SpongeBob SquarePants

 
Edgy, frenetic animated comedy is iffy for youngest kids.

What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

He's 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 SpongeBob is one of the sea's most famous residents. Since the cheery fellow's debut in 1999, his 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. The 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.

But some aspects of SpongeBob 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about being a good friend. 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?

TV details

Cast:Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Tom Kenny
Networks:Nickelodeon, Nicktoons
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Ocean creatures
TV rating:TV-Y7
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of SpongeBob SquarePants was written by

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

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous August 29, 2010
age 7+
 

The newer episodes are really pushing the boundaries.

In the first hundred episodes of Spongebob Squarepants, parents and kids were entertained alike. With not even a hint of objectionable material, Spongebob was established from the start as an instant classic. The more recent hundred episodes, especially the ones after the movie was released, gave the show an unreasonably high violence level. Characters have been seen to be crushed in car accidents, losing toenails, falling off cliffs, being stung by jellyfish, and many others. If your child is younger than 8, I strongly recommend a DVD of the first few seasons. Even at my age, I still enjoy this show. The friendly humor (unfortunately no longer found in the more recent episodes) and indulging theme make this show one of the greatest kids' broadcasts on the market.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Parent of a 4 year old Written bySarahS January 8, 2010
age 8+
 
Gross, full of inappropriate behaviors. There is nothing positive about this show. It favors questionable language choices, violent conduct and vulgar ways.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written byhamstergurl09 November 28, 2010
age 6+
 

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 slapstick and gross humor is fine, but this is too much. This show was at its high point in 2003, I recommend you go watch those episodes. Pretty much any episode of this show from 2006 on (with the exception of the one where Squidward becomes handsome) is terrible.
Parent Written bykristinamiracle April 5, 2009
age 2+
 

Seriously????

Spongebob is a show thats fine for anyone to watch. If your worried about the type of humor or the language or brutality sorry to bring you to reality but your kids are gonna hear it alot of places other then tv. Ive heard worse things said in school. We have teachers and pastors molesting kids other kids fighting with other kids and kids seeing things thier parents do that u dont think they see and your worried about a cartoon?? Thats ridiculous not to mention from experience I know the more you shelter your kids when their younger the more they are going to be curious and rebel later. Its a cartoon if they like it and it makes them laugh let them watch it if they do something because of it then explain to them whats right and wrong were their parents thats what were here for. I dont rely on a cartoon to teach my kids right and wrong and if you do then u are one lazy parent.

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