Two episodes of the cartoon “Spongebob Squarepants” were recently removed from syndication due to the potential offensive content. One episode that had gone unaired was about a virus that was thought to be insensitive, due to the real-life COVID-19 pandemic. The second episode removed was believed to have a storyline that was inappropriate.
The virus episode, “Kwarantined Krab,” is set at the Krusty Krab, the main restaurant in the Spongebob universe, when a health inspector identifies a case of the “clam flu.” This results in the characters at the Krusty Krab needing to quarantine. This sounds a little too familiar in today’s age.
“The ‘Kwarantined Crab’ centers on a virus storyline, so we have decided to not air it due to sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic,” Nickelodeon said in a statement to Deadline news.
The second episode removed was, “Mid-Life Crustacean.” In the episode, Mr. Krabs is brought along by Spongebob and Patrick on a “panty-raid” where they break into a woman’s home and the characters steal her underwear. To their surprise, the house belonged to Mr. Krabs’ mother. This episode first aired on Nickelodeon on Jan. 24, 2003 and was a classic episode. Its removal is both disappointing and upsetting.
“Spongebob Squarepants” premiered in May 1999, and has since become a household name around the world. Many children have grown up watching “Spongebob Squarepants,” and have continued to admire and be entertained by the characters of Bikini Bottom. Jaiden Varmette, a freshman childhood education major, and Lisette Linares, a junior political science major, are two of those people who grew up watching Spongebob.
“I thought the episode [Mid-Life Crustacean] was funny and I didn’t think anything beyond that because it was a kid’s show designed for kids. It wasn’t meant for people who over-analyze everything,” Varmette said. “There was no reason to remove this, but then again things will continue being canceled during this day and age because of ‘cancel culture.’ The littlest things offend people.”
The decision to remove the classic episode “Mid-Life Crustacean,” was not a good decision. For more than 18 years, Nickelodeon did not see an issue with children viewing this episode.
Why is it such an issue now? “Spongebob Squarepants” is obviously meant to be humorous and is not meant to be a teaching tool for any child. If that were the case, they would have to remove any episode that featured a boat driving underwater because it’s not “factual enough.”
For Linares, “Spongebob Squarepants” has had an impact on her daily life. Linares said that she references it a lot; including one episode where Spongebob and his best friend Patrick are laughing in class about the humor of numbers.
“Anytime I can, I reference Spongebob. My brother just turned 25 and I told him ‘what’s funnier than 24? 25,’” Linares said, while laughing. “I think it’s funny, and I don’t really see anything wrong with the episode. A lot of things are being removed lately so I’m not really surprised by it.”
Linares also said she doesn’t remember or didn’t see any episodes being inappropriate while watching them. She also said she would definitely watch the virus episode that was removed and noted that it would be interesting for children to watch it and relate to it.
“I hope they release it, like how would they portray it?” Linares said.
As of now, the “Kwarantined Crab” episode does not have a release date and it’s unknown whether it’ll ever be released. Hopefully, Nickelodeon does not decide to remove any more “Spongebob Squarepants” episodes that they suddenly deem inappropriate. Removing more episodes would be a disservice to a new generation of children who won’t get to watch and experience the classics.