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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S1E20 "Hooky" / "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II"

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"This is more fun than double overtime at the Krusty Krab!"


Original air date: 2/23/2001 (produced in 1999; first aired in Brazil on 7/18/00)

Mr. Krabs warns SpongeBob to stay away from "the hooks" (fishing hooks, that is), but they prove too alluring for SpongeBob, until he learns a lesson he'll never forget.

"Hooky" contains examples of:

  • An Aesop:
    • Don't get obsessed over dangerous things.
    • Don't be afraid to resist your peers pressuring you to do something dangerous.
    • If you're going to do something dangerous, be prepared for painful consequences.
    • Doing something dangerous once and getting away with it doesn't mean it's not dangerous at all.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Mr. Krabs is upset when SpongeBob and Patrick apparently die from getting hooked, breaking down and sobbing that he couldn't save them. When he discovers that they do survive, he gets angry and scolds them for disobeying him.
    Mr. Krabs: Boys... I wasn't quick enough... They're gone! (sobs) If I could only hold them in me arms again... I.. I'd.. (SpongeBob and Patrick float safely back down while laughing) I'D THROTTLE 'EM!
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  • Batman Gambit: At the episode's climax, Mr. Krabs has Squidward dangle a hook in front of SpongeBob to test his resolve. If SpongeBob can resist temptation and walk away, then he's shown maturity; if he gives into temptation (which he ultimately does), he'll be publicly humiliated, but it'll ensure beyond a shadow of a doubt that he'll never do it again.
  • Bittersweet Ending: SpongeBob ends up learning the hard way never to playing with hooks again, at the cost of his pride and dignity. Also, Patrick gets stuffed into a can of tuna having paid the price for playing with the hooks.
  • Body Horror:
    • At one point, Patrick has a myriad of hooks stretching his mouth out.
    • There is also the ending where he is stuffed into a can of tuna.
  • Brick Joke: Mr. Krabs warns SpongeBob and Patrick that if they keep playing with the hooks they'll end up in a tuna can. In the end, that's exactly what happens to Patrick.
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  • Death of a Child: When SpongeBob wonders why he and Patrick are the only ones among the hooks, Patrick mentions he saw a kid playing with them earlier and the camera shows a pair of juvenile shoes lying on the ground.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The episode's plot is basically a drug addiction conflict in a kid-friendly wrapper. Spongebob gets obsessed with playing with the hooks to the point of neglecting important things like his job, with Patrick enabling him. Meanwhile Mr. Krabs and Squidward stage an intervention to get Spongebob to kick the habit, while Patrick continues to play around with hooks and suffers worse consequences.
  • Double Meaning: The episode's title can mean 1) the hooks that humans laid out for sea creatures or 2) deliberately neglecting your job.
  • Epic Fail: Squidward mixed up a boot with a batch of Krabby Patties, then served customers burnt Krabby Patties that came out tasting like that boot and of course one poor guy got a fried boot instead of a real sandwich.
  • Fan Disservice: An In-Universe example, as Squidward (Who had hooked SpongeBob on Mr. Krabs' orders) remarks that seeing SpongeBob in the buff was more than he needed to see.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Mr. Krabs describes what happens when you get hooked.
      Mr. Krabs: And then, they cook ya', and then, they eat ya'... or worse!
      SpongeBob: What could be worse than that?
      Mr. Krabs: Gift shops.
    • Later, Mr. Krabs mentions that there is a worse fate than even that: "You end up vacuum packed in a can of tuna, with nothing to look forward to but the smell of mayonnaise!" That very same thing happens to Patrick.
  • Fishing Episode: Inverted/Deconstructed. It's not the main characters doing the fishing; they're the ones being fished and everyone else in the episode.
  • Foreshadowing: Note that Squidward is the only one not present in the Krusty Krab once SpongeBob runs there hooked. Additionally, Mr. Krabs is more bemused than anything seeing SpongeBob hooked, whereas before when he thought his life was in danger, he was frantic and terrified, showing he knows he's not really in danger.
  • Giving Them the Strip: To get off the hook, SpongeBob takes off his pants. Unfortunately, the hook is still caught in his underwear.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: One of the few episodes to directly acknowledge the existence of humanity portrays them fishing as a Mass Alien Abduction. Though in all fairness, this would be very accurate if a Fishing Episode was seen from the POV of fish.
  • Humiliation Conga: SpongeBob suffers one at the end, being tricked by Squidward into thinking he's being lured to death, hanging onto the Krusty Krab's title sign for dear life wailing for help, and finally having his clothes torn off in front of Pearl and her friends. This was, of course, invoked by Mr. Krabs to scare him straight once and for all.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Patrick when convincing SpongeBob to disobey Mr. Krabs and play on the hooks.
  • Jerkass Ball: Patrick holds this, pressuring SpongeBob in playing with the hooks and insulting Mr. Krabs for telling them what to do. Unlike later on, however, he pays for the consequences.
  • Lethal Chef: Squidward, yet again. One of the customers' patties was a fried boot.
  • Loophole Abuse: "It's not leaving, you're just taking a break."
  • Lying Finger Cross: Patrick claimed that he had his fingers crossed when he made the sailor's promise. SpongeBob then points out that Patrick doesn't have fingers.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Mr. Krabs indirectly calls SpongeBob "SpongeBob LazyPants" when he finds out from Squidward that he took a break without his permission.
  • Mean Boss: Whatever the Chum Famine of '59 was, it was apparently the only time in many years that Mr. Krabs allowed an employee to take a break at the Krusty Krab.
  • Medium-Shift Gag:
    • The fishermen who try to catch SpongeBob and Patrick are live-action. Also, there are photos of dried fish at a gift shop, a can of tuna, and a jar of mayonnaise.
    • Sometime during 2001, Nickelodeon ran a promotional stunt for Jimmy Neutron that involved him interrupting various Nick shows and altering them in some way. For this episode in particular, he would interrupt the scene where SpongeBob and Patrick make a sailor's promise to Mr. Krabs and briefly turn the three characters into puppet versions of themselves. No footage of this moment could be found for over fifteen years, until someone uploaded a recording of the scene in 2017.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: When SpongeBob is caught by a hook, he begs Mr. Krabs to let him in before he gets pulled up. Krabs instructs him to take off his pants, and he does. Unfortunately, the hook is caught in his underwear, which eventually tears away, leaving a naked and embarrassed SpongeBob to run off home.
  • Never My Fault: As Squidward is being denigrated by an angry mob of customers who complain he's made terrible burgers that came out tasting like a boot (he mixed up a boot with the meat patties) and he keeps burning them to a solid black tone instead of transferring them to buns, or better yet the trash can, Squidward lashes out, "Why do you want to eat this stuff anyways?!"
  • Noodle Incident: "No one's taken a break at the Krusty Krab since the Chum Famine of '59."
  • Oblivious to His Own Description:
    Patrick: Well, that Mr. Krabs is just a big dummy! […] Are you gonna listen to a big dummy, or are you gonna listen to me?
  • Prank Punishment: For refusing to take his warning about the hooks seriously, Mr. Krabs has Squidward hook SpongeBob's pants and underwear, forcing him to take them off in front of Pearl and her friends, which both scares and humiliates him enough to stop playing with hooks for good.
  • Rage-Breaking Point: Squidward lets out an outburst after the customers complain to him:
    Squidward: Why do you wanna eat this stuff anyway?!
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": Mr. Krabs does this after witnessing SpongeBob and Patrick playing with a hook after they promised they wouldn't.
    Mr. Krabs: The hooks! No! No! NO!
  • Repeat After Me:
    Mr. Krabs: I wanna hear a sailor's promise. Yo-ho, yo-ho! Near the hooks I'll never go!
    SpongeBob and Patrick: Yo-ho, yo-ho! Near the hooks I'll never go!
    Mr. Krabs: (a hook pokes him in the butt) YEOWEE! Mother of pearl! Fire on the poop deck! (rubs his butt)
    SpongeBob and Patrick: Aah! Mother of pearl! Fire on the poop deck! (they rub their butts)
  • Scare 'Em Straight: SpongeBob getting hooked in the end was actually planned by Mr. Krabs (Squidward was the one holding the line) to scare him out of playing with fishing hooks ever again.
  • Shaming the Mob: After stirring up an angry mob of customers that's ganged up on him for terribly burnt (and boot-flavored) Krabby Patties, Squidward rebuffs "WHY DO YOU WANT TO EAT THIS STUFF ANYWAY?!" Their response makes it clear that this was unsuccessful in deterring the mob.
  • Smoldering Shoes: When SpongeBob asks why there's no one at the hook park, Patrick mentions seeing a kid there earlier. As he says this, a pair of sneakers is seen on the foreground.
  • Special Guest: Jim Jarmusch and his friend John Lurie (who hosted Fishing with John, in which Jarmusch was a guest star) appear as fishermen.
  • Stealth Pun: Fishing hooks are depicted as a G-Rated Drug. You can "get hooked" on them.
  • Stripping Snag: SpongeBob's underwear is caught on a hook, eventually ripping off and leaving him naked.
  • Tastes Like Feet: When Squidward subs for SpongeBob, this exchange happens.
    Customer #1: Pee-ew! You call this food?!
    Customer #2: My sandwich tastes like a fried boot.
    Customer #3: My sandwich is a fried boot!
  • Title Drop: When Patrick stops SpongeBob from going to work to tell him that they're gonna play on the fishing hooks instead.
    Patrick: You're not going to work today. We're gonna go play... hooky!
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Patrick encourages SpongeBob to play on the hooks despite his protests, and even when Mr. Krabs scolds the two for playing on them and warns of the lethal dangers, Patrick still goads SpongeBob to play on them.
  • Very Special Episode: Or a parody of such. The episode plays the formula more-or-less straight, with only the vice in question (fishing hooks as a G-Rated Drug) being the truly ridiculous part.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Mr. Krabs bursts into the Krusty Krab raving about "the hooks!", while the others ignore him.
  • You Need a Breath Mint:
    Mr. Krabs: (yelling in Fred's face) THE HOOKS! THE HOOKS!
    Fred: (grimaces from the smell and takes out mint) How 'bout a mint?
SpringBoob SquirePin, a real superhero.

Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II

Original air date: 3/3/2001 (produced in 1999; first aired in Brazil on 7/18/00)

SpongeBob wins the Conch Signal from The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy in a contest. Now he is able to summon his two favorite superheroes and hang out with them, but when he starts calling them for the most mundane tasks, they put their foot down.

"Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II" contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: The Realistic Fish Head mispronounces SpongeBob's name as "SpringBoob SquirePin" and has to be corrected. SpongeBob doesn't realize it's a mispronunciation and thinks SpringBoob SquirePin stole his idea when it's said he won by submitting life-size Krabby Patty replicas of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
  • Accidental Truth: Barnacle Boy sends SpongeBob on a snipe hunt to look for the heroes' theme song on the jukebox so he and Mermaid Man can ditch him, but after at least 15 attempts, SpongeBob not only finds it, but finds the Special Dance Mix to boot.
  • An Aesop: Authority figures such as the police are role models to look up to, but don't call them when you're not in danger — it is important that they aren't distracted when something bad does happen.
  • Affectionate Parody of a Parody: The "Jingle Bells" song is a take-off on an old schoolyard joke, "Jingle bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg..."
  • Ash Face: Happens to Barnacle Boy three times: twice when the Invisible Boatmobile's exhaust fires straight into his face, and once after running afoul of the Atomic Flounder.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: "Oh, Mermaid Man! I think I—" "Found it!"
  • Bait-and-Switch: "Holy Krabby Patties! Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's archenemy, the Dirty Bubble! I can't believe it!" When SpongeBob says this line, he seems devastated; however, it turns out that he only wants the Dirty Bubble's autograph.
  • Bat Signal: The Conch Signal is this to Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
  • Body Horror: Played for laughs, while riding in the invisible boatmobile, SpongeBob presses the origami button, which folds him, Mermaid Man, and Barnacle boy up like paper.
  • Breath Weapon: The Atomic Flounder has radioactive breath, which he uses on Barnacle Boy.
  • Butt-Monkey: Barnacle Boy, as he suffers a lot of injuries (getting burnt, a door drops on him, falls off a building) and is made a personal servant to SpongeBob because of the Conch Signal.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Invoked by Mermaid Man telling Barnacle Boy that they should be nicer to SpongeBob because "he could be the hero of tomorrow... or the villain."
  • Eye Beams: Barnacle Boy's "sulfur vision", which doesn't work as well as it used to.
  • Floating in a Bubble: This happens to Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy when the Dirty Bubble captures them.
  • Frivolous Summoning: How Spongebob uses the Conch Signal, as an excuse to spend time with his heroes.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Atomic Flounder was one of Mermaid Man's foes, but is now retired. Doesn't stop SpongeBob from trying to arrest him.
  • Impossible Pickle Jar: The first "emergency" SpongeBob calls Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy for is to open a mayonnaise jar for him.
  • Impossibly-Compact Folding: The Origami Button on the Boatmobile folds it into a small paper crane.
  • Just Whistle: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are duty-bound to come when the Conch Signal sounds.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, after having a somewhat pleasant time with SpongeBob and with Mermaid Man saying "for a pain in the neck, he's a pretty nice kid", decide to suddenly ditch him, and then immediately run into the Dirty Bubble right after leaving.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After suddenly ditching SpongeBob, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are encountered by the Dirty Bubble and trapped.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy weren't told that the Conch Signal was being given away in a contest. Barnacle Boy stated he never knew about the contest.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The Atomic Flounder directs most of his anger towards Barnacle Boy, who he fries with his atomic breath, even though SpongeBob was the one who attacked him (though he violently flung the sponge off of him).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After SpongeBob calls on the two heroes to keep doing non-emergency tasks like helping him open a jar of mayonnaise, plumbing, reading him a bed-time story and helping him put away a book on a high shelf, Barnacle Boy calls him out on it and points out how exhausted they've become. SpongeBob is guilt-ridden and apologizes, admitting he calls on them very often since he really just wanted to spend time with them. Not that Barnacle Boy cares for his apology.
  • Reminder of Impossibility: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy descend from their cave and land on their invisible boatmobile. Though they sit motionlessly in the air for a while, Barnacle Boy soon realizes that the vehicle is not really under them, causing them to immediately fall to the ground.
  • Retired Monster: The Atomic Founder has retired from supervillainy and seems content with an easy lifestyle. He's also a Retired Badass who still has full use of his atomic breath, unlike Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy whose powers have diminished in their old age, and is not afraid to use it against those who cross him.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The episode ends with SpongeBob, Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy driving out of sight in the Invisible Boatmobile.
  • Running Gag: Barnacle Boy getting his head charred. Lampshaded by the Dirty Bubble when he encounters them. This implies that even in their prime, this was a common occurrence.
  • Scenery Censor: When Mermaid Man shows up naked at SpongeBob's house, Gary's shell is covering his crotch. Gary leaves once his towel is put on.
  • Shout-Out: A conch shell being used as a symbol of authority.
  • Spanner in the Works: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's plan to leave SpongeBob behind would have worked if the Dirty Bubble hadn't intervened.
  • Special Guest: Charles Nelson Reilly as The Dirty Bubble. This was the only time he voiced the Dirty Bubble before his death in 2007 (not counting his appearance in SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants!).
  • Taking Advantage of Generosity: SpongeBob uses the Conch Signal to have Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy do mundane errands for him (opening jars, fixing his sink, reading bedtime stories), until the two heroes are run ragged.
  • Unsound Effect: Several appear in the Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy TV show when Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy attack giant cardboard cutouts of the Sinister Slug, the Atomic Flounder, and the Dreaded Jumbo Shrimp: PROP! CARDBOARD! LAME!
  • Villains Out Shopping: Mermaid Man shows SpongeBob retired supervillain The Atomic Flounder, wearing street clothes and waiting for the bus. SpongeBob attacks him after Mermaid Man jokes that he could turn back to crime just like that.
    Atomic Flounder: If I weren't retired, I'd, I'd... ROAAAAR! (breathes radiation at Barnacle Boy's face, leaving it charred) that. Outta my way, punk!
  • Weaksauce Weakness: SpongeBob accidentally defeats the Dirty Bubble by puncturing it with a sharp pencil when he asks for his autograph.
  • Your Head A-Splode: A variant: when the Atomic Flounder roars at Barnacle Boy, the latter's head glows red and then erupts into a miniature mushroom cloud, turning into a blackened husk afterward.

"Oh, jingle bells, Mermaid Man smells, Barnacle Boy laid an egg, the Dirty Bubble popped and Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy and SpongeBob got away! HEEEEEEEY!"note 


Video Example(s):


Puppet SpongeBob

In the leadup to the theatrical premiere of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius in 2001, Nickelodeon featured several pop-ups in which Jimmy used his gadgets to mess with various shows on the channel. In this one, shown during a re-run of the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Hooky", Jimmy temporarily turns the show's cast into felt puppets.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / MediumShiftGag

Media sources: