SpongeBob SquarePants

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
SpongeBob SquarePants TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
Edgy, frenetic animated comedy highlights friendship, fun.

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 276 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 986 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show entertains rather than educates.

Positive Messages

Themes such as friendship and self-respect are frequently explored as SpongeBob is always in the process of learning to be a better person (er, sponge). 

Positive Role Models

SpongeBob is loyal to his friends, especially his best bud Patrick; others don't get along so well but occasionally learn lessons through their conflicts. 

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon violence often used to resolve conflicts; everyone survives. 

Sexy Stuff

A few silly romantic plots, but nothing sexual. 


Words such as "stupid," "idiot." 


SpongeBob is a huge commercial franchise with merchandise, games, clothes, toys, and much more branded with his image.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants is an animated comedy about a sea sponge and his underwater friends. There's lots of name-calling, mockery, and fantasy violence, but it's all very over-the-top and cartoonish. Messages about friendship, perseverance, and self-respect are frequent, and the relationships between SpongeBob and his crew are authentic and surprisingly touching. That said, the frenetic pace, sometimes edgy humor, and overall silliness of the show make SpongeBob a real "know your kid" situation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCarrieinDallas April 9, 2008

Common ground for kids and parents

I am a fairly conservative Christian parent. I monitor what my child watches and have watched SpongeBob with him sice he was about four. He's seven now a... Continue reading
Adult Written bycherry619 October 21, 2011

Teach your kids early on

Really parents? I grew up in the nineties, I watched classic Nick shows as well as Spongebob. Now I am going to college to be a teacher. Sometimes you can stuff... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 3, 2015


SpongeBob isn't meant to be a real quality show, people! It's a silly harmless cartoon, so people calm down!
Kid, 11 years old November 16, 2012


Everyone is saying that you can't learn from it ,that I don't want my kids trying this stuff,and it rots your brain. First, it's a cartoon, you... Continue reading

What's the story?

SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS (voiced by Tom Kenny) lives in Bikini Bottom on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. He works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab restaurant and spends his down time with those he considers his two best buddies: a woefully unintelligent but lovable sea star named Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke), who returns SpongeBob's friendship; and a grouchy, six-tentacled octopus named Squidward (Rodger Bumpass), who doesn't. SpongeBob and Patrick embark on self-misguided adventures that always land them in some sort of absurd situation, but their spirits are never dampened by their off-the-wall predicaments. Nor are they ever put off by the constant ridicule and disdain they encounter from Squidward, who tries to steer clear of their antics but often finds himself in the middle of their messes as they try relentlessly to win his friendship.

Is it any good?

This show is sweet, well-intentioned, and full of zany humor and silly scenes that will appeal to many viewers. It also offers plenty of positive messages about friendship, hard work, and loyalty. SpongeBob is yellow, porous, and perpetually happy, and he'd likely be called a kitchen sponge more often than a sea sponge, but there's no doubt that he's one of the sea's most famous residents. Since the cheery fellow's debut in 1999, this cartoon series has earned a spot at the top of Nickelodeon's ratings chart and maintains a huge fan following that includes kids and adults.

But some aspects of SpongeBob SquarePants will leave parents wanting to preview the series before letting their kids watch. Characters often speak sarcastically and act rudely to each other -- and, unlike in real life, no one seems bothered by the mean-spirited things that are said. What's more, situations are often resolved with violence, and the frequent songs sometimes touch on iffy subject matter such as bombs and making fun of people. The fast pace of the show also might be a concern for parents, especially those of younger kids. Parents also might be put off by SpongeBob's often annoying personality and his tendency to take jokes too far, but the messages of friendship always shine through the silliness. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about friendship in SpongeBob SquarePants. Which characters are good friends? How do they show they care about each other? What do you do to show your friends you like them?

  • If your kids tend to believe everything they see, watch this show carefully with them and ask about what they see and what they understand.

  • How does the show reflect real marine life? What type of creature is each character? How do their depictions differ from their real-life versions?

  • How do the characters in SpongeBob SquarePants demonstrate gratitude? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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