I just want to start off by saying if you want an answer at the end, prepare to be disappointed. There just isn’t one.
I was an intern at Nickelodeon Studios for a year in 2005 for my degree in animation. It wasn’t paid of course, most internships aren’t, but it did have some perks beyond education. To adults it might not seem like a big one, but most kids at the time would go crazy over it.
Now, since I worked directly with the editors and animators, I got to view the new episodes days before they aired. I’ll get right to it without giving too many unnecessary details. They had very recently made the SpongeBob movie and the entire staff was somewhat sapped of creativity so it took them longer to start up the season. But the delay lasted longer for more upsetting reasons. There was a problem with the series 4 premiere that set everyone and everything back for several months.
Me and two other interns were in the editing room along with the lead animators and sound editors for the final cut. We received the copy that was supposed to be “Fear of a Krabby Patty” and gathered around the screen to watch. Now, given that it isn’t final yet animators often put up a mock title card, sort of an inside joke for us, with phony, often times lewd titles, such as “How sex doesn’t work” instead of “Rock-a-bye-Bivalve” when SpongeBob and Patrick adopt a sea scallop. Nothing particularly funny but work related chuckles. So when we saw the title card “Squidward’s Suicide” we didn’t think it more than a morbid joke.
One of the interns did a small throat laugh at it. The happy-go-lucky music plays as is normal. The story began with Squidward practicing his clarinet, hitting a few sour notes like normal. We hear SpongeBob laughing outside and Squidward stops, yelling at him to keep it down as he has a concert that night and needs to practice. SpongeBob says okay and goes to see Sandy with Patrick. The bubbles splash screen comes up and we see the ending of Squidward’s concert. This is when things began to seem off.
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