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Stephen Hillenburg Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (1) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 21 August 1961Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA
Birth NameStephen McDannell Hillenburg

Mini Bio (1)

Stephen Hillenburg was born on August 21, 1961 in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, USA as Stephen McDannell Hillenburg.

Trivia (1)

As a child he loved the films of Jacques Cousteau, so Stephen Hillenburg earned a degree in natural-resource planning and interpretation, with an emphasis in marine resources from Humboldt State University (Arcata, Calif.) in 1984. For three years he taught marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute (now known as the Orange County Ocean Institute), in Dana Point, California. He had always enjoyed drawing and painting, so he pursued a master's-degree program in experimental animation at the California Institute of the Arts, in Valencia. All these experiences came together to create SpongeBob SquarePants.

Personal Quotes (9)

"There is something kind of unique about [SpongeBob]. It seems to be a refreshing breath from the pre-irony era. There's no sense of the elbow-in-rib, tongue-in-cheek aesthetic that so permeates the rest of American culture -- including kids' shows like the Rugrats. I think what's subversive about it is it's so incredibly naive -- deliberately. Because there's nothing in it that's trying to be hip or cool or anything else, hipness can be grafted onto it." -- Robert Thompson, professor at the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, in the New York Times, July 21, 2002.
We want the show to be really funny. But I think in the end the message is: Treat people the way you expect to be treated. And another connection to any sort of message is that a lot of the stories come out of the personal experience I and the other writers had as kids--the harsh lessons in life which are usually very funny in retrospect, like maybe what happens when you learn your first curse word and you don't know what it means. [Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001]
Our characters act silly, even totally ridiculous at times, and most of our jokes don't come out of pop cultural references. It seems like we're aiming at a child audience, everyone can laugh at the basic human traits that are funny. It's playful, the humor is playful, the world is playful.
[when asked why the octopus has six tentacles instead of eight:] "Technically I just thought he'd be a little too cumbersome as a character to have too many legs visible. Maybe that's why he's so angry!"
I think the connection to SpongeBob is that sponges are the most elastic, changing, plastic creatures . . . and I wanted him to be able to do things that were really magical. So [SpongeBob] has these really creative moments when he can re-form himself. But most sponges in the ocean are sedentary: They attach themselves to a rock and sit and filter-feed the rest of their lives, and reproduce, and that's about it. Not that they are not interesting, but they are not . . . mobile. They don't cook Krabbie Patties! [Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001]
When you set out to do a show about a sponge, you don't expect the kind of appeal that he's had. [Detroit News, August 8, 2002]
At first I drew a few natural sponges -- amorphous shapes, blobs -- which was the correct thing to do biologically as a marine science teacher. Then I drew a square sponge and it looked so funny. I think as far as cartoon language goes he was easier to recognize. He seemed to fit the character type I was looking for. [Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2001]
Even the villainous Plankton, he's still flawed and you still root for him in a way, and the style of humor is simple and it's about human behavior, and everybody can identify with that.
Working as a marine science educator, I had the chance to see how enamored kids are with undersea life, especially tide pool creatures. By combining this knowledge with my love for animation, I came up with SpongeBob SquarePants.

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