Nickelodeon Speaks out Following Removal of 2 Controversial 'SpongeBob Squarepants' Episodes

Amid questions and outrage surrounding its decision to remove two episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants from rotation, Nickelodeon is speaking out to offer some clarity. In March, news broke that two episodes of the beloved animated series had been pulled – "Mid-Life Crustacean" and the unaired "Kwarantined Crab" – and would not be available for streaming on Paramount+ (formerly known as CBS All Access) or Amazon Prime. As discussion sparked online, Nickelodeon broke its silence to address the decision to shelve the episodes for good.

Originally airing in 2002, "Mid-Life Crustacean" was pulled from rotation back in 2018, though fans recently noticed that it was also no longer available for viewing on streaming platforms. According to David Bittler, a spokesman for Nickelodeon, the episode was removed from rotation "following a standards review in which we determined some story elements were not kid-appropriate," The New York Times reports. Although the episode may not have sparked much outrage, it did contain a scene that may not be appropriate for the young audience the series is geared towards. As Mr. Krabs finds himself in the throes of a midlife crisis, SpongeBob and Patrick Star attempt to get him out of it with a "night of debauchery." Along with some litter picking up, sitting in a kiddie pool, and playing Dungeons & Dragons, the episode also includes a panty raid, in which the three characters break into a woman's home, which happens to be Mr. Krabs' mom's house.

The second episode, "Kwarantined Crab," was set to air as part of the series' currently-airing 12th season. The episode, however, will never get its spot on the small screen due to its storyline, which documents a "Clam Flu" outbreak at the Krusty Krab. After the Health Inspector finds a case at the restaurant, the Krusty Krab is put under emergency quarantine and anxiety sets in, with Mr. Krab locking SpongeBob, Patrick, and several other characters in the restaurant's freezer. Bittler said the episode "was never put on the schedule to be sensitive to the pandemic outbreak last year." In a separate statement to CNN, the network explained, "We have decided to not air it due to sensitivities surrounding the global, real-world pandemic."

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Both episodes are no longer in rotation on the network, and neither are available for viewing on Paramount+, which you can subscribe to by clicking here, or Amazon Prime. The decision has sparked some backlash, with a petition even having been created calling on Nickelodeon to restore "Mid-Life Crustacean." While it is unlikely Nickelodeon will heed those calls, fans can enjoy the new spinoff series, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years, which is available for streaming on Paramount+. Disclosure: PopCulture is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.

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