If you can believe it, SpongeBob SquarePants is just days away from officially turning twenty years old! Twenty years of life in the Bikini Bottom has certainly entertained children, teens and adults with happy-go-lucky SpongeBob, dim-witted Patrick Star, money hoarder Mr. Krabs, and cranky Squidward Tentacles as part of the marine-life ensemble. From SpongeBob’s memorable laugh to Plankton’s lifelong mission of stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula, we’ve memorized practically every detail about the show. In that time, SpongeBob has coined and popularized plenty of pop culture references that have become ingrained among society. Here are 10 of SpongeBob’s best pop culture references!
10 Tartar Sauce!
Funnily enough, this condiment has been converted into a curse expression, often used by SpongeBob or his friends in moments of frustration. “Barnacles!” is another such example. In earlier seasons SpongeBob crossed lines, bordering on adult humor, but his curse words were innocent enough. If swearing’s not your thing or you’re in an environment where you need to practice censorship, consider SpongeBob’s “colorful” vocabulary; your fellow fans have already integrated it among pop culture.
9 Sweet Victory
This song was one of the most popular things to come out of the show. Squidward’s efforts to show up his school rival Squilliam with his band succeed beyond his wildest dreams. Considering that the band began with skills next to nothing (“Is mayonnaise an instrument?”), this is an impressive feat.
RELATED: 5 Best (& 5 Worst) SpongeBob SquarePants Episodes
Yet they were passionate about making it up to Squidward for their past failure, which was the real victory. Audiences everywhere loved the song; it’s easy to sing along and we all know where it comes from.
8 F.U.N. Song
Wanting to show Plankton kindness and friendship, SpongeBob takes him under his wing after yet another failed attempt on Plankton’s part to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula. Part of their day together includes the “F.U.N. Song” that basically explains friendship in a nutshell. Like “Sweet Victory,” this too is another easily-recognized song in SpongeBob pop culture. It’s also a perfect reflection of SpongeBob’s kind, cheery, and empathetic personality.
The narrator in SpongeBob moves time forward–or backward in one particular time-traveling episode–using title cards that say something like “11 hours later, 2 days later…” It goes on and on, and SpongeBob fans are familiar with this concept. SpongeBob fans have created memes for situations like finals and lectures using these title cards.
Anything that’s painful to sit through or deal with, chances are a meme inspired by SpongeBob’s title cards exist for that particular situation. Try not to hear the narrator counting down time in your head at your next lecture.
6 No, This Is Patrick!
Patrick’s not the smartest in Bikini Bottom. We know this. Yet when Patrick’s dim-witted moments are at the forefront like one is here, we bust internal organs because we’re laughing so hard. Jealous because of SpongeBob’s numerous awards, Patrick goes to work at the Krusty Krab to receive his own award. Trouble is, he doesn’t quite grasp the concept of answering the phone and gets more offended with each call as the caller asks if they’ve reached the Krusty Krab, to which Patrick replies, “No, this is Patrick” until he’s furious and slamming down the phone. After that, he uses the wrong end of a broom to sweep the floor. Poor Patrick just isn’t meant for work. Plus, we’re all just a little tempted to copy Patrick for fun and answer our work phones in a similar manner.
5 What’s Funnier Than 24? 25!
When SpongeBob brings Patrick along to boating school for the day, the two start the day with goofing off in class. Gifs and memes alike surround this moment, SpongeBob fans exchanging them in text messages galore. This joke will never stop being funny for true SpongeBob fans; only SpongeBob and Patrick could make simple numbers hilarious.
Really, it’s because they’re goofing off in class and they get busted (something many of us have experienced) but still we love their unique methods of tomfoolery.
In a season 3 episode, SpongeBob and Patrick are inspired when they read one of Squidward’s magazines to become entrepreneurs. This leads to the two friends selling chocolate door-to-door. Their first customer screams “CHOCOLATE!” and chases them around intermittently throughout the episode, and though he scares them he actually ends up being their best customer–he buys all the chocolate they have, finally giving them a real profit. Chocolate fanatics can relate, which is why memes depicting this moment are so popular.
3 Opposite Day
This may not be the trendiest component of SpongeBob pop culture but it’s definitely one of the funniest. Squidward frantically tries to sell his house without letting anyone know about his eccentric neighbors but it leads to his downfall as SpongeBob and Patrick irritate the real estate agent and Squidward remains stuck where he is.
“Opposite Day” introduced a new kind of holiday where you act the opposite of who you are and what you do; this could be either really fun for your friends, family, and co-workers or truly annoying. You decide if it’s worth the risk and maybe you’ll be a pop culture trendsetter.
How many of us have drawn our own DoodleBob’s over the years? This is definitely one of the most memorable episodes of SpongeBob in which he and Patrick discover a magic pencil that brings its creations to life. SpongeBob initially draws a copy of himself to prank Squidward, but DoodleBob turns out to be something of an evil twin, which Patrick and SpongeBob instantly set out on a mission to stop. There’s plenty of humor in the episode as well (“Where’s the leak, ma’am?” “Finland!”), adding to DoodleBob’s appeal to audiences. DoodleBob himself is a pop culture icon.
SpongeBob’s not short on imagination. He’s always keeping himself entertained or otherwise occupied. In “The Idiot Box”, he and Patrick have ordered a large screen television, but only keep the box. They drive Squidward crazy as he hears noises of their adventures but frequently opens the box to find just them and no tape-recorder. SpongeBob tries to tell him that you don’t need television; at least, not when you have imagination.
Obviously, SpongeBob has plenty of hilarious moments that have transfigured themselves into items of pop culture reference and importance; these are just some of the most memorable on the list. SpongeBob isn’t short on good songs, pranks gone wrong, chocolate or imagination. We’ve loved him for twenty years and we’ll continue to love him for eternity. If nautical nonsense be something we wish, SpongeBob’s who we turn to, to fulfill that requirement. Happy 20th birthday, SpongeBob!
NEXT: SpongeBob SquarePants Prequel TV Show Ordered By Nickelodeon