Spongebob Squarepants is causing some waves. The show, which is currently running its ninth season and is likely to continue on Nickelodeon in the future, has found fanbases worldwide, but some people aren’t quite so enchanted with the show. Recently, a Kazakhstan official denounced the bright yellow cartoon character, saying the creature's antics and behavior have an adverse affect on the children watching, turning them into “hooligans.”
Zabira Orazalieva, an education ministry official at the Kazakh Education and Science Ministry, recently spoke to the news site Newskaz.ru. via The Moscow Times, explaining that she believes children see Spongebob and then get up to bad behavior, emulating his crazy antics.
"SpongeBob beats up his neighbor, misbehaves and enjoys that… This hooligan behavior stays in the child's mind. They [see SpongeBob] as a role model and try to re-enact [his behavior] in real life.”
Spongebob has had plenty of detractors in the past. A couple of years ago, a Ukrainian Commissioner stated he wanted to ban Spongebob Squarepants, calling the character “gay” and stating he created criminals and perverts. Prior to that, a study accomplished in the United States argued that kids who watched Spongebob Squarepants ultimately had lower test scores. However, that study’s small sample size and test audience (4 year-olds) doesn’t totally jive with the school-aged audience Nickelodeon intends for the series.
I don’t think that anyone would argue that Spongebob Squarepants is an educational program intended to educate the youth of the world and expand their horizons. It’s a show about a sponge that wears pants and has a pet snail, along with a squirrel living underwater in a spacesuit, for crissakes. Instead, Spongebob Squarepants is meant as clever comedy that can be enjoyed as entertainment by kids and adults alike. Spongebob, as a character is mostly a ridiculously cheerful guy that manages to annoy his fellow sea friends by being so over-the-top excited all the time.
Spongebob Squarepants does have its darker moments. Squidward often treats Spongebob horribly, including one memorable episode where he feeds Spongebob a bomb and hangs out with him all day expecting him to explode. Spongebob’s neighbor and usually goofy best friend, Patrick, can also get angry and go on rampages in the series. It’s PG-level inappropriateness and most parents are totally alright with that that.
Apparently, though, Orzalieva is worried that this behavior leads to violence and more down the road and she feels it is her personal mission to tell other parents how to raise their children. Long story short, common sense would say it's ridiculous to blame hooliganism on something as bland as Spongebob. Children have been watching the Looney Tunes try to murder each other for decades, and they've been fine! So, keep doing you Spongebob, regardless of what this woman thinks.