If you were a kid growing up in the '90s, you probably remember Nickelodeon being the go-to gold mine of amazing cartoons that could keep you occupied all day long if need be. Thanks to the clever writing, most of those shows still hold up today! You probably even remember a few times that you picked up on jokes that were clearly just meant for the adults. Most Nickelodeon shows had moments that made you realize they weren't always as kid-friendly as they appeared to be, but what if the shows you grew up loving were WAY more twisted than you first thought.
If you start looking closely at some of the shows, you might start to notice things that totally change the way you look at them. Some fans have spent hours combing through the details scene by scene to come up with fan theories that might just ruin all of our childhoods. Some characters are hiding deep-seated emotional and psychotic issues, some characters have HORRIFYING secrets hidden in plain sight and other characters have been dead for years. If you think you can handle it, here are 15 twisted Nickelodeon fan theories that will ruin your childhood!
15 SPONGEBOB DIED IN THE FIRST MOVIE
If you've watched an episode of Spongebob Squarepants in the last few years, you've probably noticed that it seems like a very different show from its early years. Spongebob looks a lot different, he isn't as funny and he seems to be a lot more childish. In fact, Spongebob almost seems like a completely different character. The big change took place in The Spongebob Squarepants Movie. Toward the end, Spongebob and Patrick are dried out and seemingly killed before their tears miraculously bring them back to life... except that's not what happened.
In the ocean, when a piece of a sea sponge or starfish breaks off, it regenerates a new "body" around that piece. Spongebob and Patrick both died and regenerated into a new Spongebob and Patrick. This explains why they both seem so much more childish and stupid from season five onwards. They're literally newborns.
14 CRAZY STEVE KILLED DRAKE AND JOSH, KIDNAPPED MEGAN
Drake and Josh featured a recurring character played by Jerry Trainor named Crazy Steve. He was described as having severe anger issues and was frequently seen having violent outbursts at everyone around him. Jerry Trainor later went on to play Spencer Shay on the show iCarly. This spun off into Sam and Cat, which features an episode with Crazy Steve in an insane asylum, confirming all three shows take place in a shared universe.
This fan theory suggests that Crazy Steve killed Drake and Josh, kidnapped their sister Megan and took her to Seattle where he gave them both false names and backstories to hide from the police. Eventually, Steve was completely absorbed by this other personality until Megan/Carly was rescued by her father at the end of iCarly, causing Steve to have a mental break and be hauled off to the asylum.
13 POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE (AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER)
Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a world where humans can bend the elements of that world to their will, yet there's an odd mix of simplistic lifestyles similar to 1700s Asia and strangely futuristic machinery. One fan theory suggests that technology seems oddly advanced in some areas because it's set thousands of years in the future, a post-apocalyptic future of our own planet.
"Bending" was invented when nanite technology allowed people to take control of single elements. The Avatar nanites were an experimental prototype that allowed control over all four elements to save the world, but the earth benders caused a massive tectonic plate shift separating the nations, then the fire nation wiped out most of the population. Since the Avatar nanites were never recreated, they seek out a new host each time the current one dies. Thousands of years later, all that's left are legends and machines.
12 SEVEN DEADLY SINS (SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS)
On the surface, Spongebob Squarepants is a pretty innocent show, but what if these wacky colorful characters represent the darkest depths of the human soul. Each of the seven most prominent characters represents one of the seven deadly sins. In Christianity, these seven cardinal sins are directly responsible for all forms of evil in the world.
Patrick, who once won an award for doing nothing longer than anybody else, represents Sloth. Squidward, who's constantly trying to sabotage Spongebob's fun, is Wrath. Mr. Krabs, with his love for money, is Greed. Plankton, obsessed with stealing away Mr. Krabs' success, is Envy. Gary the Snail, who devours food by the metric ton, is Gluttony. Sandy, who feels Texas is superior to all, is Pride. Spongebob, who has an excessive, unhealthy love for all people, is lust. He even sees Squidward, who despises him, as a close friend.
11 TIMMY'S ANTI-DEPRESSANTS (FAIRLY ODD PARENTS)
In the pilot episode of The Fairly Odd Parents, Timmy's fairy godparents arrive on the same night Vicky, his evil babysitter, comes into his life, essentially saying that they showed up during an intense period of stress and problems in his life. The "doom and gloom up in his room is broken instantly" when he's prescribed a regimen of anti-depressants.
Cosmo represents Zoloft, which makes you more giddy and excitable, while Wanda represents Prozac, which tends to make you more analytical and focused. The parallels continue on occasions when Timmy abuses magic, overusing it to the point that he becomes bored and apathetic no matter how much he uses it because he's built up too much of a tolerance. He's also gone through episodes where he has to break his "dependence" on magic, finding that he can't even perform simple tasks without it.
10 ARNOLD'S GRANDPARENTS ARE HIS REAL PARENTS
While the truth about Arnold's parents in Hey Arnold! may come out soon with the upcoming Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, as of now, they're still shrouded in mystery. His grandparents have simply told him that they went missing in the jungle when he was a baby. However, there's some evidence hidden in plain sight that this might all be a lie.
Arnold's "grandparents" conceived him at a very old age which led to Arnold being born with hydrocephalus, a condition which causes an enlarged and oddly-shaped head. He's often bullied for having a "football head," which combined with his condition cause him to hallucinate a world where everyone has oddly shaped heads, since nobody's head shape is ever mentioned or teased except his. Both grandparents seem to be moving toward senility, which might be why they felt it was better for Arnold not to know the truth.
9 KURT HAS TIES TO THE MAFIA (GOOD BURGER)
Good Burger was a movie based on a recurring All That! sketch about a dim-witted kid who works at a fast food restaurant. The movie saw the hip, new "Mondo Burger" open up across the street and threaten to end "Good Burger" for good. Mondo Burger seemed to have an endless supply of money with a massive full concert grand opening, state-of-the-art burger machines, illegal food additives, and at least two doctors at the local insane asylum on their payroll.
How was all this possible? The owner, Kurt Bozwell, had ties to the mafia. Aside from the endless cash flow and shady business practices, when Kurt is finally arrested, he shouts to the police, "Do you know who my father is?" We can deduce that Kurt's father is extremely wealthy and has access to huge amounts of illegal chemicals, and doctors on hand to "silence" people who cross him.
8 HELGA IS THE ACTUAL PROTAGONIST (HEY ARNOLD!)
Who was the main character of Hey Arnold? Sure, Arnold's name is literally the title of the show, but who says the words, "Hey Arnold" throughout the opening theme song? That' right. Helga Pataky. You'll also notice that Helga Pataky gets an extended monologue in nearly every episode and far more lines than Arnold ever does. The show even seems to set it up so that you want to root for Helga to succeed more than any other character.
She has an unrequited love that she doesn't know how to express, so only sabotages herself and pushes him away further. Her mother and father are both neglectful of her while doting on her older, prettier sister. Arnold doesn't have anywhere near that level of conflict in his life. He just plays the part of the nice, cool kid who goes on adventures because that's how Helga sees him.
7 BIG PETE WAS SCHIZOPHRENIC (PETE & PETE)
Remember Pete and Pete? It ran for three seasons between 1991 and 1996 and followed the quirky lives and adventures of two redheaded brothers with the same name. However, one fan theory suggests that Big Pete actually had a psychotic break, longing for the free-spirited childhood that he missed out on, and developed a schizophrenic split personality of Little Pete.
The show also features another zany and implausible character named Artie, the self-proclaimed strongest man in the world and protector of all children, who shows up whenever things get too boring in Big Pete's life and generally seems like the kind of person you would want to keep away from your children. Maybe the reason Little Pete and Artie are such good friends is because they're both hallucinations from the same shattered mind.
6 A SHOW WITHIN A SHOW (DRAKE AND JOSH)
We've already established that Drake and Josh takes place within the same shared universe as iCarly, Sam and Cat, and by extension, Victorious. However, one fan theory takes things to a whole different level of meta, suggesting that Drake and Josh is a reality show within a show. This is why every episode opens up with Drake and Josh speaking directly to the camera like a behind-the-scenes talking head from The Office.
There's also an episode of iCarly where Drake and Josh is playing on Carly's TV, and the kids on Victorious refer to it by name as a TV show. So the only way all the shows can take place in the same universe is if Drake and Josh is a TV show within that universe.
5 STEVE IS A DRUG ADDICT (BLUE'S CLUES)
Blue's Clues has always had a strange amount of drug rumors constantly surrounding it in one form or another. When Steve left the show, in a time before the internet could easily debunk death hoaxes, rumors of the actor suffering a drug overdose were rampant. Although the actor himself has confirmed he's alive and well, it spawned a widely believed fan theory that the reason Steve is able to talk to his dog, mailbox and household appliances is because he's tripping on some seriously hard drugs.
He also believes he can leap into paintings to explore different worlds, he sees everything around him as a cartoon, and he has an insanely difficult time figuring out even the simplest clues that his dog leaves for him, like his cognitive abilities have been destroyed by years of killing brain cells.
4 MR. KRABS IS A CANNIBAL (SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS)
Krabby Patty seems like kind of a morbid name for a mystery meat burger created by an actual crab. It becomes even more disturbing when you realize that other than Mr. Krabs, you almost never see another crab in the entirety of the show's run of over 200 episodes. Where have all the crabs in Bikini Bottom disappeared to? And where is Mr. Krabs finding all the meat for his millions of Krabby Patties?
If that alone isn't enough to convince you, consider the fact that every other menu item at the Krusty Krab contains the key ingredient in its name. "Kelp Shake," "Coral Bits," "Seafoam Soda," and of course, "Krabby Patty." We always knew that Mr. Krabs was greedy, but who would have guessed that he would cannibalize his own kind just to make a profit.
3 DANNY PHANTOM IS TIMMY TURNER (DANNY PHANTOM/FAIRLY ODD PARENTS)
The Fairly Odd Parents and Danny Phantom may seem like two very different shows on the surface, until you realize that nearly every character on Danny Phantom looks like an aged-up version of someone from The Fairly Odd Parents. Timmy and Danny have the same hair, same eyebrows and same blue eyes. In each show, their parents also look and act eerily similar.
Sam is just an older Trudy. Tucker is just an older AJ. Paulina is an older Trixie. The list goes on and on. How did this happen? Timmy's final wish, just before turning 13 and losing Cosmo and Wanda forever, was to be given a more interesting life as a ghost hunting superhero. They don't just make Timmy a superhero, they truly grant him a new life, but letting him keep the people he's closest to as Danny Fenton.
2 ELIZA IS ON DRUGS (THE WILD THORNBERRYS)
The Wild Thornberrys follows a family as they travel the world to film their father's nature show, but it mostly focused on the youngest daughter, Eliza, who was granted the ability to talk to animals by a magical shaman. It seems like a perfectly normal concept for a cartoon, but here's where things get a bit questionable.
Nobody else in Eliza's family ever sees any evidence of this power, and throughout the rest of the show, they never encounter anything overtly magical or supernatural again. The only explanation is that Eliza can't really talk to animals. She just received a hallucinogenic drug from the native that makes her think she can. This drug, like acid, just stays in Eliza's system throughout the show and eventually led to an appendix infection that almost killed her in the third season.
1 PENELOPE TAYNT KILLED AMANDA BYNES AND STOLE HER IDENTITY (THE AMANDA SHOW)
The Amanda Show featured a character that would probably chill most celebrities to the bone. The socially inept super-fan, Penelope Taynt, made a habit of breaking into the Amanda Show studio to get close to the star she was obsessed with, and she was frequently violent with staff, other actors and innocent bystanders. She also looked exactly like Amanda Bynes.
What if Penelope didn't look like Amanda at all? Maybe she succeeded in her mission of getting close to Amanda and decided that she loved her so much that she had to kill Amanda and take her place. Her obsession drove her to the point where she realized there was no way to get closer to Amanda than to actually become her. That's why they're never seen together. Amanda isn't playing Penelope, Penelope is playing Amanda.
Do you know any chilling Nickelodeon fan theories? Let us know in the comments!