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Gainax Ending / SpongeBob SquarePants

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"George, they're onto us!"
"Let's get outta here!"
SpongeBob: There's just one thing I don't understand.
Mr. Krabs: What's that, laddie?
SpongeBob: (points) That.
(episode ends with two Patricks laughing)
— "Spy Buddies"

SpongeBob SquarePants is already one of TV's weirdest shows, but some of its endings just really take the cake.

All spoilers below are unmarked.

  • "The Chaperone" ended by revealing that it wasn't Spongebob that took Pearl to the prom, but actually a dummy. How did it walk, talk, destroy things...?
  • "Bubble Buddy" ends with an angry mob attacking SpongeBob and Bubble Buddy (a humanoid soap bubble) for all the trouble SpongeBob has caused by acting as though Bubble Buddy was a real person. Just as Squidward throws a needle at Bubble Buddy, Bubble Buddy comes to life, grabs the needle out of the air, and announces that "things are getting a little weird around here." He then puts on a bubble hat, produces a bubble briefcase, hails a bubble cab, wishes SpongeBob a happy Leif Erikson day, and drives away into the sky. Everyone goes back to their ordinary lives (except the guy Bubble Buddy was watching over who "experienced high tide" at Goo Lagoon), and SpongeBob happily cries that people grow up so fast before leaving in a flurry of bubbles. All those bubbles pop except one, and Squidward awkwardly greets it, worried that that bubble is alive too.
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  • In "Squid On Strike", SpongeBob takes Squidward's instruction to "dismantle Mr. Krabs' oppressive establishment" a bit too literally. To work off the debt, Mr. Krabs declares they will have to work for him forever. We then cut to "One Eternity Later", and their skeletons are still working at the Krusty Krab.
  • "I'm with Stupid", which revolves around Patrick pretending to act smart for his parents' visit on "Starfish Day", randomly reveals at the end that the "parents" who visited are just a random starfish couple named Janet and Marty. Patrick's real parents have been pestering Squidward, and at this point Janet and Marty remember that they don't even have a son and leave, while Patrick and his real parents have a laugh over the whole crazy thing.
  • "Doing Time" ends with the events of the episode turning out to be All Just a Dream Mrs. Puff was having while SpongeBob was crashing the boatmobile they were both in... but then it turns out to be a dream within several dreams, with Mrs. Puff waking up in the same time and place with characters and elements from the episode appearing around her each time. The episode ends with Mrs. Puff still in the cycle of waking up in the crashing boatmobile and giving up with a resigned: "Oh, forget it...". It really makes you wonder how she was able to fall asleep while screaming.
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  • "Graveyard Shift" ended with all the strange occurrences being explained away as the actions of a nervous new potential employee of the Krusty Krab... except for the flickering lights. It turned out that it was the live action version of Count Orlok (erroneously refered to as Nosferatu) turning the light switch on and off all along, and nobody seems to be bothered by this; they just gently admonish Count Orlok for playing a prank on them, which prompts the vampire to smile sheepishly.
  • "I Had An Accident" ends with SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy being attacked by a gorilla (played by a live-action human in a cheap costume). When SpongeBob wonders out loud "What's a gorilla doing underwater in the first place?", the gorilla stops his rampage and tries to explain himself, then suddenly shouts "George, they're onto us!". Then a pantomime horse shows up and shouts "Let's get outta here!", and the gorilla rides off into the sunset on him. The weirdness of the ending is then lampshaded, as it zooms out to reveal a live-action family watching the episode on TV; they're completely puzzled by the whole thing and switch the TV off, ending the episode. Said lampshade-hanging only makes it even weirder.
  • "Spy Buddies" ends with Mr. Krabs and Plankton revealing that they challenged each other to see who could do each other's jobs better. They use disguises to cover up who they were during the switchup. Krabs fitting in a Plankton costume is confusing enough, but then SpongeBob and Patrick begin to take costumes off themselves, revealing they are Sandy, Squidward, and each other. What.
  • While the animated segments of "Atlantis SquarePantis" end rather conventionally with everyone except Plankton returning home to Bikini Bottom, the way the conflict of the Patchy segments gets resolved is just flat-out random: After wandering around lost in the California desert for hours, Patchy finally finds Encino again...and it's tiny enough that Patchy can hold it in one hand. As Patchy wonders aloud what happened to it, aliens suddenly show up out of nowhere and reveal they accidentally shrank the entire city with a shrink ray (except for Patchy and Potty) and offer to return it to normal. The city whirls back to normal size, and Patchy goes home in a normal-sized Encino relieved that everything is back to normal, but it turns out that Potty is now a giant and steps on Patchy.
  • "Spongehenge" ends with SpongeBob returning from Jellyfish Fields, only to find Bikini Bottom destroyed by a windstorm. Cut three thousand years into the future, and alien tourists are visiting the Stonehenge-esque structure that SpongeBob built earlier in the episode out of stone statues of himself.
    Alien: To this day, no one knows why these mysterious statues were created or by whom. All we know is that the genius of their design has caused the annual migration of jellyfish to their wondrous tune.
  • "Gullible Pants" ends with Mr. Krabs, unaware of SpongeBob's gullibility with Squidward, being asked to do the dishes while breaking a nail again, the random fish as a fry cook in SpongeBob's place, Squidward napping on the job amongst the dirty Krusty Krab, and SpongeBob holding cowering customers captive with his dance routine.
  • "Back to the Past" ends with multiple SpongeBobs and Patricks arriving from different timelines and universes.
  • "No Pictures Please" begins with a parody of The Twilight Zone's opening as a sort of Framing Device. The actual episode is about Patrick showing a shutterbug tourist named Rube around Bikini Bottom. Nothing truly bizarre happens until the very end, when it's shown Rube's camera never had any film in it. Rube then admits he never took pictures or even had a camera in the first place, which causes the camera to disappear in a Puff of Logic. Rube then says he was never there at all and vanishes as well. The other characters run away from fright, and then the narrator closes off the framing device.
  • The premise of "Cuddle E. Hugs" (already one of the show's stranger episodes) is that SpongeBob (and later others) gains the ability to see the eponymous imaginary giant hamster after eating rotten Krabby Patties. After things take a turn for the worse with everyone being "eaten" (except not really) by Cuddle E. (his middle initial "E" stands for "Eat"), SpongeBob meets Cuddle E. again and manages to feed the protesting hallucination a rotten Krabby Patty himself. Smash Cut to Cuddle E. waking up as a normal, non-animated hamster in a hamster cage sitting in a child's bedroom covered in SpongeBob posters and memorabilia.
    Cuddle E. Hugs: Aw, pellets...
  • "The Night Patty" ends with the reveal that all the monsters SpongeBob encountered were all hallucinations conjured up by the Tidal Zone (even Patrick), as a result of overwork, as the narrator finishes off.
  • "FarmerBob" mostly consists of SpongeBob and Patrick getting into wacky hijinks while spending a day working on Old Man Jenkins' farm until the very end when all of a sudden hillbilly aliens invade the farm because they thought there was a party (thanks to Patrick inadvertently writing something in a field that read like a party invitation to them). The rest of the episode is everyone having a hoedown and the episode proper ends with the aliens randomly coming back after leaving to abduct SpongeBob, Patrick, and Mr. Krabs.