A lot has been said about SpongeBob SquarePants, but the theory about Bikini Bottom being a nuclear test site actually holds some truth. SpongeBob Squarepants was created by Stephen Hillenburg in the late 1980s, but the cartoon as it is was developed in 1996 and finally made its debut on Nickelodeon in 1999. The series has been a huge hit, becoming the fifth-longest-running American animated series and expanding to other media, such as video games and comic books.
SpongeBob SquarePants follows the adventures of the title character (a rectangular, yellow sea sponge) and his friends in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom. Throughout the years, viewers have met SpongeBob’s best friends Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, his sarcastic neighbor Squidward, and his boss Mr. Krabs, as well as a couple of enemies such as Plankton and Flats the Flounder. All these characters have their own quirks and special talents, which a theory attributes to Bikini Bottom being a nuclear test site.
This theory originated on Reddit, where user Capmaster pointed out that Bikini Bottom is named like that because it’s under Bikini Atoll, a coral reef in the Marshall Islands consisting of 23 islands, and which was used for nuclear testing from 1946 to 1958. Because of this, the creatures living in this area have mutated, which is why they talk, play instruments, and build robots, and why some of them are just plain strange. One Reddit user added that chipmunks were among the animals kept on board at small Navy vessels during these tests, and that’s why Sandy Cheeks wears a “full protection suit” and transforms into an unbelievably strong creature during hibernation. Also, her name could be a reference to the vast amounts of sand created by the explosions. Another user suggested that Rock Bottom could be a crater, which would explain why its inhabitants were even weirder and more mutated than the citizens of Bikini Bottom.
This theory is not that far from the truth, as it has been confirmed that Bikini Bottom is located beneath Bikini Atoll, so that part of the story is true. One of the bombs from the tests was detonated underwater, and the explosion was photographed - the series replicates this shape on almost every explosion that happens on the show. Of all SpongeBob SquarePants theories out there (and cartoon theories in general) this is probably the one that makes most sense and has more substantial proofs to support it.
Whether SpongeBob SquarePants was actually intended to show the consequences of nuclear testing underwater or Bikini Atoll was just inspiration for the town’s name and location, it’s something that only Hillenburg and company would know. Still, there are many details that fit with Bikini Atoll’s history that instead of making the show creepy (like other theories try to) actually make it more interesting.