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What SpongeBob SquarePants Characters Look Like As Real People, According To AI

SpongeBob SquarePants is deeply rooted in the world of whimsical animation, but what if he was real? In 1999, Nickelodeon had no idea what they were unleashing upon the world. At the turn of the century, the channel debuted "SpongeBob SquarePants" to the masses, creating bedlam in the world of animation. Created by Stephen Hillenburg, the children's program became an immediate juggernaut, spawning a highly successful billion-dollar multi-media franchise. Today, the aquatic, hamburger-frying misadventures of SpongeBob are just as ubiquitous as Mickey's exploits, making the former one of the most iconic characters of all time.


Spongebob characters as real people Made with Midjourney #spongebobsquarepants #spongebobai #spongebobirl

♬ Spongebob Closing Theme Song Music – Ocean Floor Orchestra

One major fascination with the series is how it has never technically made the jump to live-action. With the use of artificial intelligence, TikTok user @aiviking wants to change that. The user posted a video on the platform showcasing what SpongeBob characters would look like if they were real people and the results were astounding. 

For starters, SpongeBob looks exactly like how you would imagine: a plucky, smiling young man decked out in a white shirt and red tie. The starfish Patrick, meanwhile looks like a typical slacker, rocking a floral shirt and pink hairdo, embodying the sloth-like tendencies of his animated counterpart. Squidward, meanwhile, looks like a jaded middle-aged man, sporting a scowl that just can't hide away the existential dread he tends to exhibit. The AI-generated images do a great job of embodying the characteristics of quirks of each respective character, making us wonder what a live-action "SpongeBob SquarePants" could look like. 

There's already been a live-action SpongeBob - kind of

While some characters like SpongeBob and Sandy are pretty straightforward to reinterpret as humans, the real fun is had with the more fantastical characters who populate the franchise. King Neptune, for example, is depicted as a literal aquatic King, giving major Aquaman vibes. The green-hued ghost of the Flying Dutchman is seen as a terrifying pirate poltergeist, sporting nothing but his garbs and bones. Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, meanwhile, are seen as their old grumpy, shriveled-up selves, though they're still rocking their iconic suits. 

Larry the Crab is your typical, probably not natty gym bro, and Mr. Krabs is seen as a buff bossman who doesn't seem to care for workplace trivialities. The most interesting image in the showcase is probably Gary, who is always seen as a snail; in the AI slideshow, Gary is a young boy, probably not older than ten. Unfortunately, we'll probably never see a live-action SpongeBob show that transforms the characters as humans. 

But that creative leap has happened before on Broadway. After premiering in 2016, the "SpongeBob SquarePants" musical made its Broadway debut in 2017 to critical acclaim. The show notably depicts the franchise's key characters as humans, including the likes of Plankton, Sandy, and the titular character. While speaking with the New York Theatre Guide, SpongeBob actor Ethan Slater opened up about the challenges of turning the animated character into a human. "Well, the most challenging element of taking a 2D character and putting it on stage is making it feel real and making it feel grounded and truthful," he said, adding, "Even though I'm playing a sponge, I'm also playing a human and a relatable person."