Eleven and counting

Nickelodeon’s top-rated show, SpongeBob, is celebrating 11 seasons on the air.

As a bonus, retail is eating up the yellow square: revenue from the slew of licensed products generates enough money (reportedly $8 billion annually in retail sales) to keep program execs happy.

Why is SpongeBob successful?

Industry analysts tout the multilayered humor, which appeals to young children, parents and grandparents.  But I wonder if the popularity is generated by what’s underneath:  his happy approach to life.  Against the backdrop of a contentious political landscape and difficult economic issues everywhere, perhaps a smiling cartoon character communicates something we all crave –  living in a happy space.

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