I was an intern at Nickelodeon Studios for a year in 2011 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 "Sandy's Lab" and gathered around the screen to watch. When we saw the title card "Cry Baby Lane", we didn't think it more than an accident and someone got confused and sent the wrong one.The episode starts with SpongeBob standing alone facing a corner of his dimly-lit boating classroom. He looked absolutely miserable, a far cry from the cheerful demeanor he usually had. There was no one else in the room, not even his best friend Patrick, and the windows in the room clearly showed the night sky outside. I was really starting to get confused, why would he be at school at night, and why was he standing in the corner all sad and alone?
After about what seemed like a minute of SpongeBob standing somberly in the corner, the scene suddenly changed. We were in SpongeBob's house, once again the scene is silent and a little disquieting. SpongeBob's old-looking Sponge father, walks in from the kitchen, he looked even more miserable than SpongeBob had in the previous scene. SpongeBob's dad isn't wearing his usual attire, he's dressed in a fancy black suit, a little uncharacteristic of him, as he's usually a slob. He sighs, and slumps down onto the sofa, and starts sobbing intensely, sounding like someone who had just lost something important. In fact, he was sobbing...like a baby! He literally being a crybaby!
Even though Spongebob's parents only appear in a few episodes, I'd never seen him sad before.
I was starting to get a little creeped out, where the hell was the silly, fun cartoon that people enjoyed? This was something completely different. I was beginning to think that this might have been something the creators did as an experiment or something, a test of the animation or sound perhaps. Though, it couldn't have been, aside from the opening theme, which was still different from the final shows', the episode had been much quieter than it usually was, only subtle sounds and very little music, and the animation was not anything to write home about either. It was done a bit like an amateur flash on Newgrounds, the character designs were somewhat sloppy and rushed looking, and the real life backgrounds used for the show looked different.
As confused and somewhat frightened as I was, for some reason, I kept watching it. Poor SpongeBob's dad was still sobbing on the sofa, as the front door opened suddenly, making me jump a bit at such a loud noise, and SpongeBob's mother, a sponge like him, stepped in. Like SpongeBob's dad, she wasn't wearing her usual outfit, for some reason, she was in a black dress and was wearing a pretty black hat to match. She sat down on the couch to comfort her husband, although she was looking a bit saddened herself. By this point SpongeBob's Dad's crying had began to get more pained and miserable sounding, this wasn't the normal cartoon crying on the show, this was realistic and almost depressing crying, I almost felt like sobbing myself.
Everyone in the room was confused, a lot like me. The episode ended with SpongeBob commiting suicide by hanging himself, it was scary. We didn't know what was behind that episode, we were all scared. If you reconize this episode, please tell me...
Credit goes to Snozberry