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SpongeBob's Truth or Square

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Truth or Square
Spongebob TruthOrSquare.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byAndrew Overtoom (animation)
Alan Smart (animation and supervising)
Tom Yasumi (animation)
Luke Brookshier (storyboard)
Nate Cash (storyboard)
Produced byStephen Hillenburg (executive)
Paul Tibbitt (executive/supervising)
Written byLuke Brookshier
Nate Cash
Steven Banks
Paul Tibbitt
Based onSpongeBob SquarePants
by Stephen Hillenburg
StarringTom Kenny
Bill Fagerbakke
Clancy Brown
Rodger Bumpass
Carolyn Lawrence
Mr. Lawrence
Narrated byRicky Gervais
Distributed byNickelodeon (Television airings)
Paramount Home Entertainment (DVD)
Release date
  • November 6, 2009 (2009-11-06)
Running time
52 minutes
CountryUnited States

SpongeBob's Truth or Square is a 2009 made-for-television one-hour comedy special in which Andrew Overtoom, supervising director, Alan Smart, and Tom Yasumi directed the animation. It stars Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, and Mr. Lawrence. The special, marketed as a "TV Movie", originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on November 6, 2009, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the American animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants. This is the second SpongeBob SquarePants TV movie. The first is SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis.

The television series follows the adventures of the title character in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. In the special, SpongeBob and his friends are accidentally locked inside the Krusty Krab on the day of its "eleventy-seventh" anniversary celebration. As they crawl through the ventilation system trying to escape, they look back on shared memories through flashback moments.

Truth or Square was written by Luke Brookshier, Nate Cash, Steven Banks, and Paul Tibbitt. Rosario Dawson, LeBron James, Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Craig Ferguson, Robin Williams, P!nk, and Ricky Gervais guest starred in the special as themselves. Upon release, the special attracted an estimated 7.7 million viewers, but was met with mixed reviews from critics. Although critics generally spoke positively of the special's main animated segments, most criticized the Patchy the Pirate scenes, which were described as unfunny.


SpongeBob wakes up and realizes that the Krusty Krab restaurant is celebrating its "eleventy-seventh" anniversary. He remembers his first visit to the Krusty Krab and tells Gary about it. SpongeBob then leaves to go to the Krusty Krab, but as soon as he exits his house, he bumps into the back of a long line of customers waiting to get into the restaurant as well. SpongeBob jumps on top of every customer in the line, eventually reaching the Krusty Krab.

Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob and Squidward that it is a perfect opportunity for his business rival, Plankton to steal the Krabby Patty formula. Mr. Krabs has hired Patrick as a security guard so he does not have to pay for a real one, and SpongeBob spectacularly decorates the Krusty Krab with ketchup, toilet paper and mustard. Patrick, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs follow SpongeBob into the freezer where he shows them a giant Krabby Patty ice sculpture that he made himself. However, in attempt to take the ice sculpture outside, they accidentally knock SpongeBob out the open freezer door; he then rebounds off the kitchen door and back into the freezer. The impact shuts the door and it locks, trapping all four friends inside. Mr. Krabs remembers that there is a way to escape without using the door, which is through the ventilation system. While finding their way through the maze of air vents, they look back at some memorable moments in their lives.

To get out of the air shaft, SpongeBob molds Squidward, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs into a battering ram to bust out of the shaft, and he finally makes it out, only to find that all the customers have left after waiting for so long without getting any food. However, SpongeBob summons them all back as he sings a song in honor of the Krusty Krab to the tune of O Tannenbaum. Meanwhile, Plankton finally finds the perfect opportunity to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula. He fails, having been caught by Mr. Krabs. The eleventy-seventh anniversary celebration then goes ahead.


Actor/Actress Character Role
Tom Kenny SpongeBob SquarePants
Gary the Snail
Harold SquarePants
French Narrator
Patchy the Pirate
Additional voices
Bill Fagerbakke Patrick Star
Additional voices
Rodger Bumpass Squidward Tentacles
Security Guard
Additional voices
Carolyn Lawrence Sandy Cheeks
Clancy Brown Mr. Krabs
Mr. Lawrence Plankton
Additional voices
Paul Tibbitt Potty the Parrot
Patchy's Good and Bad sides
P!nk Herself
Dave Allen Abraham Lincoln (credited as "The Guy on the Penny")
Bob Joles Painty the Pirate


Ricky Gervais narrated the special.

Writing and music[edit]

Truth or Square was written by Luke Brookshier, Nate Cash, Steven Banks, and Paul Tibbitt. The writers have described the television movie as "Seinfeld-esque" that parodies the recycled flashback episodes seen in Seinfeld, Friends and other U.S. shows.[1][2] The featured song, "We've Got Scurvy", was sung by American singer and actress Pink.[2][3]


Truth or Square stars the series main cast members including Tom Kenny, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Clancy Brown, Carolyn Lawrence, and Mr. Lawrence. In addition to the series cast, it featured Rosario Dawson, Craig Ferguson, Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, LeBron James, Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog, and Robin Williams as guest actors appearing as themselves in the live-action sequences, while Ricky Gervais provided vocal cameo as the narrator.[4][5][6][7][8] Nickelodeon animation president Brown Johnson said "Over the past decade, SpongeBob has become one of the most beloved characters in television history[...] And we're excited to cap off the year's celebration with this star-studded special anniversary event."[4]

Directing and animating[edit]

Painty the Pirate from the TV series

Andrew Overtoom, supervising director, Alan Smart, and Tom Yasumi served as the special's animation directors while Luke Brookshier and Nate Cash handled the storyboard direction. It was a part of the series' tenth anniversary celebration.[9][10]

The title sequence of SpongeBob for the special was made exclusively for the series' tenth anniversary.[11] It was animated in stop motion animation, with Cee Lo Green performing the theme.[4][12][13] Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh and Chris Finnegan of Screen Novelties animated its opening titles.[11][14][15] Finnegan claimed that the crew were "thrill[ed]" to do the title sequence because "the original title sequence is so recognizable and everyone seen it over and over and it's so great in its own way."[11] Executive producer and the episode's writer Paul Tibbitt said "We don't just want to redraw it [the original title sequence], we want it to be something special and different[...] So we thought we would do it in three dimensions[...]"[11] Nickelodeon animation president Brown Johnson lauded the new title sequence and said it is "SO great!"[16] Some traditional animation on scraps of brown paper are intermixed into the stop motion.[11]

Tibbitt said that the "biggest surprise" for him in the new title sequence was "the treatment of Painty the Pirate in the beginning" as seen in a fortune teller machine.[11] Mark Caballero, one of its animators, explained "our idea was like our goal is like the more disturbing, the better because I don't think there is a fortune telling machine out there that doesn't disturb when you see it.[11] Tibbitt said "it was a great idea[...] I was just expecting maybe a 3D version of the painting but we got something totally different and it's very cool."[11]


In a press release, Nickelodeon officially announced the special "event" on October 13, 2009.[4] According to the network, the special include "SpongeBob's first visit to the Krusty Krab as a baby, a vintage Krusty Krab TV commercial, how SpongeBob found his beloved pineapple house, and the time that SpongeBob and Sandy got married!"[17][18][19] Prior to the official announcement of the television special, Entertainment Weekly broke the news by releasing a clip featuring a scene where SpongeBob and Sandy getting married.[20][21]

It originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States on November 6, 2009, along with "The Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash" marathon, Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants documentary, and a special SpongeBob episode entitled "To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants".[22]

On November 10, 2009, it was released on the DVD compilation of the same name in the United States and Canada,[23] on November 16, 2009 in region 2,[24] and on October 29, 2009 in region 4.[25] The DVD consists of five season six episodes, a short called Behind the Scenes of the SpongeBob Opening, and karaoke-mode songs: "F.U.N.", "Campfire Song", and "We've Got Scurvy".[26] It was also released in the series' season six DVD compilation.[27][28]


In late 2009, Burger King had tie-ins with this episode and released a toy line of the show's main characters in block shapes.[29]

The book titled The Great Escape! that was a tie-in to the special was released. The book was written by Emily Sollinger, published by Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon, and was released on September 8, 2009.[30][31] Another tie-in book to the special was also released.[32][33] The book titled Good Times! was written by Erica David, illustrated by the Artifacts Group, and published by Simon Spotlight/Nickelodeon. Good Times! was first released on September 8, 2009, then re-released in 2011.[33][34]



The premiere of Truth or Square on Friday, November 6 drew 7.7 million total viewers, ranking as basic cable's number-one entertainment show for the week.[35] It was also ranked as the week's number one program among children in the demographic groups ages 6–11 and 2–11.[36]

Critical response[edit]

Tom Kenny was awarded at the 37th Annie Awards for his performance as the voice of the titular character.

Truth or Square received generally polarized reviews from critics and fans, and was criticized mainly due to the "Patchy the Pirate" segments with many comparing them to the segments from Christmas Who, The Sponge Who Could Fly, and Ugh. Paul Mavis from DVD Talk said "Truth or Square is a strange mix of some truly memorable animated SpongeBob moments interrupted unfortunately by the largely unfunny Patchy the Pirate segments."[26] He added "All of those amusing moments in Truth or Square, along with the A Charlie Brown Christmas ending, make one forget the patchy Patchy segments in Truth or Square."[26] Roy Hrab of DVD Verdict gave the episode a negative review saying "Wow... This is without a doubt the lamest SpongeBob episode I have ever seen[...] In fact, nothing interesting happens at all. The Patchy interludes and reliance on cameos merely draws attention to the episode's lack of substance."[37]

However, the special did garner some positive reception. Nancy Basile of the gave the special positive reviews and wrote "I had doubts that the recent Truth or Square special of SpongeBob SquarePants would be funny or clever. I was quite wrong." She added that "My kids and I were mesmerized."[38] Jose Strike of the Animation World Network positively reacted to the special and wrote "Truth or Square is a major treat; in fact, I'm so happy I think I'll drop on the deck and flop like a fish..."[39] Ian Jane of DVD Talk said "Truth or Square isn't your typical episode, as it mixes up a lot of live action material in with the more traditional animated sequences to very unusual effect."[40] He added "[...]but there's enough here in terms of the gags and the jokes that even if it's not a classic episode, it's still one worth seeing."[40] Nickelodeon animation president Brown Johnson said that the special is her favorite among the series.[16]

In 2010, Tom Kenny won at the 37th Annie Awards for Best Voice Acting in a Television Production category for his performance as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants in the special.[41][42]

Video game[edit]

The video game SpongeBob's Truth or Square that was based on this SpongeBob SquarePants television special was released for PlayStation Portable,[43] Wii,[44] Xbox 360,[45] and Nintendo DS.[46] The game was first announced by THQ on May 21, 2009.[47] It was published by THQ,[48] developed by Heavy Iron Studios,[47] and was released on October 26, 2009 in North America.[49]


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  2. ^ a b "Pink makes SpongeBob appearance". Metro. October 22, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  3. ^ Yi, David (June 29, 2009). "Pink sings for SpongeBob's tenth birthday: We've got scurvy!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d "Nickelodeon Culminates SpongeBob's 10th Anniversary Celebration with Star-Studded Prime Time TV Event SpongeBob SquarePants 'Truth or Square' Premiering Friday, Nov. 6 at 8:00 p.m." PR Newswire. October 13, 2009. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  5. ^ Goldman, Eric (November 6, 2009). "SpongeBob Meets Tina Fey, Will Ferrell and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog". IGN. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
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  10. ^ Zahed, Ramin (July 24, 2009). "Soaking in the Festivities". Animation. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
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  12. ^ "Hit Recording Artists P!nk and Cee-Lo Green Join SpongeBob SquarePants' 10th Anniversary Celebration With Nickelodeon/Sony Music Entertainment's Release of SpongeBob's Greatest Hits, Available in Stores and iTunes July 14". PR Newswire. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
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  17. ^ "SpongeBob & Sandy Get Married In New Special". Starpulse. October 13, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  18. ^ Oldenburg, Ann (October 13, 2009). "SpongeBob marries Sandy!". USA Today. Retrieved May 28, 2013.
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  21. ^ Price, Matthew (October 14, 2009). "SpongeBob SquarePants getting married?". Retrieved May 28, 2013.
  22. ^ Hinckley, David (July 13, 2009). "'SpongeBob SquarePants' gets closer look on VH1 with 10th anniversary documentary on Nickelodeon hit". Daily News. New York.
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External links[edit]