I grew up with SpongeBob SquarePants in my household.
That’s hardly a bold statement from someone in my age range. Having been born just over a year before the show’s debut on Nickelodeon, just about every one of my peers did the same.
All of that said, I still remember the impact it made on me in a creative sense. Those who know me are very aware that I draw on almost everything paper-related that I touch. A napkin at a restaurant? A sticky-note? The edges of paper that I have no more use for? Give me a writing utensil and they probably have drawings on them within ten minutes.
Every year before a school grade would start, I’d get a new binder, and new paper. Every year, I’d say to myself that “I will NOT doodle on these sheets of paper, or on my binder.”
Every year, I’d doodle on those sheets of paper, or on my binder. From the early elementary school years to the last day of high school, I drew enough to see my art evolve, and, in least in my mind, develop my own style. I’ll almost certainly never become a professional artist, but I enjoy drawing and exploring whatever idea my brain comes up with at the time.
In my mind, that’s a credit to the art and cartoons I grew up with. When it comes to comics, I’m a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes. On the TV side, I grew up with cartoons that were mostly older – The Flintstones, Wacky Races, and Looney Tunes. One of the ones I watched the most, though?
SpongeBob. I intentionally shortened it because if you’re talking about the show, you’re simply calling it by the informal, simple title of “SpongeBob.”
With this show having such a big influence on me creatively and touching so many hearts in unique, individual ways, an entire generation was saddened by the loss of series creator Stephen Hillenburg in November to ALS.
SpongeBob SquarePants as an intellectual property has done remarkable things on the internet.
The show has spawned countless memes at this point, which, whether or not Viacom (the owner of Nickelodeon) would like to admit it, are huge parts of current internet culture.
That’s why it’s so poetic that after the passing of Hillenburg, fans of the show have gathered to give a shout to the producers of the Super Bowl halftime show.
In one of the show’s early episodes, the characters from the show are brought together to perform at the universe’s equivalent to the Super Bowl, fittingly called the Bubble Bowl.
Once they get there, the live-action crowd is treated to a goofy-but-charming “performance” of “Sweet Victory,” a song by David Glen Eisley. (Eisley was once on the Billboard Top 100, reaching #15 in 1985!)
Eisley’s song would reach an audience that, I’m sure, he never imagined it would.
The episode was extremely well-received at the time, and I strongly recommend watching it now – it holds up for any age-group. It also won at the 2002 Golden Reel Awards for Best Sound Editing in Television (Animation).
Combine the current internet culture with a blatant Super Bowl reference, and the Halftime Show producers were suddenly presented by a rather large internet petition for the 2019 show to include “Sweet Victory.”
At the time of this writing, 1,192,239 people had signed the petition, and it’s still growing. With just four days remaining until the big game, people are putting prop bets together to debate whether the song will be played by halftime performers Maroon 5.
Now, usually, these online petitions don’t amount to much. I tend, personally, to steer away from them. That said, there’s undoubtedly something different about this one.
In fact, it’s realistic for this to happen. Maroon 5’s already teased that this might be a thing. The official Twitter for Mercedes-Benz Stadium has mentioned that the show’s fans should tune in. The tweet also mentions that Rodger Bumpass, the longtime voice of Squidward Tentacles (The conductor for the Bubble Bowl band and main character of the story), will be introducing Maroon 5.
Now, the target audience for the Super Bowl is already much larger because there’s a mainstream music act playing, but adding something like this? This could bring in even more people, adding more eyes to the event. It makes a lot of sense from the NFL’s side.
But that’s not the most important part.
This could be the perfect tribute for Stephen Hillenburg, and a beautiful, dare-I-say wholesome way for the internet community to come together and celebrate both creativity and the man who created a piece of a generation.
With the way that the show has impacted me personally, how could I not root for this to happen?