Who could have predicted that SpongeBob SquarePants, a bizarro slice-of-life cartoon about talking sea creatures that premiered in 1999, would become Nickelodeon’s longest-lasting show? As of today’s renewal through season 12, SpongeBob is confirmed to run through at least 2019, its 20th anniversary year.
Entertainment Weekly reports that 26 more episodes of the show will began airing in 2019. A new feature film based on the series will also hit theaters the same year, so SpongeBob’s already got a lot on his plate for his 20th birthday.
Although 12 seasons across 20 years doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s still an achievement: SpongeBob SquarePants holds the fifth spot on the list of longest-running animated series of all time, preceded only by stalwarts like The Simpsons and the PBS cartoon Arthur. Maybe those of us who grew up with the Bikini Bottom crew have since grown out of their adventures — which have become increasingly weird over the years — but the younger generation apparently can’t get enough of them.
It’s too early for anyone who remembers watching the premiere of SpongeBob in 1999 to start shaking a cane at the young folks while croaking, “Back in my day,” but ... back in my day, SpongeBob was the tops, and it’s hard to accept that it’s in its double-digits.