Heave writer Adam Cowden has a lot of stuff that he’s written for Cracked that didn’t get in, but nevertheless should be seen by the masses. We’ll be picking up some of it. Today, he’d like to teach you about how many penises are really embedded in the show SpongeBob SquarePants.
SpongeBob SquarePants, perhaps more than any other children’s cartoon, has repeatedly come under fire for its alleged sexual undertones. Most of these accusations revolve around SpongeBob being gay, but let’s consider instead for a moment the sheer number of dick jokes on the show.
1) Patrick’s “genius”
In episode 18 of season 1, “Texas”, Patrick has a brief (and rare) flash of inspiration. Excited, SpongeBob says, “Patrick, that’s it! Your genius is showing!” Patrick, mistaking “genius” for “penis,” covers up his crotch and says, “where?!”
2) Patrick’s tan-lines
A similar joke involving Patrick’s genitals appears in episode 7 of season 3, “Spongeguard on Duty.” SpongeBob and Patrick are tanning on the beach, and decide to check and see how their tan-lines are coming in. SpongeBob lifts up his suit and sees a smooth, yellow surface, but when Patrick lifts his suit he sees a crack and screams in surprise. He realizes that he was lying on his stomach and then says, “Phew, I could have sworn I was lying on my back,” making it seem like he thought his junk had been swapped.
3) The exploding weiner
A joke that perhaps contributed to a recent SpongeBob gay scare in Ukraine appears in episode 7 of season 7, “Krusty Dogs,” in which Mr. Krabs begins selling Krabby Patty Weiners (hot dogs) to customers. Squidward and SpongeBob try to stop this, but at first only end up increasing the customers’ “appetite for wieners.” They then devise a plan to “make Mr. Krabs’ wiener thing blow right up in his face,” which actually involves making a wiener blow up in a customer’s face.
4) The Big Kahuna
In season 6, episode 32, “SpongeBob vs. the Big One,” Johnny Depp stars as “Jack Kahuna Laguna,” a surfing legend whom SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward seek out in order to learn how to surf. Before catching a glimpse of JKL himself, the trio are greeted with the sight of his oversized, phallic looking surfboard emerging from his hut. This causes all three to be intimidated, but Squidward is so affected that he swoons.
5) Peanuts and Pianists
In season 2, episode 1, “Something Smells,” SpongeBob starts off his Sunday by making an extremely smelly peanut-onion sundae. Unable to find any peanuts at first, SpongeBob says, “Wait! I know one other place we can find peanuts!” and slowly peers towards the bathroom. The scene then cuts to the bathroom, where he reveals that he has a peanut plant growing in the windowsill. Before this is revealed, it leaves the audience to second guess whether SpongeBob was looking for peanuts, penis, or “nuts” in the bathroom. Later in the same episode, SpongeBob is saying hello to all the members of a street marching band, and says, “Hi pianist!” in a way that sounds more than a little similar to “penis.” The fact that the marching band doesn’t include a pianist at all makes SpongeBob’s remark seem all the more strange, prompting the band members to look around in confusion.
6: “I Can’t Find the Coin Slot!”
This one’s actually not a not dick joke, but is probably the most colorful genital-related joke in the entire show.
The premise of the episode is innocent enough: Spongebob befriends and adopts a pet seahorse, whom he names “Mystery.” At one point, Spongebob leaves Mystery tied to a post outside the Krusty Krab while he’s working, and one of the customers mistakes her for a coin operated kiddie-ride. While the camera looks away, we hear him say, “I can’t find the coin slot…oh, there it is!” Immediately after, Mystery whinnies and kicks him off into the distance, where he explodes in a mushroom cloud.
Sometimes, we don’t give kids enough credit. It seems to be a generally accepted norm that as long as a joke is meant to fly over kids’ heads, it’s fair game for inclusion. Oftentimes, the sort of adult/potty humor in shows like SpongeBob SquarePants is seen as an appreciative nod to parents who might be watching the show with their kids, as if Spongebob might come on Nick at Nite after the kids’ bedtime and remark with a wink: “Hey, thanks for putting up with all the yelling and bright colors. I’ll try to include a dick joke or two for your sake.”
Now, there might be a few eight-year-old boys who have absolutely no conception of female anatomy, but I wasn’t one of them. I remember always making sure my Mom was out of earshot when this episode came on, because I got the joke all too well and was afraid she wouldn’t let me watch the show anymore if she caught wind. Kids talk on the playground, and any normal, curious kid who has checked out the Human Body book during their school’s library period because someone else on the playground tells them it has pictures of naked people probably knows enough about the female anatomy to know that it includes something resembling a coin slot. The fact that SpongeBob refers to the seahorse as “girl” and “she” throughout the episode makes the joke pretty clear, and I knew that it definitely fell into the category of “inappropriate humor.”
In fact, I think kids can pretty easily “get” most of the jokes on this list. Yes, I definitely got the joke back then, yes, I thought it was hilarious, and no, it didn’t turn me into a pervert. Jokes like these are able to evade censorship by saying “kids won’t get it,” but instead of kidding ourselves, we should probably just admit that joking about genitalia really isn’t all that harmful. At the end of the day, kids are already cracking dick jokes at school, and laughing when it sounds like SpongeBob says “penis” is way less harmful to a child’s psyche than gunning down random pedestrians while playing Grand Theft Auto. Besides, dick jokes are funny, and that’s something both parents and kids can agree on.