Thursday, February 17, 2005

When A Good Sponge Goes Bad


Like a lot of kids, I'm a fan of Spongebob. His insane and unrelenting good humor, and the animation's fresh and startling double-takes and reaction shots (my favorite: Spongebob cries like no one on television has ever cried when his grandmother stops treating him like a child.) But until I read this, I'd never realized the dark side to Spongebob's cheer:
A great study in how nice people get away with murder can be found in Spongebob Squarepants. Spongebob is classic nice, insisting that everyone conform to his view of what they should be doing or how they should be acting and feeling. In the process, he deeply insults his (platonic) friend Sandy the squirrel, lands his driving instructor Mrs. Puff in jail, constantly invades Squidward's privacy, takes horrible advantage of good-natured Patrick and regularly puts bystanders and the entire town of Bikini Bottom in physical peril. In fact, he will stoop to anything to get his way. But the havoc he wreaks is excused by all. People can't help but favor someone so forcefully sweet and sensitive.
This comes from a site called Interesting Ideas that lives up to its title.