Nickelodeon has pulled multiple classic episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants out of rotation. One of the problematic episodes, titled "Mid-Life Crustacean," is not available to stream with other episodes of the cartoon on Paramount+ and it is no longer available to purchase digitally from Amazon and other retailers. A Nickelodeon rep has since clarified that the episode has been out of rotation since 2018, although it had been available to purchase digitally until recently.
"'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," the rep told IGN.
Originally airing in 2003 during the show's third season, "Mid-Life Crustacean" was about Mr. Krabs suffering a mid-life crisis with SpongeBob and Patrick attempting to help him feel better by taking him for a fun night out. What likely led to the episode getting axed was a scene with Patrick suggesting the trio embark on a "panty raid" by breaking into a woman's underwater house to steal her underwear. The victim turns out to be Mr. Krabs' mother, who catches the three in the act and sends the Krusty Krab owner to his childhood room for the night.
The controversial episode was included as a part of Nickelodeon's SpongeBob: The First 100 Episodes DVD box set, and was still present in the 2020 re-release. When it originally aired on television, "Mid-Life Crustacean" was also paired with the episode "Snail Race," as SpongeBob SquarePants episodes are typically comprised of two stories. "Snail Race" has been pulled from digital sales along with "Mid-Life Crustacean," though the former is streaming on Paramount+ unlike the latter.
Another episode that Nickelodeon is looking to bury is more recent, apparently animated as a part of the show's previous 12th season. It's not clear if and when the episode aired on television, but it can be found circulating online. Called "Kwarantined Krab," the episode is not streaming on Paramount+ and it was also absent from the show's complete 12th season DVD release. Written and animated before 2020, the episode has been pulled due to its virus-related 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," Nickelodeon's rep said.
In "Kwarantined Krab," the Health Inspector visits the Krusty Krab and finds a case of "Clam Flu," quarantining the burger joint with every patron inside. Seemingly inspired by zombie movies, the characters begin to distrust one another, and anyone thought to have the virus is thrown into the restaurant's freezer. At this time, there are no plans to make the episode available for sale or streaming at some point in the future.
While at least two SpongeBob SquarePants episodes are getting flushed away by Nickelodeon, there's still plenty of content for fans to watch on Paramount+. In addition to classic episodes of the series, the new prequel series Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years is also streaming. The new feature The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run is also available to watch on the streaming service. This news comes to us from IGN.