On Nov. 26, 2018, millions of hearts worldwide broke when hearing the news that Stephen Hillenburg, creator of the Nickelodeon animated series, Spongebob Squarepants, died at the age of 57. My childhood was full of Spongebob and I fondly remember lazy Saturday mornings spent parked in front of the television with my brother, the main goal being to watch as many episodes as we could. As silly as it sounds to be so nostalgic over a mere cartoon, I will always have a place in my heart for the yellow sponge and his friends, and Hillenburg’s name will be remembered for generations to come. I’ve put together the top ten most iconic Spongebob episodes and hope it leads to some happy memories and recollections for you as it did for me. Rest in peace, Stephen Hillenburg.
10. “Christmas Who?”
It being the month of December, of course, the most iconic Christmas episode had to make the list. This was the first time we saw a live-action component with Patchy the Pirate as he tells the tale of Christmas in Bikini Bottom. With an absolute Christmas bop, “The Very First Christmas,” there’s no doubt this warm and cozy Christmas special will get you in the holiday spirit.
9. “Squilliam Returns”
We all remember Squidward’s nemesis Squilliam Fancyson, and in this episode, Squidward attempts to transform the Krusty Krab into a five-star classy restaurant in the hopes to impress Squilliam. Things seem to go well until Squilliam asks Spongebob his name, as Spongebob has cleared his mind of “everything that doesn’t have to do with fine dining and breathing.”
8. “Idiot Box”
Spongebob orders a television simply because he and Patrick want to use the box to play in. Squidward then overhears very realistic sound effects like a wrestling match and stomps out to look in the box, expecting to see a sound machine at the very least, and only sees the two sitting together. Spongebob tells him it’s only because they are using their imagination. Squidward doesn’t believe it, sneaks out to the box and pretends to be a race car driver. He believes his imagination is finally kicking in, however, really, a truck is picking up the box to bring to the dump, hence the realistic sound effects.
7. “Graveyard Shift”
“The sash wringing… the trash singing… mash flinging… the flash springing… the hash- slinging slasher!” Always looking to make more money, Mr. Krabs decides to keep the Krusty Krab open 24 hours. Squidward, of course, annoyed with Spongebob’s antics, makes up a story in an attempt to scare him. Both are surprised when the story comes true… though not in the way they are expecting.
If you didn’t sing the FUN song right along with Spongebob and Plankton, I don’t think you have a firm understanding of what an iconic bop is. Spongebob befriends Plankton in the hopes of him changing for the better but is disappointed when it turns out to just be another ploy to steal the Krabby Patty formula.
5. “The Wet Painters”
I think this is a really underrated episode, but it’s always been one of my favorites. Mr. Krabs hires Spongebob and Patrick to paint his entire house and emphasizes the fact that the paint cannot get on ANY object. They’re understandably terrified as the wall is completely covered in knick-knacks. They end up getting a drop of paint on Mr. Krabs first dollar and are incredibly annoyed when Mr. Krabs admits he lied and the paint comes off with water.
4. “Nasty Patty”
Remember the time when Mr. Krabs and Spongebob literally thought they murdered a health inspector and attempted to hide the body so they didn’t get caught by the police?
3. “Rock Bottom”
So much happens in this episode that it’s hard to boil it down to a few lines. Spongebob gets trapped in a place vastly different from Bikini Bottom and has to converse with characters who break up their sentences with a “pbbt” tongue sound. We share Spongebob’s anxiety as he tries to get a chocolate bar and every time he reaches for it, the bus he is trying to catch slowly pulls up and he misses it each and every time.
2. “Chocolate with Nuts”
Spongebob and Patrick attempt to become entrepreneurs and sell a huge amount of chocolate. They try being nice, which only ends in doors being slammed in their face so when they run into an old lady worm looking thing and her daughter, they lie about what the chocolate does and tells them it “makes you live forever.” A man who constantly yells “CHOCOLATE” scares them in the beginning, but after they lose their profit, buys all of their chocolate off of them.
1. “Band Geeks”
You probably could have guessed that this would be the number one episode. Squidward, once again trying to compete against Squilliam, gathers a bunch of hooligans from around Bikini Bottom, who are not musically inclined (“Is mayonnaise an instrument?”) and attempts to change them into a talented band. He timidly brings them to perform at the Bubble Bowl expecting disaster, but Spongebob really pulls through for him.