In the ongoing debate of when is “too soon” when it comes to whether or not to joke or even address certain topics or events due to their traumatic nature, an episode of the long running SpongeBob SquarePants is being put in the too soon column due to COVID-19. The pandemic is still very much happening (no matter how many certain folks want to pretend like it is) and there has been and will continue to be debate over whether to address COVID-19 in TV shows, movies, etc.
In many ways, the entire world has not processed what well over 7 billion people are experiencing all at the same time and it’s more than understandable that you’d like your comedy and your cartoons like wherever you’re locked down: COVID-free. At the same time, the coping power of comedy is undeniable and is part and parcel of why comedians and many others have made COVID-19/Coronavirus humor since day zero.
What’s interesting here is that the episode “Kwarantined Crab” was already written and produced, presumably while in the thick of this historic time and yet, they’ve still decided to pull it. So, there was one point where the producers thought it might be OK to move forward with such a storyline (perhaps they thought the pandemic would be over by the time the episode aired?) and then, standing where we are with the majority of the global populous still unvaccinated, they changed their minds to “too soon”. There’s no telling as of yet whether they’ll take this particular episode off the shelf after enough time has passed, but curious minds won’t forget about to be sure.
The prospect of tackling the subject matter of this time with any sort of truthfulness must be confounding, but probably even more so when it comes to a children’s cartoon (though we don’t doubt that Mr. Rogers probably would have a very special quarantine episode of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood). From the writers that we’ve talked to over the last several weeks, anything pandemic related is largely going to be avoided, but we have no doubt that won’t last for long. Michael Bay already made a pandemic movie, Songbird, and their have been quarantine themed indie comedies, such as The End of Us, that have been shot, edited, and making the rounds at film festivals.
So, with that in mind, the question that should be posed might not be, “Is it too soon to joke about COVID?” but “If at all, how and what has made you laugh as a way to deal with everything that is happening?”
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 30, 2021