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10 of SpongeBob SquarePants's queerest moments to celebrate 25 years of Bikini Bottom

10 of 'SpongeBob SquarePants's queerest moments to celebrate 25 years of Bikini Bottom

10 queer-centric SpongeBob episodes to celebrate its 25th anniversary
Nickelodeon

Is "Bikini Bottom" just a reference after all?

@andrewjstillman


Is "Bikini Bottom" just a reference after all?

10 queer-centric SpongeBob episodes to celebrate its 25th anniversary

Nickelodeon

On April 30, 1999, Nickelodeon debuted SpongeBob SquarePants to the world and effectively changed cartoons for the better. 25 years later, the show is still going strong and the fandom is as devout as ever. Yes, thats right its been 25 years of Bikini Bottom adventures and we've been having a gay 'ol time all along.

Over the years, a main topic of conversation has revolved around SpongeBob's sexuality. Although show creator Stephen Hillenburg told People in 2005 that they "never intended them [Patrick and SpongeBob] to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual," fans still have their theories.

Back in 2020, SpongeBob seemingly came out during Pride month when Nickelodeon tweeted out a Pride post that included SpongeBob alongside trans actor Michael D. Cohen from Henry Danger and the bisexual Avatar Korra from The Legend of Korra. Needless to say the fandom was THRILLED to have their suspicions seemingly confirmed!

Regardless of what his sexuality is (or isn't), SpongeBob has still entertained us for years, and there have been plenty of queer moments throughout the show that have made us feel seen. We'd be happy to have SpongeBob on our team in any regard and would love an episode fully centered around that.

As it is, keep scrolling for 10 of our favorite SpongeBob episodes that contain either straightforward or subtle queer scenes from the show.

We meet the uber-gay Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy

Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy

Nickelodeon

In Season 1 Episode 6A "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy," we're introduced to Spongebob's favorite TV show characters modeled after Batman and Robin. These two semi-retired heroes were considered the greatest heroes under the sea in their youth. Although there isn't any direct confirmation in the series as to whether or not these two are the uber-gay couple we think they are, the conversations surrounding it also mirror the Batman and Robin theories people have around the pairing, which makes this more of a much-needed queer moment.

We see Patrick's jealousy on Valentine's Day

patrick and spongebob

Nickelodeon

In the Season 1 Episode 16A "Valentine's Day" story, Patrick gets jealous and upset when SpongeBob gives more attention and gifts to everyone else on Valentine's Day, only for them to wind up on a cute date. SpongeBob and Patrick are one of a number of pairings often thought to be gay, and SpongeBob and Squidward is a whole different one we'll get to in a minute. This establishes the closeness of Patrick and SpongeBob's relationship at the start, and Patrick's increasing jealousy is remnant of anybody who has a crush on a friend they can't quite have.

We catch SpongeBob watching... something

spongebob

Nickelodeon

In the "Your Shoe's Untied" story in Season 2 Episode 21A, SpongeBob's pet, Gary, seemingly walks in on SpongeBob watching "sea" porn that involves men. SpongeBob quickly changes the channel to football in a similar way that many gay men react when they get caught watching porn, and assures he was only "looking for sports."

SpongeBob oozes purple goo

spongebob jellyfish hunter

Nickelodeon

In the Season 2 Episode 39A story "Jellyfish Hunter," SpongeBob hunts jellyfish and squeezes their purple goo out of them, which many have attributed to his queerness being "stuffed inside" of him and needing to be "squeezed out." SpongeBob eventually uses the new liquid to form the Jelly Patty on the Krusty Krab menu in order to feed the "whole ecosystem full of hungry paying customers." This also touches on many people's gripes during things like Pride month, when brands seem to want to capitalize on queerness and turn gayness into a commercial venture.

Squidward's friend-or-lover nemesis Squilliam 

squidward and squilliam

Nickelodeon

When fans met Squilliam in Season 3 Episode 48B "Squilliam Returns" story, we saw Squidward squirm and there has long been theories about the (secret) relationship between these two. Part of it revolves around the bickering these two experience together, as the two bicker a lot and Squilliam is presented as Squidward's nemesis. The dichotomy between the two is similar to the friends-to-lovers trope, where the only reason the two really hate each other is because they're secretly in love.

SpongeBob and Patrick's babysitting adventures

spongebob and patrick

Nickelodeon

SpongeBob and Patrick take care of a baby scallop together in the "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve" story found in Season 3 Episode 49B, and conservatives especially went crazy when it happened. The close friendship depicted between SpongeBob and Patrick came a little too close for their comfort on this one due to the imagery of a gay couple taking care of a child, but we all know that the more you ruffle some feathers, the more you should lean into what you're doing.

Mid-Life Crustacean

mr and mrs krabs and spongebob and patrick

Nickelodeon

Mr. Krabs helps SpongeBob and Patrick raid Mrs. Krabs' underwear drawer because they need a pair of women's underwear in the "Mid-Life Crustacean" story in Season 3 Episode 55B. This isn't the only time SpongeBob experimented with the idea of drag, and the infamous "Panty Raid" that Patrick ignites winds up with them getting caught red-handed by the Mrs., which results in Mr. Krabs getting "grounded."

Patrick dresses in drag

patrick and squidward

Nickelodeon

Patrick dresses up like Patricia to avoid unwanted attention in the Season 4 Episode 75 B story "That's No Lady", but instead gets hit on by almost everyone around. It all starts when a stranger tells him to "get out of town," and he wanted to change his identity for his own safety. Anyone who's seen this already remembers Patrick dramatically derobing and getting naked at the end, which we have to say, we're here for.

SpongeBob gives Squidward a practice date

spongebob and squidward

Nickelodeon

SpongeBob dresses in drag and helps Squidward go on a practice date to woo a lady he likes in the Season 7 Episode 151B story "Love That Squid." There's a lot of subtle innuendo throughout the years that eludes to SpongeBob's affection toward Squidward, and this episode finally gets to see him living out a fantasy of going on a date with him. Even though it's as a prep for someone else, it's still cute to watch it happen.

Mermaid Man Begins, Season 8 Episode 163A

the origin of mermaid man and barnacle boy

Nickelodeon

We loved meeting Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in Season 1, but the Season 8 Episode 163A story gives us "Mermaid Man Begins" and delves into their origin story. This takes us back to their youth and glory days and examines the human men of Ernie and Tim as they go through a series of random events. We're always here for a good origin story, and this one gave us everything we needed.

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Andrew J. Stillman

Contributing Writer for Pride.com

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at andrewjstillman.com or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.

Andrew J. Stillman is a freelance writer and yoga instructor exploring the world. Check him out at andrewjstillman.com or follow him @andrewjstillman on all the things.