A lot of people suddenly have a problem with the values promoted by beloved Nickelodeon cartoon, Spongebob Squarepants. They believe it is “confusing” to children. What specifically is so confusing? It’s not the fact that Spongebob lives in a pineapple. It’s not the fact that his fabric pants are somehow always square. It’s not even the fact that he’s a walking, talking sponge. That’s all totally normal. Instead they have a problem with the fact that he might be gay.
Nickelodeon recently tweeted out a Pride month image of Spongebob surrounded by a rainbow. The caption was, “Celebrating #Pride with the LGBTQ+ community and their allies this month and every month.”
Nickelodeon disabled the comments to dissuade haters…because they correctly anticipated the number of people who are just waiting to threaten a cartoon sponge.
Still, the post prompted a heated discussion about whether there’s some major homoerotic sexual tension between Spongebob and his BFF Patrick — a suggestion which is frankly disturbing and just plain wrong (Spongebob is obviously secretly pining for Squidward).
Aside from the serious twitter debate, the post also sparked a large number of gay Spongebob fan fiction and Larry Stylinson-type conspiracy Youtube videos.
Some of these rival the great pieces of American literature including one story that reads, “One day, Spongebob touches Patrick. The end.” So it’s not exactly Call Me By Your Name, but give the fan fiction authors some time and they’ll get there. So far, they’ve been too busy writing about the erotic affair between Buzz Lightyear and Woody. (Things get crazy when Woody hops on Buzz’s rocket).
The creator of Spongebob, Steven Hillenberg came out against the fan theory that Spongebob was gay in 2005. He said, “We never intended them to be gay…I consider them to be almost asexual.”
Scientifically, Hillenberg is correct: in nature, Starfish like Patrick reproduce asexually. However, there have been considerably fewer studies on the sexual predilections of Starfish with bushy eyebrows who wear floral board shorts. In other words, the jury’s still out on Patrick.
For others, Spongebob’s coming out has been the brightest piece of news in a world that feels like it’s increasingly on the brink of disaster. Still, it’s very characteristic of 2020 that the only thing people have to celebrate is the sexuality of a yellow kitchen sponge.