"SpongeBob SquarePants" has already outlived its programming expectations. The clever yet unapologetically goofy series has managed to produce original material for more than 15 years, and has captured generations of enthusiasts. In 2004, the silly yet enchanting aquatic world jumped into the film industry.

Aside from seeing the popular characters in an all-new CGI-animated dimension, the sequel, "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," will feel very familiar.

The plot is fairly simple -- the town of Bikini Bottom goes through an end-of-days scenario when Krusty Krab's Krabby Patty formula goes missing. Out of desperation, SpongeBob joins forces with enemy Plankton, whose initial wishes to steal the formula didn't go according to plan. Through their journey they grab Patrick, Squidward, Sandy and Mr. Krabs for a wild ride.

amNewYork spoke with Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick Star) about the latest "SpongeBob" adventure, which hits theaters on Friday.


Did you think "SpongeBob" would turn into an empire when you first signed on?

No. You can't anticipate something like this. When you're a part of something that you recognize as quality, all you can do is hope that it gets the right kind of opportunity. It's a special affiliation, that's for sure.


What kind of response do you get from children?

It took me a few times of adults bringing their four and five year old up to me and saying, "Hey, this is Patrick!" and I would do Patrick and the kid would look at me like I was an idiot. They go, "Shut up, stop trying to be Patrick! You're not Patrick!" [Laughs] So I try to protect that reality more because that's a special, short-lived quality, that imagination. I don't mess with that. Now I just say, "I know Patrick."


How was the journey finding Patrick's voice?

It came along as a result of SpongeBob's voice. [Then they] started casting other characters. We got to listen to SpongeBob's voice and Patrick required a counterpoint in terms of tone and tempo. That was in my wheelhouse.


Where do you stand on the evolution of animation? Some purists are against the use of CGI animation.

I'm glad that purists care enough to get upset [laughs]. I appreciate the fact that we can be in the ranks of feature films. You're creating something that you hope people will leave their house and will enjoy in a communal event. I really appreciate that we're getting to do that with "SpongeBob."