I love Spongebob. I really do. Who can’t love a neurotic, immature sponge who lives in a pineapple and is best friends with a brainless starfish? (Well…. my Mum HATES him…) I used to love watching the senseless episodes, lazing about after school, until recently, I have noticed a change…
Has the rating changed from G to PG? The witty humour from the old episodes has been replaced by matter that is a bit too mature for the majority of the audience that are fans of the show (and i’m talking Primary kids here- five to about ten years of age)…
I was flicking through the channels the other day, looking for something to watch so I didn’t have to do my homework (well, that always has been my favourite form of procrastinating) and I just caught the end of a SB episode, where Spongebob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs were going on a panty raid or something similarly sleazy. It wasn’t so much what was being said or done was but how it was being said and done. I found it kind of disturbing… especially when it turned out to be Mr. Krabs’ mother’s underwear drawer they were messing around with. (I asked someone at school the next day [yes we still talk about cartoons, and no we are not too old to be discussing cartoons in math class] and the episode had been about Mr. Krabs feeling like he was old so he went for a day out with Spongebob and Pat. I later found out [thank you Google!] the episode’s called Mid-Life Crustacean, so check it out if you’re curious). This was only one of those examples.
I mean, after some more research into this (what would I do without Google?) I found that I am not the only person who has noticed this, change. Or have I just started to notice it? Has it seriously always been like this? I read up a grandparent’s concern on the kind of behaviour that is being conveyed through the show, and how their granddaughter said something that they didn’t like and they had heard it on a Spongebob episode.
This is a much debated opinion but I think it depends on the child, really, whether they can differentiate between real life and what they see behind the box or not. And here I’m referring to kids around the age of 5-6. This may sound ridiculous and just slightly off topic but seriously, kids know a lot more than what they show, so don’t be fooled by the innocence you see in their eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying kids aren’t innocent, (with a 3-year-old brother of my own, I know they are)but their ability to understand and know things should not be underestimated.
Although, as surprised as I was by this ‘change’ and wasn’t totally impressed by it, I have to make a point here; kids perceive cartoons differently from adults. You’d think they would catch on but they don’t or you’d think they noticed but they didn’t… And yes, watch carefully and you’ll notice that almost ALL cartoons have some sort of adult matter cleverly woven into them, just to amuse any parents that may be watching the show with their kids. It’s something I’ve noticed myself. So taking this point, maybe the hidden humour is getting where it should but getting the wrong reaction. Just something to ponder over; maybe what you’re seeing is not meant for the kids but you.
But there is one thing you can’t really deny here and that is that they will hear much worse out on the streets or on a trip to the mall than they will on Spongebob. The best you can do is teach them wrong from right. Talk to them about what’s acceptable and what is not.
I guess it’s also up to parents to censor the shows their kids watch. You’re the best judge here… Innocent fun or not quite so?