“Father of SpongeBob” Passed Away

Stephen Hillenburg, American cartoonist and the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, passed away at the age of 57.

In March this year, Helen Berg announced that Stephen was diagnosed with Lou Gehrigs disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis(ALS), a progressive and fatal nerve degenerative disease. He died in the fight against illness on the 26th of this month.

Since the premiere of SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon in 1999, the show has been broadcast nearly 250 episodes, which not only created the channel’s viewing record, but also made it one of Nick’s most popular cartoons. It was also put on the screen twice: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie released in 2004 and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in 2015, which created a total revenue of more than $12 billion.

SpongeBob SquarePants has become not only part of American pop culture, but also a childhood memory of children all over the world. Being translated into more than 60 languages including Urdu, Azeri and Maori, it has won two Emmy Awards, Annie Awards, NAACP Awards, and 12 Kids Audience Choice Awards.

Although translated in the cartoon as “baby”, SpongeBob has been at his position for a long time. If you count the scenes in the cartoon, it is not difficult for the audience to find that the SpongeBob works at Krusty Krab most of the time and often works overtime (for this reason, although Patrick Star is the best friend of SpongeBob, the number and frequency of of Patrick Star’s appearance in the cartoon is not as good as SpongeBob’s colleague Squidward Tentacles). SpongeBob’s continuous working time lasts for 374 months, equivalent to 31 years, yet he is only 32 years old this year.

 SpongeBob’s Driving License

SpongeBob, the employee of Krusty Krab with super-long working hours, has experienced all kinds of incidents and accidents in the workplace. Though he has to bear the arbitrary exploitation of his greedy boss Mr. Krabs, the daily negative and cold words from his colleague Squidward Tentacles, and defend against Plankton’s destructions on the front line, SpongeBob is still energetic with a bright smile every day, which can be called a model for all office workers to learn from.

Now as a grown-up, looking back at SpongeBob, it is not difficult to find that among the seven conventional main character settings in SpongeBob SquarePants, their most distinctive features correspond with the seven sins of Western Christian religious concepts: SpongeBob matches Lust, Patrick Star Sloth, Squidward Tentacles Wrath, Sandy Pride, Plankton Envy, Mr. Krabs Greed, and Gary Gluttony. Of course, the heavy sins in these humanities lead to profound contradictories between these stupid characters. There are many adult punch lines, some even like cold jokes, and many shallow and childish performances, yet the characters are really pleasing, as if anything happening on them will become very hilarious.

With contradictions and metaphors, this noisy cartoon seem less frivolous, delighting and moving both adults and children. It is never a childish or shameful thing to admit favors of SpongeBob SquarePants. Its fans include the late David Bowie, former US President Barack Obama, movie star Johnny Depp, Victoria Beckham, etc. Since its premiere, it has won 62 prizes, including Two Anne Awards (one of the highest awards in the field of animation), two BAFTA awards, two Emmy Awards, eight Golden Globe Awards and thirteen Child Choice Awards.

It also has a profound social influence. In 2011, San Francisco State University named the newly discovered species of sponge “SpongeBob”, and the US non-profit conservative evangelical Christian organization “Focused on the Family” (the institution supported by US Vice President Mike Pence) objects to “SpongeBob”, believing that the interaction between the SpongeBob and Patrick Star in the cartoon, and Mr. Krabs’ raising the whale daughter Pearl Krabs, etc. all suggest promoting the homosexual Affirmative Action.

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