Happy 10th Birthday SpongeBob!

    From the shores of Bikini Bottom, to television sets worldwide SpongeBob has been entertaining the world for a decade. Today is a special day. It is the 10th anniversary of one of the most celebrated cartoons in recent history. Not since the likes of The Simpsons has a show been more acclaimed. While SpongeBob may be an unlikely hero I can assure you there is nothing unlikely about this sitcom. When creator Stephen Hillenburg, a former marine biologist, created the show he never imagined that it would initially go beyond a first season.

    He was a marine biology teacher at what is now the Orange County Ocean Institute. He worked as a marine biologist from 1984–1987. In 1987 Hillenburg decided to pursue a career in animation, his second lifelong passion. He made several short films, two of which were awarded and played in animation film festivals internationally. His two short films The Green Beret (1991) (which was featured in an episode of "Liquid Television"; MTV misspelled his name "Hillenberg" in the credits) and Wormholes (1992) became popular shorts in several film festivals - and received various awards.

    While still attending animation school, Hillenburg received a job on the children's TV series Mother Goose & Grimm from 1991 to 1993. When attending the California Institute of the Arts he made his thesis film called 'Wormholes' (which was funded by the Princess Grace Foundation). Hillenburg displayed his films at various animation festivals. Joe Murray, creator of Rocko's Modern Life, met Hillenburg at an animation festival[3] and asked Hillenburg if he would be a director on the show, to which he agreed. Hillenburg joined the Nickelodeon animated series as a writer, producer, and storyboard artist. While working on Rocko's Modern Life, Hillenburg became friends with Tom Kenny, who would later become the voice of SpongeBob, and future SpongeBob collaborators Doug Lawrence, Paul Tibbit and others.

    When Rocko's Modern Life ended in 1996, Hillenburg developed a concept for a new show about sea creatures, drawing on characters he created for a comic book about tidepools in 1989 at the California Institute of the Arts. He focused the show on a sponge, which Hillenburg initially drew as a natural sponge but changed to a square sponge because it looked funnier. In 1997, Hillenburg teamed with some of his former "Rocko" colleagues, who helped design the show's backgrounds and characters.

    While working at the Ocean Institute, Hillenburg wrote a comic book called "The Intertidal Zone". He showed it to Martin Olson, a friend and one of the writers of Rocko's Modern Life. Olson loved it and suggested that Hillenburg rewrite it as an undersea cartoon series.[citation needed]

    In 1998, Hillenburg pitched the show to Nickelodeon, using an aquarium, character models, a theme song and the storyboard that would become the pilot episode, "Help Wanted." The main character's name was originally "SpongeBoy", but since the name was copyrighted, he changed it to SpongeBob.[citation needed] Nickelodeon executives bought the pitch and the series premiered on May 1, 1999, and the following episodes started airing on July 17, 1999. He played the ukulele on The Best Day Ever. When his artistic talents lead him to a career in animation, the "SpongeBob" series was born. He left the show in 2004.

    To commemorate the 10th anniversary, tonight at 9 p.m., a new special aimed at adults debuts on VH1 (which is owned by Nick's parent company).

    "Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants" includes interviews with TV historians, celebrities and the show's cast and crew.

    Viewers will learn the origins of the story. "SpongeBob" creator Stephen Hillenburg is a former marine biologist with a talent for art and animation. He developed most of the characters in the 1980s in drawings used to amuse and educate kids at the Orange County Marine Institute in California.
    Paul Tibbitt, executive producer of SpongeBob Squarepants, recently shared his thoughts with Reuters in which he says, "The sarcasm or mean-spirited stuff that cartoons are usually about might not translate into other cultures. But happiness and optimism -- the positive traits that SpongeBob has -- translate better. I think people were just hungry for something a little more positive. But I would never have thought it would go 10 years.”

    In addition, Tom Kenny who lends his voice to the character said, "“For the first year or two we were on, no one really paid much attention to us. Then about the third year, we suddenly star ted seeing the show hit the radar and grow and become a part of pop culture." As an adult, and an aficionado I can say that SpongeBob has truly captured the essence of society. The holistic approach of a character that utilizes his imagination to the fullest extent and is without finite boundaries is an accomplishment and a formula for success more enticing than a Krabby Patty! Who lives in pineapple under the sea?! absorbent, and yellow and porous is he!

    SpongeBob SquarePants - Idiot Box
    The Idiot Box

    1. ^ "Cover Biography - Stephen Hillenburg". Retrieved on 2007-11-12.
    2. ^ "Nickelodeon Taps Patrick Creadon and Christine O'Malley to Produce First-Ever SpongeBob SquarePants Documentary". Press Release (Viacom). Jan. 19 2009. Retrieved on 2009-02-01.
    3. ^ Makin' Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies. 50