Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

How an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants predicted the rise of meme culture

Image: SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob SquarePants might not be the first show one would turn to for philosophical depth, but Quinton of the YouTube channel Quinton Reviews argues there’s more intelligence than meets the eye in the cheeky cartoon series. In other words, Quinton agrees that the show deserved its spot on our list of kids’ shows that parents won’t hate, where we called it “the ultimate in shows appreciated by both kids and adults.” And it turns out the series may have been ahead of its time when it came to predicting the rise of meme culture.

Quinton specifically digs into the first season episode “Ripped Pants,” which aired in July of 1999. It follows SpongeBob as a pants-splitting incident turns him into a minor celebrity, only to see his brief bout of fame fall away as people get sick of him repeating the same joke over and over again. Quinton argues that’s a perfect parallel for meme culture and can potentially even offer some solace for those who find themselves as the face of a meme (your Damn Daniels, Salt Baes, and Overly Attached Girlfriends). In the end, SpongeBob uses his bout of viral fame as a springboard for launching a music career, thereby creating something more lasting and artistic than just a meme. So if Salt Bae wants to be more than just a flash in the pan, perhaps he should set about recording an album or something.


[via Laughing Squid]

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