Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Eternal Optimism of SpongeBob Squarepants

We watch a lot of SpongeBob in this household. Laney is a big fan. On any given weekend morning, Don or I will catch an extra hour or so of sleep while Laney watches Spongebob. The odd effect of this is that Spongebob has a soporific effect on me and Don. We hear SpongeBob and immediately begin to drift off. At this point, it's kind of like a double dose of Tylenol PM.

Another thing you should know about SpongeBob is that it is the most ubiquitous thing on TV. I'm pretty sure that there isn't a moment of any day that you can't find SpongeBob. 3:23 am on a Sunday morning, I'm betting SpongeBob is on. Recently, I wrested myself free from a SpongeBob induced torpor and started paying attention to the show.

(You should know that I am the best mother ever and did just start paying attention to a show my kid has been watching for a couple of years now. But, I'm not one to beat myself up, so I'm just gonna move on)

SpongeBob is gross and loud and obnoxious. But, isn't that the M.O. of every kids cartoon since there've been kids cartoons? What makes SpongeBob stand apart is that on every single episode SpongeBob comes out on top almost exclusively by being indefatigable, optimistic and kind. SpongeBob is a guy who appreciates the little things, who is fiercely loyal to his friends. He's brave and good natured.

I love SpongeBob.

SpongeBob's primary foils is Squidward Tentacles. Squidward is a lot like Ethan Hawke's character in Reality Bites. Always with the wry, sardonic response, obnoxiously superior about artistic matters, confident of his own intellectual supremacy, lazy, and just fucking exhausting to be around.

I survived the 90s and all that slacker bullshit. So it's awfully nice to see slacker uselessness exposed in the face of square yellow optimism and all around nice guy-ness 7,000 or so times a day.

I also kind of like that the show's resident tough guy is a southern squirrel who's a girl.