So, I know I don’t talk very much about television, but there’s something eating at me that I can no longer remain silent about. It’s been all over social media and I need to let my voice be heard, because what I am about to talk about is infuriating to me, and I feel the need to voice why. I apologize if I come across as angry and bitter in this post, but I honestly cannot let this slide. It involves a quirky yellow sponge and a recent announcement.
When I was a child, I was a huge fan of Stephen Hillenburg’s children’s cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants. As you may already know, Hillenburg passed away last December at 57 years old due to complications with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Now, growing up, the cartoon was a staple in my household. I loved SpongeBob as a character for his optimistic spirit and innocent nature as he navigated the adult world of working as a fry cook for the Krusty Krab burger joint.
In its prime, this show was charming, funny, and all-around enjoyable because of the unending optimism and good nature of the main character. However, after the first film for the show aired, Stephen Hillenburg stepped down and wanted it to end. Nickelodeon said no, and the show went on without him.
I’ve watched very little of the show’s later seasons because of their negative reception after Hillenburg left. And I am of the opinion that Nick should have let the show end in its prime, and that has long since passed by – I mean, this show’s been going for twenty years.
But here’s where I think Nickelodeon has really crossed the line: Stephen Hillenburg was adamant that he never wanted the show to get any spinoffs or reboots of any kind, especially those that age the character down. I think he was worried about the character being sold out and milked for all its worth. Just a few days ago, not even a year after the man’s passing, Nick announced a SpongeBob spinoff called Kamp Koral.
I don’t think I have to explain why I have lost all respect for this company.
The implication that Nick couldn’t even wait a year until after poor Hillenburg died to cash in on the franchise by announcing this spinoff is quite disgusting. Having it go on for far too long is one thing – but specifically doing something that the creator himself was against is the equivalent of all the executives collectively spitting on Hillenburg’s grave, and I just can’t condone that.
Now, I know profits are important for a company to keep afloat, and Nick is, first and foremost, a business. But why not create an entirely new property that can compete with SpongeBob? Why not bring in new, talented people and actually give their work the chance to grow and gain a following? Why does everything have to be compared to SpongeBob, making it difficult for the properties that are created to really have a chance to shine?
YouTube user Saberspark once made an excellent analysis of what is befalling the Nickelodeon company, and it includes the company’s history and how placing all their focus on SpongeBob is a bad idea. You can watch it here.
I only learned about this when the former supervising producer of the show spoke out on Twitter a few days ago, and I feel so bad for the poor man, because he knows that Hillenburg is being disrespected but he can’t do anything except voice disapproval.
I admit, I’m not angry about the actual spinoff. I’m not angry that Nickelodeon is trying to stay afloat. What angers me is that they are actively disrespecting the man who gave them their most popular property. What angers me is that they are doing this knowing full well that Hillenburg can’t stop them. And it’s just sad to me.
SpongeBob is one of my favorite cartoon characters of all time. And seeing him be treated this way is so unfortunate. I am honestly hoping that the heat Nick is facing for this will stop this stupid reboot in its tracks, although that’s probably asking a lot. I just know that I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support Nickelodeon when they do stuff like this. It is simply too far in my opinion.
I will continue to enjoy SpongeBob for what Hillenburg wanted him to be. But there is no way in hell that I will ever support Nickelodeon in what they are doing. I just can’t stomach this decision, and the most I can do to really voice my disapproval is not watch it.
I’m so sorry, Mr. Hillenburg. You deserved better than this. I am so sorry you are being disrespected in this way. I only hope that this stupid idea tanks or gets cancelled before it ever reaches completion.
All that said, I leave you with one of SpongeBob’s greatest moments.