Sunday, April 11, 2021

Nickelodeon Confirms that Two 'SpongeBob' Episodes Have Been Pulled Over Storyline Concerns

"I guess you're gonna miss the panty raid."

As previously reported, the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mid-Life Crustacean" is "out of rotation" and is not available to stream on Paramount+ or purchase digitally on services like Amazon. Another SpongeBob episode, "Kwarantined Krab," also appears to have been shelved due to plotline similarities to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season 3 episode, "Mid-Life Crustacean," first aired on Nickelodeon in 2003 and features Mr. Krabs in a mid-life crisis. SpongeBob and Patrick help out by showing Mr. Krabs a good time.

A representative from Nickelodeon told IGN, "'Mid-Life Crustacean' has been out of rotation since 2018, following a standards review in which we determined some story elements were not kid-appropriate." When asked which scenes caused the controversy, and if Nickelodeon ever considered a content warning in front of the episode instead of removing it completely, a rep for Nickelodeon said, "No comment."

The scene that may have led to the episode's removal could be the scene where Patrick suggests a "panty raid," which leads to SpongeBob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs breaking into a woman's house to steal her underwear. It turns out the house they broke into was Mr. Krabs' mom's house. The mom catches the three in the act and sends Mr. Krabs to his childhood room for the rest of the night.

Two SpongeBob episodes are usually paired up with one another to fill out a traditional 30-minute television slot. This episode's companion episode, "The Great Snail Race," remains available to stream on Paramount+.

Both "Snail Race" and "Mid-Life" are unavailable to purchase digitally on Amazon. However, Amazon Prime in the USA currently has both episodes unchanged and available to stream for all subscribers, and "Mid-Life Crustacean" is available as a "Season Only" purchase on iTunes in the SpongeBob collection "From the Beginning, Part 2," which is being sold for $45.99 in the US.

Update (4/2) - A fan has created a petition asking Nickelodeon to reinstate "Mid-Life Crustacean".

IGN has also acquired a DVD box set for SpongeBob: The First 100 Episodes. "Mid-Life Crustacean" is available in full on the DVD set, which has a 2020 copyright on it. Nickelodeon again said, "No comment," when asked if the episode will be removed from digital outlets or future DVDs. Also, a clip from "Mid-Life Crustacean" remains on Nickelodeon Australia & New Zealand's website, though it is not the "panty raid" scene.

Another episode of SpongeBob from the ongoing season 12, "Kwarantined Krab," will not air due to its "virus storyline."

"The 'Kwarantined Crab' [sic] centers on a virus storyline, so we have decided to not air it due to sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic," a representative from Nickelodeon said in a statement to IGN.

In a separate statement to The New York Times, David Bittler, a press executive for Nickelodeon said the episode "was never put on the schedule to be sensitive to the pandemic outbreak last year."

However, the episode is currently circulating online in English, which means the episode has seemingly been released at some point. Clips from the episode are also available on YouTube in Spanish. Nickelodeon did not comment when asked when and where the episode has aired, although the episode is known to have aired in a number of countries, including in France, Israel and Canada.

Update (4/11) - Nickelodeon Latin America premiered the new SpongeBob episode "Kwarantined Krab" on Saturday, April 11:

"Kwarantined Krab" features the return of the Health Inspector to the Krusty Krab. The inspector finds a case of "Clam Flu" in the restaurant and quarantines all patrons inside. The characters immediately begin distrusting each other, and anybody assumed to have the virus is shunned and thrown in the freezer. It's not clear if the episode will be released in future.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run has just been released in America. It's available to stream on Paramount+ or as a $19.99 rental on digital services. The first ever SpongeBob SquarePants spin-off, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years is also available to stream on Paramount+, and will air on Nickelodeon later this year.

Watch SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run & Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years on Paramount+!

Originally published: Friday, March 26, 2021 at 21:54 GMT.

Additional sources: We Got This Covered, PopCulture; Nickstory Discord /@BahJohn, @DeathGaming.

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