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SpongeBob's got back

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By Stevie L. Daugherty

Thanks to Burger King, I will never be able to look at SpongeBob the same again.

But, if I'm being completely honest, I never really liked the bright yellow smart allec to begin with, but now I have all the more reason to choose watching my friends Diego and Dora over "Bobby," which is what my son calls him.

The images of SpongeBob and Burger King's new "Squarebutt" commercial are forever burned into my memory. If you haven't seen the commercial yet, consider yourself lucky. As for me, I can't stop singing the ridiculous lyric, "I like square butts and I cannot lie," and the images of the female dancers with phone books in their pants are keeping me up at night. Actually, Burger King commercials have frightened me ever since they introduced that creepy plastic headed mascot, but now they have taken it to a new level with gyrating square butts and a remix of Sir Mix-a-Lot's 90's hit, "Baby Got Back."

I'm sure the creative genius who thought of this marketing campaign is patting himself on the back (or butt) for his cleverness but the commercial doesn't make me want to race out and buy a burger or a SpongeBob toy for my son. While I find the commercial amusing (how could you not with grown women dancing around while wearing phone books in their pants) I also find it creepy and just plain bizarre.

However, I'm not one of those parents who is protesting the commercial. But there are plenty who are. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has launched a letter-writing campaign demanding that Nickelodeon and Burger King immediately pull the ad.

"It's bad enough when companies use a beloved media character like SpongeBob to promote junk food to children, but it's utterly reprehensible when that character simultaneously promotes objectified, sexualized images of women," the CCFC states on their web site.

Who would have ever thought that SpongeBob would be in the middle of such a controversy? Actually, it doesn't surprise me. If he or his little pal Patrick ever talked to me the way they do on their show, I would definitely wash their mouths out with soap. Come to think of it, they would probably enjoy that so I would have to come up with a different form of punishment.

As for Burger King's defense, company officials state that the commercial is meant to appeal to adults who take their kids to Burger King, and as with all Burger King adult advertising campaigns, it is being shown "only during shows targeting adult audiences."

Regrettably, I've seen the commercial several times and while I'm totally creeped out by it and find it incredibly silly, it's not going to make me throw away my son's SpongeBob sleeping bag or refuse to take him to Burger King. But, considering the fact that all he eats is bologna these days, I don't have to worry about him begging to go to Burger King any time soon.

Now, if I could only get those darn lyrics out of my head!   Mr. Krab! (yeah) Patrick! (yeah) Has SpongeBob got the butt? (oh yeah) Then shake it (shake it) Shake it (shake it) Shake that cubicle butt SpongeBob got back!