It’s a Spongebob Christmas!

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Spongebob characters in stop-motion animationSpongebob characters in stop-motion animation

The Spongebob cast is re-imagined in stop-motion animation for It’s a Spongebob Christmas!

For the first time in the series’ thirteen year history, Nickelodeon has released a new album of original holiday songs featuring Spongebob Squarepants and friends, to coincide with the Spongebob Christmas special that aired on CBS November 23 and will run on Nickelodeon tonight at 7:30 PM. The special, also titled It’s a Spongebob Christmas!, includes four of the songs from the album; most of the songs were co-written by Tom Kenny, the voice of Spongebob.

Spongebob album cover artSpongebob album cover art

The new Spongebob holiday album

The album and TV special originated with Tom Kenny. “We wrote ‘Don’t Be a Jerk (It’s Christmas)’ in 2009,” he explained, “and eventually somebody at Nickelodeon found it on their desk and decided to make it into a holiday special. Nickelodeon wrote three more songs for it, and then they decided they wanted an album. So Andy Paley, my producer and writing partner, and I sat down and wrote a bunch more songs.” The album (available on Amazon, iTunes, and other online retailers) features 12 tracks by “Spongebob and the Hi-Seas,” including rockabilly (“The Christmas Eve Jitters”), country (“Ho-Ho-Hoedown”), and doo-wop (“Wet, Wet Christmas”).

Many people missed the original presentation over the Thanksgiving weekend; for some reason CBS decided to air it at 9:30 PM on Friday night. Kenny assures me that the version showing on Nickelodeon includes previously-unseen material and additional scenes. The program is also available on Amazon’s Instant Video service for $3.99.

Following in the tradition of the holiday specials by Rankin-Bass, It’s a Spongebob Christmas! is created entirely in stop-motion animation, and there are a few nods to those classics. Those specials always had a puppet version of Fred Astaire or Burl Ives to serve as narrator; the Spongebob creators did something similar, according to Kenny. “Patchy the pirate is usually just me wearing a beard and costume, but they made a puppet version, and he hosts the special,” he says, pleased at having been immortalized in miniature. The story focuses on Plankton, who has decided that he is tired of always being on the “naughty” list; he exposes the residents of Bikini Bottom to “jerktonium,” a compound that causes them all to become jerks, in hopes that Santa grades on the curve; his theory is that if he appears to be much less of a jerk than everyone else, he’ll get moved to the “nice” list. Unfortunately for Plankton, he didn’t take Spongebob’s basic nature into account. John Goodman plays Santa Claus. Hijinks ensue.

The songs on the album are all fun; “Don’t Be a Jerk” is now my favorite Christmas song.


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