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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 20 "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler" / "Pranks a Lot"

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United States airdate: October 11, 2004

Canada airdate: November 12, 2004

A dangerous criminal known as the "Tattletale Strangler" has escaped police custody after SpongeBob rats him out for littering. To help heighten security for himself, SpongeBob hires a bodyguard. However, unknown to him, its the Strangler in disguise!

SpongeBob Meets The Strangler contains examples of:

  • An Aesop: As shown when the opposite of these happen.
    • If you see suspicious activity, call the police instead of confronting it yourself. Handling the situation yourself may make things worse, including putting you at risk.
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    • If you think someone is after you, surround yourself with friends and family, because strength is in numbers. Your assailant (if they're smart) will only attack you when you're alone.
  • Brick Joke: Towards the end of the cartoon, Patrick becomes convinced that he's the Stranger and decides to turn himself in. At the end of the cartoon, the Strangler finds out Patrick's his cellmate.
  • The Cat Came Back: The Strangler finally gets fed up with SpongeBob and tries to flee from him, only to keep running into SpongeBob wherever he goes.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Strangler reveals his identity while screaming and ripping off his fake mustache. SpongeBob asks him how he got rid of his mustache without shaving cream.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: As SpongeBob and the Strangler (disguised as the bodyguard) make it to SpongeBob's House:
    SpongeBob: Bodyguard, let me just be the first to say you're the best bodyguard a fella could hope to have.
    Strangler: Alright, enough with the sappy talk! Open the door so I can strangle you... I mean, uh, choke you... I mean, uh, crush your windpipe... gah, I mean...
    SpongeBob: Protect me?
    Strangler: Thanks.
    SpongeBob: Don't mention it, Strangler. [gasp] I mean, Bodyguard.
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  • Disproportionate Retribution: The Tattletale Strangler strangles his victims after they rat him out.
  • The Dreaded: The Tattletale Strangler. When SpongeBob approaches several characters, such as Mr. Krabs and Larry, for protection, they refuse to help and flee in fear.
  • Evil Laugh: The Strangler. And SpongeBob joins him in the laughter.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    Patrick: "We just do what the invitations say. Let's boogie some more!"
  • Eye Scream: SpongeBob gets his cleats stuck in the Strangler's eye sockets. It lasts for six hours.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Not only does the Strangler get arrested for littering, but he also gets chained with dozens of handcuffs. This is actually justified as Strangler is also a serial killer and has been wanted for a while, and later on, even with dozens of handcuffs, he still escapes.
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  • From Bad to Worse: Even though the Strangler finally gets away from SpongeBob in jail, he finds himself stuck with Patrick for a cellmate.
  • Human Ladder: When the Strangler can't reach SpongeBob's window to get into his house, he asks him to climb on his shoulders. Unfortunately, it's at that moment that SpongeBob decides to wear spiky cleats.
  • Impact Silhouette: Patrick leaves SpongeBob's house by going through the wall, leaving a star-shaped hole. When the Strangler reaches his breaking point, he does the same and leaves a hole beside Patrick's.
  • Key Under the Doormat: After failing to get into SpongeBob's house, SpongeBob tells the Strangler he keeps a key under his mat for emergencies...which enrages the Strangler as he just got cleats stuck in his eyes for nothing.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: SpongeBob is only in this mess because he reported the Strangler for littering. Then again, he spends most of the episode blissfully unaware of who his sudden bodyguard is and accidentally makes him suffer instead.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Not only does Squidward show up to both of SpongeBob's parties, but is shown clearly having the time of his life. Same goes to Plankton.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The Strangler's disguise consists of a fake handlebar mustache and nothing else. SpongeBob even notices the price tag and the Strangler's receipt, but is none the wiser.
  • Police are Useless: Are they ever! Not only does the Strangler escape their custody only about a minute after apprehending him, but when SpongeBob asks if the police will provide protection for him, the tell him it's not their job (even though it actually is) and leave him to his fate. They even go so far as to tease him over it:
    Male officer: Give us a call if you see him again, tattletale!
  • Prefer Jail to the Protagonist: By the end of the episode, the Strangler has been driven so crazy by SpongeBob's antics that he's actually relieved to be in jail and away from him.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When the Strangler finally explodes and reveals his identity.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Squidward is there when the Strangler is being arrested and informs SpongeBob who it is. When SpongeBob comments on how angry the Strangler looks, Squidward immediately makes himself scarce.
  • Spanner in the Works: The Stranger's plan is to kill SpongeBob. It's a simple plan that is repeatedly ruined by various acts of idiocy from SpongeBob and his friends.
  • Tempting Fate: The Strangler when he ends up in jail.
    Strangler: At least I'm safe from that yellow idiot.
    Patrick: (in the same cell as the Strangler) Hey, mac. (the Strangler turns to face him) What are you in for?
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Trying to get in through the window, the Strangler tells SpongeBob to climb up his back. SpongeBob says that'll be easy since he's wearing spiky cleats. The Strangler nervously asks "Cleats?" mere seconds before Eye Scream.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Strangler is an infamous criminal that terrifies everyone. After almost 11 minutes of SpongeBob's various antics, he's reduced to a screaming wreck of a fish begging to go to prison.
  • What Are You in For?: Patrick asks the Strangler this question at the end of the cartoon.

United States airdate: October 11, 2004

Canada airdate: November 12, 2004

SpongeBob and Patrick buy some invisible spray and use it to prank their friends.

Pranks A Lot contains examples of:

  • Artistic License – Biology: Patrick's head explodes from chewing explosive gum and a bone is exposed. How does Patrick have a bone? Starfish are invertebrates.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: SpongeBob and Patrick disguise themselves this way to scare Sandy. Sandy knows it's them, but when she pulls the sheets away and sees no one there, she screams and launches herself back to Texas.
  • Behind the Black:
    • Within 10 seconds of entering the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob and Patrick had already glued the doors shut, replaced all the glass with rubber, and clogged all the toilets to keep Mr. Krabs from escaping.
    • Five seconds after SpongeBob and Patrick leave Mr. Krabs behind a closed door, he reappears behind them in a crow's nest...along with everyone the duo had pranked.
  • Big "NO!": Unsurprisingly, Mr. Krabs lets out one of these when SpongeBob and Patrick nearly burn a dollar, before unwittingly exposing the two pranksters with a bucket of water.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: We should have bought the whoopee cushion!
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: While fighting over the invisible spray, SpongeBob and Patrick exchanged these.
    Patrick: "Patrick sprays SpongeBob's hand and it disappears] I gotta hand it to you, SpongeBob. You look kinda funny"
    SpongeBob: "[sprays Patrick making a hole in the middle of his body] Kind of gives you an empty feeling, huh?"
    Patrick: "Yeah. [sprays one of SpongeBob's eyes] I see what you mean!"
    SpongeBob: "[SpongeBob takes the spray can and sprays Patrick's lower half] No guts, no glory!"
    Narrator: "Several bad puns later..."
  • Invisible Jerkass: SpongeBob and Patrick spend most of the episode tormenting everyone in Bikini Bottom while Invisible.
  • Invisible Main Character: SpongeBob and Patrick spend most of the episode being invisible.
  • Invisible Naked People Are Funny: "Live Nude Pranksters! Starring the Bikini Bottom Ghosts!"
  • Invisible Streaker: SpongeBob and Patrick take off their clothes before using the spray to avoid staining them. (Naturally, they end up staining them anyway.) When it wears off they are caught out in the open for everyone to see.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After the spray wears off, Mr. Krabs tricks SpongeBob and Patrick into stepping out naked on stage so that all their victims can laugh at the "Live Nude Pranksters".
  • Plot Hole:
    • The whole show takes place underwater! How did the invisible paint stick in the first place?
    • And how did the paint not come off when SpongeBob and Patrick were going surfing?
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: During a montage of people shouting "Ghost!", one character goes "Toast!" instead.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After becoming convinced she's being haunted by ghosts, Sandy uses an Escape Pod to flee back to Texas. She somehow ends up back for the ending.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Still Got It: Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob and Patrick he pulled a few pranks when he was young. By the looks of the one he pulls on them at the end of the cartoon, he's not a bit rusty.
  • Super Window Jump: To get away from the 'ghosts', Mr. Krabs attempted to smash through the window, but SpongeBob and Patrick somehow had replaced it with rubber.
  • Tempting Fate: Mr. Krabs brags that he has no fear of ghosts, even showing off various devices used to protect himself from them. Naturally, he's the next one targeted by the "ghosts". Then again, that may have been his plan all along.
  • Toilet Teleportation: While running from the 'ghosts', Mr. Krabs attempted to jump down the toilet as a last resort, only to find that they had clogged it.
  • Your Head A-Splode: This happens to Patrick after chewing a piece of exploding chewing gum. A large, femur-like bone is exposed afterwards. And he's still able to say that he doesn't get it, despite his lack of a mouth.

Alternative Title(s): Sponge Bob Square Pants S 3 E 20 Spongebob Meetsthe Stranger Pranks A Lot

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