Look, I gotta be honest. I just don’t get it. I’ve tried — I feel like I’ve given it a real, legitemate shot, and I just don’t get it. I don’t see what all the fuss about Spongebob Squarepants is all about.
Maybe I’m just old and crotchety. (Or just old and crotchy; that’s possible, too.) But I’ve watched lots of cartoons in my time — and still do, frankly — and there’s some good shit out there. Family Guy, the Simpsons, Samurai Jack, Home Movies — all of these and more know how my fancy likes to be tickled. Um, so to speak. Ahem.
So I don’t think that I’m just a generally humorless old fart, devoid of any appreciation for the animated and absurd. Hell, I used to watch Ren and Stimpy and the Angry Beavers religiously, and some of that shit made no sense at all. None. Those writers were sprinkling crack on their morning cereal, you know what I’m saying?
And I’ve given Spongebob a chance — I’ve sat through more than one episode, all the way through. I’ve seen the pants, and I’ve heard the silly song, and I’ve seen that crab or lobster or whatever the hell it is that has the restaurant, and… y’know, I really don’t remember much more than that. All I recall is watching these things and asking myself afterwards:
‘What in the name of Fritz fricking Freleng did I just sit through? Are they serious with this shit?‘
Honestly, I just don’t understand. And it’s not just a cartoon, either. If it were just a show, popular with the kiddies and that was it, I wouldn’t give it a second thought. I don’t lose sleep at night wondering whether there’s anything to this whole Teletubbies thing, for instance.
(Though I’ve watched it a couple of times, too, and that shit is whacked. But at least I can see the attraction there — that show is a pothead’s wet fricking dream. Can you imagine watching the Teletubbies stoned off your ass? That’d be like the ultimate — like seeing the face of the bong god or something. Yikes.)
But this Squarepants guy isn’t just the ‘star’ of a show — he’s the basis of a whole marketing phenomenon. Dolls, T-shirts, merchandise and swag of all kinds. Why, I was reminded of this topic today when I saw a Spongebob-shaped helium-filled balloon bobbing among its more traditional latex brethren in a birthday balloon bouquet. Now come on, people. Spongebob balloons? Have you actually seen the show? Does it really rate custom-shaped balloons?
I dunno. Maybe there’s something I’m missing. Or maybe I’m just getting old, losing touch with what’s cool with the kiddies this month. Still, I prefer to tell myself that it’s really a simple matter of geometry. The main character’s a fricking sponge. Of course there’s gonna be merchandise — how hard could it be to design a lunchbox after him? He’s shaped like a fricking lunchbox! I shouldn’t be surprised.
Hmmm… actually, all of this gives me an idea. Maybe I should come up with a cartoon centered around something even easier to build from. Something with a main character shaped like a basketball, or a snow globe, maybe. That swag would practically sell itself — and (apparently) the actual dialogue and plot and story lines of the show don’t mean a thing. I think I’m on to something here — look for the Adventures of Swirly the Snow Globe coming to a television near you — and a balloon, and a set of collectible plates, and… well, a snow globe, naturally — very, very soon. Scootch over, Spongebob — you’re about to get Swirlied! Oh, yeah.Permalink | 9 Comments