SpongeBob Squarepants was first introduced by Nickelodeon in 1999. The show, running in thirty-minute segments with two episodes per time slot, immediately stood out amongst the rest for its unique content and concept. The main character is a square sea sponge that lives in a pineapple (under the sea) and works as a fry cook at a restaurant.
It could easily have flopped, but it did anything but. And even though the show is no longer running, you will still see SpongeBob Squarepants merchandise and references around the internet and in brick-and-mortar stores alike.
The song that plays for SpongeBob‘s credits is also consistently one of the most popular choices on TikTok and Instagram Reels, making the show even more relevant in today’s world. In fact, if you Google ‘sea sponge’, the fourth picture that pops up, after actual sea sponges, is SpongeBob Squarepants himself.
All in all, SpongeBob Squarepants ran for thirteen seasons and three full-length movies. In that huge body of work, the creators introduced many loveable and memorable characters.
This article is a breakdown of the most prominent recurring characters; who they are, why they’re important, and why they’re important in SpongeBob’s world and Bikini Bottom as a whole.
One of the things I love about SpongeBob Squarepants is that most of the characters are based on real sea (and land) creatures. (I say most because we have mythical creatures like the Abominable Snow Mollusk pops up here and there.)
And with a whole ocean and planet to choose amazing, fun, and even dull creatures from, it keeps the show and the characters as colorful as the humor.
So let’s talk about the major characters of SpongeBob Squarepants, then move on to the ‘major-minor characters’, which is a category I just made up because there are just so many awesome characters in this show, I need you to know about as many as possible! Finally, I have some minor characters that are good to know about as well. Ok, let’s get started!
SpongeBob Squarepants Major Characters
SpongeBob Squarepants, the sponge the myth, the legend. As I said before, SpongeBob is a sea sponge, shaped like a sponge you’d use to clean your dishes (rectangular).
His pants are in fact square, and he wears khaki shorts with a black belt, high-top socks, shiny black shoes, and a white button-up with a red tie every single day. When he works he wears his uniform, which is a tall sailor hat with a blue anchor and black bill.
Like the theme song says, SpongeBob does in fact live in a pineapple under the sea. He lives outside the town of Bikini Bottom, next door to Squidward Tentacles and Patrick Star. The show follows SpongeBob’s various adventures, but the heart of the show and SpongeBob’s heart, belong to his work at the Krusty Krab.
The Krusty Krab is a restaurant in Bikini Bottom, owned by Mr. Krabs (we will get to him), where SpongeBob works as the only fry cook on staff, and the best fry cook (by far) in Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob loves his job and Mr. Krabs loves SpongeBob’s work ethic.
SpongeBob’s best friend in the whole world is his neighbor, Patrick Star. SpongeBob also has a pet snail named Gary, who is highly intelligent, and often outsmarts SpongeBob, and many others.
Patrick Star is SpongeBob’s best friend. He is a starfish and true to starfish facts, is a complete dummy. (Starfish have no brain.) Patrick is a tubby, pink fellow who lives under a rock just two houses down from SpongeBob. Patrick always wears the same shorts, green with purple flowers on them.
He doesn’t work, he loves jelly-fishing with SpongeBob and generally just enjoys doing anything SpongeBob wants to do on his days off.
Squidward Tentacles is the lucky (or not so lucky, depending on how you feel about SpongeBob and Patrick) sea critter who lives between SpongeBob and Patrick. Squidward’s house is an Easter Island-looking head. It is as stoic and cold as him.
Squidward is a solitary octopus, who gets easily annoyed and prefers to be alone. He loves to play the clarinet, but he isn’t very good at it (he’s actually quite terrible) and he does interpretive dance (also poorly), along with sculpting (not too good at this either) and painting (meh).
He’s always wearing a dark tan collared shirt with no pants, and unlike SpongeBob, he is usually frowning.
Ironically, Squidward works in customer service alongside SpongeBob at the Krusty Krab. He operates the cash register, takes all the orders, and sometimes even runs the food.
Squidward is an unenthusiastic employee who, unlike SpongeBob, is only there for a paycheck. He takes no pleasure in a good day’s work and only wants to be home to practice his clarinet and create bad art.
Squidward’s storylines usually end in one of two ways: either SpongeBob melts Squidward’s cold heart and incites him to do acts of kindness or Squidward gets a dose of karma for his saltiness with injury or loss.
Squidward’s true nemesis, however, isn’t SpongeBob, who is sort of more of his frienemy, but Squilliam Fancypants. Squilliam is in my major-minor category, so scroll down to learn more about him.
Sandy Cheeks is a very unexpected citizen of Bikini Bottom because she is in fact a squirrel. Sandy is a highly intelligent scientist and inventor. She has built a ‘tree-dome’ outside of Bikini Bottom, where she can roam without an oxygen tank and live freely. When she’s in the tree-dome, she wears a purple strapless bikini top with a matching purple skirt.
Outside the tree-dome, Sandy wears a sort of space-looking suit, complete with a pink flower on the helmet, so that she is able to breathe. She even has a hole in the back for her tail to come out.
Sandy is also a master of karate, and she and SpongeBob often play-fight. Sandy is better at karate. She is a skilled athlete and the most intelligent creature in Bikini Bottom.
Mr. Krabs or Eugene Krabs is the owner and operator of the Krusty Krab. He is also the cheapest critter in Bikini Bottom and will do anything to save a penny or make a penny.
This often causes adventures for SpongeBob and Squidward, like when Mr. Krabs insists the Krusty Krab stays open for twenty-four hours a day but doesn’t hire any new staff, forcing SpongeBob and Squidward to live at the restaurant and never rest. All just to get just a few more sales a day!
Mr. Krabs is also the inventor of the secret Krabby Patty formula, which is what makes the Krabby Patties so irresistible and profitable to Bikini Bottom citizens.
Plankton, full name Sheldon J. Plankton, is the official villain of Bikini Bottom. Plankton owns the Chum Bucket, across the street from the Krusty Krab. I’d call it a rival to the Krusty Krab, but the Chum Bucket serves chum (gross) and never has any customers.
For that reason, Plankton is always trying to steal the secret formula for the Krabby Patty, so that he can ruin Mr. Krabs and experience the financial and business success of the Krusty Krab.
Gary the snail is SpongeBob’s pet. He is most comparable to a cat and even has a weird ‘meow’ he uses to communicate. Gary is more intelligent and perceptive than SpongeBob and often gets a lot done before SpongeBob even notices. He has plenty of adventures on his own and is one of my personal favorite characters.
The Major-Minor Characters
Patchy the Pirate
Patchy the Pirate is a fairly regular character. He is is the president of the SpongeBob fan club and often introduces special episodes. He is rare in that he’s portrayed by a live-action actor. He has a pet parrot named Potty. Potty is a wise-cracking parrot and the two have a similar relationship to Gary and SpongeBob.
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy
Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy come and go often. They are retired, and very old, former action heroes in Bikini Bottom. They had a show which chronicled their adventures, which is why SpongeBob is such a big fan.
But by the time they meet SpongeBob, they are long retired. They now reside in an assisted living home and while they still wear their uniforms, Mermaid Man pairs his with cozy pink slippers.
Mermaid Man wears an orange top with a purple seashell bra on the outside, black scaled underwear, also on the outside, and green leggings which match his green gloves. He has stark white hair and a purple starfish that covers his nose.
Barnacle Boy wears teal flippers that match his gloves, he wears only shiny black underpants and a red, long-sleeved top with a light blue scarf. He also has thick glasses and a small sailor’s hat. He has a huge, dangly nose, and both loves and is easily annoyed by Mermaid Man.
Mermaid Man has almost entirely lost his mind and is very forgetful. Barnacle Boy is a little more with it, but he is extremely cranky. Neither ever want to be bothered but tough luck when they run into SpongeBob!
Pearl Krabs is Mr. Krabs’ daughter. She is a teenage humpback whale that always wears a pink dress with a matching pink bow. Pearl is a little vapid, and very interested in being popular and cool.
All of this means she’s often at odds with her father, who never wants to spend money at all, especially money on trendy things teenagers like. Pearl is also good at heart, albeit immature, which is to be expected for her age.
Mrs. Puff isn’t SpongeBob’s nemesis, but SpongeBob is Mrs. Puff’s nemesis. Mrs. Poppy Puff is a blowfish, who expands when she gets stressed, angry, or scared.
She is the Bikini Bottom boating instructor and driving a boat is not something SpongeBob is good at. SpongeBob is therefore always enrolled in Mrs. Puff’s classes, which means she has to begrudgingly tolerate his relentless optimism and then risk her life every time she gets in a boat with SpongeBob behind the wheel.
Mrs. Puff wears a blue top with a red skirt. She always has a little blue hat on as well. She has a good heart and really only wants SpongeBob to become a responsible driver so that she can release him into the world safely.
Larry the lifeguard is a lobster and yes, a lifeguard. That’s right, there is a beach, Goo Lagoon, and Larry is sort of the king of that beach. Larry usually has some zinc oxide on his nose to keep it from burning and usually has on a blue or flower-patterned bathing suit, never a shirt.
Larry is not terribly smart, but he has a good heart and he’s a friend of SpongeBob’s and is just overall a popular guy. Larry is also a muscle-head and when he isn’t keeping Goo Lagoon safe, he’s lifting weights or playing volleyball.
The Flying Dutchman
The Flying Dutchman is a ghost of the mythical Flying Dutchman. This is a myth of a sea captain, trapped in the ocean, cursed by the devil to sail forever.
The Flying Dutchman of SpongeBob is far more comical, though he tries to be haunting. He is a glowing green ghost, who floats around in his green glowing ghost ship, trying to scare sea creatures near and far.
Every now and then he appears in Bikini Bottom and the episode where he takes SpongeBob and Patrick on as mates is one of my personal favorites of all time. (Shanghaied, season 2, episode thirteen.)
Perch Perkins is the Bikini Bottom news reporter and while he never has his own storyline, he appears in enough episodes that I have him in the ‘major-minor character’ category.
He doesn’t have a background, he’s just a goofy news reporter. Perch is the on-the-ground news reporter for Bikini Bottom, there is a real fish that is unnamed, who often introduces him and/or the news report.
Squillium Fancypants is Squidward’s nemesis. He is another octopus and artist. Unlike Squidward, he is massively successful financially. Squillium has succeeded everywhere Squidward has failed. He has a thick black unibrow and always wears a red smoking jacket, kind of like Hugh Heffner’s famous bathrobe.
Squillium isn’t kind. He’s constantly antagonizing Squidward and acting superior. His friends are all artificial and only hang around him because he has money and stature.
The irony of the Squillium versus Squidward competition is that Squidward is far wealthier than Squillium, having friends like SpongeBob who would walk through fire for him.
Karen the computer, is an artificial intelligence that is both super-advanced (she has her own conscientiousness) and a little rudimentary (she looks like one of the pre-flatscreen televisions on top of a stand with wheels). Still, she can move on her own and sometimes has hands.
She makes her own plans and even possesses the ability to have a multitude of emotions. Karen is the creation of Plankton, and she is also his wife. While she helps Plankton, she also thinks he’s a buffoon and is a great source of comedy whenever Plankton is involved in an episode.
The Minor Characters
Margaret and Harold Squarepants
SpongeBob’s parents are Margaret and Harold Squarepants. Unlike her son, Margaret does not have square pants but Harold does. Margaret has a big round head and Harold has more of an oval-shaped head. They are both precious and sweet, adore their son SpongeBob and are so proud of all his various achievements!
SpongeBob’s grandmother is his paternal grandmother and is equally as precious as SpongeBob’s parents. She is a widow and is both tough and sweet. SpongeBob is a sucker for her cookies and she makes a couple of small appearances throughout the seasons up until season eight.
Uncle Captain Blue
Uncle Captain Blue is SpongeBob’s uncle (duh), brother to Harold, and son of SpongeBob’s paternal Grandma. He’s a little bit of a redneck and is a retired police captain. He now lives next door to BlackJack.
BlackJack is SpongeBob’s cousin, who first appears in season five. He’s rough around the edges and reconnects with SpongeBob after getting out of prison.
He was a childhood bully for SpongeBob but renounced his criminal ways after getting released for his crime of littering and also never grew physically, so even if he wanted to bully SpongeBob physically, he couldn’t.
Stanley is another cousin of SpongeBob’s who SpongeBob helps out when Stanley is trying to find his life’s direction. He looks like a taller version of SpongeBob, with thick, black hair.
Bubble Bass is kind of a fuddy-duddy, hater, generally unpleasant citizen of Bikini Bottom. He is most famous for hiding pickles from a Krabby Patty under his tongue, making SpongeBob question his abilities as a fry cook, and sending him into a deep depression.
The Unnamed Realistic Fish Reporter
Often shown introducing television news headlines, this is fish stands out because he isn’t a cartoon, he is a photograph with a mouth that opens and closes. He has a deep, dramatic voice, and he will cut to Perch Perkins, who is actually on the ground, for the full report.
King Neptune first appears in season one of SpongeBob Squarepants but he appears throughout the thirteen seasons and his physique changes. He goes from being sort of a frumpy, silly king, to a more in-shape, intimidating king. He is also not a real sea creature, he’s a merman.
Neptune’s daughter, Princess Mindy, eventually appears and befriends SpongeBob. She is a mermaid and first appears in The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie.
Man Ray is an old nemesis of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. He is sort of a bumbling villain, though more competent than Plankton.
FAQs About SpongeBob Characters
Answer: No, it’s actually quite large!
Answer: No, but it is fun!
Answer: Sandy has a tree-dome with oxygen in it, even with a giant tree she planted there! She also has a special underwater suit for when she leaves the tree-dome.
Answer: Yes, but that makes it more fun when they do (and if you’ve watched from the beginning, you will be extra happy to see the familiar face!)
Answer: No. Sandy is a squirrel and others are mythical creatures like both King Neptune and his daughter Princess Mindy, who are a merman and mermaid.
Final Thoughts on SpongeBob Squarepants Characters
There are plenty of loveable critters to make you smile when you watched the thirteen seasons and three movies of SpongeBob Squarepants. And trust me, you should!
The creators of SpongeBob Squarepants have a really amazing ability to make you giggle over silly physical humor, wordplay, and even weird noises, along with the ability to warm your heart. All the goofiness and fun are often balanced by moments of sincerity and kindness.
Because in the end, SpongeBob’s childish innocence and relentless optimism can melt anyone’s heart, even Squidward’s.
You can stream SpongeBob Squarepants on Paramount or Amazon Prime, which has a few early seasons for free and the later seasons available for purchase.
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