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For tropes A to C see here.
For tropes J to P see here.
For tropes Q to Z see here.
- Dance Sensation: "The Sponge."
- And "The Cramp".
- Dark and Troubled Past: Implied for Mrs. Puff."I'll have to move to a new city, start a new boating school with a new name!...No...Not AGAIN."
- She doesn't like to talk about what happened to Mr. Puff, either.
- Darker and Edgier: The Movie, and several episodes focusing on Plankton and Squidward.
- "Nasty Patty" where Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob try to hide a body of a health inspector they thought they killed.
- The 2005 educational short "The Endless Summer" while not part of the show. It's ending is surprisingly depressing and not played for laughs.
- Darkest Hour: In "SpongeBob's Last Stand", Plankton has successfully driven the Krusty Krab's customers to the Chum Bucket, and Mr. Krabs has no choice but to give Plankton the Krabby Patty Secret Formula.
- A Day in the Limelight
- "Mall Girl Pearl" is the first episode in the series in which SpongeBob plays no direct role in the outcome of the story. Instead, the episode exclusively focuses on Pearl as she tries to get a job at the mall so she can be like her friends, with SpongeBob appearing in two background cameos stalking Squidward and one more cameo at the end when he retrieves Beatrice's dropped hand.
- Deadmans Chest: "The Nasty Patty".
- Deadpan Snarker: Squidward and Karen. Big time. They're both a lot smarter than the people they routinely have to deal with, and respond to the stupidity of those around them with sarcasm. In Squidward's case, he's perpetually depressed, so his sense of humor is extremely dry as a result. Mr. Krabs and Sandy also have their moments— in fact, the only major characters who aren't sardonic with at least some sort of regularity are SpongeBob and Patrick.Krabs: We've got to do everything in our power to make sure he passes the Krusty Krab.
SpongeBob: But Mr. Krabs, there's no reason to worry. The Krusty Krab is the most perfect place in the universe.
Krabs: ... you really haven't got any brains at all, have you, son?
- Delayed Reaction: Happens a lot.
Squidward: For the Bikini Bottom Snail Race. Snellie will be winning this Sunday.
- From 'The Great Snail Race':
SpongeBob: Well, I guess I can't enter Gary in that. Sunday's laundry day!
Squidward: What?! No, SpongeBob. You can't enter Gary because Gary's a mutt!
(close-up of Gary looking exactly like a mutt)
SpongeBob: Boy, you got that right. Gary's no—HEY!! What makes you think Gary couldn't win that race?
- Also in 'Ghost Host', where a customer falls asleep on a mattress being sold to him. The Flying Dutchman comes in and tries to scare the sleeping dude, but no matter how much he tries, he won't wake up. Only when The Flying Dutchman gave up and the salesman has come back already did the customer wake up and scream in terror.
- Delicious Fruit Pies: Parodied in "Mermaid Man vs. SpongeBob", with the "Krusty Kids Meal" commercial at the beginning of the episode.Man Ray: How can I be evil with flavors this good?
- Demoted to Extra: Every character who isn't SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, or Plankton.
- Department of Redundancy Department: The Bank of Bikini Bottom Bank in "Safe Deposit Krabs".
- The Campfire Song Song.
- In the episode "Big Pink Loser", SpongeBob receives a trophy for "Outstanding Achievement in Achievement."
- "Pizza Delivery" has this exchange:SpongeBob: We're saved!
Squidward: That's just a stupid boulder!
SpongeBob: It's not just a boulder... it's a rock!
- "The Bad Guy Club for Villains"
- Depending on the Writer: A lot of the character interpretations are rather inconsistent between episode to episode. SpongeBob can be a sweet natured albeit naive Ditz or an arrogant, idiotic Butt Monkey, Squidward tends to vacillate between being a complete Jerkass and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Sandy can be a multitalented voice of reason or a rowdy Small Name, Big Ego while Mr. Krabs can be a greedy yet somewhat well intentioned Pointy-Haired Boss or a borderline Monster in his money lust.
Squidward: Patrick, just how dumb are you?
- Lampshaded in one episode:
Patrick: It varies.
- Whether Squidward or Squilliam wins at the end of their episodes also varies.
- Usually the character interpretations fall on who the character in focus is. If the focus is Squidward's life being ruined, then SpongeBob and Patrick will have nothing bad happen to them, while when the focus is instead SpongeBob having a problem, everything bad will instead happen to him, usually caused by Patrick.
- Deranged Animation: Most episodes at some point, especially seasons 1, 4, the two movies, and the second half of season 9.
- Derelict Graveyard: Bikini Bottom itself. The Mall, Thug Tug from The Movie, The Mobile Krusty Krab, and the Boating Museum and most contents are all shipwrecks.
- Description Cut: From "Nature Pants". SpongeBob has decided to live in the wild with jellyfish, abandoning civilization and all of his friends. Patrick is completely distraught and begs SpongeBob to come home:Patrick: SpongeBob! Come back! I miss you! Sandy misses you! Even Squidward misses you![scene cuts to Squidward dancing gleefully in his own home, presumably celebrating SpongeBob's absence]
- Destructive Savior:
- In "Wormy", SpongeBob and Patrick sound the alarm about a monster (actually a butterfly) and send the city in a panic that causes far more destruction than the "monster" would have ever caused.
- In the episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm", SpongeBob and Sandy manage to drive a giant worm away as it fell down a large cliff. However, at the same time the citizens of Bikini Bottom were pushing the city somewhere else in an attempt to get away from the aforementioned worm and the city ended up at the bottom of a cliff that the worm fell off. As a result, the giant worm landed on top of Bikini Bottom, destroying it.
- Determinator: Sandy and Plankton show traces of this trope, but no one in the show comes close to SpongeBob. His dedication to his job at the Krusty Krab borders on self-destructive at times. He will never, ever miss a day of work if he can help it, and in the very first episode, he finds a "Hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and turbo drive," despite the fact that Krabs completely made it up on the spot (just to get rid of SpongeBob by sending him on a wild goose chase). He's also gone to absurdly great lengths to impress and/or help pretty much every character on the show (even the non-recurring characters— usually Krusty Krab customers) at some point.
Amongst the things that SpongeBob refuses to keep him from doing his job are potential starvation, a giant tornado, a terrible cold, severe fatigue, and being unable to walk.
- Didn't Think This Through: In the episode "Pressure", Sandy argues with Patrick, Squidward, SpongeBob, and Mr. Krabs about "land critters" being better than "sea critters." At one point, the four brag about being able to breathe underwater, and the fact that she (unlike them) needs her suit to survive in the ocean. As they laugh at her attempts to retort, she removes her suit and helmet in a fit of prideful rage, attempting to prove them wrong. Then she realizes that she can no longer breathe.
- Disney Dog Fight: SpongeBob thinks that Gary had left him forever to live with Patrick, but at the end he comes back to SpongeBob.
- Disapproving Look: Sandy gives SpongeBob one once it's exposed that he used fake muscles.
- Disproportionate Retribution: According to "Good Ol' Whatshisname", the standard punishment for wallet theft is 10 years of incarceration.
- In "Demolition Doofus", SpongeBob injured Mrs. Puff and causes her inflation sac to burst. As a result, she enters him in a demolition derby so he would be killed (yes, "killed").
- In "Little Yellow Book", Squidward gets shamed by the whole town, kicked out of his house, and arrested for reading SpongeBob's diary.
- The "Fools in April" episode started with SpongeBob playing harmless pranks on people in Bikini Bottom, who all thought they were kind of funny, until Squidward got so irritated by SpongeBob's laughing he pulled an elaborate and humiliating prank that ended in SpongeBob running off in tears with everyone else shaming Squidward for it. Squidward struggles to apologize until the guilt consumes him and he performs an anguished declaration apologizing to SpongeBob. It turned out SpongeBob was only pretending to be heartbroken as another prank.
- In "Party Pooper Pants," the police arrested SpongeBob for not inviting them to his party.
- During the episode "Arrgh!", Mr. Krabs is playing a Flying Dutchman board game with SpongeBob and Patrick. Patrick lands on a card that allows him to throw one of his "shipmates" in the "brig," and he chooses Mr. Krabs. Krabs fires him in retaliation, and Patrick replies that he doesn't even work at the Krusty Krab (congrats, Krabs— you got outsmarted by a man who's forgotten how to eat on at least one occasion). At that point, Krabs offers Patrick a job, "starting now," which makes Patrick ecstatic. Then Krabs immediately fires him.
- The Ditz:
- SpongeBob, though he is good at math.
- Patrick is more extreme. For example, he can short-circuit his brain at random. Taken past the logic extreme in one episode where he forgets how to breathe. "I'm With Stupid" mentions that Patrick also forgot how to eat at one point. In "Pressure", he expresses disbelief that Sandy is a girl, despite using "she" to refer to Sandy just minutes earlier. The level of his stupidity is perhaps never better expressed, however, than in this exchange during the episode "Big Pink Loser":SpongeBob: This time, I've got something I know you can do. We're gonna open a jar. [opens a jar himself] Easy! Now you try. First, get a jar.
Patrick: [produces a pickle from hammerspace]
SpongeBob: Patrick, that's a pickle.
SpongeBob: You need a jar.
Patrick: [produces a spatula]
Patrick: [produces his own shorts]
Patrick: [produces SpongeBob himself]
SpongeBob: No... try this. [hands Patrick a jar] Now, take the lid off the jar. [does so himself]
Patrick: [places the jar in his mouth]
- Does Not Like Shoes: Inverted by SpongeBob in earlier seasons, to such an extent that he sleeps in his shoes and socks regularly, even when he's only wearing his underwear to bed. In later seasons, this inverted trope is dropped.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
Patrick: You know, these were white when I bought them. *He is wearing yellow underwear.*
- From the second season and onward.SpongeBob: (To Squidward, referring to a paper figure of them playing leapfrog) "This time you're on the top and I'm on the bottom!"
- The episode "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve" where SpongeBob and Patrick raise a baby oyster to adulthood.
- In "Gary Takes a Bath", SpongeBob paints the bathtub like a treasure chest, which he leads Gary to as if on a treasure hunt. SpongeBob hands Gary bars of soap, calling them doubloons, then promptly warns Gary not to drop them.
- This exchange in "Grandma's Kisses":Patrick: Then you get behind her and I'll push!
SpongeBob: Patrick, we didn't say that.
- There's also in the beginning of the episode "Your Shoe's Untied", where SpongeBob was watching a live-action sea anemone gyrating (thus implying that he was watching porn) until Gary meows, startling SpongeBob — who promptly changes the channel, claiming he was looking for football and admonishing Gary for telling lies.
- The ending of "The Fry Cook Games":
Squidward: Is that what he calls it?
- In "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm": "It was big, SCARY, and pink!" What else is big, scary, and pink?
- When under a lot of stress in "Little Yellow Book", SpongeBob takes a break where blows bubbles in a manner akin to smoking.
- At the end of "Dumped," when Gary goes back to SpongeBob after getting the cookie in Patrick's pocket, Gary and SpongeBob go for a walk, leaving Patrick standing in SpongeBob's house in nothing but his underwear, screaming, "I THOUGHT WHAT WE HAD WAS SPECIAL!"
- In "Something Smells", Spongebob thinks everyone is avoiding him because of his ugliness (but actually his breath stinks) and is really saddened by it, to which Patrick tells him to be proud of being ugly and prompt him to chant from the top of his house "I'm ugly and I'm proud!" Squidward even lampshades it.
- From the second season and onward.
- A Dog Named "Dog":
- A plankton named Plankton. "Plankton's Army" reveals that his full name is Sheldon J. Plankton, so this is a Species Surname.
- A sponge named SpongeBob. This informs audiences that SpongeBob is a sponge, not an anthropomorphic block of Cartoon Cheese.
- Subverted Trope: Squidward is an octopus, not a squid.
- Door To Door Episode: "Chocolate With Nuts".
- Double Standard: Violence, Child on Adult: This is implied in the episode "The Bully," with Flats bullying his father, and his father being scared.
- Downer Ending: Quite a few episodes, for the laughs.
- However the ending to the 2005 educational short "The Endless Summer" is not played for laughs.
- Dreadful Musician: Squidward, at least according to everyone in Bikini Bottom.
- Dressed to Plunder: In "Aargh!", Mr. Krabs goes treasure hunting with SpongeBob and Patrick dressed in fancy pirate captain duds, and gives his two underlings some pirate wear to match. SpongeBob puts on two peg legs and calls himself Peggy the Pirate, while Patrick wears eyepatches on both eyes as Blindbeard the Pirate.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Mrs. Puff's substitute in one episode, and the warden of the prison island that SpongeBob and Patrick are stuck on in another.
- Spongebob himself is this to Gary in "The Snail Race".
- Drunk on Milk: In The Movie, where SpongeBob and Patrick get drunk off sundaes.
- SpongeBob orders "A shot...of milk, two percent" at the Krusty Kantina, to which Squidward replies, "Think you can handle it?"
- Dude, Not Funny!:
- During "Fools in April", Squidward gets fed up with SpongeBob's constant pranks, and decides to get revenge. He ends up taking his prank overboard, and ends up making him run out crying. The customers don't take kindly at all. However, their offended reaction to the prank was revealed to be just acting for ANOTHER April Fools joke.
- Another example happens in "Ripped Pants" where SpongeBob gets the brilliant idea that pretending to drown makes a good segue to his ripped pants gag.
- Dumb and Drummer: Patrick is the drummer for SpongeBob and the Hi-Seas, and was the drummer at the end of "Band Geeks". Earlier in the episode he played the trombone and SpongeBob played the drums.
- Dumbass Has a Point: Patrick's rant in "Wet Painters" after he and SpongeBob get a microscopic drop of paint on Mr. Krab's first dollar:Patrick: This is all Mr. Krabs' fault! If he hadn't hung that stupid dollar in the first place!...I mean, it's not like it looks any different than a regular dollar. Why hang it? You could just stick any old dollar bill on the wall, no one would even know the difference!
- In "Squidtastic Voyage", Partick actually says something smart, and everybody is surprised.
- Dumb Muscle: Patrick has been shown on a few occasions to be fairly strong, though this is especially prominent in the games. He's not exactly the smartest guy around, either.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Flats the Flounder, the titular antagonist in the Season 3 episode "The Bully", would occasionally show up in Season 1 as an unnamed extra (most prominently in the episodes "Sandy's Rocket" and "Texas").
- Early Installment Character-Design Difference: Sandy's underwater suit was changed to have a hole for her tail season two onwards. She also didn't have an acorn on her suit originally.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Season 1 feels very different than the rest of the show, mainly due to being produced with actual ink and paint, rather than the ToonBoom software.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The first movie, (which is said to be the Grand Finale of the series) features this for the main characters.
- Earpiece Conversation: Patrick coaches SpongeBob through his boating test with a walkie-talkie hidden under a cowboy hat. Mrs. Puff compliments SpongeBob on his improvement, joking that it's as if someone were telling him all the answers. But when she mentions that that would be cheating, SpongeBob freaks out and confesses... and crashes the boat, failing the test once again.
- Easily Forgiven: In "The Secret Box", after Patrick catches SpongeBob breaking into his place and trying to peek inside his mystery box, even after he told him not to:Patrick: That's it, SpongeBob. You have crossed the line. As of right now, this friendship is over!
SpongeBob: (tears up) Really?
Patrick: Nah, you can look inside if you really want to.
- Easily Impressed: Spongebob and his best friend Patrick act quite childishly and cheer over everything obnoxiously. This especially gets on Squidward and Plankton's nerves.
- Easy Amnesia: Played with in "Missing Identity", where SpongeBob suffers a "horrific incident of terror", yet came out alright — it was a missing nametag that drove the plot. For the rest of the episode he repeatedly reenacted his morning routine, complete with the aforementioned "horrific incident of terror". For "WhoBob WhatPants", the creators intentionally revisited the idea to play it straight.
- Eating the Eye Candy: In "SpongeBob LongPants", when SpongeBob first walks through the Krusty Krab in his new long pants, we get a Female Gaze shot of his butt and several female customers are shown to be clearly attracted to him.
- The Eeyore: Squidward.
- Either/Or Title: All episodes have title cards, but some are presented within Patchy specials, most of which have titles themselves: "Shanghaied" is part of "You Wish" or "Patchy's Pick", "Party Pooper Pants" is part of "SpongeBob SquarePants House Party", "Ugh" is part of "SpongeBob SquarePants B.C. (Before Comedy)", "The Sponge Who Could Fly" is part of "SpongeBob SquarePants Lost Episode", and "Truth or Square" is part of "Patchy the Pirate's SpongeBob SquarePants Fan Club Big Time Impressive Celebratory Television Extravaganza!" Similarly, three episodes have Special Edition Titles that rename the show: "Christmas Who?" is The SpongeBob Christmas Special, "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?" is WhoBob WhatPants, and "Hello Bikini Bottom!" is "SpongeBob On Tour".
- Eldritch Abomination: The Monster Who Came to Bikini Bottom.
- One episode has SpongeBob reading a novel. Said book stars creatures so horrifying that the author died trying to describe them in it.
- What Puffy Fluffy turns into
- Played for Laughs in "Wormy". Everyone thinks that the butterfly is one, until Sandy returns.
- The Evil Alien Jellyfish Overlord from Planet of the Jellyfish
- Patrick's giant wad of gum is treated as one near the end of it's episode.
- Eldritch Location: The Fly of Despair from "Shangheid", a literal pocket dimension that only the Flying Dutchman and Squidward know about which is nothing but a tunnel of surreal, demonic imagery!
- Electric Jellyfish: The show's jellyfish are, although they're described as stinging. They've even burned several characters.
- Embarrassed by a Child: in the episode where Bob becomes a stand-up comedian and unknowingly irritates Sandy by using squirrel jokes, the next day, Sandy is treated like this when she's in a supermarket. A boy walks up to Sandy and his mom responds "Don't go near that squirrel, Billy. You'll catch its stupid."
- Embarrassing First Name: Sheldon J. Plankton
- Enemy Mine: Mr. Krabs and Plankton in 'Best Frenemies'.
- SpongeBob and Squidward too on occasion, even though they're not technically enemies.
- Epic Fail: In "Shell Shocked" SpongeBob goes to a store to get a replacement shell for Gary and ends up breaking every single shell in the store, including the one the manager claimed was completely indestructible.
- Episode Title Card
- Escalating War: The climax and ending of "Employee of the Month" has this, as SpongeBob and Squidward use increasing abrasive and ludicrous ways of keeping each other from reaching the Krusty Krab—topping off with Squidward tied to a giant boat, and SpongeBob tied to an anchor. Then when they reach the Krusty Krab, they wreak even more havoc as they tear it apart while cleaning in an attempt to impress Mr. Krabs, and then finally produce a pile of Krabby Patties so quickly and at such a fast rate that it causes the Krusty Krab to explode.
- "Sand Castles In the Sand" starts with SpongeBob crushing Patrick's sand castle, saying it did it wrong. To get even, Patrick does the same to a castle Sponge then builds. The whole episode is an Escalating War depicting the two trying to outdo each other with more complex sand castles and imagery. Eventually, they really get into it, building sand armies to demolish the other's castle. It culminates in an aerial dogfight complete with sand-nukes.
- Euphemism Buster:SpongeBob: Squidward! He's... he's... pushing up daisies!Patrick: Oh, I thought he was dead.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Mr. Krabs and Plankton, although in the latter's case it's his grandmama.
- Even Beggars Won't Choose It: A guy who hasn't eaten for days crawls into the Krusty Krab begging for food, but when he gets offered some he rejects it because the Krusty Krab lacks "pizazz." He then crawls away still begging for food... water... atmosphere!
- Even Evil Has Standards: Mr. Krabs' greed is so bad, that even Plankton is shown to be disgusted by it. Quoted by him, "And I thought I was evil."
- Squidward, although not evil, is a notorious Jerkass who hates SpongeBob with a passion. Even so, he was absolutely disgusted when Mr. Krabs sold SpongeBob's soul to the Flying Dutchman for pocket change.
- Another Squidward example happens in an episode where he and SpongeBob go on a pizza delivery. After the customer refused to accept the pizza, SpongeBob goes into a depression. Squidward, who usually enjoys seeing SpongeBob's misery, actually feels sorry for him, goes up to the customer, and slams the pizza into his face.
- Even the Guys Want Him: When Squidward got his face reconstructed after getting in the way while SpongeBob was opening a door.
- Everybody Knew Already: In "Banned in Bikini Bottom", when Mr. Krabs was forced to close down the Krusty Krab, he converts SpongeBob's house into a secret Krusty Krab... complete with a sign advertising it as such.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: Parodied in the episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V," which ends with every character featured on the episode laughing one after another, even characters with no reason to laugh, such as Manray and the Dirty Bubble, who are in prison, even though the only "joke" was that Barnacle Boy couldn't finish his Krabby Patty.
- Subverted in a much later episode, "Spongicus". SpongeBob, Patrick, Krabs, and Squidward begin laughing as the music cue signals the end of the episode, but the scene continues. One by one, the characters get bored, stop laughing, and walk away.
- Also parodied in an episode in with the laughter is broken by an unexpected, angry attack from the sky c/o Sandy.
- Everything Explodes Ending: "Dying For Pie" ends with the exploding pie completely destroying Bikini Bottom, using Stock Footage from the Bikini Island nuclear tests to represent said explosion.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: Sandy.Tom: CHOCOLATE!? Did you say...CHOCOLATE!? CHOCOLAAAATTTTE!!!! CHOCOLAAAATTTTE!!!! CHOCOLAAAATTTTE!!!!
- Evil Feels Good: When Plankton betrays SpongeBob in the episode "F.U.N." he says the reason is because "evil is just too much fun".
- Evil Versus Evil: Krabs versus Plankton (in newer episodes).
- Expanded Universe
- Expecting Someone Taller: In the episode "Opposite Day", SpongeBob impersonates Squidward when a real estate agent comes to look at Squidward's house. She tells SpongeBob that she pictured "Squidward" being much taller.SpongeBob: Yeah, everyone says that.
- Expy: SpongeBob is similar to Rocko from Rocko's Modern Life, Patrick is similar to Heffer, Squidward is similar to Mr. Bighead, Gary is similar to Spunky, and Mr. Krabs is similar to Mr. Smitty. Creator Stephen Hillenburg did indeed work on Rocko.
- Extra! Extra! Read All About It!: "Maniac strikes Bikini Bottom! City paralyzed with fear!"
- Eye Scream: Crops up a number of times.Tattle-Tale Strangler: Get your feet out of my eye sockets! [screaming]
SpongeBob: I'm trying— BUT MY CLEATS ARE STUCK IN YOUR CORNEAS!!! ...Six hours later...
- Also in the episode where the Krusty Krab gets a claw machine (which squidward fails at) and therefore cant pick anything up- so while watching tv- and cant pick up the remote- he changes the channel WITH HIS EYE- then proceeds to scream.
- In "Enchanted Tiki Dreams", SpongeBob and Patrick repeatedly spray mustard on their eyes.
- They do this again in "Bubble Troubles", but with hot sauce.
- SpongeBob accidentally does this to Squidward in "Stuck in the Ringer"; not only do his eyes burn, but they also shrivel up and fall on SpongeBob's patty.
- In "Eek, an Urchin!" SpongeBob tries to spray a blob of ketchup on the floor but ends up spraying his eyes instead.
- When SpongeBob and Patrick are running out of the Toy Barrel, their eyes are literally burning.
- A literal example happens in "Graveyard Shift" - as SpongeBob is screaming continuously after the "Hash Slinging Slasher" story, we see a shot of his eyes screaming.
- SpongeBob also spills bubble liquid on his eyes in "Krabby Land".
- Eye Shock: Usually to either SpongeBob, Patrick, or Squidward.
- Face–Heel Turn: Barnacle Man in "Super Friends".
- The Faceless: Oh Hans?
- Failure Montage:
- In "Pickles", SpongeBob has trouble doing things right, and there's a montage of him trying to figure out how to get into bed.
- In "Missing Identity", SpongeBob tries to retrace his steps to find his missing name tag by repeating everything he did that morning, from tripping down the stairs to tasting Gary's food to saying hi to Patrick. Unfortunately, Patrick keeps flubbing his lines, meaning that they have to go through the whole thing over and over.
- In "Plankton's Army" we see a brief montage of Plankton's failed disguises as he tries to steal the Krabby Patty formula, all of them involving roaches.
- Fan Of The Underdog: SpongeBob and Patrick seem to be the only entities in Bikini Bottom that actually like Squidward and consider him as wonderful and talented a being as he himself believes he is. Unfortunately their stupidity and clinginess still manages to cause him as much suffering and pain as everyone else's harshness.
- Fantastic Racism: Played for laughs when SpongeBob became a lifeguard:SpongeBob: There are sharks in the water!
Shark: Hey! That's my family you're talking about!
SpongeBob: Um... sea monsters!
Sea Monster: You know, we sea monsters have made great contributions to the fields of science and literature.
- Also parodied in "Squirrel Jokes"
- From SpongeBob reading the dumpster writing in Sailor Mouth: "'Nematodes are people too!' (Dismissively) HA! Those nematodes!" Just replace nematodes with any minority group in the world and see how bad a person you suddenly feel.
- Sandy is the victim of many direct and indirect "racist" remarks (either because she's from Texas or because she's a "land critter"). In "Karate Choppers," Mr. Krabs forbids SpongeBob from participating in karate with Sandy. As he leaves the scene, he appears to sniff in Sandy's direction before muttering "Mammals..." in a disgusted tone. Especially jarring since his daughter is a whale.
- In Kenny The Cat, Sandy thinks that cats are bad people.
- Fantasy Twist: SpongeBob fantasizes about what his life would be like if he had muscles. It turns out to be exactly the same as it is now, but with muscles.
- "Far Side" Island: On the surface.
- Fat Best Friend: Patrick.
- Fat Slob: Again, Patrick, if "The Battle of Bikini Bottom" is to be believed.
- Fate Worse Than Death: In "Born Again Krabs"Flying Dutchman: Heard what you said? I couldn't hear myself thinking with this one around. I only had him for thirty seconds. And it's jellyfishing this and Mermaid Man that. Why, not giving him back is a fate worse than death He's your problem now.
- Faux Horrific: A few times, like with Wormy.
- Felony Misdemeanor: SpongeBob tends to overreact whenever he makes a single mistake during his job, like being late by a minute, accidentally giving a customer a large-sized soda instead of a medium one, being out of napkins…
- To take this trope literally, do not litter in Bikini Bottom. Ever.
- Feud Episode: Squidward gets SpongeBob and Patrick to stop being friends by sending them each his own makeshift bubblegrams. Once Squidward realizes what he did when both ex-friends want him to be his friend, he comes up with a plan to get them to be friends again.
- The Film of the Book: The episode "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?" is based on the Tie-In Novel For the Love of Bubbles.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: Patrick launches hot marshmallows on Squidward when camping.
- Five-Man Band: The International Justice League of Super Aquaintances, or IJLSA from the episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V"
- Flanderization: Most of the main characters since The Movie. SpongeBob has gone from a naive Genius Ditz to a frequent carrier of the Idiot Ball, Patrick has become an extreme example of The Ditz, Mr. Krabs's obsession with money has become his only defining trait and Squidward's Butt Monkey status has become full-blown Disproportionate Retribution (though Squidward himself hasn't been Flanderized, since he was a Jerkass since day one...)
- Another thing that has been flanderized about Patrick is his snaggletoothed grin, in the early seasons he very rarely used it, in the later episodes he does this all the time to the point where it's practically his default smile.
- Gary and Sandy suffer highly inconsistent Flanderization Depending on the Writer. Gary can act as a normal pet or be several times as intelligent as most of the cast around him while Sandy can be an insane Small Name, Big Ego or a walking embodiment of Positive Discrimination.
- Any and all aspects of Sandy's older "tough cow-girl" traits seem to have been completely removed until the episode "Rodeo Daze" in favor of her knack for building inventions...something she did ONE TIME in the first season.
- Flat Character: Princess Mindy in The Movie. If you think about it, she's really not much more than a plot device. Her only contributions to the story were to be a love interest for Patrick, stop her father from killing Mr. Krabs, give SpongeBob and Patrick their "mustaches", and stall her father long enough for SpongeBob to come back with the crown.
- Flashback Cut: In "The Bully"Spongebob: Hi, I'm Spongebob!(later)Spongebob: I haven't said two words to the guy!(cut)Spongebob: Hi, I'm Spongebob!
- Flaying Alive: Surprisingly frequent.
- Flexing Those Non-Biceps: Anchor Arms, which look nothing like balloons worn over SpongeBob's arms.
- Advertiser selling Anchor Arms: "Now I'm a jerk and everybody loves me!"
- Flintstone Theming: Nearly everything is replaced by its underwater equivalent.
- "Flowers for Algernon" Syndrome: "Patrick Smartpants"
- Foil: SpongeBob to Squidward. SpongeBob is an idiot, but is well-meaning, and who is sort of pleasurable to be around. In contrast, Squidward is a smug, pessmistic character who hates his job, thinks he's superior to everyone else, and is the town's unofficial Butt Monkey.
- Food and Animal Attraction: Gary the snail gets really affectionate towards Patrick over the cookies in his pocket.
- The Fool: SpongeBob (sometimes) and Patrick.
- Forced to Watch: At the end of "The Great Patty Caper", as punishment for stealing the secret formula for the Krabby Patty, Mr. Krabs must give away patties for free for a day and the two police officers who caught his confession are the ones forcing him to watch as SpongeBob gives away the patties, as Mr. Krabs screams in horror.
- Foreshadowing: In "I'm With Stupid", Patrick's parents are initially impressed that their son immediately recognizes them (their first line is, "Wow, son! You actually recognized us this time!"), and Patrick doesn't bother to defend himself. As it turns out, they're not his parents. Patrick doesn't realize this because, as hinted at, he frequently forgets what his real parents look like.
- Forged Message: "Naughty Nautical Neighbors", in which SpongeBob and Patrick, at their homes, communicates via speeches in soap bubbles. The noises disturb Squidward (whose house are between the two's) who's eating a cake at the moment. Frustrated, Squidward shakes his fork on the plate, at which point it creates foams (presumably from the cake). Squidward then gets an idea of stopping them: "sap" the communication line by stopping their bubbles mid-flight, and then using his own foam to create speech soap bubbles that are filled with unsavory messages for SpongeBob and Patrick (who are unaware that Squidward did it). This drives the two to hate each other for the remainder of the episode. Fridge Logic comes when Squidward's soap bubbles looked different from the normal one, and it's also filled with Squidward's voice and yet they don't recognize the voice.
- Forgot to Pay the Bill: Subverted. SpongeBob thinks Gary did this when the electricity goes out, but it was actually caused by the Blue Jellyfish cutting the wires.
- For Inconvenience, Press "1": During a robot invasion.
- Formally Named Pet: Mr. Puffy Fluffy.
- For the Evulz: "One Coarse Meal"
- Four-Fingered Hands: Except the Flying Dutchman, who needs five fingers to count the number of wishes in Shanghaied.
- Four Is Death: The episode Face Freeze includes a story of a man who stuck his tongue out at people 444 times, which prevented him from putting it back in. The number also foreshadows how grotesque the episode becomes.
- Plankton's prisoner number is 6-5-5-3-2-1.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble
- SpongeBob: Sanguine
- Patrick: Phlegmatic
- Squidward: Melancholic
- Sandy and Mr. Krabs: Choleric
- Fourth Wall Psych: In "Survival of the Idiots", when SpongeBob and Patrick are attempting to escape Sandy's treedome, there's a shot that makes it look as if SpongeBob is trying to open up the TV screen, but the next shot shows that he's actually trying to open the exit door to Sandy's treedome.
- Freak Out: Most of the characters have this at least once.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "No Free Rides", when Mrs. Puff enters her house, there's a painting of the EXACT same frame in the top left! And if you look closely, the painting has ITSELF in it!
- Friendly Scheming: In "Fools in April", SpongeBob annoys Squidward with his April Fools' pranks, only for Squidward to pull a harmful prank on him that nobody finds funny. When he's called out on it, Squidward tries to (tries to) apologize to SpongeBob. When he finally does, it turns out that it was all a giant prank by SpongeBob, and the entire town was in on it.
- Friendship Song:
- On the episode "F.U.N.", SpongeBob and Plankton sing a song together about friendship. "F is for friends that do stuff together. U is for U and Me!" etc.
- The episode "Pest of the West" also gives us "Idiot Friends".
- The Friends Who Never Hang: Sandy is rarely involved in the antics going on at the Krusty Krab, so she's not seen interacting with Mr. Krabs or Squidward much individually, and is rarely placed against Plankton.
- Funny Animal: Nearly everyone.
- Funny Background Event: In the episode "Imitation Krabs," the opening scene features a normal day at the Krusty Krab. A customer walks in, other fish are sitting at the tables enjoying their meals, and Mr. Krabs looks on proudly... all while some random fish in the background appears to have taken his Krabby Patty apart and is licking the patty itself, almost sensually.
- Fun with Acronyms: Every Villain Is Lemons. "Otherwise known as EVIL."
- Fun with Flushing: SpongeBob and Patrick hear a story about a drain that two kids pulled long ago and that flushed away all of Bikini Bottom. They become obsessed with finding "The Big Drain" and making sure no one pulls it again. They do pull it but then it turns out to have been All Just a Dream.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Sandy.
- Gagging on Your Words: Squidward has a hard time saying "I'm sorry" to SpongeBob. So hard, in fact, that at one point his head explodes.
- Gainax Ending: In-universe: "I Had An Accident"'s ending results in a family staring at their TV at you in disbelief watching the episode the viewer just watched and were turned off by THAT Gainax Ending.
- Geographic Flexibility: Bikini Bottom is shown to be this. In most episodes it's a typical small town, but other episodes have shown that it contains a mall, a racetrack, and an Olympic stadium, among other things.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: A PAGE WORTH OF IT!
- Giftedly Bad: Squidward is not as good at music as he thinks he is.
- Gilligan Cut: In the episode "Idiot Box", Squidward doesn't understand why the cardboard box will make noises for SpongeBob and Patrick.Squidward: Why won’t this thing turn on? All right, fine. If you don’t want to show me, I don’t care! I've got better things to do than pace the floor wondering how you two work this thing. (Cut to Squidward pacing the length of his living room floor) How do those two work that thing?! There's got to be a secret button or a switch or something!
- Ambulance Cut: Subverted temporarily in the episode "Born Again Krabs". Mr. Krabs prepares to take a bite out of an old, filthy, tainted patty. Just as he is about to bite down on it, the shot cuts to an ambulance, implying that Krabs was now being rushed to the hospital. As it turns out, the ambulance was only passing by the Krusty Krab.Mr. Krabs: Oh, look. An ambulance. Now then, where was I? (He takes a bite out of the patty, and the Trope is played straight afterwards.)
- Ambulance Cut: Subverted temporarily in the episode "Born Again Krabs". Mr. Krabs prepares to take a bite out of an old, filthy, tainted patty. Just as he is about to bite down on it, the shot cuts to an ambulance, implying that Krabs was now being rushed to the hospital. As it turns out, the ambulance was only passing by the Krusty Krab.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: You shouldn't be surprised if SpongeBob invites even Plankton to one of his parties.
- Mr. Krabs and Plankton have also played poker every Tuesday night for years.
- Gonky Femme: Pearl is a huge girl with inhuman strength and a tendency to cause everything to shake whenever she is crying, jumping or dancing, otherwise is the typical shallow boy-crazy teenage girl. She also wears pink.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Mr. Krabs, playing both roles, invokes this on a dollar bill in an attempt to get it to talk to him.
- Good-Guy Bar: The Weenie Hut.
- Good Times Montage: F.U.N. That is all. Also the montage of playing with Wormy.
- Grand Finale: Word of God has confirmed that, no matter what happens in the show or how long it goes on, the movie is the series finale.
- Grossout Show: Many of the newer episodes venture into how-disgusting-can-we-make-it territory.
- Gross-Up Close-Up: "Nasty Patty," "To Love a Patty," and a lot more episodes.
- HAHAHA–No: Mrs. Puff in Wishing You Well, when SpongeBob asks if he can take a ride in her new hot rod.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Squidward.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Patrick's sister, Sam. The episode even gives us this exchange:Sam: What Patrick doing? Why Patrick talk to meanies?Patrick: Umm......umm.....it's about your temper, sis.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Many of the characters in the show, such as Patrick and Squidward.
- Halloween Episode: 3 Halloween Episodes: "Scaredy Pants", "The Curse of Bikini Bottom" and "Ghoul Fools".
- Hammerspace: In episode "Fear of a Krabby Patty," a frantic, delusional SpongeBob gives Plankton just enough time to squeak out, "Hey where'd you get that piano?" Just before, well, you know.
- Plankton did one of these himself in a much earlier episode, "Plankton!", offering SpongeBob a golden spatula in an attempt to get a Krabby Patty from him. "I've been keeping it in my...secret compartment. SHING! Sparkle-sparkle."
- In "FUN", he hid the Krabby Patty (which is bigger than his body) in his pocket.
- Hands Go Down: From "Band Geeks":Patrick: Is mayonnaise an instrument?
Squidward: No, Patrick. Mayonnaise is not an instrument.
[Patrick raises his hand]
Squidward: Horseradish is not an instrument either.
[Patrick puts his hand down]
- Hanlon's Razor: Played rather straight with SpongeBob, he can get away with all kinds of travesties he commits on others, so long as he means well in his actions. Patrick fits the bill most of the time as well.
- Hard Work Montage: One such montage actually gets an introduction.
- Hates Baths: An episode is devoted to SpongeBob trying to get Gary to take a bath and failing.
- Hat of Authority:
- In "Squid's Day Off", Squidward gives SpongeBob a "promotion" so Squidward himself doesn't have to do anything. This is marked by SpongeBob now wearing two hats.
- In "Hall Monitor", after taking Patrick on as his sidekick in patrolling the streets, SpongeBob notes that Patrick lacks one of these. Patrick settles on the empty ice cream cone he dropped, and SpongeBob accepts it.
- In "Squid On Strike", Squidward promises that if he strikes with him, SpongeBob will "get [his] job back, and more..."SpongeBob: [gleefully] And more...? [SpongeBob imagines himself, via thought bubble, wearing a giant Krusty Krab uniform hat that's at least twice the size of SpongeBob himself]
- Healing Factor: SpongeBob can repeatedly rip off his own arms, and they will sprout back in the same scene with no problems and no pain. May also explain the various Amusing Injuries. In fact, considering the supporting cast includes a starfish, a crab and a(n alleged) squid, this trope is Justified.
- Word of God confirms that Squidward is in fact an octopus. In a commentary on The Movie DVD, he says that calling him "Octo-ward" didn't sound right, it was too difficult to animate him with eight legs, and early drafts that gave him the ability to produce ink...just didn't look right.
- SpongeBob's healing factor is so powerful that there are several gags involving SpongeBob's arms or legs being ripped or broken off. One hilarious example is in the episode "The Graveyard Shift", where Mr. Krabs decides that the Krusty Krab will be open 24 hours a day. So Squidward and SpongeBob are stuck there all night. To pass the time, Squidward tells a scary story about the "Hash-Slinging Slasher". SpongeBob bites his nails...then chews his fingers off...then his arms are being fed into his Buzzsaw Jaw as soon as they regenerate...and then he eats a bucket of his arms like a bucket of popcorn.
- I Thought Everyone Could Do That: When Squidward gets to the part where the Hash-Slinging Slasher cut off his own hand, SpongeBob doesn't react. In fact, he even demonstrates that he himself can do it and regenerate the lost limb. Then Squidward explains that the Hash-Slinging Slasher's hand didn't grow back, and suddenly SpongeBob is terrified.
- Heel–Face Revolving Door: Man Ray.
- Helping Granny Cross the Street:
- Happens to Mr. Krabs at one point. The gag is brought back near the end of the episode; the scout walking him into his old room at his mother's house.
- SpongeBob even does this for his own grandma in Abrasive Side, and later, his abrasive side rudely refuses to help.
- In a deleted scene in Best Day Ever, he helps an old lady cross the street...only for the lady to hit him with an umbrella for making her miss the bus.
- Mr. Krabs did help an old lady across the street in Patrick Man...only to leave her in the street to chase a dollar.
- Heroic B.S.O.D.:
- Mr. Krabs in "One Krab's Trash". Or Villainous Breakdown, depending on how you see Mr. Krabs.
- He has another one in the episode where he escapes death, vows to turn over a new leaf, and thinks his massive generosity and debt is all a dream and he's still in the hospital. And then SpongeBob and Squidward tell him he checked out of the hospital and here's the bill.
- Squidward also gets one near the end of "Squid's Visit".
- SpongeBob gets one in Krusty Dogs when Mr. Krabs removes Krabby Patties from the menu.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: SpongeBob and Patrick; but Word of God has it that SpongeBob is, in fact, asexual.
- Hidden Disdain Reveal: In the "Fry Cook Games" episode, SpongeBob and Patrick, who had a falling out, wrestle, exchanging "I don't like you!" "I don't like you more!" "I never liked you!" "I a thousand times never liked you!"
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Happens somewhat often, but perhaps none more significant than the fact that, through a series of incidents involving time-traveling and SpongeBob/Patrick being annoying, Squidward actually invents jellyfishing, which he hates with a passion.
- Hook Hand: Patchy the Pirate.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Spongebob, who thinks he and Squidward are good friends, but Squidward makes it clear that such is not the case.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Subverted. In "Graveyard Shift" where Squidward's improvised ghost story says that the ghost of a former Krusty Krab employee visits the restaurant every Tuesday night.
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: How exactly was Pearl born?
- Humans Are Cthulhu:
- The "Cyclops" in the movie.
- Mr. Krabs believes this in "Hooky."
- Throughout the first few seasons, Barnacle Boy complains to Mermaid Man more than once that making the invisible boatmobile invisible was a bad idea. Yet when SpongeBob and Patrick try to do them a favor by painting it, he reacts furiously ("IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE INVISIBLE!").
- Squidward has been shown on numerous occasions to actually enjoy the same childish activities as SpongeBob and Patrick once he stops being a grouch and actually tries it, but often refuses to participate regardless, simply based on principle. This is most likely so he can satiate his own ego by convincing himself that he's in a higher social class than two adults who act somewhat immature when they're having fun.
- In the beginning of "Pressure", Sandy cheats in her race with SpongeBob by getting an unexpected headstart...then when SpongeBob does the same thing in their subsequent race, Sandy calls him out on it, justifying that her headstart was okay because she "was just funnin' with ya' that time".
- Hypocritical Humor:
Patrick: Look, SpongeBob, are you gonna listen to a big dummy, or are you gonna listen to me?
- From 'Hooky':
Mr. Krabs: I knew it! There was no way some "airhead" was gonna win anything against a water breather!
- From 'Pressure', while SpongeBob and the others were laughing at Sandy's failed attempt to breathe underwater:
Patrick: Airhead... (Laughs. The top of his head deflates like a balloon) Huh? (Puts thumb in mouth and blows. His head becomes round at the top.)
Sandy: Well? So are you going or not?
- Same episode, while Sandy is telling the other four to go on dry land already :
SpongeBob: Actually, you know, but...
Squidward: We can't, uh...because...
Mr. Krabs: Well, um... we're late for our...
Patrick: Our fitting!
Sandy: Oh, you mean for your chicken costumes?
Patrick: (Holding and eating popcorn) Hey, we are not chicken! (Drops popcorn) (Gasps) My popcorn! (Begins pecking at it like a chicken)
Patchy: Welcome! Say, you didn't bring SpongeBob with you, did you? I sure hope he got his invitation. (cut to SpongeBob and Patrick)
- From "Party Pooper Pants", while Patchy remarks that he hopes SpongeBob received his invitation for his party:
SpongeBob: I'd sure like to go to this party, but I can't read the invitation! (Shows close-up of the invitation revealing that the print is sogged and ruined)
Patrick: Me neither.
SpongeBob: (Examines invitation) Whoever sent this obviously has no idea about the physical limitations of life underwater! Well, might as well throw these in the fire. (Scene zooms out revealing a bonfire between SpongeBob and Patrick. Both throw their invitations in the fire)
SpongeBob # 1: Hurry up! What do you think I'm paying you for?
- From 'Squilliam Returns', when Squidward told SpongeBob to empty his mind and his mind has various SpongeBobs emptying his mind:
SpongeBob # 2: You don't pay me. We don't even exist. We're just a clever visual metaphor used to personify the abstract concept of thought.
SpongeBob # 1: One more crack like that and you're outta here!
SpongeBob # 2: (Down on his knees and begging) NO! Please! I have three kids!
Patrick: Oh, SpongeBob. Dumb people are always blissfully unaware to how dumb they really are... (Stares vacantly and drools)
- Patrick in "I'm With Stupid", after trying to convince his parents that SpongeBob is an idiot to outshadow his own idiotic tendencies, only for his own stupidity to convince him that SpongeBob really is an idiot, leading him to insult and talk down on him in the most condescending manner, ultimately leading to:
- And it's revealed in the end the couple Patrick introduced to SpongeBob weren't Patrick's parents but the three stars were too dumb to notice until the real parents appeared.
Squidward That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard!Patrick Well maybe it is stupid, but it's also dumb.
- From "The Camping Episode"
SpongeBob and Patrick: Squidward! Squidward! Let us in! We're missing the Mermaid Man marathon!Squidward: Go away! I've got better things to do than watch grown men prance around in ridiculous outfits. (Cut to a man dancing ballet on Squidward's TV)
- From "Mermaid Man Begins":
- There was also one from the episode " Big Sister Sam". Go above to Hair-Trigger Temper see it.
- In the episode "Yours, Mine, and Mine", Patrick at the end says that SpongeBob has learned nothing about sharing, even though we see him take SpongeBob's wallet twice in the episode, and doesn't share the Krabby Patty toy with SpongeBob throughout the whole episode, to the point that Patrick eats the toy so he won't have to share it with SpongeBob! Let's face it. Patrick was more of a jerk in this episode.
- "Little Yellow Book" features everyone laughing at SpongeBob's expense as Squidward reads his diary and its embarrassing secrets. They are disgusted with Squidward when SpongeBob runs away crying, but hey, they all knew who they were laughing at in the first place. Made even worse when Squidward points out that Patrick also read the diary, only for Patrick to dismiss him as "blaming everyone else".
- Identical Stranger: In "No Weenies Allowed": a sponge identical to SpongeBob only with dark hair and the real deal (wearing a Rainbow Clown Wig) both appear at the Salty Spittoon at the same time.
- Also, in the infamous episode "Chocolate With Nuts", Patrick sells a chocolate bar to a starfish that looks and sounds exactly like him, telling him that it will keep his face from getting any uglier.
- In a later episode, SpongeBob tries to infiltrate Pearl's slumber party by going in disguise. It then shows a female sponge from "Farawayville" who just so happens to want to join Pearl's party, and is rejected. Turns out that was not SpongeBob in disguise, as when she runs away from the party in tears, it shows SpongeBob disguised with a mustache. He remarks that the girl is "uug-lee!"
- Idiot Hero: SpongeBob.
- Idiot Houdini: SpongeBob and Patrick rely more and more on this trope as the seasons pass.
- Idiotic Partner Confession: SpongeBob does this in an episode called "Shanghaied"
- I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Double Subverted in "Just One Bite". After declaring his dislike of Krabby Patties at the beginning of the episode, Squidward has a miniscule taste of it, and appears to like it. "Why, this Krabby Patty may be the most HORRIBLE, PUTRID, POORLY PREPARED, VILE, UNAPPETIZING, DISGUSTING EXCUSE FOR A SANDWICH IT HAS EVER BEEN MY DISPLEASURE TO HAVE SLITHER DOWN MY THROAT!" He burries the patty and SpongeBob walks off in sadness, but as soon as SpongeBob is gone, Squidward digs the patty back up and eats it, saying, "Oh, so delicious! Oh, all the wasted years..."
- If I Had a Nickel: "If I had a dollar for every brain you don't have...I'd have one dollar."
- I'm Not a Doctor, but I Play One on TV: Parodied in "All That Glitters":Doctor: Oh, I'm not a doctor, I'm an actor who's searching for a role. Yes! Woohoo! I am so totally gonna get this part. [gives a sigh of relief]
- Impact Silhouette: Quite a few times, but Patrick has done this more than once, especially combined with There Was a Door.
- Impossibly Delicious Food: Krabby Patties, to the point where conflicts can be resolved merely by eating one.
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue: From the episode "Bossy Boots":Pearl: [on the new Krusty Krab uniforms she designed] Don't be jealous, Uncle Squiddy. I made one for you, too.Squidward: Don't bother! Only a fool would wear that!Mr. Krabs: [enters the scene from inside his office, wearing the uniform] Avast, ye shipmates! Don't these just shiver your timbers? Ar-ar-ar-ar-ar-ar-ar!
- Incessant Music Madness: In "Jellyfish Jam", SpongeBob and a jellyfish keep Squidward up all night playing loud music. When more jellyfish show up and play the music even louder, Squidward has had enough and counterattacks by playing his clarinet. This angers the jellyfish, and when SpongeBob's pleas to stop result in Squidward playing even louder, the jellyfish goes over to Squidward's and stings him.
- Incredibly Lame Fun:
- SpongeBob and Patrick once play a game that consists of doing, well, whatever non-sequitur goes through their minds, like climbing a coral to make bubbles to determine a chess move, and make that move by blowing at the chess piece.
- There's another scene where Mr. Krabs hangs out with SpongeBob and Patrick because he feels old. They end up going to the laundromat, reading at the library, sitting in a kiddie pool, et cetera. Subverted at the end when they suggest a panty raid. THAT is subverted when it turns out to be Mr. Krabs's mother's undergarments...
- SpongeBob and Patrick once buy a large TV so they can play inside the box. They use their imagination to enjoy it so much, Squidwards wants in.
- Subverted on another occasion, SpongeBob gets a "useless" piece of paper from Squidward and then uses it to play all sort of games and use it to swim/fly around.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: SpongeBob and Patrick argue back and forth with these in Pranks-A-Lot, until they are interrupted with the narrator saying "Several bad puns later...".
- SpongeBob lets loose a stream of them towards the end of Gary's Bath.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Plankton.
- Inertial Impalement: In the episode "Sleepy Time", Plankton dreams that he is giant and is destroying Bikini Bottom. As he is about to step on Spongebob's pet snail, Gary, SpongeBob runs to his snail and turns into a push pin just as Plankton's foot comes down. As a result Plankton begins to deflate to his regular size, and is promptly stepped on by one of the dream Bikini Bottomites, causing him to wake up.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: In the episode "Squidville", Squidward moves to a town filled with other octopi, all of whom are exactly like him: same appearance (except for hair and clothes), same nasally voice, same interests (riding bikes, health food, interpretive dance, clarinets), same Easter-Island-head houses, same sarcastic and snobby attitudes, same distaste for sponges and starfish...
- Injury Bookend: Played with. Squidward gets hit in the face by a door, and the resulting alteration to his bone structure causes him to become ridiculously handsome, so much as to attract copious amounts of attention from both men and women. After becoming overwhelmed with his newfound status, he attempts to become normal again, getting hit in the face with the same door several times again. This just makes him even more beautiful, however, only going back to normal after getting hit in the face with a pole after running to avoid a falling shoe.
- Ink-Suit Actor:
- Mrs. Puff's actress is Mrs. Puff if she weren't an anthropomorphic fish.
- Flats the Flounder is the same character he played in another movie. By the amount of times he says butt in the episode, you can tell he wants to add 'head' to the end of it. Flats's voice actor also voices the impostor father of Patrick in one episode. Add the irony of that character being called Marty...
- And have you seen Mermaid Man?
- Inner Monologue Conversation: In "Big Pink Loser", Patrick is imitating everything SpongeBob says and does. SpongeBob thinks (At least I'm safe inside my mind), then hears Patrick thinking the same thing.
- Innocently Insensitive: SpongeBob and occasionally Patrick have moments of this, especially around Squidward. Case in point this compliment to Squidward's clarinet playing, said with completely sincere enthusiasm:SpongeBob: Bravo, Squidward! And all those wrong notes made it sound unique.Squidward: Wha?...There weren't any loose notes!!!
- Innocent Swearing: In "Sailor Mouth", SpongeBob and Patrick read a bad word written in a trash bin and start using it. Patrick claims it's a "sentence enhancer."
- Insane Troll Logic:
- This little gem from "Mermaidman and Barnacleboy III". SpongeBob is trying to teach Man Ray to be good instead of evil, so he gives him a series of tests. The first one involves finding a stranger's wallet on the ground. At SpongeBob's behest, Patrick takes his own wallet out of his pocket and clearly drops it on the floor. SpongeBob asks Man Ray what he would do. Hilarity Ensues.Man Ray: [picks up wallet and attempts to hand it to Patrick] Excuse me, sir, but I do believe you've dropped your wallet.Patrick: It doesn't look familiar to me.Man Ray: What? I just saw you drop it. Here.Patrick: Nope, it's not mine.Man Ray: It is yours. I am trying to be a good person and return it to you.Patrick: Return what to who?Man Ray: [facepalms, then reaches into the wallet and produces Patrick's I.D.] Aren't you Patrick Star?Patrick: Yep.Man Ray: And this is your I.D.Patrick: Yep.Man Ray: I found this I.D. in this wallet. And if that's the case, this must be your wallet.Patrick: That makes sense to me.Man Ray: Then take it.Patrick: It's not my wallet.
- SpongeBob does this to Sandy in the episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm". A giant Alaskan Bull Worm is terrorizing Bikini Bottom, and Sandy wants to "take that legless critter down," the reason being that it's personal— the worm actually bit most of Sandy's tail off. SpongeBob thinks she'll get killed, so he does everything in his power to change her mind.Sandy: Besides, he's got my tail. I can't take that sittin' down.SpongeBob: What if the worm didn't have your tail...?Sandy: If that worm ain't got my tail, who does?SpongeBob: Um... I do.Sandy: You do? Where?SpongeBob: In my... pocket.Sandy: [laughing] Well, why didn't you say so? Give it here.SpongeBob: [reaches into his pocket and produces Sandy's "tail"]Sandy: SpongeBob, that's a paper clip and a piece of string.SpongeBob: No, it's not. This is your tail.Sandy: [angrily] SpongeBob!SpongeBob: How would YOU know?! It's always behind you!
- This little gem from "Mermaidman and Barnacleboy III". SpongeBob is trying to teach Man Ray to be good instead of evil, so he gives him a series of tests. The first one involves finding a stranger's wallet on the ground. At SpongeBob's behest, Patrick takes his own wallet out of his pocket and clearly drops it on the floor. SpongeBob asks Man Ray what he would do. Hilarity Ensues.
- Insistent Terminology: King Neptune is not bald, he is "thinning."
- The Inspector Is Coming: What drives the plots of "Nasty Patty" and "The Krusty Sponge".
- Insufferable Genius: Sandy and, in one episode, Patrick.
- Insult Backfire: Occurs during the episode "Opposite Day", when Squidward tells SpongeBob that it's Opposite Day. SpongeBob falls for it, and dedicates his entire day to doing and perceiving everything possible inversely.SpongeBob: [greeting Squidward] Hello, Squidward! Woop! I mean... goodbye, Squidward! Oh, isn't Opposite Day... terrible? [giggles gleefully]Squidward: [groans angrily] I'll tell you what's terrible! Living next to YOU! You're the worst neighbor in history!SpongeBob: [with genuine happiness] Wow! That's the nicest thing Squidward has ever said to me!Squidward: [facepalm]
- Interspecies Adoption: One episode focuses on SpongeBob and Patrick adopting a baby scallop and taking care of it. The sight of a male sponge and male starfish being parents to a scallop leaves other citizens of Bikini Bottom a little more than confused on how it's even possible.
- In the Doldrums: One episode ended with Squidward in an endless expanse of white emptiness, until he mentioned he was, at last, alone. Cue voices saying "alone" and the word itself appearing in different colors and sizes.
- Invisible Streaker: In "Pranks a Lot," SpongeBob and Patrick.
- I Resemble That Remark!: In "Pressure", SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward are hesitant to set foot on dry land. Patrick makes up an excuse to stall:Patrick: We're late for... our fitting!
Sandy: OH, you mean for your chicken costumes?
Patrick: Hey! We are not chicken. (drops his popcorn) My popcorn! (bends down to peck at it like a chicken)
- Iron Butt Monkey: Squidward and Plankton.
- When he's not the one causing the abuse, SpongeBob himself.
- Ironic Echo:
- In "One Krab's Trash", Krabs goes to the cemetery to find Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen's grave and take back his hat. He sees Squidward laying down flowers on a grave, which reads "Here Lies Squidward's Hopes and Dreams." Krabs remarks "what a baby." Later, when Krabs finds out that the hat is now worthless, he breaks down in tears, and a flower carrying Squidward walks in the background, pausing to say "what a baby."
- In "Squidville", Squidward snobbishly asks what's so fun about playing with a reef blower. SpongeBob and Patrick reply, "It's fun!" Squidward says: "How can you possibly have fun with one of those over-sized hair dryers?" SpongeBob and Patrick proceed to show him by sucking up his window with the reef blower. Later in the episode, when Squidward begins to tire of Squidville, he plays with an abandoned reef blower and two spectators ask him what's so fun about playing with a reef blower. And, you know the rest.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: From "Big Sister Sam"Squidward: That's it! I've had my fill of this thieving brute!Patrick: How dare you call my sister a thief!
- It Tastes Like Feet: When Squidward is subbing for SpongeBob at the Krusty Krab grill.Customer #1: You call this food? My sandwich tastes like a fried boot!
Customer #2: My sandwich is a fried boot!
Pearl's Friend: Ew, it tastes like dishwater!Squidward: It is dishwater.
- And in "Whale of a Birthday", when Pearl's friends drink from the punch bowl...
SpongeBob: blegh Glove-flavoured...
- SpongeBob's Glove-Land glove-shaped candy.
- It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: "I love kara-TAY!" Subverted in that it's actually closer to how it's properly pronounced in Japanese (kah-rah-teh).
- I Will Tear Your Arms Off: Man Ray threatens to do this to SpongeBob if the latter doesn't release him. And later to Patrick if he wouldn't take back his wallet.