Understanding Filipino children’s humor through the popular TV cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants

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This study looks into what Filipino children find humorous in foreign cartoons. It aims to identify the types of incongruities that Filipino children find funny in the cartoon programs that they watch. The researcher used qualitative methods such as observation and interview. The researcher chose an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, currently the most popular TV cartoon among Filipino children, to be viewed by a group of kindergarten pupils of University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) aged 5-6 years old. The researcher observed the informants’ reaction while watching SpongeBob Squarepants. An interview with the informants was also conducted to provide supplementary information. Based on the results, this research identified distortion and exaggeration as the most effective type of incongruity that makes Filipino children laugh. It is followed by violation of rational behavior, violation of expectations, physical discrepancy, and violation of conceptual thought. The results indicate that despite the fact that these popular cartoons are made by foreign creators, Filipino children are able to relate to them. Filipino children can understand incongruities that were created based on common human experiences rather than on the creators’ culture alone.

Alvero, M. M. (2010). Understanding Filipino children’s humor through the popular TV cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants, Unpublished Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

Subject Index: Humor in children, SpongeBob SquarePants (Fictitious character), Kindergarten--Quezon City--Philippines