SpongeBob SquarePants is 10 years old, and the “happy nonsense” of the show is “as popular as ever,” Alessandra Stanley writes in the New York Times. What’s more, the wacky, uncynical cartoon has managed to do it “without having disclosed any higher meaning to Bikini Bottom.” Sure, “adults have been trying to detect some sort of subtext”—most famously a homosexual agenda—but no dice. “The mystery lives on.”
“Part of the show’s mystique is precisely that it has so little edge or subversive double-entendres,” Stanley writes. The uncomplicated fun and classic animation have made fans of kids and college stoners, while celebs tout their guest appearances. The cult status seems to be waning a bit, but in the age of computer animation and Web-obsessed tween programming, SpongeBob “still seems refreshing and innocent," Stanley writes.