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Inappropriate Timing Spongebob Banner is a photoshop meme based on a bumper banner for the television channel Nickelodeon featuring the cartoon character Spongebob Squarepants laughing with the caption “Up Next.” The popup banner is typically juxtaposed with emotional scenes from various films and television shows to mock poorly timed cross-promo ads displayed in the lower thirds during broadcast.
The banner was first shown in a scene from the sixth episode of the animated television series The Legend of Korra, which aired on May 12th, 2012. During the broadcast, as the protagonist Korra was falling down from an arena, a banner ad of a laughing Spongebob Squarepants popped up at the bottom of the screen. The following day, an animated GIF of the scene was posted on the Korravangelist Tumblr blog with the description “Wow spongebob you’re a fucking asshole. Korra could have died.” Within three weeks, the post received over 16,200 notes.
On May 13th, 2012, the Korravangelist Tumblr posted several Spongebob banner examples with the description “Inappropriate timing Spongebob”, followed by another post featuring a blank template of the banner. The description may have been inspired by the Inappropriate Timing Bill Clinton advice animal series created one month prior. The same day, YouTuber Dodger tweeted about the meme (shown below), receiving nine retweets and 14 favorites.
— Dodger (@dexbonus) May 13, 2012
Also on May 13th, Redditor siegel_caww submitted a post to the /r/TheLastAirbender subreddit titled “Inappropriate Timing Spongebob, A:TLA Edition,” featuring images of the Spongebob banner with dramatic scenes from the prequel series Avatar: The Last Airbender (shown below). Within three weeks, the post received over 1,000 up votes and 80 comments.
On the following day, the Cheezburger site Memebase published the original Korra falling GIF in a post titled “SpongeBob Is Such a Jerk.” On May 21st, DeviantArt user Coonfoot posted an illustration titled “No Hard Feelings!”, depicting Korra and Spongebob embracing next to the corpse of a lower third ad marketer. The following day, TV Tropes user fruit pork added a mention of Inappropriate Timing Spongebob to the “Memes: The Legend of Korra” entry.
On June 1st, a compilation of Spongebob banner images was submitted to the Internet humor site FunnyJunk, which received over 13,000 views within one week. On June 14th, another compilation of examples was published in a post on the Internet humor site Smosh, which received over 1,000 Facebook likes within four months.