It sounds like a dumb idea — making a TV show starring a sponge.
But that's what marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg wanted to do. The result, "SpongeBob SquarePants," premiered on Nickelodeon in 1999.
The "dumb" idea turned out to be a brilliant one. The kids soaked it up (some adults have been known to take a peek, too) and "SpongeBob SquarePants" went on to become one of the most successful children's show in the history of cable TV.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the series, Nickelodeon has released the mega-collection "SpongeBob SquarePants: The First 100 Episodes." The set contains 14 discs and numerous extras. Overall, there are 207 segments/cartoons in the collection.
For those who are coming in late, SpongeBob is a goofy-looking yellow sponge with big eyes, a funny nose, a mouth that is constantly working and two arms and two legs coming out of his square body. The wonderfully silly voice (supplied by Tom Kenny) perfectly fits SpongeBob's image.
SpongeBob lives in the ocean in a place called Bikini Bottom, where he works as a cook at the Crusty Krab owned by Mr. Eugene H. Krabs. His best friend is Patrick Starfish, who is as brainless as SpongeBob.
Let it be known that this is an affectionate kind of brainless, one that translates into plenty of laughs. Watch a few episodes and you'll understand why adults are also drawn to it. The humor is splashed out on several levels.
Also hanging around Bikini Bottom is the often grumpy Squidwood Tentacles, who lives next door to SpongeBob. There are also Plankton, a tiny sea animal who acts bigger than his size; Mrs. Puff, who gives SpongeBob driving lessons (something she's been doing forever); and Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel who somehow ended up living underwater.
SpongeBob and Patrick encounter all kinds of adventures under the sea. There was the time they met Frankendoodle and Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost. And who can forget "Fungus Among Us" and "The Great Snail Race?"
Go ahead and buy the collection for your kids. But here's betting that, if mom and dad watch some of the episodes, they'll be laughing, too.