Long Live 'SpongeBob'?

Not that anyone on Bikini Bottom was worried, but Nickelodeon has ordered up another full season of SpongeBob SquarePants. For those of you keeping score, the fresh 26 episodes will bring the total number of SpongeBob episodes to 178. (I'm too busy wondering why my DVR keeps taping the same 4 to 5 episodes over and over.)

With a 10th anniversary party behind him, his own Facebook and Twitter pages, a new holiday song for 2009: "Don’t Be a Jerk (It’s Christmas!)", and all kinds of toys, video games, plush dolls, Legos, and even an official Monopoly game inspired by his greatness, SpongeBob is still at the top of his game. 

In TV alone, SpongeBob SquarePants drew more than 75 million monthly viewers in 2009 and has been the No. 1 animated series with Kids 2 to 11 for more than seven consecutive years.

In fact, SB reminds me a lot of another popular yellow-skinned, round-eyed, huge-headed, non-aging 2D animated character with tiny pants who shares those same initials (but reversed). Bart Simpson is still punching in every week; you just don’t see as many "Eat my shorts!" t-shirts these days as you did back in 1994.

I know it takes something like two years for a single episode to go from some genius’ head in an LA office to a Korean animator, then back again, but I’m pretty convinced that, somewhere along the line, they started conceiving the episodes via Mad Libs:

SpongeBob and Patrick find a (blank), but think it’s actually a (blank) and decide to go (blank)ing with it. While they’re distracted, Plankton hatches a scheme to get the secret formula by disguising himself as a (blank). Squidward says "moron" twice and Mr. Krabs obsesses about money. The end.

However they make SpongeBob, it’s working, and will be for some time... if the history of yellow-skinned, round-eyed, huge-headed, non-aging animated 2D animated characters with tiny pants is any indication.

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