...wait for it...
That's right, the popular Nickelodeon cartoon.
In particular, they are studying what effects watching the cartoon may have on a 4-year-old child.
Heck, I could have told them what the effects were, and it wouldn't have cost anyone a dime. Its effects are that its outrageous potty humor makes 4-year-old children...
...wait for it...
And its moronic main character causes them to talk in an annoyingly high-pitched squeal. But since my conclusions didn't cost any tax-payer dollars, they aren't considered scientifically valid.
My observations aside, what the researchers discovered--after spending tens of thousands of your tax dollars--is, gee, the government sure is stupid. They have no problem shelling out big bucks to any crackpot scientist with a half-baked notion. And why not? The money's not coming out of their pockets.
However, when all is said and done, the researchers have to justify the grant money they received and spent somehow, and coming clean about the group trip to Thailand for, ah, research wouldn't be the sensible thing to do. So they came up with (as far as I can tell) a problem where there wasn't one before, and two conclusions that are so obvious they wouldn't have been allowed to join the army 20 years ago.
The first conclusion is that 4-year-olds who watch SpongeBob are more apt to want things now, rather than later, or, in other words, it causes them to act just like a 4-year-old. Secondly, 4-year-olds who watch Mr. SquarePants aren't the problem solvers that 4-year-olds who fall asleep watching PBS programming are. In other words, kids who enjoy sitting and reading aren't as good at sports as kids who enjoy playing football.
Of course it does.
I'm sure you read all about this study in your local newspaper, assuming, of course, that you weren't sitting on pins and needles watching America's Got Talent on TV and trying to decide if you like it better than American Idol.
Myself, what I found interesting in this study were the findings that didn't get reported.
SpongeBob SquarePants may decrease a 4 year-old's attention span, but there are several things that can help to focus it.
One of them is a smack to the back of head.
If a child, for example, is supposed to be doing his or her homework, and stops for a few moments to appreciate the graceful beauty of a butterfly fluttering just outside their window, a quick smack to the back of their head will get them back to studying PDQ.
The researchers also found that, although a shock-collar (like the ones used to break dogs of their spirit) works at improving a child's attention, a cattle prod works even better. This is because with a cattle prod you can focus the electrical shock strategically to various parts of their little bodies, where the welts and burns can't be seen by the authorities.
Interestingly enough, a stun gun doesn't work. Mainly because it, ah, stuns them. Hence, the name. And, while you might think it would, a taser doesn't work at all.
Not even if you set it on low.
It was also discovered that 4-year-olds who watch SpongeBob SquarePants are more apt to choose sushi over candy, although whether or not this is a good thing has yet to be determined. Curiously, they are still grossed out by oysters, but that's okay.
So's my wife.
Moreover, it was found that these sushi-eating toddlers are more apt to have higher instances of mercury poisoning, intestinal parasites, and fish-breath. Further study is needed to determine if there's a correlation.
The government grant...
...wait for it...
...has already been approved.
Fifty Shades of Funny