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October 29, 2009 12:40 PM   Subscribe

What do Avril Lavigne, Newton Faulkner, Violent Femmes, Richard Cheese and The Chipmunks have in common? They have all recorded covers of the SpongeBob SquarePants opening theme.

Inspired by Neatorama.
posted by Mitheral (44 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm kind of disappointed in how respectable and almost steven colbert-y Gordon Gano looks.
posted by Jon_Evil at 12:42 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm sitting here trying to remember how it goes and I'm getting bits of the Spongebob song mixed up with the Log song from Ren & Stimpy.
posted by crapmatic at 12:43 PM on October 29, 2009


So they're all stoners?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:47 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's no Backyardigans.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:49 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's no Backyardigans.

Who are the Teletubbies-meets-Beyonce. I torn between love and hate.
posted by GuyZero at 12:50 PM on October 29, 2009


Little known fact: Singing the opening line to the Sponge Bob Square Pants will settle any ninjas vs pirates debate immediately squarely on the side of the ninjas...
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:56 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of disappointed in how respectable and almost steven colbert-y Gordon Gano looks.

I guess you can only rock the crazy-eyes for so long before they collapse in on themselves like a dying star. On the plus side, watching that clip reminded me how much I love the Violent Femmes.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 1:00 PM on October 29, 2009


The Chipmunks version is just the original version speeded up, then overlaid with a Chipmunks press photo.

As opposed to "authentic" Chipmunks voice artists singing the theme against a time-dilated instrumental track.

Hey, where did all these split hairs come from?
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:04 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]



Who are the Teletubbies-meets-Beyonce. I torn between love and hate.


I don't think I've gone a day without a Backyardigans song going through my head in six months.

Put it this way: Baby Llama had an overnight at her grandparents last week, and we seriously considered watching a couple of episodes without her.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:05 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are you kidding me, Nanukthedog? Spongebob is full of win for almost every demographic, so pirates win by extension.

Plus, it's ripe for disturbing parody. Err, that second link isn't too safe for all workplaces.
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:05 PM on October 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


.... baking pie.... like a samurai....
posted by jkaczor at 1:13 PM on October 29, 2009


.... baking pie.... like a samurai....

like a samurai...who bakes pie
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:14 PM on October 29, 2009


Why do I love Ren and Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, and Doug so much yet hate, hate, hate Spongebob so?

I must have been just a little too old for Spongebob when it came out, I guess. Then again, I just saw the first episode of Avatar today and thought it was pretty good, so maybe I just hate Spongebobs.
posted by Bageena at 1:16 PM on October 29, 2009


When I was in my early twenties, I remember smoking lots of pot and watching Tiny Toons. If I were to do that now, it would totally be Backyardigans.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 1:17 PM on October 29, 2009


Or Yo Gabba Gabba.
posted by box at 1:20 PM on October 29, 2009


I'm pretty goddam sure I heard the organist covering the violent femmes' "Blister in the Sun" last night during the world series.

Christ I've gotten old.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:25 PM on October 29, 2009


Why do I love Ren and Stimpy, Rocko's Modern Life, and Doug so much yet hate, hate, hate Spongebob so?

Ren and Stimpy was practically written for adults.

Rocko's Modern Life was sort of a kid's show, but definitely spent the majority of the time winking at adult audiences. Whether it was struggling with gender identity ("he's not a cow, he's a steer!" - Heifer's dad) or sexuality ("I always liked...rainbows" - Rocko), or just the troubles of every-day life, Rocko's Modern Life was a kid's cartoon about adult society.

Doug, it must have just struck a chord with you, but it was pretty intelligently written. I liked it back in the day, but I don't know that I'd like it too much today.

On the other hand, Spongebob is just zany. There's nothing at that higher level for adults to appreciate that kids miss. No pop-culture references to times past, no acknowledging that Spongebob's job is actually soul-crushing or depressing. It's fun for what it is, but give me Animaniacs any day of the week.
posted by explosion at 1:26 PM on October 29, 2009 [5 favorites]


Not the theme of Spongebob, but I seriously think "They'll Soon Discover" is one of the Shins' best B-sides.

"He's odd, but hes got a lot of vision
with his buck teeth, cock eyed smile
Can't stop this invertebrate on a mission
Hes in charge!!"
posted by msalt at 1:35 PM on October 29, 2009


By the way: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. My wife and I liked it better than the kids. Really excellent.
posted by msalt at 1:40 PM on October 29, 2009


explosion, Angry Beavers has Spongebob beat for pure zaniness hands down, and has Nick Bakay intentionally mispronouncing things to act cool. And Nick isn't even rerunning it on the NickToons channel. *sigh*
posted by wendell at 1:45 PM on October 29, 2009


It's fun for what it is, but give me Animaniacs any day of the week.

Yes yes, a thousand times yes. That new golden age of Warner Bros animation -- Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain, and Freakazoid. It was a wonderfully golden time, and once they finally release the final 25 Animaniacs episodes on DVD, my life will have a measure of completeness it hasn't felt since the summer of 1977 when I saw Star Wars (before it was Episode IV) several times a week at the local cinema.

Hey, it was only $.50 for me to get into the theater at that age, and I could easily earn that doing chores around the house or neighborhood.
posted by hippybear at 1:56 PM on October 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


That may be the first Avril Lavigne song that I liked.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:08 PM on October 29, 2009


I HATE The Chipmunks. Thanks for nothing David Seville.
posted by Daddy-O at 3:02 PM on October 29, 2009


Never seen the show.

Hope to keep it that way.

*smug*
posted by HTuttle at 3:24 PM on October 29, 2009


Also, Evergreen Terrace, on their "Writer's Block" album, have the SpongeBob theme as part 3 of a medley which includes "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" and "Bodies." Probably the only time I've willingly listened to either of those songs.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:25 PM on October 29, 2009


I know SpongeBob. I'm a big fan of SpongeBob. The Animaniacs are no SpongeBob.

SpongeBob could totally take out the Animaniacs. DO NOT FUCK WITH THE SPONGEBOB.

Or Gary.
posted by darkstar at 3:32 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also, I dug Ween's "Ocean Man", from the SpongeBob movie.
posted by darkstar at 3:33 PM on October 29, 2009


no acknowledging that Spongebob's job is actually soul-crushing or depressing

Yeah. There's something every children's cartoon show needs more of: Depressing shit. KRABBYPATTY

First off, Spongebob = The Jerk. Yes, he's chipper and naive and eager to please despite everything. That's the point. That's where the funny comes from.

Second, if you're missing the angst, you're not looking very hard. He's called Squidward.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:14 PM on October 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


There's nothing at that higher level for adults to appreciate that kids miss. No pop-culture references to times past, no acknowledging that Spongebob's job is actually soul-crushing or depressing. It's fun for what it is, but give me Animaniacs any day of the week.

I'd disagree. I can think of the episode where Spongebob goes to his grandma's house and struggles with becoming an adult. There's one clip where him and Patrick are sitting around with sideburns getting an appreciation for "free form jazz", because that's what adults do. Finally, Patrick takes off his sideburns and exclaims that he doesn't get jazz. Plus there are plenty of references to the depression that is part of working at fast food-- his name is Squidward. Also, in an episode where Patrick and Spongebob take care of a baby clam, they find a worm to feed it, and the worm screams "We will bury you!!!" while going into the mouth of the clam. Backyardigans never made a Khrushchev reference!

I agree with the others who say Backyardigans, Yo Gabba Gabba, and even Martha Speaks are better quality kids' programming, but that's no reason to sell Spongebob short, or to think there's aren't things within it that adults can't appreciate.
posted by WC_Helmets at 4:14 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Just zany" is plenty enough for a cartoon show, and is a lot harder than it looks. Pop culture references have nearly replaced genuine humor and story construction in many cartoons. I mean, Family Guy is just about nothing BUT culture references. I am glad Spongebob is what it is, and I wish a lot more cartoons could be pure like that.

Whenever I meet a little kid here in Georgia who, for some obscure but probably horrifying reason calls his/her father "sir," I think there is a life that would be improved by a large dose of Spongebob.
posted by JHarris at 4:42 PM on October 29, 2009 [4 favorites]


The "Violent Femmes Trivia" at the bottom of their Band Info page is awesome.
posted by glycolized at 5:01 PM on October 29, 2009


This post is woefully incomplete without a cover of SpongeBob Squarepants [mp3] as interpreted by a traditional Native American powwow drum group led by Kenny Scabby Robe of the Blackfeet Nation and his twelve sons (aka the Black Lodge Singers).
posted by prinado at 5:29 PM on October 29, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I don't think I've gone a day without a Backyardigans song going through my head in six months. "

A big difference for me is while both themes can circle around in my head for days the spongebob song doesn't have me reaching for a hammer to knock it out. My brain is quite happy to sing along until it finds it's way out. Must be one of the reasons the "call and response work songs on which it's based are so popular.
posted by Mitheral at 5:41 PM on October 29, 2009


"So they're all stoners?"

Well these guys are for sure.
posted by Mitheral at 5:45 PM on October 29, 2009


It's fun for what it is, but give me Animaniacs any day of the week.

The Animaniacs song is my ringtone.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:48 PM on October 29, 2009


Spongebob has a wonderful timeless quality - it could have been made 10 years ago or 10 years from now. It does have the occasional pop culture reference (the episode Karate Island is a spoof of Kill Bill), but it isn't based on pop culture references (as noted above). The characters do ordinary things like go to work, feed their pets, clean their houses, take vacations, make friends, deal with the arbiters of geek culture, etc.

The characters really drive this cartoon, and they have been allowed to develop and grow in interesting ways. One example of this is when Squidward moves away to the squid-only city, and then discovers it's not as great as he thinks. Another is when Mr. Krabs falls in love with Mrs. Puff and struggles to find an emotionally authentic way to express his feelings, rather than expressing them with money.

The show also has a clear moral center, where loyalty and caring are primary values. There is often a subtle (for tv anyway) commentary about life or experience in the story. But it avoids the temptation to reiterate the "lesson" seven hundred times, play an annoying song about it four hundred times, and then direct you to a webpage with additional learning activities. Occasionally, it seems like the writing veers away from these core values and the show suffers for it. It is really these values that set Spongebob apart from other cartoons. The Warner Bros. cartoons (and others) are content to let their characters fail or succeed over and over in the same ways. But the characters in Spongebob have successes and failures - even Squidward gets one stadium-thumping concert. Other cartoons do this as well, but few do with with the bizarre starting point of Spongebob.

Spongebob has a gentle, appealing, accessible surrealist style. It isn't genuinely surrealist - despite the surface absurdities, it's internal logic is consistent with (an idealized version of) the logic of real life. It represents and deconstructs the banal and quixotic experience of daily life with an inspired mix of the real and imaginary.

It's The Campfire Song that always gets stuck in my head.
posted by jeoc at 7:31 PM on October 29, 2009 [6 favorites]


One of my favorite, subtly adult Squidward quotes:

"You can't fool me! I listen to public radio."
posted by darkstar at 7:46 PM on October 29, 2009 [7 favorites]


It might be because I worship Bob Esponga, but the show has plenty of pop culture references. Spongebob occasionally does a Jack Benny homage. Batman and Robin show up from time to time. You might recognize Dougie Williams M.O. In his appearance, he skipped the jokes and went straight to throwing pies at the audience. Once in a while, we get to see a horror icon.
posted by crataegus at 8:11 PM on October 29, 2009


The Femmes' cover of Crazy is doublepluswin.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:08 PM on October 29, 2009


One thing I always found odd about SpongeBob, at least early on, was how willing the animators were to reach for bizarre and even grotesque imagery, which was usually seen in hand-painted stills like this. That one's cutesy (I'm having a hard time finding other examples), but some sequences were almost Dali-like in their surreality. It reminded me a lot of Ren & Stimpy.

See also: SPENGBAB
posted by Rhaomi at 12:13 AM on October 30, 2009


Whenever I meet a little kid here in Georgia who, for some obscure but probably horrifying reason calls his/her father "sir," I think there is a life that would be improved by a large dose of Spongebob.

That obscure but probably horrifying reason is most likely that, unlike most parents today who can't be bothered with teaching their children manners or courtesy or discipline, that kid's parents actually care that their kid has those tools in his social toolbelt. Que horror!

That said, many lives would be improved with judicious application of cartoons.
posted by notashroom at 7:00 AM on October 30, 2009


That obscure but probably horrifying reason is most likely that, unlike most parents today who can't be bothered with teaching their children manners or courtesy or discipline, that kid's parents actually care that their kid has those tools in his social toolbelt. Que horror!

What was that about a belt?
posted by Sys Rq at 9:39 AM on October 30, 2009


Second, if you're missing the angst, you're not looking very hard. He's called Squidward.

There's definitely adult humor in Spongebob, but it doesn't go above the kids' heads. They and we just laugh differently at the same jokes. Squidward, who is basically supposed to An Adult, is a prime example of this.

A football-playing king in space! With a moustache!
posted by DU at 5:51 PM on October 30, 2009


Only the Captain can say "Argh."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:21 PM on October 30, 2009


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