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The Spongebob Episode That Went Too Far

"SpongeBob SquarePants" reigns atop the Nickelodeon mountain, a status it didn't exactly earn overnight. The beloved children's cartoon has aired on the network since 1999, but unlike many shows from that era, it's still pumping out new stories consistently. As of this writing, it is currently up to an impressive 13 seasons and is rapidly approaching 300 episodes, providing no shortage of unforgettably hilarious, emotional, and quotable moments along the way. However, not everything "SpongeBob" has been a winner, with some sequences going down in infamy shortly after airing.

Considering how long the series has graced the small screen, it should come as no surprise that it would suffer the odd misstep now and again. Who could forget the grotesque clip from "House Fancy" where Squidward's (Rodger Bumpass) toenail is gruesomely torn off, or the time when SpongeBob's (Tom Kenny) new pet, Fluffy, transformed into a hideous monster and attempted to eat Gary the snail. Though disturbing, these specific examples thankfully didn't last very long or greatly impact the plot, but that isn't always the case.

Though rare, some "SpongeBob SquarePants" installments take things a bit too far for too much of their runtime. Here's a particularly egregious one that has come under fire in recent years.

Mid-Life Crustacean doesn't fly in the modern day

"Mid-Life Crustacean" from Season 3 is one of the most memorable "SpongeBob SquarePants" episodes, but not for the best of reasons. Debuting in the United States in January of 2003, the story focuses on Mr. Krabs' (Clancy Brown) struggles to accept that he's getting older and is out of touch with the trends of the day. SpongeBob and Patrick Star (Bill Fagerbakke) attempt to reconnect him with his youth through several activities but are unsuccessful. As a last hurrah, they invite him to take part in a nighttime "panty raid." 

This involves the trio sneaking into the home of a woman — later revealed to be Krabs' mom, Betsy (Paul Tibbitt) — and stealing her underwear. Of course, this sequence is played for laughs, especially when the boys are caught, but in a modern context, the concept has lost its humor. The rise of the Me Too movement and efforts to promote female empowerment has led society to reevaluate how women are portrayed in all forms of media. Unsurprisingly, the image of three men breaking into a woman's house at night to take her undergarments isn't considered something that impressionable kids should see. 

Surely the minds behind "Mid-Life Crustacean" meant no harm by it, but that didn't stop Nickelodeon from pulling it from television and streaming services entirely in March 2021. A spokesperson told The New York Times (via Vulture) that they made the call "following a standards review in which we determined some story elements were not kid-appropriate," thus putting the legacy of arguably the most controversial "SpongeBob SquarePants" tale to rest.