‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Turns 20

Debuting May 1, 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants is an animated series about a sentient sponge that grew into a media empire. The Onion looks back at the beloved cartoon show on its 20th anniversary.


1946:

U.S. military tests atomic weaponry in Bikini Atoll, leading to genetic abnormalities on the seafloor of Bikini Bottom.

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1997:

Show creator Stephen Hillenburg decides on making it animated after several failed attempts to film fish acting and reciting dialogue.


1998:

Nickelodeon finally ends 18-month nationwide search for cartoonists capable of drawing characters shaped like a square and a star.

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2001:

Production on third season halted while SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward hold out for $1 million per episode.

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2003:

15-year-old Delaware resident John Weymouth has no idea whether he’s too old to be enjoying the show this much.

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2005:

SpongeBob attacked by conservatives accusing the show of promoting an agenda of caring about living things in the ocean.

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2008:

Scientists confirm significant portions of Bikini Bottom coral bleaching now irreversible.

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2014:

Nickelodeon airs special episode where SpongeBob discovers the wreckage of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

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2016:

Creative team realizes making a Broadway musical would be the perfect way to run this thing into the ground.

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2019:

Damn, still holds up.

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