It’s the first post of August 2009. It’s not that I don’t want to post something every day; it’s that I am going for quality over quantity. Sometimes less is more. I also wanted to make sure I’d done my research. I was able to watch ‘Square Roots: Spongebob Squarepants the Documentary’ (I found it on YouTube in 4 parts). I also found the Cavna interview with the show’s creator, Steve Hillenburg. This year marks the show’s 10th anniversary. Michael Cavna’s blog called “Comic Riffs” appears in the Washington Post. He is very well versed in animation and comics, from the historical perspective to the “now”. One thing I learned is that Spongebob’s creator is in fact a real life marine biologist. All of this research gives great credibility to the activity of watching Spongebob videos for vast quantities of time. It’s a bubble bath for the brain.
I had never really allowed myself this spongy kind of indulgence before. To be sure, I enjoy animation from the hand painted cels of Fantasia to the CGI frames of Pixar. I read the Sunday funnies (my first inspiration to draw) and have favorite manga (graphic novels) and anime from Japan. Oddly I am not drawn (no pun intended) to prime time TV like “The Simpsons”; I would be more inclined to catch an episode of “Courage the Cowardly Dog”. But because my kids have families of their own now, they are no longer making “in-house” demands on my TV schedules. I was simply unaware of the therapeutic benefits awaiting me on Nickelodeon.
I do believe in the notion that one of the greatest aids to Adult Education is children-even if they have become ‘grown-ups’. I continue to broaden my horizons with their discoveries. So when my daughter tells me she has Spongebob scrubs, my curiosity is peaked. When my grand-daughter informs me she is going as Spongebob for Halloween, I’m even more interested. The photo included here is from 2008. With their mutual love of the yellow rectangle, my daughter created the costume, and my grand-daughter ‘animated’ it. They were (are) a multi talented team bringing smiles to doorbells near and far. I know they started to get requests for bowling parties and bar mitzvahs. I do not know how that is working out for them.
Let’s return to ‘bubble bath for the brain’ reference for a moment, I have another observation. Bubbles are fun; I don’t think I’ll get much argument there. Spas have been around, in one form or another, for centuries, as have the claims of health benefits from them. So one could surmise that bubble baths for the brain are good for you. My theory is that once the brain’s needs for bubble baths are met, they work better. Better brains are more curious, creative and able to grasp scientific and math concepts more easily. Once refreshed, brains are also better at social skills like caring. This causes brains to look for the source of the renewal, and so discover we have Spongebob to thank. Brains from earlier ages found the same heart and optimism in Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Bullwinkle, et al. Those characters paved the way for the cultural icons of today.
It is not the impending full moon that compels me to think these zany things. It is one of my missions as an artist, to try and understand what pleases the human psyche and why. I’m just not going to try and explain any of this to Patrick. As I said before, sometimes less is more.