Look, it’s time we accepted that Spongebob Squarepants is a cultural icon.
Even if you’ve never had kids, even if you never watched cartoons as a kid,… you know who Spongebob Squarepants is. His face is everywhere in meme form whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Discord or, hell, Medium.
We just love Spongebob. We love the excitable, peppy, upbeat little sponge. One TV reviewer, when describing Spongebob Squarepants’ personality, said “Imagine Jesus Christ if he were ten and had had too much sugar.”
It’s a bizarrely apt description.
It is not, however, Spongebob that has captured my love. I, like many parents, have watched far too many episodes and reruns of Spongebob Squarepants. And I do not vibe with Spongebob.
I vibe with Squidward.
We are all of us, all us adults, all us parents, Squidward.
Squidward is the parent. Spongebob is the kid. Squidward is the one who wants to sleep in every morning, and Spongebob is the one who insists on getting up as loudly as possible and bothering his dad- sorry, Squidward.
Squidward is the person who clearly had big dreams about his clarinet career and his art etc. and Squidward obviously blames Spongebob as the reason why Squidward is constantly putting is dreams on hold. Squidward has to settle for a nine-to-five at the Krusty Krab just to pay rent. If only Squidward hadn’t gotten pregnant- sorry! If only Squidward weren’t constantly getting interrupted by Spongebob and Patrick, Squidward would be a famous artist by now!
Of course the running joke with Squidward is that he constantly blames Spongebob but in actual fact Squidward as an artist isn’t very good. Squidward’s clarinet playing is grating and Squidward’s paintings are constantly getting trashed by art critics.
It’s like the REAL reason Squidward is stuck as a cashier at the Krusty Krab and not a famous artist is that Squidward…. just isn’t a good artist.
It’s easy to blame the kids for your dreams being destroyed. It’s hard to say “Well, maybe I just wasn’t very good in the first place.”
In the end however, Spongebob remains totally oblivious to how much Squidward hates him. Spongebob still loves Squidward without reservation. Spongebob craves Squidward’s attention. Spongebob craves Squidward’s simple presence even if Squidward isn’t doing anything interesting.
Man, treasure these moments Squidward. Spongebob will grow up soon enough and then he’ll want nothing to do with you. And all you’ll have left is your mediocre clarinet playing and your crummy art.
It’s no substitute.