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Sponge Bob Square Pants: Tropes Q to Z
Visit the main page here.
For tropes A to C see here.
For tropes D to I see here.
For tropes J to P see here.

  • Quality Over Quantity: King Neptune challenges SpongeBob to a fry-cooking competition where whoever cooks the most Krabby Patties wins, but he concedes to SpongeBob when he finds out that his mass-produced patties are terrible while SpongeBob's singular patty made with love is superior.
  • Rampage from a Nail:
    • One episode ("The Smoking Peanut") has a giant clam behaving this way. Everyone thinks it was because a peanut had been thrown at it; turns out Mr. Krabs stole its egg.
    • There was also one episode ("Once Bitten") in which Gary is unruly and goes around biting people. Turns out it was from a piece of Squidward's makeshift security fence, almost making this example a parody, as the thorn was the size of a tree.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy
  • Rapid Hair Growth: In The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, Mindy tries to convince SpongeBob and Patrick that they are men by giving them fake mustaches. Later, they run into tough guy Dennis, who laughs at their pathetic mustaches and show them what a real mustache looks like, by instantly growing one.
    • In the actual show, Patrick also has this ability, but with more hairstyles.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: In "Friend or Foe?", Mr. Krabs claimed the moment his friendship with Plankton ended was when Plankton went mad with power. ("I'm ruling their stomachs, and soon I'll be ruling their minds!") However, Plankton appears and claimed their friendship actually ended when Mr. Krabs went mad with greed. ("First, I'll rule their stomachs, and then...their money!") But then Karen (who was just starting out as a security system at the time Mr. Krabs and Plankton started their own restaurant) shows up and revealed they didn't attract any customers at all. In fact, the only customer they did have got poisoned by the burger. Krabs and Plankton then blame each other and fought over who gets to fix the recipe, leading them to start their own separate restaurants. Notably, all three versions of the tale involved the two tearing their original recipe in half.
  • Rattling Off Legal: During one of Plankton's many failed attempts at discovering the Krabby Patty secret formula (episode entitled "Imitation Krabs"), he poses as a sweepstakes sponsor, and the following dialogue occurs:
    Plankton: Are you SpongeBob SquarePants?
    SpongeBob: Why yes... yes, I am!
    Plankton: Then you've just won ONE MILLION DOLLARS! You just have to answer ONE question! What is the Krabby Patty secret formula?
    SpongeBob: [takes breath as if he's about to answer]
    Plankton: [excitedly] Yes?
    SpongeBob: [takes breath]
    Plankton: Yes?!
    SpongeBob: [takes a third breath]
    Plankton: YES?!
    SpongeBob: The Krabby Patty formula is the sole property of the Krusty Krab and is only to be discussed, in part or in whole, with its creator, Mr. Krabs. Duplication of this formula is punishable by law. Restrictions apply, results may vary. [smiles jubilantly]
    Plankton: [stunned silence]
  • Raw Eggs Make You Stronger:
    • In the episode "The Great Snail Race", SpongeBob puts Gary through Training from Hell to win the titular race. At one point, he mixes Gary an "energy drink" which includes raw eggs, simply "because they're cliché!"
    • Also, in "MuscleBob BuffPants", SpongeBob mentions that he "starts off with twenty raw eggs everyday".
  • Reaching Between the Lines: Taken about as far as possible in an episode where SpongeBob and Sandy attempt to one-up each other at karate. First SpongeBob calls Sandy to attempt to chop her, at which point she turns the attack back on him by twisting his arm and pushing it back through the speaker.
  • Read the Fine Print: Inverted in the episode "Pickles". Usually, if a customer actually does read fine print, it's an addendum that would be to the customer's disadvantage. However, in this case, a large fish named Bubble Bass demands a refund for his Krabby Patty on the grounds that SpongeBob forgot to put pickles on it. He cites a ludicrously microscopic disclaimer on the store's overhead menu that reads "Money-back guarantee". Mr. Krabs does all he can to avoid the refund and keep his two dollars, then tells SpongeBob that he's taking it out of his paycheck.
  • Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Patrick.
    Sandy: Here Patrick, have a Krabby Patty. [whispering] Psst! There he is, Patrick! Say your line!
    Patrick: [whimpering] Why, thank you, Sandy. I would love one. "[TAKE PATTY.]" [takes patty] Too bad SpongeBob isn't here. These are his favorites. I sure wish he'd come home. "[TAKE...BITE...]" [slowly puts the Krabby Patty to his mouth, but bursts into tears before he can bring himself to eat it]
  • Real After All:
    • The Sea Bear.
    • Santa in "Christmas Who?".
  • Reality Ensues: During SpongeBob's power trip after becoming Hall Monitor, he tries to lead traffic, causing multiple accidents. Then, he breaks into a family's home in an attempt to teach them about 'the dangers of open windows'. It's rather ridiculous and the audience probably won't give it a second thought, assuming it's being Played for Laughs; however, SpongeBobis wanted by the police shortly afterwards.
    • Similarly, in "Jellyfishing", SpongeBob and Patrick attempt to take Squidward jellyfishing, only for him to constantly be attacked by jellyfish. YMMV depending on whether you consider Squidward's subsequent body casts and hospital visits to be this or Amusing Injuries.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Tom Kenny mentioned in an interview in "Nick Magazine" that he was actually very sick when he recorded SpongeBob's congested-sounding dialogue in "Suds." For the most part, the sniffles and sneezes were genuine. Which only makes SpongeBob more pitiable in the episode.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Patrick gives one to SpongeBob near the end of "Dumped":
    Patrick: I'm sorry, SpongeBob, but Gary's with me now. You had your chance and you failed. You have to stop living in the past. Face it SpongeBob, you're only hurting yourself. It's what Gary wants, and what Gary wants is me!
    • Plankton gives one to Squidward in "Plankton!"
    Plankton: Shut your mouth, you mediocre clarinet player.
    Squidward: [sheepishly] ... mediocre?
    Plankton: You pretentious, little insignificant artist! Your sniveling creations are worth less than a protozoan's waste!
    Squidward: [turns pale and faints]
  • Rebus Bubble: "Sponge... + Starfish = ...Scallop???"
  • Removable Shell: Gary has sometimes, depending on the episode. Sometimes the shell lifts up to show something hidden inside; sometimes the shell is Bigger on the Inside and SpongeBob is able to crawl into it; and sometimes cracking the shell exposes Gary's veiny, throbbing innards.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: SpongeBob and Squidward.
  • Repeat What You Just Said: In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost":
    Patrick: [Squidward] really needs to get up to the great beyond.
    SpongeBob: Patrick, say that again.
    Patrick: That again.
    SpongeBob: No, the other thing.
    Patrick: No, the other thing.
    SpongeBob: No, what you said before when—
    Patrick: No, what you said before when—
    SpongeBob: Never mind! I've got an idea.
    Patrick: Never mind, I've got an idea.
    SpongeBob: [stares into the distance with an annoyed look on his face]
  • Repetitive Name: Dr. Gill Gilliam.
  • Retraux: "Truth or Square" had a brief throwback to old black & white rubberhose cartoons.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: In "Sailor Mouth", after SpongeBob curses:
    Fish: Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?
    SpongeBob: Well, sometimes, but not... recently.
  • Rhyming List: In the episode "Born Again Krabs", SpongeBob finds an old, dried-out patty (just the meat patty itself) underneath the grill. He throws it away, at which point an alarm sounds and Mr. Krabs bursts into the room, panicking that "Someone tried to throw away a patty!" as he picks it out of the garbage. He and SpongeBob then have the following dialogue:
    SpongeBob: Mr. Krabs, I found that under the grill.
    Krabs: And tomorrow, a customer will find it under his bun.
    SpongeBob: But... it's old... and cold... and so very full of mold...
    Krabs: You're not to make another patty until that one is sold!
  • Riddle for the Ages: The secret formula of the Krabby Patty.
  • Rich Boredom: Mr. Krabs sells the Krusty Krab for a lot of loot. It's not long before he runs out of things to do in his retirement, goes on a rampage that destroys the Krusty Krab, buys the destroyed restaurant back, and it's all fixed up the next time we see it (in the next episode).
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: After singing a campfire song.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: SpongeBob and Patrick with David Hasselhoff.
  • Rousing Speech: In "Band Geeks":
    SpongeBob: What kind of monsters are we? That poor creature came to us in his hour of need, and we failed him. Squidward's always been there for us when it was convenient for him. Evelyn, when your little Jimmy was trapped in a fire, who rescued him?
    Evelyn: A fireman.
    SpongeBob: And Larry, when your heart gave out from all those tanning pills, who revived you?
    Larry: Some guy in an ambulance.
    SpongeBob: Right. So, if we can all just pretend that Squidward was a fireman, or a guy in an ambulance, then I'm sure that we can all pull together and discover what it truly means: to be in a marching band.
    Harold (in Australian accent): Yeah, for the fireman!
    All: Hooray!
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Man Ray
  • Ruined FOREVER: Mocked In-Universe. Patchy's reaction upon seeing "just a bunch of cheap walk cycles", thinking it was the lost episode he was excitedly counting down to. He threw out all of his SpongeBob stuff, even his Goofy Print Underwear by ripping it out of his pants.
  • Rule of Funny: Laughbox
  • Rule of Three: In the first season episode "Jellyfishing", Patrick helping an injured Squidward hold a jellyfish net.
    Patrick: Firmly grasp it in your hand. (Patrick places the pole end on Squidward's bandaged hand, but it falls off because he can’t grab it. Patrick picks it up) Firmly grasp it. (He does the same thing again and the results are exactly like before. Patrick gets angry) FIRMLY GRASP IT! (Patrick jams the net through Squidward’s bandaged hand. He groans in pain) That oughta do it.
  • Running Gag:
    • "My leg!"
    • A few running gags occurred in early seasons only, such as Patrick waking up in the morning as his rock lifts off the ground, at which point he falls to the ground, and Patrick walking into the Krusty Krab, greeting the employees with "Good morning, Krusty Krew!"
  • Sadist Show: There has been an awful lot of Comedic Sociopathy in the later seasons.
  • Safety Worst: In "I Had an Accident", after getting a "broken butt" after a sandboarding wipeout, SpongeBob takes a doctor's orders to be more careful too far and becomes a shut-in.
  • Samus Is a Girl: In the "Pressure" episode, there is a scene where Sandy Cheeks takes her suit off, and it leaves her wearing nothing except for her bikini and her thin skirt. Patrick is shocked ("Sandy's a girl?!"), despite seeing her outside of her suit before, and referring to Sandy as "She" just minutes prior.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Mr. Krabs' daughter Pearl a talking whale and she lives the life of a human teenager. The dolphin king is a sentient dolphin that warns Bikini Bottom about the threat of volcanoes.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud:
    • Plankton makes a habit out of this:
      Plankton: Oh, look, it's the Krusty Krab, home of the Krabby Patty! CRUSH! [Crushes the restaurant, picks up its sign and starts to lick it like a lollipop] Lick, lick!
    • From the episode "Plankton!":
      [produces a golden spatula from his "secret compartment"] SHING! Sparkle, sparkle.
    • Squidward, when SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs "rebuild Karen 2.0," which actually means simply attaching a computer monitor to Squidward's head:
      Squidward: [deadpan] Welcome to the Krusty Krab. May I take your order? Beep, beep.
    • While attempting to get SpongeBob to reveal the secret Krabby Patty formula:
      Plankton: [disguised as Mr. Krabs] Yum. This spaghetti sure is good. Belch.
  • Scare Chord:
    • The Ominous Music Box Tune that is heard during Patrick's Break the Cutie moment in the episode"Nature Pants": "If I can't have you as a friend, I'm gonna make you a trophy!"
    • The song "Ghost Child" from "Scaredy Pants".
    • The music that plays in this video. It's the 'generic' SpongeBob creepy music.
      • It also plays during the sequence in "Squid's Day Off" where we see Squidward going insane and blocking off his door to his house to prevent him from going back to the Krusty Krab to check up on SpongeBob.
    • The "I DON'T NEED IT" scene in "Tea at the Treedome". SpongeBob's dried up face is zoomed in on in terrifying detail, complete with an unnerving heartbeat sound.
  • Scenery Censor: Mermaid Man in one episode, with Gary blocking his crotch until he can get a towel on; spoofed with SpongeBob in the episode "Nature Pants", as he has nothing to hide and in fact spent some...er, most shots without his crotch obscured
  • Schmuck Bait: Would anyone care for a bon bon?
  • Scream Discretion Shot: In "Clams", SpongeBob and (an unhappy) Squidward join Mr. Krabs on a clam-fishing trip. SpongeBob repeatedly attempts to cast off, and hooks various objects on the boat with his backswings, and throws them out into the lagoon when he swings the rod forward. First is a book that Squidward is reading, then the chair he's sitting in, then his shirt... finally, the hook on SpongeBob's rod catches Squidward's nose. There's a beat, and the camera pans extremely far out, and all the viewer sees is the boat. Squidward screams bloody murder as a loud rip is heard, and the next shot shows Squidward missing his nose.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In "Sleepy Time", when SpongeBob invades Patrick's dream.
    Spongebob: I mean anything! Watch. I can turn into a skyscraper. [transforms into the shape of a skyscraper] Going up! Eh? [sees that Patrick is unresponsive; looks dull] I can make... a million of me! [changes back to his normal shape and size, this time with a million copies of himself] Eh? Eh? [the clones disappear] Ah, tartar sauce. I'm going to a different dream.
  • The Scrooge: Mr. Krabs.
  • Second Person Attack: In "Pizza Delivery", when the fish ordering the Krusty Krab pizza refused to pay for the pizza because SpongeBob and Squidward forgot to bring him his soda, Squidward comes back at his door and shoves the pizza in the customer's face, saying "Well, this one's on the house!"
  • Secret Ingredient: Plankton's schemes revolve around discovering the secret ingredient of the Krabby Patty at business rival Mr. Krabs's The Krusty Krab. At one point (after overtaking the restaurant with the help of his millions of hillbilly brethren), Plankton finds out that the secret ingredient is actual plankton (Plankton and his family do not take the news well), but Mr. Krabs reveals that it wasn't the real secret ingredient, just a fake one used to dupe Plankton. Another episode involves the restaurant going into lockdown as the secret ingredient is air-lifted in.
  • Seldom Seen Species: Sponge. Also squid, starfish and plankton.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: SpongeBob and Patrick.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: "Procrastination." SpongeBob finally gets his essay done, but when he turns it in the next morning, Ms. Puff tells him the assignment has been canceled.
    • In "Glove World R.I.P.", SpongeBob and Patrick do everything they can to save the Glove World amusement park from being torn down, only for it to be pointless as the reason for the demolition is that Glove Universe, which is bigger and better, is being built in its place.
  • Shaped Like What It Sells: Glove World is made of many different buildings shaped like gloves.
    • The Chum Bucket is in the shape of a giant bucket.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Patrick had to go undercover (because he thinks someone is going to kick him out of town), so he dressed up as "Patricia". SpongeBob had to tell a few folks "she" wasn't his girlfriend.
  • Ship Tease: SpongeBob and Sandy (occasionally).
  • Shockingly Expensive Bill: Mr. Krabs receives a restaurant bill of $100 after taking Mrs. Puff on a date, and claims it "can't possibly by correct". The waiter apologizes and hands him his real bill…of $100,000.
  • Shown Their Work: For a show that largely follows the Rule of Funny, every now and then they'll give an accurate fact about marine biology. For example, in "I Had an Accident", SpongeBob correctly mentions that his species is sedentary, and that they get nutrients by filter-feeding. In the episode "Pressure", he brags to Sandy that he can reproduce by budding.
  • Shrine to Self: Squidward, who only recreates himself in art.
  • Shrunken Organ: In one episode, Squidward breaks his "laugh box" (an organ he thought he made up), which has to be removed. The doctor remarks that it's the most dried-up, underused laugh box he's ever seen; it's in a jar the size of a salt shaker. Inversely, SpongeBob has a laugh box so big that he was able to donate half of it to Squidward while still retaining the capacity to do some laughing of his own.
  • Sick Episode: "Suds".
  • Signature Laugh: Most of the characters have distinctive laughs:
    • SpongeBob's dolphin giggle
    • Patrick's moron laugh
    • Squidward's nasal chortle
    • Mr. Krab's pirate-accented "Ar-ar-ar-ar"
    • Plankton's Evil Laugh
  • Six Is Nine: In the episode "Born to Be Wild", a letter 'W' is actually an upside-down 'M'. Spongebob rips the letter 'W' from the shirt of a biker belonging to a scary gang, the Wild Ones. The biker actually belongs to a much tamer group, the Mild Ones.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Interestingly this is a concept that slowly drifted from one to the other. The show was originally cheerful and vaguely sentimental, but has nowadays become harsher and darker in its comedy.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: "Battle of Bikini Bottom"
  • Smug Snake: Plankton, Karen, Squilliam, Bubble Bass, and Mr. Krabs Depending on the Writer.
  • Snapback — About every other episode, especially in the earlier seasons. Otherwise, SpongeBob would have been the proprietor of the Krusty Krab for the last eight years or so.
    • The above issue has been Hand Waved, as the episodes supposedly don't happen in the exact order they come out in. This is at least the case for The Movie, which is the official ending for the series despite having been produced years ago. SpongeBob eventually becoming manager of the Krusty Krab 2 is firmly canon.
    • The newer seasons are by no means immune. One early post-movie episode, Wishing You Well ended with Mr. Krabs being wished away and almost eaten. He was fine in time for the next episode.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Between Squidward and Mr. Krabs in the episode "Born Again Krabs":
    Krabs: I'm not cheap! I'm generous!
    Squidward: [deadpan] You almost tore a man's arm off for a penny.
    Krabs: [deadpan] Thanks, Squidward. I knew I could count on you.
  • Snarky Non Human Side Kick:
    • Potty sometimes serves just to make Patchy's life miserable. Squidward also counts in most episodes.
    • Gary also counts, judging by SpongeBob's reactions to his meowing.
  • Snipe Hunt: Mr. Krabs sends SpongeBob on one of these in the first episode, on Squidward's advice he'd make a terrible fry cook. However, SpongeBob returns to save the Krusty Krab from some hungry anchovies with a real hydrodynamic spatula with port and starboard attachments and turbodrive, which prompts Mr. Krabs to hire him.
  • Snow Means Cold: During wintertime, it always snows in Sandy's treedome.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: Both SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs refuse to accept anyone can hate Krabby Patties (the plot device for Just One Bite and arguably Plankton's Regular).
    • Though in the former episode, SpongeBob was aiming more for Squidward to just try it and when Squidward (falsely) proclaims he hates it, SpongeBob does accept it and realize he was wrong to be so forceful. The latter episode does play it straight, however.
  • Sound Effect Bleep: "Hey, Patrick, how the [DOLPHIN CHIRP] are ya?" The whole episode (Sailor Mouth) took the trope Up to Eleven.
    • This has been a very popular source of parody on YouTube, most involving editing cuss words in.
    • Subverted with "Krusty Love." SpongeBob's cursing is filtered into nonsense vocal noises.
  • So Unfunny It's Funny: The show had this, especially in the earlier episodes. The real king is this gem:
    Squidward: Why couldn't the 11-year-old get into the pirate movie? It was rated Aaaarrrrrgh. [laughs uproariously]
    [beat]
    Squidward: [laughing dies down from awkward silence] Because... it's about... pirates...?
    Krabs: I'm not payin' ya to do stand-up, Mr. Squidward. Now get back to work!
  • Special Edition Title: "Christmas Who?" (done as The SpongeBob Christmas Special), "Whatever Happened to SpongeBob?" (done as WhoBob WhatPants), and "Truth or Square" (done with a remade version of the theme song and stop-motion animation).
  • Species Surname: Mr. Krabs (Eugene H. Krabs) is a crab. Plankton also has this trope; "Plankton's Army" revealed that his full name is Sheldon J. Plankton. Also playing this trope straight are Mrs. Puff, Patrick Star, and Larry the Lobster (although it's not confirmed whether or not that's his actual name). "Squidward Tentacles" is also an example of two similar tropes.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Plankton's computer-wife Karen refers to the show's titular character as "The SpongeBob."
  • Sphere Eyes: SpongeBob himself.
  • Spiritual Successor: Adventure Time would be this even though SpongeBob was Un-Cancelled at the last minute because many of the key staff left the show when it was uncancelled, thinking that it was done for. for permanent. Derek Drymon worked on the pre-cancellation seasons of SpongeBob and works on Adventure Time & SpongeBob became incredibly different when it was revived........
    • SpongeBob itself can be considered the successor series to the earlier Nicktoon Rocko's Modern Life. Both series not only had much of the same writing staff but also shared similar character archetypes (Rocko to SpongeBob, Heffer to Patrick, Ed Bighead to Squidward, etc.) as well as an uncanny talent at Getting Crap Past the Radar.
      • A large part of the the pre-2004 crew now work for Phineas and Ferb. Most notably Dan Povenmire and Robert F. Hughes. (Who also both worked on Rocko.)
  • Split-Screen Phone Call: Parodied in "Jellyfishing" as well as many other episodes.
  • Spoiled Brat: Pearl.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Mr. Krabs and Plankton in the later seasons.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Title
  • Springtime for Hitler: It's theorized that all episodes after The Movie are this, as it was Stephen Hillenburg's intention to end it after the aforementioned movie.
    • Just look at the list of episodes on the 10 Happiest Moments DVD. Only one of them is from a season above season three...
    • Word of god has now stated that The Movie is the final episode, and the episodes we're seeing on TV are prior to the movie. Which explains a lot of things, like the Krusty Krab 2 and why Neptune is very old and balding in the movie but in the shows he's very young. A few new episodes make references to the old ones though...
  • Stable Time Loop: Squidward invents jellyfishing.
  • Start My Own: In "Friend or Foe", it's revealed that Krabs and Plankton started a restaurant together as a retaliation when the owner of another restaurant wouldn't accept them as customers. Also, before Krabs started to make Krabby Patties, Plankton broke the partnership to start his own restaurant because nobody liked the patty the two of them made together.
    • Also, SpongeBob started running his own stand for his "Pretty Patties" after being made fun of (for making Pretty Patties) by Mr Krabs and Squidward.
  • Status Quo Is God:
    • At the end of the episode "Can You Spare A Dime?", Mr. Krabs discovers that Squidward didn't steal his first dime, and hires him back to work at the Krusty Krab. All is well and back to normal... until Krabs and Squidward get into another argument that appears to be headed in the same direction of what the episode's plot is based on.
    • After "Friend or Foe" it is possible that Mr. Krabs and Plankton stayed friends as kids for a brief time (ex-shown pulling the main drain at the end)
    • And there's "Bumper to Bumper". SpongeBob finally obtains his driver's license for real... only for a cop to point out that because Mrs. Puff crossed the county line, thus setting off her security cuff, the test results were null and void and he then proceeds to tear up the license.
      • Every Boating School episode is this trope. Every single episode. "Bumper to Bumper" isn't the only Boating School episode that ends with SpongeBob finally getting his license, only for it to get taken away seconds later.
      • Every "Plankton Tries to Steal the Krabby Patty Formula" episode is this trope as well. Even if Plankton successfully steals it, everything will go back to normal no matter what.
    • "Karen 2.0.": Karen gets replaced by a new Karen robot. Plankton gets rid of Karen 2.0 and keeps the original Karen at the end.
    • "SpongeBob You're Fired". Let's just say, it's really not a spoiler that SpongeBob gets job back at the end of this half-hour "special". Everyone knew the episode would end with everything going back to normal.
  • Stealing from the Hotel: Exaggerated in the episode "Kracked Krabs". Mr. Krabs starts "exaggerating" (stealing) from the hotel room, and SpongeBob helps him. They steal the toiletries, the furniture, the wall... and eventually the room itself. As a hotel worker inspects their suitcase, the room pops out.
  • Stealth Insult: Squidward in "Band Geeks":
    • "I really expected better of you people. I guess I'm a loser for that too."
  • Stop Copying Me: Patrick does it to SpongeBob in "Big Pink Loser".
  • Stock Audio Clip: SpongeBob's signature laugh, as well as the offscreen guy shouting "My leg!"
  • Straw Loser: It takes a Butt Monkey to make SpongeBob and Patrick look like winners; Squidward apparently fills that role.
    • Plankton seems to follow a similar comparison to Mr Krabs, who is usually a Butt Monkey or Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist himself when the former isn't in the spotlight.
    • Utilized in universe in "I'm With Stupid". When his parents come to visit, Patrick asks SpongeBob to act like a brainless loser in front of them so he will look less like a deadbeat in comparison. The scheme works too well, since Patrick, who himself is a hopeless variant of the trope to SpongeBob, actually starts to believe the act himself, and turns into a condescending bully towards SpongeBob.
  • Stunned Silence: Numerous occasions, such as in the season-one episode "Hooky". SpongeBob goes to the "carnival" with Patrick during his Krusty Krab shift, and chaos ensues at the restaurant, since Squidward is a terrible fry cook but also the only one available to replace SpongeBob. Mr. Krabs demands to know what's going on.
    Squidward: It's a feeding frenzy, sir! And SpongeBob's not back from his break!
    Krabs: [beat, then laughs out loud]
    Squidward: What?
    Krabs: I thought you said SpongeBob was takin' a break! No one's taken a break at the Krusty Krab since the chum famine of '59! Now, what were you sayin'?
    Squidward: [deadpan] He took... a BREAK.
    Krabs: [blinks once and stares ahead in silence, then his arms and nose fall off]
  • Stupid Crooks: SpongeBob and Patrick deliberately attempted to rob a bank in order to try and break Mrs. Puff out of jail from the inside. For masks, both characters wore socks over their heads, which covered their eyes and didn't allow them to see where they were going, and the bank teller treats the ordeal as a normal exchange, asking SpongeBob for his name and ID (which he gladly hands over), pulling up his checking and savings accounts, and bluntly informing SpongeBob that he has no money in either account.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: In "Squilliam Returns":
    Squidward: Try to imagine him in his underwear...oh no, he's hot!
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Patrick's self-composed song in "Sing A Song Of Patrick", which is so awful that it actually kills the band that records it.
  • Suddenly Voiced: In "The Secret Box", SpongeBob asks Gary if he thinks his plan is good. Gary replies with, "Hmm... NO."
  • Suddenly Fluent in Gibberish:
    SpongeBob: Patrick, I didn't know you spoke bird!
    Patrick: No, that's Italian, SpongeBob.
  • Sue Donym: In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", Plankton gives his name as "Peter Lankton". It is later shortened to "P. Lankton".
    • "Hey, wait a second... is this a prank call?"
  • Superhero Episode: "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V".
  • Supreme Chef: Jim
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Squidward. Big time.
  • Swallowed a Fly: In "Nasty Patty", the health inspector swallows a fly before he can take a bite of the 'Nasty Patty' that SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs fixed up. They believe that they killed him when they see him lying on the floor.
  • Synchronized Swarming: Plankton rallies his extended family to aid him in finally stealing the Krabby Patty secret formula.
  • Synchro-Vox: Used in the opening with "Painty the Pirate", who starts the theme song.
  • Take a Third Option: In the episode where Plankton is trying to build his Chum Bucket Mega Bucket in the Goo Lagoon, he tells SpongeBob that nice guys finish last, and that only aggressive people conquer the world. SpongeBob kindly retorts with "What about aggressively nice people?"
  • Take That: "Krabby Land" is an episode-long potshot to McDonald's. Mr. Krabs' quote at the end clinches it:
    Mr. Krabs: The children? I don't care about the children! The fact that feeble minds are easily manipulated by cheap playgrounds and talentless clowns is no skin off my nose! Survival of the fittest, SpongeBob! Survival of the fittest!
  • Taking Advantage of Generosity: SpongeBob is often the victim of this.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Krabs, SpongeBob, and Patrick do this in "Aargh!" Sponge and Patrick take it to an absurd degree, though:
    SpongeBob: Aargh, captain, aargh, we're, aargh, about, aargh, to hit, aargh-
    Krabs: Out with it, man, aargh!
    Patrick: I think, aargh, he's trying, aargh, to say, aargh... [crashes the boat] Land.
    Krabs: Urgh... from now on, only the captain says "aargh".
  • Taps: In the episode "Band Geeks", Squidward and the Bikini Bottom citizens are practicing in a marching band. Squidward tells the flag spinners in the front to spin the flag faster, and eventually, so fast that they fly and collide with a zeppelin, which explodes. The trumpeter of the band then plays the Taps as the rest of them hold their hats on their chest.
  • Team Rocket Wins: Plankton in "Wishing You Well" and the movie.
    • Squilliam in Squilliam Returns.
  • Ted Baxter: Squidward.
  • Teeth Flying: SpongeBob has to impersonate Mr. Krabs at his Navy reunion. One of Krab's buddies asks to punch him in the "armor abs", resulting in one of his teeth coming loose. The others are disappointed that he only lost one tooth, until he spits out a few more, and then his skeleton and the others declare, "Now that's manly!"
  • Temporarily A Villain: The show has Barnacle Boy switching sides over not getting enough food and respect.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • During the episode "SpongeGuard on Duty":
      SpongeBob: I'm cool! I'm every bit as cool as Larry! [smugly] And if I'm not, let me be struck by... [lightning rumbles]... a flying ice cream truck! [ice cream truck song plays] ... AND LIVE! [ice cream truck stops in mid-air inches above SpongeBob's head, then falls on him]
      Larry: Please do not drop flying ice cream trucks on the bathers!
    • A textbook example occurs in "Wet Painters," when SpongeBob and Patrick have to paint Mr. Krabs' house of valuable collectibles. Cue Murphy's Law, involving a giant paint bubble:
    SpongeBob: Barnacles! What could be worse than a giant paint bubble?!
    Patrick: Ooh! I know! (produces a bubble wand, dips in into the paint, and blows another giant paint bubble) Two giant paint bubbles!
    SpongeBob: NOOOOOOOOOO!
    (the bubbles collide and form one MASSIVE paint bubble)
    SpongeBob: Patrick, I don't think this bubble can get much bigger!
    Patrick: Nonsense! (produces a bike pump to hook up to the paint bubble, inflating it further)
    • Also, in "Can You Spare a Dime?":
      SpongeBob: Squidward is not a freeloader and he would never take advantage of me.
      Narrator: Three weeks later...
      SpongeBob: He's just having a hard time getting his confidence back.
      Narrator: Many months later...
      SpongeBob: I'm sure he's close to a breakthrough.
      Narrator 2: So much later that the old narrator got tired of waiting and they had to hire a new one...
      SpongeBob: [grunts as he crawls to the living room]
      Gary: [matter-of-factly...] Meow, meow, meow...
      SpongeBob: I know he's still not looking for work! DON'T RUB IT IN!
  • Terrible Artist : SpongeBob's crude drawings come to life in the episode "Frankendoodle". Even Patrick criticizes him on his lack of structure and perspective, though his drawings aren't any better.
  • Terrible Ticking: Or in this case, squeaking, in "Squeaky Boots".
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Averted, SpongeBob has curly lashes... though he is a bit girly.
  • That Cloud Looks Like A Flower: SpongeBob watches the clouds go by with Sandy, who then reminds him they are all flowers.
  • TGIO Chilibees: When Mr. Krabbs sells the Krusty Krabb in "Selling Out," its new owners turn it into "Krabby O'Monday's", complete with wall bric-a-bac and TGI Friday's-style striped tables.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: SpongeBob hums the show's credits theme (usually not heard due to Nickelodeon's Credits Pushback) in "Krabs vs. Plankton".
  • They Plotted a Perfectly Good Waste: A lot of post-movie episodes don't seem to rely much on a plot as they used to. One notable example is the episode "The Splinter", where SpongeBob gets, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This particular episode had no plot whatsoever and instead of some fancy way to get it out, we are treated to 11 minutes of Nausea Fuel, and near the end, Mr. Krabs simply pulled it out in a very anti-climactic way.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave:
    • Squidward, when he loses his job in 'Can You Spare A Dime?'.
    • SpongeBob when he has to take a vacation.
    • the Flying Dutchman, after he wrecks his ghostly ship. Which had been fixed for 3 months by the time he decided to leave.
  • This! Is! PATRICK!
  • Three Wishes: At the end of "Shanghaied".
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Squidward in 'Band Geeks', 'House Fancy', 'Enchanted Tiki Dream' and 'Suction Cup Symphony'. Plankton and Mrs Puff in 'Wishing You Well'.
    • Squidward receives one at the end of Love That Squid.
  • Tie-In Novel
  • Title Confusion: There's an episode called "Patty Caper" and a special called "The Great Patty Caper". Sometimes people get them mixed up.
  • Time Travel Episode: "SB-129".
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Mr. Krabs and his daughter Pearl.
  • Toilet Humor: Patrick's Stomach in Something Smells. SpongeBob cleaning a toilet as an actor for a sponge in a commercial.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: "Wait a minute, Patrick... I'm the maniac!"
  • Tom Kenny: In his most iconic role to date.
  • Tongue on the Flagpole: Happens to Patrick when he gets his tongue on a wooden pole when the Krusty Krab is frozen in "Krabs a la Mode". He doesn't seem to mind, though.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Patrick more than qualifies for this. And SpongeBob to a lesser or sometimes equal extent in certain episodes. Possibly one of the show's most infamous tropes after the movie.
    • Their past counterparts in "SB-129" however, are far worse. They repeatedly attempt to play catch with a jellyfish, barehanded; Squidward intervenes to teach them how to jellyfish mostly because their agonized screams are disrupting his clarinet-playing. You COULD make the excuse that they were cavefish with un-evolved brains, so they don't know if it's wrong or right.
    • Not just Pat and SpongeBob, but the cast, including random extras, tend to do incredibly stupid things.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: SpongeBob and Patrick after the movie, even though they were semi-dumb before. Now it seems like a running theme between the two of them. Most times. Another infamous trope related to the post-movie seasons.
    • Sandy is this to an extent following the second season from doing dumb stunts. Even though she becomes a scientist later on in the series, it unfortunately still applies to her even at those times.
    • Mr. Krabs sometimes when there's a choice between something moral and money is involved. ESPECIALLY in Born Again Krabs. Who trades their best fry cook for pocket change you can find in your couch cushions?
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: In "Born Again Krabs", Mr. Krabs trades SpongeBob's soul for 62 cents. Just as he starts to feel bad about it, the Flying Dutchman comes back to return SpongeBob after being annoyed by his incessant chatter about his hobbies.
    • The Flying Dutchman gave SpongeBob and Patrick up as slave crewmen in "Shanghaied" because they were incredibly bad at it. In a subversion, rather than letting them go, he planned to eat them, but they escaped. Then the Dutchman catches them, but he offers them three wishes before they're eaten. After accidentally using up two of their wishes, they use their final wish to turn the Dutchman into a vegetarian. But then they appear in a blender, somehow transformed into fruit, with the Dutchman preparing to eat them.
    • In a third Flying Dutchman example, namely "Scaredy Pants", SpongeBob is shaved down by Patrick to make him rounder for a sheet he uses as a Flying Dutchman costume to try to scare everyone in the Krusty Krab for Halloween. He fails miserably, but as the restaurant is laughing at him the real Dutchman arrives, angered by SpongeBob's insulting costume and about to steal everyone's souls. He takes a moment before doing so to explain the concept of being scary to SpongeBob, then removes the sheet... and flies away screaming when he sees the sponge had been shaved down to facial features, a brain, and a "spinal cord".
  • Tradesnark™: In one episode, SpongeBob and Patrick play Frisbee Small Plastic Disc That You Throw/Toss.
    • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V proclaims the IJLSA as "a subsidiary of Viacom," Nickelodeon's parent company.
  • Training from Hell: The episode when a Drill Sergeant Nasty shark teaches SpongeBob how to drive. It works, but SpongeBob ends up being able to drive only when BLINDFOLDED. Hilarity Ensues.
    MY PANTS!!!!
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Played for laughs with Squidward in "Band Geeks", after another screw-up by his slapdash marching band.
    • SpongeBob does this for a whole episode in which he becomes afraid to go outside, so he decides to live inside his house for the rest of his life. Thankfully, he got over it.
    • One episode had Kevin the Sea Cucumber sits in a fetal position and cry for his mommy and blankie when attacked by a King Jellyfish. The other Jellyspotters join in shortly until SpongeBob saves them all.
  • Two Shorts Format: There are occasional episodes containing a third short — namely, the pilot and five of the fifth season's episodes.
  • Two Halves Make A Plot: In the special "Atlantis Squarepantis" SpongeBob and Patrick find half of an amulet and bring it to a museum, where the other half coincidentally resides.
  • Two-Timer Date: Averted; you see, SpongeBob had three appointments booked for the same time, not two.
  • Tyop on the Cover: An in-universe example: Bikini Botton Arcade in the episode "Karate Star".
    • "Pet Sitter Pat" has a book titled 'Snail Tails', which actually had the correct spelling on Spongebob's list of things to do with Gary.
  • Umpteenth Customer: A customer gets this for giving Mr. Krabs his millionth dollar earned. He gets no prize; he and the others just get thrown out so that Krabs can enjoy the dollar in peace. He does reward his workers, though... with a fishing trip.
  • Un-Cancelled: SpongeBob SquarePants initially ended production in February of 2002 on request of Stephen Hillenburg & Derek Drymon. Nickelodeon tried so hard to convince Stephen to resume production with the series but Stephen & Derek denied the option. Around 2003-2004, there were negotiations to revive the series & Paul Tibbitt agreed to step in as showrunner for the new seasons. So the series went back into production in 2004 & with the completed movie finished to screen into theatres(designated to be the series finale of the original run), the show's new episodes began airing in 2005.
    • Incidentally, creator Stephen Hillenburg remains an executive producer on the series so he hasn't completely abandoned the show.
  • Unexplained Recovery: In "Karate Island" despite getting beaten to a pulp by Sandy, the Karate Master is perfectly fine when Squidward arrives on "Clarinet Island" shortly after.
  • Unreadably Fast Text: In "No Free Rides", SpongeBob's date of birth is given as 14 July 1986.
  • The Unreveal: THE SECRET RECIPE TO THE KRABBY PATTY SECRET FORMULA IS — *Cuts to credits/a commercial*
    • In Krabby Road we are given a brief glimpse at the formula. However the ingredients are nonsense words comprised of random letters akin to something a frustrated person might type when banging on a keyboard.
    • A book detailing the series claimed to have the secret formula at the end. All it read was, in .5-point font, "Congratulations! You know how to use a magnifying glass!"
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Bubblebass.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Patrick was tearing up the carnival in the Valentine's Day episode after he only got a handshake (while SpongeBob got other people roses, a box of chocolates, and a bike).
    • Sandy, on more than one occasion.
    • Plankton, although usually only in his own fantasies of what his life would be like if he were bigger.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Fishpaste!" "Barnacles!" "Tartar Sauce!" etc.
  • Vague Age: SpongeBob lives on his own and holds down a job, yet is considered a "kid" by some. However, a few episodes give his DOB. Possibly justified when considering his mental age, or the long lifespan of actual sponges.
    • He's failed boating school thirty-seven times as of the start of the series. (Meow) Umm...thirty eight times.
    • And he has HUNDREDS of employee of the month awards by the time The Movie takes place. Employee of the month awards that would take 37 years and two months just to win.
    • His drivers license says he was born in 1986. So Word of god is he's twenty three putting the series in 2009.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes: "Valentine's Day".
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: In the episode "Rock Bottom", SpongeBob is waiting for the bus so he can go home. He gets hungry and runs across the street to the vending machine to buy a candy bar. The machine itself works properly, but the bus showed up and drove off everytime he tried to put a dollar into the machine or to reach for the candy bar after it was dispensed. Keeping his eyes on the bus, he slowly moves to grab the candy bar, with the bus revving the engines everytime he gently touches the bar. He tries to run back across the street to catch the bus, but it drives off. A random stranger walks up to machine and just takes the candy bar.
  • Verbal Tic: In Rock Bottom, you actually need to raspberry between words (i.e.: JUST * PPPTPTPTP* LIKE * PTPTPT* THIS) in order for you to be understood.
    "What? *pbthbth* I can't *pbthbth* understand *pbthbth* your accent. *pbthbth*
  • Villain Has a Point: Occurs in the episode "Walking Small". Even though he was simply using SpongeBob (for land development!) throughout the episode, Plankton was 100% right when he told SpongeBob that he should be more assertive and stop letting people walk all over him.

    In this episode alone, two people cut in front of him in line for free ice cream, and SpongeBob does nothing in retaliation. By the time he gets to the front, the vendor is sold out. Then, as he and Plankton sit on a bench, a large fish sits on SpongeBob, and doesn't even move when SpongeBob asks him to do so politely.

    All in all, a lot of SpongeBob's problems would probably easily be solved (or never occur) if he weren't a spongy, yellow doormat.
  • Villain Song: The pirate ghosts from "Ghost Fools" get one.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Type 1 with SpongeBob and Squidward.
  • Vocal Evolution: Tom Kenny's SpongeBob voice was somewhat deeper and nasal in earlier seasons, before becoming higher pitched and childlike in the movie & revival seasons. Does not help with Vague Age.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction:
    • "Texas": when Sandy is chasing SpongeBob and Patrick. While carrying a lasso she fills the screen with her foot.
    • "Whelk Attack" where Mr. Krabs tries to give Krabby Patties to the whelks. He walks out the Krusty Krab with a plate full of Krabby Patties and walks towards the screen.
    • "Bummer Vacation" with SpongeBob accusing Mr. Krabs of replacing him.
    • "Squidward, the Unfriendly Ghost": When SpongeBob and Patrick about to clean Squidward's back room.
    Patrick: "Oh, coming!"
  • Walk On The Wild Side Episode: In one episode, Squidward gets so fed up with SpongeBob and Patrick's antics that he decides to move out into a gated community filled with other squids who share his interests. Inside, he finds that everyone else has a Easter Island head house, everyone else loves playing the clarinet, everyone else loves riding their paddlebikes, everyone else loves ballet dancing, and everyone else enjoys eating canned bread. He's thrilled at this, but soon gets bored of the same routine every day, to the point where he starts going out of control and just lets loose while playing around with a leaf blower. The other citizens filled a formal list of complaints, but Squidward tells them off by flying his leaf blower into the sky while screaming wildly.
  • Walk Through The Camera:
    • "Breath of Fresh Squidward" SpongeBob walking with new Squidward attached to him. "Boy the new Squidward sure is chummy"
  • Watching the Sunset: With Squidward.
    Spongebob: "This is great. Just the three of us; you, me, and this brick wall you built between us."
  • Water Is Air: Very frequently. Most noticeable in the episode involving a wind storm that causes SpongeBob's holes to whistle.
    • SpongeBob and friends are also perfectly capable of falling off cliffs, taking baths...
    • Lampshaded in one episode where SpongeBob and Patrick run away after they think they're wanted fugitives for popping a balloon.
    Spongebob and Patrick are sitting around a campfire late at night.
    [fire immediately goes out]
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Looking on the positive light post-Flanderization, you'd see Mr. Krabs as this.
  • What The Hell, SpongeBob?: In Karen 2.0, when SpongeBob accidentally makes Plankton's computer wife Karen cry some more after Plankton dumps her, Mr. Krabs responds to this with this:
    Mr. Krabs: (Angrily) Smooth, SpongeBob. REAL smooth!
    • Squidward even calls Mr. Krabs out on selling SpongeBob's soul for sixty two cents in Born Again Krabs. Squidward hates SpongeBob with a burning passion of a thousand suns, but even he was disturbed at what Krabs did.
    • In Stuck In The Ringer, the townspeople call SpongeBob out for yelling at Patrick. Even though it was Patrick who got him in that mess in the first place, at least he tried to help.
  • Who's on First?: "Good Ol' Whatshisname", in which Squidward tries to find out the name of a mystery customer.
    • Also, in "Shellback Shenanigans":
      SpongeBob: When are we making this fresh batch of Krabby Patties, Mr. Krabs?
      Mr. Krabs: What?
      Plankton: Okay, now what'd he say?
      Karen: "What?"
      Plankton: I said, "What'd he say?"
      Karen: He said, "What?"
      Plankton: I have no idea, that's why I'm asking you what he said!
      Karen: I know that, and I'm saying he said, "What?"
      Plankton: I know that! Wait... oh, he
      said, "What?"
      Karen:' Yes!
  • Who's Watching the Store?: Only three people operate the Krusty Krab, and all three are not always at work at the same time.
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Patrick Smartpants" is Flowers for Algernon. Patrick suddenly becomes smart after an accident in Jellyfish Fields. It turns out that after the top of his head was knocked off, SpongeBob put a "brain coral" on Patrick instead of Patrick's real head.
  • Why Won't You Die?: Very blatant in "Demolition Doofus," when Mrs. Puff is trying to ensure that Spongebob will die in the truck rally but survives, she screams, "Why are you still alive?!"
  • Widget Series: Of the WHAT variety.
  • Windbag Hall Monitor: When SpongeBob was chosen hall monitor, he gave a long, boring acceptance speech (which includes a quote from an equally long speech given by a famous hall monitor). By the time he was finished, class was over without him actually performing his hall-monitor duties.
  • Workaholic: SpongeBob ADORES his job at the Krusty Krab, to the point where he goes insane when Mr. Krabs tries to make him take a vacation.
  • Work Off the Debt: The plot of "Pat No Pay."
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: SpongeBob performs one at the end of The Movie. Then after that...
  • World of Ham: At least half of the characters on the show have a huge thing for the dramatic, and will demonstrate whenever they get the chance.
  • World's Smallest Violin: In a scene from "Squilliam Returns" in which Mr. Krabs plays the World's Smallest Violin as a variant of this trope.
    Mr. Krabs: Oh, boo hoo. Let me play a sad song for you on the World's Smallest Violin. [Does so]
    Squidward: This is serious!
    Mr. Krabs: I know. This really is the World's Smallest Violin. See? (camera focuses on his claw to show World's Smallest Violin)
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Mr. Krabs in Born Again Krabs.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The Krusty Krab.
  • X Must Not Win: While usually fine defending his own business, Mr Krabs is sometimes shown to have an unsettling grudge towards any minor success his rival Plankton gains, even so much as gaining one customer is enough for him to start on an obsessive vendetta in stealing Plankton's "business."
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Some episodes tend to do this to both Squidward and Plankton. Used so often in the later seasons that it's almost the show's signature trope, especially with Squidward.
    • SpongeBob whenever he tries to get his driver's license.
  • Yes-Man: The Jellyspotters
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: From "Chimps Ahoy":
    Dr. Marmalade: Lord Reginald, are you all right? [shrieks and explosions are heard] I'm sorry, was that a "yes"?
  • Yes Virginia: "Christmas Who?"
  • You Can Say That Again: SpongeBob utters the line in the episode "The Two Faces of Squidward", after Patrick says "We're not just neighbors...", and Patrick, as one might expect, follows through.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: "That's the worst SpongeBob costume I've ever seen!" — Passenger on a train ride that SpongeBob himself is driving in the episode "The Krusty Sponge"
  • Your Eyes Can Deceive You: A method used by one driving teacher...and it actually works! But now SpongeBob can only drive safely while blindfolded…
  • You Need a Breath Mint: A bystander offers one to Mr. Krabs in "Hooky" after he yells in his ear about "the hooks".
  • You No Take Candle: Patrick's sister, Sam.
  • Your Television Hates You: In "Idiot Box", Squidward is trying to forget about SpongeBob and Patrick playing in their box, but everything on TV is about boxes, even boxing.
  • Zany Cartoon: Big time.
Tropes J to PWesternAnimation/Sponge Bob Square Pants    

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