Before you read this, I want you to know that I have nothing against Spongebob. I love Spongebob. But man, I just realized that something is seriously off about this show.

Okay, let’s start with something we know, and have no trouble accepting: Mr Krabs* is obsessed with money.

Plutomania: an insatiable craving for money


A lot of people say Krabs is OCD about money, but the truth is … Mr Krabs is a plutomaniac.

Okay? On to Krab’s arch-enemy, Plankton.

Megalomania: an abnormal tendency towards grand of grandiose behavior

Doesn’t that sound a lot like Plankton?  This is a guy who can’t run a restaurant, but will come up with all manner of evil and theatrical ways to steal the Krusty Krab recipe and achieve world domination – including clones, anarchy and giant robots.

Given how much he wants to steal the recipe, he’s  a kleptomanic, too.  Kleptomania is the inability to refrain from trying to steal stuff.  Plankton’s kleptomania is very specialized but it’s also so large that he’s practically the main villain of the show.

In fact, Plankton also probably has what’s called a Napoleon complex : aggressive or domineering behaviour to compensate for his tiny size.


Narcissism: extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration.

Squidward is a classic narcissist. He has an impossibly high opinion of both his music and his painting / sculpture skills (remember the episode where Spongebob joins Squidward’s art class?).


He’s also a very angsty, angry character. He also talks to himself a lot and exhibits deep distrust towards most people. Bipolar disorder? Depression? I think both.


 Patrick is a weird starfish. He varies from being stupider than the average rock to being unimaginably cruel (remember when they made him king?). Sometimes he shows startling bursts of wisdom and/or sarcasm and at other times he’s just…not…anywhere within ten miles of intelligence. Let’s not go there.

But Spongebob. 

Here comes the big sponge.

– Lives (and loves) a repetitive daily life. Is stressed out when this daily routine is disrupted.

– People mistreat him on purpose and he doesn’t seem to understand this. Case in point – Mr Krabs.

– He completely fails to grasp sarcasm

– He doesn’t understand that Squidward hates him

– Has intense, relatively childlike fixations over a few things – i.e: the Krabby Patty, Jellyfish, Mermaid Man

– He has trouble learning complex skills that require coordination, like driving

– He gets stuck on phrases and repeats them over and over (I’m ready!)

– Takes everything literally, even his own imagination.

– Is an exceptionally skilled fry cook.


Now compare this with the symptoms for Asperger’s Syndrome from WebMD:

  • Problems with social skills: Children with Asperger’s syndrome generally have difficulty interacting with others and often are awkward in social situations.
  • Eccentric or repetitive behaviors: Children with this condition may develop odd, repetitive movements, such as hand wringing or finger twisting.
  • Unusual preoccupations or rituals: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop rituals that he or she refuses to alter, such as getting dressed in a specific order.
  • Communication difficulties: People with Asperger’s syndrome may have trouble using facial expressions and gestures, and understanding body language. They also tend to have problems understanding language in context and are very literal in their use of language.
  • Limited range of interests: A child with Asperger’s syndrome may develop an intense, almost obsessive, interest in a few areas, such as sports schedules, weather, or maps.
  • Coordination problems: The movements of children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem clumsy or awkward.
  • Skilled or talented: Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music or math.

Everything lines up.

Spongebob has Asperger’s Syndrome, with a dose of ADHD thrown in for good measure.

Sandy Cheeks, the squirrel who lives underwater, is probably the one sane character in the entire show. Despite living in a bubble (an illusion for something?) and having a giant chip on her shoulder, she’s the most outgoing, socially un-awkward and versatile of all the characters. She may have a bit of an inferiority complex, leading to aggressive over-compensation …

But hey, that’s just my theory.

Recommended reading:

Spongebob and the & Deadly Sins (thanks, Mahesh)
The dark ‘Whale Carcass’ Spongebob Theory
The Spongebob Squarepants Drug Theory