SpongeBob SquarePants is by far one of the most impactful and best kid’s cartoon that has ever come out. It does a great job with fantastic characters, unique setting, and hilarious humor. It balances humor that a child understands while also making grown adults laugh, as well.
If you know me well enough, then you know that I LOVE SpongeBob. I have ever since I was a kid, and can quote anything from any episode. But, I won’t deny that SpongeBob SquarePants that is currently on is not the same show that aired two decades ago.
SpongeBob has two spinoffs that are currently airing: Kamp Koral, and the Patrick Star show. I saw a bit from Kamp Koral, and it’s okay, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, the show is not bad, but it’s also not anything great. It’s just… meh. But, when I heard that they were making a show just for Patrick, I was a bit skeptical at first. Then, I heard that it was going to be a sort of day-time TV show, and I thought to myself, “huh… this has potential.”
Boy, I was wrong. So, very, very wrong.
Here’s a thing about a successful series like SpongeBob. When a show like that first airs and attracts audiences all over the globe, it’s typically because the writers behind the show are incredibly talented at their jobs. Every episodes that they write is a masterpiece, and each season is a string of ground-breaking episodes.
But, this can only go on for so long.
Eventually, after a while, the writer’s start running out of ideas for the show. They may decide that it is time to end the show on a high note. One final season (or movie) where the story is wrapped up, the characters get what they want, and everything ends on a happy note.
But, the network in charge may have different plans.
If the show’s a cash cow like SpongeBob, they will continue to squeeze as much out of it as possible. The show will be renewed for season after season and as the years pass, the writer’s start running out of ideas and losing steam.
Then, the writers become desperate, and they try to find other ways to keep people entertained. This is where the characters start changing for the worst. You see, good characters are not only three-dimensional, but every character has their own small, quirky traits about them that makes them unique.
However, writers of an aging show will take one quirk from an in-depth character and blow it out of proportion. That character then becomes an embodiment of an overexaggerated quirk. Once three-dimensional character with layers become shallow, exaggerated versions of themselves.
This is called Flanderization, coined after Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. I haven’t watched too much of that show, but from my understanding, he is portrayed in the earlier seasons as a kind, family man who has a religious, Christian background. However, in the later seasons, the writers take his religious faith and blow it out of proportion, having it be his whole character.
No show can avoid this — years of production on a show often times leads writers to flanderize their own characters. They often do it for cheap laughs because they are struggling to think of ideas or jokes for a new episode. However, I have never seen a show that has flanderized a character worse than Patrick on this new show.
It’s pretty accepted from the SpongeBob fan community that all the characters from SpongeBob have been flanderized. SpongeBob had gone from an adult who had a childish, naïve view on the world to simply a toddler in a man’s body. Mr. Krabs was a business owner who also served as a father figure that cared about his employees. Sure, he was a bit obsessed with money, but he still understood the importance of family and friends. However, in later seasons, his greed was so blown of out of proportion that he soon became an emotionless, cut-throat executive that would sacrifice anyone or anything for money.
But, Patrick… Well, he was a bit dumb in the earlier seasons for sure, but he also was a loyal friend to SpongeBob. However, his stupidity was amplified in later seasons, and his loyalty to friends? It was thrown out in favor of having him be a selfish, arrogant bully (I could write a whole blog post on this).
However, in the Patrick Star Show, not only did he retain his flanderized, stupidity trait, but it was given an extra dose of steroids. He wasn’t just stupid, but he was random, too. Everything he does has no rhyme or reason. He sleeps on the ceiling, he brushes his eye with a toothbrush, and uses a pickax on a bed to find food to eat. Yeah, he’s so dumb that he apparently believes that food can be found underneath a bed by striking it with a pickax.
Sure, maybe a toddler would find this funny, but SpongeBob was never just made for toddlers. It was made for audiences of all ages, and the Patrick Star Show seemed to have forgotten this. It exchanges smart, clever, and funny writing for “haha, its random, and random is funny.”
When a character like this is flanderized this badly, it’s merely a symptom to a much greater problem. I remember one person saying that modern day SpongeBob is a bloated corpse that Nickelodeon is still beating for money. And… unfortunately, I agree.
For the past few years, Nickelodeon has fallen behind its competitors, Cartoon Network and Disney, in providing quality shows. However, with new reboots along the way, like iCarly the Rugrats, and the live action Fairly OddParents show (oh boy), Nickelodeon has made clear what their objective is.
“Don’t create quality content, but make as much money as possible.” Nickelodeon is creatively bankrupt, and unless they can find original, quality shows to air on their network, they will never catch up to their competition.
It almost makes me wonder whether Nickelodeon is too afraid to air new shows. Why bother when they create more SpongeBob spinoffs, and if things go south, just reboot more old shows. Their feeding off of people’s nostalgia, but if they try to keep reliving the past, they won’t be able to look towards the future.
I genuinely hope that the writer’s of the Patrick Star Show really look over season 1 to see how they can improve. I know that criticism sucks, especially when said criticism is difficult to swallow. But, here’s my advice to the writers if the Patrick Star Show.
Rewatch the first three season of SpongeBob and really ask yourself: “Who is Patrick Star?” Don’t flanderize him like you have in season 1, but rebuild him into the in-depth character that he was in original SpongeBob. Write your story not just for kids, but for adults and SpongeBob fans, too. I know that it can be difficult to write a kid’s show for all ages, but it has been done in the past, and is still being done today.
Unfortunately, I can hardly blame the writers as they are merely trying to appease their overlords at Nickelodeon. But, I genuinely do wish them the best of luck. The Patrick Star Show serves as a great reminder about why all shows need an end, regardless of their popularity.