Wednesday, September 08, 2021

SpongeBob SquarePants' Most Radioactive Fan Theory May Actually Be Canon

An anonymous Nickelodeon staffer addresses the canonicity of the popular fan theory that argues SpongeBob SquarePants has a radioactive origin.

A popular SpongeBob SquarePants fan theory asserts that Bikini Bottom is part of Bikini Atoll, a real location in the Marshall Islands that saw several of the United States' hydrogen bomb tests between 1946 and 1958; that lingering radioactivity transformed an ordinary sea sponge into Nickelodeon's iconic underwater fry cook. While the theory has been regulated to fan forums and YouTube explainers for many years, a member of the network's creative promotion department shared their thoughts about its canonicity.

The staffer, who chose to remain anonymous out of fear of professional reprisal, told Cracked that the Bikini Atoll theory is more or less considered canon by those who work on or adjacent to SpongeBob SquarePants. They described how the theory functions "as well-accepted fanfic" and how it and other popular fan theories often crop up during in-house discussions of the show.

"I think every strong fan base comes up with their own explanations for things that are left open-ended, either intentionally or through negligence," the staffer said. "SpongeBob has one of the most loyal and wide-ranging fanbases around -- I'm sure there are tons of theories we've never heard about."

Supporters of the Bikini Atoll fan theory offer several pieces of evidence in its support, including the show's 1940s fashion aesthetic, references to Bikini Atoll from an unverified script that purports to from the show's pilot episode and an image of an explosion from the 2001 episode "Dying for Pie" that resembles a mushroom cloud.

For the anonymous staffer, Rock Bottom -- the strange city where SpongeBob got lost after riding the wrong bus home in the show's first season -- is what eventually sold them on the theory. "One thing I've heard that really sold me was that Rock Bottom, according to this theory, is a huge nuclear crater -- which definitely offers an explanation of the creatures there," they said.

It is important to note that a Nickelodeon representative seemingly quashed the legitimacy of the Bikini Atoll theory in an email statement to Cracked, writing "the show is set in Bikini Bottom." However, according to the staffer, "it's not in the best interest of the show" to officially confirm the theory. "I think it's more fun to imagine that it's true than to know it for sure," they explained. "If one day they decided to address it in an episode, that would be a different story. And a news-worthy one at that."

"SpongeBob will live forever - whether he's radioactively immortal or not," the staffer concluded.

The first twelve seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants as well as Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Yra are available to stream on Paramount+. 

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Original source: CBR.

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