Controversial 'SpongeBob SquarePants' Episode No Longer Streaming

SpongeBob SquarePants purists will discover a disappointing omission as they revisit the iconic Nickelodeon show on Paramount+ and Amazon Prime Video. One classic segment (half a traditional episode) is totally removed from the catalog. The missing episode in question is "Mid-Life Crustacean," the second part of Season 3, Episode 15. (Its paired segment, "The Great Snail Race" is still intact on both platforms.)

After being spotted by fans such as YouTuber Vailskibum94, Slate's Allegra Frank brought the omission to mainstream media outlets' attention after she noticed the absence herself after bingeing classic SpongeBob episodes on Paramount+. Representatives from the streaming service (formerly known as CBS All Access) did not respond to Frank's inquiry for comment, but it's fair to assume why the episode in question was pulled.

"Mid-Life Crustacean" centers around the mid-life crisis of one Krusty Krab owner and underwater-Ebeneezer-Scrooge Eugene Krabs, affectionately known as Mr. Krabs. Krabs, voiced by Clancy Brown, links up with his favorite fry cook SpongeBob SquarePants (Tom Kenny) and Bikini Bottom's rock-dwelling dunce Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke) to embrace youth. However, SpongeBob and Patrick are pretty lame by conventional standards, with their "night of debauchery" consisting of picking up litter, sitting in a kiddie pool and playing Dungeons & Dragons.

This agenda pisses off Mr. Krabs, who is ready to call it quits. However, Patrick reveals the next item on their itenterary, an activity that likely caused streaming services to pull the episode. As Krabs walks away, Patrick says, "I guess you're gonna miss the panty raid."

Said panty raid follows, with the guys breaking into a house and finding a set of bloomer-style underwear. However, to Mr. Krabs' horror, he learns that the panties in question belong to his mom, who catches them in the act and comedically "grounds" the middle-aged crustacean.

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Obviously, this Revenge of the Nerds-style prank did not age well, and it seems like services wanted to quietly get ahead of controversy, an understandable move in light of the recent frenzy around Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew. However, as Frank notes in her report, it's a bit of a bummer for fans of the show not to have access to "Mid-Life Crustacean" at all. In contrast, Disney+ and HBO Max have kept some classic family content that did not age well due to racist depictions and other controversial aspects on their platforms with disclaimers. (However, it's worth noting that these services have also avoided adding some titles on the front end, as is the reason Disney's Song of the South isn't on Disney+.)

While the content is problematic, it sucks for grown-up fans of SpongeBob (who hopefully know that breaking/entering and violating a woman's privacy is not good) that are looking to revisit classic episodes. It's also disappointing new viewers won't see the funniest bit in the episode — the non-panty-related "Are you feeling it now, Mr. Krabs?" montage — in its full context. However, If Paramount+ and Amazon Prime Video want to dodge scandal and avoid setting bad examples for kids, that's their prerogative. Plus, for now, the clips above are floating around on YouTube, which means you can still watch and get a nostalgic SpongeBob giggle or two out of the segment. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.