I like this tribute to SpongeBob’s innocence and sincerity. The Washington Post has an article about SpongeBob and the tribute.
So just how does a wide-eyed sponge who refuses to be snarky or cynical or topical win over the cable-wired world? How does it happen that, in Thompson’s words, the global “territory that had once been dominated by Mickey Mouse was now being rehabitated by SpongeBob SquarePants”?
Hillenburg — whose Nickelodeon office sign has read: “Have Fun or You’re Fired” — believes the success is anchored by SpongeBob’s sincerity and purity. Some businesses tout their Commitment to Excellence; Hillenburg and his creative team insist upon a Commitment to Innocence. “He’s an innocent who’s an oddball,” the creator says.
Partly, “I think ‘SpongeBob’ is born out of my love of Laurel and Hardy shorts,” says [Stephen] Hillenburg, [marine biologist turned CalArts animation student and creator of the show,] citing the kidlike relationship between SpongeBob and sidekick Patrick the starfish as the show’s comedic core. “You’ve got that kind of idiot-buddy situation — that was a huge influence. SpongeBob was inspired by that kind of character: the Innocent — a la Stan Laurel.