SpongeBob memes explained

Why Is ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ A Meme Gold Mine? The Biggest SpongeBob Memes, Explained

Out of the entirety of meme history, one television show might take the cake for the "most amount of memes" ever created from it. While there are a lot of contenders, such as Breaking Bad or Family Guy, one show arguably seems to be the true victor, and that's SpongeBob SquarePants.

What started as a lowly Nickelodeon cartoon back in 1999 has since become the arguable epicenter for every member of Gen Z's sense of humor (and some millennials too). To make the show doubly powerful, something else's humor grew up with SpongeBob — the internet.

Patrick Star, Squidward Tentacles and Mr. Krabs, among other, goofy sea critters in the Bikini Bottom universe, each have their own entries on the Know Your Meme database. In tow, each character has their own plethora of sub-entries, as in, memes that are directly based on them, using their likenesses or catchphrases.

With all of these character-specific entries and sub-entries combined, they alone dwarf the memes made about any other meme-worthy TV show in the database. Combine them with the 180+ sub-entries already beneath the SpongeBob SquarePants entry, and you get a meme-making machine that's still airing on television to this day.

For even the biggest SpongeBob superfan, knowing all of these SpongeBob memes can be incredibly daunting, ranging to nearly impossible. To help you out, let's break down what some of the best SpongeBob memes are and where they came from.

Mocking SpongeBob

For starters, let's talk about the most viewed SpongeBob meme on our website, Mocking SpongeBob. Like any good SpongeBob meme, Mocking SpongeBob uses one of the many, hilarious frames drawn by the cartoon's animators. In this case, the frame shows SpongeBob bent over like a chicken with a crazy look in his eyes. It's originally from the episode "Little Yellow Book" in the ninth season of the show.

Meme creators back in 2017 started to caption the still image, pretending that SpongeBob was mocking the meme's viewer. Something about SpongeBob's expression just read like a mocking tone, especially when paired with a caption that had differently sized letters, such as, "dOn't YOu LovE ThiS MEme?" The combination of both proved to be highly remixable and effective in portraying the "mocking" expression.

@adryzzle Him: *leaves me on delivered last night" Him this morning: "good morning beautiful Me: gOOd MOrlng beAuTiFul the logster @poedamercn "Dont use that weird spongebob mocking meme" Me: DonT uSe thAt Welrd SpoNgEboB MoCkinG MEme

Surprised Patrick

SpongeBob SquarePants wouldn't be a great show without SpongeBob's sidekick Patrick Star. That being said, SpongeBob memes wouldn't be as funny without Patrick adding to the gold mine. One of the most viral Patrick-related memes of the past two decades is Surprised Patrick which actually uses a still from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

The best thing about the Surprised Patrick trend, which happened back in 2013, was how it was a GIF trend, as in, creative meme creators inserted Patrick's open-mouthed expression into various GIFs, treating him like a bait-and-switch prank.

No, This Is Patrick


Another great Patrick meme uses one of the character's most famous catchphrases, taken from the episode "Big Pink Loser," the scene in question shows Patirck working the cash register at the Krusty Krab and screaming, "No, This Is Patrick" into the phone.

The objectively hilarious and simple joke within the scene inspired a slew of video memes and remixes on YouTube in 2007. That timestamp marks the "No, This Is Patrick" trend as one of the first, verifiable video memes on YouTube.

Squidward's Lounge Chair

For many kids who grew up watching SpongeBob, Squidward Tentacles is, most likely, the character that they slowly grew into understanding the most. His monotone voice, dry humor and struggles with adulting translated the best for many parents who watched the show when it was on.

In tow, Squidward has many memes. One of the best, which also portrays Squidward's overall vibe, is Squidward's Lounge Chair, which shows Squidward excited to put out a lounge chair and chill, only to fold it back up in the next frame, looking disappointed. The original episode is called "The Paper."

Meme creators made the two screencaps into an unforgettable format in 2019, surfacing mostly on Reddit during the first year of its lifetime.

"We're going to watch a movie in class today" "Here's a list of questions to answer while you watch." Whose ready for ice cream?! Just finish all your veggies first!

Confused Mr. Krabs

As far as reaction images go, Confused Mr. Krabs is an instant classic. Again, credit goes to the animators at Nickelodeon working on this episode called "Patty Hype," making a perfect frame for meme exploitation. However, for this meme, a lot of credit goes to the original creator who added a motion blur, making it ten times as meme-worthy.

Like many of the other characters in the show, Mr. Krabs is a meme legend, surfacing time and time again online due to the expressive nature of his character. He's always got a big reaction to any minor inconvenience on the show, accurately portrayed in the frame in question.

This meme format popped off in 2016, starting on Twitter and then spreading pretty much everywhere. In what should be obvious, the Confused Mr. Krabs image is still used to this day, most often with captions that highlight some sort of shocking moment or realization.

when you get older and learn the family secrets and everything starts making sense SAVAGE 2: Follow CauseWereSavage you 3 pizza slices & 8 wings into a random Super Bowl party and somebody ask "who you related to?" RETWEETS LIKES 67 164 41 PM-7 Feb 2016


SpongeGar is technically not a meme that features SpongeBob. Instead, it shows his long-distance ancestor, a caveman sponge person who, in the frame, is protecting whoever is behind him. In the episode, "SB-129," he's protecting Patar who's, you guessed it, an ancient starfish.

Similar to many memes that portray "shocked" expressions, SpongeGar was used to portray being startled, while also, kind of looking dumb or stupid. SpongeGar memes proved to be a flash of creativity, as meme creators used him as an exploitable by editing him into many settings, rather than just giving the image a top caption and not photoshopping much else.

When grandma hears "I haven't eaten yet"

Gangster SpongeBob

As a change of pace, let's discuss a SpongeBob meme that doesn't use an actual frame from the show. Instead, it uses an artist's rendition of what SpongeBob would look like as a gangster. Meme enjoyers would probably refer to Gangster SpongeBob as an "image that goes hard."

What's become fuel for ironic memes online in the 2020s started with some MySpace era fan art. Gangster SpongeBob images have since been used nonsensically in memes, often appearing at random in a meme template. The obtuse nature of Gangster SpongeBob's appearance in the meme acts as a weird punchline for those who are chronically online with broken senses of humor.

OND Cha Boss Blinge 4 pics depicting the life of gangster spongebob from birth till death

Handsome Squidward

Maybe the antithesis of Gangster SpongeBob is Handsome Squidward whose perfect Chad face has blended perfectly into the sigma male-ification of the modern, meme universe.

Basically, Squidward got super handsome in the episode "The Two Faces of Squidward" generating one frame from the show where his skin is literally glistening, shining in perfect harmony like a "lightskin stare."

So much fan art and memes have stemmed from Handsome Squidward's stare, including the clip of Handsome Squidward falling, which was so graceful, it brought tears, and ideas for memes, to the eyes of many.

Inappropriate Timing SpongeBob Banner


One of the first Spongebob memes added to the Know Your Meme database, and still one of the most-viewed on the site, is the Inappropriate Timing SpongeBob Banner trend. There's something about this meme that's super nostalgic, mostly because of the fact that it uses an on-air "up next" banner as if the meme's viewer is watching 2000s Nickelodeon.

The meme's based on an old promo banner for SpongeBob SquarePants that often appeared during sad or emotional moments in other Nickelodeon TV shows. For instance, imagine watching a devasting scene in The Legend of Korra only to be interrupted by a laughing SpongeBob, as if he was taunting your pain.

The Photoshop trend extended to many movies and TV shows, interrupting heartbreaking moments like Jack's last words in the Titanic movie.


Imagination SpongeBob

The Imagination SpongeBob meme has it all, fan art, redraws, Impact font captions… It would be an understatement to say this meme was just influential.

The frame in question shows SpongeBob summoning a rainbow between his hands at the exact moment he utters "Imagination." It's from the episode "The Idiot Box" in which SpongeBob and Patrick are having imaginary, but vivid, battles inside of a cardboard box.

SpongeBob's advice to Squidward, telling him to use his "imagination" sparked an influx of memes, peaking in the mid-2010s.


For the full history of SpongeBob SquarePants and its many memes, be sure to check out our entry on the show here for even more information.

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