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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S2 E17: "Procrastination" / "I'm with Stupid"

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United States airdate: November 30, 2001

Canada airdate: January 25, 2002

SpongeBob has to write an essay for boating school about what not to do at a stoplight, but keeps putting it off by the most mundane things.

Procrastination provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: After SpongeBob spends the episode procrastinating and then jotting down a bunch of things just before class starts, he's told by Mrs. Puff that the assignment has been cancelled because she has to go to a conference.
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  • All Just a Dream: As the episode goes on, the events that happen slowly become more outlandish, starting with people who should have no knowledge of SpongeBob's essay calling him out, before growing into the news reporting on him, his chair talking to him, and a sentient flame burning down his house. Within the last few minutes, it's revealed that SpongeBob had fallen asleep at his desk, and most of the prior evening's events didn't happen.
  • An Aesop: Don't procrastinate, and learn time-management.
  • Bowdlerized: SpongeBob's brief little workout, in which he stretches his arms, eyelashes and nose, were rather jarringly cut from syndication after too many people complained that his nose exercises looked phallic.
  • Compressed Vice: Before this, SpongeBob has never, ever been shown to put off a task, given how big a Workaholic he is. This might be blamed on a writer's block instead of general disinterest though.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: The candle flame's response to SpongeBob not finishing his essay is to burn down his house.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Patrick calls out SpongeBob for trying to have a conversation with him when he has an essay to write.
    Patrick: SpongeBob, you and I both know that you're just using me as a distraction, so you don't have to write your essay.
  • Evil Living Flames: During SpongeBob's dream sequence, a candle flame comes to life, reads SpongeBob's unfinished essay disapprovingly, then decides to punish him by burning down his house.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: As SpongeBob muses about getting his driver's license, it cuts to a live-action motor car racing down a track, immediately having an accident.
  • My God, What Have I Done??: "Help! Help! My house is on fire!"
  • One-Word Title: "Procrastination", which is what SpongeBob spends the episode doing.
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  • Ridiculous Procrastinator: As the title implies. SpongeBob is initially very eager and motivated to writing the 800 word essay due the following day, unlike the rest of class, but when upon discovering that coming up with ideas isn't as easy (or necessarily fun) as he thought it would be, he starts finding any possible way to avoid it, from feeding Gary an enormous amount of food and saying he's not leaving until he eats it all...which he does in about two seconds. SpongeBob then decides that he must clean up Gary's enormous mess he made (actually just one small drop of snail food) and the rest of the kitchen pristine before going back to work. He then decides to stop goofing up and we a monologue of him appearing to be writing something very creative, but we see he actually just wrote the word "the" in a very fancy manner. Several other humorous distractions occur.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: SpongeBob completes the essay, but Mrs. Puff ends up having to leave for a teacher's convention and she tells him she decided to cancel the assignment. note 
  • The Television Talks Back: After receiving a package from the mailman, SpongeBob walks past his television, where the realistic fish news reporter not only discusses how he still hasn't finished his essay, but pokes his head out of the screen into SpongeBob's living room to emphasize his point.
  • Title Drop: In the German dub, the episode is simply titled "Der Aufsatz" ("The Essay").
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Johnny the newsfish apparently considers reporting on SpongeBob's procrastination and unfinished essay worthy of the evening timeslot. It's pretty reasonable considering this happens in SpongeBob's dream.

United States airdate: November 30, 2001

Canada airdate: January 25, 2002

Patrick's parents are visiting and he doesn't want them to think that he's an idiot, so he asks SpongeBob to act like an idiot to make Patrick seem smart by comparison. Unfortunately, Patrick starts believing his own lies.

I'm with Stupid provides examples of: (YMMV here)

  • An Aesop:
    • Love your children no matter what. Also, don't treat them like babies even when they're grown up.
    • Make sure people you will associate with are who they say they are.
    • Don't put down other people to make yourself look good in front of others.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: The entire plot is kicked off when SpongeBob and Patrick come up with a plan to make Patrick's parents believe that SpongeBob is a complete idiot so that Patrick will look smarter by comparison. Unfortunately, Patrick takes it too seriously and soon ends up believing that he truly is a genius and SpongeBob really is dumb.
  • Big "NO!": By SpongeBob when Marty thinks Patrick taught him math. He assumes this to be singing.
  • Cassandra Truth: SpongeBob is unable to convince Patrick and his parents that he's not really stupid.
  • Call-Back: This isn't the first time Patrick said "Who are you people?!"
  • Conspicuous CGI: Patrick's house rocking on its foundation at the beginning.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Hypocritical as he is, Patrick's statement on how dumb people are clueless about their stupidity is actually correct. He just described the Dunning-Kruger effect.
    Patrick: Dumb people are always blissfully unaware of how dumb they really are.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: The episode ends with Patrick and his (real) parents laughing as his rock house closes down on them.
  • Gainax Ending: Patrick discovered that the two people he's been entertaining aren't his parents, finds his real parents right outside and the three of them laugh while the fake parents simply shrug it off, remembering that they don't even have a son, and walk off. Rock closes. The end. We never even find out what happened to SpongeBob after he ran off screaming.
  • Gone Horribly Right: SpongeBob fakes dumbness as part of his and Patrick's plan, but Patrick begins to believe he's actually dumb.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Patrick: Dumb people are blissfully unaware of how dumb they really are duuuuh...
  • Impact Silhouette: SpongeBob leaves a himself-shaped hole in the wall when he makes a hasty retreat.
  • Karma Houdini: Patrick gets no punishment for essentially tormenting SpongeBob into insanity. The most Janet and Marty get is Patrick's interrupted Freak Out! when he realizes they might not really be his parents.
  • Noodle Incident: "Patrick! You forgot how to eat again! Quick, I'll get the funnel!"
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: SpongeBob pretends to be stupid to make Patrick look smarter in front of his parents. Unfortunately, Patrick starts to believe that he is stupid.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: Over the course of the episode, Patrick begins to believe SpongeBob really is dumb, forgetting about their own plan.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: Patrick's parents turn out to be this when we see that even though they called out Patrick for being dumb, they themselves couldn't locate/remember where Patrick's house is and asking Squidward for Patrick.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of confusion could've been avoided if Marty and Janet told Patrick their names in the first place.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Marty and Janet still thinking SpongeBob actually is dumb even when he tried to convince them he isn't is enough to push his insanity over the limit, leading him to escape.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After various failed attempts at getting Patrick's parents to believe he's not actually dumb, SpongeBob screams and runs out of the house in frustration. What he doesn't know is that the starfish couple he met are not Patrick's real parents.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Patrick manages to impress his parents - at the cost of poor SpongeBob's sanity. Then Squidward brings over Patrick's real parents, who'd been standing outside all day wondering where their son was.
  • Spot the Imposter: When Marty and Janet refer to each other by name, Patrick immediately realizes they are not his parents (his actual parents' names are Herb and Margie).
  • Title Drop: Downplayed. Patrick briefly wears an "I'm With Stupid" T-shirt that actually says "I'm with the dummy".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Patrick lampshades this, feeling this is how his parents view him. It turns out they aren't exactly mistaken about their son, who can't even recognize them until after he's already mistaken two other people for his parents! Though they themselves don't seem to know where he lives either, and apparently kept bothering Squidward about it.
    • On that note, Marty and Janet are definitely this, for thinking Patrick was their son in the first place and going through the trouble to see him only to remember they have no son.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Patrick starts to believe that SpongeBob really is dumb, forgetting that SpongeBob is only pretending. Patrick then starts making personal insults, and when SpongeBob tries to remind him that they're only pretending, he denies it.
  • Visual Pun: A classic example.
    SpongeBob: (in response to a piece of paper Patrick is holding) Hey, a note! (takes it to reveal that there's a music note on it)
    Patrick: Yeah, but turn it over, there's a letter!
    SpongeBob: (turns the "note" around to reveal the letter B on the back) You're right!
  • Wham Line: Played for Laughs courtesy of Patrick at the end, to his "parents":
    Patrick: Janet!? Marty!? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE!?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: SpongeBob is somehow never seen or mentioned again after he runs off screaming.

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