2002 (MMII) was a common year of the Gregorian calendar that started on a Tuesday. It was the last year to contain a large amount of episodes before the 2003-2004 hiatus. 2002 contained 4 new episodes on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 21), two new episodes every single Friday in March from February 22 - March 29, 2002. It even had a special on May 17, to celebrate the 100th episode of SpongeBob. The rest of 2002's episodes premiered June 1, July 12, September 6, and September 20. After September 20, the next new episodes (except Merry Nickmas shorts, Shanghaied: Patrick's ending, and Shanghaied: Squidward's ending) didn't air until January 2003 because of a hiatus and time for production of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Production for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie began around the end of 2002. One episode is still in 2002 hiatus.
2002 was the 2nd year for the 3rd millennium, as well as the 2nd year for the 21st century and the third year of the 2000's decade. 2002 is also a palindrome year, and the last one until 2112. Similarly, 1991 was also palindrome year that started on a Tuesday, much like 2002.