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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 18 "Missing Identity" / "Plankton's Army"

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United States airdate: January 19, 2004

Canada airdate: October 29, 2004

SpongeBob goes into an existential crisis when he loses his name tag, and tries to retrace his steps in order to recover it.

Missing Identity contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: "Hi SpongeBoob!"
  • Aside Glance: Twice in the episode, SpongeBob reacts to a joke by staring blankly at the camera with his hand on his cheek - a Shout-Out to Jack Benny.
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  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    Mr. Krabs: Attention, all employees! Just a quick heads-up, boys. There's going to be a surprise uniform inspection in one hour. Anyone who doesn't pass... gets the boot! [pulls out a big black boot giving off green fumes] This boot, to be exact. It's very stinky, and you'll have to wear it all day. See ya in an hour.
  • Big "WHY?!": Well, Big "PORQUOI?!" in this case anyway, but the meaning's still there.
  • Comical Overreacting: SpongeBob starts hyperventilating and eventually faints because he lost his nametag.
    SpongeBob: I lost my nametag! POURQUOI?!
  • Corpsing: Spongebob's numerous attempts to retrace his steps always end with Patrick flubbing the line in the same vein as a blooper reel. By the end of it, he has the giggles.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: SpongeBob manages to find his name tag in time for inspection, but because he crawled in the dumpster, he smells so bad that he possibly fails.
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  • Disaster Dominoes: SpongeBob's "horrific incident of terror". He wakes up, tosses his blanket over his head which glomps right over him, he falls off the bed, the alarm clock lands on top, stumbles out the door and falls down the stairs, the alarm clock sends him flying into the window, slides up to Gary, feeds him, and finally takes a whiff of SnailPo and is so grossed out the company notices.
  • Dumpster Dive: SpongeBob and Patrick jump into the Krusty Krab dumpster to look for the nametag.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When SpongeBob gets dressed, eagle-eyed viewers will notice his shirt is missing the front folds.
    • Note how Patrick says hi to SpongeBob walking by while his back is facing him.
  • Framing Device: The events are told via flashback by SpongeBob at a diner one rainy night.
  • Gratuitous French: SpongeBob cries "POURQUOI?!", which means "why" in French.
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  • Hilarious Outtakes: Spongebob trying and failing to get Patrick to say hi to him as he retraces his steps is presented as this, complete with Patrick apologizing to the audience for his repeated flubbing.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Spongebob, wondering what Gary's SnailPo tastes like, takes a small taste of it, only to find its taste so disgusting that even the SnailPo headquarters hears his reaction.
  • Idiot Ball: Granted, SpongeBob isn't the wisest guy around, but even he should still realize that by "retracing his steps", he should just look around to where he was at the moment, not put himself in the same predicament.
  • Melodrama: Spongebob has a near-mental breakdown (including screaming "WHY?!" in French and fainting) over losing his nametag.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: After SpongeBob tastes Gary's food and goes "Bleagh!", miles away at Snailpo headquarters, an employee says "I feel... a disturbance."
  • Overly Long Gag: In trying to retrace his steps, SpongeBob has to recreate his morning exactly - including stumbling down the stairs and tasting Gary's snail food - over and over, because Patrick kept flubbing his lines.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Eagle-eyed viewers will notice SpongeBob's clothes actually are on backwards way before he actually notices himself. And during the retracing steps montage, he keeps skipping a step between eating SnailPo and saying hi to Patrick; putting his clothes on.
  • Serious Business: To SpongeBob, losing his nametag was a literal identity crisis.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Turns out SpongeBob has his nametag on all along, he just had his clothes on backwards. Not to mention he still "got the boot" because he just got back from dumpster diving.
  • Smart Ball: Patrick grabs it after enough failed attempts at recreating the events of the morning, asking SpongeBob to go over everything else he did that day instead of just repeating the same thing over and over.
  • Tempting Fate: SpongeBob says that he'll never have to taste Gary's snail food again. He does exactly that while retracing his steps.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In one of the attempts at recreating SpongeBob's morning routine, Patrick greets him with "Hi, SpongeBoob". This causes him to burst out laughing.
  • Wearing It All Wrong: When SpongeBob puts on his pants, they first end up on his hand, then on his head. He eventually gets it right, but fails to notice that his shirt is backwards.

After realizing there's strength in numbers, Plankton hires his relatives to help him get the Krabby Patty formula once and for all, and almost succeeds.

Plankton's Army contains examples of:

  • Beware the Nice Ones: Plankton's family isn't particularly villainous or malicious, nor are many of them especially intelligent......but together they easily take full control of the Krusty Krab and allow Plankton to open the secret formula vault.
  • Brick Joke: SpongeBob is sent to clean the bathrooms early in the episode. He doesn't appear again until the end, after the whole ordeal with Plankton and his relatives is over.
  • Country Cousin: Plankton's relatives all turn out to be hillbillies, much to his surprise.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As it turns out, Mr. Krabs anticipated the possibility of Plankton actually succeeding in getting his hands on the formula, so he planted a fake one in which ground plankton was the secret ingredient, sending Plankton and his entire family running for the hills.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    Mr. Krabs: Plankton! You knew I would never distrust a dollar!
    Plankton: That's right, Krabs! Now hand over the Krabby Patty secret formula!
    Mr. Krabs: (beat) Or what?
    Plankton: I don't know. I never thought I'd get this far.
  • Eat the Camera: Plankton does this as he and his relatives burst into the Krusty Krab.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Plankton's first name is revealed to be Sheldon, much to Karen's amusement.
  • Epic Fail: Clem can't interpret that the recipe book was saying that Krabby Patties are made of plankton by stating he's illiterate (he can't read). However, there was a picture of Sheldon himself on that book, and Sheldon was outright audibly reading out the whole recipe.
  • Expospeak Gag: Plankton claims to know how to speak to criminals, but then he enters a Bad-Guy Bar and gets beaten up after giving them the following line.
    Plankton: Felicitations, malefactors! I am endeavoring to misappropriate the formulary for the preparation of affordable comestibles! Who will join me?
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Seeing that the phony Secret Ingredient for the Krabby Patty is ground plankton causes Plankton and his relatives to run screaming out of the Krusty Krab, except for Clem who can't read.
  • Hayseed Name: Plankton's hillbilly relatives; when Clem introduces them all he gets pretty tired of the names:
    Clem: Of course, you remember Zeke, Rufus, Geke, Billy Bob, Billy Jim, Billy-Billy-Bo-Billy-Banana-Fanna-Fo-Filly, Doug, Enos... (some time later) Hatfield, Fletcher McGee, Rainchild, Zeke Junior—
    Plankton: ALRIGHT, I GET IT!!!
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: Plankton claims he knows how to speak the language of his potential minions: cue him meeting up a bunch of tough guys and talking to them in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • Not Me This Time: A suspicious-looking robot customer casually enters the Krusty Krab, remarking to itself (but loudly enough for all to hear) that it would like to "sample the wares" of the "quaint restaurant." Mr. Krabs immediately deduces that it's a plot by Plankton and that the "customer" will order a Krabby Patty. Instead, it buys a single serving of chili coral bits, even after Krabs suggests that the robot order a Krabby Patty instead. It is then subverted when Plankton leaps out of a hidden compartment in the dollar the robot used to pay for the food.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Even though Plankton's relatives turn out to be clueless rednecks instead of the super smart criminal masterminds he had expected them to be, they overpower Mr. Krabs and obtain the supposed formula rather quickly and effectively.
  • Privacy by Distraction: At the beginning of the episode, SpongeBob is given a mop and told to clean the men's bathroom, getting him out of the way so that Mr. Krabs can deal with the robot customer.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: SpongeBob is absent from the scene where Plankton has Mr. Krabs and Squidward trapped in the toilet. He reappears, mop in hand, after Plankton and his therebetween find out about the Krabby Patty formula. This is an odd case, as the proceedings that go on without him are just as clownish.
  • Species Surname: This episode reveals that Plankton's full name is Sheldon J. Plankton.
  • Status Quo Is God: Krabs points out the supposed formula the Plankton family found is a decoy, and Plankton will almost certainly figure that out soon and revert back to trying to steal the real one.
  • Synchronized Swarming: The Planktons, as Lampshaded by Mr. Krabs.
    Mr. Krabs: Curse you, Plankton, and your ability to join together to form a working human ear!
  • That's No Moon!: Plankton's family surrounds the Krusty Krab and Mr. Krabs asks "You planted grass?" Then the "grass" started laughing and reshaping itself into limbs and ears...
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know:
    Mr. Krabs: (tied up, while Plankton is about to read the secret Krabby Patty formula/recipe) I'm telling you! You won't be able to handle the truth! There are some things in this world that weren't meant for mortal eyes!
    Plankton: Eye.
    Mr. Krabs: Eye.
    Plankton: I don't care! Drum roll, please! ...The secret recipe for one Krabby Patty is: a pinch of salt... three teaspoons of chopped onions... a cup of love... mixed together with the most important ingredient of all: four heaping pounds of freshly ground... (turns page, sees picture of himself) plankton!?
    Mr. Krabs: I warned ya.
    (Plankton screams and runs back to the Chum Bucket)
    • Fortunately for everyone, the recipe was a decoy.
  • Toilet Teleportation: After he sees Plankton jump out of the dollar that the robot gave him, Mr. Krabs flushes Plankton down the toilet. Later, Plankton tries to flush Krabs down the toilet, but fails because Krabs is too big to fit down the pipes.
  • Villain Episode: This episode focuses largely on Plankton as he recruits his extended family to get the formula.
  • Waxing Lyrical: One of Plankton's cousins is Billy Billy Bo-Illy Bonana Fanna Fo-Filly, a lyric from the Shirley Ellis song "The Name Game."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We see a robot (built by Plankton, presumably) purchase chilli coral bits, and gives Krabs a “dollar” from which Plankton jumps out of. So, what became of the robot?
  • You and What Army?: Mr. Krabs asks this to Plankton, who then introduces him to his relatives.
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