The Krusty Krab is re-opening for business.
The fourth season of Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” premieres Friday, May 6 – the first time in a year-and-a-half that new episodes will air on a regular basis.
Nickelodeon had been parceling out new episodes sporadically, in part to avoid over-saturation with last fall’s big-screen release of “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.”
“They were getting down to the bottom of the vault, and nobody was sure if there were going to be new episodes for a while,” says Tom Kenny, who is the voice of SpongeBob.
“It’s fun to be back in the saddle and to be doing SpongeBob again,” he says. “I always kind of miss him when I don’t do him for a while.”
The 20 new half-hour episodes, airing every Friday (8:30 p.m.), bring back all the “SpongeBob” regulars: Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Sandy Cheeks, Plankton and the rest of the Bikini Bottom gang.
The first episode, “Fear of a Krabby Patty”/”Shell of a Man,” finds SpongeBob smack-dab in the middle of two different dilemmas.
In “Fear,” the trouble starts when Mr. Krabs decides to keep SpongeBob’s beloved workplace, The Krusty Krab, open 24/7 – to one-up Plankton’s Chum Bucket across the street (which is open 23 hours a day).
What Mr. Krabs doesn’t realize is that it’s all a ruse on Plankton’s part – he hopes SpongeBob will get so bleary from his long hours working the grill that he’ll finally surrender the super-secret Krabby Patty recipe.
In “Shell of a Man,” Mr. Krabs, who’s packed on a few pounds, molts and loses his shell – just as he’s about to attend a reunion of his old service buddies.
Fearing he’ll be ridiculed, Krabs sends SpongeBob, who’s now wearing Krabs’ shell, in his place – and learns a valuable lesson about honesty.
“SpongeBob,” which premiered in 1999, has been the top-rated kid’s show (broadcast and cable) for the last three years – and has reaped millions in the merchandising arena.
“He’s just an unflaggingly positive, high-energy sponge who works very passionately for minimum wage in a fast-food restaurant,” Kenny says when asked to describe SpongeBob.
“And he has a circle of friends who are also oddballs and misfits in their own way.”