From the show’s inception, SpongeBob SquarePants has been a beloved and highly-rated children’s animated program. It’s longevity–it turns 20 this year–only proves how much of a cultural force the characters of SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Sandy, Mr. Krabs, Plankton, and the rest of the creatures in Bikini Bottom are. Some, in fact, may be getting their own spinoffs.
For the first time, as part of Nickelodeon’s year-long celebration of SpongeBob, the voices behind the iconic characters will show their real faces on the long-running program. Nickelodeon unveiled a first look of a new hour-long special titled “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” which includes live-action scenes where the voice cast plays the human counterparts of their animated characters.
The network released first look photos of the gang. In the photo below from left to right: Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick), Rodger Bumpass (Squidward) , Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Mr. Lawrence (Plankton), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), and Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy).
It appears that after 20 years, Tom Kenny finally gets to cook up a Krabby Patty:
Nickelodeon’s official logline for the episode reads: “Patrick and SpongeBob journey to the surface world, where the duo come across a few familiar faces during lunchtime rush at The Trusty Slab restaurant. Meanwhile the Bikini Bottom residents set up a surprise birthday party for SpongeBob.”
The episode also features the return of David Hasselhoff, who appeared as himself in the 2004 film The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. The Hoff will don a classic lifeguard suit in the episode:
“I experienced the world of SpongeBob first-hand when I appeared in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, which was an amazing experience,” said Hasselhoff in a statement. “After making that cameo, kids around the world recognized me from the movie. How awesome to now come back to be part of the 20th anniversary special. I got to interact with Tom Kenny and SpongeBob. It also was a heartwarming tribute to Steve Hillenburg. Happy 20th SpongeBob. Hooray!!”
The mixed live-action and animated episode airs Friday, July 12th, at 7 p.m. on Nickelodeon.