Since its inception, or at least its arrival in my consciousness, I’ve been annoyed by adults who say they watch SpongeBob Squarepants and think it funny. They talk about its inventiveness or the veiled social commentary. Or at least I assume they say such things. Following any time an adult utters the words “SpongeBob Squarepants,” the only thing I can perceive was my opinion of that person crashing through the floor. I was marginally amused by Bevis and Butthead, but I can at least claim to have been of the appropriate age. Ren and Stimpy I did not get. That’s not accurate. I got it. I just hated it.
When we first met T. in his foster home, after some hours playing outside the two foster brothers retired to the living room and watched some SpongeBob.
(In addition to SpongeBob, the other Bob in T.’s life was Bob the Builder and the first discernible word he formed was “Bob,” pronounced “bobbobbobbobbobbobbob!”).
Being a polite guest as well as a person physically unable to look away from a glowing television, I sat and watched.
My opinion of the show didn’t change. It’s slightly amusing, but far from anything that cause me to pause while channel surfing.
What I did find surprising is the fact that there are a lot of parents out there who would never, ever allow their children to watch it.
We first learned this from one of the women who looked after T. and from many more adults since, up to and including a dentist, who was somewhat offended that we thought she was showing it to children as she did her work.
Having sat through several hours of the show – watching it and watching T. be mesmerized by it – I have no idea what the problem is.
There are booger jokes. Boogers are a SpongeBob staple. Is that it? Are boogers offensive? I absolutely don’t want one wiped on me, but I’m not quite sure how a closeup of the inside of a cartoon nose can scar a child.
As far as innuendo –sexual, social or scatological, I haven’t deciphered any that wasn’t broached by Bugs Bunny 60 years ago (in some areas SpongeBob is far more politically correct than some of the Looney Tunes that have been taken out of rotation since I was a child) and then as now, the clever political reference is not what registers with the kids.
Make no mistake, the show is trash, but television for children is almost by definition trash. SpongeBob is the only non-PBS show he watches.
I’m not sure how watching WordGirl makes a better reader and watching SpongeBob makes a worse person.
The only thing I know is it makes him laugh and I can’t watch too much of that.