It has been 20 years since the most iconic animated series, SpongeBob SquarePants, started airing. During all these years, millions of fans couldn’t turn their attention away from the lives of Bikini Bottom’s residents. Today we know this famous cartoon not only as one of the most popular animated series but also as a part of internet culture. Many relatable and hilarious moments from the series were reinvented as viral SpongeBob memes. To commemorate its popularity on the internet, Nickelodeon recently released meme-inspired collectibles.

Last year, the huge SpongeBob fanbase was saddened by the news of the creator’s death. Stephen Hillenburg, who began his career as a marine biologist and later became an animator, has passed away at the age of 57 on November 26, 2018. The famous cartoonist’s cause of death was motor neuron disease (also known as ALS), a condition he was diagnosed with in March last year. To commemorate his talent, many internet users began sharing the best memes from this show. Many artists joined in with their drawings as a tribute to the cartoonist.

Mocking SpongeBob

This year marks the anniversary of SpongeBob Squarepants, and Nickelodeon didn’t forget to honor this important date. The company will celebrate the kids’ show anniversary with “Best Year Ever”- a tribute that will start this July with a one-hour special on TV leading up to a new SpongeBob movie scheduled to hit theaters in summer 2020.

Imaginaaation SpongeBob

“The tiny residents of Bikini Bottom have held the world’s attention for a remarkable 20 years and we owe it all to the monumental creator Stephen Hillenburg,” said Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of animation production and development Ramsey Naito.

Surprised Patrick

As part of the celebration, Nickelodeon partnered with Alpha Group to release a brand new line of toys designed as the ever-popular animated characters. This line contains “Masterpiece Meme” vinyl figures, bringing to life fan-favorite viral memes, which include Mocking SpongeBob, Imaginaaation SpongeBob, Surprised Patrick, SpongeGar and Handsome Squidward.

SpongeGar

The toys are available on Amazon for around $22. Grab yours to celebrate the highly popular cartoon!

Handsome Squidward

 

Here’s how people reacted