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Bikini Bottom Blunder: Nickelodeon Removes “SpongeBob SquarePants” Episodes

After debuting on Nickelodeon’s television channel in the summer of 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the network’s most popular cartoons to date. The animated series follows SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star, Squidward Tentacles, Sandy Cheeks and Mr. Krabs alongside their underwater adventures in Bikini Bottom. Known for its jokes and silly characters, the show provides entertainment for young and older generations alike. In 2021, episodes of SpongeBob continue to air on Nickelodeon, but that’s not the only place viewers can watch the cartoon. Amazon Prime Video allows subscribers to watch up to six seasons of the classic cartoon at no extra cost. Paramount Plus, the latest streaming service on the market, offers a plethora of Nickelodeon shows for their audience to enjoy; all twelve seasons of SpongeBob SquarePants are among them.

Spongebob eating popcorn in front of tv
Nickelodeon / Giphy

Today, streaming services strive to appeal to a wide variety of audiences and offer entertainment that is enjoyable, yet relevant to the modern-day. Sometimes, this means that certain content must be reevaluated. As a result, Nickelodeon, Amazon Prime and Paramount Plus removed two episodes of SpongeBob from their platforms. One episode, titled “Kwaratined Crab” will never make its debut on Nickelodeon. After speaking with an NBC News reporter, the network’s Executive Vice President of Communications David Bittler explained that the episode would not be shown because of “sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic.”

The storyline of the “Kwarantined Crab” episode follows a few customers that have a meal at the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob’s place of employment. Shortly after, an illness breaks out inside of the restaurant. Known as the “Clam Flu,” the customers and employees are forced to stay inside the restaurant and have no contact with the outside world. Naturally, chaos ensues and continues throughout the episode. Due to its subject matter, the episode has not and will not be introduced to viewers. According to a statement given to the New York Times, the network never scheduled the episode’s debut.

The second episode, titled “Mid-Life Crustacean,” has already seen the light of day. It debuted on the channel in the early 2000s. Back in the third season of the series, the episode explores the shenanigans of SpongeBob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs. Alongside the youthful SpongeBob and Patrick, Mr. Krabs expresses his desire to feel young again and explore the fun side of life.

To help Mr. Krabs connect with his younger self, the titular character and his best friend explore different activities. However, only one of these excursions caused the episode to stop airing on Nickelodeon about three years ago. Set in Bikini Bottom, the episode chronicles the trio as they creep inside a home and take underwear from the owner’s wardrobe. Their plan is soiled by Mr. Krab’s mother, who is revealed to be the owner of both the home and everything the characters planned on taking with them.

Removed from the channel in 2018, a Nickelodeon spokesperson stated that the episode was not appropriate for children. Amazon Prime Video followed in the network’s footsteps and took the episode down. SpongeBob SquarePants has long since been praised for its versatility and ability to entertain different age groups. These media companies are not the first to make changes in what messages they want to send to their audiences. Increasingly careful considerations of media content will likely continue into the future.

remote facing tv blurred background
Photo by Pinho from Unsplash

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A senior at Florida State University pursuing a degree in Media Communication Studies with a minor in English.
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