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SpongeBob SquarePants

English voice: Tom Kenny
Japanese voice: Hiroyuki Tsuru (Seasons 1-3), Taiki Matsuno (Season 4-current)
Latin American Spanish voice: Kaihiamal Martínez (Season 1), Luis Carreño (Season 2 onwards), Ángel Balam (A few songs and one line in season 7)
German voice: Santiago Ziesmer

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Debut: "Help Wanted"

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/spongebob_character.jpg
"I'm ready!"

An outgoing sea sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea, as the show's Theme Tune implies. He works as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. Although naïve, he has a good heart and constantly strives to help his friends... even when they don't really want it.


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    A-E 
  • Abandoned Catchphrase: In the pre-movie seasons, he would sometimes say "yeah" in a sly manner after doing something cool (i.e. after performing extreme sports with Sandy in "Prehibernation Week", preventing the "permanent" paint from touching Mr. Krabs' prized possessions in "Wet Painters"), though he hasn't done so in years.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: In "House Sittin' for Sandy", he spends quite a while in Sandy's treedome without a helmet and manages not to dry up until Patrick visits and reminds him that the treedome is filled with air.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: A particularly ridiculous example in "As Seen on TV". After appearing in the Krusty Krab commercial, he expects to be an overnight celebrity and gets a swelled head...despite the fact that the commercial aired at 3:28 in the morning and SpongeBob only appeared for a few seconds at most, with his face obscured from view.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the series, while indeed skilled at karate, SpongeBob is more likely to attempt to befriend anyone who threatens him or, failing that, swiftly run off in fear rather than fight. However, in some of the SpongeBob video games (i.e. SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie), it's the exact opposite, as he's perfectly willing to dispense some swift justice to any evildoers who cross his path, all while remaining the same dorky sponge he always is.
  • Adorkable:
    • He comes off as this for his good heart and cheerful, naive personality.
    • His occasional thick-rimmed glasses and his nerdier traits (especially in the first season) like pulling out a textbook when he first sees Sandy.
    • His hobbies include bubble blowing, jellyfishing, reading superhero comics, bedtime stories, and playing in giant cardboard boxes.
    • His affection towards Squidward can also be if done in a way that doesn't come as borderline stalking.
  • Aerith and Bob: Shares this trope with Squidward in having a quirky first name in contrast to the other main characters' more normal names.
  • Alliterative Name: SpongeBob SquarePants.
  • All-Loving Hero: No matter how much the others find him annoying or treat him badly, SpongeBob genuinely loves everyone and everything.
  • Always Someone Better:
    • Occasionally plays the role of being more successful and fortunate than the other guys, especially Squidward and once plays it for Patrick in "Big Pink Loser".
    • "The Original Fry Cook" shows off the Krusty Krab's original fry cook and shows that there's someone who's even better at frying patties than him, though said original cook actually does say that SpongeBob could become a far better fry cook if he wised up and left the Krusty Krab to strike out on his own. Surprisingly, despite the constant Depending on the Writer of the series cast, this is a fact of SpongeBob's character that almost always stays constant, even long before said episode aired.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • He's utterly obsessed with working at the Krusty Krab, to the extent that being forced to take a vacation results in him suffering major Sanity Slippage. In addition, despite knowing how to drive, he can't pull it off because he gets so nervous behind the wheel that he can't concentrate.
    • "Little Yellow Book" adds more bizarre behaviors, such as uncontrollably clucking like a chicken at the sight of plaid and stripping down to his underwear and dancing whenever he hears the Bikini Bottom Municipal Anthem.
  • And Call Him "George"!: His attitude towards Gary, Squidward, Mrs. Puff... everyone in Bikini Bottom at some point or the other.
  • Annoying Laugh: His dolphin-like laugh is so considered so annoying In-Universe that Mr. Krabs actually uses it to torture Plankton by forcing him to listen to it non-stop in The Sponge Bob Movie Sponge Out Of Water.
  • Asexual: Stephen Hillenburg plays around with this quite a bit. He mentions that SpongeBob is asexual, but since actual sponges usually (though not always) reproduce by budding, he could be referring to the biological aspect only. Because there's little indication in-series that he's ever attracted to anyone note , he might be asexual in orientation as well.
  • Assumed Win: What starts the first movie. SpongeBob wakes up firmly convinced that he'll be named the manager of the Krusty Krab 2. Mr. Krabs announces that it's "a name you all know, it starts with an S!". SpongeBob assumes that he's the new manager (even though Mr. Krabs just announced that it was Squidward, revealing a giant portrait of his face to top it off), and has to humiliate himself three times over the microphone before he realizes he didn't get the job; when he demands to know why, Krabs explains that SpongeBob is Just a Kid and too immature to handle the role.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: On top of his buck teeth and big eyes, he has a cubic body, giving the cue that he's square instead of cool.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: His attention can be limited and he's prone to distraction.
    Squidward: Attention, everyone, run for your lives! Robots have taken over the world! Our world! What do we do now?!
    SpongeBob: I don't know!! ... Hey, a nickel!
    Squidward: SpongeBob.
    SpongeBob: ... Sorry.
  • Attention Whore: He's an exuberant, confident guy most of the time, but when he forgets to keep his ego in check, he becomes a pompous prick. Episodes like "Porous Pockets" and "As Seen on TV" are good examples. Taken Up to Eleven in "Ripped Pants", where it looks as if he's about to die on the shore of Goo Lagoon, only for him to turn out fine and use the situation as an opportunity to exclaim he's ripped his pants (again).
  • The Baby of the Bunch: Of the Krusty Crew. He shares a father-son relationship with Mr. Krabs and tends to get more attention and sympathy from him than Squidward, which the latter persistently lampshades and expresses jealousy towards. However, to Squidward's credit, Mr. Krabs also occasionally exhibits the same level of hostility and disrespect to SpongeBob as he does to Squidward, although it varies whether SpongeBob is affected by it or not.
  • Badass Adorable: He's an Adorkable little guy who's saved the day a couple of times. And he's a master of karate.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: He's a Martial Artist trained in Karate, and a mutual fondness for the art is how he and Sandy first bonded.
  • Berserk Button: Hates when people take advantage of his kindness. Aside from the example below, there's also "Krusty Love" and "Rock-A-Bye Bivalve", two episodes in which SpongeBob is treated like a personal assistant and explodes with rage because of it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's usually a very kind-hearted and sweet-natured guy. However, in "Can You Spare a Dime?", when Squidward resigns from his job and ends up homeless as a result, SpongeBob finds him and takes him into his home until he can find a new job. He takes it too far and stays a lot longer than necessary, turning SpongeBob into his personal slave, even forcing him to wear a maid's uniform. While SpongeBob doesn't completely lose his temper, he snaps a bit and drops some very obvious hints that Squidward should go look for a job already. The latter refuses to take said hints, though, so SpongeBob furiously takes Squidward, still in bed, all the way to the Krusty Krab. He tries to convince Mr. Krabs to rehire Squidward, and when that doesn't work, the sponge finally snaps, outright strangles his boss, calls him a cheapskate, and finally yells at him on how stupid the situation is. It shows that even SpongeBob has his limits.
    "YOU LISTEN TO ME, YOU CRUSTACEOUS CHEAPSKATE! SQUIDWARD'S BEEN LIVING IN MY HOUSE, DRIVING ME CRAZY, AND YOU COULDN'T HIRE HIM BACK ALL BECAUSE OF A STUPID DIME!?!"
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He is extremely silly and obnoxiously childish, but as shown in "Can You Spare a Dime?", when he gets mad, he gets scary.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: The little guy to Patrick's big guy.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: The Short to Patrick or Mr. Krabs' Big and Squidward's Thin.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Although he originally planned on using ice cream, he indulges in a homemade sundae consisting of ketchup, onions, and a peanut plant in "Something Smells".
  • Blinded by Rage: Whenever SpongeBob is caught up in trivial pursuits, he becomes blind to danger and carelessly commits immoralities.
    • In "Waiting", he unexpectedly throws Sandy on the ground in response to a friendly request to play karate, his reason being that he's too busy waiting for a new toy to be delivered to him.
    • In "To Love a Patty", SpongeBob kills many innocent scallops out of defense for a Krabby Patty that he fell in love with.
  • Blue Is Heroic: He's the main hero of the show and has blue eyes.
  • Born Lucky: Sometimes, good things just seem to happen to him out of nowhere. Especially noticeable in comparison to Squidward, who's the exact opposite.
  • Brainy Baby: Even when he was just a baby, SpongeBob already had a knowledge of the ropes behind cooking, having prepared his first Krabby Patty back then.
  • Break the Cutie: Several episodes do whatever they can to take away SpongeBob's optimism and lead him into a state of depression.
    • Subverted in "Fools in April", where his devastated bawling at Squidward's prank is actually part of an elaborate counter-prank.
    • Played straight in "Have You Seen This Snail?" and other episodes, which show him truly vulnerable and sympathetic when dealing with things like his pet snail Gary running away from home.
    • "SpongeBob You're Fired" deals with Mr. Krabs firing SpongeBob in pursuit of a nickel and putting him through a combined state of depression and unemployment.
  • Broken Ace:
    • He's very talented and good at pretty much everything except driving a boat, no matter how much he tries. In "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired", it's revealed that he failed his driving test over 1 million times.
    • Comments from certain episodes, such as "I'm not good enough!" from the pilot, and "I'm not always as confident as I look!" from "Something Smells", imply that underneath his perky exterior, SpongeBob is not entirely as confident in himself as he appears and suffers from a pervasive Inferiority Superiority Complex. Pushed even further in the first movie when he finds out he didn't get the promotion- he reacts with complete shame, as if his entire world has shattered.
    • In "Artist Unknown", although Squidward's critique is admittedly unnecessarily hostile, SpongeBob's reaction goes straight into Break the Cutie territory.
    • In "Pickles", when he believes that he didn't put pickles on Bubble Bass' burger, he suffers from what can only be described as a complete mental breakdown.
  • Bumbling Sidekick: He usually plays this role whenever paired with Mr. Krabs, as he's too ditzy to follow his directions. His role as this overlaps with Gullible Lemmings whenever he's paired with Plankton.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite his weirdness and frequent wacky antics, SpongeBob is very good at his job and loves it so much that he'll gladly take any opportunity to do more work. In fact, quite a few episodes have showed that SpongeBob could easily become a far more successful fry cook if he struck out on his own and focused on his own original fry cook creations, but he loves his job at the Krusty Krab too much to seriously consider it. It's one of the few facts about his character that almost always stays consistent and isn't up to Depending on the Writer, even in the later seasons.
  • Callousness Towards Emergency: In "A Pal for Gary", SpongeBob walks in on Gary's vicious nudibranch of a "playmate" brutally attacking him and does nothing to help his own pet snail, instead viewing the situation the other way around.
  • Camp Straight: Whenever he cross-dresses or has to act like a girl, he seems to enjoy it very much, as well as having a pretty girly giggle. Despite this, he enjoys the attention girls give him for his long pants in "SpongeBob LongPants".
  • Can't Take Criticism: In "The Algae's Always Greener", Plankton, having switched lives with Mr. Krabs, tells him that he's using too much sauce on the Krabby Patties. SpongeBob, despite having literally begged Plankton to give him constructive criticism of his work, is reduced to a sobbing, whimpering wreck.
  • Captain Oblivious: Taken Up to Eleven in "A Pal for Gary", in which, even after seeing Puffy Fluffy's monstrous true form firsthand and nearly being eaten by him, he fails to notice anything amiss.
  • Captain Obvious: SpongeBob sometimes states the obvious. For example, in the episode "Mr. Krabs Takes a Vacation", when Mr. Krabs throws SpongeBob at a muscular robber, SpongeBob points out how it had no effect.
    SpongeBob: That didn't work at all! (falls to the ground)
  • Catchphrase:
    • "I'm ready!"
    • "Order UP!"
  • Cephalothorax: His head is also his body, as lampshaded in "Walking Small":
    SpongeBob: Excuse me sir, you're sitting on my body, which is also my face.
  • Chaste Toons: In one of the comics, he has three nephews.
  • Child Prodigy: A flashback in "Friend or Foe" shows that he perfectly made his first Krabby Patty when he was just a baby.
  • Childhood Brain Damage: It's been implied that SpongeBob's stupidity is a result of having been dropped as a baby. Make of the following exchange from "Cephalopod Lodge" what you will:
    Squidward: Were you dropped on your head as a baby?
    SpongeBob: [gasps] How did you know?
  • Childhood Friend: He and Patrick have been friends ever since they were babies, as a flashback in "The Secret Box" reveals.
  • Childish Tooth Gap: Has an often-joked-about gap between his buck teeth. It, combined with his freckles, help makes SpongeBob look innocent and child-like. "Mind the Gap" goes as far as to explain it as the reason SpongeBob is the way he is - closing the gap results in him taking on a much cooler persona with a lower voice.
  • Class Clown: Mrs. Puff certainly sees him as one, as do the rest of the students. Even during class, SpongeBob can't control his goofball-ness.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He tends to be an eccentric and silly guy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: To Patrick. He's not the sharpest knife in the box himself, but he's certainly more level-headed than his best friend.
  • Collector of the Strange: In the episode "Sentimental Sponge" anyways. He even goes as far as to preserve his beads of sweat in a jar!
  • Comically Cross-Eyed: Sometimes crosses his eyes in certain shots to look extra silly, such as during his examination by the narrator in "The Krusty Krab Training Video".
  • Comically Missing the Point: SpongeBob is sometimes too absentminded to take into account rationality incorporated into him.
  • Comical Overreacting: To levels just avoiding Drama Queen, he will sometimes make a big deal over nothing. One notable example is when Plankton tells him he's using a little too much secret sauce in "The Algae's Always Greener" and reacts as if he's been told that his mother died.
  • Comic Trio: The Leader to Patrick's The Fool and Squidward's Only Sane Man.
  • Companion Cube:
    • In "To Love a Patty", SpongeBob falls in love with a Krabby Patty he made that he deems too good to eat, so he keeps it and starts treating it like the love of his life.
    • He also treats his spatula like a real person, having named it Spat.
  • Competition Freak: Depending on the Writer, SpongeBob has a rather Serious Business attitude about games. He once became paranoid about Squidward winning Employee of the Month, and took sandcastle building with Patrick to its most surreal.
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: In "Ghost Host", the Flying Dutchman makes a habit of scaring SpongeBob when he stays with him while his ship gets repaired. Eventually, SpongeBob gets less scared of the Dutchman's antics to the point where he becomes unfazed at even his most elaborate horrors.
  • The Conscience: He's at many times helped boost Patrick's self-esteem and lessened his stupidity.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Primarily due to his overly trusting nature, SpongeBob often finds himself under the manipulation of many antagonists who wish to see him suffer or use him as a slave. He becomes Plankton's main exploit in both "Plankton!" and "Walking Small" in order to help him obtain the Krabby Patty formula. He then underwent two similar phases under Squidward's influence in "To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants" and "Gullible Pants", in which he was led to believe that poor service will benefit the Krusty Krab. Nonetheless, SpongeBob always comes squeaky-clean out of these tragedies and wouldn't have done them without manipulation.
  • Covert Pervert: If him, along with Patrick and Mr. Krabs, trying to steal panties from a woman's house in "Mid-Life Crustacean" is anything to go by, then he's definitely more perverse than we take him for.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Gender-inverted example: He becomes one in "Sanctuary!", where an impossibly large number of stray snails are given to him to take care of until his house is overrun. He even sports the messy "hair" and rumpled house dress typical of one.
  • Credit Card Plot: In "Whale of a Birthday", SpongeBob of all people is trusted with Mr. Krabs' credit card to buy his daughter Pearl what she wants for her 16th birthday, but since the latter only demands so much gifts, SpongeBob takes the risk of wasting the entire profit from the card (although Mr. Krabs admittedly deserved that).
  • Creepy Good: His behavior towards Squidward in some episodes steps far past unsettling.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: While he acts immaturely to say the least most of the time, he occasionally displays some quite impressive abilities, such as easily surviving harsh physical punishment without suffering even a scratch (perhaps thanks to being a sponge), cooking Krabby Patties expertly and at amazing speeds, and even saving Bikini Bottom from destruction several times.
  • Cry Cute: When he cries, it's absolutely adorable. Usually.
  • Cuckoosnarker: SpongeBob can occasionally deliver witty remarks, showing that he's not as naïve as he seems.
  • Cuddle Bug: He loves cuddling, much to Squidward's chagrin.
  • Cute Bruiser: He's absolutely adorable and innocent, but whenever riled up to a reasonable extent, he's not afraid to use his hands to fight.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: SpongeBob is a sweet and innocent cutie who's also a Large Ham with a high-pitched voice and sheep-like laugh, in addition to screaming like a little girl.
  • Cute Critters Act Childlike: A Ridiculously Cute Critter with a very childlike demeanor.
  • The Cutie: He's an adorable and likable person most of the time, anyway.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The episode "BlackJack" reveals that SpongeBob had a sociopathic cousin who would very often ruthlessly torment him due to his weakness. It mercifully stopped when his said cousin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for littering.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not as much as Squidward, but he has his moments of making sarcastic remarks, mostly in the pre-first movie seasons.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • His popularity in town varies depending on the episode. In some, he's beloved by everyone for his Nice Guy attitude and helpful nature, while in others he's hated to the point where the town actively tries to avoid him due to how obnoxious he is. In others, nobody has any idea who he is.
    • His skills as a fry cook. In some episodes he has people treating him like he's a celebrity chef, but other times he's treated as a low level fast food cook.
    • His karate skills. Sometimes he's good enough to hold his own against (or even beat) Sandy, in other episodes she beats him in less than a Curb-Stomp Battle.
    • His intelligence. Some episodes portray SpongeBob as being incredibly savvy in certain areas but otherwise naïve, whereas others portray him as being just as stupid and nonfunctional in society as Patrick (going hand-in-hand with SpongeBob taking a level in dumbass), which became more prevalent as the post-movie era approached. The latter trait seems to be gone by Season 9B, but still pops up every now and then.
    • His maturity level ranges from being a civilized adult in the form of an everyman and determinator to a weak-willed, childishly innocent doormat who couldn't think for himself to save his life.
    • His physical strength also varies depending on the plot. Some episodes show him being too weak to even lift a twig with marshmallows as dumbbells, while others show him strong enough to lift Mr. Krabs off his feet while grabbing him by the neck.
  • Determinator:
    • He may be a pushover most of the time, but nothing will stop him from doing his duty for the Krusty Krab, whether it's delivering a pizza or saving his boss from execution.
    • No matter how long it takes and how much destruction he may accidentally cause in the process, nothing will stop SpongeBob from getting his boating license.
  • The Ditz: He's frequently portrayed as being a little slow on the uptake.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
  • The Dragon: He is an unwitting subordinate to Mr. Krabs during his boss's worse days.
  • Drama Queen: SpongeBob tends to make a big deal out of things that he shouldn't.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: When training Gary for the Snail Olympics, he puts him through Boot Camp training. This shows he does indeed have a serious side when things get real.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Probably the king of this trope in Western Animation. In early episodes, he states that he does know how to drive, but he always ends up panicking behind the wheel and cannot concentrate. Due to Flanderization, it deteriorates to the point where whenever he gets behind the wheel, he's a Driving Disaster Area. He drives a giant rock in "Pizza Delivery", a plane in "The Sponge Who Could Fly", a giant sandwich in The Movie, and even a truck in one episode. Apparently he can drive anything but a boat!
  • Dual Age Modes: "Rock Bottom" shows that SpongeBob can easily shapeshift into and vocalize his grandfather.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Having long eyelashes, sparkly blue eyes, a high-pitched voice, and feminine persona, he can easily pass for a girl.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: As clueless and naïve as SpongeBob is, he does bring up good points on occasion, mainly to Patrick, who he acts as the voice of reason to.
  • Dumb Blonde: SpongeBob's hair is stated to be yellow on his driver's license, and he is painfully naïve and gullible.
  • Dumb, but Diligent: Though a total ditz, SpongeBob is is really devoted to his job as a frycook at the Krusty Krab. So much that he breaks down when he either gets fired, forced into a day off, or is moved to another job.
  • Dumb Is Good: SpongeBob certainly isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but to his credit, he is much nicer than characters considered smart like Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton.
  • Early Installment Character-Design Difference: For the three pre-movie seasons, his cheeks surrounded the edges of his mouth whenever he smiled. For every season afterwards, this aspect was changed so that SpongeBob's cheeks now completely cover the edges of his mouth instead.
  • Easily Impressed: SpongeBob can become enamored with the most mundane of things, even the mere action of Squidward reading a book.
  • Epic Fail: Poor guy managed to get fired five times in one day. Not mention, failing to get your boating license, even in your dreams!
  • The Everyman: He started out as an average, mellow Nice Guy with little personality beyond being somewhat eccentric and childish, two traits which he got flanderized into.
  • Extreme Doormat: His Fatal Flaw, alongside his vanity. Several episodes show he's virtually incapable of saying no to anyone, and in "Walking Small," he's so passive that he actually lets a random fish sit on him without a fight. Several episodes show him try to grow a spine, only to conclude that he's fine with being stepped on...sometimes literally. That being said, as shown in "Can You Spare a Dime?", SpongeBob does have his limits on how much abuse and exploitation he can take.

    F-K 
  • Failure Is the Only Option: He can never get his boating license. Ever. Not even in his dreams! In "Gone", SpongeBob finds blank drivers licenses and makes one for himself, but this was only done as a joke.
  • Famed In-Story: Depending on the Writer, he is often portrayed as a local celebrity for being the Krusty Krab's frycook.
  • Fanboy: SpongeBob is a huge fan of and idolizes Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, as well as Kevin the Sea Cucumber.
  • Fan of the Underdog: Primarily due to their naïve outlooks, SpongeBob and Patrick seem to be the only entities in Bikini Bottom who actually like Squidward and see him as a talented being. Unfortunately, their clinginess and stalking behavior causes him just as much suffering as everyone else does.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • SpongeBob's vanity. SpongeBob loves being the center of attention way too much for his own good, which has led to him growing aggressively jealous of Squidward for potentially winning the Employee Of The Month award (and then actually winning it), growing jealous of Jim for being the Krusty Krab's original big-shot chef, blowing through a fortune in dough in a few days trying to impress strangers, imagining he's a bigger star than he actually is for having a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in a commercial, and biting off more than he could chew when he tried to become a model.
    • SpongeBob's naviety and passiveness. SpongeBob is very trusting and oblivious, and people (especially Plankton) try to take advantage of this all the time. Ironically, one of the only things that will truly set him off is people taking advantage of his trust, like Squidward trying to take over his own home in "Can You Spare A Dime?", Patrick leaving him to do all the work raising their adopted son for months in "Rock-A-Bye Bivalve", and Mr. Krabs using and mistreating Gary to steal money in "The Cent Of Money".
  • Felony Misdemeanor: SpongeBob takes his job as a fry cook a little too seriously; he has a frequency to overreact over the slightest of mistakes like being one minute late to work, giving the wrong order, being out of ice...
  • Flanderization:
    • After The Movie, he gravitated steadily towards the role of The Fool.
    • His childishness, eccentricity, and dramatic behavior also increased as the series progressed. In the first season, SpongeBob was a laid-back, mellow everyman with a more relatable personality; he was still naïve but considerably more rational and smarter than he is now. He also behaved more like an adult aside from blowing bubbles and jellyfishing. Lastly, he was far less hammy and overreactive. Sometime around season 2, these traits got cranked Up to Eleven and beyond and made him into the idiotic manchild we know today.
    • His Innocently Insensitive habits were always a key plot device in the show, but while he was always oblivious, most of his mistakes or habits for annoying others were small forgivable grievances (often exacerbated by the other characters' extreme attempts to avoid him). He could sometimes notice he was making errors as well, he was just hopeless at rectifying them. Later episodes amp up SpongeBob's inconsiderate behavior, having him almost sociopathic levels of oblivious and ruining others' lives on a routine basis with his stupid and clingy antics.
    • His low intelligence also became much more ubiquitous as the post-movie era approached. While he was always a Wide-Eyed Idealist with a naïve outlook and oblivion to others' hatred of him, he still had a touch of skepticism in him (i.e. not falling for Plankton's manipulation tactic to get the formula in the latter's debut episode) and was able to exhibit cynicism towards Squidward of all people in "Can You Spare a Dime?" Thus, he was more of a Cloudcuckoolander than a ditz due to how naïve and loopy he was. However, by sometime around Season 4, he's become so oblivious to Squidward's distaste for him that he can't even take a hint, in addition to becoming more harassing to him, making him play the latter trope straighter than ever.
    • His inability to drive. Early episodes implied he could drive perfectly well if not for the anxiety he suffers on the driving test causing him to inevitably screw up repeatedly; he came pretty close to getting his license when he got Patrick to guide him through the entire test in "Boating School". Later episodes ramped this up to the point where he's an active danger to himself and others every time he drives and should never be left within any distance of a boat whatsoever.
  • The Fool: Mostly in later seasons. He's a cheerfully oblivious and clueless Idiot Hero and yet still manages to be The Ace, and good things seem to happen to him out of nowhere.
  • For Happiness: SpongeBob loves spreading happiness to everyone.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: The Sanguine. He's cheerful, good-natured, and adventurous.
  • Fully Dressed Cartoon Animal: SpongeBob plays this trope the straightest out of all the main characters, being The One Who Wears Shoes, and since he's a Cephalothorax, his pants double as his shirt.note 
  • The Gadfly: Certain episodes imply that he will sometimes act deliberately annoying when his life is in danger, so his captors will release him- such as "Welcome to the Chum Bucket", "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", and "Born Again Krabs". He manages to drive Plankton, a serial killer (although, he didn't know that, as he didn't recognize him at the time), and the Flying Dutchman insane enough to allow himself to escape safely.
  • Genius Ditz:
    • He can flip burgers to suit a royal palate! A running gag is that he's also great at math and artistically inclined. If he focuses, he can be really smart.
    • In a post-movie episode, he is asked to dismantle a car and then put it back together. He ends up building a functional rocket ship. His teacher was amazed.
    • He's amazingly artistically talented and appears to be something of a musical virtuoso in several instruments.
  • Giftedly Bad: He's a notoriously incompetent driver, having failed well over a million times on his driver's test. Each time normally leads to him reducing Bikini Bottom to ruin through his manic driving habits, which has led Mrs. Puff to deem SpongeBob unteachable. This however never sways him and he remains obliviously optimistic even as he has driven his instructor deeper into insanity. The first episode that focused on his atrocious driving skills showed that he's got a large amount of the boating lessons memorized, but that he always fails actual driving portion of the test because he gets extremely nervous and panics once he's behind the wheel; nearly every other episode just portrays him as being completely oblivious to anything and everything around him.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: In the episode "Gone", he goes crazy from Bikini Bottom being deserted except for him.
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: He's too stupid to realize when antagonists are exploiting him, especially Squidward and Mr. Krabs (though the latter case is perhaps justified by the fact that he's his boss and must be listened to at all costs). On rare occasions though, this can change.
  • Good Feels Good: SpongeBob feels at his best when helping others.
  • Good with Numbers: He's good at math. When Squidward asks him for change for a dollar bill, he replies with this:
    SpongeBob: Do you want four quarters? Or ten dimes? Or twenty nickels? Or one hundred pennies? Or one quarter, three dimes, seven nickels, and ten pennies? Or, if you give me a five dollar bill, your options are...
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Contrary to his selfless demeanor, SpongeBob occasionally gets jealous and mischievous if faced with the likelihood that his thunder has been stolen.
    • In "Employee of the Month", SpongeBob becomes concerned when Squidward voices his plans to break the former's consecutive streak of receiving the eponymous award, so he enters Competition Freak mode and goes to all lengths possible to sabotage his chances.
    • Perhaps most prominently, "Bummer Vacation" shows SpongeBob suffering major Sanity Slippage when faced with the conclusion of Mr. Krabs firing him in favor of Patrick. As a result, SpongeBob hides in Patrick's rock and psychopathically confronts him, giving the impression of wanting to eat him alive, and imprisons him in his rock with nothing to do but watch the static of a TV. He lastly resorts to disguising himself as Patrick in the Krusty Krab to have undetected access to his job (although the gloves come off the moment Mr. Krabs finds out who's in the Patrick costume). In reality, SpongeBob was on vacation and Patrick was hired as his temporary replacement, with the former being too impatient to preoccupy himself.
  • Gullible Lemmings: SpongeBob is very easily manipulated by villains and unintentionally helps assist their diabolical schemes. This is very often exploited by Plankton, Squidward, and Mr. Krabs.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: SpongeBob's driver's license reveals that his hair is yellow, and he is incredibly kind-hearted.
  • Hanlon's Razor: He can get away with all kinds of travesties he commits on others, so long as he means well.
  • Handy Feet: SpongeBob seems proficient at using his feet as his hands.
    • In "Gullible Pants", SpongeBob serves food with his feet while walking with his arms.
    • In "The Clash of Triton", in honor of "Work Without Your Hands Day", SpongeBob uses his feet to answer the phone.
    • In "Bubbletown", he uses his feet to blow bubbles.
  • Happiness in Slavery:
    • Many episodes heavily imply that Mr. Krabs takes advantage of SpongeBob's naive personality to pay him a rate that is lower than minimum wage, if anything at all. Even so, SpongeBob will rarely question the morality, or lack thereof whatever Zany Scheme Mr. Krabs talks him into.
    • In "Squid on Strike", it was not until the end of the episode that SpongeBob realizes employers have an obligation to pay their employees for their services, and that Mr. Krabs' new policy of charging his employees for wasting his time was wrong.
  • Healing Factor:
    • Being a sponge, he can regenerate lost limbs. This is exemplified in "Graveyard Shift" when he removes an arm and a new one pops up in its place. He then removes his other one, and the process repeats until he has a wall of arms holding arms. The episode involves a scary story about a clumsy fry cook who cut off his own hand. SpongeBob begins repeatedly removing his arm and regrowing it to get an idea of what it was like, not seeing what was so scary about it.
    Squidward: Except he wasn't a sponge.
    SpongeBob: So?
    Squidward: So it didn't grow back!
    • Strangely enough, he can even regenerate his internal organs as well. Because of this, he could theoretically be a good organ donor.
  • Heroic BSoD: Spends most of "SpongeBob, You're Fired!" in one after being fired by Mr. Krabs for a nickel, not knowing what to do with his life now that he's unemployed. He immediately recovers at the end of the episode when he gets his job back.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • He is shown to be good friends with Patrick.
    • Believes himself to be this with Squidward, though he isn't.
  • Heavy Sleeper: "Broken Alarm" confirms that he's such a heavy sleeper, his foghorn alarm clock is the one thing that's loud enough to actually wake him up on time.
  • Hidden Depths: He's repeatedly shown to be artistically gifted, good at math, a rather Shakespearean thespian, and a talented gardener, though almost none of these traits are ever important to the plot.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: As a kid, SpongeBob was very often tormented by his sociopathic cousin BlackJack and had his sponginess frequently taken advantage of.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In "Can you Spare a Dime?", Mr. Krabs fires Squidward for supposedly stealing a dime, and after Squidward becomes homeless, SpongeBob takes him in, with Squidward feeling awkward accepting SpongeBob's generosity, at first. Though after seeing how willing SpongeBob was to cater to him, Squidward became a Spoiled Brat that refused to do anything for himself, and even demanded SpongeBob wear a maid uniform. After SpongeBob wised up to the fact that Squidward was a moocher, Squidward refused to leave the bed to beg Mr. Krabs for his job back, and only did so because SpongeBob dragged him out the house.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Especially with regards to Mr. Krabs, assuming him to be a good boss in spite of underpaying him and abusing him. He also thinks that Squidward is a good friend of his and that Mrs. Puff is a nice teacher willing to help him, when in reality, both of them hate him to the point of insanity and want nothing more than to be rid of him.
  • Hot-Blooded: He can get pretty emotional and excited, especially when it comes to fry cooking.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: To Squidward, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs at different times. He's constantly shown to be pretty much the only competent employee at the Krusty Krab, and is luckily incredibly dedicated.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Anytime he is forced to put up with someone as obnoxious and clingy as himself, he will become as irritable and neurotic about their lack of consideration as Squidward does about him. In "The Slumber Party", he encounters a girl who looks exactly like him and he refers to her as "ugly" behind her back.
  • Iconic Item: His spatula. He in fact values it so much that he gives it a name. His love for it becomes a plot point of both "All That Glitters" and "Evil Spatula", in which he has trouble adapting to new varieties of the tool.
  • Iconic Outfit: His pants, down to his very surname. He in fact keeps a closet consisting of them.
  • Idiot Ball: SpongeBob is never typically portrayed as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but some episodes (particularly in later seasons) will have him act even more clueless than usual. Special mention goes to "The Inmates of Summer", in which he (along with Patrick) never realizes that he was clearly in a prison, and even when he sees the summer camp boat, he simply misunderstands it as a different "boring" boat.
  • Idiot Hero: One of Western Animation's most iconic examples, although in the earlier seasons he was more of a naive Cloudcuckoolander than The Ditz he's known as today.
  • Idiot Houdini: To the point where he gets away with making Squidward and Mrs. Puff's lives a living hell. An example being in a short that involves Mrs. Puff trying to cover "Boat Smarts". Being the reckless driver he is, SpongeBob causes a crash and a big accident on the road. Instead of apologizing or feeling bad, he chastises Squidward and Mrs. Puff, claims they forgot their boat smarts, and drives off laughing without punishment.
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: In "No Weenies Allowed", SpongeBob is required to open a simple bottle of ketchup in order to prove himself tough enough to enter the Salty Spitoon. He ultimately fails, proving himself to be a weakling.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Simply injecting himself with DNA from one of SpongeBob's tears was enough to make Plankton pull a Heel–Face Turn, and his heart is so pure that he's immune to jerktonium (a chemical which turns people into jerks).
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In "The Incredible Shrinking Sponge", SpongeBob gets shrunk down after a mishap involving the grill and a sea urchin.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: His ego is fragile and he responds to criticism with tears, but too much flattery tends to go straight to his head.
  • Informed Deformity: The episode "You Don't Know Sponge" reveals that SpongeBob has an outie belly button, but it's never seen in any shots where he's nude.
  • Informed Species:
    • He's said to be a sea sponge, but his appearance is akin to that of a household kitchen sponge. This is lampshaded in "Nasty Patty" when Mr. Krabs refers to him as a "loony loofah".
    • His appearance is also akin to that of a cube of cheese. This is lampshaded in "Band Geeks", where Nancy Suzy-Fish calls SpongeBob a "talking cheese", and again in "Picture Day", where he poses as a slice of cheese on a hot dog statue to avoid being targeted by a group of hooligans.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: He has blue eyes and an innocence about him.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Although SpongeBob means well, he unintentionally ruins other peoples' lives. Just ask Squidward or Mrs. Puff (the latter in post-movie episodes, mostly). At worst, his behavior can also cross under Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist territory. He's at his worst in "Demolition Doofus"; after he causes Mrs. Puff to rupture her inflation sack, he makes very insensitive comments about her condition, remarking that they should start calling her "Mrs. Pop" and he thinks she looks better this way. His comments end up pissing Mrs. Puff off so much that she tries to murder him.
  • In-Series Nickname: Mr. Krabs occasionally refers to him as "SpongeBoy", which coincidentally was his prototype name.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: He wears his heart on his sleeve, cries openly and very often, has some effeminate mannerisms, and has been shown wearing women's clothing several times. There's also the fact that he apparently owns a lot of women's clothing and make-up in the first place. Patrick mocks him for this in "I'm with Stupid", asking "Do you have any mascara I could borrow?"
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Whenever he's not the one causing the abuse, SpongeBob very much owns this trope in that he illogically maintains the power to survive his many excruciating fates, being The Fool and Made of Iron.
  • Jerkass Ball: Not as much as other unpleasant characters in the show, but he still has his moments throughout the series where he's ruder and less sympathetic than usual, especially evident during the post-movie seasons. While he's more prone to insensitivity, he can even have a mean streak at times.
    • In "Choir Boys", he seems to be tormenting Squidward deliberately and reveling in his misfortune.
    • Patrick admits way back in Season 1 ("Home Sweet Pineapple") that he and SpongeBob antagonize Squidward deliberately for their own amusement.
    • In "A Pal for Gary", he acts like an insensitive jerk to Gary, even after Gary saved his ungrateful life.
    • He reaches a new level in "Demolition Doofus". While him injuring Mrs. Puff was an accident, he shows absolutely no remorse whatsoever for his actions, and makes jokes about her situation instead of apologizing. Mrs. Puff, however, wasn't any better during this incident.
  • Just a Kid: This becomes a plot point of the first movie, in which Mr. Krabs chooses to hire Squidward as the manager over SpongeBob on account of the latter being too childish to handle the position responsibly, much to his sadness. Then he and Patrick spend the rest of the film venturing through the scariness of Shell City to retrieve King Neptune's crown and also boost their maturity levels, becoming more manly in the process. By the end of the movie, SpongeBob realizes that it's okay to be a kid and finally gets promoted to manager like he initially dreamed of.
  • Karma Houdini: Throughout the series, SpongeBob has destroyed Bikini Bottom and put innocent bystanders in the hospital numerous times going on a rampage during his driving tests, and he's let Ms. Puff take the fall for him as his teacher every time, despite SpongeBob being an adult who can most certainly be held accountable for his own actions (he's briefly arrested by the police in "Doing Time", but it turns out to only be another layer of Mrs. Puff's dream). To say nothing of the other various criminal activities SpongeBob and Patrick have gotten away with throughout the series, like stalking, stealing, breaking and entering and on some occasions, kidnapping.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Most of the time, SpongeBob is an irritatingly lucky Idiot Houdini who suffers no repercussions whatsoever for his immoral actions. This especially becomes prominent by the post-movie era. However, there are in fact some episodes that mercifully end with him suffering to the audience's pleasure, often as a result of Squidward psychologically tormenting him. The most infamous example would be "Little Yellow Book", at the end of which Squidward makes him run home crying by remorselessly reading his diary out loud to the public.
  • Keet: One of the best examples in cartoon history. He's hyperactive, cute, and In Touch with His Feminine Side.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: He's hyperactive, quirky, and acts like a kid in a candy store most of the time.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: His pet snail, Gary, under the show's theory of snails existing as an underwater equivalent for cats.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: The large majority of times, he's a moron with good intentions. He at least means well, anyway.
  • The Kirk: More rational than Patrick; still not as level-headed as Squidward or even Mr. Krabs.
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    L-Q 
  • Large Ham: One has to assume that SpongeBob's taken drama lessons at some point or another, because overdramatizing is his specialty. He can be more reserved when he wants to be, but it's usually hard for him to go a full episode without lapsing into this at some point.
  • Lethal Klutz: SpongeBob's incompetence and clumsiness often causes him to uncontrollably terrorize a majority of Bikini Bottom, which is best exhibited through his reckless driving skills.
  • Lethally Stupid: His relentless stupidity has driven many people (mainly Squidward and Mrs. Puff) borderline, if not completely, insane.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: In addition to being pretty much his Only Friend, SpongeBob is the person who primarily serves as the one to keep Patrick in touch with reality and prevents him from lapsing into psychopathic territory.
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: SpongeBob may not have the best grip on reality, but his idealism makes him much kinder than the normals
  • Loony Fan:
    • SpongeBob had such an obsession with Kevin the Sea Cucumber in "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic" that he not only wheezed out in front of him, but also willingly inflicted requested physical harm on himself to entertain him. He eventually engaged in a desperate quest to join the Jellyspotters with him, initially to no avail, but he gets crowned in the end.
    • He and Patrick also exhibit similar clinginess to Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, often invading their personal space and concocting many ridiculous plans in order to spend them with them, often getting them injured in the process.
  • Lovable Coward: He's a weakling who becomes easily frightened over the most harmless of sights, cries very often, and refuses to fight back, yet it's all rooted in his Nice Guy personality.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: In "To Love a Patty", SpongeBob falls in love with a Krabby Patty and starts treating it like his very own girlfriend, ultimately leading him to grasp the Idiot Ball and put an inanimate object above his friends.
  • Made of Iron: Depends on the episode. SpongeBob can take a lot of pain, and he just shrugs it off or regenerates.
  • Made Out to Be a Jerkass: At the end of "The Bully", Mrs. Puff comes to the conclusion that SpongeBob is a school bully on grounds of his fist being raised in the air and Flats the Flounder lying unconscious on the ground. In reality, the latter was knocked out from persistently beating SpongeBob, who was raising his hand to ask a question.
  • Magnetic Hero: SpongeBob makes friends with almost everyone he comes in contact with, though Squidward would disagree.
  • Manchild: He's old enough to hold down a job and live on his own, but is so immature and goofy that he's been referred to as a kid on multiple occasions.
  • Married to the Job: He's very devoted to his job at the Krusty Krab. It's to the point that Mr. Krabs has exploited this a few times. Krabs purposely underplays SpongeBob or sometimes doesn’t pay him at all while SpongeBob gleefully accepts the extra work Krabs gives him, because he knows that SpongeBob loves his job so much.
  • Mascot: For Nickelodeon as a whole.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Sandy's Masculine Girl. SpongeBob is friendly, loving, cries very easily, is In Touch with His Feminine Side, and has cross-dressed on a few occasions. Sandy is a strong and tough woman who is a master at karate and by no means above attacking those who insult Texas. She's friendly, yes, but her buttons tend to be pushed a lot more than the title character.
  • Me's a Crowd: Sometimes after being cut into pieces, those pieces form miniature SpongeBobs.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: To Mr. Krabs sometimes and in the episode "Welcome to the Chum Bucket" to Plankton. He's just too nice to be an effectual henchman.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve", SpongeBob and Patrick roleplay as parents to a vulnerable scallop in public, with a couple imagining the confusing scenario of a sponge and starfish breed.
  • Mistaken Identity: In "As Seen on TV", SpongeBob encounters an old man who claims to have seen him on TV the previous night, with the former assuming he's referring to the 3-second cameo he made in the Krusty Krab commercial, but it actually turns out the man was referring to a Bran-Flakes commercial.
  • Morality Pet: He serves as the voice of reason to and seems to be the only one available to support Patrick. Without SpongeBob, Patrick would probably not only be nonfunctional in society and Too Dumb to Live, but also an Ax-Crazy and Love Hungry psychopath who would be sentenced to life in prison.
  • Motor Mouth: Tends to talk really fast and rapidly when he's very excited, much to the annoyance of other people.
  • Mr. Imagination: He provides the page quote. Another example (though it doesn't spell it out as clearly) is "The Paper", where SpongeBob manages to have lots of fun with only a piece of paper Squidward discarded. When Squidward tries, he can't do any of the things with the piece of paper SpongeBob did, probably because he has no imagination.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: In "Procrastination", when writing an essay, he makes the pencil fall like a toppling airplane against the sheet of paper and begins writing rapidly while shouting "Yeah!" When he's finished, he lets go of the pencil which fumes from the use of it, then it turns out he just wrote "The" in a very artistic way.
  • Naïve Animal Lover: In "A Pal for Gary", SpongeBob buys a vicious nudibranch in guise of a Ridiculously Cute Critter with total disregard to the seller's warnings, also stealing it in the process. Even after witnessing the pet's dangerousness and it eating Gary right in front of him, and eventually himself, SpongeBob still views it as a sweet and harmless creature.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Several episodes involve him ending up naked for the sake of laughs, like when he decides to become a naturist and live with the jellyfish in "Nature Pants" or when he and Patrick take off their clothes and use a can of invisible spray to prank Bikini Bottom by pretending to be ghosts in "Pranks a Lot".
  • Neat Freak: In contrast to his friend Patrick, he cares more about keeping things tidy and orderly.
  • Nerd Glasses: He wears a large pair of thick-rimmed glasses whenever he goes jellyfishing.
  • Never My Fault: Despite being a nice guy, SpongeBob shows this a few times in the series.
    • In "Can You Spare A Dime?," he willingly allows Squidward to live in his house due to the latter losing his job and home. Squidward takes advantage of SpongeBob. While Squidward is a complete jerk in this episode, SpongeBob fails to realize that he was never obligated to keep Squidward around in his house and instead gets angry at Squidward for his laziness rather than evicting him. Even when Gary tried to tell SpongeBob that Squidward was taking advantage of him, SpongeBob just made excuses rather than take them seriously. It's also implied that he didn't learn anything from the experience when he changed his clothes back into the maid outfit Squidward made him wear.
    • In "I Had An Accident," SpongeBob blames his butt injury on the fact that he leaves his house and decides to stay inside his house. He ignores the fact that he didn't take measures to prevent himself from suffering from that injury in the first place.
  • Nice Guy: Almost absurdly nice, on a good day: he's a borderline doormat sometimes. Most of the time.
  • Nice Hat: While working at the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob along with Squidward wears a trademark white hat with a blue anchor illustration on it.
  • Nice Mean And Inbetween: The nice one when he's paired with Patrick and Squidward or with Squidward and Mr. Krabs. He's so nice it hurts. Most of the time.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: He seems to be practically impossible to kill at times (he can regrow internal organs). In fact, only when he suffers from a very painful situation, such as launching himself onto an island made of spikes or being caught in the demolition of a high tower, does he not regenerate near-instantly from his injuries.
  • No Indoor Voice: Whenever he gets excited or hyped up about something, he tends to yell at the top of his lungs.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: As Squidward says in "The Algae's Always Greener": "SpongeBob, do you remember that little talk we had about personal space?"
  • No Social Skills: Frequently laps into this territory. For example, he has no idea that his clingy behavior is excessive and Squidward finds him annoying.
  • Nosy Neighbor: He's a nice, generous, friendly fellow and all he wants to do is include Squidward in his friendship and fun — but he and Patrick are obnoxious and foolish, lack tact, and don't adhere to boundaries. At best, SpongeBob and Patrick are nice guys and Squidward likes them — at worse, they're extremely annoying, and Squidward is frustrated by them.
  • Oblivious To Hatred: Squidward openly despises him and makes no effort to hide it, but SpongeBob is firmly convinced they're best friends and can't be convinced otherwise.
  • Oblivious to Hints: Having Took a Level in Dumbass, SpongeBob in the post-movie seasons can't take hints and needs the most obvious of implications explained to him in a very specific way.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • His friendship with Sandy somewhat qualifies as one. While both of them like karate and are socially inept, their personalities and levels of intelligence are practically incompatible, as SpongeBob is absurdly goofy, naïve and childish, while Sandy is intelligent and tough. In conclusion, their friendship is more little-brother-big-sister-combat than realistic.
    • He also seems to have a bit of one with Pearl, best seen in "The Chaperone", "Bossy Boots", and "Tunnel of Glove", where Pearl is utterly embarrassed by his company but warms up to him when his feelings have ultimately been hurt, showing that SpongeBob is a bit of a surrogate little brother to her.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Being The Thing That Would Not Leave, he magically finds the way to invade Squidward's privacy or his house even after having been kicked out.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: He is rarely ever called "SpongeRobert".
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • SpongeBob is normally enamored with Squidward and completely oblivious to how much he hates him, so it's quite shocking in "Can You Spare a Dime?" to see him get sick of Squidward taking advantage of his hospitality and start snarking at him under his breath, let alone getting in his face and screaming at him.
    • SpongeBob takes his job at the Krusty Krab incredibly seriously, to the point where he has a meltdown just for being a minute late, or when he's forced to take a vacation. But in "Have You Seen This Snail?", he's so depressed over losing Gary, he not only shows up fifteen minutes late, but he leaves in the middle of his shift.
    • Any episode that has SpongeBob yelling at Mr. Krabs or turn against him shows how much the latter has crossed the line.
  • Older Than They Look: He's a grown adult in his thirties (his driver's license, when seen, says he was born on July 14th, 1986) but with his freckled dimpled cheeks, high-pitched voice, big blue eyes, naive demeanor, long eyelashes, and short stature, he easily passes for an actual child.
  • One-Note Cook: SpongeBob can make excellent Krabby Patties, though sometimes it's the only thing he can make. He doesn't even know what a "salad" is in "Bossy Boots" and the concept of just lettuce and tomato shocked him.
  • The One Who Wears Shoes: In "Your Shoe's Untied", it's implied he's been wearing shoes since before he was born. The episode also points out how very few other characters wear shoes with laces or any shoes at all.
  • Parental Substitute: He and Patrick both become the Designated Parents to a vulnerable, abandoned baby scallop in "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve" before it becomes capable of flying on its own. He then acts as a mother figure to Squidward in "Can You Spare a Dime?" after the latter loses his job, before losing it and mustering up the courage to stand up to the latter's exploitation and encouraging him to get a life.
  • Papa Wolf: He can be very protective of Gary, his pet snail. Also shows up when he's left to care for a bunch of baby worms.
  • Perpetual Smiler: Being an irreparable optimist, it's hard to knock the smile off of SpongeBob's face. Thus, a smile is essentially his default expression.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Whenever he gets behind the wheel of a boat, it's a guarantee that he'll cause massive amounts of collateral damage. In fact, at the end of "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired", it's outright stated that he would have passed his boating test...if there was a "destroy the city" portion of it.
    • Even when doing something simple, it can happen. Particularly in "Hall Monitor," where he, in attempts to help the townspeople, ends up causing all manner of chaos and knocking over several buildings.
    Mrs. Puff: I turn my back on you for one minute, and you destroy half the city!
  • Ping-Pong Naïveté: Is capable of surprising bouts of resourcefulness and wisdom and can even play the Straight Man on occasion, but can never figure out that half the town wants him to leave them alone.
  • The Pollyanna: He's always cheerful and positive, no matter what.
  • The Power of Rock: From The Movie: He performs "Goofy Goober Rock" to free everyone from Plankton's mind control, along with episodes like "Ripped Pants", "Band Geeks", and "Hello Bikini Bottom".
  • Principles Zealot: SpongeBob always sticks to any type of rules and regulations regarding the Krusty Krab. Good examples are “Welcome to the Chum Bucket,' when he refused to make food for the Chum Bucket, and “Pizza Delivery," when he refused to eat the pizza no matter what, and sobbed when the customer refused to take the pizza without a drink.
  • Prone to Tears: He's a crybaby. He cries all the time, whether it's tears of sadness or tears of joy. He even mentions in "No Weenies Allowed" that he cried for twenty minutes after stubbing his toe.
  • Protagonist Title: His name is the show's title and he is the main character.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Played With, he willingly works for Mr. Krabs, or rather, just the job itself, but he only occasionally does malicious things. Such as not actually killing a health inspector, or feeding people spoiled food.

    R-Z 
  • Rage Breaking Point: He's a Nice Guy through and through, and has an extreme level of tolerance for most people, but even he has his limits:
    • In "Can You Spare a Dime?", when after Krabs refuses to hire Squidward back over the dime he thinks Squidward stole on top of all of the absolute Hell Squidward put him through by being The Thing That Would Not Leave, SpongeBob blows his stack, Neck Lifts Krabs, and shakes him while screaming at him over how stupid the situation is:
      SpongeBob: Listen, you crustaceous cheapskate! Squidward's been living at my house driving me crazy! And you're not gonna hire him back ALL BECAUSE OF A STUPID DIME?!
    • In "Krusty Love," Mr. Krabs brings him along on his date with Mrs. Puff and puts him in charge of his money to make sure he doesn't spend it all, but he nonetheless keeps demanding that SpongeBob buy increasingly unnecessary items for Mrs. Puff, all while lashing out at him for spending his money when he was the one who asked him to do so in the first place. When Mr. Krabs declares that SpongeBob is "loose with other people's money", SpongeBob finally snaps, goes off on an Angrish rant towards Krabs (heavily implied to be swear words), and storms off, muttering to himself angrily.
    • In "Driven to Tears," Patrick takes Mrs. Puff's driving test himself after SpongeBob fails yet again, and passes with a perfect score on his first try, getting a license and new boat. Patrick quickly suffers Acquired Situational Narcissism and spends the rest of the episode rubbing it in SpongeBob's face, calling himself a "driving genius." This continues to grate on SpongeBob, especially after Patrick pulls off an illegal U-turn through an orphanage and runs a red light, and when Patrick goes so far as to literally rub his license in SpongeBob's face, SpongeBob finally snaps; ranting that he's worked his entire life for a license and Patrick doesn't deserve one, he snatches Patrick's license right out of his hands and rips it to pieces.
    • In "Stanley S. SquarePants", SpongeBob's uncle sends his cousin Stanley to live with him until he gets a job. Unfortunately, Stanley is a MASSIVE jinx and ruins everything he touches. SpongeBob helps Stanley get a job at the Krusty Krab and covers for him when he somehow sets the cash register on fire and leaves a long line of angry customers. But when Stanley breaks SpongeBob's spatula? That's the last straw.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The red to Squidward's blue. He's more emotional and hyperactive while Squidward is stoic and reasonable.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: He looks cute thanks to his big, sparkly blue eyes, friendly smile, and long girly eyelashes.
  • Rubber Man: He can stretch his limbs towards great lengths and put himself together after being cut into pieces.
  • Running Gag: Failing his drivers test is an occurrence that has happened countless times.
  • Sanity Ball: On rare occasions, SpongeBob will play the episode's role as the voice of reason when the townspeople are acting up or when Patrick holds the Jerkass Ball or takes his idiocy to absurd and extreme levels.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Whenever Squidward delivers sarcastic remarks at him, he never seems to notice.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: SpongeBob used to scream like this in pre-movie seasons.
  • Selective Obliviousness: He just cannot seem to comprehend the obvious fact that not only is Squidward not his best friend, but in fact hates him to the point of madness. Even though Squidward has flat-out told SpongeBob to his face that he can't stand him on at least one occasion. This is best shown in "Little Yellow Book," where we're shown a scene of Squidward chewing SpongeBob out; while in reality, Squidward was furious at SpongeBob for letting Gary into his home and Gary chewing up many of his possessions, complete with Squidward screaming "horrible words that should never be used around strangers" in his face, SpongeBob sees it as Squidward giving him "his profound opinions on how to properly raise and care for a household pet."
    Squidward: Great Neptune, I had no idea. The depth of his delusion is awe-inspiring.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: He's the sensitive guy compared to his boss Mr. Krabs. SpongeBob is a weak-willed doormat who's In Touch with His Feminine Side, while Mr. Krabs is considerably strong, armed, and even served in the navy.
  • Serious Business: He once cried because he arrived at the Krusty Krab one minute late.
  • Shake Someone, Objects Fall: When Mr. Krabs shakes SpongeBob upside-down in pursuit of a penny in "Penny Foolish", his brain falls out of his head and starts crawling, as a result of being manipulated by Plankton.
  • Shapeshifter Mashup: Reaches an unhealthy level in "Mimic Madness", in which SpongeBob shapeshifts into so many of his friends that he suffers an identity crisis.
  • Ship Tease:
    • "Ripped Pants" teases SpongeBob and Sandy. His attempts to impress her at the beach are what create the plot.
    • The Employee of the Month CD-ROM game shows SpongeBob has a pin-up-esque poster of Sandy in his Krusty Krab cabinet, claiming she makes him smile.
    • One line from this game has him outright say he loves her when you get a Game Over.
    • "The Chaperone" and "Bossy Boots" blatantly tease SpongeBob and Pearl. The former ends with SB and Pearl holding hands about to kiss until Mr. Krabs interrupts them, and the latter features Pearl hugging and kissing SpongeBob.
  • Sickly Neurotic Geek: He has the tendency to start wheezing loudly when he gets too excited about something. Krabs also implied in one episode that he takes allergy medication.
  • Signature Laugh: It's annoying, but so much a part of his character that it alone is enough for one to recognize him.
  • Size Shifter: He can make himself smaller sometimes.
  • Small, Annoying Creature: Especially if you ask Squidward.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Depending on the Writer. He sometimes thinks better of himself than he should, only for his boastful remarks to end up biting him in the ass.
  • Small Taxonomy Pools: Why he was made a sponge, an animal rarely mentioned in media.
  • Smart Jerk and Nice Moron: The Kindhearted Simpleton (nice moron) to Squidward's cranky and cynical (smart jerk).
  • Smarter Than You Look: Several episodes do show him acting serious and even competent, suggesting that he can choose to be smart anytime he wants.
  • Snark Ball: Who would've thought that SpongeBob of all people could be capable of delivering snarky remarks? It's especially interesting considering how often he's Sarcasm-Blind.
  • The Southpaw: He is said to be left-handed or ambidextrous, some episodes you can see him using his left hand to flip patties. In "I Was a Teenage Gary", he says that he's a leftie, but he claims to be ambidextrous in "You Don't Know Sponge." He probably just has a preference for his left hand.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Can understand snails.
  • Sphere Eyes: He has round eyes.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Is often depicted as such around Squidward. He, by his own admission, was spying on Squidward through the window in "House Fancy," and Squidward's threat to "get the cops down here again" implies it's not the first time SpongeBob has done so. Then there's "Squid's Visit," where he's able to copy the interior of Squidward's house perfectly, right down to knowing the exact contents of his medicine cabinet.
  • Straight Man: Usually the more reasonable and stoic one when paired with Patrick, but he may also play this role to other characters.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: SpongeBob's strength varies from episode to episode. Some episodes depict him as so weak he couldn't even lift a straw, other depict him lifting a mailbox straight off its hinges. This also applies to his skills in karate; at times he can fight Sandy evenly or even beat her with ease, while at other times he's incompetent to the point where Sandy literally kicks him around like a football. The only times he's so strong is when it's not brought up or plot-important.
  • Stepford Smiler: A few episodes indicate that behind that perpetual smile and always energetic and optimistic personality SpongeBob isn't entirely sane. There have been episodes where he would go into Freak Out! mode over little things or become stark raving mad if things don't go right for him, like if he encounters some problems at his job that he loves and the like.
  • Stone Wall: Depicted as one in "The Bully", where he took punches to the head for an entire week without any damage, until his assailant passed out from exhaustion. Of course, another episode stated that he cried for 20 minutes after stubbing his toe, so this largely depends on Rule of Funny.
  • Stranger Safety: SpongeBob is gullible enough to trust strangers and disguised criminals, completely oblivious to their exploitation.
  • Stupid Good: Even if it nearly gets him killed, SpongeBob is too much of a goody-goody to not do the morally right thing and rarely uses skepticism while in sticky situations. The only bad guy whom he normally turns down is Plankton, but even then, only sometimes.
  • Sudden Name Change: All There in the Manual example: SpongeBob's prototype name was SpongeBoy, but the name was subsequently changed after it had been found out that the name was already copyrighted by a mop brand.
  • Suicide as Comedy: In "Gary Takes a Bath", one of his attempts to get Gary to take a bath is strapping a bomb to his chest, which is purely Played for Laughs.
  • Supreme Chef: He's a very talented fry cook and customers absolutely love his Krabby Patties. Not even Squidward can resist them.
  • Super Gullible: To such a ridiculous extent that it's lethal. The amount of times he's been exploited by antagonists requires more than two hands to be counted on.
  • Super Speed: As the Quickster in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V", he possesses the ability to run extremely fast.
  • Tender Tears: He cries when bad things happen to other people. At one point, he got tearful when he saw a snail stuck in a tree.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave:
    • Is this to Squidward, who only wants to spend time painting and sculpting artistic representations of himself and composing pieces that he considers appealing but can't, because SpongeBob barges into his home, and despite being told clearly and loudly, to go away, SpongeBob will playfully insist on Squidward to "stop kidding around" and do something that only he and Patrick will enjoy.
    • Is also this for Mrs. Puff, who wants nothing else but for SpongeBob to learn how to drive, and get his license, because of the severe PTSD she's gotten because he re-enrolls in her class, and fails the driver's test no matter how many times he takes it.
  • Token Good Teammate: Of the Krusty Crew, he's not only the nicest, but also the only member of the crew with any moral decency, in contrast to his greedy, sadistic Bad Boss Mr. Krabs and his cynical coworker Squidward.
  • Token Mini-Moe: The only innocent and sweet member of the Krusty Crew, in addition to sporting a very cute factor.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Along with Patrick. Once, they were lost in the wilderness with nothing but a food supply, water, and a shelter. Patrick starts a fire… with the food supply! SpongeBob tries to put it out… with the shelter, which then is destroyed. SpongeBob finally succeeds in putting out the fire… with the entire water supply. So, they've wasted their food, water, and shelter when they're in the middle of nowhere.
  • Took a Level in Badass: As the series progresses, SpongeBob has shown himself at the most unexpected of moments to become less childlike and confront malice, even veering into borderline Disproportionate Retribution territory at times. His acts of badassery have ranged from not actually killing a health inspector with a tainted Krabby Patty, taking the lives of numerous innocent scallops, psychopathically confronting Patrick and imprisoning him in his own house, and violently standing up to his own boss.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: In later seasons, there are times where he becomes less blind to the world's imperfections and confronts them with bluntness. This is best prominent whenever faced with the looming prospect of being exploited by Plankton along with the rest of the world, or when Mr. Krabs' abuse of authority goes really off-limits. Though, how intentionally he does so varies, as sometimes it is done out of manipulation.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: When the series began he was fairly intelligent but incredibly naive and childlike; in the later episodes he is barely smarter than pre-first movie Patrick. In any case, Patrick still makes him look like a genius by comparison.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: In later seasons, he was more prone to being a jerk and doing rude and heartless things to other people, such as selfishly turning down their kindness, blaming others for his own shortcomings, or neglecting the responsibility of his very own pet being endangered.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Downplayed as he was more Innocently Insensitive than a jerk prior, but by Season 9B, his pestering towards Squidward and his Jerkass Ball territory has been phased out for the most part (with "Ink Lemonade" being a notable exception).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Krabby Patties, as revealed in "You Don't Know Sponge". His fondness for them in fact goes all the way back from when he was in the womb.
  • Truly Single Parent: SpongeBob, like real sponges, displayed the capacity for asexual reproduction in "Pressure", though the new SpongeBobs were gone by the next scene.
    "Can you reproduce by budding? Can ya?" "Can ya?" "Can ya?" Can ya?" "Can ya?"
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Case in point: no matter how heinous Mr. Krabs' actions are or how badly he is treated by the other characters, SpongeBob will always forgive them by the end of the episode.
  • Undying Loyalty: His unbreakable dedication to the Krusty Krab and by extension Mr. Krabs surpasses even his loyalty to his friends.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In "A Pal For Gary". Throughout the whole episode, he has blamed Gary for Puffy Fluffy's actions, cumulating in scolding Gary when the snail is clearly about to be eaten by the now-monstrous Puffy Fluffy. Puffy puts Gary down and starts eating SpongeBob, and Gary (who has NO REASON WHATSOEVER to help SpongeBob, at this point) bravely comes to the rescue, acting like a cowboy and whipping Puffy to knock SpongeBob out of his mouth and drive him away. How does SpongeBob reward this act of heroism? He tries to get Puffy Fluffy back, but after that fails, he scolds Gary AGAIN, completely ignoring the fact that the snail just saved his ungrateful life!
  • Unishment: Sometimes it's impossible to discipline the little sponge. Due to his naivete, SpongeBob often views his punishments as beneficial one way or another, and sometimes interprets them as fun and games. And due to being an invertebrate, his sponginess makes him immune to physical harm most of the time.
    • In "License to Milkshake", he survives the Shake Simulator's excruciating features and even wants a second turn.
      Captain Frostymug: Now, let's see how the boy turned out! [Presses a button which causes the machine to pour out SpongeBob who fills up the cup]
      SpongeBob: That was fun! Can I go again?
  • Vague Age: The show's staff sure do like to play around with this trope a lot in regards to SpongeBob's age.
    • His driver's license states his birthday as July 14, 1986, which would put him in his thirties if the show took place in real times. However, this was eventually stated as a joke by Word of God. In addition, he wouldn't have legally gotten his job at the Krusty Krab when the show first began in 1999 if child labor laws in Bikini Bottom were the same as in the United States, as he would have only been 12. Though given that Stephen Hillenburg said Spongebob is around 50 in "sponge years", that could be excusable for his species.
    • That said, he's old enough to live on his own, own a bank account, hold down a job, own his own pet, and attend driver's education, yet he's so extremely silly and absurdly childish that he's been mistaken for and referred to as a kid numerous times in-universe, in addition to sporting the appearance of one. He's either a manchild, an actual child, or an immature teenager.
    • His birthday was celebrated in "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", "Waiting" and "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout", but no age was specified.
  • Vetinari Job Security: A number of episodes have him either be fired from the Krusty Krab or unable to work for whatever reason; during this time, Squidward and occasionally Mr. Krabs himself try to take over for him, but fail miserably, such as burning a Krabby Patty, fries, and a milkshake in "Pickles" and serving a customer a fried boot instead of a sandwich in "Hooky". SpongeBob himself lampshades it in the song "Employee of the Month," stating outright that the Krusty Krab would fall apart if not for him.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Played With as SpongeBob's high-pitched voice perfectly suits his naïve, childlike nature, but he sounds nothing like an adult.
  • Vocal Evolution: His voice has gotten a lot higher in later episodes. But his voice has gotten lower since Season 9 and especially Sponge Out of Water.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Despite being physically weak, SpongeBob is quite adept at karate.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Some frames in the series reveal his square pants to be these.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Apparently, SpongeBob is seriously afraid of clowns, as the only reason he summoned all of Bikini Bottom to his Pineapple in the episode "Rodeo Daze" was to save Sandy from the clowns at the rodeo.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Luckily for him, though, his idealism usually makes things work out for him.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: SpongeBob already had a knowledge of fry cooking when he was just a baby.
  • With Friends Like These...: Is this to Squidward. Squidward may believe that he is culturally superior to everyone, but he deserves to quietly his hobbies without SpongeBob, with Patrick in tow, barging into his house and loudly proclaiming that the three of them will do an activity that only SpongeBob and Patrick will enjoy. And despite very clearly being told that he is not interested, and couldn't care less if they went ahead without him, SpongeBob will refuse to take no for an answer.
  • Workaholic: At one point, Mr. Krabs forcing him to take a vacation nearly causes him to go insane. In "The Splinter", he frantically tries to avoid being sent home early. In "Suds", he drags himself to work, despite being so sick that he can barely stand or keep his eyes open and he's sneezing constantly. Despite insisting that he is okay (punctuated by a loud sneeze), Mr. Krabs sends the guy home so he can rest. This exchange from "Graveyard Shift" says it all:
    Mr. Krabs: From now on the Krusty Krab is open 24 hours a day.
    Squidward: What...!
    SpongeBob: Wooow! Now we never have to stop working!
  • Would Hit a Girl: At least in his karate sessions with Sandy, which, to be fair, is all in good fun.
  • Yes-Man: While he occasionally plays an ignored voice of reason to Mr. Krabs, he generally goes with whatever he says without raising a finger.
  • Youthful Freckles: Played With as SpongeBob has freckles that showcase his childlike innocence, but he's a full-grown man.
 
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