Are you ready, kids... for some answers?
You might not know it, but actor Tom Kenny has been a big part of your childhood. Kenny is the voice of the mayor in "The PowerPuff Girls," he was Dog in "CatDog" and, among his many other roles, he currently lives in a pineapple under the sea as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants.
As you may have heard, the latest SpongeBob film, "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," made its way into theaters this Friday. Recently, Kenny sat down with HuffPost Entertainment to talk about the movie, answer some of the biggest questions about the show and even discuss that popular theory about SpongeBob's origins.
What can fans expect from the movie?
It’s a movie that goes out of its way to be strange and weird, which is what I love. You know, everything I loved as a kid was strange and weird. Everything my kids love, they tend to go for the strange and weird. So I’m just hoping it connects with people and they say, "Okay, this is the SpongeBob we’ve always known and loved," but he’s in this different arena that we couldn’t do before.
So why doesn't Squidward wear pants?
Well, you know, I think... as long as nobody gets hurt, I think consenting adults can do what they want [laughs]. But you’re right. Squidward doesn’t wear pants. I think there’s a long tradition of cartoon characters walking around mostly undressed, you know? Donald Duck does not wear pants. But he wears a hat. So apparently he’s modest about his head. But the rest he’s just going commando… And you know, I remember wondering as a kid [about] Yogi Bear. [He] wore a hat and a collar and a necktie, right? No pants. There’s a grand tradition of no pants in the animated world. I would guess each character has their own deep-seated reasons for going commando.
How can SpongeBob make a fire in the ocean?
You know, kids wonder that. I get asked that sometimes. “So SpongeBob and Patrick live in the water, right? How can they have fire under water?” I say, “You know what, the same reason they can go to a beach... They can go to a beach but they live under water." You cannot question cartoon science. You cannot apply Vulcan logic to Bikini Bottom science.
Will SpongeBob ever have a significant other?
I think our take on SpongeBob and Patrick is that they’re pre-sexual characters. Like, they’re too young and naïve to have any feelings of that type, and even if they do have stirrings they don’t know how to act on them... I guess the only way SpongeBob could maybe have a girlfriend is if he was trying to imitate, if it was imitative behavior. Like, "Wow, apparently having a girlfriend is what you’re supposed to do, I’ll go get one." But that’s not where his mind is at. [In SpongBob’s voice] "He’s married to his job. Like Captain Kirk is married to the Enterprise. I’m married to the Krusty Krab."
What do you think about the popular theory that SpongeBob is the result of nuclear testing?
Well, Bikini Bottom is kind of named after Bikini Atoll, you know, where they did nuclear testing decades ago. So... nah, that one. I don’t think SpongeBob and his friends are mutations. I think Bikini Bottom is like its own world... When the camera drops below the water and you go to Bikini Bottom, it’s almost like it’s another planet. You know, there’s never topical references in the show. There’s never an Oprah joke or "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" joke or anything topical or pop cultural in "SpongeBob"... and I think that helps keep it really timeless and everlasting. So yeah, they’re not mutations. They just live in their own world where everybody’s a mutation.
What about the theory that the characters represent each of the Seven Deadly Sins?
You know, I think it’s flattering... I love playing this kind of a game. I’m the king of overanalyzing everything. So I like to read a book or watch a TV show or a movie and try to figure out unconsciously, or consciously or subconsciously what’s going on either in the characters’ heads or the creators’ heads... And so, as far as the Seven Deadly Sins go, I think it’s a good theory. I think if it engenders discussion about human behavior, it’s a good thing.
Is there a difference between movie SpongeBob and TV SpongeBob?
There are different iterations of SpongeBob in the movie, but also the old iterations are there, too. You know, there’s 2-D... there's 3-D, CG SpongeBob when he comes into our world, and then there's live action, and you know puppetry... I can feel the giddiness of the artist trying to do all this crazy weird stuff. Like there’s definitely a kid in a candy store feeling to it... but what stays the same and what is unchanged, and it’s important that it’s not changed, is the personalities of the characters. You know SpongeBob is SpongeBob, Patrick is Patrick, Plankton, Squidward, Sandy, Karen the Computer... they’re all who they are, and they’re never gonna change.
This post has been edited for clarity and length.
"The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water" is in theaters now.