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“Open Letter to Nickelodeon” by Vi Hart

Mathematician and video-maker Vi Hart exposes the mathematical impossibility of SpongeBob Squarepants pineapple:

  • gazcon

    That is very funny, but it is CLEARLY just a cartoon and she CLEARLY has too much time on her hands! :o)

    (nicely done though)

  • ummm, lil miss mathematician should do all his to a photograph of spongebobs house and not just a doctored photo she scribbled herself

    shes just embarrassing herself! >.<

    • michaelhughes

      She doesn’t want to get sued under any SOPA type laws.

  • Lyle

    I get it, you’re smart and critical.

  • hate people who try to scientificly explain cartoons… It’s just senseless. What she’s actually asking Nickelodeon is to stop using the magic of the imagination..
    Somehow nerds realy hate inexplaineble things.

    Long live absudity!

    • people here taking it too seriously about how this girl is taking it too seriously.

      • Snagglepuss

        The girl is taking it too seriously as a joke. Hence the mock tone in the end and the goofy way the video is shot.

      • yes and i get it, but i meant it generally.
        but most people who complain about the unrealisticness in cartoons are the people who only watch those stiff SAT Am cartoons. Anyways i didnt think it was that funny…

    • Sarah J

      I dunno, I think it’s really fun to look for crazy explanations to cartoons as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

  • Hilarious. Good job!

  • tedzey

    I can accept that this video was made for shits and giggles, but it reflects Mathematicians biggest fear with animation… that it’s illogical.

    From a philosophical point, cartoons represent the creator’s internal representation of the world he/she lives in as interpreted through symbols. These symbols do not reflect how reality works, but how the creator feels it should work. This is why robots in Wall-e could suddenly gain emotions or even Pineapples having bi-lateral symmetry. It’s also reflected in DesCartes’ (another mathematician’s) meditations where he reflect that there are abstract geometric images that could only exist in his dream and have a function there, but not in reality.

    • Nic

      You know how everyone says this girl is over-thinking it?

      Yeah, you are too.

      It was obviously made for the fun of pointing out something neat she’d learned. Heck, if I knew something that randomly interesting (‘Haha this show is mathematically impossible, how neat’) I would want to share too.

      I really doubt this girl went into it looking to change the philosophy of art and animation. And I /really/ doubt she’s honestly afraid of the illogical world of cartoons.

      • tedzey

        I said I accepted that she made the video for fun. Why can’t I share something fun that I learned about DesCartes?

  • Benoit Mandelbrot

    Someone change the channel, I wanna watch cartoons.

  • Harry P

    Some of you folks are missing the point. She is not taking SpongeBob seriously at all, nor criticizing it for being mathematically inaccurate. If you look at her other videos, she uses humor to teach math. The point is to learn a little something about Fibonacci and logarithmic spirals. She is just using SB as a launching pad because it has a pineapple in it, and real pineapples have a mathematically interesting structure. It’s humor, people.

    • Taco Wiz

      Harry Patridge, my man!

      • Harry P

        Nope, sorry. I’m not even an animator, just a fan. Maybe I should find another moniker to post under. I don’t want to misrepresent myself as another bloke. (It’s not “Potter”, either)

  • I don’t get it yet- is she being sarcastic or not? Her boring-know it all voice is perfect for the video.

  • -Oh wait, she’s being serious. People are praising her in the comments section. Like someone says there, somebody’s been watching too much Big Bang Theory

  • Allen P

    This is wonderful. Take something fun and familiar and use it to introduce folks to intricacies of math and science, thus making those fun and familiar.

    I also liked her related video on plants. Hey, I learned something new I wouldn’t have otherwise! Yay for deconstructing cartoon pineapples. :)

  • Jeff

    Also, sponges can’t talk.

  • At last, someone brave enough to call out these evil usurpers. ‘Pineapple under the sea?’ I ask you, this is the way it starts you know. Bloody cartoons.

    ‘are you ready kids?’
    no thank you

    that snail is a great touch isn’t it

  • Dave


  • What’s wrong with you guys? It’s clearly more about how cool the math of a pineapple’s pattern is than about an illogical design in a cartoon. It’s an interestingly done video and a fun way to expose people to mathematical patterns found in life.

  • It’s weird to get lost exploring fiber-nazi anomalies, while ignoring the ability to set fires, pour liquid, drown, and fall to one’s death while already UNDER WATER. And what about Mermaid man and Barnacle Boy? Why are there five-inch tall geriatric humans under the sea? Why don’t Krabby Patties get water-logged? What is the political/economic system of Bikini Bottom? How can Sandy Squirrel’s undersea friends even hear her speak through her diving helmet? How do electrical appliances function properly under water? Is Patrick stupid or what?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      See, this is called thinking too hard! :-P

    • John A

      MST3K addressed this problem very nicely: “Just repeat to yourself, ‘it’s just a show, I should really just relax.'”

  • James Mason

    I mean, what are we to believe, that this is some sort of a… *snort* magic pineapple or something? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

  • As a mathematics tutor and an animator I find this humorous.

  • I knew there was something about SpongeBob SquarePants that bugged me, but I could never put my finger on it. Thanks Vi!

  • I’m surprised by all these hostile comments! She’s just teaching math in a creative, humorous way. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? And the stop-motion snail is fun.

    Here’s an interview with her: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/18/science/18prof.html

    • gazcon

      I couldn’t agree more.
      Don’t understand how something so nice, informative and fun can release so much negativety and seriousness in people.

      I’m an animator and I enjoyed it, i’m not a mathematician and so I learnt something, brilliant!

      • I think that if she changed the title of her video it would change the doubtful message completely. It WOULD be an informative, funny joke.

  • DCollard

    It’s a joke people.

  • Mark

    Our Math wiz here is breaking the Number 1 Universal Law in the Spongebob universe. which states

    The minute you question or point out the absurd functionality of a person, place, or thing in the Spongebob universe it ceases to function.


    When Spongebob and Patrick stole a balloon on free Balloon day and made a campfire Patrick brings up the question

    “Hey, if we’re underwater how can their be a campfire?” The results of the absurd functionality of said campfire extinguishes itself and thus cease to function.

    So in other words its best to just never question the sponge.

    • On the other hand, I question the Sponge like I question authority. Actually, I question Nickelodeon’s authority. I’m not a SPONGEBOB fan, and while I don’t hate the show, I *do* hate Nickelodeon’s clinging to it for dear life like a security blanket. But that’s a different issue.

      That aside, I found nothing offensive about this video. Yes, it was done as a joke! And even if it were serious, why let it spoil your fun? I get this about Superman and Godzilla on a regular basis! And I like KIM POSSIBLE, and yet I always joke about what would happen if Rufus were a *real* naked mole rat! (It would bite Ron in his pants, and Kim and the rest of the school would freak out at this little blind subterranean creature if it jumped out onto the school hallway floor!) But that’s not important at all. Let the nerds have their fun! Nobody’s going to spoil your enjoyment of wacky illogical cartoons. :)

  • Claudia

    So a guy can write a book about the physics of The Simpsons and be praised for it, but this woman gets nothing but scorn? People, you are the ones who are taking this way too seriously, learn to take a joke.

  • Kenny Pittenger has seen Vi’s you tube and as the designer of SB’s house has an answer.


    I think Vi’s shorts are entertaining and informative.

  • Call the “Please, please, PLEASE get a life foundation”!

    • Nic

      You spend all day looking at cartoons. To the rest of society, /you’re/ the one without a life.

      It kills me when I see people saying things like this. It’s just so rude, unnecessary, and ultimately childish.

    • Claudia

      So says the man who posts on a CARTOON blog. Please, get yourself some sense of humor.

  • Kenny P.

    I loved the video, I think Vi is great, and I designed SpongeBob’s house– TWICE now! Ha ha.

  • D

    This was a pretty funny video but like everyone else has said its just a cartoon last time I checked those don’t have to follow universal laws of mathematics or physics

  • Ness

    I get the joke- it’s just not that funny.

  • As a former Mathlete captain, I can appreciate this over-analytical video on something rather pointless. If it’s meant to be educational in a fun way, good. But I dunno, I’ve designed shirts for Hawaii’s Dole Plantation in the past, and they (of all pineapple experts) never had any problem with my non-Fibonacci style pineapple drawings.

  • This is great on so many levels.
    First, it’s a great way to teach math. If only I had a math teacher like her!
    Second, it’s a pretty cool video. She can draw, has a decent lettering, and putting a real snail in there is pure genius. (I was waiting for the obligate “no snail was harmed during the making of this video”.)
    Third, she didn’t pick any of the plenty absurdities of the Spongebob universe which are esential for story. Instead she picked a totally unimportant, never referenced, arbitrary design decision.
    Fourth, all you critics: you got p0wned.

    • the only thing i thought was funny was the fact that there are boring people who try senselesly to scientiffically explain cartoons. The video itself wasnt that funny.
      but i am not trying to force my oppinion. Thats how i feel about that video. I don’t get why people are so desperate to convince that this video is funny and how wrong i am. I’ll wont spoil your fun.

  • Carina

    Heh… I’m pretty sure she’s just being humorous by calling the pineapple impossible for a small technicality that would not usually occur to people, while her character somehow “overlooks” the obvious, which of course would be that PINEAPPLES DON’T GROW ON THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA!!

  • Toonio

    “Who lives in a Fibonacci pattern accurate pineapple under the sea…” There! the magic is ruined.

  • Kelly Toon

    I can’t understand how anyone could give this girl grief for making this 2 minute video. She’s obviously a genius. Watch her other vids which happen to be about doodling AND mathematics. I loved this clip just for the way she taped up that pineapple so I could see the spirals more clearly. The fibonacci sequence is so beautiful. I love snails too, so I might be biased. If you let this video “ruin the magic of cartoons” for you, that is your problem, not hers.

    want to see someone REALLY taking cartoons seriously in a scientific sense? here’s a guy giving a 9 minute physics presentation on the realism or lack thereof in three clips from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. How do you like them sweet apples? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muVfidujxRg

    • Liesje

      That My Little Ponies thing was frakking hilarious.

  • Brilliant. Loved it and will check out her other videos. Keep ’em coming!

  • What I really like about this video is that it uses something very popular and very familiar to show how mathematics can be found everywhere. Very insightful (I’m a biologist, and I didn’t know). It’s well-done, too. I love the snail!

  • I’d like to send an open letter to Cartoon Network and Adult Swim and ask them to stop prodicing live action shows. Otherwise why bother calling it CARTOON network?

  • Crl

    I have a letter of my own.

    Dear Nickelodeon,

    Please make Spongebob funny again. Also, make the characters stop singing so you all can sell CDs and put the songs on Rock Band.

    Ex-Spongebob fan

  • This video confirms my disinterest in math.

  • I am just amazed that anyone could be bitter, meanspirited and contrarian enough to bitch about that video and dump on the girl who made it. And yet I not surprised. I KNEW when I scrolled down to these comments I would find people actually managing to argue over this. I just KNEW it. How is it that just because the World Wide Web exists, people decide that means EVERYTHING has to turn into an argument?