Of Theory and Praxis: SpongeBob SquarePants and Contemporary Constructions of the American Dream
Britni A. Tarr, Timothy J. Brown

While SpongeBob SquarePants on the surface might appear to project a counter-cultural, rejection of tradition and authority figures, on the contrary, the text projects many elements that support the American cultural ideal of the American Dream. Thus, in our analysis of the television show, SpongeBob SquarePants, we set aside a strictly entertaining form of popular culture to demonstrate the show’s ability to equip both children and adults for contemporary society. In this essay, we describe and analyze four episodes of the SpongeBobSquarePants television series to determine the recurring elements that reinforce a traditional American ideology. More specifically, generic criticism will be used as a framework to identify and explain how an “American Dream” ideology is perpetuated in SpongeBob SquarePants in order to teach, instruct, and guide behavior while appealing to two different audiences: children and adults.

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