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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 1 E 14 "SB-129" / "Karate Choppers"

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United States airdate: December 31, 1999

Canada airdate: November 4, 2000

While trying to avoid SpongeBob and Patrick, Squidward accidentally locks himself in the Krusty Krab's walk-in freezer, only to be unthawed in the distant future. This leads to him using a time machine to try to get back to his own time.

Everything is tropes in the future!

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: If the calendar in the future is accurate, this means that the episode starts off and ends on March 6, 2017.
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  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Squidward when he time-traveled to the past, judging by the Trilobites and dark sky, must have went into the Precambrian Era. However, the Primitive Sponge and Star exhibit behavior similar to Neanderthals such as wearing loin cloths which dates back to the Middle Paleolithic which occurred at least 500 million years after the Precambrian Era.
  • Amusing Injuries: SpongeTron, one of SpongeBob's many futuristic descendants and exact genetic replicas tells Squidward that the Time Machine he needs to use is "Down the hall on the left." Squidward rushes into it, we hear a can opener and Squidward walks out cut to shreds with his body making a funny springing sound. SpongeTron apologizes and tells Squidward to try the room on the right.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Squidward having been trapped in the locker and frozen for 2,000 years.
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    • There's also the Blank White Void that Squidward ends up in, where there's literally nothing but random colored tiles and ambient, creepy voices. Squidward thinks of this as paradise at first, until this trope sets in.
  • Animation Bump: The animation looks slightly more polished and thick compared to earlier season 1 episodes. The rest of the season goes with this art-style.
    • Also, the scene of Primtive Sponge and Starfish drooling was done with digital-inking.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Everything in the future is chrome. When a flower pops up on the ground, someone comes and spray paints it chrome.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When SpongeTron sees Squidward frozen in ice, he pulls out a hammer...but instead of using it to smash the ice, it shoots a laser beam which melts the ice and burns Squidward's butt.
  • Berserk Button: When the Primitive SpongeBob and Patrick hear Squidward's awful clarinet playing they both go berserk and angrily chase after Squidward, with clear intent on attacking him.
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  • Blank White Void: Poor Squidward ends up in one after the time machine went haywire. He thankfully gets out of it though.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Squidward realizes this in the end.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Squidward's first one. He's the main character of the episode, with SpongeBob in more of a supporting role.
  • Description Cut: When Squidward is frozen in the meat locker.
    Squidward: Oh, well, someone will realize I'm gone and come looking for me. I'll be out of here in no time.
    (cut to the following time card)
    Narrator: 2,000 years later...
    (cut to Squidward frozen alive)
  • Dreadful Musician: The narrator lampshades this about Squidward:
    Narrator: Ah, it is Sunday morning in Bikini Bottom, and it is about time for Squidward to practice his clarinet, so get your ear plugs ready...
    • This is exactly what causes the Primitive Sponge and Star to attack Squidward.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Patrick tells SpongeBob that Squidward isn't up to playing with them, but SpongeBob convinces Patrick that it isn't the case.
  • Eternal English: Zig-zagged. SpongeTron claims that the alphabet has 486 letters in the future, but he still speaks contemporary English.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: More in the vein “distorted voices of the void make me realize I'm truly alone”, but still. Squidward is at first delighted to be isolated away from Spongebob and company, but the voices echoing that he is truly and utterly alone in the space quickly changes his mind and he begins to panic and becomes fearful of never going back home.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A quick glimpse at a calendar in the future reveals that Squidward was thawed in the year 4017.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: When Squidward was doing the Madness Mantra mentioned below, SpongeTron snapped him out of his Freak Out by dropping a brick on his head.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: At first Squidward is relieved to be alone in the White Void Room. Not long after that he desperately wants to get back.
  • Here We Go Again!: After it's revealed that Squidward is now the inventor of jellyfishing after teaching prehistoric SpongeBob and Patrick how to jellyfish, he claims he's "going back" to rectify this.
  • Human Popsicle: Squidward after being in the freezer for thousands of years.
  • Irony: Possibly the only instance of this ever happening in the episode was when Squidward orders (present-day) SpongeBob and Patrick to stop bugging him with favors to join them in jellyfishing. But then when he travels to the Precambrian Era, Squidward gets annoyed with the Primitive Sponge and Star being Too Dumb to Live playing with a jellyfish stinging themselves over and over that he forces them to take up jellyfishing instead. It's more civil and less cacophonous.
  • iSophagus: Squidward gets startled by SpongeBob's foghorn alarm and swallows his clarinet. When he tries to yell at SpongeBob, it is muffled by the noises his clarinet makes.
  • Locked in a Freezer: How Squidward ends up in the future.
  • Malicious Misnaming: "Well, at least there's no sign of SpongeBrat."
  • Multiple Head Case: Future Patrick has two heads.
  • Overly Long Gag: Squidward opening the door revealing SpongeBob asking him if he's ready to go jellyfishing with him and Patrick.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: "SB-129" is actually the production code for the episode.
  • Plot Hole: SpongeBob for some reason never opens the freezer, even though there were frozen Krabby Patties in there.
  • Scary Teeth: Patrick's Precambrian ancestor gives Squidward a big smile for no apparent reason.
  • Time Skip: The episode skips 2000 years into the future with Squidward frozen in the freezer.
  • Time-Travel Episode
  • Too Dumb to Live: SpongeBob and Patrick's Precambrian ancestors repeatedly attempt to play catch (or Hot Potato, or whatever it is) with a jellyfish, barehanded; Squidward intervenes to teach them how to jellyfish mostly because their agonized screams are disrupting his clarinet-playing. You COULD make the excuse that they were cavefish with undeveloped brains, so they don't know if it's wrong or right.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Squidward after realizing he's stuck in the future with SpongeTron.
  • White Void Room: Where Squidward ends up after the time machine breaks down.

United States airdate: December 31, 1999

Canada airdate: November 4, 2000

SpongeBob loves practicing his karate with Sandy, but when Mr. Krabs forbids him from doing karate, he finds himself unable to resist.

Karate Tropers:

  • An Aesop:
    • It's okay to love doing something, but there's a time and place for everything.
    • It's not your business what other people do when they're doing something that has nothing to do with you.
    • It's great to tie in what you love doing into something you do regularly and sharing it with other people.
  • Berserker Tears: SpongeBob, after getting fired.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Sandy threatens SpongeBob with a bottle of hot sauce, which she later downs like water.
    Hot Sauce Drop: By the powers of naughtiness, I command this particular drop of hot sauce to be really, really hot!
  • Break the Cutie: SpongeBob does not handle getting fired with dignity.
  • Broken Smile: SpongeBob does one when he gets fired.
  • Carnivore Confusion: A fish is fishing for OTHER fish?? (though in real life fish cannibalize their own species/babies or eat smaller, different species of fish but then that wouldn't be cannibalism)
  • Cassandra Truth: When SpongeBob tells Sandy about Mr. Krabs telling him to quit karate lest he gets fired, she thinks it's just another one of his methods to try to deceive her and continues slashing around. It's not until Mr. Krabs comes out and fires him for real, having misinterpreted what he saw as SpongeBob disobeying him, that Sandy realizes that what SpongeBob said was no form of deceit.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: SpongeBob was warned by Mr. Krabs not to do karate, but couldn't resist. As Mr. Krabs finds out in the end that SpongeBob used karate to make sandwiches, just when SpongeBob thought he was going to fire him for real, Mr. Krabs decides that he can do karate with the Krabby Patties.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The hot sauce.
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?: Squidward getting Krabby Patties dumped onto his face is mistaken for a hairdo.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In this episode, SpongeBob and Sandy are about evenly matched in terms of their karate skills. Later episodes would generally depict Sandy as being clearly the better fighter, though by how much varied significantly.
  • Evil Laugh: The drop of hot sauce has one, resemblant of that of Master Hand.
  • Friendly Rivalry: SpongeBob and Sandy in their Karate sparring.
  • Furry Confusion: While SpongeBob and Sandy are at the park, a fish can be seen fishing. Think about it.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Squidward admits this in the end.
    Squidward: I hate all of you.
  • Inspector Javert: Mr. Krabs orders SpongeBob to give up his obsession with karate for good, or he's fired. As SpongeBob is leaving the Krusty Krab, contemplating how to break the news to Sandy, Sandy herself comes in and starts attacking him, dismissing SpongeBob's attempts to explain what Krabs said. Mr. Krabs comes out at that exact moment and sees it, and despite the fact that SpongeBob was literally standing there doing absolutely nothing while Sandy was trying to instigate, automatically assumes that SpongeBob was disobeying his orders and fires him on the spot.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY":
    SpongeBob: I'm practicing my karate, or ka-ra-tay, as some call it.
    Mr. Krabs: Ka-ra-tay? You should be making money-ay, with your spatu-lay.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While forcing SpongeBob not to do karate anymore period is a bad move, and firing him on the spot for seeing Sandy trying to do provoke him into fighting even more so, Mr. Krabs does have a valid point; SpongeBob's obsession with karate had begun to interfere with his business, considering that he'd attacked a random customer and Krabs himself while he was using the bathroom thinking they were Sandy trying to provoke him into another match.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Sandy tauntingly calls SpongeBob "SpongeBrain" after his failed attempt to attack her through the phone lines.
  • Medium-Shift Gag:
    • The live-action fish in the TV show that SpongeBob watches.
    • The hot sauce drop has a superimposed live-action face (Tom Kenny) declaring it to be "really, really hot!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sandy, when she realizes that she got SpongeBob fired from the Krusty Krab after Mr. Krabs saw her trying to provoke him into a Karate match and mistook it for SpongeBob breaking his promise not to do it anymore.
  • Negative Continuity: Sandy is never seen working at the Krusty Krab after this episode.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Mr. Krabs comes out to see Sandy doing karate around SpongeBob and believes he disobeyed him, resulting in him fired.
  • Ocular Gushers: When SpongeBob gets fired, he drinks his own tears and cries them back out.
  • Reaching Between the Lines: SpongeBob tries to karate chop Sandy through the phone lines, but she ducks and redirects his hand back through the receiver so he karate chops himself.
  • Searching the Stalls: At one point, SpongeBob is told by Squidward to clean the stalls. Since he and Sandy are obsessed with karate, SpongeBob searches each stall for Sandy. When he finds what he thinks is her, it is revealed to be Mr. Krabs, who has had enough of SpongeBob's karate, and tells him that if he catches him doing it again, he will be fired.
  • So Much for Stealth: When SpongeBob attempts to sneak up on Sandy, ducks are heard quacking with every step he makes. It is then revealed that he was actually stepping on squeaky toy ducks.
  • That Didn't Happen: After SpongeBob accidentally chops Squidward's face with karate gear, Squidward responds he's going to pretend that didn't happen.
  • Unaffected by Spice: After taunting SpongeBob with the hot sauce, Sandy chugs down the whole bottle and suffers no ill effects.

Squidward: Who's the barnacle-head who invented TV Tropes anyway?!
SpongeBob and Patrick: [points at him] You are, Squidward! [laughs] (Squidward makes an embarrassed face)
Squidward: Going back.


Video Example(s):



When Squidward gets locked in the fridge, he bets someone will find him and he'll be out in no time. Cut to 2000 years later when he is frozen and ends up in the future.

How well does it match the trope?

4.62 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / DescriptionCut

Media sources:

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