Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Nickelodeon introduces weird new SpongeBob retcons in the first trailer for The Patrick Star Show

The Patrick Star Show
The Patrick Star Show
Image: Nickelodeon

The internet wasn’t invented just so people could complain about major media franchises disrespecting their own preexisting continuity—the canon, if you will—but at this point it has to be one of the main things that people do online, right? People aren’t going to sporting events to talk about how Emperor Palpatine had a secret family that nobody ever thought to mention, because that’s the sort of dumb thing that’s only worth arguing about on the internet where nobody can see how red and sweaty your face gets when you talk about it. Anyway, we’ve got some additional complaints about disrespecting the canon here today, courtesy of Nickelodeon’s new trailer for The Patrick Star Show.

The series is a spin-off of SpongeBob Squarepants, focusing on Patrick Star and his family, but fans of the original series will notice that Patrick’s parents look totally different and have different names from when they first appeared in the 2001 episode “I’m With Stupid.” They were called Herb and Margie Star in that episode, but now they’re Cecil and Bunny Star, with executive producer Vincent Waller explaining recently on Twitter that the original iterations of the characters were “boring” and “NOT entertaining or fun,” which is a bit like someone who works on The Simpsons coming right out and saying “actually, the old episodes you liked were bad and we’re making better episodes now.” The explanation now seems to be that the characters are simply going by their middle names now, meaning Patrick’s mom and dad are actually called Herb Cecil Star and Margie Bunny Star, which is even weirder than just saying this is an Elseworlds tale like Kamp Koral or that Patrick found out that he was adopted at some point (though that would be even more confusing because “I’m With Stupid” involves Patrick mistaking two other starfish for his parents anyway).

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This is all on top of the fact that SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg somewhat famously hated the idea of running the show for so long that it stopped being good (which Nickelodeon has been doing for some time) and of diluting what’s good about the show by forcing needless spin-offs (which Nickelodeon just started doing now, with this and Kamp Koral, coincidentally a few years after Hillenburg died). So this is all a weird PR disaster, at least among the people who care too much about the canon of SpongeBob Squarepants, which might actually be an inconsequential number of people in the grand scheme of things. Either way, the trailer’s up there, and The Patrick Star Show will premiere at some point in July.