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Spongebob: The Odysseus of Our Generation

Essay by   •  April 24, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  2,341 Words (10 Pages)  •  16,947 Views

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SpongeBob: The Odysseus of Our Generation

At first glance, SpongeBob Squarepants appears to be mindless babble that parents use to keep their kids quiet and entertained for the longest amount of time possible. Without paying attention to the story line, it even seems damaging to let our children watch it, possibly melting their minds by watching it for hours on end. Some experts in the fields of child education would go so far as to ban their children from watching SpongeBob for fear of somehow lessening their intelligence just from watching the bad jokes and silly songs dancing around on the screen for no purpose. What these people overlook is the underlying morals and hidden secrets the show possesses. Would these parents say that the Odyssey is just the same drooling entertainment as bad as the SpongeBob Movie? What makes SpongeBob so different from the Odyssey? Just because the Odyssey was written many years ago by a well-known writer, and the SpongeBob Movie was written for Nickelodeon as a way to entertain small children, people automatically assume that they are completely different. The truth is the SpongeBob Movie is a loose interpretation of the Odyssey. There are many things that these two pieces have in common, such as a flawed hero, a dangerous journey, an evil Cyclopes, and an antagonist trying to keep the hero from accomplishing his task. The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie is prosperous for our children to watch because it teaches the same morals as the Odyssey.

In the Odyssey, the main character Odysseus has just won the Trojan War and is trapped by Calypso on her island. Odysseus wants nothing more than to make his way back to his home land of Ithaca to be with his beloved wife, Penelope and son, Telemachus, but Calypso has fallen in love with him and wants him to stay with her forever. The gods and goddesses, after taking an interest in the poor traveler, decide to set him free and on his way home again, but he lands on an island where the inhabitants feed him make him tell his story of how he arrived. He then regales the hospitable strangers with his tale of blinding the Cyclopes, passing the sirens without being entranced by their song, and surviving Scylla and Charybdis, a multi headed monster and raging whirlpool in its den. When he has had his fill, the strangers let Odysseus leave and he finally sets off for home. Upon his arrival, he finds there are many bachelors vying for his wife's hand. He discovers that the man who is able to string Odysseus's old bow and is able to shoot an arrow through fifteen axes will win dear Penelope's hand. Many attempt this feat, but none are able until Odysseus himself, in disguise as a lowly beggar, steps up to the plate and does it with ease. He then swiftly turns around and kills all of the suitors and reveals himself to his wife. Finally, after 20 years of being away from home, he is free to live with his wife and son in peace. SpongeBob Squarepants may seem like the complete opposite of this great love story, but it is more similar than most like to believe. Plankton, The Krusty Krabs' arch enemy in the fast food world, steals King Neptune's crown and frames Mr. Krabs, the owner of The Krusty Krab, as the culprit. Plankton's plan is to steal the secret formula for the krabby patty to sell them at his restaurant, The Chum Bucket. When King Neptune finds out his crown is gone, he promptly barges into the Krusty Krab and threatens to put Mr. Krabs to death. SpongeBob quickly offers to go on a journey to retrieve the crown from the dreaded Shell City that is guarded by the horrible Cyclopes, in order to save his boss. Neptune gives him six days to complete the journey and make it back to Bikini Bottom or else Krabs will be executed. SpongeBob and his best friend, Patrick, begin their journey to the dangerous city, and encounter thugs, an angler fish, monsters, the Cyclopes, and the evil Dennis who was sent by Plankton to stop SpongeBob and Patrick from succeeding. When SpongeBob and Patrick return home with the crown, they find that Plankton has taken over all of Bikini Bottom using mind control Chum Bucket bucket helmets. The only way to get the helmets off of the other fish and break the mind control is by the power of rock and roll. SpongeBob eventually realizes that his flaw of being a kid did not in fact keep him from bringing the crown back and accomplishing the task he had set out to do, and breaks out into a rock-and-roll version of the Goofy Goober theme song and saves Bikini Bottom. Even with the background of both of these tales, it may still be hard to see any similarities between the two. At the base of these stories, if you dig deep enough, they both share a common goal.

The most obvious similarity in these two stories is that both of the protagonists face a terrifying Cyclopes. In the Odyssey, Odysseus and his men come across the land of Cyclopes', and decide to go ashore to find food and drink. While stealing sheep from one of the caves, Odysseus becomes too cocky, and wants to face one of them to see how terrifying they really are. This is one of his characters' flaws. When the Cyclops comes back, they discover he is not friendly, and he traps them in his cave, eating them one at a time. While doing this, Odysseus comes up with a plan, one of his strong points. They get the monster really drunk, and when he is passed out on the floor, they shove a giant wooden spear into his eye. Since the SpongeBob Movie is directed towards kids, it isn't quite as graphic. After being caught by the Cyclops, SpongeBob and Patrick wake up in a fishbowl. They soon realize that there are dead fish all around them, and that Shell City is actually a human gift shop selling humorous dioramas of fish with google eyes, such as Alexander "Clam" Bell. After being placed on a table to dry and die, SpongeBob and Patrick realize they aren't going to survive. SpongeBob seems to be giving up when he states, "I don't think we are going to be able to save ourselves, buddy... it looks like what everybody said about us was true... that we are just a couple of kids. A couple of kids in way over their heads. We failed." After this short exchange, they both realize that they are actually in Shell City, and that they actually made it. This revelation lifts their spirits, and they realize that they "did alright for a couple of goofballs." After they say this, they begin singing the goofy goober theme song, and slowly dry up under the heat of the lamp. After this, something in the store malfunctions and the sprinklers turn on in the store, giving moisture back to SpongeBob



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