Like all great children's cartoons, Spongebob Squarepants has all sorts of disturbing moments that went over your head as a kid. Granted, it's no Rocko's Modern Life, but it did at one point have a joke about prison rape so the show itself isn't as wholesome its plucky, invertebrate protagonist.
Spongebob is so overtly happy, that when moments of genuine darkness slip through they REALLY stand out, and there's perhaps one moment that stands above all others in terms of sheer disturbingness. It occurs in the segment called "Bubble Buddy" and it's fucked up.
If you guys don't remember the episode, it begins with Spongebob realizing that none of his friends are around to hang out with him. In a pinch, Spongebob decides to create his own friend, blowing a man-shaped bubble that he names Bubble Buddy:
Spongebob instantly falls in love with his new friend, who he proceeds to lead around town and introduce to everyone in Bikini Bottom. Unfortunately, not everyone is as fond of Bubble Buddy as Spongebob. Without moving or saying a word, the floating bubble man spreads havoc everywhere he goes.
Throughout the episode, Bubble Buddy is portrayed as nothing but an imaginary friend to Spongebob. Conflict arises because it seems as though the yellow fry cook is treating an inanimate object as though it were a real person in a manner that proves exasperating for everyone else involved. In one instance, for example, people on the beach are forced to wait for the bathroom believing that someone is just taking a long time. It's soon revealed that they had actually been waiting for Bubble Buddy and everyone becomes infuriated because they believe that they had been holding their bladders for a non sentient bubble:
Of course that turns out not to be the case. It doesn't take long before an angry mob forms hellbent on popping Bubble Buddy. Just as Squidward is about to pop bubble with a needle, the episode hits us with a twist: Bubble Buddy puts up his arm to save himself and starts to speak:
Turns out he was real all along. It's a clever twist that is pretty funny when you first see it, but it also implies that Bubble Buddy was just kind of being a dickthe whole time. In the segment about the bathroom line, for example, he wasn't taking a long time because he was a bubble that can't move. He was kind of just being inconsiderate. Rewatching the episode knowing the twist completely reshapes its meaning, and it turns one specific instance into a horrible act of carnage.
When Spongebob and his bubble companion first get to the beach, they encounter a surfer dude fish who asks them to bury him in the sand. They comply. When they're done, the fish asks the two to dig him out at which point Spongebob walks away and delegates the task to Bubble Buddy who responds by...well, floating there like a bubble. That's when the tide comes in:
Later on, we learn the guy's ultimate fate as his angel comes back and says nothing but, "He made me experience high tide." As the fish floats up to heaven, one thing is clear: Bubble Buddy has blood on his hands.
On first viewing, the instance seems like it's supposed to be an accident. You think the reason for Bubble Buddy's inaction is that he's a bubble who lacks sentience, but by the end of the episode it's made very clear that isn't the case. Bubble Buddy is indisputably capable of motion, strong enough to stop himself from being stabbed, and very aware of everything going on around him. He was more than just a bubble floating there. He was a cold hearted monster who sat on as someone helplessly drowned to death.
Bubble Buddy may not have poisoned our water supply, burned our crops, and delivered a plague unto our houses but he did coldly watch as someone died a horrific and easily preventable death. For that alone, maybe he should have gotten popped.
Here it is folks. The true face of evil: