Gen Z Explained: The World Through Squidward’s Eyes

Victoria Juarez, Editorial Editor

Starting from the year 1997, Generation Z has taken the world by storm, but our impact on the world is heavily influenced by our childhood and the media surrounding us. 

Spongebob Squarepants was a vital part of Generation Z’s upbringing. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself how much of this 1999 show is integrated into you today?

There is no doubt that Spongebob is a huge part of “meme culture.” If you scroll through Twitter for a while it will only be a matter of time before you find a Spongebob meme.

Spongebob Squarepants began its development in 1996, but did not begin airing until 1999, two years after the birth of Generation Z. 

Spongebob himself is a happy little fast food restaurant worker who sees the world through rose colored lenses. He has the same routine every day, wakes up feeds his snail, goes to a meaningless job, and hangs out with his friend, occasionally hunting jellyfish.

Patrick is the classic dumb bestfriend who says the most random things and often made the show really funny, but in some ways his life was even sadder than Spongebob’s, for he was unaware of the state in which he lived and Spongebob at least had a job.

Mr. Krabs is a greedy little crab who only cares about the money and not about the quality. He often cut corners to save the piles of money he already had. 

Finally, Squidward was a sad man who had a pessimistic view on the world… or so we thought. Squidward hated his job, he hated the people he worked with, but it did not mean he was not happy. It simply meant he was aware that the work he was doing was meaningless and the money they got went directly into Mr. Krabs pocket. Outside of work, we see Squidward play the clarinet and paint self portraits, being generally happy. It is only in the outside world that he is upset, because he can see beyond the surface.

As a child, I had Spongebob’s perspective on the world. Happy to go to school, to play with my cousin who lived across the street, and to learn about new things. 

Now I am Squidward. Not because I hate my life or because I hate my work, but because I no longer see the way the world could be. I see it as it is, and the necessary ramifications needed to change it are not always pretty.

Politics in the world today are no longer really a thing that you can choose to ignore. In a world where we are faced with oppression and consistent adversity, many of us have learned to view the world through Squidward’s eyes. We have our personal passions but the world must remain separate.

Generation Z often gets a bad reputation. We are labeled as “lazy” and “sissys.” We are often told that we don’t know how to do anything, and all the while told that we are going to fix the world. It may be true that some of us are more of a Patrick while others are a Sandy, but this is not objectively saying anything about Gen Z; anyone from any generation can be dense. So why are we expected to fix a world that we didn’t break? 

Gen Z has rejected this world and one has to stop to wonder why the generations before have not. The truth is no one chooses to be born but from the moment we are we make choices that reflect who we are and every aspect of our lives will influence us. Spongebob Squarepants taught us that greediness is evil, that someone will always try to steal your work, and that through it all you can choose to see the way the world could be or you can see it for what it truly is.