Skip to main content


If you see a pattern here… no you haven’t seen it.

SpongeBob SquarePants (with the local logo on his face) is looking at a piece of paper.
Chart by author.

We are living in the golden age of television. The level of storytelling and artistry on television today is truly breathtaking. Over the past few years, I have studied the best visual techniques and character creation methods that American television has to offer. Of breaking Bad To Game Of Thrones and everything in between, here are the three best episodes of the past two decades.

In the first season, episode eight of SpongeBob SquarePants, SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally board a rocket and launch into space. Their pod lands at Bikini Bottom, where they started, but they’re tricked into believing they’re on the moon.

While they are “on the moon”, they encounter aliens and quickly capture the aliens with a net. At the end of the episode, they realize that they mistakenly captured their friends and find that their only enemies were actually themselves.

Movie fans will quickly notice the similarities this episode shares with the 1956 film. Invasion of the Body Thieves. Self-analysis of his psyche, the knowledge that your once-beloved neighbors have turned into bloodthirsty moonmen, and the relentless fear of the unknown seep into the mind of the beholder, just like in Body thieves.

The episode is arguably better than the 1956 film because we see the fragility of consciousness; SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick make a costly mistake and realize the world is not what they think it is.

Another episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. In season five, episode fifteen, a strong wind blows over Bikini Bottom, becoming an inconvenience for many residents. The wind blows through SpongeBob SquarePants in such a way that it makes a musical tune, attracting the attention of nearby jellyfish.

These jellyfish ruin SpongeBob SquarePants, deteriorating his quality of life and preventing him from working. In an attempt to escape, SpongeBob takes refuge in a cave, isolating himself like the rest of us. In this cave, he carves replicas of himself in stone, hoping to replace himself as the jellyfish would like. He succeeds, but by the time he finishes the sculptures, Bikini Bottom is deserted.

Literature lovers will immediately notice the tribute to Thoreau Walden, with civil disobedience imposed on our favorite sponge. SpongeBob is all on its own and is literally forced to reproduce from scratch, creating what could be the most introspective eleven minutes of television ever to air.

I spoke with an expert in all things SpongeBob SquarePants, my nine year old cousin, and he said, “That one was pretty good.”

I rest my case.

Yet another episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. In season three, episode four, Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob SquarePants decide to poison a health inspector, thinking he is an impostor. The inspector chokes on the fly and passes out. Our two heroes are tricked into believing that they killed the man and start taking action to hide the body. They set off on foot to a remote location and bury the body, but are quickly found by the police. As they speak with the police, the previously buried body slides out of place and lands next to them.

They are able to convince the cops that they are innocent and have the police take them back to the Krusty Krab, hiding the muddy corpse in the trunk of the police car. As I write these lines, I can’t help but see the parallels between this episode and The Sopranos. Krabs is Tony Soprano, SpongeBob is Christopher, Sandy feels a bit like a Melfi, Patrick is obviously Pauli, and why not add Squidward as Adriana.

This eleven-minute episode is sort of able to effortlessly sum up the six seasons of the Emmy-winning series which is The Sopranos. The tension on the screen is palpable, the characters are confrontational and the accents are thick (pirate accent from Krabs).

I once again asked my expert what he thought about it. His response: “This one was really funny.” His younger brother said: “We watch SpongeBob SquarePants almost every day.” Properly.