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 September 4

by Carolina

SpongeBob SquarePants’ creator Stephen Hillenburg didn’t want celebrity cameos on the show, but it has had a couple. Here’s what happened.

Spongebob Squarepants Cameos jon hamm don grouper Kenny the kat

SpongeBob SquarePants has counted on the presence of a variety of celebrity guests, but the creator of the show never wanted any to begin with – here’s what happened. Nickelodeon has been home to many beloved TV shows, especially animated ones, and its most successful one to date is SpongeBob SquarePants. Created by Stephen Hillenburg, SpongeBob and friends made their debut on Nickelodeon in 1999 and have been unstoppable ever since, even branching out to other media, most notably film, video games, and a couple of spinoff series, such as the prequel Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years.

SpongeBob SquarePants takes viewers to the underwater city of Bikini Bottom, where they follow the title character and his closest friends and a couple of enemies in different adventures. SpongeBob is often accompanied by his best friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, his neighbor and coworker Squidward Tentacles, and his greedy boss Mr. Krabs, and together they have met a variety of characters both at the bottom of the sea and by the sand, in the handful of times they have ventured outside the ocean. Most of these characters have been played by celebrity guests, and this actually goes against Hillenburg’s wishes.

It’s not uncommon for cartoon shows to have celebrity guests from time to time, either playing themselves or a character that will mostly not return in future episodes or movies. This has also been the case with SpongeBob SquarePants, which has welcomed various big names to the main show and its movies, but that wasn’t among Hillenburg’s plans when he was overseeing the show. Speaking to EW back in 2002, Hillenburg was asked about celebrity cameos in SpongeBob SquarePants, noting that popular names like Tom Waits and Jennifer Love Hewitt are fans of the show, to which he replied that he “deliberately” tried to avoid that, as he didn’t want the show to be like The Simpsons.

SpongeBob SquarePants Lord Royal Highness Bowie

Hillenburg used Springfield’s most famous family as an example of what he didn’t want SpongeBob SquarePants to be, though not as a bad thing. Hillenburg explained that The Simpsons is “a tough act to follow” so he thought it would be best to “not do what they do”, though there were exceptions from the very beginning. SpongeBob SquarePants had Ernest Borgnine and Tom Conway as recurrent guests as they voiced Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, respectively, Jim Jarmusch played himself as a fisherman in season 1, and season 2 saw John Rhys-Davies and even Pantera taking part on the show. However, as years have passed, SpongeBob SquarePants hasn’t followed Hillenburg’s wishes and the producers have brought a variety of celebrities on board, as are David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Amy Poehler, Scarlett Johnasson, Victoria Beckham, Mark Hamill, and Keanu Reeves, among many others.

Surely, SpongeBob SquarePants hasn’t reached the level of The Simpsons when it comes to the number of celebrities that have been invited over, as the latter has been doing it for so long that fans have complained about the show caring more about what big celebrity they will have over next time than the quality of the stories. Although all this goes against Stephen Hillenburg’s wishes, SpongeBob SquarePants has kept its celebrity “cameos” brief and simple, even having them voice characters that don’t appear often or having them play fun versions of themselves, which helps set the show apart from its supposed biggest competitor.

Next: SpongeBob SquarePants: The True Story Behind David Bowie’s Cameo

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About The Author

Adrienne Tyler
(2644 Articles Published)

Adrienne Tyler is a features writer for Screen Rant. She is an Audiovisual Communication graduate who wanted to be a filmmaker, but life had other plans (and it turned out great). Prior to Screen Rant, she wrote for Pop Wrapped, 4 Your Excitement (4YE), and D20Crit, where she was also a regular guest at Netfreaks podcast. She was also a contributor for FanSided’s BamSmackPow and 1428 Elm. Adrienne is very into films and she enjoys a bit of everything: from superhero films to heartbreaking dramas, to low-budget horror films. Every time she manages to commit to a TV show without getting bored, an angel gets its wings.

When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to learn a new language, watching hockey (go Avs!), or wondering what life would have been like had Pushing Daisies, Firefly, and Limitless not been cancelled. Breakfast food is life and coffee is what makes the world go round.

Guillermo del Toro said “hi” to her once. It was great.

More From Adrienne Tyler

Original posted at screenrant.com

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