United States airdate: September 25, 1999
Canada airdate: September 16, 2000
SpongeBob wants big muscles, but Sandy's workouts prove too intense for him, so he decides to fake it instead by wearing inflatable "Anchor Arms". Soon he's the coolest guy at the beach, but can he keep up his charade after Sandy enters him in an anchor tossing contest?
MuscleBob BuffPants contains examples of:
- An Aesop:
- Know your limits. Don't pretend that you can handle something that is too much for you just to look cool, but you can get there by doing a little each day.
- For that matter, don't take shortcuts to skip the harder parts of improving yourself, because you'll only be cheating yourself and others. Someone's going to find out eventually, you'll eventually hit a point where skimping out on the hard parts will come back to hurt you, and you'll look even worse off than if you just accepted your limitations and did the work.
- "Before" and "After" Pictures: The shark on the Anchor Arms commercial shows an old picture of himself as a skinny geek with Nerd Glasses and braces. Hes also a completely different color.
- Cartoon Throbbing: SpongeBob's arms are throbbing after his workout with Sandy.
- Didn't Think This Through: SpongeBob doesn't consider that he might have to actually use his fake new muscles, nor does he think through his statement about finding a new workout routine, forcing him to come up with one on the spot.
- Dramatic Irony: SpongeBob asking "do these muscles lie?"
- Fake Muscles: Anchor Arms. Just add air.
- Fantasy Twist: SpongeBob imagines how life would be different if he had muscles. The Imagine Spot shows him doing what he usually does, but with muscles.
- Flexing Those Non-Biceps: SpongeBob when he shows Sandy his boney arms. He's quickly put to shame when Sandy flashes her own impressive muscles.
- Inflating Body Gag: As SpongeBob tries to toss his anchor, the air on his Anchor Arms keeps shifting to one of his body parts. He keeps pushing the air back, only for it to pop up somewhere else, until the Anchor Arms give way and blow out.
- Medium-Shift Gag: The close-up of Sandy's bicep is a photo of a bodybuilder's arm.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: A far more literal version than usual, given the titular Anchor Arms are little more than balloons. While they may make SpongeBob look strong, they arguably end up making it harder for him to do anything due to their rubbery properties. So much so, that he can't even lift a drink with them on due to it constantly slipping.
- Raw Eggs Make You Stronger: When SpongeBob shows off his Anchor Arms at the juice bar, he lies that he starts off with 20 raw eggs every day.
- Reality Ensues:
- As noted in Muscles Are Meaningless, the Anchor Arms might make Spongebob look stronger, but Spongebob himself is still the same weakling that he was at the start. And the balloon-like properties only make things even more challenging for him over the day.
- The Anchor Arms also make clear another real-life lesson about having muscles versus having strength: theres a different between looking fit and actually having physical strength. If you want both, you have to work twice as hard. You can still be very strong without having huge muscles as long as you put in the work. Spongebob is unwilling to put in the work for either, and cheating his way to a strong appearance just made him weaker in the long run.
- Running Gag:
- Sandy's workout routines always end with SpongeBob losing his arms.
- The anchor toss referee keeps getting hit by anchors.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When SpongeBob notices Sandy's Arm Crunching machine, his reaction is to split, leaving Sandy holding the telephone and SpongeBob saying they'd have to do it again sometime.
- Shadow of Impending Doom: It actually chases the poor referee as he runs for cover.
- Skewed Priorities: The fans are more shocked that SpongeBob lost the contest and make no comment on his fake Anchor Arms.
- Title Drop: A fish Sandy was asking where SpongeBob was addresses him by the episode's title.
- Training from Hell: Sandy's exercise regimen. To quote SpongeBob when they reach the Arm Crunchers:SpongeBob: This squirrel's trying to kill me.
While Squidward takes a shower, SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally break his wax figure of himself, making them think they killed Squidward. When Squidward steps out, they think he's a ghost and beg for forgiveness. Squidward decides to use this to his advantage and make them his personal servants, but he soon may wish he really was dead.
Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost contains examples of:
- An Aesop: If someone believes something that's false because of a misunderstanding, don't try to take advantage of the situation.
- Angrish: Squidward's attempts to yell as he's carried off in a bubble come off as this, since the wall is so thick that his voice is distorted.
- Body Wipe: With Patrick, as he runs over to the Squidward's back room after SpongeBob shows him the way.
- Bottle Episode: Most of the episode takes place at Conch Street, mainly Squidward's house.
- Calvinball: The game SpongeBob and Patrick are playing in the beginning. They admit they don't even know what they're doing.
- Childhood Brain Damage: Implied.Patrick: The Patrick is here and SpongeBob, I know a lot about head injuries, believe... (pauses and starts drooling, until SpongeBob snaps him out of it) ...me.
- Coincidental Accidental Disguise: Squidward steps out of the shower surrounded by steam, covered in talcum powder and wearing a bathrobe and towel. So naturally, SpongeBob and Patrick assume he's a ghost.
- Dead Guy on Display: In a comic book that SpongeBob finds, it is revealed that the Flying Dutchman's body was used as a mannequin for a clothing store after he died.
- Dinner Deformation: When Patrick feeds Squidward a watermelon, we see a close-up of Squidward with the whole watermelon stuffed into his mouth.
- Early-Bird Cameo: There's a brief mention of the Flying Dutchman here before his proper introduction in Scaredy Pants.
- Euphemism Buster: When the wax Squidward is destroyed.SpongeBob: I don't know quite how to say this, but I'm afraid our dear pal Squidward is... is pushing up daisies!
Patrick: Oh, I thought he was dead.
- Floating in a Bubble: Squidward is sent up in a bubble to the surface comes off as this.
- Ghostly Goals: SpongeBob finds a comic about the origins of the Flying Dutchman, which states that his corpse was used as a mannequin, and is thus doomed to forever wander the seas because he was never given a proper burial. He figures that's why Squidward's "ghost" is still around, and tries to give him a proper burial.
- Grapes of Luxury: SpongeBob feeds a reclining Squidward some grapes and a banana. Patrick then brings a watermelon "fresh from the manure fields" and drops it into Squidward's mouth.
- Idiot Ball: This episode wouldn't work if Patrick and Spongebob weren't dumb enough to believe that Squidward was a ghost, even when he revealed he was pretending!
- Inflating Body Gag: Patrick tries to give the wax Squidward mouth-to-mouth, but ends up inflating himself.
- Karmic Twist Ending: Squidward tries to take advantage of Spongebob and Patrick thinking that he was dead and ends up trapped in a bubble floating in the sky with seagulls flying around him.
- Mistaken for Undead: Spongebob and Patrick mistaking Squidward for a ghost which he exploited to take advantage of.
- Never Say "Die": Played straight by SpongeBob, then subverted by Patrick. See Euphemism Buster above.
- Pet the Dog: Squidward seemed genuinely concerned when Spongebob and Patrick cry for him to "spare [them his] ghostly anger".
- Repeat After Me: This exchange.Patrick: He really needs to get to the Great Beyond.
SpongeBob: (gets an idea) Patrick? Say that again!
Patrick: That again.
SpongeBob: No, the other thing.
Patrick: No, the other thing.
SpongeBob: No, what you said before when you...
Patrick: No, what you said before when you...
SpongeBob: Never mind! I've got an idea!
Patrick: Never mind! I've got an idea!
- Snipe Hunt: To get Patrick out of his hair after the watermelon incident, Squidward asks for something harder to find - a cherry pie. Patrick instantly pulls one out from behind his back. He throws it away so Patrick has to go get it. When he does some time later, Squidward grabs the pie and throws it in Patrick's face.
- Too Important to Walk: Squidward has SpongeBob and Patrick move him on his lounge chair to a better spot.