SpongeBob SquarePants

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
SpongeBob SquarePants TV Poster Image
Edgy, frenetic animated comedy is iffy for youngest kids.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 239 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 845 reviews

We think this TV show stands out for:

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 mixed in with silly plots, name-calling, and other mischief.

Positive Role Models & Representations

SpongeBob is loyal to his friends; others don't get along so well. Some are smarter than others.

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon violence often used to resolve conflicts; everyone survives. 

Sexy Stuff

A few silly romantic plots, but nothing sexual. 

Language

Words such as "stupid," "idiot." 

Consumerism

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 contains satirical humor that might confuse kids who can't separate fantasy and reality. There's lots of name-calling, mockery, and fantasy violence, but no one is really affected. Messages about friendship, perseverance, and self-respect are frequent, but the main characters' annoying behaviors and the overall silliness of the show sometimes make it hard to find. All in all, this is a real "know your kid" situation.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byGI-ANT MOM April 10, 2010

Godd for kids of any age! Positive lessons in the end!

I have watched nearly every episode with my children and have found a prominent, positive message in nearly all of them. I would suspect parents who have not re... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written byBurt Mom August 18, 2009

Not for Toddlers

My daughter came home from daycare saying that if you eat a bee you'll die because they put a bee in a krabby patty and fed it to someone and they died. A... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byhamstergurl09 November 28, 2010

Old Episodes Were Great, Now...Not So Much.

I LOVED Spongebob back in the late 90s early 2000s. The episodes were clever and funny. Now it's just overly used gross humor and slapstick. A little slaps... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 16, 2012

WHAT IS EVERYONE TALKING ABOUT!

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 message 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. Although his antics are funny on-screen, kids' SpongeBob imitations will probably drive adults crazy in the real world.

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

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animation

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