Film Twitter Massively Missed This Stanley Kubrick Reference in ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

This painfully obvious ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ soared light-years over the heads of the internet’s film buffs
Film Twitter Massively Missed This Stanley Kubrick Reference in ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’

You don’t have to be a cinephile to understand the classic film references made in SpongeBob SquarePants, and you’re not a complete caveman if a few go over your head. But, goddamn, you’d hope that more than one adult on Film Twitter has seen 2001: A Space Odyssey.

As far as early 2000s animated children’s shows go, SpongeBob SquarePants did the best job of any of its contemporaries at appealing to the comedy sensibilities of kids and parents alike. On top of the oft-discussed “don’t drop the soap”-type jokes that only become dirty when you get older, Nickelodeon’s flagship franchise is filled with references to pieces of literature, TV shows and movies that are typically too mature to be known to elementary school students — or to so many of the self-proclaimed movie lovers on Twitter who recently embarrassed themselves by missing one of the more obvious film parodies in children’s animation history.

Earlier this week, a Twitter post containing a clip of a scene from the 2002 SpongeBob episode “SpongeBob SquarePants B.C.,” which very clearly alluded to the iconic opening sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, went mega-viral with over five million views off of the caption, “A24 movies be like.” 

When the movie-watching community first discovered Twitter, it was the Monolith in reverse.

Since it sadly needs explaining, the above SpongeBob scene is a clear homage to the moment in the first act of 2001: A Space Odyssey in which the tribe of primitive pre-humans, fresh off the species first encounter with the mysterious Monolith, intuits that they can use objects in their environment as tools. While the pre-historic hominids in Kubricks influential sci-fi epic used their newfound intelligence to wield the tools as weapons, in “SpongeBob SquarePants B.C.,” SpongeGar and Patar just go around roasting everything they can find on a stick in the worlds first underwater barbecue.

While some Twitter users were thankful for @wenchhavers polite correction of a completely misguided meme, many loin-clothed Letterboxd fans chose to take offense to the simple explanation of a joke from a kids cartoon that was too mature for their understanding. “Most pretentious quote tweet ever Jesus,” one complained, while another asked, “Why y’all never have a laugh on this app”.

Back in the original thread, the mouth-breathing movie buff community and army of porn bots alike reveled in their discovery of editing and sound design in art films, and they took turns listing the same three A24 features of which they were reminded by the childrens cartoon. Imagine the thread theyll start when they stumble upon SpongeBob's “Leif Erikson Day” gag — “The Northman be like”


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