Jump scares. Gore. Blood. Masked murderers and suburban teens being stupid. When people think of horror that is what they think of. But I have something far scarier than any of that. Let me bring you back to March 17th, 2000. Do you remember that day? You probably don’t, you probably were not even alive yet. Allow me to enlighten you. That day was when the scariest and spookiest Spongebob episode ever premiered. An episode that haunts me to this day. An episode that makes me question my existence and what drugs the producers were on. What episode is this you may ask? Rock fucking Bottom.
I’m not sure the exact age I was when I first watched this episode, but it was definitely too young. What started out as an innocent trip to Glove World turned sinister as Spongebob ended up in what I assume to be the underworld of Bikini Bottom. My young mind was expecting silly little adventures and not black mirror for kids. Imagine my horror as I slowly started to realize this new land was not the friendly, bubbly Bikini Bottom I was used to. I mean sure I get the concept of Rock Bottom and it being the ‘bottom’ of the ocean, but still. There was no need for it to be THAT scary. I now understand why people don’t like bottoms. I should probably mention that I have a huge fear of the dark. One of the blinds fell from my window and I haven’t replaced it because I actually prefer my neighbor’s stupid white bedroom light beaming into my room then total darkness (yes I know that’s weird, I’m getting curtains soon). So for this whole episode to be placed in the twilight zone of the ocean where there is no light?!?! Horrifying. The thought of it is sending chills down my spine right now. But what really started to spook me was the goddamn bus scene.
Spongebob has an easy way out of the hell hole he has found himself in. A bus. One easy bus ride and he is home free. And as any smart sane person he needs a sweet treat for his travels. But what happens? The same thing that happens to anyone who tries to use Burlington public transportation. The bus decides to be a bitch and never picks him up. Even as he is right across from the bus stop he never makes it. I can’t even describe how anxiety producing the scene is. I can picture it clear as day in my mind. All I wanted was for Spongebob to get picked up so I did not have to watch anymore of this monstrosity and I could breathe again. But alas the horror must continue.
You might be wondering what could be worse than a bus that never stops for you? A ticket office with an incredibly long line. I sit there, hands shaking with fear, as Spongebob navigates the language barrier between top and bottom sea creatures. All my young self wanted for Spongebob was to get a bus ticket and be on his merry way back to his pineapple. But when have I ever gotten anything I’ve wanted in my life. Thankfully this episode does have a sweet ending. A kind stranger helps Spongebob return to his humble abode, yet fear is still coursing through my veins. How could the creators make such horror? How did they come up with it? Who approved it for children? What drugs did they take? Could I get some of them? At the end of the day I am grown up now and see the episode for what it truly is: a fucked up representation of bottoms. Happy spooky season!