Here’s a shocking secret; Spongebob is a perky person. The absorbent fella is rarely without a smile on his face and something upbeat to say. In the first three seasons of his show, Spongebob Squarepants, Spongebob was an irresistible lead that was always fun to watch and enjoy. In the second season episode, Christmas Who?, what really made SpongeBob such a captivating program is on full display.
Christmas Who? is centered on a fun premise consisting of the residents of Bikini Bottom embracing Christmas and its traditions for the first time. Seeing how the various characters and their personalities react to the holiday is a treat, namely in how dim-witted Patrick compares Santa Claus to a genie while greedy Mr. Krabs uses the occasion of writing letter to Santa as an opportunity to ask for a pony….carrying sacks of money! But it’s Squidward, whose grouchy demeanor directly contrasts with the upbeat holiday, who is responsible for much of the shows conflict, as he feels the holiday is unfiltered foolishness.
But that kind of attitude doesn’t deter Spongebob from embracing the holiday, and seeing Spongebob introducing his friends and neighbors to Christmas and it’s customs demonstrates how Spongebob’s charm derives from how his optimism stems from wanting to help his fellow underwater pals (a trait episodes form Season 4 onward dismiss to their peril). Seeing that kind of kindness be followed up by him being crushed once Santa doesn’t show up is gut-wrenching on a surprising level.
It’s similarly surprising to see how effective Squidwards redemption is; after making fun of Spongebob after seeing how distraught he is at the lack of Santa Claus, Squidward realizes he’s been a *donkey bray* and decides to make things right. After dressing up as Santa and spreading Christmas cheer, he gets his own holiday surprise; a clarinet from the real Santa Claus! This visit from a live-action Santa reaffirms another successful element of Spongebob; it’s absurdity, as Santa’s “Ho-ho-ho” is depicted in a…unique manner let’s say.
As that bit of insanity closes the episode, one can easily see why these early episodes of Spongebob were so great and beloved. Mixing emotional moments and humor is a tricky proposition, but episodes like Christmas Who? were more than up to the challenge, an accomplishment that’s stunning, at least to meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!