cartoons Marc Ceccarelli Nickelodeon Rodger Bumpass sdcc '19 SpongeBob Squarepants stephen hillenburg TOM KENNY

SDCC ’19 Interview: Diving into SPONGEBOB’s “Best Year Ever”

Initially of the yr, Nickelodeon declared 2019 the “Best Year Ever” for SpongeBob SquarePants. Everyone’s favorite nautical good friend has come a great distance since he made the scene back in 1999. With a by-product collection and a 13th Season already announced, don’t anticipate SpongeBob to vanish from the airwaves or our hearts and minds anytime quickly. At SDCC, The Beat had the prospect to take a seat down with Tom Kenny and Rodger Bumpass, the voices behind SpongeBob SquarePants and Squidward Tentacles respectively, as well as government producer Marc Ceccarelli. Our dialogue ranged from the surreal expertise of performing in a live-action phase within the current SpongeBob Special as well as the legacy and impression of the late creator Stephen Hillenburg.

Taimur Dar: You each have on-camera experience so I’m curious the way you adjusted or tailor-made your performances of your respective characters for live-action?

Rodger Bumpass: It was a really, very unusual state of affairs. For twenty years we’ve got seen each other do our elements within the studio however unexpectedly being on digital camera in costume and other people making an attempt to truly seem like their characters was so surreal that I felt Rod Serling would are available at any moment.

Tom Kenny as “JimBob”

Tom Kenny: Yeah. And other people like Roger and Clancy [Brown] and Bill [Fagerbakke] and I assume me to some extent and Carolyn [Lawrence] all of us had on digital camera expertise you understand to at least one degree or one other. But for me one of many things I beloved about once I began doing increasingly voiceover was being freed from your physique. You didn’t have to fret about what to do together with your arms or what faces you have been making or no matter. As long as you might make that sound come anything was truthful recreation.

So yeah it was sort of weird to be back in that fashion of appearing. You truly had to think about what your physique, your vessel is doing. All of our live-action characters in the special sound very very similar to they’re animated counterparts. However it was an fascinating psychological train. [It was] type of thrilling and nerve wracking on the similar time.

Bumpass: I spent your complete time making an attempt to look and act Squidward. I really did.

SpongeBobRodger Bumpass as “Manward”

Kenny: Oh, they usually pulled it off superbly, man! Once I saw Roger standing behind the little boat with the cash register in it at the Krusty Krab live-action that they constructed—they principally took an present diner in California and near L.A. and retrofitted it as the Krusty Krab. Roger standing there behind the register with that Squidward look on his face and his palms on his hips was really a meta second.

Bumpass: I even grew two additional legs! I nonetheless have some suckers on the bottom of my ft.


Dar: Wanting back at different cartoons that debuted 20 years in the past, I can’t think of any others that have lasted or have had as super an impression on the world as SpongeBob. I might go as far as to say that SpongeBob is our era’s Looney Tunes. How would you assess that statement?

Kenny: I’ll take it!

Bumpass: I do this on a regular basis. They’re both brief cartoons. I feel they need to go back to enjoying our cartoon before the function in a movie show identical to they used to do with Looney Tunes.

Kenny: Yeah. As an alternative of 45 minutes of trailers and commercials for automobiles and soda. Yeah, yeah. No thanks!


Kenny: I’d a lot slightly see a humorous animated cartoon! But yeah, we sort of take a look at ourselves with all due humility as being the inheritors of Looney Tunes. We’re the closest factor around to that in the trendy world where it’s crazy, surreal, bouncing off the partitions and squash stretch excessive animation. Crazy drawings and crazy animation drive the entire bus. It’s really an artist-driven, animator-driven cartoon which a variety of issues aren’t any extra.

Marc Ceccarelli: We attempt to maintain the tales pretty easy so they can be extra gag based mostly cartoons which is analogous to the best way Looney Tunes have been completed again within the day. We all the time attempt to hold it as visual as we will. Gag based mostly surreal comedy.

Kenny: It’s funny like when it comes to longevity, in all probability the only animated exhibits which were round longer The Simpsons and South Park. I don’t assume Household Guy has been around quite as lengthy has it?

Dar: Not when you don’t rely the cancellation hiatus.

Kenny: Oh right! That’s true! That type of messes with the maths. Yeah I know that South Park and The Simpsons have been round longer than us. We love them and aspire to that sort of longevity. It’s funny, they’re  each considerably limited in their animation fashion. By design the comedy is more verbal and extra topical. So in some ways these exhibits couldn’t be less like SpongeBob however hopefully a excessive tide raises all the boats in the animation waters.

Bumpass: That’s actually one of many robust things about SpongeBob. Like Marc stated, we’re gag oriented. We don’t get slowed down in verbiage. And it’s very straightforward to try this but you lose what is important to animation.

Kenny: I really like being a part of this present as a result of in some methods in type of being the final dinosaur SpongeBob finally ends up feeling recent and new and current in every thing simply by doing the present that also does that. It’s really storyboard pushed, actually artist driven, actually animator pushed and really rewards excessive animated imaginative and prescient on the part of the artists. Taking the characters physically into loopy poses and bizarre physics, faces and expressions. I feel that’s one cause for the memes. Why there are such a lot of SpongeBob memes is as a result of there are so many tens of hundreds of drawings of the SpongeBob characters making these bizarre loopy faces.

In case anyone was questioning the place that “spongebob mocking” meme came from..😂

— whatitdobabyyyyyyy (@suttonimpaQt) Might 11, 2017

It’s very specific. I really like the meme factor the place any person will take a look at a type of drawings of one of many characters making an expression and go, “Oh that’s my face when I blah blah blah.” They usually repurpose this drawing and make it into one thing else like discovered art. It’s like they dived to do a dumpster and located some cool piece of trash and made a brand new piece of artwork out of it. It’s cool.

Bumpass: There’s a place at Nickelodeon you’ll see a wall that is coated in post-it notes and there’s simply actually tons of of varied permutations of SpongeBob’s character saying no matter emotion he’s in. It amazes me the diversification of all this risk together with his face. The blokes are really creative.

Dar: I’d be remiss if I ended our dialog without mentioning the creator of SpongeBob Stephen Hillenburg who tragically passed away back in November. As bittersweet because it was to start the 20th Anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants with such a sad notice, it was touching to see this outpouring of affection from fans to honor him like the petition to have the track “Sweet Victory” from the “Band Geeks” carried out in the course of the Super Bowl half-time show. Is there anything you assume not simply fans but individuals ought to find out about Hillenburg?

Kenny: Steve was really unassuming so he wasn’t on the market quite a bit. He was sort of a shy guy. He simply favored doing what he did and browsing and portray and overseeing SpongeBob. That’s type of what he favored to do—being a dad and husband and going to see totally different elements of the world. That’s type of what he did so he wasn’t one in every of these folks that had a have to have their face in all places, to be a brand or to be a mogul. In a means that type of helped us as a result of he allowed the actors or type of defaulted the actors into type of being the goodwill ambassadors for the show. I feel that type of helped with our job security frankly. We have been type of out there and more visible and recognized than the typical anonymous voice actor. We’re nonetheless somewhat anonymous I assume.

What I all the time beloved about him was his curiosity about stuff and how he would discover out stuff. He knew about a number of stuff. So he seemed like the type of one that was all the time studying and studying and fascinated by stuff. [He] knew rather a lot already and was all the time voracious about finding out more. That’s a very admirable trait he had.

Bumpass: He was simply an endearing character. You’d by no means guess that inside his brain was this universe that he introduced out into the ether. He was so quiet, unassuming, and humble.

Kenny: Zen virtually.

Bumpass: He was simply two various things in his fantastic package deal that was really easy to like.

Ceccarelli: It’s a real testomony to the actual creation that he did type of attempt to keep in the background. And yet there was so much love for the show that it ended up coming back onto him.

Kenny: Sure, you’re right. And the whole Super Bowl thing occurred because he handed away and other people needed to honor him. So this petition began on-line that really constructed up steam and this loopy factor truly happened. I don’t know that Steve ever watched a Tremendous Bowl in his life!

Dar: I solely watch the commercials myself.

KENNY: But yeah, he would have been really blown away and honored by that. You used the phrase bittersweet. The bitter came when Steve obtained ALS and he was dealing with that and we had to cope with the prospect of him not being at the helm anymore. And I really feel like now we’re sort of into the candy a part of shifting on and using the map that he left us Marc stated to honor his creation and do SpongeBob proud and Stephen Hillenburg proud as a result of he modified our lives in many various methods on so many various ranges. He gave us this present and we would like and we don’t need to mess up the present.

Dar: I can’t think of a greater approach notice to finish on!

“SpongeBob‘s Big Birthday Blowout” kicked off the 20th anniversary celebration of one of the iconic and TV collection and characters ever created. The combined live-action and animated particular, featured for the first time the celebrated voice expertise behind SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Squidward and Plankton enjoying live-action doppelgänger variations of the animated characters they voice.  SpongeBob SquarePants is created by Stephen Hillenburg and produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif.