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SpongeBob SquarePants turns 24. Here are some fun facts about the show

By NICK GARCIA Published Jul 14, 2023 4:20 pm

Iconic cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is celebrating his 24th birthday this July.

For nearly a quarter of a century, the show has chronicled the nautical and sometimes nonsensical adventures of an incurably optimistic sea sponge and his undersea friends.

Since airing its pilot episode in 1999, SpongeBob Squarepants has become one of the most beloved cartoon shows on television, generating a universe filled with beloved characters, memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical, and a legion of fans that include adults.

To celebrate his birthday, Nickelodeon is airing a birthday special, in which SpongeBob and his bestfriend Patrick Star tour the surface world, while the rest of Bikini Bottom prepares a surprise for him.

"Keep an eye out for Kel Mitchell, Jojo Siwa, Tiffany Haddish, Michael Strahan, RuPaul, Sigourney Weaver and other celebrity appearances," Nickeleodeon said.

Despite its global fame, there may be things about the show that others may not know about. Here are some fun facts about SpongeBob SquarePants.

Many SquarePants family members are round in shape

Despite his family name, most of SpongeBob SquarePants’ family members are round in shape.

They include his very own parents Margaret and Harold, uncle Captain Blue, cousin Blackjack, and grandma SquarePants.

Many high-profile celebrities served as voice actors

The show's main cast includes Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), Fagerbakke (Patrick Star), Rodger Bumpass (Squidward), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy Cheeks), and Mr. Lawrence (Plankton).

But many episodes saw guest appearances from John Wick star Keanu Reeves, pop icon David Bowie, Black Widow actress Scarlett Johansson, ex-Spice Girls member Victoria Beckham, Mad Men star Jon Hamm, American television veteran Betty White, Star Wars star Mark Hamill, Gene Simmons from KISS, Ray Liotta of Goodfellas fame, and basketball icon LeBron James.

SpongeBob's creator was a marine biologist
Stephen Hillenburg (left) with Scarlet Johansson (right) during the premiere of SpongeBob SquarePants The Movie. (Mark Mainz/Getty Images via AFP)

The late Stephen Hillenburg became fascinated with the ocean as a kid, during which he also took his stab at drawing.

Hillenburg took up marine biology in college, and served as an educator on marine science and maritime history.

While teaching, he developed a comic book to teach his students about sea life. The characters eventually became part of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Bikini Bottom is supposedly under the real-life Bikini Atoll
(top) Bikini Atoll, (bottom) Bikini Bottom

The show's setting is below the coral reef in the Republic of Marshall Islands near Guam in the Pacific Ocean.

Bikini Atoll was reportedly a former nuclear test site decades ago.

Krabby Patty is meat-free
SpongeBob character Squidward Tentacles looking at mountains of Krabby Patties. (Nickelodeon/Paramount)

The show's restaurant Krusty Krab, known for its popular Krabby Patty burgers whose recipe is a top secret, is vegan-friendly.

Producer Vincent Waller was once asked about the recipe—which, of course he didn't give—though gave one important information from Hillberg himself: that there is "absolutely no meat in the Krabby Patty."

"There is no animal product in there," Waller said.


SpongeBob SquarePants airs weekdays on Nickelodeon at 5:00 p.m.