Why is SpongeBob in a Sexy Commercial?

Posted on April 7, 2009 at 10:31 pm

What were they thinking? The latest Burger King ad for a Kids Meal featuring a SpongeBob Squarepants toy is a booty-shaking adaptation of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s famous musical salute to ladies’ rear ends. This is what the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood has to say:

Nickelodeon and Burger King have reached a new low. They’ve partnered to produce a new, highly sexualized, ad for a Burger King SpongeBob SquarePants Kids Meal. The commercial, which ran during the men’s NCAA basketball championship last night, features The King singing a remix of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s 1990’s hit song, “Baby Got Back” with the new lyrics, “I like square butts and I cannot lie.” The ad shows images of The King singing in front of women shaking their behinds for the camera intercut with images of SpongeBob dancing along. The King even measures the behind of one of the woman who has stuffed a phonebook under her dress. After the King informs children about the free SpongeBob toy they get with the purchase of a Burger King Kids Meal, the ad ends with Sir Mix-A-Lot, lounging on a couch with two female admirers, saying, “Booty is booty.”

It’s harmful enough when a beloved media icon advertises junk food to children, but it’s utterly reprehensible when SpongeBob simultaneously promotes the objectification of women through sexualized imagery.

If you find this ad campaign directed at children offensive, the easiest way to express your views is by sending an email to Nickelodeon and Burger King via CCFC’s website.

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The Big Bad Swim

Posted on April 4, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I am a bit of a softie when it comes to those movies about diverse groups of people who come together to learn something new like tap dancing (“Stepping Out” with Liza Minnelli) or ballroom dancing (“Shall We Dance” with Richard Gere) or Italian (“Italian for Beginners”). We get to see glimpses of lots of different characters and stories and we get to see the way that they engage with new challenges and are transformed by their sense of accomplishment, new skills, and relationships.

I really enjoyed a quiet little movie in this genre called The Big Bad Swim. A group of people sign up for a swim class at a local rec center. It is a special class for people who are reluctant or scared of the water. The students include a recently divorced calculus teacher, a cop, a casino dealer/stripper, and a couple with a new pool. The movie skillfully interweaves the characters and their relationships with the kind of messy authenticity and respect for the audience that makes independent films so engaging. The performances are exceptionally layered and true, especially Paget Brewster as the teacher, and the little coda after the credits is delightful. This has very mature material, including sexual references and situations, drinking and drug use, and some very bad decisions, but is well worth a look for fans of independent film and good stories.

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