Film Theory: Was SpongeBob ADOPTED?! (SpongeBob SquarePants)Feb 27, 2020
Are you ready, children? Nope! I can't hear you~ No! ..Perhaps now? I SAID NO! :| (several mean puns later) pretty please? NO! OOOOH-- -Okay, so, let's start the episode. *movie
theoryboss intro music* Hello, internet! Welcome to Film Theory. The spectacle that may not be absorbing or yellowish, but it's definitely full of holes. Now, as much as I love exposing the dark and sinister side of innocent cartoons, SpongeBob doesn't seem to be hiding as many skeletons in his closet. I mean, SpongeBob is a hard-working employee, earning enough to keep up with the career he enjoys. And unlike all those orphaned Disney characters, he has two loving parents.
Wait, are those his parents? Yes, THOSE are his parents... And no, he is not the son of two cookies. Unlike the bright, yellow, rectangular SpongeBob, Harold and Margret Squarepants had their appearance designed after real-life sea sponges. Since the show's creator, Stephen Hillenburg, is a marine biologist, it's a cool nod to the real-life science of underwater creatures, BUT FOR SpongeBob to look SO different from his parents he introduces to this world with some REAL PROBLEMS. Specifically, if we can be sure that SpongeBob's parents are actually his parents. In other words, the question we're answering today... Was SpongeBob really
Now, I've already heard some of you in the comments section, clicking and saying, "Matpat, of course he can't be
adopted." In the episode "Truth or Square", we clearly see SpongeBob in the womb of Margaret Squarepants eating Krabby Patties, to which I reply, are you listening to yourself? Really! If you watch that episode, it's clear that this flashback scene is something that takes place inside SpongeBob's head! The idea that SpongeBob has actual memories dating back to before he was even born is just as ridiculous as the idea that he would be munching on Krabby Patties inside his mother's womb, which is even less ridiculous than the fact that he's inside the womb. his mother's womb. absolutely!
Mainly because sponges don't have a matrix! Sponge larvae grow and develop outside and separate from their mothers after attaching themselves to an underwater surface, like a rock! So this isn't a flashback at all! This is SpongeBob's imagination hard at work. Cue SpongeBob...meme...thing... SpongeBob: (lengthened) "Imagination!" This is like... what, number 5 and we're still on page 1? HEE HEE! Good thing I loaded these things in advance. Which means the only way to test SpongeBob's lineage for sure is to look at the genetics of his family. Now, it probably goes without saying that sea sponges are in no way related to the bright yellow kitchen sponges that form the basis of SpongeBob's design.
Those things are just a bunch of cut and formed plastic polymers. So, in real life, there's no way two sea sponges that look like this would produce anything that looks like SpongeBob. BUT. We can still use the principles of genetics, and apply them to the rules laid out in the Bikini-Bottom verse, to determine the probability that SpongeBob will be adopted. So let's do like Maury Povich and answer the question: "ARE YOU THE FATHER!?" And mother... mother with equal opportunities... demonstrating. Getting into the basics of sponge reproduction, we should start by asking, "Do sponges have mothers and fathers?" The answer is yes, more or less...
You see, sponges are just like plants, humans and most other animals, they reproduce sexually, but that doesn't mean you're going to be traumatized by the sight of two brown blobs rolling around. together. down at the bottom of the sea. Get it? Seabed? *awkward laugh* Hello, hello! That's a "very safe for advertisers" joke. The only requirement for sexual reproduction is that the offspring be formed by the fusion of two different reproductive cells called gametes. One from the female, the ovum, and the other from the male, the sperm. Sponges actually reproduce in the same way that plants do.
Plants will release pollen, the male gametes, into the air in the hope that it will land on the pistil of the nearby compatible plant and fertilize it. So if you have seasonal allergies, know that what makes you sneeze is the sperm from the plants. Kind of gross when you really think about it that way. *erase fake sneezes from clip art* Sea sponges work in a similar way. A sponge releases sperm into the water, which are absorbed by another sponge to fertilize its egg. Except there's a catch. Sponges do not come in male and female varieties. Any sea sponge has the ability to produce both types of gametes.
So while every sponge has 2 parents, a mother sponge and a father sponge, it is entirely possible for a single sponge to be both the father of some baby sponges and the mother of other baby sponges. Which means it's going to be some awkward bird-and-bee talk with our porous friend SpongeBob here. *In a mother's voice* "Well, SpongeBob, sometimes a mommy sponge just wants to be a daddy sponge too." But in all seriousness, this "flex parenting" for lack of a better term has SpongeBob taking on the role of the episode's mom, 'Rock-A-Bye Bivalve' actually makes a lot more sense.
So yes! Sponges have a father and a mother. Each of which genetically contributes to their offspring! So, we would expect the offspring's DNA to show the same traits as their parents. In the same way that humans tend to resemble their parents when it comes to things like hair color, eye color, and face shape. But then genetically, is it possible THESE have produced THIS? Well, let's put our 6th grade science skills to the test! Let's see here; the mitochondria is the power house of the cell. Hey, that's the wrong chapter. Mendelian reproduction, peas Oh yeah, here we go.
Our characteristics are determined by genes, DNA sequences that code for specific traits, and each gene comes in variants called alleles. So, for example, in the Bikini Bottom universe, sponges could be said to have two different alleles for body shape. One allele for "Square Pants" and one allele for "Round Pants." The same could be applied to the color of the sponge, one allele would be for the "Brown Seaspongy color" and another allele would be for the "Bright Yellow". But to explain how two round, brown parents could have a square, yellow SpongeBob-like child, we need to look at the relative strength of those alleles.
Once again, think back to the sixth grade. Certain alleles are dominant and others are recessive. Unfortunately, many of the human examples that you were taught in sixth grade, such as whether you are right-handed or left-handed or whether or not you can move your tongue, have been disproved. Now they are lies. They are no longer simply dominant-recessive relationships. That left me with a bit of a Pickle Rick about what example I would use to briefly explain this concept, until I stumbled across... this new research. You know what human trait has been found to be dominant, having six fingers.
Heh-yah, old sixer from Gravity Falls is in the dominant dactility category. That is the number of fingers you have. I like Uppercase for dominant traits and lowercase for recessive. So, taking the finger example, a gene represented by 'FF' would have inherited the dominant allele from both parents and would show six fingers. A gene represented by 'ff' would have inherited the recessive allele from both parents and only have five fingers. And a gene represented by 'Ff' would have inherited the dominant trait from one parent and the recessive trait from the other parent, still expressing the dominant six-fingered trait, but have the potential to have five-fingered children.
And if you're ignoring all of this and still wondering how all six fingers are dominant and how most humans don't have all those extra digits, well, I'll leave that for you to discuss in the comments... or investigate for yourself. Anyway, enough about big-handed humans. The only way SpongeBob's round brown parents would have a square yellow child would be for roundness and brown color to be the dominant features of the sponges in bikini bottoms. That would allow them to carry the recessive alleles for both yellowness and squareness, but still express something different. Therefore, we are going to map Squarepantsness onto a Punnett square, with "R" being roundness and "r" being square.
By doing that, we see that there are actually 4 possibilities here: RR, Rr, rR, and rr. RR and Rr/rR would appear as the dominant feature of roundness, which means that SpongeBob has to be an rr, which is only one of four possibilities, so a one in four chance of that happening. And that's just for being square! Spongebob would have to have two recessive alleles to be yellow too. That's the only way SpongeBob wouldn't be adopted on stage. So it's definitely possible, but is this genetic gymnastics really what's going on here? To verify, we need to see SpongeBob's parents and grandparents.
Unfortunately, we can only look at his father's side of him, because half of his mother's family, Bubble Bottoms, has been shockingly ignored throughout the show's 11 seasons. On Harold's side though, we see Grandma Squarepants as another round brown sponge, which makes sense, and Grandpa Squarepants as a yellow square. Recessive recessive, just like his granddaughter. So by passing those two through a Punnett square, you get a 50/50 split on the boys. Half will be round, with a dominant and recessive allele, while the other half will be square, totally recessive. Furthermore, half will be brown, again carrying the dominant-recessive allele, and the other 50% will be yellow, fully recessive.
And that is exactly what we see in the family tree. SpongeBob's guys show the exact same mix, Sherm is a yellow square and Blue is a round brown blob. So everything seems to be lining up in our genetic analysis. Science proves that SpongeBob is not adopted. But there is one last problem here: the real probabilities of all this happening. For parents who express two dominant traits like Harold and Margaret, to have a child who expresses two recessive traits like SpongeBob, the odds are incredibly low. It's actually 1 in 16, which isn't much. Probability would suggest that Harold and Margaret are SpongeBob's parents, while, yes, it's plausible, it's actually highly unlikely to happen.
However, when you look across the Spongeverse, there's one final genetic quirk that plays in Spongebob's favor. Sponge color and shape appear to be inherited together. Looking through SpongeBob's family tree, you never see a round yellow sponge on the show. NEVER. You'll never see a square brown sponge either, going back to prehistoric times with Primitive Sponge and Spongegar. What that tells me is that the traits are genetically linked, that the genes that dictate these two individual traits are close enough on the chromosome that getting one more often results in getting the other. Now, there's a whole field of study devoted to this called "genetic mapping," but the TLDR of all of this is that it would make the odds of Harold and Margaret having a child like SpongeBob much closer to the 25% that revealed the Punnett square. , which means that it is much more likely in the realm of credible possibilities.
SPONGEBOB IS NOT ADOPTED. At the beginning of the episode, I gave series creator Stephen Hillenberg a lot of credit for bringing the marine biologist expertise to the world of this goofy kids' show, but maybe I didn't give him enough credit. Because in the end, SpongeBob may not look anything like his parents, but that doesn't change the fact that when you look at the genetics of SpongeBob's family tree, it all holds up. As unlikely as this chain may seem at first glance, basic genetic science says that our friend SpongeBob shares a genetic link with everyone in it, even if his parents look like two cookies.
BUT HEY, THAT'S JUST A THEORY - A FILM THEORY. CUT AAAAAANNNND. I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready, to subscribe to the
filmtheorists! Or if you're not ready to subscribe but still want more SpongeBob action in your life, then click the box to the right to watch the video where I calculate the math behind the biggest SpongeBob meme. It's literally the meme that ends the universe. It's not even an exaggeration. Click, find out more.
If you have any copyright issue, please Contact