SpongeBob sponge debate
Photo: Nickelodeon

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SpongeBob of course — and there are many other things we can be certain of: he’s yellow and porous. He is a resident of Bikini Bottom and best friends with Patrick Star. We know who he is: a lighthearted goof with an eye for adventure and a heart of gold. And we know what he is: a sponge. But, technically speaking, what kind is he — sea sponge or dish sponge? Twitter can't quite seem to decide in what has been the SpongeBob sponge debate of 2018.

IMDb describes the show as following the "misadventures of a talking sea sponge…" Fans, though, have disagreed. Writer Celeste Yim tweeted on Monday that she’s always classified SpongeBob as the household cleaning accessory and was shocked to find out that he's a sea creature.

In response to her post, the SpongeBob sponge debate ensued, and Twitter became divided.


SpongeBob Sponge Debate: Sea Sponge

First, there was the simple argument that SpongeBob has to be a sea sponge because he breathes underwater. Sea sponges are defined as multi-cellular living organisms, and their scientific classification is "Porifera," which means "pore-bearing." They anchor themselves to coral, rocks and shell beds and survive by filter feeding. To multiply, they grow "buds." 

They look like this:

SpongeBob sponge debate

As one user noted, there's proof that SpongeBob is in fact a sea sponge. He shows signs of budding. Though he eats Krabby Patties, SpongeBob appears to be filter feeding in an episode. He also shows signs of regeneration, another trait of a sea sponge (he eats his own hands).

One Twitter user pointed out that SpongeBob's parents resemble loofahs. But sea sponges grow in different shapes, colors and textures, so it's not far off to say they also resemble these organisms.

SpongeBob Sponge Debate: Dish Sponge

For those who argued that SpongeBob has to be a sea sponge because he, well, lives in the ocean, Vice’s social media producer raised an interesting point: maybe he didn’t choose to live there.

Fans also argued that whenever he’s out of water, he looks like a dish sponge.

And, in SpongeBob on Broadway, they use dish sponges as props while singing "Just a Simple Sponge."

When it came down to a vote, 72 percent of the 2,121 participants still went the dish sponge route.

We’ve contacted Nickelodeon to settle the score, but consider this: The show’s Wikipedia page describes SpongeBob as an "energetic and optimistic sea sponge who physically resembles a rectangular kitchen sponge." So, what he looks like isn’t necessarily who he is. Like us, the happy-go-lucky cartoon character is defined in so many different ways.  

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