SpongeBob SquarePants fans have been experiencing an influx of distress after NSFW drawings of the beloved characters hit their social media timelines. While many, like myself, dismissed the lewd drawings as Rule 34 content seeping into social media platforms, the drawings are apparently legit, according to the YouTuber who uncovered them.
On Wednesday, LSuperSonicQ, a YouTuber who specializes in unearthing and analyzing previously lost episodes of cartoons like the Johnny Bravo and Dragon Ball Z cross-over episode, released a video called The Darkest SpongeBob Lost Media, Found, revealing a collection of “crude drawings” of the SpongeBob characters by the official animators. Behind Closed Doors, short for Behind Closed Doors: Horrible, Filthy, Vile, Disgusting, Inappropriate, Off-Model Drawings By The Crew Of A Popular Cartoon Show, is a collection of…well basically what the title says: a collection of unhinged drawings storyboard artists would create to make as a goof to blow off steam.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest pieces of lost media that I’ve ever seen, and something I never even considered having existed. Apparently, this kind of thing happens a lot during content creation, as some of the artists have since mentioned,” LSuperSonicQ told Kotaku via Twitter DMs. “But talking about it with my source paints a more personal picture to me about why it exists and hopefully people will take that away from the video too. Whether it’s harmless fun or something malicious, the book fuses both of these aspects together and creates an incredible piece of animation history.”
According to LSuperSonicQ, an anonymous source who worked at Nickelodeon Studios was gifted one of many copies of a notebook that contained “hundreds” of lewd drawings. The anonymous source’s copy of Behind Closed Doors sat in their attic collecting dust until they came across a 2012 Hogan’s Alley interview with the folks from the SpongeBob team who mentioned the book in passing. That led them to share the notebook with the YouTuber, according to LSuperSonicQ.
“My source’s copy was given to them under the impression that it was one of the only ones that existed and were going to be disposed of apparently to get rid of it before the new management at the time,” LSuperSonicQ said in his video.
How unhinged are these drawings, you ask? Well, some, which are viewable on the Internet Archive if you’re not squeamish, depict SpongeBob playing his skin flute, Mr. Krabs projectile shitting into a toilet, and Squidward reimagined as a sentient penis with tentacles, among other obscene illustrations. In his video, LSuperSonicQ noted that the anonymous source intentionally didn’t share some of the illustrations for their “distasteful” and “objectionable” content.
“At the end of the season, all the storyboard artists would do these hilarious, crude drawings of SpongeBob on Post-It notes just to make everyone else laugh. And these drawings would go on the back of the door, because if the door was open no one would see them,” SpongeBob writer and storyboard director Kent Osborne told Hogan’s Alley. “Sam Henderson took all of these Post-Its and made them into a book and gave a copy to everybody. The name of the book was Behind Closed Doors. He didn’t want to put everyone’s names in case it fell into the wrong hands, so he made anagrams of everyone’s name and put them on the back of the book. They were hilarious. The anagram for me was Tek Bonerson. To this day, when I see Tom Kenny, he lights up and says, “Tek!”
Kotaku reached out to Nickelodeon for comment.
At this point, you’re probably thinking there’s no shot these obscene drawings are the real deal. LSuperSonicQ cites the Hogan’s Alley interview as well as Behind Closed Doors’ lewd storyboard iteration of the “Got Milk” tie-in commercial drawing and lines like Mr. Krab saying, “And now for the chaser” just like he does in Plankton’s Army, albeit without blowing his ass out, as evidence of it likely being legit. Fellow YouTuber, Quinton Reviews, co-signed the validity of LSuperSonicQ’s video in a tweet saying “LSuperSonicQ is extremely respecting in the L[ost] M[edia] scene, it’s real.”
“The takeaway from Behind Closed Doors is not the fact that it simply exists for shock value, but the fact that it exists as a remnant of a studio that has been plagued with controversy, even in the best of content that has been produced for us,” LSuperSonicQ said. “It’s such a huge piece of lost media that, given this age of archival, is an important piece to have and acts as a way to look back on an older iteration of the brand that, hopefully, doesn’t exist anymore.”
Aye aye to that, captain. Let’s never do this again.
Update: 07/20/2023, 3:30 p.m. ET: This article was updated with a quote from LSuperSonicQ about Behind Closed Doors.