|SpongeBob SquarePants character|
|First appearance||"Tea at the Treedome" (1999)|
|Created by||Stephen Hillenburg|
|Voiced by||Carolyn Lawrence|
|Species||Eastern gray squirrel|
|Occupation||Scientist, martial artist|
Sandra "Sandy" Cheeks is a fictional character in the Nickelodeon animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. She is voiced by Carolyn Lawrence and first appeared in the series' episode "Tea at the Treedome" on May 1, 1999. Sandy was created and designed by Stephen Hillenburg.
Role in SpongeBob SquarePants
Sandy is an intelligent, scientific, bipedal anthropomorphic squirrel who resides in Bikini Bottom and is featured as a close friend of SpongeBob SquarePants. She is from Texas and it is for this reason that she is seen speaking in a Southern accent, and is proud of her home state which is frequently brought up throughout the course of the series. She has been shown to possess a number of tough, tomboyish character traits and interests; she is skilled at karate and frequently enjoys practicing it with SpongeBob, she is shown to be an excellent bodybuilder, is a rodeo champion, and possesses extraordinary scientific skills and can construct complex inventions. She must wear a deep sea dive suit when underwater with a helmet in order to breathe, and vice versa when SpongeBob, Patrick, or any other sea creatures visit her tree-dome. While Sandy is normally portrayed as kind, helpful, and understanding, she has been shown to possess a vindictive side too.
When outside of her tree dome, Sandy is most commonly seen wearing her suit, which is white and has a yellow patch with an acorn on it (originally three spots). The suit has two red rings, and a blue ring on each sleeve. There is a big glass head dome with a pink flower (but no visible oxygen tanks). In some episodes, Sandy is seen without her flower, or wears it under a hat, which she wears over her helmet. A prominent running gag involves Sandy eating, drinking or playing a saxophone through the surface of her helmet as if it were permeable.
Sandy also wears boots with two red dots on the side of each boot. When she appears inside her tree dome, she wears purple clothing, primarily a purple bikini top and a purple and green skirt-like bottom. In "Someone's in the Kitchen with Sandy", when her fur pelt is off, she wears a purple bra and purple panties. When she is on her exercise hamster wheel, she can be seen wearing a white hoodie and blue workout sweatsuit.
The voice of Sandy Cheeks is provided by Carolyn Lawrence, who voices other miscellaneous characters in the series. Lawrence got the role of Sandy when she was in Los Angeles at Los Feliz. She met Donna Grillo, a casting director, on a sidewalk. Lawrence was with a friend who knew Grillo, and she said Lawrence had an interesting voice. Grillo brought Lawrence in to audition and she got the part.
Before a recording, Lawrence prepares when the crew sends a storyboard. She explains, "I absolutely love that! Not only do I get to read the script, I can actually see what the artists have in mind. It is an amazing process and I feel so fortunate to be able to work that way![...] I would prefer to let the script come alive in me before a taping."
Criticism and controversy
Despite claims by the show's creators that SpongeBob and the rest series' characters are "somewhat asexual", several annuals state that SpongeBob holds romantic feelings for Sandy, which could be shown in examples where SpongeBob brings Sandy flowers on occasion.
Jeffrey P. Dennis, author of the journal article "The Same Thing We Do Every Night: Signifying Same-Sex Desire in Television Cartoons," argued that SpongeBob and Sandy are not romantically in love, while adding that he believed that SpongeBob and Patrick "are paired with arguably erotic intensity." Dennis noted the two are "not consistently coded as romantic partners," since they live in separate residences, and have distinct groups of friends, but claimed that in the series, "the possibility of same-sex desire is never excluded." Martin Goodman of Animation World Magazine described Dennis's comments regarding SpongeBob and Patrick as "interesting."
- Writers: Luke Brookshier, Nate Cash, Richard Pursel (February 6, 2010). "Rodeo Daze". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 7. Episode 138b.
- Writers: Luke Brookshier, Tom King, Steven Banks, Richard Pursel (April 11, 2008). "Pest of the West". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 5. Episode 96.
- Writers: Zeus Cervas, Erik Wiese, Tim Hill (February 20, 2006). "Dunces and Dragons". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 4. Episode 66.
- Writers: Sherm Cohen, Vincent Waller, David Fain (March 22, 2000). "Texas". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 1. Episode 18a.
- Writers: Ennio Torresan, Jr., Erik Wiese, Mr. Lawrence (September 25, 1999). "MuscleBob BuffPants". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 1. Episode 11a.
- Writers: Luke Brookshier, Tom King, Steven Banks (May 5, 2006). "Chimps Ahoy". SpongeBob SquarePants. Season 4. Episode 70b.
- Brown, Arthur (2008). Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Cartoons!. USA: Arthur Brown. p. 85. ISBN 1435732480.
- "Carolyn Lawrence: Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved May 22, 2013.
- Basile, Nancy (March 29, 2006). "Voice Behind Sandy Cheeks on SpongeBob". About.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- "Carolyn Lawrence Exclusive Interview". The Star Scoop. September 17, 2009. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- "REFANB Interview: Carolyn Lawrence, A.K.A. Ashley Graham". Resident Evil Fan. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- Basile, Nancy. "Carolyn Lawrence Sandy Cheeks on 'SpongeBob SquarePants'". About.com. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
- "Camp cartoon star 'is not gay'". BBC News. October 9, 2002.
- Silverman, Stephen M. (January 28, 2005). "SpongeBob Asexual, Not Gay: Creator". People. Retrieved August 26, 2009.
- Dennis, Jeffrey P. "The Same Thing We Do Every Night: Signifying Same-Sex Desire in Television Cartoons." Journal of Popular Film & Television. Fall 2003. Volume 31, Issue 3. 132-140. 9p, 3bw. Within the PDF document the source info is on p. 137 (6/10)
- Goodman, Martin. "Deconstruction Zone — Part 2." Animation World Network. Wednesday March 10, 2004.4. Retrieved on October 28, 2009.