Legions of SpongeBob Squarepants fans expressed their frustration with what they saw as a disappointingly fleeting “SpongeBob” cameo during Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime show using one of the standard weapons in a keyboard warrior’s arsenal: the dislike button.
The Wilson Leader reports that the YouTube video hosted on the NFL’s official channel was slammed with more than 100,000 dislikes in the hours immediately following the upload, causing the channel to delete and re-upload the segment in an effort to stop the proverbial bleeding. The move was clearly to no avail, however, as the newly uploaded version approaches half a million dislikes as of Monday evening.
Perhaps perplexing to mainstream internet users outside of the occasionally fanatic SpongeBob fanbase, there is indeed a backstory to the outrage. In 2001, in a SpongeBob Squarepants episode titled “Band Geeks,” characters from the show performed the song “Sweet Victory” during the halftime of the Bubble Bowl, a football analogous to the Super Bowl. Following the recent death of SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg, fans racked up more than a million signatures on a petition to recreate the “Sweet Victory” performance during the actual Super Bowl in honor of Hillenburg.
“This really is a testament to both how beloved Spongebob is and the power of everyday people when unified behind a goal,” said Israel Colunga, who started the petition on Change.org.
“I guess, when I think about it, this dream ending fits with Spongebob’s eternal optimism.”
Early pronominal media released prior to the game hinted at a SpongeBob cameo, creating substantial internet buzz around the planned Maroon 5 performance scheduled for halftime at Mercedes-Benz stadium.
When the live television feed cut to the cartoon’s undersea cast members, many fans thought their moment had come, but the excitement quickly dampened on the realization that the SpongeBob appearance would be limited to a few seconds of transition as part of the introduction of Sicko Mode.
So honored and humbled! Thankful for being included and for all our fellow sea creatures ???????? pic.twitter.com/F8lesQvDBz— SpongeBob (@SpongeBob) February 4, 2019
While the rush to rain dislikes on the Super Bowl halftime show video has been remarkable in its intensity, SpongeBob enthusiasts will have a lot of work to do if they want to punish the NFL to the extent other widely-panned videos have received. Currently YouTube’s own “YouTube Rewind 2018: Everybody Controls Rewind” sits at the top of the list (or bottom, as it were), with 15.94 million dislikes since its upload on December 6 of last year.
Perhaps compounding the attention given to the halftime show was the generally dull nature of the game itself, which would end up being the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. The New England Patriots ultimately won the game with a score of 13-3, with the franchise now tying the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl championships, with a total of six each.