A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Noticeably lacks in positive messages, even laughing at the notion that generosity is its own reward.
Positive Role Models
Missing Spongebob's usual redemptive quality of focusing on friendship, the prevailing emotions throughout this special are resoundingly negative -- anger, fear, and disgust with others are at the center of each story.
Violence & Scariness
Characters regularly insult one another and there's a lot of cartoon style violence. Patrick's brain explodes while he's trying to think, a spaceship crashes on a group of people, a character gets cut in half with a scalpel and then doused in sulfuric acid, etc. Scary-looking mummies appear in one scene and in another Patrick's family gets mad at GrandPat and decides to teach him a lesson by attacking and hurting him.
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Insult language like "nincompoop."
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Products & Purchases
There's lots of merchandise available in the SpongeBob universe.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spongebob SquarePants Presents The Tidal Zone is a Twilight Zone-themed special starring Spongebob and friends. It has some crude humor like burping, creepy images like floating eyeballs, and characters who regularly insult (and sometimes hurt) each other. For example, Patrick's family gets mad at GrandPat and decides to teach him a lesson by attacking and hurting him. The special is a fine parody, but lacks the heart usually found in Spongebob's world.
Is It Any Good?
This special is an unexpected Twilight Zone parody for kids, but its lack of heart really hurts the overall quality. SpongeBob SquarePants Presents The Tidal Zone takes the signature absurdism of SpongeBob and cranks it up to level 10. There's a frenetic energy in constantly switching from one chaotic situation to another, with lots of characters taking getting hurt as well as a smattering of surrealist imagery. It also features plenty of gross-out comedy, with gags about stinky socks, bug-killing breath, and a distended eyeball. While older elementary kids will undoubtedly find this funny, the special is missing the show's usual redemptive quality of focusing on friendship and teamwork.
The emotions throughout the special are, in fact, resoundingly negative, with anger, fear, and disgust with others at the center of each story. Sadly, the result is a special with limited redeeming qualities that young kids may find unsettling.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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