Fans of comical sea sponge SpongeBob Squarepants are to receive a shock when the new series launches later this summer. Gone are the whimsical tales of humorous starfish, mishaps with barnacles and humble ocean adventures. In are tales of financial wheeler dealing, corporate skulduggery and designer (shell) suits as the series changes to reflect the new found wealth of the oil-rich undersea world.
Series producer Joe Smith explains "Things have changed since the last series went off the air. Many ocean inhabitants like SpongeBob are now sitting on a small fortune thanks to the sudden and inexplicable appearance of gallons of oil in their own back reefs. You can see ostentatious displays of this new found wealth already. Sharks have started to get gold teeth put in, many schools of fish have turned private, and just the other day I saw an octopus wearing a ten gallon hat with a stunning mermaid on each of his eight arms. It's important that we reflect these changes on the show".
The new series sees SpongeBob leave his humble job at the Krusty Krab restaurant to head up Squarepants Oil as its new CEO. Loyal starfish friend Patrick Starr joins SpongeBob at the company as his right fin man, but insiders suggest that even he cannot be trusted. Smith confirms that SpongeBob will need to "keep his friends close but his anemones closer".
New characters set to join the show include a 'super bitch' mermaid who tries to wring SpongeBob dry of his wealth after seducing him with her curvaceous legs, buxom fish torso and sexy trout pout. Also joining them are Slimy Seabird, a pelican with a slick backed hairstyle and oily demeanor to match, and Toxic Tony, a former CEO who has been banished to live in the ocean as penance for doing some very bad things.
Leaked storylines reveal that SpongeBob gets into deep water as the series progresses, culminating in a cliffhanger season finale which sees him shot by a mystery assailant. Viewers need not worry too much though, as he will emerge miraculously unscathed from the shower at the start of the following series, having been mistaken for a loofer.
Spilling the beans even further, Smith promises the new series will be "darker, slicker, and full of crude material".