#10 Spongebob Squarepants
Premiering in the summer of 1999, Spongebob Squarepants quickly became one of the highest-rated children’s programs in history. And with a catchy, call-and-answer theme song, it’s easy to see how kids got hooked. The opening sequence, featuring Spongebob playing his own nose like a flute, captures the goofy charm and boundless optimism that made the Nickelodeon show a sensation.
Though it’s no ”Duck Amuck”, the opening sequence of the 1990s Nickelodeon cartoon Doug offers children an introductory lesson on the wonders of surrealism and meta-narrative. A pen draws a horizon line, which becomes a curtain, which becomes a heart, which becomes a balloon, which becomes a hole in the ground, which becomes a rope. By song’s end the captive young audience’s minds are glowing with the possibilities of self-referential narrative subjectivity. They will have no choice but to enroll in film school.