Nickelodeon has shelved yet another episode of its massively popular animated series SpongeBob SquarePants. The network has pulled "Kwarantined Crab" from the show's currently airing 12th season due to its "virus storyline," which bears similarities to real-life events occurring in the world amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Originally produced as part of the show's current season, "Kwarantined Krab" finds the Krusty Krab going under emergency quarantine after the Health Inspector finds a "Clam Flu" case in the restaurant. According to a detailed synopsis, as anxiety grows among those locked in the Kruty Krab, those who are assumed to have the virus are shunned and isolated, with Mr. Krabs locking SpongeBob, Patrick, and several other characters in the restaurant's freezer. As CNN notes, "the episode's storyline reflects feelings of increased isolation and hatred that many Asian communities have experienced since" the start of the pandemic, with anti-Asian violence on the rise across the United States.
Due to its similarities to real-world events, Nickelodeon has opted to pull the episode altogether, confirming in a statement, "We have decided to not air it due to sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic." The episode will not be available on Paramount+ (formerly known as CBS All Access) or Amazon Prime. According to Yahoo Entertainment, the episode has not yet aired in the U.S. However, a few Spanish-language clips have made their way to YouTube, and Nickelodeon removed the episode from the "Complete 12th Season" DVD set before it became available on Jan. 12.
The shelving of "Kwarantined Crab" comes after Nickelodeon removed another episode of the beloved series. Titled "Mid-Life Crustacean," the episode has been out of rotation since 2018, though fans recently took note of its absence following the March 4 launch of Paramount+. The episode originally aired in 2002 and featured three of the show's male characters – Mr. Krabs, SpongeBob, and Patrick – going on a "Panty Raid," involving them breaking into a woman's house to steal her underwear. A spokesperson for Nickelodeon said they "determined some story elements were not kid-appropriate."
SpongeBob SquarePants launched in 1999 and remained the No 1 kids' animated series on TV. The series' success has spawned movies as well as a Tony-winning Broadway musical. The series recently launched a new spinoff, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, which is available for streaming on Paramount+, which you can subscribe to by clicking here. A second spinoff series, The Patrick Star Show, is also confirmed to be in the works. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.