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 272 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 903 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 frequently explored as SpongeBob is always in the process of learning to be a better person (er, sponge). 

Positive Role Models & Representations

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. 

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 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.

Wondering if SpongeBob SquarePants is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

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
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, 12 years old October 3, 2015

C-A-L-M D-O-W-N

SpongeBob isn't meant to be a real quality show, people! It's a silly harmless cartoon, so people calm down!

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

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love animation

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate