For every innocent cartoon out there, there's at least one obsessive fan on the Internet who managed to crap out a semi-coherent theory finding something disturbing about it, like that Tom & Jerry was actually Nazi propaganda, or that Barney & Friends is a metaphor for the Watergate scandal. But just like a broken watch, even the Internet is right every once in a while: The most disturbing fan theories are the ones where you just can't help but agree with them.
SpongeBob SquarePants is one of those classic, timeless ideas: It's about a talking sea sponge who lives in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea whose mascot is a meowing snail and who works in a restaurant owned by a crab. OK, sure, it sounds kind of bizarre when you put it like that, but what cartoon premise doesn't? Children's cartoons are metaphors; it's not like the creators were trying to say that these characters are literally mutants or something.
Although Squidward does bear some resemblance to Professor X.
According to one strangely convincing theory posted on Reddit, the show is really about nuclear testing. SpongeBob and his friends look and act the way they do because of their exposure to the radiation from atomic bombs dropped in the area around Bikini Bottom, where the show is set.
Also, "bikini" is ancient Mongolian for "atomic chain reaction resulting in a massive explosion."
Why It's Not That Crazy:
First of all, the fact that a talking sponge lives in a place called Bikini Bottom isn't some roundabout reference to human contraception -- the show is set under a real place called Bikini Atoll, which is confirmed by the official Nickelodeon-written synopsis. And here's where it gets interesting: Back in 1946, the U.S. government detonated a couple of atomic bombs there, one of which was set off underwater. The resulting explosion looked like this:
SpongeBob fans might be familiar with this particular mushroom cloud, considering that similar explosions are used on the show whenever a character so much as drops a pin on the floor:
Suddenly, all the weirdness in this cartoon starts making sense: The characters were normal sea creatures until the radiation from the explosion mutated them into sentient freaks. Even the landscape changed, allowing giant pineapples to grow out of the ground. Not only does this theory make sense, but it also provides answers to a lot of previously unanswered questions that have baffled fans for years, such as "How the hell did Mr. Krabs father a goddamn whale?"
Wait, no, we still have no clue.
For decades now, Mario games have been telling the same story over and over: Bowser kidnaps the Princess and Mario has to rescue her by stomping the shit out of everything. The only exception in the main series is Super Mario Bros. 2, with its infamous "It was a dream all along" ending. With the fan-favorite third game, Nintendo went back to the classic formula, and they've stuck to it since then.
Or did they? According to this illustrated guide, Mario 3 was just a stage play. Like Mario 2, it never happened, and you are a chump for buying it. Nintendo has trolled you once again.
"Also, I'm actually a dude."
Why It's Not That Crazy:
Just look at the game for a moment. When you start up Super Mario Bros. 3, the first thing you see is a curtain rising and the characters rushing in, like actors in a play.
"Mamma m ... um, line?"
But this doesn't necessarily have to mean anything, you might say. This is, after all, a game about a fat plumber who occasionally shoots fireballs out of his hand. It could simply be an artistic choice, for all we know ... but there's more.
During gameplay, objects such as blocks have bolts on them, implying that they are stuck to a backdrop -- everything is fake, like onstage. This would explain why the objects cast shadows, even when there's apparently nothing behind them.
All those mushrooms didn't leave a whole lot of money for scenery.
Also, most of the platforms in the game aren't magically levitating in the air like in the previous games: They're either suspended from the roof with ropes, held up by pillars or driven by machinery.
Mario has his understudy do all the dangerous jumps anyway.
Oh, and when you're done with a level, Mario exits stage right, just like you would in a play. Finally, this is the first game that introduced Mario's tendency to dress up as animals -- that's because he's actually playing different parts.
"OK, cue the fake blood geyser!"
But why would Mario star in a play based on his own adventures? Well, remember that by this point, Mario had gone through the "fight Bowser and rescue the princess" routine only once -- what if Super Mario Bros. was Mario's only real adventure? After that, Mario went back to unclogging toilets, but he still dreamed about being a hero again every night (as seen in Mario 2).
The "go fuck yourself" of storytelling.
Eventually, he tries to recapture that feeling by staging a play about the events of Mario 1, taking some artistic license with the story. Presumably at this point he completely lost touch with reality, hence Super Mario World and the increasingly ridiculous spinoffs.
Inspector Gadget was basically Get Smart meets RoboCop: A bumbling inspector with robotic enhancements fights crime with the help of his young niece and her dog, both of whom are vastly smarter than him. Gadget's main antagonist is the evil Dr. Claw, whose face is never revealed in the series ...
"My doctorate is in proctology, but I had to quit because my hand killed seven people."
... and, according to a theory posted on various sites, that's because Dr. Claw is the real Inspector Gadget. The main character is actually a robot duplicate of the man Claw once was, who was driven insane by an accident and now wants to destroy the machine that replaced him. But there's no way that makes sense, right?
Why It's Not That Crazy:
There are a lot of things that the show never bothered to explain, and this theory covers them better than the crappy live-action movie ever did. For starters, why does Gadget have robot parts? It seems unlikely that he would have been chosen for some sort of police-enhancing program, considering that he's a total moron and all. No, there had to be some sort of tragic accident in his past, but he doesn't seem to remember it.
To be fair, all that crap in his head doesn't leave much space for a brain.
Then there's Dr. Claw: Not only do we never see his face in the show (the action figure that revealed it came out years after the show had gone off the air), but the only thing we see is his metal hand, almost like an artificial limb. Also, his voice sounds like someone fellating a garbage disposal -- it's pretty obvious that Claw was involved in some sort of accident, too. Coincidence? We think not.
"Gadget! I will skull-fuck you until you bleed semen!"
According to the theory, "Claw" was once a normal human detective, but a terrible explosion caused his family and friends to think him dead. That's where his conveniently smart niece comes in: Penny, in her grief, recreated her uncle as a crime-fighting robot ... ignoring that the real man wasn't dead, only disfigured and insane. This would also explain why nothing ever happens to Penny, even though Claw's cronies seem to catch her every episode: She always finds a way to ruin Claw's plans because she's the only thing he still cares for.
The dog can eat a dick, though.
And hey, remember the part at the end of the opening theme where Gadget turns Claw's chair around and there's a bomb in it? A bomb that then explodes in Gadget's face? Perhaps this was meant to be symbolic. Perhaps there's no Claw, just Gadget.
Or perhaps Claw is a talking bomb, did you ever think of that?