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If mayonnaise and horseradish aren't instruments, what food products are? That SpongeBob SquarePants mystery and several others were solved during a virtual reunion of the cartoon's central voice cast: Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick), Rodger Bumpass (Squidward), Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs), and Mr. Lawrence (Plankton).
Hosted by David Dobrick, the 22-minute Nickelodeon special, which first aired last night, had the voice actors recreating famous scenes and lines of dialogue voted on by fans of the show. Those iconic moments included: "Imagination!" (from "Idiot Box"); "Band Rehearsal" (from "Band Geeks"); "Alaskan Bull Worm" (from "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm"); "How to Attract a Sea-Bear" (from "The Camping Episode"); "F.U.N. Song" (from "F.U.N."); "Dirty Dan" (from "Survival of the Idiots"); "Land Creatures vs Sea Creatures" (from "Pressure"); and "Leedle Lee" (from "Shanghaied").
The event began with the cast singing the series' "Are ya ready, kids?!" theme song (see below) and closed out with them singing the "F.U.N. Song."
Aside from the table read aspect of the special, the actors also took the time to peel back the barnacle-covered curtain on certain production details. For example, Kenny explained the origin of the "Striped Sweater" song in Season 3's "As Seen on TV" episode.
"I think in some [scripts] it just says, 'Singing continues,' so you go, 'The best time to wear a striped sweater is all the time. The one with the color, turtleneck, that's the kind,'" he said, demonstrating how the entire ditty was pretty much improvised.
Okay, so what about the mayo-horseradish-instrument debate? Those condiments can't help you perform "Sweet Victory," but according to Bumpass, "chicken drumsticks would make pretty good ... drumsticks."
When asked how she came up with Sandy's Texas drawl, Lawrence said: "It's a little of this and a little of that and a little of Holly Hunter and a little of 'I grew up in Ohio' and voila!"
Kenny, who also serves as voice director on SpongeBob, recently told SYFY WIRE that the cast hasn't convened since the coronavirus pandemic put the kibosh on in-studio voice recordings. All of them now record their lines remotely as animated projects thrive and live-action productions remain on indefinite hold.
"Cartoons seem to be the only pandemic-proof area of the entertainment industry. I wish I didn’t have to find that out, but it’s an interesting fact," he said. "Us voiceover people are working more than ever, and we’re doing a lot of this stuff ourselves that trained sound engineers and recording studio personnel used to do. ... A lot of my [on-camera] actor friends are kind of jealous, and in some ways I wish that I had a little more of the free time that they do. I guess the algae’s always greener."
The Stars of SpongeBob: Fan Favorites Special is now streaming on the mobile Nick app.