A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show entertains rather than educates.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few silly romantic plots, but nothing sexual.
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Words such as "stupid," "idiot."
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Products & Purchases
SpongeBob is a huge commercial franchise with merchandise, games, clothes, toys, and much more branded with his image.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.