TV’s latest talk-show host is already underwater.
Patrick Star, the enthusiastic, dim-bulb starfish — and best pal to SpongeBob SquarePants — is headlining his own spinoff series, “The Patrick Star Show,” an animated series in which Patrick hosts an imaginary talk show while gallivanting with his friends and learning life lessons.
It premieres Friday at 7 p.m. on Nickelodeon and stars Bill Fagerbakke, who’s voiced Patrick since “SpongeBob SquarePants” premiered in 1999 and on its CGI spinoff series “Kamp Koral,” which streams on Paramount+. (He will continue as a cast member in both shows.)
“It was a heady kind of terror with which I greeted this,” Fagerbakke, 63, told The Post. “SpongeBob is so revered by his fans and it was really hard for me to think of Patrick without being in concert with SpongeBob, so I was very concerned.
“But the creative team here [Marc Ceccarelli, Vincent Waller and Jennie Monica] is really great and it fits and it’s so unique in its narrative style,” he said. “It’s almost like watching ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ … it just jumps from one thing to another. I really think fans of ‘SpongeBob’ will enjoy it.”
Fagerbakke has played Patrick in over 270 episodes of “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Kamp Koral,” not to mention three big-screen “SpongeBob” movies in 2004, 2015 and 2020. The good-natured starfish, who lives in Bikini Bottom with SpongeBob, Squidward et al. is extremely popular with fans and is the first “SpongeBob” character to get his own series.
“It was something that [Nickelodeon president] Brian Robbins wanted to explore,” Fagerbakke said. “He gave the creative team the freedom to do this. It’s unusual — when you’re studying theater in college, nothing prepares you for something that lasts over 20 years.”
Each 11-minute episode of “The Patrick Star Show” features the protagonist tackling a variety of situations in quick-cut vignettes, interspersed with his TV gig hosting “The Patrick Show,” including the requisite cooking segment, commercials (for the Chum Bucket) and other meta elements. In the premiere episode, Patrick’s show revolves around food after he misses breakfast; in “Bummer Jobs,” Patrick and SpongeBob work as bag boys at the Scuttle-N-Save, paint fences and learn the value of hard work.
“For me, the bottom line is celebrating your creativity,” Fagerbakke said. “I think that’s something that appeals to young people and there’s always a special regard for family and friendship — and when you pair that with the unique humor and creativity of ‘SpongeBob,’ it’s a stew that resonates so well.”
And, for the first time in the “SpongeBob” oeuvre, we meet Patrick’s family: his happy-go-lucky father and loving mother, Cecil and Bunny Star (Tom Wilson, Cree Summer), his younger sister Squidina (Jill Talley) — who doubles as the announcer/producer for Patrick’s talk show — and his grandfather, GrandPat Star (Dana Snyder).
“I think his parents appeared once in an episode of ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ where Patrick brings his parents home and then after a while realizes they’re the wrong people,” Fagerbakke said. “At the end of the episode, his actual parents appear. That was the only sighting of his mom and dad, so this is essentially a new concept.”
In addition to SpongeBob, there are appearances from other Bikini Bottom denizens including Squidward, Sandy Cheeks, Mr. Krabs and Plankton. Tom Kenny, who plays SpongeBob, is directly involved in “The Patrick Star Show.”
“He’s our session director,” Fagerbakke said. “There’s obviously no one who knows this world and its sensibilities better than him, so that’s invaluable. It means a lot of hours for Tom to do just one episode.”
Fagerbakke said he does have some input into the character, given his long history with Patrick.
“There are occasionally moments like that,” he said. “There’s so much work that goes into one moment, visually and on the page, so [each episode] is very specifically created by the time I see [the script]. In many ways it’s a finished product; there are occasions, though, where I’m certainly happy to contribute when I can. With ‘SpongeBob’ we developed an approach years ago where we do it as written and then get a ‘free pass’ for any ideas or ad-libs and we all take that very seriously.
“It’s not just about making each other laugh, but coming up with something germane.”
And, Fagerbakke said, Patrick has not been spoiled by the fact that he’s now headlining his own series.
“He’s extremely loyal and fun loving — essentially he’s a gelatinous pile of impulses,” he said. “He’s really an animal of instinct and craving.”