This photo is from the official trailer of “Kamp Koral: Spongebob's Under Years,” produced by Paramount Plus

Let’s face it, Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of “Spongebob Squarepants,” was a genius. Growing up, being a fan of “Spongebob” felt like a personality trait. With its meme-worthy reactions and witty quotes, “Spongebob” is one of the most adored Nickelodeon animation series ever created.

Along with re-runs and new seasons, the new spin-off series “Kamp Koral: Spongebob’s Under Years” was intended to give up-and-coming generations a chance to experience “Spongebob Squarepants” in all its glory. However, it fails to live up to its original creative content and funny, clever one-liner dialogue. 

Acting as a prequel to the original series, “Kamp Koral: Spongebob’s Under Years” follows the life of ten-year-old Spongebob (Tom Kenny, “Kid Cosmic”) and his friends Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke, “Spongebob Squarepants”) and Sandy (Carolyn Lawrence, “Spongebob Squarepants”) at a summer camp called Kamp Koral run by Mr. Krabs. In every episode, the gang does the usual camp-life activities: jelly-fishing, camp-fires and playground games.

Everything about the series seems vague. Granted, it’s a cartoon, and it doesn’t necessarily need to explain everything, but there’s no explanation of how the camp started. There are no events leading up to this moment of Spongebob’s life. And there’s no explanation on how Squidward became a part of this camp as the janitor or how Mr. Krabs is the head counselor while his arch-nemesis from the original series, Plankton, is the cafeteria worker. The character’s personalities are so different from what Spongebob fans expect from the characters. Everything seems so randomly placed that it leaves you wondering how this supposed prequel is the basis of the predecessor.

One thing that stood out was that Spongebob’s iconic laugh was completely bizarre, and not in a good way. While this might seem minuscule, a trait that is a defining feature of the protagonist should live up to what makes it such an iconic feature. 

The show isn’t disgraceful, but it definitely feels different. It’s missing that spark that made the original “Spongebob Squarepants” stand out. There’s no slapstick comedy or meme-worthy moments. The computer-generated design throws everything off and takes a while to get used to if you’re a regular watcher of “Spongebob.” 

Admittedly, “Kamp Koral” is cute and appears to be targeted toward a younger audience. It’s a shame considering so many young adults are fans of “Spongebob” but this series doesn’t acknowledge that audience. 

If the show creators wanted to introduce a spin-off of “Spongebob,” perhaps sticking to its niche would have been more successful. As a “Spongebob” fan, the series was a huge disappointment. Some things shouldn’t be touched, especially classics like “Spongebob.” 

If you need something playing in the background while doing chores or other activities, this show’s the one. Still, “Kamp Koral: Spongebob’s Under Years” was not needed for this beloved franchise.

Daily Arts Writer Jessica Curney can be reached at