There's no way Hillenburg could've imagined that his cartoon creation would've united the internet when he launched SpongeBob SquarePants in 1999. "The double helix of SpongeBob and the internet is so prevalent you don't even register it," says Angela Watercutter. "Imagining the web without Hillenburg’s creation is like imagining it without Google or Facebook (where at least one post in your feed on any given day would feature SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward or another undersea character.) The show is simply part of online culture's fabric—a part that Hillenburg, who died (Monday) at age 57 after a battle with ALS, built whether he knew he was doing it or not." In the social media era, SpongeBob became the most "meme-able" TV show. "More than just a colorful and funny children’s show with that coveted ability to entertain audiences old and young, SpongeBob SquarePants was also the show that launched a thousand memes," says Madison Malone Kircher. "And then launched a thousand more." Watercutter adds: "Figuring out why the internet grew attached to SpongeBob is like trying to figure out why the internet likes (or dislikes) anything. It just happens. But something about Hillenburg's show proved irresistible to memery. The show’s characters—and its titular hero specifically—are expressive enough to communicate a mood in a single frame. The show's wholesome, if slyly subversive, tone makes recontextualizing those faces all the funnier."