List of SpongeBob SquarePants characters
The characters in SpongeBob SquarePants were created by artist, animator and former marine biologist Stephen Hillenburg. In addition to the series' main cast, various celebrities have voiced roles in SpongeBob SquarePants. Notably, Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway voice the roles of recurring characters Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy respectively (Adam West assumed the role of Mermaid Man shortly after Ernest Borgnine's death in 2012), while others have taken a cameo part.
Creation and conception
Stephen Hillenburg conceived the characters for SpongeBob SquarePants in 1984, while he was teaching and studying marine biology at what is now the Orange County Ocean Institute. During this period, Hillenburg became fascinated with animation, and wrote a comic book entitled The Intertidal Zone starring various anthropomorphic forms of sea life, many of which would evolve into SpongeBob SquarePants characters, including "Bob the Sponge", who was the co-host of the comic and resembled an actual sea sponge as opposed to SpongeBob. In 1987, Hillenburg left the institute to pursue his dream of becoming an animator.
- SpongeBob SquarePants (voiced by Tom Kenny) is the series' title character and protagonist. He is a yellow anthropomorphic sea sponge who physically resembles an artificial, rectangular, kitchen-type cleaning sponge clad in brown short-pants, a white shirt and a red tie. He lives in a pineapple house and is employed as a fry cook at a fast food restaurant called the Krusty Krab. SpongeBob's hobbies include practicing karate with Sandy, as well as jellyfishing, blowing bubbles, and playing games with his best friend, a starfish named Patrick Star. He attends Mrs. Puff's Boating School but has never passed; his lack of a driver's license is a running gag throughout the series. Green and purple were early color choices for the character before yellow was chosen. He is usually seen as weak and fragile, and his first appearance was in "Help Wanted".
- Patrick Star (voiced by Bill Fagerbakke) is a starfish who lives under a rock, and whose most prominent character trait is his low intelligence. He is best friends with SpongeBob and often encourages activities that get the two into trouble. While typically unemployed throughout the course of the series, Patrick holds various short-term jobs as the storyline of each episode requires. He is good-natured, kind, and is "the tough one" of the two who is often called to fight SpongeBob's battles for him (although he usually gets distracted). Patrick is shown to have a mean temper in some episodes. His first appearance was in "Help Wanted".
- Squidward Tentacles (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) is an octopus with a large nose. He is SpongeBob and Patrick's ill-tempered, grouchy next-door neighbor with a snobby attitude and a sarcastic sense of humor. He has no talent, although he believes he is extremely talented. He plays the clarinet and loves to paint self-portraits in different artistic styles, which he hangs up around the walls of his house shaped like an Easter Island head-sculpture. He dislikes SpongeBob and his friends as well as his current occupation at the Krusty Krab. He regularly acts condescendingly toward customers.
- Eugene Krabs (voiced by Clancy Brown), is a red crab who owns and operates the Krusty Krab restaurant where SpongeBob works. He is self-content, intelligent, and obsessed with money. He lives in an anchor with his daughter Pearl, who is a whale. The Krusty Krab was originally a retirement home called "The Rusty Krab" which he bought after returning from fighting in the war; when it went bankrupt, he turned it into a restaurant and renamed it "The Krusty Krab." He takes pride in money, his invention of the Krabby Patty, and his superiority over his rival Plankton's restaurant, The Chum Bucket.
- Sandy Cheeks (voiced by Carolyn Lawrence) is a squirrel from Texas. She has a number of athletic interests, such as "sand-boarding" and karate, and is a rodeo champion. She also works as a scientist, explorer, and inventor. Being from the surface, she lives in a tree which is inside a glass dome so she can breathe. To survive underwater, she wears a diving suit and helmet to travel outside of her tree-dome. Whenever any aquatic creatures enter her air-filled dome, they must wear helmets filled with water to breathe.
- Gary Snail (voiced by Tom Kenny) is SpongeBob's pet sea snail. Within the series, snails are analogous to cats, so Gary almost always vocalizes like a cat. Despite this, other characters can understand and communicate with him. Depicted as a level-headed character, Gary sometimes serves as a voice of reason for SpongeBob, and solves problems that his owner cannot.
- Sheldon Plankton (voiced by Mr. Lawrence) is a plankton who owns the Chum Bucket, the rival restaurant to the Krusty Krab. As the villain self-proclaimed archenemy to Mr. Krabs, he constantly tries to steal Krabs' secret recipe for Krabby Patties, but is always unsuccessful (except, temporarily, in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie). Sometimes, not only does he wish to run Mr. Krabs out of business, but he also wishes to rule the world. His wife is Karen, a computer of his creation. Though he is considered the main antagonist of the series, he has been portrayed as a protagonist or antihero on several occasions.
- Karen (voiced by Jill Talley) is Plankton's nagging computer "WIFE" (as in an acronym for "Wired Integrated Female Electroencephalograph") and voice of reason. She apparently has a mind of her own to the point of making fun of Plankton. Karen usually helps Plankton in his schemes to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula, although on occasions Plankton rejects her ideas and then takes them as if they were his own. She has a sarcastic attitude towards Plankton, and it is revealed in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie that she never agreed to marry Plankton.
- Mrs. Puff (voiced by Mary Jo Catlett), is a pufferfish with blonde hair, who is the owner and teacher of a boating school (analogous to driving school, as the "boats" are underwater equivalents to cars). Her first appearance with in the episode "Boating School", which first aired on August 7, 1999. She dreads instructing SpongeBob due to his inability to drive without crashing. As a running gag, she frequently gets in trouble with the police due to SpongeBob's inability to drive without causing public damage.
- Pearl Krabs (voiced by Lori Alan) is Mr. Krabs' teenage sperm whale daughter. The series has yet to explain their disparity in species, although in the book SpongeBob's Trivia Book, Mr. Krabs explains that Pearl takes after her mother, suggesting that her mother is a whale. Her mother is never seen or mentioned in the series. Pearl is frequently embarrassed by her father's cheap attitude and often forces him to try and change his habits.
- Mermaid Man (voiced by Ernest Borgnine/Joe Whyte/Tom Kenny/Adam West/Joe Alaskey) and his sidekick Barnacle Boy (voiced by Tim Conway/Burt Ward) are two elderly and partially senile superheroes who live in a retirement home and are stars of SpongeBob and Patrick's favorite television show. Mermaid Man is known for completely forgetting things, yelling a prolonged "EVIL!" whenever he hears the word, and Barnacle Boy seems to be the smarter, more sensible of the two. It was revealed in the episode entitled "Mermaid Man Begins" of the 8th season that Mermaid Man's given name is Ernie. Since Borgnine's death, neither Mermaid Man nor Barnacle Boy has appeared, and are rumored to have been discontinued from the show. The artist who created Aquaman, Ramona Frandon, drew the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy comic book adventures.
- Larry the Lobster (voiced by Mr. Lawrence) is a lobster lifeguard of the Goo Lagoon. Larry is a bodybuilder and workout fanatic.
- The Flying Dutchman (voiced by Brian Doyle-Murray) is an irascible pirate ghost named after a ghost ship, The Flying Dutchman. He lives underwater in a giant ship and collects souls. Included in his arsenal of supernatural powers are intangibility, levitation, teleportation, energy projection, shapeshifting, interdimensional travel, matter transmutation, and wish-granting.
- Patchy the Pirate (portrayed by Tom Kenny) is a live-action character who is a pirate and the president of the SpongeBob Fan Club. He lives in an unnamed suburb of Encino, California, and is normally present in specials, often in a dual narrative with the animated SpongeBob, although sometimes he merely introduces the episode. He made a special guest star appearance on Big Time Rush in the episode "Big Time Beach Party" with Carlos Pena, Jr. and Logan Henderson.
- Potty the Parrot (voiced by Stephen Hillenburg/portrayed by Paul Tibbitt) is Patchy the Pirate's "annoying" pet parrot. Potty is a crudely made puppet controlled by very obvious strings. He is obnoxious and often annoys or talks back to Patchy. He is similar to Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from the Lion King.
- Officer Nancy (Sirena Irwin) and Officer John (Dee Bradley Baker/Thomas F. Wilson/Mr. Lawrence) are partners and the two most commonly seen police in Bikini Bottom, appearing most prominently in Season 3. Nancy is a purple female police fish with blonde hair and John is a male police fish, whose colour vaires. Although John still regularly appears on the show, Nancy has been mostly retired from the series since the third season.
- Purple Doctorfish (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) is a Bikini Bottom doctor.
- Elaine (voiced by Mr. Lawrence/Tom Kenny) is a live-action announcer and news anchorfish, resembling a cut-out of a bass fish. Elaine appears in numerous episodes, including the intro to the show. His name is revealed to be Elaine in "The Great Patty Caper", though he has been called Johnny in Battle for Bikini Bottom, although this is only in the video game series, making his canonical name Elaine.
- Perch Perkins is a field news reporter. His name was first revealed in "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" as he announced the arrival of the Krusty Krab 2.
- Harold SquarePants (Tom Kenny) and Margaret SquarePants (Sirena Irwin) are SpongeBob's parents, who more resemble sea sponges rather than SpongeBob's shape as a kitchen sponge.
- Squilliam Fancyson (Dee Bradley Baker) is Squidward Tentacles's arrogant and wealthy arch-rival who has been able to succeed in everything Squidward has only dreamed of doing. He and Squidward compete in the series on many occasions and Squidward normally does not win over his rival. Though sometimes mistaken as a relative of Squidward due to their similarities, they were band classmates in high school and are not related.
- Mrs. Betsy Krabs (Paul Tibbitt first two appearances/Sirena Irwin subsequent appearances) is Mr. Krabs' overbearing mother who still treats him slightly like a kid and first appeared in "Sailor Mouth". Plankton has a small crush on her in "Enemy in Law".
- Man Ray (John Rhys-Davies/Bob Joles) and the Dirty Bubble (Charles Nelson Reilly/Tom Kenny) are villains against Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Man Ray has a man's body with a helmet shaped to look like a stingray's head, while the Dirty Bubble is a giant bubble with a villainous face. Charles Nelson Reilly originally voiced the Dirty Bubble, but Tom Kenny has portrayed the character since Reilly's death in 2007.
- Old Jenkins (Tom Kenny/Doug Lawrence/Dee Bradley Baker) is an elderly fish who used to live in the Rusty Krab rest home before it became the Krusty Krab restaurant. He currently resides at Shady Shoals Retirement Home along with Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. His appearance changes in almost every episode he appears. One of his critical appearances is in "The Sponge Who Could Fly" wherein he plays a farmer, a sailor, and finally, a human cannonball. He is friends with Mama Krabs, as revealed in "Sailor Mouth" and "Friend or Foe?"
- King Neptune (John O'Hurley/Kevin Michael Richardson/Jeffrey Tambor/Billy West) is a green merman who is the king of the sea.
- Stanley SquarePants (voiced by Christopher Guest) is SpongeBob's cousin. He has so far only made one appearance in the series. Stanley was sent over to SpongeBob through the mail in a package sent by one of SpongeBob's uncles. His uncle said that Stanley was sent over to SpongeBob's house because Stanley would constantly destroy anything he touched, and trusted SpongeBob to help Stanley not destroy things often. Stanley has said that he can't do anything right, but SpongeBob kept trying to help Stanley get a brighter future. Stanley met some of SpongeBob's friends, but he would mess up whenever he saw them. He was later employed for the Krusty Krab, where he would continue to mess up in whatever he did. While he was on register duty, his first customer was Harold Reginald. But instead of taking his order, he kept taking pictures of him. Eventually, in the end, Harold exploded in impatience. But he is still alive in the series as of today. Stanley is later asked by Mr. Krabs to work for Plankton at the Chum Bucket, where he blew up the whole restaurant.
- Fred Rechid (voiced by Mr. Lawrence/Dee Bradley Baker/Jim Cummings), better known as the character who shouts "MY LEG!" when injured (alone or in a group), is a brown fish who was one of the first of the generic character models to appear in the series. He first appears in "Reef Blower," but his famous line, a running gag in the series, is not heard until "Boating School".
- Nat Peterson (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker/Tom Kenny/Rodger Bumpass/Daran Norris) - A male yellow fish that is a common background character on the show. His last name is revealed in "Missing Identity," and his first name was revealed in "Plankton's Regular" and "House Fancy", his biggest role to date.
- Harold (Mr. Lawrence/Dee Bradley Baker/Clancy Brown) is a blue fish with a shark-like fin, spiky teeth, a white T-shirt and a red speedo. His name was revealed in both Have You Seen This Snail? and in "Roller Cowards" when Tina Fran says his name. His first appearance was in Ripped Pants.
- Scooter (Carlos Alazraqui/Clancy Brown) - A parrotfish who enjoys surfing. He allegedly died and became an angel in the second-season episode "Bubble Buddy", though he returned for future episodes. Until the end of Season 3, Scooter spoke like a stereotypical Southern Californian, and he is most often seen at Goo Lagoon.
- Sadie Rechid (Carolyn Lawrence) An orange fish who is another common background character on the show.
- Tom (Mr. Lawrence/Dee Bradley Baker/Mark Camacho) is a green fish who wears a purple shirt and who serves as another generic character model for the show. He plays a heightened role, however, in the episode "Chocolate with Nuts".
- Nancy Suzy Fish (Sirena Irwin/Grey DeLisle/Carolyn Lawrence) - an often seen, but infrequently heard, yellow dress-wearing, white-haired fish with gray skin. Her name was revealed in "MermaidMan and BarnacleBoy V".
- Tina Fran is a pretty light red fish who wears a blue dress and skirt. She is one of Pearl Krabs's friends seen in "Squeaky Boots". Her name is revealed in "Hall Monitor", where she attended Mrs. Puff's Boating School.
- Mary - An elderly fish who lives in Bikini Bottom with her even more elderly, grumpy mother, about whom she is annoyed. Her premiere appearance was in "Chocolate with Nuts," wherein SpongeBob and Patrick trick Mary's mother into buying some chocolate to apply to her skin and achieve immortality.
- Charlie is a fish often as a background character in the show. His name was revealed in while he was in a TV commercial with Mr. Magic endorsing a product called "Mr. Magic's Magical Magic Kit".
- Frankie Billy is an olive green fish and another character model for the series. His first name was revealed in "Sun Bleached" and his last name was revealed in "Professor Squidward" when Squidward asks how he likes putting his name on the board. He first appears in in the Season 2 episode, "Life of Crime", and eventually a couple Season 3 episodes and appears more and more in Season 4-present episodes.
- Monroe Timmy (Dee Bradley Baker/Sara Paxton) is one of the few children on the show. He is a small, orange fish who wears a pair of green shorts. His name was revealed in "Krabby Land". He has also been seen in "Mid-Life Crustacean", "Born Again Krabs", and "Giant Squidward".
- Princess Mindy is King Neptune's daughter.
- The Atomic Flounder is a villain, known for blasting radioactive beams from his mouth.
- The Alaskan Bull Worm (Dee Bradley Baker) is a giant worm which terrorizes Bikini Bottom in "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm".
- The Hash Slinging Slasher is a fictional fry cook created by Squidward to terrorize SpongeBob.
- The Sea bear (Dee Bradley Baker) is a creature that appears in the episode "The Camping Episode". During that episode, SpongeBob and Patrick say that the sea bear exists while Squidward does not believe that sea bears exist.
- The Sea rhinoceros is a creature that appears in the episode "The Camping Episode".
- Uncle Sherm Squarepants is SpongeBob's uncle and Stanley's father.
- Blackjack Squarepants (John DiMaggio) is SpongeBob's cousin.
- Sandals Fishbowl (Doug Erholtz/Dee Bradley Baker) is a light-olive green colored fish.
- Sally (Sirena Irwin/Carolyn Lawrence/Doug Lawrence) is a light yellow butterfly tang fish.
The characters of SpongeBob SquarePants have been well-received overall. The titular character SpongeBob has become very popular with both children and adults. The character's popularity has spread from Nickelodeon's original demographic of two to eleven-year-olds, to teenagers and adults, including college campuses and celebrities such as Sigourney Weaver and Bruce Willis. The popularity of SpongeBob translated well into sales figures. In 2002, SpongeBob SquarePants dolls sold at a rate of 75,000 per week, which was faster than Tickle Me Elmo dolls were selling at the time. SpongeBob has gained popularity in Japan, specifically with Japanese women. Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom purposefully targeted marketing at women in the country as a method of building the SpongeBob SquarePants brand. Skeptics initially doubted that SpongeBob could be popular in Japan as the character's design is very different from already popular designs for Hello Kitty and Pikachu. However, the characters have also attracted negative reception, including SpongeBob himself, who was listed as number four on AskMen's Top 10: Irritating '90s Cartoon Characters. Nevertheless, SpongeBob SquarePants was ranked ninth on TV Guide's top 50 cartoon characters.
Appearances in other media
The characters of SpongeBob SquarePants have been parodied various times in popular culture. In 2007, the Amsterdam-based company Boom Chicago created a SpongeBob parody called "SpongeBob Squarepants in China," in which a stereotypically Chinese Patrick refuses to go to work and advocates freedom of speech, rights of leisure, and income. During the same year, production company Camp Chaos created a SpongeBob parody entitled SpongeBong HempPants which features five of the series' characters parodied in the form of various drugs. The show was seen on VH1 and Comedy Central. The series has received mixed reviews from television critics; Adam Finley of TV Squad believed the series sounded "hilarious on paper", but ultimately did not demonstrate its full potential. SpongeBob and Patrick were also referenced in Phineas and Ferb when they dug a hole and found a sponge and a seastar. SpongeBob and Patrick also have an appearance in the Disney show Good Luck Charlie when Charlie's parents have a pink square and a yellow star puppet and are performing a potty training show on a fake television set. SpongeBob has made some appearances in TV shows such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Mad, Drawn Together, South Park, Futurama, and The Cleveland Show.
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