A live-action pirate shepherds viewers through Bikini Bottom’s very first Christmas
Stephen Hillenburg career path to becoming one of the leading animators of his day is a strange one, however, oddly befitting of his most notable contribution beloved the world over.
Pre-Sponge shows worked on by Hillenburg
Before landing gigs on Mother Goose & Grimm and Rocko’s Modern Life, Hillenburg actually taught marine biology in California. But doodling oceanic strips, hosted by a character named “Bob the Sponge” eventually sent him into the field of animation.
Some of the most iconic cartoon characters of this generation
Following the end of Rocko’s Modern Life, Hillenburg brought the undersea cartoon idea to Nickelodeon and Spongebob Squarepants was deployed onto the airwaves in 1999, where it became enormously popular and has remained so ever since. Spongebob starred in his first movie in 2004, and the show has won dozens of awards during it’s impressive decade-long run.
Long after I should’ve grown up and barred from returning to Nickelodeon, this show made me brave the embarrassment, sort of becoming my secret shame.
“Are you ready, kids?!”
I’d sneak home between breaks in my college classes to head home watch Spongebob when no one else was around. Should one of my roommates walk in on me, I’d quickly change the channel and compose myself with all the grace of someone getting caught watching True Blood with their pants around their ankles.
In hindsight, I had no real reason to be ashamed on digging on the show, since the real mystery should’ve been why do kids like it so much? I mean, it’s adorable warm and colorful characters aside, I think the show can occasionally get kind of subversive. Honestly, I think Spongebob Squarepants was funny to me for a lot of the same reasons I love the Tim and Eric Awesome Show.
Illustrating the birth of Jesus through interpretive dance
Both are essentially parodies of older media. T&E send up old news, aerobics, and music videos, just as Spongebob seemingly sends up older cartoons and then adds in a dose of the humorously weird. And I’m talking right from the Clutch Cargo intro.
Christmas: A foreign concept in Bikini Bottom
Of course I’m not saying that’s the only appeal to the show, but it lept out at me in the case of A Spongebob Christmas Special because… well, look
Recognize this guy? It’s Patchy the Pirate! Or more notably for Mr. Show fans, it’s Tom Kenny, who just so happens to be the voice of Spongebob as well (and Gary!)
Ready to learn
I’m not sure which show the special is noogieing, but I think you see what they’re getting at: A kids show hosted by an overly enthusiastic buffoon and his trusty puppet-sidekick-thing.
And it’s perfect; hitting all the beats, making up ones of its own, and never goes on too long to become grating. However, you could gut these live-action intros completely and never really notice. I point them out only because of the personal revelation I had.
Ever the skeptic, Squidward refuses to correspond with Santa
Now… I wouldn’t necessarily call Patchy’s scenes useless. They’re fairly amusing, and clearly conveys to me the people involved with the show are having a good time.
Delivering letters to Santa
However, that pirate above, has all but plundered a majority of Christmas Who’s twenty or so minute runtime? What happened with Spongebob in the first half? He goes to see Sandy, and she’s gotta fill him in on how surface dwellers celebrate the Holidays, then there’s a musical number.
“Feels like Christmas to me“
And that’s the half way point. I wish there was more to talk about, because the musical number is phenomenal, featuring the shows trademark lap guitar and some of the most amazing Christmas imagery my eyes have ever had the pleasure to eat.
Jellyfish light the tree
And you know what? Not a whole lot happens, so there’s not really all that much to talk about… Would you mind if I ignored body text for a moment and just posted some gorgeous-ass visuals? Oh good, I honestly didn’t think you would…
The Krusty Crab pays pretty well
Patrick “Christmas” Star
And we’re back from commercial. Spongebob’s got the whole town psyched about the arrival of Santa Claus.
Jerk ass dick
Squidward mocks their newfound sense of Xmas Spirit, claiming there’s no such thing as St. Nick. Yet he’s clearly in the minority, so therefore he’s wrong.
Singing for arrival
The Bikini Bottom people anxiously await their first Christmas… Only Santa doesn’t come.
And the townsfolk turn on Spongebob, as they tend to do. Although, If the TaleSpin Xmas Special taught me anything, it’s that snow where there shouldn’t be snow is proof positive of a Santa visitation.
The situation ain’t pretty
Squidward comes out to add insult to injury, scolding Spongebob for ever having faith in fucking anything.
Don’t worry, he’s gonna look like a real douche in like two seconds
Noticing he never mailed his letter, Spongbob made Squidward a present so he wouldn’t feel left out once everyone else received their gifts.
A driftwood clarinet! You shouldn’t have
Somebody needs to redeem themselves and fast. Squid’s got no choice but to don him now some gay apparel!
A vertical pan, I pieced together. Pretty, no?
And becomes he Santa. And after a harsh line of questioning, Spongey’s consciousness decides to just believe he’s the real deal, and that’s enough for him.
Spongebob is sated and Squidward is no longer the biggest dick in the ocean. But before he can take off the Santa suit, a little girl recognizes him as Claus.
“Gimme! It’s your fucking job, dude!”
And so it continues…
Another purdy pan
As it turns out Squidward ‘s miscalculated method of maintaining the ruse by simply running into his house and grabbing whatever the hell he can has all but wiped him out.
Oh well, he deserves it
But his noble deeds do not go unnoticed. Mail call!
PS – Be a better person
Looks like someone can add breathing underwater to his list of super powers.
Sorry so late
None. Since the history both have to share with us are completely contradictory to one another, the ocean and Bible do not get along.
Yes, a very blue-screen Santa!
Played by Spongebob writer, Mike Bell
A Spongebob Squarepants Christmas Special works best as long as Spongebob is on screen. The Patchy scenes are well and fine, but I began to resent them as they’re not really needed, and intrude significantly on the animated portion, which is fairly predictable. However, the music sequence is incredible, and makes me want to start some kind of music video jukebox one day. Worth an extra ball, me thinks.
PRODUCT INFORMATION (Shop Amazon through us – it helps!)
The Spongebob Christmas Special/Christmas Who? aired in the show’s second season, but is also available on a standalone DVD with numerous bonus episodes loosely relating to Christmas. And as much as I’d love to recommend the fantastic Spongebob Squarepants Movie on DVD, I commend Nickelodeon for releasing this comprehensive box set called Spongebob Squarepants: The First 100 Episodes as it’s an incredible way for both collectors and fans to own everything inexpensively.