Animaniacs Star Shares Story of Failed SpongeBob Squarepants Audition

Animaniacs star Jess Harnell recently revealed how his SpongeBob Squarepants audition didn’t exactly go how he wanted. The actor talked to CBR about a number of topics surrounding the reboot. To be fair, Animaniacs is no slouch itself getting a reboot years after the original show went off the air. But, when you miss out on something like SpongeBob, it tends to stick with you for a while. To be fair to Harnell, how long was the Nickelodeon show going to be on anyway? It was impossible to know what kind of cultural force that the aquatic character would become. In fact, it’s still running now, and that in of itself is a staggering fact. For Harnell, it would seem to be a learning experience and a lesson to keep in your back pocket walking into any subsequent auditions.

He remembered, ”Sometimes, you never know what's going to really hit the bullseye in popular culture. I remember, years ago, I did a number of auditions for a certain cartoon and that came down to the wire and I almost got the role and I didn't, in the end. That's fine, because the guy who got it did a fantastic job, but I remember thinking, 'Well, you know, how long is a show about a talking sponge gonna last, anyway?'"

In another interview with Collider, the creative team talked about their audience expectations for the show now that there’s a generation of kids who grew up with the original. Wellesley Wild and Gabe Swar talked about stepping into that space.

“I think we just wanted to follow the makeup of the audience of the original, and hoping for that magic Jurassic World phenomenon, where the parents of the kids now came of age since the original Jurassic Park, and now they have kids. We're hoping that the same thing happens with Animaniacs, but I think the stories would appeal to everyone and the humor works on adult and the kid level, the way the original episodes did. And more specifically, I think the kids enjoy the slapstick and bucking authority, and the adults, which, I think, made up maybe 25 percent or something of the original audience, they'll hopefully gravitate towards the more sophisticated send-ups like you were just referring to from the cultural canon, which they did in the original as well.”

Have you seen Animaniacs on Hulu yet? Let us know down in the comments!