Though meme culture took off nearly two decades after SpongeBob Squarepants first aired on Nickelodeon in 1999, images from iconic episodes still circulate on the internet with hilarious captions.
The internet paid tribute to Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob Squarepants, after Nickelodeon announced his death Tuesday. He was 57.
Hillenburg’s creation has inspired countless memes using the show’s legendary characters including Mr Krabs, Squidward, Patrick and the SpongeBob himself.
‘Without #SpongeBob, we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy these memes,’ actor Philip Lewis Tweeted Tuesday. ‘RIP Stephen Hillenburg. ‘
Stephen Hillenburg is the creator of Nickelodeon’s animated hit SpongeBob Squarepants
Stephen Hillenburg’s death was announced in a tweet by Nickelodeon Tuesday
The show launched in 1999 and nearly two decades later is a hit on the internet with countless memes being created
Hillenburg died Monday of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, the cable network said in a statement.
Hillenburg conceived, wrote, produced and directed the animated series that began in 1999 and bloomed into hundreds of episodes, movies, a Broadway show and viral internet memes.
‘We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants,’ the network said in a tweet. ‘Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work.’
One fan wrote on Twitter, alongside a picture of SpongeBob looking sad: ‘RIP Stephen Hillenburg. My childhood is now officially dead.’
Many of the SpongeBob memes took the internet by storm both on Instagram and Twitter. And fans paid tribute to the creator by sharing them on Tuesday.
One popular meme in particular is of a ‘mocking SpongeBob’.
The meme comes from a 2012 episode in which SpongeBob clucks like a chicken and appears with a distorted face.
The captions that followed the image typically depict a short conversation between two people in which one person says something and then another repeats them by using upper and lower case letters to display mocking.
‘Don’t use that weird SpongeBob mocking meme.’
‘Me: ”DonT uSe thAt WeIrd SpoNgEboB MoCkinG MEme,’
Countless memes have been created with stills from classic episodes, such as this 2012 episode that was transformed into a ‘mocking SpongeBob meme’
Squidward Tenticles was turned into a meme with a split screen of his eyes
One person depicted the price of college tuition using a still from an episode
A tweet depicting two episodes of the classic animated series shows SpongeBob having two very different expressions
An evil Patrick Star meme showed SpongeBob sidekick with an evil expression
The program is one of the longest-running American television series as well as the highest-rated show ever to air on Nickelodeon.
Its vast cast of oceanic creatures included SpongeBob’s starfish sidekick Patrick, his tightwad boss Mr. Krabs, and his always-exasperated neighbor Squidward Tentacles.
One viral still shows a split screen of Squidward Tentacles with his eyes closed, split with an image of them wide and intense.
Memes for the image typically show someone suddenly remembering something important while trying to go to sleep.
‘When you’re about to go to sleep and you remember you have homework,’ one reads.
An image of SpongeBob’s sidekick Patrick Star holding up $3 with the caption: ‘I have three dollars’ has also been turned into a meme.
One caption reads: ‘Hanging out with my friends like.’
Another of Patrick shows him glaring down with an evil stare. ‘Me leaving the pot in the sink because it ”has to soak”’ it reads.
SpongeBob’s boss Mr Krabs is depicted daze and confused
A broke Patrick became relateable to many on the internet who struggle with finances
The madness of Black Friday shopping is depicted in this meme of Squidward
Born at his father’s army post in Lawton, Oklahoma, Hillenburg graduated from Humboldt State University in California in 1984 with a degree in natural resource planning with a marine emphasis, and went on to teach marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute.
That is where he wrote The Intertidal Zone, an informative comic book about tide-pool animals.
He used the pictures to help educate his students.
Stephen – who was a fan of French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau – was also behind two SpongeBob movies: The 2004 hit The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and the 2015 sequel The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.
‘I make animation because I like to draw and create things. I have no real interest to be on camera or to be a celebrity. It’s not that I don’t like people, but I like having my privacy,’ he said.
A SpongeBob smooth around the edges is depicted in this funny meme about being ‘refined’
Many college students can relate to this meme of Squidward dumping out his brain