all time (we’re being serious) turns 18 today, and to celebrate we’ve decided to reveal our 10 favourite persona from the undersea city of Bikini Bottom. Who will make the cut? Are ya ready, kids?
10. PATRICK STAR
He might not have the best brains, but Patrick is always ready to have a good time. Classic moment: “Twinkle Twinkle Patrick Star”
9. PATCHY THE PIRATE
Played by the inimitable Tom Kenny, the show’s sole live-action character has wonderful chemistry with his pet pirate Potty. Classic moment: “That’s the lost episode???”
Gary doesn’t say much, but his “Miaows” convey a warmth and loyalty to Spongebob that’s truly heartwrenching. Classic Moment: Spongebob’s Snail Sanctuary
7. OLD MAN JENKINS
Apart from maybe Fred (“My Leg!”), no Bikini Bottom resident suffers quite as much as Old Man Jenkins, who constantly finds himself in harm’s way. We want to see a nuanced backstory for Jenkins, learn about his time in the war and the loves he lost. Spin-off? Classic moment: “What a nice cereal box”
6. JOHNNY ELAINE
You may not have known his name before now, but Johnny Elaine serves two very important roles on the show: he mouths the words to “Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish” during the opening credits; and he informs the people of Bikini Bottom of local happenings through his role as TV news anchor (bait?).
5. EUGENE KRABS
Greedy, selfish, materialistic: Mr. Krabs represents us, the real people. Whether finding a prom date for his daughter Pearl or gently giving Spongebob some fatherly advice, Krabs is actually a pretty sweet fella. Classic moment: Electric Zoo
4. MERMAIDMAN & BARNACLEBOY
Two retired superheroes who just can’t quiet, MMM & BB (voiced by Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway) are a delightful Blast From The TV Past in Bikini Bottom, representing the Adam West Batman-generation of TV superantics. Watch out for the Dirty Bubble! Classic moment: “They’re using… ACTORS”
3. THE FLYING DUTCHMAN
Dutchie might not be as scary as he’d like, but the city’s resident ghost is always a source of spooky hilarity, pulling Spongebob into hairbrained schemes to prolong his career as a frightener. Classic moment: Trying to scare Spongebob.
2. SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS
Though often displaying frustrating naivety and being a terrible driver, Spongebob is ultimately one of the sweetest, kindest and most compassionate characters in television history. Classic moment: “Don’t be afraid. I’m just a talking sponge is all.”
1. SQUIDWARD TENTACLES
Aah, Squidward: a mean, cynical, narcissistic octopus with serious psychological issues bordering on sociopathy. He’s also the greatest source of golden comedy moments, heartfelt enlightenment and — in my case, the most relatable character — in the Spongebob universe. Spongebob is, in many ways, the Tragedy of Squidward Tentacles, a middle-aged clarinet player who works in a fast-food restaurant with no wife, no kids and no hopes of achieving his dreams. Analysis of Squidward’s situation can lead to dark interpretations of Spongebob’s meaning, but that only serves as evidence of his complicated brilliance as a creation. Classic moment: Squidward smashes the bourgeoisie
So, do you agree with our choices? No Sandy, no Plankton, no Pearl — yes, we know! Let us know your favourite Spongebob characters in the comments, and — once again — Happy Birthday to Spongebob Squarepants!