RIP creator of SpongeBob, here are the 20+ best science memes he inspired

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants, has passed away at the age of 57 years old. He had been diagnosed with ALS just last year.

As the AV Club pointed out, Hillenburg wasn’t just a cartoon creator. He was actually a science teacher, with a deep knowledge of marine life. 

Born in 1961, Hillenburg cut his teeth as a marine biology teacher in Dana Point, California, where he dreamt up the rough visions of SpongeBob’s Bikini Bottom homeland via illustrated teaching tools. Eventually, his passion for animation led him back to school, and his hyper, one-of-a-kind vision landed him a gig writing and directing episodes of Rocko’s Modern Life.

SpongeBob SquarePants debuted on Nickelodeon in 1999, kicking off an entertainment and merchandising empire that, so far, includes 12 seasons and two movies— The Spongebob SquarePants Movie and Sponge Out Of Water—with a third slated for a 2020 release. In addition to being a meme staple, the series has been dubbed or subtitled in more than 60 languages.

There were many cartoons that introduced absurdism humor to kids, my favorite being Ren & Stimpy, but when these shows were popular, the internet wasn’t. While genius-level creativity certainly propelled SpongeBob to the forefront of cartoon culture, its meme-ability is really what made it the show legendary, and left a permanent mark on the cartoon industry.

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Nickelodeon, the channel I grew up watching all my cartoons on and where SpongeBob made his living, made this statement on Twitter about the news:

💛 We are sad to share the news of the passing of Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. Today, we are observing a moment of silence to honor his life and work. 💛

I was 25 years old when SpongeBob came out, and though I don’t think I’ve ever watched an entire episode, I’ve used/made many a SpongeBob meme.

But, this is truly a sad day.

So with that, here are the best science(ish) memes that SpongeBob SquarePants inspired. Or at least they’re the best ones I had saved in the meme folder on my phone. I would love to see what memes you’ve seen or made, because I’m sure I’m missing some!

There are just so many memes that are so great that I couldn’t *not* include non-science/atheism memes, too:

“We want the show to be really funny. But I think in the end the message is: Treat people the way you expect to be treated. And another connection to any sort of message is that a lot of the stories come out of the personal experience I and the other writers had as kids–the harsh lessons in life which are usually very funny in retrospect, like maybe what happens when you learn your first curse word and you don’t know what it means.” -Stephen Hillenburg

Rest in peace to a goddamn legend.

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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