Disclaimers: 1) Yes, I know that there are many things that I could be writing at this moment. One of these is my long-awaited Disney’s Beauty and the Beast review. To be honest, it’s been more than two months since I first saw that film and I might need to see it again just to be sure that I am getting all of the main plot points correctly. Another thing I could be writing about is my journey through the Holy Land on my Juniors Abroad trip. My excuse for not writing about that just yet is that my journal is still with my professor and she is in the process of mailing it back to me. Once I receive it, then yes, I will do an electronic writeup for you all. 2) A couple considered titles for this post were “The Turbotastic Asian Reviews ‘I’m With Stupid’: A SpongeBob Episode”; or “Turbotastic Theory:Who is The True Villain(s) in The SpongeBob Episode, ‘I’m With Stupid’?” I was thinking about these titles, but then decided that my theory was going to be more extensive than just the one episode. 3) Obviously, I do not own any of the media in this post. The videos belong to TheMysteriousMrEnter, Pieguyrulz, and ChannelFrederator on YouTube. These guys are big inspirations to me. The clips featured in the videos belong to Nickelodeon. Alright, on with the theory.
Hey guys, Turbotastic Asian here back after a long hiatus, with another Turbotastic Theory. So, this might be an unpopular opinion, but my favorite character from the whole SpongeBob SquarePants franchise is Patrick Star, the little, yellow fry-cook’s adorable sea star best friend and pink partner in crime. The way Patrick became my favorite character on the show is actually a tragic one. Up until the age of 13, Squidward was always my favorite one, due to his lovable, hilarious grouchiness (in fact, my first personal character-shipping was Squidward/Grumpy (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) but I digress). However, my older brother passed away right before I turned 14, and his name happened to be Patrick. Therefore, in his honor, my favorite character switched from the cephalopod to my brother’s ectodermic namesake.
This fact is why I am often saddened by YouTubers complaining about how much they hate Patrick and how much of a jerk, bully, and even psychopath, he is. Here is a small list of videos from YouTube for those of you who might not know about these complaints:
These arguments do make sense, and I can see why people think Patrick is a horrible person and a horrible role model for children. However, I also think that there might be another side of Patrick’s story that people do not seem to get. What’s more, I think I have found that side of his story, which I will get to momentarily.
First, let me make it clear that like Pieguyrulz, I am in no way defending Patrick’s actions nor am I saying that those who hate him are wrong. If you dislike this guy, that is totally cool. I don’t like half the characters my friends like. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I admit that sometimes, Patrick’s actions are pretty stupid, immature, malicious, whatever name you want to give them. My purpose of writing this theory is only to give you my idea of why Patrick acts the way he does. The truth shall now be revealed!
Like I said, Patrick is not a very popular character among YouTubers. The episode that they commonly gravitate toward to prove his jerkiness is the pre-first-movie SpongeBob episode, “I’m With Stupid”. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is the episode where SpongeBob acts stupid in front of Patrick’s “parents” to make Patrick look smart by comparison. TheMysteriousMrEnter commentates on this episode in the first video listed above (3:35-6:25). Unfortunately, I can’t find the full episode anywhere, so you guys will just have to take me at my word.
This is often cited as the first, true “Patrick’s a Jerk” episode. All the episodes that came before it show him as just a playful, lovable, not-too-bright kid who, when he did mess things up or came across as inconsiderate, only did so out of ignorance. This is the first episode where his darker side is revealed. Now, this is a very controversial episode in that there’s an equal amount of people who enjoy it (Pieguyrulz) as people who don’t (obviously TheMysteriousMrEnter). The people who enjoy it, do so for the comedy and the awesome but kind of creepy twist ending, whereas the people who do not enjoy it dislike it for Patrick’s maliciousness and hypocrisy and for the lack of transition between Patrick’s amusement at SpongeBob’s feigned stupidity and Patrick’s taking advantage of SpongeBob’s feigned stupidity. Where do I stand? I’d probably give it a MEH-. I don’t find it particularly funny (with the exception of the adult jokes) and can see how people could take offense at Patrick’s actions. However, I don’t think that it is the worst P.-F.-M. SpongeBob episode in existence either.
Furthermore, I would like to point out a problem I have with the episode, despite no one ever bringing it up. This problem is hinted at right from the very beginning of the episode, when Patrick is freaking out and trying to get things ready for his parents’ visit. When SpongeBob asks what’s wrong, Patrick shows him the letter from his parents, stating that they are coming over to celebrate Starfish Day. The letter ends with a comment to “please try to remember but not too hard or you’ll hurt yourself like last time.” What kind of parents would write something like that to their own son? I mean, at this point, it is unclear if they meant it that way or not, but one can clearly see what kind of impact this comment has on Patrick. As you saw in the aforementioned video, poor Patrick is in tears; he’s really hurt and upset! Patrick sobs, “SpongeBob, my parents think I’m dumber than a sack of diapers! :'(“. As soon as his parents show up, they continue to treat him like an idiot up until SpongeBob shows up and then they start condescending him right along with Patrick!
If you haven’t guessed by now, I have reason to believe that Patrick himself is a victim of psychological abuse. This could be the reason for both his stupidity and his jerkiness. In terms of his stupidity, my theory is that Patrick might have started off being really smart, but then his parents abused him over something minor and made him feel like he was stupid. Because he was told he was stupid at a young age, Patrick started believing that he was stupid and therefore began acting stupid.
Notice how I said he acts stupid and believes himself to be stupid. I do not believe he actually is stupid. Apparently, neither do the people on YouTube. They agree that Patrick is definitely smarter than he acts, which makes his actions all the more jarring. This point is made clear in the post-first-movie episode, “The Card”, the episode TheMysteriousMrEnter credited as being the worst episode of Patrick being a jerk/idiot. Again, for those of you unfamiliar, “The Card” is the episode where Patrick buys a Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy trading card that SpongeBob really wanted. Patrick promises to give SpongeBob the card at the end of the day, but until then, he completely mistreats the card and drives SpongeBob crazy. Once, when he walks straight into Goo Lagoon with it and SpongeBob saves him from drowning, SpongeBob questions Patrick about his mistreatment of the card. Without missing a beat, Patrick matter-of-fact-ly states, “Well SpongeBob, you can’t always expect my usual brand of stupidity. I like to mix it up; keep you on your toes!”
To summarize TheMysteriousMrEnter’s thoughts on this, the reason why this is seen as the most infamous Patrick episode is because that one little quote suggests that every single stupid thing Patrick had done in the series up to this point had been completely on purpose. And if you’ve a huge SpongeBob buff like I am, you know that that is a lot of stupid antics. All of the antics that Pieguyrulz listed in the second video are only a handful and they are from the pre-first-movie era only! Basically, in this line, Patrick is saying that he himself is aware that he is stupid. But then, if one knows that they are stupid, are they even that stupid at all?
I have always been taught that a few little words, especially to a young child, can dramatically influence their lives, sometimes for the better, but also sometimes for the worse, which is what might have happened to Patrick. Another piece of evidence for Patrick’s psychological abuse can be found in the episode “The Bully”, where it is revealed that Patrick was college friends with Flats the Flounder, the new kid at boating school, set on kicking SpongeBob’s butt. We don’t know exactly what Flats’ story is, other than his dad is terrified of him (child neglect?). Therefore, I might be stretching this a bit, but sometimes the reason bullies gang together is that they can identify with each other more than they can anyone else. This might even suggest that Patrick is better/closer friends with Flats than he is with SpongeBob, whose parents have been totally loving on and encouraging him from the start. Now, this could be explained away by the friendship montage featured in “The Secret Box” that display SpongeBob and Patrick hanging out together as babies/young children, but it could be possible that they went to different colleges and Patrick formed a friendship with Flats then.
An even better piece of evidence can be found in the episode “Valentine’s Day”. This is the episode that I remember absolutely hating as a kid, maybe even more than “I’m With Stupid”. If “I’m With Stupid” just bored me, “Valentine’s Day” totally infuriated me. In this episode, Patrick acts like a selfish, spoiled, self-entitled, little brat just because he thinks his best friend didn’t get him a Valentine’s Day present. I mean, Patrick didn’t get SpongeBob anything either. At least SpongeBob actually tried! But I’m getting ahead of myself here. The line of dialogue that ties into my overall theory was the line right before Patrick snaps and tries to destroy the amusement park:
“PATRICK NEEDS LOVE TOO!”
When I was a kid, I just thought that Patrick was just being an overdramatic crybaby at this point. As ChannelFrederator states, this line of dialogue could suggest that Patrick is a psychopath, as one symptom of psychopathy is egocentrism and the perpetual desire to be the center of attention. However, to further support my theory, Patrick might have actually feel unloved at this point because his parents never truly loved or appreciated him for anything. Usually, children, or even adults who have suffered abuse of whatever kind, grow up having a very warped idea of love and no matter what their friends do, say, or give to them, they still suffer with feelings of not being loved or appreciated. Furthermore, when their friends fail them, as Patrick thought SpongeBob had, this feeling is made even more prominent. This could also explain why Patrick was so upset about not being able to create anything in “The Googly Artist” but then sold some shoddy thing to the first person who asked for it: he had finally found someone who did appreciate his efforts, no matter how small.
The lack of love and appreciation from his parents pretty much explains Patrick’s “stupidity”. It could partly explain his “jerkiness”, but again, that might only be part of it. Like I said before, when Patrick turns on SpongeBob in “I’m With Stupid”, his parents do too. They had always been laughing at SpongeBob ever since he arrived at Patrick’s house, but when Patrick starts taking it seriously, like he actually thinks SpongeBob’s the dummy, his parents just go along with it. If those were my parents and I was doing that to my best friend, they would have immediately scolded me and had me apologize. I mean, if you and your friend are joking around, and your friend is acting stupid on purpose with the intention of making you laugh, which is similar to what SpongeBob was doing at the beginning, that’s one thing; but actually making fun of how your friend is dressed or other personal details is another thing altogether. This shows that Patrick’s parents do not know a thing about discipline and actually teaching their son how to treat those around him. Also, they themselves act just as idiotic as Patrick, if not more so. Therefore, one cannot blame Patrick for being a hypocrite in this episode without blaming his parents.
Lastly, I want to talk about that loophole some of you might have concerning this theory. Some of you might be skeptical about this theory and ask, “But Turbotastic Asian, wasn’t it revealed that the two sea stars in the episode weren’t even Patrick’s parents at all?” I am going to say that, yes, you are correct. When fashioning this theory, I did hit this little loophole and almost had to scrap it. However, the letter that Patrick received before the episode started, was, undoubtedly, written and sent to him by his real parents. Also, notice how when his fake parents show up and start treating him like a moron, he doesn’t even question their identity. At first, I passed this off as just his stupidity. However, the more interesting reason why Patrick doesn’t question them may be that they treat him just like his real parents treat him, so he naturally assumes that they are his real parents.
So there you go. This is my theory as to the story behind Patrick’s abnormal, sometimes irritant actions. Let me know if I’m onto something or if there is just not enough substantial evidence to support this idea and I am spewing some random nonsense. Do you think that Patrick was/is a psychologically abused child? If not, what do you think is the reason Patrick, best friend of SpongeBob, behaves the way he does?
This is the Turbotastic Asian, and I’m signing out!