‘SpongeBob SquarePants’: Behind the Memes, Behind the Phenomenon

Spongebob Squarepants

Why in the world did this show become so big?

Long before the yellow sponge was the internet meme factory he is today, he was part of a new wave of animation at Nickelodeon. SpongeBob SquarePants was weird, smart, and totally different from anything else out there on TV. So how did it stick with us?

That’s where video essayist Karsten Runquist comes in. He focuses on storytelling. The narratives are just different somehow, mostly because they embrace the absurd.

Characters are defined immediately and inherently. His name is his persona. This leaves a lot of room for the crazy lengths of storytelling the show can go to and allows his co-stars to embrace the roles often saved for subplots. They’re stories embodied and it frees the show up to be so weird and immediate.

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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).