Nickelodeon used to be a ratings powerhouse in the ’90s and early 2000s. While it still has charming programs like The Loud House and…*insert whistling wind in the distance* other shows, the network isn’t what it used to be. The main issue being in the online era, it’s challenging to get kids (or anyone) to put down their tablets and tune in for a cable television show. Brian Robbins, the resident President of Nickelodeon has devised a plan to flip the script and reinstate the channel to its former glory. Step One, a stampede of new shows. Lego City (based on characters from The Lego Movie), Paddington, Are you Smarter Than A 5th Grader, (Hosted By John Cena), and even Ryan from the popular YouTube channel Ryan ToysReview is getting his own program. Step Two, expand the Spongebob Squarepants universe with a series of spinoffs in hopes of cementing the show’s loyal fanbase.
Debuting May 1st, 1999, Spongebob is Nickelodeon’s longest-running series with 244 episodes and two feature-length movies to date. To say the show has a cult following would be an understatement. Those who love Spongebob, watch Spongebob, live Spongebob, quote Spongebob, and are probably at least a little bit annoying about their adoration. *raises hand sheepishly* Before we dive into what’s to come for the franchise-in-the-making—one question remains, are you ready kids? It was low-hanging fruit, sorry.
“That’s our Marvel Universe,” Robbins said when being asked about Spongebob Squarepants as a property. That statement alone gives fans a rough idea of which character might get a shot at their own show, and the answer is bleak but, no sea critter is off the table. It seems like every corner of Bikini Bottom is being examined in creating this new content. Prequels? Present day storylines? The options are exciting, but we also must not forget, Spongebob is not canceled. The new stories will have their limitations in the respect that, if Nickelodeon makes a “Patrick Star Show”, viewers might not feel as inclined to tune into new Spongebob Squarepants episodes. The characters upholding these new tales have to be meaningful, and fun enough to stand on their own against their predecessor, while still remaining complimentary.
Needless to say, I have some ideas. Read along below for my synopses of three imaginary (but potential), Spongebob Squarepants spinoffs.
Life of Plankton
Even with a low success rate, the villainous Sheldon J. Plankton maintains big aspirations to steal the secret Krabby Patty formula. When he’s not concocting a plot to swipe the recipe, Plankton runs the Chum Bucket, a failing restaurant directly across the street from the Krusty Krab. Plankton is an interesting choice to spearhead a spinoff because he’s extremely multidimensional. He shows great affection for his supercomputer wife Karen, and at his core aspires for nothing more than personal success (especially at the expense of others). Although Plankton hates Mr. Krabs, he’s still wavered to the side of good, aiding Spongebob on several occasions. This would serve as a really neat opportunity to show fans classic, reinterpreted Spongebob episodes from the perspective of Plankton. Also, Plankton not an episode-to-episode staple of the series, which would give the writers freedom to give him adventures of his own away from the regular characters.
Sandy’s Texan Corral
Sandy Cheeks is a diving suit-wearing squirrel who enjoys life underwater from the comfort of her spacious treedome. As explored in numerous Spongebob episodes, Sandy hailed from the great state of Texas and had a colorful southern life before her stay in Bikini Bottom. There is so much room to explore this character’s origins. Ditch the helmet and show fans Sandy alongside her friends back home, the horned lizard and armadillo. This honky-tonk prequel could flesh out Sandy’s charming roots, and give fans a visually diverse but tonally similar series within the Spongebob-verse.
The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy
These two senior superheroes were forced out of retirement thanks to Spongebob and Patrick and maintained their fan favorite status ever since. Almost unarguably, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are begging to have a show of their own. Writers have spent a fair amount of time building out the MM and BB lore, exploring character dynamics and introducing their memorable circle of villains. Sadly, the conception of a potential series will not be possible without necessary recasting. On May 14th the voice talent behind Barnacle Boy, Tim Conway, passed away at 85 years old. The immense loss of Conway was felt throughout the Spongebob fandom and entertainment industry alike. We can only hope that if this spinoff comes to fruition, that Nickelodeon will cast someone who will pay perfect homage to the late actor, as well as the beloved character he brought to life.
Which Spongebob Squarepants character would you like to see get a spinoff? Let us know in a comment below.