SpongeBob SquarePants

Long trail runs offer ample opportunity for strange debate. During the Catoctin 50k 2008 Caren Jew and I discussed the cosmic question: Who is gentler, SpongeBob SquarePants or Hello Kitty? Until a few days ago I had never seen a significant amount of the SpongeBob cartoon series. But during my current visit to family in Texas I discovered that a SpongeBob 10th Anniversary "marathon" is underway on Nickelodeon. So of course I over-indulged.

SpongeBob is reminiscent of the long-ago "Bullwinkle & Rocky" animated series, with arch allusions that only a few in the audience are likely to get. For instance, in one show SpongeBob's friend Patrick Star is mistakenly crowned a king, heads for the restaurant, and says in passing "King needs food, badly!"—a likely reference to an old adventure game "Gauntlet" from which, son Merle tells me, a similar line has since become a popular catchphrase. Another SpongeBob episode, "Clams", is clearly riffing on the book/movie Jaws. But at one point the central character, Mr. Krabs, turns into Captain Ahab in his obsession and nails a sandwich to the mast, It's a clear homage to a dramatic scene in Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Delightful! (But I still think Hello Kitty is gentler.)

(cf. [1] and [2]) - ^z - 2009-07-17