These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Mr. Krabs can be a decent boss who cares slightly about SpongeBob, or otherwise a greedy Jerkass. Does he have a Freudian Excuse for his actions?
It is highly possible that Patrick is suffering from low self-esteem and lack of confidence, if episodes "Big Pink Loser", "No Hat For Pat" and "Sing a Song of Patrick" are anything to go by. This might explain some of Patrick's behaviour.
The townspeople of Bikini Bottom: Friendly and good-natured citizens, with occasional jerk moments, but nice people overall or group of callous and unpleasant individuals who bully each other and have sadistic tendencies and possibly hate Sandy because she is land animal?
The policemen of Bikini Bottom: Honest and well-intentioned cops, but sometimes a bit gullible and with few shades of Good Is Not Nice or useless and corrupt assholes who do not help others or respond to any crimes and instead pick on innocent people and punish them for minor things?
Animation Age Ghetto: Mostly averted. In fact, this is one of the few, if not the only, still-running children's cartoons you will hear people openly obsess about without being mocked.
"Plankton's Regular", where Plankton gets one single costumer, but Mr. Krabs is so greedy that he doesn't want to let Plankton have one single customer and uses unethical methods to get the same customer and the same customer hated Plankton's food in the first place and Mr. Krabs laughed at Plankton's misery, is considered one of the worst episodes of the series. But after that episode debuted episodes "Chum Bucket Supreme" and "Chum Caverns", where Plankton gets a lot of costumers and Mr. Krabs is not evil as he was in "Plankton's Regular". Although episodes end with Plankton losing and he lost because of his own mistakes (In "Chum Bucket Supreme" he called his customers fools) While Plankton still loses, the fact remains that he got a lot of customers in those episodes and that Krabs competed ethically against Plankton, not sabotaging his chance of success like in "Plankton's Regular".
And speaking of Spongebob being disgusted by Mr. Krabs' actions, in "Plankton's Regular" Spongebob fully supported Mr. Krabs and was just as bad as him, but after that episode came episode "The Krabby Kronicle", where Spongebob was disgusted at Mr. Krabs, due to the latter forcing him to write lies about his friends and working him to death on the newspaper under a threat that he will lose his job, but Spongebob wrote and article about Mr. Krabs' torture and in later episodes where Mr. Krabs is the villain, Spongebob is disgusted at his actions and is not as big a doormat as he was in previous episodes, or not being a doormat at all. In "No Hat For Pat" he was furious at Mr. Krabs for exploiting Patrick and making him injure himself for profit, in "Greasy Buffons" he objected to Mr. Krabs selling greasy food and became absolutely furious when Patrick was poisoned, and in "The Cent Of Money" he was absolutely furious at Mr. Krabs for exploiting Gary just to get money. "The Cent Of Money" is another possible Author's Saving Throw since Spongebob was extremely caring of Gary, while in "A Pal For Gary" he was a big jerk to him.
Sandy Cheeks. In Seasons 1-3 she was the squirrel version of Chuck Norris, and did things such as lift buildings and throw them. During the Seasonal Rot, they started focusing more on her Gadgeteer Genius side.
The werewolf scene from "The Great Patty Caper". Came out of nowhere? Check! Added nothing to the plot? Check! Was never mentioned again? Check!
In-universe (or meta) example from "I Had an Accident" that involves a gorilla with no real build up to the gorilla, and the fact the gorilla and some zebra were up to something made it more of a BLAM. The meta example comes in at the end where the family is sitting there dumbfounded and they turn off the TV, though at least it was Lampshaded.
The perfume department scene in "Shanghaied".
During a scene in "The Chaperone" in which the entire prom is dancing (and injuring themselves) trying to do "The Sponge", one of the fish gets chased by a giant apple. The apple was never shown before or after the scene in question.
Broken Base: Over whether post-movie episodes are even worth watching.
Canon Sue: Jim from the episode "The Original Fry Cook." He's extremely rich, everyone loves him (including Squidward), and he's better at being a fry cook than Spongebob (who, if one remembers, was so good that he almost became a god).
Squilliam Fancyson may count. He's an Ensemble Dark Horse despite having no redeeming qualities.
Squidward does have some redeeming qualities... at times, but he mentally and sometimes physically abuses Spongebob because it amuses him. His absolute worst behaviour was "Can You Spare A Dime" where he takes advantage of generosity and gets no comeuppance for it. However, people tend to ignore this because he's funny.
The sheer amount of Kafka Komedy that poor Squidward suffers from.
While not as serious as the previous examples, the episode "A Pal for Gary" falls under this. Some fans have called it one of the worst episodes ever made because Spongebob's stupidity is taken up to ridiculous levels.
"Summer Job" got a lot of hate for playing employee blackmail/abuse/harassment (pretty serious things in real life) for laughs.
"Plankton's Regular" also falls under this for some fans. It plays Krabs' greed up to sadistic levels because he (and Spongebob) is so greedy and selfish that he can't let Plankton have one single customer. Sure, it turns out in the end the customer never liked his food in the first place, but that only makes the episode worse.
Also, the suffering Mrs. Puff gets put through like losing her "puff" and getting injured, especially when it's Played for Laughs. Regarding that, Spongebob's joke of changing Mrs. Puff's name from "Puff" to "Pop" after learning she could never to "puff" again can rub the wrong way.
Dombummel, a production music track that's been used once in nearly every season. You might recognize it from "Sleepy Time", "Shanghaied", "Mid-Life Crustacean", "Skill Crane"'s title card, "Roller Cowards", or "The Cent of Money".
A lot of the BGM can be considered this. Since the music plays multiple times throughout the series, you can easily associate the music with the places or characters they're associated with if you just listen to them.
One episode, SpongeBob shouts 'Holy Oil Spill!' as Mermaid Man's rivals appear.
In an earlier episode where Spongebob and Patrick steal a balloon, it pops and they panic. Patrick says this little gem right here:
Patrick: "We're not talking about some dumb mail fraud scheme or a hijacking! WE STOLE A BALLOON!" (A few months after the episode aired, 9/11, the anthrax letters and hijacking of Flight 793 occurred. Coincidence or foreshadowing?)
Sandy Cheeks has become one after a hurricane bearing her name tore through New Jersey.
In "SpongeBob vs. The Big One", The Flying Dutchmen gets sent Davy Jones' Locker. It then shows him sitting in a locker full of Gym socks with the musician Davy Jones(Of Monkees fame) standing next to him, taunting him. Considering who Davy Jones is in both maritime mythology and Pirates of the Caribbean, the Visual Pun becomes much darker now that Davy Jones died on February 29, 2012.
In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", when Squidward is deciding where he wants his "throne" to be laid down, he complains that some spots are "too hot", "too wet", and "Toulouse-Lautrec", and then cuts to a painting of his re-done with fish.
"Shell of a Man" has a character by the name of Iron Eye. It turns out his "iron eye" was really made of formica. Quite an obscure thing to slip into a kid's show.
In "Back To The Past", which aired in 2010, Spongebob and Patrick land up in alternate universe, where Man Ray took over Bikini Bottom. They find out that Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are workers at Man Ray's version of the Krusty Krab. Then Spongebob and Patrick ask what happened to younger Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy (they had left the old, present ones with the younger ones back in time earlier). He tells them that they are the younger ones, and that the older ones died and were buried in the very restaurant. The tombstones for Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are then shown, prompting SpongeBob to say "I am so sorry for your loss of...yourself." Two years later on July 8th, 2012, voice actor for Mermaid Man, Ernest Borgnine passed away.
That being said, he WAS 95, so it was pretty much bound to happen soon.
In the early episode "Patty Hype", Mr. Krabs panics when he mistakes SpongeBob's green "Pretty Patty" for a spoiled burger and immediately torches it, as a responsible restaurant owner might. In later episodes like "Born Again Krabs" and "The Krusty Sponge", Mr. Krabs is more than willing to sell tainted patties for a profit.
Given how extreme bullying has become recently the early episode of "The Bully" can be more unsettling than funny.
The scenes where Mrs. Puff refuses to help Spongebob and when Spongebob is mistakenly punished are especially cringeworthy.
The loud buzzing sound that came with the live-action deerfly close-ups in the episode "Wormy".
In "SB-129", Squidward travels through time and ends up in a blank white void. He remarks to himself that he can finally be alone... which is when the word manifests itself as a colorful caption. Then a series of disembodied voices start saying the word "alone", accompanied by more colorful representations of the word, until Squidward finally snaps and tries to get out. Just those calm, echoing voices that repeat the word "alone".
In "Squidtastic Voyage", Patrick thinks that the entire world growing is more likely than the sub he and Spongebob are in shrinking. Well, in an episode of Phineas and Ferb, the Reset Button of Baljeet's watermelon (and Candace) being 50 feet tall is pressed via a gas that makes everything grow 50 times their normal size affecting the entire universe.
In "Sandy's Rocket", when SpongeBob tries to convince Sandy that there are aliens on the moon, his "evidence" of aliens' existence consists of cowlicks, ninety-nine cent stores, and Atlantis. Four seasons later, in "Atlantis SquarePantis", he and Sandy, and a few others, would later visit Atlantis, and the people there are an alien race that traveled to Earth to protect a bubble.
Squidward may be a cranky next door neighbor to Spongebob and Patrick, but it's hard not to feel sorry for him when he is bothered rather unnecessarily, especially when his misery isn't bought upon himself.
Plankton can also count as this, due to the fact that his evil plans came off as ineffectual, and sometimes was unnecessarily harassed by Mr. Krabs, his rival.
Mrs. Puff. Her husband was killed and turned into a lamp by fishermen, she was forced to skip town to Bikini Bottom at some point, her run-ins with Spongebob repeatedly lead to her being put in jail, getting fired or put in the hospital because of his stupidity... she might have gone off the deep end but its not hard to see why.
Mr. Krabs is always a miserable cheapskate, but throughout the series he became much worse and has done many cruel actions. For Mr. Krabs these actions are the potential candidates for his Moral Event Horizon:
In "Jellyfish Hunter" he tricks SpongeBob into catching all of the Jellyfish in Jellyfish Fields for him in order to make Jelly Patties for the customers, and proceeded to extract their jelly from them in cruel, painful ways. It is considered to be one of his most monstrous acts he has ever done. Fortunately, he gets his comeuppance for this.
In "One Coarse Meal" he started exploiting Plankton's fear of whales by dressing as his daughter, Pearl, and threatening to eat him. He harassed Plankton so much, he was suicidal afterwards and after he found out that Plankton was ready to commit suicide, he simply laughed at Plankton's misery and unlike in "Jellyfish Hunter" he doesn't receive any comeuppance for this(Plankton did tie him upside down & force him to watch a mime preform in front of him, but it was only temporary). And all is this for fun. This is probably the most evil action done by Krabs.
In "Greasy Buffons" he (along with Plankton) intentionally began to feed his costumers pure grease, which lead his costumers to be poisoned, purely for profit. Throughout the episode Spongebob was having doubts about selling greasy food to customers, but it got personal for Spongebob when he saw that his best friend Patrick was poisoned too.
In "The Cent of Money" Krabs discovers that Gary has a "talent" for finding spare change, so he begins to take Gary around Bikini Bottom, stealing all the spare change he can find, continuously injuring Gary with the bombardment of magnetically attracted coins, all the while stealing from people and keeping Spongebob busy by doing work at the Krusty Krab.. Finally, when we saw how injured Gary had became, Krabs didn't care and said he looked fine and went to attract a wave of coins before Spongebob arrived. However, he receives his comeuppance for this.
Granny crosses the line in the episode "Have You Seen This Snail?", when Gary discovers that she has killed other snails (most likely they died from sheer overeating and then Granny simply ate them herself, though it's not made clear), and then she tries to do the same with Gary. In fact, unlike the examples of Mr. Krabs, her Moral Event Horizon is not played for laughs and in the same episode, the things got very serious.
Plankton brainwashing and enslaving Bikini Bottom in The Movie. In addition, he was willing to want to killSpongeBob, Patrick and Mr. Krabs in some scenes.
Mrs. Puff entering Spongebob in a demolition derby in hopes that he will die, and then later actively trying to kill him in "Demolition Doofus".
The members of the Cephalopod Lodge kicking Squidward out of the lodge, simply because Spongebob and Patrick were following him. In a manner of speaking, SpongeBob was right in saying that it was the lodge leader's fault for kicking Squidward out.
Squidward really crossed it when he read Spongebob's work and personal diaries. It was so wrong, that everyone hated him for it. The worst part about it is that no amount of punishment will make him see the error of his ways.
In "The Krabby Kronicle," there's the scene near the end where Mr. Krabs is exposed for making fake stories for his newspaper. Considering how Krabs was acting throughout most of the episode, this scene should provide some satisfaction...except it's easy to get distracted by one female fish whose voice actress is delivering her lines in an extremely over-the-top manner.
Female Fish: "HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO SUCH AN INNOCENT CHILD?! IT IS SICK AND INHUMANE!!!"
Probably one of the only shows to feature this for a location; Rock Bottom has only been visited in one episode in the first season (of nine), but a level based on it appears in almost every video game based on the series and has a roller coaster themed around it in the Mall of America.
The Jerkass fish who falsely insisted that he had ordered a drink with his pizza in the Pizza Delivery episode is very remembered for making Spongebob cry and causing Squidward to literally shove the entire thing in his face. One of the most unpleasant people in the series, only one major appearance.
Painful Rhyme: From "Party Pooper Pants"'s Framing Device: "Down, down, down to the bottom of the sea/Where we wait for SpongeBob and his snail Gary..."
Pandering to the Base: With Ascended Memes ranging from Spengbab in "Face Freeze", to borderline Dude, Not Funny! by Ascending the creepypasta, "Squidward's Suicide" in "Are You Happy Now?", it's becoming increasingly obvious in the new seasons that the writers want to appeal more to its adult base and seems to forget most of the time that they're supposed to be writing a children's show.
Periphery Demographic: College students, even more so in recent years due to the teens/adults who grew up watching the show as kids. This led to SpongeBob and friends becoming prime memetic material.
Spongebob gets this sometimes. Although he has been flanderized into an annoying, obnoxious man-child, he can still be a nice guy, depending on the episode, yet some fans demonize him even when he doesnít cause trouble.
Mrs. Puff is this and the Draco in Leather Pants. Fans hate her, ignoring the fact that Spongebob has landed her in the hospital and how she pretty much has no reason to like or respect him, while other fans actually wanted her to succeed in killing Spongebob.
Squidward gets this and the Draco in Leather Pants treatment (even though he isnít a villain without any redeeming qualities). Some fans hate Squidward because of the way he treats Spongebob and Patrick, ignoring the fact that Spongebob and Patrick annoy him to no end and wonít let him have any breathing space, when all Squidward wants to do is relax. Plus, some of them think that he deserves his Butt Monkey status simply because he doesn't like Spongebob and Patrick. Other fans treat him like a saint because he is a Butt Monkey and gets endless abuse, forgetting the fact that he acts like a jerk sometimes and does indeed deserve at least some of the abuse that is handed to him, depending on the episode.
Mr. Krabs, in spades. Many fans just want to see him suffer a truly horrible fate, which he did in the movie. Recent episodes have seen his rivalry with Plankton devolve into making his life hell just for fun, feeding poison or rotten food to his customers intentionally for the sake of an extra dollar, or extorting and abusing his employees. The fact that he gets away with these at least 80% of the time doesn't help.
Pearl is incredibly annoying, loud... and generally disliked.
Patchy gets extra points for being a Scrappy since the early days.
Mrs. Puff to some, especially since "Demolition Doofus".
Seasonal Rot: Season five is the peak of the Dork Age, especially with the Three Shorts formula which didn't pan out and was gone by the next season. But a lot of fans thought it actually declined as early as it's 2005 revival (Season 4-onwards). For some fans, the show's seasonal rot began to kick in near the end of season 3.
Ship-to-Ship Combat: Spandy (Spongebob and Sandy) fans and all of the Spongebob slash-fans seem to constantly be at each other's throats whenever people start to discuss the pairings that they like and don't like (or at least the very militant ones are). The slash fans tend to ignore that Word of God said at one point that Spongebob had a chaste crush on Sandy, the Spandy fans often ignore all of the Ho Yay, and everybody seems to ignore the fact that Word of God has also stated that Spongebob's Asexual. It's gotten so bad that usually the Spandy fans are generally assumed to be idiotic and either homophobic or anti-gay, and that the slash fans are similarly assumed to be heterophobic porn-addicts who act like they're better than the others.
Season 7. Kind of averages out. Some episodes, like "Mystery With a Twist-ery" and "Spongebob's Last Stand" are the best received episodes since at least Season 4. Some episodes, such as "Greasy Buffoons", "One Coarse Meal", and "A Pal for Gary" are considered the worst episodes of the series, even worse thanSeason 5 or 6.
Bubble Bass could've been a good Arch-Enemy to SpongeBob, but he only appeared in the series three times, the latest one being a cameo in the episode where Plankton grows a second eye using Spongebob's DNA. "Pickles" is the only episode in which he has dialogue.
Kevin. He could have been an interesting Evil Counterpart to Spongebob, but he only appeared once.
Lord Royal Highness in Atlantis Squarepantis. A lot of people point out that the character voiced by David Bowie of all people is the ONE character to never get a song in a MUSICAL.
"Truth or Square" was nothing but this. You get to see Sandy and Spongebob married (sorry, you just get a play), Plankton have the perfect chance to steal the Krabby Patty formula (he shows up for less then five minutes and doesn't even have a plan) and learn the secret of the Krabby Patty formula (they cut it off). Everything that is not a wasted plot line is either an answer you wouldn't care about or a waste of time (and talent, given that most of the celebrities who made cameos did nothing).
In Spongebob vs. the Big One, they said in the episode and in the trailers that "one of you will not return." They all ended up returning safely. However, Jack Kahuna Laguna never said that someone would die nor did he say that nobody would make it back to the main land. Since he technically made it back to the main land with them, he's actually the one that "will not return" to his home, the island.
In Whatever Happened To Spongebob, had a decent plot of Spongebob running away after the people got angry and called him "Idiot Boy". Plus, it had a decent Easy Amnesia plot device in Spongebob but it was rushed and half-assed throughout the whole thing.
"Atlantis Squarepantis", according to some. It doesn't help that you have a Musical Episode where the character played by David Bowie doesn't even get to sing.
Pearl and her friends give the impression that all teenage girls are nothing more than whiny, boy-crazy, self-indulged brats who throw tantrums to get their way and use their age as an excuse for everything.
At least there was Mindy in the movie- King Neptune's teenaged daughter, sweet as sugar, a bit of a geek, and probably the most level-headed character in the film.
The episode "Squidville" is seen in a much different light when you realize that Tentacle Acres is basically a segregated community.
The episodes "Squirrel Jokes" and "Someone's in the Kitchen with Sandy" can get uncomfortable to watch when you realize that the citizens of Bikini Bottom show racist and, arguably, sexist behavior toward Sandy.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Patrick in 'Stuck in the Wringer.' Spongebob lashing out at him is supposed to be some kind of horrible, Moral Event Horizon, but considering Patrick was the cause of everything bad that happened in that episode many people would rather side with Sponge.
SpongeBob had occasional traits of this, particularly in his season one era personality. Mrs. Puff as well.
Plankton is seen like this for many Mr. Krabs haters.
Patrick if you think about it. He's unemployed, everyone except for Spongebob regards him as being a total moron, he's disrespected constantly, and can't seem to be good at anything. The latter depresses him so much in one episode he vows to be good at something.
Gary has his moments, due to possibly being the only sane person in the show.
The guy who yelled "Everyone at the head enhancement clinic said nobody would notice!" and ran off crying after Spongebob destroyed his prosthetic head. This troper didn't understand the joke there until later, but the way he cries is still sad.