By Joseph Carroll ‘19
Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the iconic Nickelodeon show “Spongebob Squarepants,” passed away on Nov. 26 at the age of 57.
Hillenburg had always had an interest in both marine biology and animation. He worked as a marine biology teacher before heading into the television scene, where he would work for Nickelodeon’s “Rocko’s Modern Life.” It was there where he would then create the yellow sponge known as “Spongebob Squarepants.”
Ever since the first episode aired on May 1, 1999, children, adults, and everyone in between fell in love with the series. The personalities of the characters, engaging humor, and universal appeal are key reasons for the continued success of the show. Certainly, “Spongebob Squarepants” is not exclusively a children’s show. Many viewers and fans of the show are adults who enjoy its peculiar humor.
With Hillenburg leading the charge, “Spongebob Squarepants” has become a global phenomenon. With dubs in 60 languages, almost 250 episodes, two movies, a Broadway musical and countless amounts of advertisers and merchandise, it has proven its status as one of the most successful shows in television history.
However, the major advertising and exploitation of the show may not have been Hillenburg’s vision. Perhaps, all he wanted was to create a fun animated cartoon for people of all ages to enjoy. Even if only for a moment, people could forget about their problems and tune in to Nickelodeon for the next adventure in Bikini Bottom.
Condolences to the Hillenburg family. Fans of “Spongebob Squarepants” are forever thankful for the countless laughs and memories.