The lobsters that dominate pop culture


It’s August, which means Maine is in full swing with lobster feasts! Even without our famous Lobster Festival, which unfortunately was canceled due to COVID-19, we can still celebrate.

We see our state’s favorite crustacean featured in our favorite cartoons, movies, and even popular music. You might recognize some of these pop culture favorites that showcase our state’s most delicious ocean bug!

Larry the Lobster from the “Spongebob Squarepants” cartoon television series. Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Larry the Lobster from Spongebob Squarepants, a children’s cartoon on Nickelodeon, is arguably the most famous of all pop culture lobsters. He’s a frequent supporting character, first appearing in the episode “Ripped Pants,” which most millennials will immediately recognize and start humming after hearing the title. He is well known specifically for being a gym fanatic.

Larry the Lobster isn’t the only well-known cartoon floating around in the digital world. In the entertainment realm of Hulu is Futurama’s Doctor Zoidberg.

It counts as a lobster, right? The lobster man? Lobster-mutant? Either way, we the Mainers make the rules as they go, we get it on the list.

Futurama, a 20th Century Fox TV show, has Doctor Zoidberg, a Decapodian, who is a doctor for delivery company Planet Express, despite his questionable credentials and poor understanding of human physiology.

Dr. Zoidberg from the TV show “Futurama”. 20th Century Fox Television

If you’re not too keen on the cartoon scene and the weird and surreal movies, you might recognize “The Lobster”, starring Colin Farrell and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. David, the main character, arrives at a strange hotel with even stranger rules. If David stays single for 45 days, he will turn into a lobster. There are also other… weird… aspects to this movie that don’t focus on the lobsters at all. But hey, title.

Music fanatics, especially those who enjoy timeless classics, can easily hear the first three seconds of the B-52’s “Rock Lobster” and know exactly when to get up and dance.

The younger generations would hear the first three seconds and recognize them as Panic! at the “Don’t threaten me to have a good time” nightclub.

Nothing is original anymore, both are absolute summer bops anyway.

Ebirah, from the 1966 film “Ebirah, the horror of the depths” Toho Studios

For Godzilla fans, you might recognize Ebirah from the movie “Godzilla: Final Wars”.

Ebirah is a kaiju, a Japanese term used for giant monsters (fans of the movie “Pacific Rim” will certainly recognize it), created by Toho Company Ltd. in the 1966 Godzilla movie, “Ebirah, Horror of the Deep”.

Much like our shedder lobsters here in Midcoast Maine, Ebirah has delicate claws and a soft spot for saffron.

For another blockbuster, many may also recognize the movie “Atlantis: The Lost Empire,” a 2001 Disney animated film starring actors like Michael J. Fox, Leonard Nimoy, and Cree Summer.

In a scene where the team of adventurers travels underwater via their fleet of submarines, a mechanical monstrosity known as Leviathan attacks them, sending the team rushing towards some danger.

No one has been able to convince us that the Leviathan is not a giant blue lobster with territory-based anger issues.

Surprisingly, there is even lobster that has become famous in the fashion industry. Elsa Schiaparelli, an Italian fashion designer (whose biggest rival was Coco Chanel), created a famous lobster evening dress in 1937. Via the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, Schiaparelli was well regarded in her avant-garde fashion in the 1930s until the early 1950s. She created this dress with Spanish artist Salvador Dali in the midst of the surrealist art movement.

Lobster evening dress from 1937 by Elsa Schiaparelli.

Speaking of Salvador Dali, anyone recognizes his wacky “Lobster Telephone? From 1936. It’s literally just a lobster on a rotary, serving as a receiver. This surreal piece was created for Edward James, an English poet who was a great collector of surreal art at the height of his popularity.

Salvador Dali’s 1936 “Lobster Telephone” Salvador Dali

Another work of art, though perhaps not as easily recognizable, is Eli Lotar and Jean Painlève’s ‘Lobster Claw’ from 1929. A simple yet profound piece of photography, this piece resides in the Museum of Fine Art in Houston.

Why it’s not in a gallery as it is now that specializes in lobster chowder, buns and stew, we don’t know. But I am taken away, it is quite a pleasant piece to watch.

We can’t end this list without mentioning “The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier” by Colin Woodard. It is a book on Maine’s coastal culture, economic divisions, and the state’s unique history with Massachusetts.

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