SpongeBob is one of the better cartoons that Nickelodeon brought forth into the world during the turn of the millennia. Stephen Hillenburg created it for Nick, who was himself an animator and a marine science professor. “Mid-Life Crustacean” is Season 3, Episode 55, where Mr. Krabs has an abrupt realization that he is not as young as he considered himself to be. To relive his lost years once more, he teams up with SpongeBob and Patrick to recapture the essence of youth one more time. What antics do the gang come up with? Keep reading to find out more!
Bottom Line Up Front
While the episode is highly controversial and has been removed from broadcast and streaming services since 2018 for featuring a scene involving a ‘panty raid’, the episode is still a fun watch for more mature audiences who are able to appreciate the era in which it was initially telecast and the evolution of culture that has taken place since then.
The episode opens up in Mr. Krabs’ anchor house, where he’s woken up with dulcet classical tones from the K-OLD station, which plays tunes from the good ol’ days as we hear the singer bellow out “You’re old,” setting the tone for the episode.
Mr. Krabs is an aging crustacean. This is evidenced by the years of grime and barnacles accumulated around his eyes. That point is further brought home by the constant creaks and groans coming from the joints of Mr. Krabs as he attempts to get out of his hammock bed.
His morning routine then takes him to his bathroom, where he takes a good look at his aging face in the mirror. The cascading multiplicity of chins (I count at least 7) is as good a signifier as any; that time has caught up with Mr. Krabs.
Mr. Krabs then goes into his kitchen to find that his daughter Pearl has prepared breakfast for him. It’s all bran. Bran is present in every form, molded into all kinds of shapes, presumable to offer the much-needed roughage for an elderly crustacean. Pearl then offers Mr. Krabs his morning pill, roughly the size of his entire torso.
Mr. Krabs then realizes that he may not be as youthful as he once thought. Far from it. He asks Pearl if she thinks he’s old. Pearl offers little condolence as she remarks that daddies are supposed to be old. This is probably the most logical sentence uttered in the entire episode. Time only flows in one direction, and there has been no single being that has been able to resist it. We will all grow old and wither one day. Accepting the same leads one to live a happier, more fulfilled life instead of wasting time chasing the oasis of youth.
Mr. Krabs, however, is just beginning to realize that his youthful days are long behind him. “But I’m still cool, right?”. In my personal opinion, no single person having uttered these words is cool, far from it. It sounds like a desperate plea for validation. Pearl shoots his hopes down instantly by telling him that no one says cool anymore and that the kids are saying ‘coral.’
That should have been the nail in the coffin of Mr. Krabs’ denial. Losing touch with the lingo of the youth is reasonably common and expected. To emulate it is the very definition of ‘uncool.’ This is why the youth keeps redefining it.
“Coral, eh?” asks Mr. Krabs, to the disgust of Pearl. “Have a coral day,” says Mr. Krabs as he leaves for work. Pearl then calls her friend to inform her that ‘coral’ is no longer in the cool lexicon.
As Mr. Krabs is on his way to work, he is assisted by a boy scout who helps him cross the street. Mr. Krabs exclaims that he doesn’t need any help. In the process, he accidentally pulls his arm out.
Mr. Krabs keeps on trudging along, seemingly at full pace. Behind him, an annoyed pedestrian yells out to Mr. Krabs that he’s extremely slow and that his blinkers have been on for the past five blocks. Mr. Krabs turns around to see two arrows on his behind, one of which was blinking red. Ashamed, Mr. Krabs covers his backside and sprints away.
He continues on his way to work, and a little later, we see a ball roll past him. Some kids playing on the side of the road then ask him if he could throw the ball back to them. In an attempt to recapture some of his youthful energy, Mr. Krabs asks them if he could join as well. The kid refuses, saying that he can very well keep the ball. He is heard yelling why do oldies have to ruin the fun.
That surely must have hit Mr. Krabs hard as he starts yelling at some aged fish that he’s not old like them, as he frantically rushes away from the site of embarrassment. We later see that the old fishes were not lined up in front of the cemetery as Mr. Krabs initially thought, but were lined up for the ice cream guy standing right beside it. This shows that Mr. Krabs was now spiraling into a mid-life crisis and seeking desperately to avoid age catching up to him at all costs.
How Does Mr. Krabs Deal With His Crisis?
After reaching The Krusty Krab, we see Mr. Krabs sitting alone at a table, probably reminiscing about his younger days, as we see a woman point toward him and tell her kid that that man is old, like your burger. As the kid is going to throw his burger in the trash, Mr. Krabs picks up his food before he can throw it away and starts consoling the old thing, telling it that they’ve both lost their luster.
We then see Patrick energetically enter The Krusty Krab, shouting good morning at the top of his lungs, a complete contrast to the primordial sulking crab sitting next to him.
SpongeBob then puts his head outside the window and yells out whether or not Patrick is ready for their big night out. This intrigues Mr. Krabs, who is already looking to outpace his aging. He eavesdrops on the two talking about their big night out partying, where they’re being braggadocious about how they’ve been waiting for this night all week and that they’ve got the wheels and the youth to paint the town red.
Mr. Krabs excitedly rushes into the kitchen and tells them that he’s been overhearing their plans and would be delighted to join them for a wild night around town with a crazy crab.
Patrick is apprehensive at first, thinking that Mr. Krabs might hold them back but decides to test him on whether he knows the secret handshake for cool guys; What’s the secret cool guy handshake, you might be wondering.
- He holds out his hand as Mr. Krabs nervously brings forward his claw and shakes it in a fairly ordinary manner
- Mr. Krabs goes on to ask, “How do you do?”
- Patrick replies, “Fine, and you? All right, you’re in”.
And just like that, Mr. Krabs is set for one night of seeming debauchery and wildness.
Mr. Krabs asks the boys to come pick him up from his house at 8 p.m. SpongeBob warns Mr. Krabs that he’s always fashionably late. How late is fashionably late for the cool kids? Read on to find out!
The Most Powerful Chick Magnet in Town
SpongeBob and Patrick reach Mr. Krabs’ anchor house at 8.01 p.m. An entire minute later than the time decided. Soon after arriving, SpongeBob and the gang begin hyping each other up for the night ahead. This involved shouting “Are ya ready to party?” at each other for a solid minute, much to the embarrassment of Pearl, who cannot bear to hear her dad being dorky with his friends.
Mr. Krabs asks SpongeBob what ride would the boys be cruising in around town, and SpongeBob assures him that it’s the ‘most powerful chick-magnet in town.’ He calls it the Underwater Heartbreaker.
What is the underwater heartbreaker, the famed chick magnet?
- It is a two-person bicycle, having two separate pink seats and propellors for wheels.
- It has streamers on the side of its handles.
- It has a front headlight.
- It has a racoon’s tail affixed to the back.
- When Mr. Krabs expresses concern that it’s appropriate for only two persons, SpongeBob hitches a kiddie wagon to the back of the bicycle.
One may think that it cannot get any lamer than that. But that’s merely the beginning.
Soon after, we see an actual hot-rod pull up beside the boys’ bicycle with a seemingly ‘cool kid’ asking the boys whether they’re lost, and that Doofus Drive is around the corner. SpongeBob retorts smartly by saying he can’t be lost since he’s carrying his trusty compass. The cool kids laugh it up and speed off after calling them dorks.
SpongeBob merely replies with a cheery;
The Best Club in Bikini Bottom
SpongeBob and the gang then arrive at “The Wash.” Mr. Krabs wonders that clubs nowadays have some crazy names and expresses nervousness to SpongeBob since he’s been out of the game for so long. SpongeBob reassures Mr. Krabs and tells him to follow his lead and play it cool.
This is followed by some absolutely silly and nonsensical skipping towards the club in a giddy and juvenile manner. Mr. Krabs, thinking that this is what the cool kids are doing these days, follows suit as they enter the club.
Soon as they enter, Mr. Krabs realizes that “The Wash” isn’t a club at all. Far from it. It’s a Laundromat. We then cut to the boys looking at laundry spinning as SpongeBob and Patrick are having the time of their lives. Mr. Krabs is in utter disbelief as SpongeBob asks the gang if they’d like another rinse cycle.
Mr. Krabs, perplexed, asks SpongeBob if they could do something a bit more debaucherous. SpongeBob assures him that this is merely the first stop on their wild night out.
We then see the gang hanging out under the freeway, picking up trash from the ground. Mr. Krabs is still visibly perplexed. We are then introduced to a small montage of the gang spending their wild night out in a series of mundane activities. First, we see them in a small kiddie pool. Then we’re cut to a scene where the gang hangs out in front of “Barg’N – Mart,” taking a ride on kiddie rides. Except for Patrick, who’s riding the back of Harold, who’s pushing a shopping cart.
The montage moves forward with the gang going to a dentist to get their teeth fixed. They then go re-do a roof. And then play some Dungeons and Dragons in full costume. And then a library. And finally, the coup de grace, they go to Bunny Buns, where we see Mr. Krabs in clown makeup with a bunch of kids circling him like a carousel. All this while, we hear one of the most iconic dialogues in SpongeBob SquarePants history, with SpongeBob incessantly asking, “Are ya feeling it now, Mr. Krabs?”.
“ARE YA FEELING IT NOW, MR. KRABS?”
The “Bunny Buns” is the final straw for Mr. Krabs as he immediately starts raging at the absolute nerd-fest that SpongeBob and Patrick were calling a debaucherous night out. He spins away all the kids circling him and starts breaking machinery in full rampage mode.
He begins to leave right after calling SpongeBob and Patrick lame. “You’re nerds! Geeks! Creeps! And babies!” he shouts at the top of his crustacean gills.
He yells that even though he may be getting old, even he knows that SpongeBob and Patrick haven’t suggested a singular cool thing all night. He bids them a good night and starts making his way back home.
Patrick then says slyly that Mr. Krabs is going to miss the panty raid. This intrigues Mr. Krabs, who walks back and clarifies whether he means raiding women’s dressers for their underpants. Patrick says yeah. Mr. Krabs, excitedly, re-joins the gang in an attempt to salvage the night.
We then see the gang carrying a ladder, placing it next to a dim house, and breaking in through the window. They then find and open a dresser where lo and behold; they strike the motherlode. Many frilly underpants fill the cabinet as Mr. Krabs grabs hold of one and raises it like a trophy, exclaiming that he finally feels young again.
“Eugene, what are you doing with my bloomers” we hear in the distance as we see an aged crab walk into the room. This is none other than Mr. Krabs’ mother. Shellshocked, Mr. Krabs tries to shift the blame to his friends, saying that it was all their idea. Mrs. Krabs, annoyed, grounds him for the rest of the night and orders him to go to his room.
The episode closes with SpongeBob hanging out by Mr. Krabs’ window (presumably, the same one that they broke in through), apologizing for the unfortunate turn of events. Mr. Krabs says it’s alright since he definitely feels younger now, grounded in his old room, laying on top of his race car bed. They bid each other a good night as Mrs. Krabs yells out to Mr. Krabs to turn off the lights.
This particular episode has, since airing, been phased out of rotation and is presumably banned from airing and also from Paramount+, where the entire library of episodes currently resides. It has been verified that the episode was pulled due to inappropriate content for kids. While it is never mentioned which content was inappropriate, it is widely thought that the panty raid arc was the culprit.
While the standards and sensitivities were way different back in 2003 when the episode first aired, it can definitely be seen as problematic by today’s standards, particularly when we consider that the show is primarily aimed at children.
Answer: It has been confirmed by Nickelodeon representatives that the episode “Mid Life Crustacean” has been removed from streaming services since 2018 following a standards review, deeming the episode inappropriate for children.
Answer: It has not been overtly confirmed why the episode “Mid-Life Crustacean” was removed from Paramount+ other than ‘inappropriate content.’ However, it is primarily speculated that it may be due to the ‘panty-raid’ mini-scene in the episode, which might be deemed inappropriate.
Answer: These lines are from the “Mid Life Crustacean” episode, which is Episode No. 55 from Season 3.
The episode is a tough one to recommend. While the episode is hilarious and dives into complex aging motifs and how chasing youth is nothing more than fool’s gold, the panty raid scenes are problematic for the epoch we’re presently in. Younger susceptible audiences may not be able to understand and appreciate the leap that humanity has collectively taken since this episode aired. But for mature audiences, this episode holds up. It just needs a little bit of filtering and understanding of what it is. An era that has gone by. And for good riddance.
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