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Cartoon Culture

Introducing SpongeBob MailPants

SpongeBob and the United States Postal Service have teamed up this holiday season: here’s everything you need to know about SpongeBob MailPants. It’s somehow fitting that the USPS is using a cartoon character well past its prime to teach American children about an outdated and inefficient method of communication.

  • LettersAreAwesome

    Hey, don’t put down the postal service. Until teleporters are perfected the mail is still a lot cooler way of exchanging original art rather than just scanning and emailing. Also, it’s still the only way to receive items bought online which is only on the rise and definitely not outdated. Not to mention the correct way to format a letter is still important in things like e-mail so why not promote it?

    It seems kind of silly to be negative about this.

    • AmidAmidi

      Perhaps the USPS is better where you are. In New York City, they are so grossly—and uniformly—incompetent that I find no justifiable reason for their organization to exist.

      • Funkybat

        I’m not in denial as to the shortcomings of the USPS, but I am generally happy with the service I receive both sending and receiving with them. UPS and FedEx do a good job, but are often pricier. I also find the idea of eliminating or completely privatizing the US Mail to be a troubling one. Private business has no economic incentive to provide service to far-flung corners of this country, at least not without outrageous surcharges. US Mail has a constitutional mandate to deliver first class mail anywhere in the U.S. for the same rate, and to deliver parcels anywhere for a relatively similar rate. Losing that would be a detriment to our country.

    • mike b

      Most item bought online are shipped not mailed and while mail may work for art, it sucks for letter which is what its meant for.

      • Matthew Broussard

        And how do you know what most items bought online are? I shop online all the time, and in my experience anything small enough to fit in a mailbox, be it a T-shirt, comic book, or movie, will arrive via the USPS.

  • Max C.

    I’m still expecting this site to talk in full detail about the screening of The Thief and the Cobbler that Richard Williams is holding on Tuesday. Instead, we get posts about predictable things like this.

    • IJK

      I dunno, when I brought up CartoonBrew this morning the last thing I thought was “Boy I can’t wait to see what CB has to say about the new Spongebob mailbox that’s being released this season!”.

  • Funkybat

    I know they are hard-up for money (mostly due to artificial Congress-created crises), but I find the increasingly crass commercial tie-ins the USPS has signed up for to be annoying and undignified. I remember the U.S. Mail as being something somewhat bland but stable and reliable for the most part. I also remember when U.S. postage didn’t look like ads for the latest DVD release or TV show.

    I have no problem with what are at this point timeless cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny or The Simpsons appearing on stamps, but such “tributes” really should be reserved for rare occasions. And all the ancillary merchandise in the post offices isn’t doing much to move the bottom line, but id doing plenty to cheapen the image of the U.S. Mail. I still shudder when I think of the (live-action) “Grinch” and “Cat In The Hat” postmarks they had when those movies were out. I wish they’d knock it off.

    • Roberto Severino

      Yeah. There’s a lot of fearmongering that goes in Congress, much of it due to a misunderstanding of how our current monetary system works which leads to these things being a much bigger deal than they should. As for me personally, I don’t think I’ve had much of a problem with USPS in the past besides for a few incidents. FedEx and UPS have mostly been good with a few screw ups.

      If doing these kinds of character promotions is going to make stamps more expensive, then I completely agree with you.

  • top_cat_james

    Can’t wait till he meets up with “Mean Street”‘s Johnny Boy.

  • Inkan1969

    Right now, I really wish I was Johnny Boy.


  • Aaron

    Recently I became an elementary school art teacher. I’ve learned that SpongeBob may be past his prime in the eyes of embittered, jaded adults, but to the K thru 5 set he’s more popular than Jesus.

    • Funkybat

      Yeah, I don’t think of SpongeBob as washed up at all. I haven’t seen any recent episodes, but it’s hard to imagine the show has faded in quality as much as, say, Family Guy or The Simpsons.

      I have a feeling SpongeBob is going to be one of those perrenial characters, like Scooby-Doo or Alvin and the Chipmunks who may have some ups and downs, but who will be around for decades to come.

      • Roberto Severino

        I stopped watching SpongeBob regularly a few years ago, but recently I decided to check out newer episodes like “Plankton’s Pet” and “Safe Deposit Krabs” the other and they were really quite good and fun to watch. I’ve heard from a lot of people that the show is climbing back up in quality and I can definitely believe those people after seeing episodes like that, though I wasn’t impressed by “Little Yellow Book” or “Are You Happy Now.” I also saw parts of “SpongeBob, You’re Fired” which was pretty mediocre by comparison but still had some good drawings and stuff. If you’re expecting Season 2-3 level of quality, then you might be disappointed, but if you get past that and not look at every episode after the movie through that perspective and there are actually some really underrated, overlooked ones worth watching.

        Not everything after Season 3 and the movie is automatically bad, though the show did go through a period where arguably it was declining significantly in quality with the more gross out episodes and overblown specials. On a technical basis, I think SpongeBob’s remained very consistent and remains one of the few storyboard driven shows on TV where you can actually draw funny. Vincent Waller even explained once how they still use the Spumco/Ren and Stimpy kind of production system and outline to storyboard process. I also don’t like the people that keep blaming Paul Tibbitt for everything as to why SpongeBob isn’t as good as it used to be in their eyes. I feel that he’s stuck in a similar position as Bob Camp when he stayed on board to help out with the production of the Games R&S episodes and has gotten a lot of uncalled for vitriol by many ‘fans.’

      • Roberto Severino

        I’d rather watch a new SpongeBob over an ugly, unappealing trainwreck like Uncle Grandpa any day to make it clear.

      • Mike

        Sadly, Spongebob has been a shadow of its former self since Stephen Hillenburg left after the movie. I’d say it’s faded in quality at least as much as those other shows, if only because it set the bar so high for itself in its prime.

        • Roberto Severino

          Technically, Hillenburg didn’t really leave the show. He’s still an executive producer to this very day and is working on the second movie too. He just isn’t involved on a day to day basis as a showrunner. He handed that job over to Paul Tibbitt.

          I’d say the decline had a lot more to do with a ton of writers and storyboard artists like C.H. Greenblatt, Derek Drymon, and Merriwether Williams not returning to the show in the 4th season. A lot of the newer people brought in didn’t really understand the show that well and I also think Nick wanted SpongeBob watered down to appeal more to kids exclusively. Guys like Aaron Springer, Mr. Lawrence and even Erik Wiese helped to write some of the post movie episodes though.