SpongeBob SquarePants is officially evil
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
“See? I was right,” I said knowingly to Husband-Head. “I knew that wasn’t good for you. And now they’re reporting it on TV.”
I was referring to SpongeBob Square Pants – who is a fixture in our home and a favorite of Husband-Head’s – now being blasted by reports that the popular cartoon character, while entertaining, was actually harmful to young children.
Not to mention that our dog had recently cost us thousands of dollars after having swallowed a SpongeBob-painted golf ball and was violently ill.
“Now they’re saying he’s (SpongeBob, not our dog) a threat to American children,” I explained. “It’s being considered a national threat to children’s mental health.”
“How could SpongeBob possibly hurt anybody?” Husband-Head asked in disbelief. “He’s a freakin’ kitchen sponge for Pete’s sake, that just happens to live under the sea with Patrick the starfish, Squidward and Plankton. How in the world could he hurt anybody?”
Scarier than the news reports I’d been hearing was the fact that Husband-Head said this as if it were a perfectly normal situation. The reports claimed that SpongeBob negatively affected the attention span of little children and were turning preschoolers’ minds to “mush.”
“Mush?” Husband-Head asked, thinking that I was making the whole thing up. “Watching SpongeBob is nothing compared to what we did to ourselves in high school.”
Yes, I believe an overabundance of bratwurst, cheese and beer from those living in Wisconsin would eventually take its toll on a person’s faculties.
But the study showed that the rapid pace of the cartoon might be too much for a preschooler’s brain to take in. However, the writers of the show say that the demographics of the show are not intended for those at age 4 and that it is targeted for those 6-11 years of age.
But what about those fans who are 46?
“See? You’re not supposed to be watching this show,” I pointed out. “You’re going to start thinking and acting like an 11-year-old.”
Then I stopped myself and bit my tongue so that I did not finish the rest of that sentence.
But according to this latest scientific study, the kids were divided into three groups and they all participated in a nine-minute test. One group watched a show that had five to six scene changes per minute, one watched slower changing scenes and the third group drew pictures instead of watching TV at all. The results favored the brain activity of kids who watched slower-paced programming or those who didn’t watch TV.
Being a SpongeBob SquarePants fanatic, Husband-Head did not agree at all when I told him about the results.
“There are way worse cartoons than SpongeBob,” he said, defending his favorite Saturday morning cartoon. “What about Bugs Bunny? Or Wile E. Coyote who always hurts himself trying to attack the Road Runner? I’d say those are a lot more brain-damaging than a bobbing silly sea sponge.”
We were both silent for a moment, and, personally, I was wondering why we were even having this ridiculous conversation in the first place.
“You know, as a writer, I bet that would be a really fun job to write and make up scripts for characters – like kitchen sponges that live under the sea,” I mused out loud, trying to pretend like we were grown-ups and acting somewhat intelligent.
Husband-Head didn’t seem to grasp the fact that discussing whether or not the SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon character was bad for you or not was just a little bit weird.
“You know, the SpongeBob beer fridge is good for you,” he piped up.
He was referring to the big old yellow refrigerator in his mancave that he painted as a complete replica of SpongeBob SquarePants.
Again, we don’t want to over-analyze anything, but Husband-Head is 46 years old.
I tried to remember what life was like before SpongeBob SquarePants when we were kids. It brought back memories of “Kick-the-Can,” “Hide and Seek,” playing marbles and then, of course, jacks.
“Hey, look what’s on!” Husband-Head said excitedly as we flipped through the TV channels and found an episode of SpongeBob and his little friggin’ friends.
Even the dog got up and walked away.
“Fried Rice” appears every Friday. Heidi Rice is a staff writer and columnist for the Post Independent. She lives in Rifle. Visit her website, http://www.heidirice.com for more columns and her book. Contact Heidi at email@example.com.
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