Reportedly, two SpongeBob SquarePants episodes have been put of rotation, according to IGN.
The first episode which got removed was named “Mid-Life Crustacean” and the other one was titled “Kwarantined Krab”. Both of these episodes got removed from the ongoing series due to concern over a problematic storyline.
SpongeBob SquarePants, created by Stephen Hillenburg, was premiered in 1999. It has continued to air for more than 20 years. It is considered a light-hearted show, created for kids, but the target audience diversified across demographics as the show picked up steam.
Why Were The Episodes Removed?
According to a report by IGN, Nickelodeon decided to remove two installments of SpongeBob SquarePants, including “Mid-Life Crustacean” and “Kwarantined Krab” from its inventory.
Dissecting the alleged problematic elements of the canceled episodes might give us a clear perspective on the vitality of clean content creation.
Although, Nickelodeon didn’t confirm, exactly which story elements “Mid-Life Crustacean” were inappropriate. But it seems like the ‘panty raid’ scene in the episode might be problematic. It goes like, SpongeBob, Patrick, and Mr. Krab breaks into a woman’s house to steal her underwear. They discovered that they have unknowingly entered the house of Mr. Krab’s mother. She punishes her son by sending him to his childhood room.
Furthermore, the case of ‘Kwarantined Krab’ witnesses an outbreak of ‘Clam Flu’ at the Krusty Krab, with all those inside forced to quarantine in the restaurant.
“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,” the Nickelodeon rep told IGN.
Animes, TV-Shows, Movies, And Their Role In Society
As soon as the news of removing these episodes spread, mixed public opinion started circulating. The company’s representative refused to comment about which scenes, in particular, caused the issue, and if a content warning would have worked instead of removing the episode altogether.
In the past few years, consumption of television shows, or cinema in general has witnessed a drastic surge. As the viewership increased, stronger guidelines started being implemented.
These shows are watched across the globe, Interestingly, kids’ brains are like sponges. They absorb information very quickly, irrespective of the source. For them, entertainment is also a learning experience.
Considering this, even a subtle wrong message can negatively impact a generation that will eventually be disruptive for a healthy society. As children are the building blocks of society, some strict guidelines regarding the content must be placed on shows consumed by an audience majority of which is children.
On the contrary, there are arguments that creators should mention in the beginning that some elements are not for a particular audience, which is also a valid argument.
However, we know that to date, the SpongeBob series have a good fanbase and a relatively older audience, who’ve watched the show from their childhood.
Many episodes with a similar questionable framework have been there on many anime series, but the debate of age-appropriate humor has been going on for a very long time.