USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘spongebob’
Legends

Squidward’s Suicide

Squidward’s Suicide is an urban legend surrounding the Nickelodeon children’s television show, Spongebob Squarepants (referencing the character “Squidward”).


 

BA: So, the story goes, that there was an intern at Nickelodeon; I think he just started working there, and he was really excited about it, I guess. And during one of the episodes, when they’re watching the..I think it was the final cut before air, I guess… And they were looking at the timestamps, and they saw it was edited only a few seconds before they watched it–basically the times of them editing it didn’t match up, and they realized. So, it starts out kind of normal, but something’s off: the eyes of all the characters are hyperreal–like not real, but not exactly CGI. But that’s, “that’s whatever”. SO they keep watching, and it’s an episode where Squidward has a performance (Squidward is a musician). He really f***** it up, it was really bad. But the booing was really intense, it was very unsettling.

Do you know if that was intended by the animators, or if that part just showed up?

BA: Oh, no no no, it was not intentional. The part where the eyes were hypperreal, that was not supposed to happen. The part where the booing was really unsettling, that was not supposed to happen. But, whatever, it happens. So, he’s in his house. And he’s sobbing. Sobbing uncontrollably. Then those sobs turn to screeches, and again, very unsettling–oh, it’s something like… there’s a noise that happens, that doesn’t sound like speaker noise, if that makes sense. So, the animators hear that and they’re like “so, this is super weird”. And I guess the creepiest part is that there are frames that are intercut into the episode of, like, dead children, who are completely maimed with their eyes falling out. And it looks like a crime scene, except there’s no tape or chalk, so it looks like whoever did it took those pictures. And they played it back, and they could see the kid move between frames, and they could tell he was still alive. Then, at the end of the episode, Squidward kills himself, and we don’t know where all the changes to the editing came in.


 

There are several variations to this story: In some versions, the episode was sent on a disk from the serial killer in Scotland to Nickelodeon, where an intern played it and later gave it to higher-ups for investigation by law enforcement. There’s also a version where the disk was made by a disgruntled ex-employee of Nickeoleon looking for revenge by broadcasting images of murdered children on a children’s network. Either way, this legend has circulated on the internet and even inspired some animators to recreate the episode based off the legend, then post those images to falsely prove that the legend is real.

general

Mr. Krabs Meme

Informant: Do you know the memes on Instagram, like, the accounts that are called like “the female life” or “funny posts” just like those accounts? They always have a lot of really funny ones. I honestly every day just find a funny meme that’s relevant to what I’m doing will pop up in my head, and I’ll just laugh, like for example… Oh there’s one from Spongebob, that’s a picture of Mr. Crabs in the center, and everything around him is a big blur, and I forget what the caption was because a lot of people have created their own little captions for it, but I always refer back to that meme when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and I feel like I’m Mr. Crabs in that situation.

 

My informant is a freshman at the University of Southern California. She is studying psychology. She is from Orange County, California. I spoke to her in her dorm one night.

 

This is an example of a newer type of folklore, or something that has to do with terminus post quem. This could not have existed before certain social media has allowed it to exist. It’s a way of sharing something funny but relatable and adding humor to it. It shows multiplicity and variation with the different captions used with it.

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