The show's creator, Stephen Hillenburg, was a marine biologist. When he pitched the show to Nickelodeon, he brought a fish tank into the boardroom, and explained what was living inside. He then placed a cartoon drawing of SpongeBob into the tank and said "This is SpongeBob, the star of your new show."
Over the years, many fans of the show have asked Tom Kenny to lend SpongeBob's voice to their voice-mail and answering machines. In an interview, he joked that these custom messages might be more common than the factory-default voice.
While Stephen Hillenburg was a director for Rocko's Modern Life (1993), he showed the show's writer, Martin Olson, a comic book called "The Intertidal Zone", that Hillenburg drew in college. Olson loved it, and suggested that Stephen re-write it as an undersea cartoon series, which became SpongeBob SquarePants.
In South Korea, SpongeBob is called "Square Square Sponge", or, more often "Square Square Sponge Song." The title song needed four words to match the music, and most children refer to him the second way.
SpongeBob's last name is SquarePants, but all of his relatives are round, except Stanley, who is part square, as it was revealed in season five, episode twenty, "Banned in Bikini Bottom/Stanley S. SquarePants".
Season one, episode fourteen, "SB-129", and season three, episode ten, "Krusty Krab Training Video", feature the credits on a space, and a black background, respectively, instead of the traditional underwater background.
The show, which premiered in May 1999, is the second-to-last Nicktoon of the 1990s (the last was Rocket Power (1999). It is also the longest-running Nicktoon, spanning three decades: the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.
"Squidward's Suicide," posted on YouTube, depicts Squidward committing suicide. The episode allegedly depicts scenes of "violence and gore", as well as quick flashes of dead children and other disturbing imagery. A story that provides background for the video states that the video was created in 2005, and was viewed by a select test screening at Nickelodeon. Show Writer Casey Alexander said that the episode was a "100% hoax."
The signal flags hanging on the front of The Krusty Krab do not spell a word. The third signal flag (from left to right, facing the front door) doesn't exist in international nautical code. The first, second, fourth, and fifth are R, I, U, and K, although the U is only "right-side-up" if the flags are read from right-to-left. Inside Mr. Krabs' office is _, I, R, and M. The _ has no letter associated with the flag.
Sandy's line "We could be tighter than bark on a tree" led one internet humorist to animate a series of parodies in which this surreal expression is repeatedly dropped in among equally surreal characters and situations.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Every time a license is seen, SpongeBob says something about a mustache (Except for when he got his Milkshake license, where he said, "If only it were this easy to get my boating license!", and laughs).