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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 13 "New Student Starfish" / "Clams"

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"Behold, Patrick. The Hallway of Learning!"

New Student Starfish

Original air date: 9/20/2002

Feeling bad for having to leave Patrick alone when he goes to Boating School, SpongeBob invites him to a day at Boating School with him. Things start off pretty well, but the two soon begin to realize that dealing with each other in school creates a lot more tension than dealing with each other anywhere else.

"New Student Starfish" contains examples of:

  • Ad Hominem: When Patrick asks what the big deal of losing one good noodle star is, calling it a stupid star, SpongeBob retaliates by saying that Patrick is a stupid star.
  • An Aesop:
    • You don't always need to hang out with your friend. Sometimes, it's better if you have time to yourself.
    • Don't talk and mess around with your friends in class. Focus on the lesson so that you can succeed at your classwork and not disrupt the learning environment.
    • Don't let someone else take the blame for something you did.
    • Teamwork is important and can help build relationships.
  • Bait-and-Switch Accusation: After checking his watch to see that it's 6:20 instead of 9, Patrick points out that SpongeBob said he was late.
    SpongeBob: Late for being early!
    Patrick: Heeeeey! ...When did I start wearing a watch?
  • Because I Said So: After Mrs. Puff removes one of SpongeBob's good noodle stars, we have this:
    Mrs. Puff: SpongeBob, I've had enough of your nonsense. Now collect your things and move to the available desk in the back of the room.
    SpongeBob: What, me? But why?
    Mrs. Puff: Because the Big Fat Meanie said so. Now go!
  • Bigger on the Inside: Normally, the boating school is just a one-room school, but in this episode and "The Bully", it fits a real school into one tiny building.
  • Break the Cutie: SpongeBob when his star is taken off the wall.
  • Detention Episode: When SpongeBob and Patrick have a (wimpy) fight in the hallway, Mrs. Puff gives both of them detention. While in detention, the light bulb that keeps Roger alive burns out, so SpongeBob and Patrick have to put their differences aside and work together to keep Roger warm and find a new light bulb to replace the old one.
  • Diegetic Visual Effects: When Mrs. Puff says "May Neptune have mercy on your souls!", the dramatic lighting on her face is provided by the flashlight she's holding.
  • Dissension Remorse: The lightbulb keeping Roger alive running out of power is enough to reduce SpongeBob and Patrick to a quiet shock as they struggle to ignore each other but letting their fear get the better of them, causing them both to apologize to each other and work together to save Roger.
  • Exorcist Head: SpongeBob's head spins around as Mrs. Puff removes one of his good noodle stars.
  • Failed a Spot Check: When Patrick is fetching a lightbulb to save Roger, he has sights solely on the one that is actually screwed in and glowing at the top of the janitor's closet, and completely overlooks the giant lightbulb pile the size of a mountain that he climbs to get to it.
  • Faint in Shock: SpongeBob faints out of his chair when Mrs. Puff removes one of his gold stars from the wall.
  • Fat Bitch: It turns out a lot of Mrs. Puff's students regard her as this, as she keeps a whole stash of insulting caricatures of her in her desk drawer.
  • Feud Episode: SpongeBob and Patrick's quarrel begun after Patrick made SpongeBob lose his star.
  • First-Step Fixation: The climax has Patrick trying to grab a fresh lightbulb from the ceiling... by climbing an entire mountain of spare lightbulbs.
  • Good Behavior Points: It's shown that Mrs. Puff has a "Good Noodle Board" system for her class, in which stars are placed next to her student's names on a board when they display good behavior. SpongeBob has by far the most stars, with a total of 74. However, when Mrs. Puff discovers an unflattering drawing of her made by Patrick, she believes SpongeBob drew it and removes one of his Good Noodle Stars. Later in the episode, after SpongeBob and Patrick manage to save the unhatched egg of Roger when the light bulb that gives it warmth goes out, Mrs. Puff gives each of them a Good Noodle Star.
  • Headdesk: Done several times by SpongeBob as Mrs. Puff removes one of his good noodle stars.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: "May Neptune have mercy on your soul."
  • I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: "...but SpongeBob SquarePants, I hereby sentence you and your friend... to detention."
  • Idiot Houdini: Aside from getting detention for "fighting" SpongeBob in the hallway, Patrick faces no repercussions for his disruptive actions, notably his "Big Fat Meanie" drawing, which gets SpongeBob in trouble instead.
  • Instant Wristwatch: Patrick when he realizes they're too early for class. He then hangs a lampshade on it by asking "When did I start wearing a watch?"
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Mrs. Puff sees the drawing Patrick drew of her, she protests "As if I really look like this!", while looking exactly like the drawing.
  • Jerkass Ball: Patrick holds this by giving SpongeBob a rough day at boating school.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While Patrick was largely to blame for SpongeBob getting his star taken from him and sent to the back of the class, he wasn't too far off when he basically implied that SpongeBob shouldn't get so worked up over one star taken from him over the 74 he's earned, or even one bad day at school in general. On the other hand, SpongeBob could've just told Mrs. Puff that Patrick made the drawing.
  • Lack of Empathy: When SpongeBob rants to Patrick about how nothing he did in class was funny and he got in trouble and lost one of his Good Noodle Stars because of him, Patrick isn't sorry at all and just glares at SpongeBob, asking who cares about a "stupid star".
  • Lampshade Hanging: At the end, Mrs. Puff notes how she is unsure what an egg science project has to do with driving, with the series constantly having driving school play out more like grade school.
  • Not This One, That One: When SpongeBob is showing Patrick around the school.
    SpongeBob: Behold, Patrick, the Hallway of Learning. And here's the Fountain of Learning. And these are the Lockers of Learning.
    Patrick: And these are the Stairs of Learning, right?
    SpongeBob: No, they're just the stairs. These are the Stairs of Learning.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • SpongeBob when Mrs. Puff takes the "Big Fat Meanie" doodle from him, leading her to assume he did it resulting in him losing a Good Noodle star.
    • Both SpongeBob and Patrick when Roger's lightbulb breaks, sending them into a Freak Out lasting almost half a minute which leads to them reconciling.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • SpongeBob's outlandish Freak Out when Mrs. Puff is removing one of his stars.
    • The "I hate you" exchange between SpongeBob and Patrick during detention.
    • SpongeBob and Patrick shuddering and freaking out silently in their seats and trying to ignore each other once Roger's lamp goes out.
  • Possession Presumes Guilt: Patrick hands SpongeBob a crude, unflattering drawing of Mrs. Puff. She then takes the paper from SpongeBob out of curiosity, assumes he drew it and takes away a star from his behavior chart as punishment.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: When Roger hatches from his egg at the end, he's a live-action chick. However, this originally wasn't going to be the case.
  • Rule of Funny: When Mrs. Puff sees the unflattering drawing Patrick made thinking SpongeBob made it, she suddenly looks exactly like the crude drawing. She also gets a lot of drawings like that, apparently.
  • Scary Flashlight Face: Parodied. Mrs. Puff does this when she sends SpongeBob and Patrick to detention. She conveniently turns the flashlight off.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Patrick decides to leave the Boating School at the end upon realizing it wasn't a Spanish class as he thought.
  • Shout-Out: SpongeBob pulls a Regan McNeil when Mrs. Puff is removing one of his extremely copious stars.
  • Snarking Thanks: SpongeBob sarcastically thanks Patrick for getting him in trouble. Patrick doesn't realize he was being sarcastic.
  • Spontaneous Crowd Formation: As soon as SpongeBob and Patrick start arguing, a crowd of students gather around them chanting "Fight! Fight! Fight!" It takes Patrick a while to figure out that they mean that he and SpongeBob are the ones who are fighting.
  • Tears of Remorse: Both SpongeBob and Patrick shed endless sprinkles of them as they see Roger's lightbulb go out and apologize to each other.
  • Tempting Fate: "I'd hate you even if the light bulb keeping Roger alive went out!" (Light bulb goes out)
  • Wimp Fight: Exaggerated. SpongeBob and Patrick decide to duke it out in the halls, but their hits don't even connect, much to the disappointment of the crowd. Mrs. Puff puts them in detention anyway.
You make a million dollars, and this is the best you can afford?


Original air date: 9/20/2002

In celebration for earning his millionth dollar, Mr. Krabs takes his "loyal crew" of SpongeBob and Squidward on a clam fishing trip. The trip serves to be much of a let down for Squidward, but things go from bad to worse after a giant clam steals Mr. Krabs' millionth dollar. Now SpongeBob and Squidward must find a way to either get the dollar back, or be held prisoner on the boat by their boss, whose sanity is slowly leaving him.

"Clams" provides examples of:

  • #1 Dime: Mr. Krabs' millionth dollar has negligible monetary value, but its sentimental value to its owner is such that he is willing to give up over half his body just to have it returned to him.
  • An Aesop: True to one of its inspirations, the episode revolves around the message that obsession is destructive to yourself and those around you.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Squidward tries to pass off one of his own dollars as Mr. Krabs' millionth dollar, Mr. Krabs soon finds out that Squidward's dollar has been crumpled up, torn slightly, soaked in a lagoon, and kissed with Coral Blue #2 Semi-Gloss Lipstick.
    SpongeBob: Actually, it's Coral Blue Number.. (gets hit in the head by Squidward)
  • The Bait: Mr. Krabs resorts to using SpongeBob and Squidward as bait to catch the clam.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Equal parts Played for Laughs as it is Played for Drama with SpongeBob and Squidward respectively. When Mr. Krabs sees through the two's ruse and points out that the decoy dollar was kissed with Coral Blue #2 Semi-Gloss Lipstick, SpongeBob tries to say what number lipstick it actually is, only for Squidward to hit him in the head with a fishing rod. Then, when SpongeBob tries to deny Squidward's claim that Mr. Krabs has gone insane by pointing out he's lost a near and dear possession, Squidward corrects him by telling him to look at Mr. Krabs playing jump rope with his eyes.
  • Bottle Episode: Save for the beginning (which takes place at the Krusty Krab), the vast majority of the episode takes place on the fishing boat.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mr. Krabs notices the Jaws-esque theme shortly before the clam eats his millionth Dollar.
  • Burning the Ships: As motivation to catch the clam, Mr. Krabs nails a sandwich to a flagpole on the boat—then throws the boat's fridge overboard, so that no one may eat until the clam is captured.
    Mr. Krabs: Now, I think we understand each other! Nobody eats until I get me millionth dollar back.
  • Clam Trap: The clam eats Krabs' millionth dollar and at the end, most of Krabs himself.
  • Crocodile Tears: Mr. Krabs' tears seemed genuine at first when Blue Lips ate his dollar, but when he starts crying after SpongeBob and Squidward try to deceive him, it appears to be disingenuous.
    Squidward: No! Uh-uh, nope! We will not be swayed by tears anymore.
    Mr. Krabs: (instantly stops crying) I see...
  • Denied Food as Punishment: A variant. Mr. Krabs tosses the entire refrigerator replete with refreshments overboard, as he is willing to let his employees starve to death until he could retrieve his millionth dollar.
  • Description Cut: When SpongeBob worries about Gary being left home alone without food, it cuts to Gary at home eating the couch.
  • Determinator: Mr. Krabs' goal of retrieving his millionth dollar from the giant clam puts him, Squidward, and SpongeBob in serious danger, as he forces them to spend several days at sea and threatens them with starvation. Eventually, he resorts to using his crew as live bait, before deciding to give the clam most of his own body in exchange for the dollar.
  • Disney Death: Mr. Krabs is eaten by the clam towards the end of the episode, but survives with just his head and arm intact.
  • Drama Queen: After the giant clam eats Mr. Krabs' millionth dollar, he starts crying profusely, prompting Squidward to call him a drama queen.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Mr. Krabs to his employees after they attempted to pass off an ordinary dollar as his millionth dollar.
    Mr. Krabs: I trusted you, and you gave me this? (near tears) I can't believe me own crew would betray me like this!
  • Eye Scream: During Mr. Krabs' Sanity Slippage, he takes his eyestalks out of his head and starts jumping rope with them.
  • Fishing Episode: To celebrate his millionth dollar earned, Mr. Krabs takes SpongeBob and Squidward clam fishing.
  • Get Out!: When Mr. Krabs gets his millionth dollar, he shoos out all his customers so he can be alone with it.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The episode ends with Mr. Krabs trading in his own body, sans head and left arm, to Old Blue Lips for his dollar back.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mr. Krabs tells Squidward that he shouldn't bring anything on a boat that he wasn't prepared to lose, but Mr. Krabs brought his millionth dollar with him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Squidward is grumpy and apathetic for most of the episode, but he is correct to point out how Mr. Krabs is off the deep end to SpongeBob. SpongeBob tries to justify Krabs' actions, but he ends up agreeing with Squidward that they need to leave.
  • Karma Houdini: It's a happy ending for Mr. Krabs, as he was willing to trade his body to Old Bluelip for the dollar. All of this after he endangered the life of his two employees just for his money.
  • Laughing Mad: As part of Mr. Krabs' Sanity Slippage, he starts laughing maniacally before breaking down crying.
  • Left the Background Music On: The clam's Leitmotif is being played by the orchestra in Mr. Krab's boat. Krabs even has the band play it to lure the clam into the open.
    Mr. Krabs: Can't you hear the music?! That's a 4/4 string ostinato in D minor! Every sailor knows that means death!
  • Lower Half Reveal: At the end, Mr. Krabs rises out of the sea after a vicious struggle with the clam that ate his millionth dollar. At first, only his head and his left arm (holding the money) can be seen; he claims that after much struggle, he and the clam had a deal, which is how he can get his money back. When Spongebob asks him what the clam got in return, Krabs jumps up into the ship saying "nothing important" - while he has lost every part of his body sans his head and left arm.
  • Manipulative Bastard: After Blue Lips eats Mr. Krabs' millionth dollar, he gets Squidward involved in the hunt for the dollar when it was SpongeBob's fault. Later on, he is able to see through his employees' duplicate dollar ruse and decides to deprive them of food as blackmail. Finally, he uses them as live bait when they've concluded he's gone insane.
  • Mean Boss: Mr. Krabs won’t let SpongeBob and Squidward leave the fishing boat until he gets his millionth dollar back. In addition, he throws the refrigerator in the sea so they can’t eat, and uses them as bait when they try to escape.
  • Medium Blending: A live-action orchestra is revealed to be playing the Clam's theme music.
  • Moby Schtick: Mr. Krabs' obsession with hunting down the clam who ate his dollar mirrors how Ahab relentlessly chases Moby Dick after the whale bit off Ahab's leg.
  • Ocular Gushers: Mr. Krabs goes into a bawling fit after losing his millionth dollar. At one point, his eyes turn into faucets pouring streams of tears.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Mr. Krabs is horrified when he hears the clam's Leitmotif, complete with his pupils shrinking.
    • When Krabs dumps all the food and the fridge off the boat, Squidward goes from apathetic to panicky, as it makes the point when he realizes his boss has completely gone off the deep end.
    • When Mr. Krabs throws Squidward and SpongeBob in the sea to use them as live bait, Squidward asks why the clam would show up now if it didn't bother to come before. Cue Mr. Krabs playing the clam's Leitmotif, which causes Squidward and SpongeBob to scream in terror.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Both Spongebob and Squidward have a mild case of this trope when Mr. Krabs really starts to lose it:
    • Spongebob, who normally displays Undying Loyalty to his boss, becomes so scared of him here that he's willing to ditch him along with Squidward.
    • Squidward, who normally can't stand being around SpongeBob, is perfectly fine with escaping with him in order to get away from Mr. Krabs.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Mr. Krabs is this while his millionth dollar is missing. It starts out as just regular Manchild behavior with him throwing a comical tantrum and sucking the thumb of the recurring giant realistic hand, but as the episode progresses he continues to lose it until he cackles like a toddler as the clam approaches his "live bait".
  • Rod-and-Reel Repurposed: When SpongeBob tries casting his line, he accidentally rips Squidward's shirt off.
  • Sanity Slippage: Mr. Krabs' obsession with retrieving his dollar eventually drives him completely insane, as he becomes a cackling maniac who is willing to sacrifice everything, including himself and his own crew, to have it returned to him.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: A comedic example happens when SpongeBob accidentally rips off Squidward's nose with a fishing hook, and cut to Mr. Krabs on the other side of the boat.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Defied. Squidward and SpongeBob try to make a run for the lifeboat at the midst of Mr. Krabs' Sanity Slippage, only to be caught by Krabs, who is furious that his crew tried to abandon him.
  • Serious Business: Mr. Krabs won't rest until he gets his millionth dollar back from the Clam, even if he has to starve his crew.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many things, including the Clam's theme and the title card, are references to Jaws. SpongeBob is like Brody, Squidward is like Hooper and Mr. Krabs is like Quint from the film.
    • Krabs' obsession with catching the giant clam is a parody of Captain Ahab's obsession with killing the titular whale in Moby-Dick. The scene where he nails a sandwich to a flagpole as motivation parodies a key scene in the novel, where Ahab nails a gold coin to the mast of the Pequod and offers it as a reward to whomever first spots the White Whale.
    • The clam being named "Ol' Blue Lips" could be a reference to Frank Sinatra's nickname "Ol' Blue Eyes".
  • Still Sucks Thumb: Mr. Krabs sucks the live-action human hand Hans' thumb at the end of his crying fit over losing his millionth dollar.
  • Suddenly Shouting: After concluding that Mr. Krabs has lost his mind, Squidward tries to warn SpongeBob by whispering to him, but freaks out and shouts the end of his sentence.
    Squidward: Uhh, SpongeBob, can I have a word with you? Have you noticed that Mr. Krabs has gone COMPLETELY INSANE?!
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When Mr. Krabs tells Squidward not to bring anything you're not prepared to lose on the boat, SpongeBob accidentally hooks his millionth dollar taped to the back of his pants.
    • When Mr. Krabs holds the dollar after SpongeBob reeled it in, he says “for a second or two, I thought she was a goner.” Immediately after, a clam swoops above him and eats Mr. Krabs’ dollar.
    • After Mr. Krabs dumps the sandwiches in the lagoon, Squidward mentions there’s plenty more to eat, but then Mr. Krabs throws the entire fridge into the lagoon.
    Squidward: Whatever, we’ve got plenty more to…(fridge gets tossed into the lagoon)…eat.
  • Time-Passage Beard: SpongeBob, Squidward and Mr. Krabs all grow disheveled beards after Mr. Krabs says, "We don't leave until we catch that clam and rescue me dollar!"
  • Too Dumb to Live: When Mr. Krabs jumps on the clam’s tongue to get his millionth dollar back, he dances and doesn’t think about jumping out to avoid being eaten. Sure enough, he is, and his entire body except his head and arms is missing when he gets out. Not that he minds that too much though, as he’s just happy he got the dollar back.
  • Umpteenth Customer: Parodied and subverted with the customer who gives Krabs his millionth dollar. His order is celebrated with fast-paced, upbeat music and Krabs bursting out of his office and cheering, which would imply this is played straight. He doesn't get a prize, though; in fact, Krabs is upset that he even asks for one. The customer didn't even get his food!
    Mr. Krabs: Congratulations, sir! You have just given me my one millionth dollar.
    Sandals: Ha, great! Uhh, what do I win?
    Mr. Krabs: Nothing! (music stops) Now, get out!
    Sandals: Uh, wha?
  • Visual Pun: When Mr. Krabs is crying over the loss of his dollar, SpongeBob says he's "never seen him so broken up". Cut to Krabs having literally fallen apart on the deck. Then, when Squidward tells Mr. Krabs to "suck it up", Krabs' eyes expand with no tears, only for tears to burst out of them.
  • You're Insane!: Said verbatim by Squidward when Mr. Krabs is conducting the orchestra to summon Ol' Blue Lips.
    Squidward: Mr. Krabs, listen! I work with SpongeBob all day long, so I know what I'm talking about when I say... YOU ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR MIND!
  • You Should Have Died Instead: From this exchange after Mr. Krabs was eaten by a clam (or so they thought):
    SpongeBob: Oh, poor Mr. Krabs. Gone forever out of our lives. Why couldn't it have been me?!
    Squidward: Yes, why couldn't it have been you?


Video Example(s):


Something Funnier Than 24

There's no punchline to speak of with SpongeBob and Patrick saying 24 and 25. It's them trying to hold back their laughter that provides humor to the situation.

How well does it match the trope?

3.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / AntiHumor

Media sources: