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Spongebob Squarepants: Tropes A to C
Visit the main page here.
For tropes D to I see here.
For tropes J to P see here.
For tropes Q to Z see here.

  • Abnormal Limb Rotation Range: Happens every once in a while to random characters.
  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: In "Bossy Boots", Pearl changes the Krusty Krab's menu to provide salads as the main dish instead of Krabby Patties. SpongeBob sees this and wonders out loud "What in the name of Davy Jones' locker is a SAL-lad?" Later in the episode, he remarks about how much the customers are enjoying their "suh-LADS."
  • Accidental Dance Craze: Patrick starts one by being mistaken for the only competitor in a dance competition to not use a partner.
  • Accidental Marriage:
    • In 'Truth or Square' Sandy and SpongeBob act out a marriage, without telling the very real priest it was just a play.
    • In 'Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy', a delusional, senile Mermaid Man, a confused SpongeBob and the warden of Shady Shoals take part in this hilarious exchange.
    Mermaid Man: Listen up you villains, I wanna eat my meat loaf! Now if you don't get out of here, then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you man and wife!
    Warden: WHAT IS GOING ON IN HERE?!
    Mermaid Man: (Talking to the warden, pointing at SpongeBob) You may kiss the bride!
    Patrick: (SpongeBob is thrown out of Shady Shoals and rolls home, where Patrick is waiting for him) Did you reunite our heroes?
    SpongeBob: No. But I'm married.
  • Accidental Truth: In "One Krab's Trash", Mr. Krabs sells a soda drink hat to Spongebob, and then, after finding out that it's apparently worth a million dollars, attempts to scare it off SpongeBob by telling him the hat is cursed and unless he returns it to the grave of its previous owner, Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen, he himself will be cursed. Imagine his surprise when he finds out that not only is Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen real, but the hat really was his when he was alive.
  • Accordion Man: Patrick briefly becomes one in "Naughty Nauticle Neighbors", causing Squidward to laugh to the point where he chokes on the soufflé he's eating.
  • Acid Trip Dimension: The Fly of Despair from "Shanghaied" and "Squidward in Clarinetland"
  • Acting Unnatural: "Life of Crime". SpongeBob and Patrick are panicking because (they think) they stole a balloon. SpongeBob advises, "Just act natural," and, whether out of nerves or sheer stupidity, both of them start gibbering and acting crazy. They are immediately surrounded by a crowd who mistake them for street performers.
    • In the episode "Boating School", when SpongeBob is asked to act natural, he gets on all fours and starts grazing like a cow.
    • Inverted in the episode "The Bully", once SpongeBob believes Flats will come searching for him in the bathroom, he says he must "act natural". Cue him floating around in the toilet looking like a real kitchen sponge.
  • Adam Westing: The Movie: "I'm David Hasselhoff!" "Hooray!"
    • Also an actual case with Adam West and Burt Ward playing the younger versions of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy who are usually played by Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway respectively, in an obvious homage to The 1960's Batman.
    • Pun-happy film critic Gene Shalit appearing as pun-happy food critic "Gene Scallop" in The Krusty Sponge. In the SpongeBob universe Gene is a harsh critic whose review can make or break a restaurant.
  • Afraid of Doctors: In the episode "Suds", Patrick tells SpongeBob that the doctor's is a horrible place to go. Of course, while SpongeBob believed him, he asked if Patrick could be his doctor, but that didn't help cure the suds. As Sandy took SpongeBob to the real doctor for the sponge treatment, he realizes that it isn't such a bad place after all and was given a lollipop. Proven wrong by this, Patrick asks for the sponge treatment, but he was proven right as the treatment didn't turned out to be so well.
  • Ageless Birthday Episode: In the episode "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", SpongeBob celebrates his birthday among several other parties he planned on the same day. Even though he has a revealed birthday, his age isn't revealed.
    • Another episode when SpongeBob was invited to his grandmother's birthday. All was said about her age was "turning...even older".
  • AI Is A Crap Shoot: Plankton's computer wife, Karen, plays and subverts this to an extent, she is seemingly more competent and intelligent than Plankton but was created with the sentience of a nagging housewife (and an Obnoxious In-Laws program as back-up software) and thus is more preoccupied in pointing out Plankton's stupidity or whining for affection from her husband than doing much constructive.
    • In addition, nearly anything technological that SpongeBob or Squidward buy is bound to work wrong in some manner, like Le Spatula or Squidward's house security system.
  • The Alcatraz: SpongeBob and Patrick wind up on one of these in one episode, rather than summer camp. They love it.
  • All Adult Animation Is South Park: The post-movie/Paul Tibbitt-era episodes, as they rely on shock humour and grossout gags and to an extent, offensive jokes.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Or in this case, all snails are cats.
    • Also related to this, all (or at least most) worms are dogs.
  • Alliterative Title
  • All Just a Dream: The episodes "Procrastination" and "Doing Time." It is taken to the extreme in the latter. A post-movie example is the episode The Main Drain.
  • All There in the Manual: Do you want to know what anti-sea-rhinoceros undergarments look like? Just play the game based on "The Camping Episode".
    • Bikini bottom is actually the bottom of the ocean near Bikini Atoll, where the United states conducted several nuclear tests in the forties and fifties. If you watch the show carefully you can actually find several references to these nuclear tests, for example large explosions will be real video of the Able nuclear test.
  • Alpha Bitch: Pearl acts like this sometimes.
    • Squilliam is a rare male example of this trope.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Rip Slyme wrote a new ending theme song for the Japanese version. You can find it here.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Canned bread, seen in "Squidville", really does exist.
    • In "Bubble Buddy", SpongeBob enthusiastically celebrates "Leif Erikson Day" ("hinga-dinga-dürgen!"), since, for him, every day must be a holiday. Presumably the writers were not aware, since the whole joke is that he had to make the holiday up, but Leif Erikson Day is in fact a real holiday. It's October 9.
  • Ambiguously Gay: SpongeBob and Patrick.
  • Amusing Injuries: Somewhat justified on occasion, as SpongeBob is, well, a sponge.
    • This is possibly lampshaded in one episode, where SpongeBob, who has been running from a bully that wants to beat him up, is finally cornered. The bully then punches him, and SpongeBob actually realizes that it doesn't hurt since he's a sponge and absorbs the blows. He then goes through the rest of his day, all night, and through part of the next day with the bully punching him non-stop, the only response being a loud squeaking noise.
    • SpongeBob hurts himself to amuse children for Mr.Krabs.
    • Or the episode where SpongeBob offering to "Lend a hand". Cue him pulling off one arm with the other, only have have another pop out instantly until the ground is covered with yellow arms.
      • The same thing happens when Squidward is telling SpongeBob a scary story about a man who chopped his hand off with a knife, and SpongeBob doesn't understand that fish's arms don't grow back like his (even Squidward is shocked it doesn't hurt SpongeBob at all).
  • Angrish: "Ah regga fregga smelinolin Mr. Krabs! Yugga hugga hollin wallet! Zibby mibby spibb! Yolla holla MR. KRABS WALLET!!!"
    "I had no idea SpongeBob had such a colorful vocabulary..."
  • Annoying Laugh: In "Something Smells", SpongeBob is trying to figure out why everyone's been avoiding him. Patrick ponders:
    Patrick: Maybe it's your voice.
    SpongeBob: Dahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa!... good one, Patrick.
  • Anti-Advice: In "Pizza Delivery," when SpongeBob and Squidward get lost together, SpongeBob predicts which way to go using his pioneering skills. Squidward goes the opposite way. The camera then pans over to show that their houses are just over a ridge in the direction SpongeBob wanted to go.
  • Anything But That!: When Squidward finds out about SpongeBob's splinter and threatens to tell Mr. Krabs about it so he'll have to leave work early in "The Splinter"
  • Appease the Volcano God: "Sponge-Cano!"
  • April Fools' Plot: "Fools in April"
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?:
    Flying Dutchman: I am the Flying Dutchman!
    SpongeBob: That's it! Squidward, this ship belongs to the Red Baron!
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Plenty of times.
    • When SpongeBob thought (incorrectly) that Sandy had tried to get the jump on him at work, as part of their friendly karate (or "ka-rah-tay" as some call it) sparring:
      SpongeBob: Thought you could sneak up on me at work, did ya? Well, ya can't! 'Cause I'm fast, I'm mean, and I can do THIS! [clasps hands together and wiggles arms]
    • Squidward tempting fate during the episode "Pizza Delivery," after he implored SpongeBob to make the delivery drive, telling him to first back up the boatmobile (despite SpongeBob's protests that he's still in boating school and shouldn't be driving). Of course, it goes hilariously wrong:
      SpongeBob: Backing up! Backing up! [backs up... for miles, until the car dies] ... backing up.
      Squidward: Well... ya backed up. And you know what?! I think we're out of gas! And you know what else?! We're in the middle of nowhere!
      SpongeBob: And you know what else else? I think the pizza's getting cold.
      Squidward: [feigned gasp] AND the pizza's cold! The pizza's cold! Not the pizza! Oh, how could it get any WORSE?! [kicks boatmobile, which somehow takes the tank from "Empty" to "Full." The boatmobile drives off into the distance without them.]
    • SpongeBob describing an Alaskan Bull Worm.
      SpongeBob: It was big! Scary! AND PINK!
    • SpongeBob describing the bath scene.
      SpongeBob: My best friend, my ex best friend, and...RUBBER BATH TOYS!
    • From The Movie, Plan Z:
      Plankton: It's evil! It's diabolical! IT'S LEMON SCENTED!
    • From "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V"
      1. I want to be treated like a superhero not a sidekick.
      2. I want to be called "Barnacle Man".
      3. I want an adult sized Krabby Patty.
    • When Mrs. Puff is stealing SpongeBob's new boat, he's not letting go for giant clams, cheese graters, and... EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION!? OH NO! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    • From "Life of Crime": "We're not talking about some dumb mail fraud scheme or hijacking here...WE STOLE A BALLOON! And they're gonna lock us up forever!"
    • In "Graveyard Shift";
      Squidward: He cut off own hand by mistake! [...] He replaced his hand, with a rusty spatula...And then! He got hit by a bus! And then! At his funeral...they fired him!
  • Art Attacker: In one episode, an artist's pencil which can bring to life a disgruntled duplicate of SpongeBob falls into Bikini Bottom. The pencil and eraser are both used to attack and defend.
    • Fun Trivia Point: the artist himself, briefly seen in live-action at the start and close of this episode ("Frankendoodle") is played by Mr. Lawrence, an artist, voice actor (most notably Plankton) and occasional writer for the show.
  • Art Evolution: Season one looks very different from the rest. It was the only season to use hand-painted traditional animation cels, and some character designs are slightly different. With season two, the series abandoned cels in favour of the newer digital ink-and-paint process. The series evolved slightly more in episodes that aired after The Movie, in which the animation is more fluid and a little closer to that of the movie.
  • The Artifact: Certain seasons just barely acknowledge the fact that Bikini Bottom takes place underwater. Some episodes contain underwater thunderstorms, for example.
  • Art Shift: Many in "Truth or Square": The opening is redone in really trippy stop-motion (with a new theme by Cee-Lo), a sequence made to look like an old 1950's-esque TV commercial, and another Retraux sequence made to look like an old 1920's Mickey Mouse cartoon that shows SpongeBob going to work, and every single thing has a face. "Atlantis Squarepantis" also features several, including the 3D bus interior, an old video game, and several different painting styles.
  • Ascended Meme: "Are You Happy Now?" seems to have been inspired by the "Squidward's Suicide" Creepy Pasta. Why they'd choose that of all memes to ascend...
    • "Face Freeze" also seems to have been based off of the Spengbab meme. Again, why they'd choose that of all memes to ascend...
  • Ascended Extra: Bubble Bass, only appearing for about a minute during his first appearance, becomes the Antagonist of a later episode.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Squidward time travelling into the middle of nowhere.
  • Aside Comment: Squidward will occasionally make one of these. "That SpongeBob is such a crybaby. Lucky me, I get to work with him all day."
  • Aside Glance: From "Missing Identity":
    SpongeBob: Have you forgotten what we're looking for knee-deep in yesterday's Top-40 songs?!
    Patrick: ... yes.
    SpongeBob: I'll give ya a hint. First word: "My." Second word: "Nametag."
    Patrick: ... could I have another hint?
    SpongeBob: [turns slowly and stares directly at the camera in disbelief]
  • Ass Shove:
    • Implied. While Patrick is wearing a pair of shorts with a built in pay-phone/walkie-talkie.
    Disembodied techno-female voice: If you would like to make a call, please insert twenty-five cents. [SpongeBob produces a quarter]
    • This scene in "My Pretty Seahorse":
    Boy 1: Hey, look! Mr. Krabs put in a kiddie ride!
    Boy 2: Why don't you try it out?
    Boy 1:...I can't find the coin slot! ...Here it is!
    [bink]
    Mystery: [Whinnies and kicks Boy 1]
  • At Arm's Length: Krabs and Plankton.
  • Attack Backfire: Mermaid Man mistakes SpongeBob for evil and attacks with his trademark Water Balls. SpongeBob enjoys it.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!:
    • SpongeBob, when he and Squidward "discover" that Mr. Krabs is a robot:
    Squidward: [panicking] What do we do now?!
    SpongeBob: I don't know... hey, a nickel!
    Squidward: [angrily] SpongeBob!
    • In "Dying For Pie", Mr. Krabs drops a small piece of a pie-bomb (which he and Squidward think is a real pie) while attempting to taste it. It causes a large explosion and blows a hole clean through the back of Mr. Krabs' office, but the rest of the pie-bomb remains on his desk. When SpongeBob enters the office to see what happened, the pie distracts him from the fact that the back wall in Mr. Krabs' office is missing.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: In-universe, at least. In "That's No Lady", all of the men in Bikini Bottom (except for Spongebob) are instantly infatuated with Patrick when he dresses up as a lady (Patricia), especially Squidward and Mr. Krabs. When they find out who he really is, they get really embarrassed.
  • Author Appeal: The show was created by a former marine biologist. In all honesty, could you imagine anybody else creating a cartoon about a talking sea sponge?
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: At the climax of The Movie.
  • Autocannibalism: Played for Laughs; SpongeBob scarfs down a bucket of his own severed arms (they regenerate) like popcorn during Squidward's Ghost Story.
  • Award Bait Song:
  • Awesome but Impractical: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy have an invisible boatmobile... that they struggle to find more than once, since it's invisble. Barnacle Boy has also accidentally, and painfully, sat on the gear lever ("I told you we should have got the automatic"), and has been burned by the tailpipe while unknowingly standing behind it.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Mr. Krabs is often a step away from this because of his extreme obsession with the money. Watch the episode "Clams".
    • The Tattletale Strangler as well.
    • Also, Squidward in the episode "Squid's Day Off".
    • Patrick in "Valentine's Day".
    • And Dennis from The Movie.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Salty Spitoon. Also mocked in The Movie.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: When Pearl turns the business into the Kuddly Krab.
  • Bad Omen Anecdote: One of the more famous scenes invokes this; the mysterious tale of The Ugly Barnacle.
  • Balloon-Bursting Bird: In the Valentine's Day episode, SpongeBob's gift for Patrick is a hot air balloon made of chocolate. Sandy is to fly it to the carnival but is delayed when scallops (which act as birds on the show's setting) try to eat the balloon.
    • The final shot of "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost" features Squiward encased in a giant bubble floating in the sky, surrounded by sea gulls.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: This is actually parodied in the episode "Arrgh!". SpongeBob and Patrick quickly come to believe their pirate quest is a scam (and that Mr. Krabs has gone Cloudcuckoolander) finding out the treasure map is just a game board they used earlier in the episode. Chance kicks in as they do find the treasure according to the map (the game board) with the remarks of SpongeBob saying "It really IS based on a true treasure map!" The Flying Dutchman comes in to take his treasure back, willing to share with SpongeBob and Patrick. But much to the dismay of Mr. Krabs, he only gains a piece from the game board, and gets replied "But it's based on a REAL treasure chest!"
    • It's notable that this is rather Karmic, as it was a fight over the treasure (Patrick and SpongeBob wanted their shares, Krabs wanted it all) that woke up TFD in the first place.
  • Beach Bury: SpongeBob buries a beach goer, Scooter, and then asks Bubble Buddy, his inanimate friend, to unbury him before the tide raises. We later see him as an angel.
    • Harsher in Hindsight: When you realize Bubble Buddy was alive (not inanimate) the whole time and just let Scooter die.
    • In the episode "Ripped Pants", a whale is buried in the sand.
  • Bedtime Brainwashing: In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", Spongebob needs therapy after hallucinating of Krabby Patties. The psychiatrist hypnotized Spongebob to sleep and goes on to do this. Being Plankton in disguise, he subliminally tries to tell Spongebob to explain the recipe of Krabby Patty. But it fails, since Spongebob instead gets a dream where he regains his resolve to make patties again.
  • Befriending The Enemy: In the episode F.U.N. SpongeBob tries to befriend Plankton and ask him to play with him after seeing how Bikini Bottom treats him badly and calls him “a loser”. Plankton decides to go along with it, and use it as an opportunity to steal the Krabby Patty formula. After sharing a Friendship Song together Plankton does become his friend for a time, but ultimately choses to betray SpongeBob and steal a Krabby Patty at the end of the episode because “evil is just too fun”. This kind of scenario has been recycled several times in the show usually with Plankton trying to exploit SpongeBob in a new scheme.
  • Beige Prose: SpongeBob in "Krab Borg":
    SpongeBob: Oh, Squidward! It's terrible! Mr. Krabs! Talking to radio! Beeping sounds! Strange dancing! ... robot!
  • Being Watched: During the episode "Jellyfish Hunter":
    SpongeBob: [while being followed by a jellyfish] It feels like someone... wants to sell me something! [turns around quickly to find no one behind him]
    [camera cuts to two salesmen in business suits, hiding behind a rock]
    Salesman 1: I told you he was onto us!
  • Berserk Board Barricade: Squidward creates these in "I Was a Teenaged Gary" and "Squid's Day Off", to keep SpongeBob out and himself in, respectively. He fails at both objectives.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In Sandy's case, don't talk smack about Texas, or you will die (possibly in a fiery explosion after she lassos you into the distance).
    • Walk into the Krusty Krab and say anything at all about customers getting so much as a discount on anything, let alone getting anything FREE (and yes, that actually includes napkins, water, and ice— "No free napkins?" is actually SpongeBob's first guess when asked what the most important rule is at the Krusty Krab). If that's not good enough, try mentioning an employee earning overtime, taking a break, or, Neptune forbid, receiving a day off. If Mr. Krabs hears, he's liable to literally blow the roof off of the restaurant in anger.
      • And don't ever tamper with the Krabby Patty formula in front of Mr. Krabs, for that matter. Unless he finds out that it's a way to make more money.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: SpongeBob is innocent, caring, and naive to the point where he can be manipulated and taken advantage of for a VERY long time if one chooses to abuse his kindness. He doesn't have a short temper by any means, but like everyone, he does have a limit, and when he reaches it, no one is safe.
  • Big Damn Movie
  • Bigger on the Inside:
    • SpongeBob's house.
    • The safe from the acid trip of "Squidward in Clarinetland".
    • Gary's shell.
  • Big Little Man: The Reveal at the end of "Blackjack".
  • Big "NO!":
    Patrick: Maybe it's just because you're ugly.
    SpongeBob: Ugly?! [sticks finger in mouth, slides it across his eyebrows, then says in a suave tone] You gotta be kiddin' meh.
    Patrick: Better try the reflection test. [holds up a mirror in front of SpongeBob]
    SpongeBob: (to reflection) Hi! [SpongeBob's reflection grabs a hammer and breaks itself after smelling SpongeBob's breath]
    Patrick: Uuuuuuglyyyyyyy....
    SpongeBob: OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
    • Also used in "Bubble Buddy", in dramatic slow-motion and with added vowel screwing around with.
    • And used twice in "Frankendoodle".
    • Two of them in "New Digs", one by SpongeBob when he is late, one by Squidward when Mr. Krabs evicts SpongeBob from living at the Krusty Krab.
    • In the movie, Plankton lets one loose when SpongeBob began zapping the mind-controlling helmets off of the Bikini Bottom residents using The Power of Rock.
    • Gary does this in Treats!...with a big long meow as a substitute.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Squilliam Fancyson.
    Squidward: How's the unibrow?
    Squilliam: It's big and valuable. [wiggles unibrow smugly]
    • In "House Fancy", he has a giant sculpture of his unibrow made of gilded doornobs.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In "Pizza Delivery", SpongeBob hallucinates actual Korean words on the gearshift of the boat, which really mean "forward" and "reverse".
    • A restroom sign in "Krusty Krab Training Video" reads Lave Las Aletas (Spanish for "wash your flippers").
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    Stanley: Wow! A TV! Uncle Sherm never let me watch TV back at home.
    SpongeBob: Why not? *The TV explodes*
    Stanley: That's why. *runs off* What's that?
    SpongeBob: Oh, it's okay. There's nothing good on television anyway. [turns to camera] Nothing.
    • "The Krusty Sponge" may be this, regarding the series' wild success and Nickelodeon's subsequent milking.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • In "Opposite Day", Squidward doesn't get to sell his house, but he DOES get to chase SpongeBob and Patrick into the distance with a bulldozer.
    • In "Enchanted Tiki Dreams" the Tiki Land burns but Squidward gets to knock SpongeBob and Patrick over with a boat swing at the end.
    • "Keep Bikini Bottom Beautiful". Squidward manages to one-up Squilliam, but get a littering ticket for the umpteenth time.
  • Bizarchitecture: "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?" Answer: SpongeBob SquarePants
    • The other giant objects that the characters live in. Although they're only giant in comparison with the characters, according to the movie.
    • Most of the important buildings follow a sort of a theme, in that they're the sort of things that might appear as decor in fish tanks. Moai, rocks, treasure chests, etc.
  • Black Comedy:
    • This show, especially in its earlier seasons, contains a surprising amount of dark humor. For example, the entire comedy of "Nasty Patty" comes from SpongeBob and Krabs believing that they've killed the health inspector (he was just unconscious).
    • Then in "No Free Rides," Mrs. Puff imagines SpongeBob running over a family, complete with sound effects, after she graduates him.
    • Pretty much "SpongeBob meets the Strangler", but there's one scene where SpongeBob tries to climb on the Strangler's shoulders.... come from nowhere, he appears wearing a pair of shoes with sharp celats, he jumps and his shoes went directly inside the Strangler's eyeholes... "I'm trying, but my cleats are stuck in your corneas!!!"
    • In "The Camping Episode" Squidward gets his poor body beaten several times by the sea bear. If you think that a slapstick routine can't be considered as dark comedy, you wait to see how physically destroyed the sea bear left Squidward's body, only to beat the shit out of him over and over (at one point, in SpongeBob's opinion, because the sea bear "Just doesn't like [Squidward]"). And that's funny only because he's an unlikeable, antagonistic character who's getting his comeuppance.
    • During one episode, Mr. Krabs' mother says she saw a new hat in town that she wanted, and then later reveals that her new boyfriend bought it for her. Krabs gets jealous and reveals that he also "bought" her a hat, and by "bought," he meant "snuck into a funeral parlor and stole the hat off of a deceased fish" (after all, Mr. Krabs isn't gonna go out and spend money on anyone but himself... with rare exceptions). And the worst part is that this isn't the first time Mr. Krabs has robbed a dead body for a hat. See Accidental Truth above.
  • Black Comedy Cannibalism: In "Frying Cook Games", Patrick accidently splatters fryer water onto a portion of the fish audience, turning them into fried fish sticks. With that, a sellsman comes by, puts a dollar sign beside them and chants "Fish sticks!" for anyone to buy.
  • Black and Grey Morality: After the movie.
  • Bland-Name Product: The pet food Snailpo is a recurring example. Also the restaurant Krabby O'Monday's in Selling Out.
  • Blanket Tug O War: Not with a blanket, but with Patrick's rock in "Home Sweet Pineapple."
  • Blind Driving: SpongeBob had to learn a driving course blindfolded as part of a Drill Sergeant Nasty's Training from Hell. Unfortunately, he can't drive without being blindfolded afterwards.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind:
    • "Your Shoe's Untied", where Patrick buys shoes, but doesn't know how to tie them. SpongeBob tries to teach him how, but realizes he's never learned himself.
    • Patrick often gives SpongeBob this kind of misguided advice. For example, one episode has Patrick teaching SpongeBob how to be mature, with tips such as growing sideburns, puffing out his chest, and developing an appreciation for freestyle jazz. Hilarity Ensues.
    • Since they're both mentally six, they're occasionally known to do this to themselves-devoid of anyone to provide them with questionable advice, they'll attempt to deduce the proper course themselves and arrive at exactly the wrong answer through some of the unsoundest logic it's possible to come across.
    • In the 'pilot' episode where SpongeBob meets Sandy for the first time, SpongeBob goes to Patrick for advice about the mysterious concept of "air." Patrick claims she means "putting on airs," (which is an actual phrase that Patrick defines correctly, to his credit) or fancy talk. His advice is to go to Sandy's and "When In doubt, pinky out'. This causes SpongeBob, an aquatic animal, to slowly dry out in Sandy's water-less "treedome." Patrick enters at one point, and the duo end up completely dehydrating, but Sandy saves them with water-filled helmets (which become standard attire when visiting her). So, not only is Patrick's advice misguided, it's dangerous.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: After the movie.
  • Blowing a Raspberry:
    • One episode, SpongeBob goes to Rock Bottom, where everyone speaks in raspberries. When he asks for directions, a Rock Bottomite can't understand his "accent" until SpongeBob starts adding raspberries between words.
    • SpongeBob also does this to Mr Krabs in The Movie, angry about not getting the job of Krusty Krab 2 manager:
    SpongeBob: ["hungover" from an ice-cream bender]' Well I am 100% MAN! And this MAN has got something to say to yooouuu! [blows a very long raspberry] There! I think I made my point!
  • Body Horror: A lot. In fact, the show is notorious for featuring horror of this nature. Look at the Nightmare Fuel tab.
  • Boomerang Comeback: SpongeBob's plan to use a "boomerang pet ball" to lure Gary into the tub in "Gary Takes a Bath" fails because of this trope. A trope which also applies to the box the toy came in, as SpongeBob finds out when he throws it away in annoyance.
  • Boot Camp Episode: When SpongeBob gets Mrs. Puff fired after failing the boating exam once again, her replacement is a drill instructor named Sarge. A drill instructor who just so happens to be Zaeed Massani
  • Boredom Montage: "Squidville": Squidward moves into a new neighborhood where everyone has the same interests and hobbies as he does, and gradually gets sick of it, as the Boredom Montage gradually shows him appearing less and less interested, based on the look on his face as the montage goes on. And then he loses it BIG TIME. He attacks people with a reef blower, sings songs, and acts just like SpongeBob used to. At the end of the episode, Squidward uses the reef blower as a jetpack while laughing madly (underwater, no less). It then shows SpongeBob and Patrick, who were searching for Squidward, unable to find him because everyone looks the same. They then hear Squidward laughing, look up, and say "Well at least we know one thing; it SURE isn't that guy!" Episode ends.
  • Bottle Episode: "Gary Takes a Bath." It's shorter than the typical 11 minutes, features only one voice actor, features two main characters other than a brief Mr. Krabs cameo and most of it takes place inside SpongeBob's pineapple.
  • Box-and-Stick Trap:
    • One Nickelodeon Magazine comic had SpongeBob and Patrick try this as one of their attempts at catching the Sea Leprechaun, with a Bland-Name Product version of Lucky Charms as the bait. It fails thrice: first it catches Patrick ("I got hungry."), then Mr. Krabs ("I can't resist a free breakfast"), then Plankton ("If Krabs has it, I want it!"). They then decide they need a new plan.
    • In "It's a SpongeBob Christmas", Patrick attempts to catch Santa Claus using one. He then forgets about his plan, and goes after the Christmas cookie he planted in it.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Mr. Krabs' daughter, Pearl.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: In "Can You Spare a Dime?", SpongeBob tries to guess what job Squidward (who had quit the Krusty Krab) is now doing, in a callback to earlier in the episode:
    SpongeBob: Hmmm, I see you've been working on that moustache. The tattered clothes, the awful smell...you're a football player!
    Squidward: No.
    SpongeBob: A spaceman! A king!
    Squidward: No.
    SpongeBob: A football-playing king in space?
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: In "Dying for Pie", SpongeBob's friendship list consists of showing Squidward to everyone in town, telling knock-knock jokes, walking backwards, and open-heart surgery.
  • Break the Cutie: This happens to SpongeBob quite a bit. For example:
    SpongeBob: [grabs Mr. Krabs from behind his desk and lifts him into the air with ease while strangling him] Listen, you crustaceous cheapskate!! Squidward has been living in MY HOUSE driving me CRAZY!! AND YOU'RE NOT GONNA HIRE HIM BACK ALL BECAUSE OF A STUPID DIME?!?!
  • Break the Haughty: Squidward in "Can You Spare A Dime?". After he quits his job at the Krusty Krab, within two weeks he's lost his house, his belongings, has been forced to live on the streets and beg for change, and had to eat all of the art that he made because no one would buy them. And this is all coming from the most self-centered character on the show that's convinced he's the greatest man under the sea.
  • Brick Joke:
    • "The Great Snail Race" has one. SpongeBob, who's training Gary, calls him a lady to "humiliate and demean him". Cut to Sandy, who says "I don't know why, but I think I'll kick SpongeBob's butt tomorrow.". The next day, at the end of the episode, Sandy comes out of nowhere, kicks SpongeBob off screen and yells "That's for yesterday SquarePants!".
    • In the beginning of The Smoking Peanut, Mr. Krabs is seen abusing the concept of Free Day, taking everything he can. At the end of the episode, it's revealed that the oyster got upset because her pearl was stolen. Guess who stole it?
    • In the "Nasty Patty" episode: SpongeBob reveals that Mr. Krabs wears hair curlers to bed. Remember what Mr. Krabs "borrowed" from Mrs. Puff in the "Life of Crime" episode? Her hair curlers (although it was a gift, supposedly).
    • Also, in "Something Smells", Patrick says that he has no sister. Several SEASONS later, "Big Sister Sam" focuses around Patrick meeting up with his long-lost sister.
    • Remember how "Every Villain Is Lemons?" Plan Z is lemon-scented.
  • Broken Smile: Mr. Krabs at the end of "Squid on Strike", when he sees that SpongeBob destroyed the Krusty Krab.
  • Bug Catching: SpongeBob and Patrick go jellyfishing all the time.
  • Burger Fool: Subverted — SpongeBob loves his job. Squidward, on the other hand...
  • Butt Monkey:
    • Most of the cast have their share of bad luck, but Squidward and Plankton are the most consistent examples. Almost everything is out to get them, and is merciless in execution.
    • Entire episodes revolve around Squidward trying desperately to get away from SpongeBob and Patrick. He also has had houses land on him, had a shrunk submarine grow back to normal size while inside his body (with SpongeBob and Patrick in it), had a NUCLEAR BOMB thrown directly in his face (which promptly exploded), had his house repeatedly destroyed... well, you get the idea. And these only the instances invoked by people who LIKE him. Outside of that, generally a large amount of Bikini Bottom's residents, animals and inanimate objects seem to bear an instant grudge towards Squidward, usually expressing it in somewhat violent or hurtful ways. At least the majority of abuse SpongeBob and Patrick inflict is completely accidental.
      • Squidward's rival Squilliam Fancyson treats him like this at all times, and according to Squilliam, Squidward was also a butt monkey in high school, having been voted "Most likely to suck eggs."
    • There's also the unnamed health inspector from "Nasty Patty".
    • If there's an episode that primarily focuses on SpongeBob himself, chances are something terrible is going to happen to him.
    • The Tattletale Strangler spends nearly the entire time span of his only appearance being a butt monkey because of SpongeBob's clumsiness.
  • Butt Sticker: In the episode "Kracked Krabs", when SpongeBob gives a quarter with a string to a very large employee, he pulls it back along with the employee and he lands on SpongeBob. He then turns around revealing SpongeBob stuck to his backside.
  • Call Back: In "Bubble Buddy Returns", Bubble Buddy returns. Mr Krabs (unsurprisingly) recalls that Bubble Buddy still owes him money.
  • The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House: "The maniac's in the mailbox!"
  • Calvinball: From the episode "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost":
    SpongeBob: Hike Patrick, hike! [drops rock, which breaks in two]
    SpongeBob: You just lost 3 points! [climbs up a piece of coral three times, counting one number with each climb]
    SpongeBob: 1, 2, 5! [stands on his head at the top of the coral and blows a bubble in the shape of "G7"]
    SpongeBob: G7!
    Patrick: G7?! King me, king me! [runs and smashes into coral]
    Patrick: I lose!
    SpongeBob: But it's not Tuesday, Patrick!
    Patrick: Tartar sauce!
    Squidward: What are you two invertebrates doing?!
    Patrick and SpongeBob: ... we don't know.
  • The Cameo: In "SpongeBob vs. the Big One", the Flying Dutchman is is sent down to Davy Jones' Locker. As in, Davy Jones from The Monkees.
  • Camp: Squidward.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Squidward, at least once (in the episode "Krab Borg").
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : "Procrastination."
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them:
    • It varies from episode to episode whether or not Squidward actually likes SpongeBob deep down or genuinely wants him dead, though usually if there is another person to take this role, Squidward is there to subvert it. Here are some examples:
      • Subverted in Nature Pants. Patrick tearfully tells SpongeBob, "Even Squidward misses you!"; cut to Squidward celebrating the fact that SpongeBob's gone.
      • Played straight in "Squidville". Squidward is initially delighted to live in a neighborhood where everyone lives and acts like him, but eventually is bored by it and starts playing with a reef blower like SpongeBob.
  • Can't Take Criticism: In "The Algae's Always Greener", during his review at work, SpongeBob insists on being given some form of criticism so he can improve his work. Eventually, despite being assured he is doing perfectly, his boss relents and suggests to put less sauce in the burgers, leaving SpongeBob in a deranged, whimpering BSOD.
  • Captain Colorbeard:
    • "I'm Blindbeard the pirate!"
    • In one of the live-action sections of "SpongeBob's House Party", Patchy the Pirate introduces us to "Longbeard the Pirate".
    • And Mr. Krabs' grandfather is a pirate named Redbeard.
  • Captain Obvious: Every word of dialogue from this incredibly underrated scene from "Wet Painters" where SpongeBob and Patrick make their last desperate attempt to get the the paint off of Mr. Krabs's first dollar (after attempting to machine-wash it, sand it, and spray it). Spongebob: (brandishes baseball bat) NOTHING'S WORKING!!! Patrick: Wait, Spongebob! We're NOT CAVE-MEN! WE HAVE TECH-NOLOGY...(smashes computer against desk, as hard as humanly possible, 6 times in a row, to try to get the paint off of the dollar) DERP DERP DERP DERP DERP DERP!!! Spongebob: It didn't work.
  • Cardboard Box Home: In the episode "Can You Spare A Dime?", a homeless Squidward is living in a cardboard box. That is, until the repo man comes to repossess it.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Hugely averted. Sharks and killer whales are portrayed as normal people, sea monsters are intellectual giants while fairly harmless creatures such as plankton and flounder are the show's main antagonists.
  • Cash Lure: In "Frankendoodle," SpongeBob does this to Squidward.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • SpongeBob: "I'm ready!"
      • Parodied or given a nod numerous times throughout the series. In "Pretty Patties", after Mr. Krabs trades the Krusty Krab to SpongeBob for his Pretty Patties food stand, he excitedly exclaims "I'm ready! I'm ready! I'm ready... for me money!"
        *** The episode "Pre-Hibernation Week" has a small fish attempting to impersonate SpongeBob so Sandy will get off everyone's backs (she's desperately looking for him, and he's hiding from her). She protests that "SpongeBob is square," at which point a muscular fish molds the small fish into a shape resembling SpongeBob's. The small fish says "I'm ready! I'm ready!" Sandy replies "No, you ain't."
    • Mr. Krabs has a tendency to shout at his employees to "Get back to work!"
    • [Plankton] went to college! [is thrown out of the Krusty Krab and crashes through the door of the Chum Bucket (or into its exterior)] ... ouch.
  • Celebrity Power: The movie, with David Hasselhoff.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: Season seven introduced an actual and extremely dark Story Arc with amongst other things, Plankton trying to commit suicide.
  • Chaos Architecture: SpongeBob's pineapple, Squidward's Easter Island home, and Patrick's rock are constantly subject to change depending on the episode. Patrick's rock is justified on account of Patrick making most of the furniture out of sand. The interior of the Krusty Krab is rather consistent, although the location of it is subject to change as well.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: "Atlantis SquarePantis" has shades of this.
    • Mr. Krabs Takes A Vacation could also qualify.
  • Chekhov's Gag: A very subtle but impressive example occurs with the relationship between Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. Throughout the first couple of seasons, Barnacle Boy clearly takes exception to being called "Boy" (he's a senior citizen, after all), and the way Mermaid Man treats him like a child (ordering kids' meals for him at the Krusty Krab, telling the server at their retirement home to give him extra broccoli, etc.), and most of all, the fact that he's a sidekick and not viewed as Mermaid Man's equal. This all comes to a head in the Season 3 episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V", during which Barnacle Boy is fed up with everything and defects to the side of evil.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The starfish that was on Mermaid Man's face since his first appearance turns out to be the thing giving him the ability to breathe. Mermaid Man is narrating. Then again, all of the origin stories are wacky and unreliable, so who's to say...
    • First shown in Season One's "Tea At the Treedome", SpongeBob & Patrick's ability to be brought back to life from dehydration comes in handy in The Movie.
    • In "Sandy, SpongeBob, and The Worm", SpongeBob tries to convince Sandy that a paper clip attached to a piece of string is her tail. Later, that same paper clip and string save their lives as they run from the giant Alaskan Bull Worm.
    • The pebble that remains as the only remnant of SpongeBob's house after it's been eaten (or drank, sort of...) by nematodes.
    • In "Imitation Krabs", as part of his evil plan, Plankton uses a penny to distract Mr. Krabs, who chases after it when it rolls out of the front doors of the Krusty Krab. Eventually, it finds its way back into the Krusty Krab with Krabs still chasing it. At the end of the episode, SpongeBob (unknowingly) uses it to defeat Plankton when all seems lost.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • "I SAW IT! IT WAS BIG! IT WAS ALLLLL WIGGLY! AND IT ATE EVERYTHING! IT WAS AN ALASKAN BULL WORM!"
    • 'CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!invoked'
    • "I lost my name tag! POURQUOI?!!"
    • "WHO'S SAYING I'M ABUSING MY POWERS?!?!"
  • Chirping Crickets: Played with in "Squirrel Jokes": SpongeBob's first joke produces dead silence from the audience, except for a cricket chirping (which is shown on-screen via a loop of a real-life cricket chirping). On his second joke, even the cricket doesn't bother to make noise (shown by the same cricket simply standing there doing nothing).
  • Christmas Episode: Christmas Who? and Its A Sponge Bob Christmas
  • Circle of Standing Stones: In one episode, SpongeBob creates a stone statue of himself, complete with holes, to distract the jellyfishes who are attracted to the sound coming from SB's holes when the wind blows through them (it's a very windy day). Turns out that one small statue doesn't work, and then SB creates more, bigger ones and arranges them in a circle. It works very well, with the stones even creating music.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander
    Mr. Krabs: I didn't want to say this in front of Patrick, but that hat makes you look like a girl!
    SpongeBob: [glowing] Am I a pretty girl?
    • Patrick lampshades this in SpongeBob's case during an episode.
    • Patrick too, though to a lesser extent.
  • Cluster F-Bomb:
    • The episode "Sailor Mouth". Complete with dolphin squeaks.
    • At the end of "Krusty Love", SpongeBob lets out a stream of...gibberish that is obviously intended to be interpreted as cursing.
    Mrs. Puff: I had no idea SpongeBob had such a colourful vocabulary!
    Mr. Krabs: ... (Gaping in shocked silence with his jaw on the ground)
  • Cobweb Of Disuse: In "Pretty Patties", the Krusty Krab is covered in cobwebs when business gets slow. When SpongeBob tries to clean one, a spider immediately makes another. Later, Mr. Krabs opens his mouth to reveal cobwebs and a spider inside.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Seen more than once, especially the episodes "Idiot Box" and "The Paper", both involving Squidward.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Everyone, to disturbing levels.
  • The Comically Serious: Squidward.
  • Comic Trio: Variant between SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The baby scallop who Spongebob and Patrick raises in "Rock-A-Bye-Bivalve." He starts out as a baby, and leaves Spongebob and Patrick at the end of the episode to live on his own.
  • Coming-Out Story: A G-rated version. In "Something Smells", Spongebob suspects that he's ugly since everyone is avoiding him (but his breath actually stinks), and Patrick comforts him that there's no shame to being ugly and encourages him to chant it at the top of his house. "I'm ugly and I'm proud!"
  • Compressed Abstinence: One episode centers on SpongeBob (and Patrick) rejecting all their normal activities and acting as adults (which boils down to becoming “Stop Having Fun” Guys... and wearing sideburns). Patrick caves first, basically declaring that Growing Up Sucks.
  • Congruent Memory:
    • "Be the crane!"
    • SpongeBob practices driving while blindfolded. When it comes time for him to take his driving test, he finds he can't drive without the blindfold. Oddly, this one provides a justification for his unrealistically terrible inability to drive normally: when he can see what he's doing, it terrifies him.
    • "Missing Identity" had him forget where he put his nametag. So he repeats his morning routine ad infinitum, exactly, hoping that this'll help him remember where it is.
  • Conjoined Twins: Has happened several times: in the movie, we meet two conjoined twins in a bar. In "SquidBob TentaclePants", SpongeBob and Squidward are conjoined because of one of Sandy's experiments. And then there's this infamous quote:
    "We're like brothers...only closer."
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Although the ones in older episodes could be attributed to the fairly small budgets at the time, the newer, more Nickelodeon-backed episodes have no such (weak) excuse.
    • One particularly egregious example is the episode "Can You Spare a Dime?", where SpongeBob pokes Squidward's animated nose, and the entire rest of his head is a much darker matte painting (see 9:34-9:40 here).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • In the Season 1 episode "Karate Choppers," SpongeBob exclaims that a conspicuous pile of cans on the ground is Sandy's "worst disguise yet." Sandy appears in the background, holding a plastic squirrel mask, and says "No, it's not, SpongeBob! This is!" That exact same mask appears to be the one that SpongeBob uses when impersonating Sandy's father during the Season 2 episode "Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm".
    • One of the thugs that wants to enter the Salty Spittoon tells about how he ate a bowl of nails for breakfast. "Without any milk!". In The Movie, one of the thugs in the bar is shown eating a bowl of nails. And yes, without milk.
    • In the April Fools episode, Patrick mistakenly says a depressed SpongeBob was "impressed" by Squidward's prank. In Squidward's Tiki Land, Patrick mentions a time he was feeling "impressed".
    • The villain, Man Ray, was cryogenically frozen in tartar sauce for a number of years before being unwittingly thawed out by SpongeBob and Patrick, thus he is still in his physical peak. In a much later episode, Manray recognizes an old lady as someone he went to high school with. There was even an episode where SpongeBob and Patrick travel back in time and accidentally stop Man Ray from being frozen originally, thus creating a Bad Future where Man Ray is the ruler. Hilarity Ensues.
    • The episodes "New Leaf" and "Spy Buddies" featured the robot Krabs suit from an earlier episode "Imitation Krabs".
    • In "Chum Bucket Supreme", Patrick gives the Chum Bucket a slogan. Said slogan is later seen on a billboard in "SpongeBob's Last Stand".
    • In "Rock a Bye Bivalve", Patrick is always seen watching a show where someone gets hit in the head with a coconut with music playing. In "The Thing" Patrick and SpongeBob are watching TV and the music for the show plays again, with Patrick saying he thinks he seen this before and this part is real funny.
    • In "Whelk Attack", SpongeBob remembers the time that he got "suds".
    • In "Born Again Krabs", Mr.Krabs is going to be thrown into Davy Jones locker with his gym socks. In SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One The Flying Dutchman locks him self in there by accident and the actor Davy Jones throws the socks at him.
    • In "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One", Sandy has a helicopter. That exact helicopter is seen later in "The Krabby Patty that Ate Bikini Bottom" and "Single Cell Anniversary".
    • In Patrick's dream in "Home Sweet Rubble", Patrick has pictures on the wall that were pictures of him from "Squidward's School for Grown Ups".
    • In "Spongebob, You're Fired!", we see a Freeze-Frame Bonus of a patty with pickles tucked in, similar to the competition with Neptune in a much earlier episode. Also, the snail food company is mentioned again, by name.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted when Mr. Sun lights the room on fire.
  • Coordinated Clothes: In "Big Pink Loser", Patrick starts dressing up like SpongeBob as part of an attempt to be a winner just like him. SpongeBob finds it a little creepy, but flattering.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Plankton vs. Krabs"
  • The Cover Changes The Species: For the movie, Motorhead re-recorded one of their older tracks, "You Better Run," with new sea lyrics as "You Better Swim."
  • Cowboy Episode: "Pest of the West"
  • Crack Defeat: In the episode 'The Great Snail Race' had Spongebob, Squidward, and Patrick's pet snails (Gary, Snellie, and Rocky respectively)pitting against each other. Snellie, who is a pure-breed snail, would've won, but she forfeited and comforted an overworked Gary. So the winner? Rocky! It needs to be said that Rocky was an actual rock. How it legitimately got to the finish line was never explained.
  • Crapsack World: After the movie, Bikini Bottom may qualify. Hence, as shown, is a city full of grumpy people, jerkasses, idiots and tend to be incredibly racist, hating mammalian species (like squirrels) and among them by skin color (see episode "Sun Bleached" ). Is there anything else to add? Most inhabitants have callous and sadistic tendencies, see episodes like "No Hat For Pat" and "Spongicus" where several residents of Bikini Bottom, frankly naturally seem to enjoy the pain of others and killing as entertainment!
  • Crazy Consumption: Squidward eats Krabby Patties until he blows up. He also swells to at least ten times his normal size as SpongeBob repeatedly makes Krabby Patties, slips on his untied shoelaces, and sends each sandwich flying into Squidward's mouth with uncanny, and likely accidental, accuracy.
  • Crazy-Prepared: During the episode "The Algae's Always Greener", Plankton tells SpongeBob that he needs two Krabby Patties for "bun inspection." SpongeBob politely protests, on the grounds that the patties are for the customer, but immediately produces two more Krabby Patties, saying that he made them "On the off-chance that you decided to do some bun inspection, sir."
  • Cringe Comedy: The later seasons tend to rely on this.
  • Crossover: Patchy the Pirate appears in the Big Time Rush special "Big Time Beach Party".
  • Cross-Popping Veins: Squidward does it towards the end of both "Tentacle-Vision" and "Squid's Visit".
  • Comically Missing the Point: Mrs. Puff in "The Bully", whom doesn't seem to notice Flats' threats of violence against Spongebob. When SpongeBob asks Mrs. Puff to settle it, she claims that it's part of Flats's tradition, once again failing to realize Flats's ultimate goal. At the end of it all, the blame all goes to Spongebob.
    • SpongeBob repeats a similar act in "A Pal for Gary".
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Plankton. He is a scientific genius, capable of creating time machines and the like, (among other things that could be tweaked to benefit all ocean life) and yet he insists on working his way up to the top by running a dingy restaurant whose food is Human Resources. Oh, and trying to steal the Krabby Patty recipe, despite the fact that as long as Krabs is also in business, he'll get all the customers because of the aforementioned dinginess of his restaurant. This was worked around in Plan Z, which would have worked if he had tried this ingenious plan from the beginning, before Krabs hired SpongeBob, instead of using countless plans that were doomed to fail.
SpongeBob SquarePantsWesternAnimation/Sponge Bob Square PantsTropes D to I

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