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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 3 "The Bully" / "Just One Bite"

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"Hi, SpongeBob. I'm gonna kick your butt."
Flats the Floundernote 

Original air date: 10/5/2001

A new student named Flats comes to Mrs. Puff's Boating School. SpongeBob obviously tries to hit it off, but Flats insists on kicking SpongeBob's butt. At first he thinks he's joking, but when he discovers he's serious, SpongeBob begins to fear for his life.

The Bully contains examples of (YMMV here):

  • Accidental Tickle Torture: Once it's revealed that Flats' punches don't harm SpongeBob at all, this is one of SpongeBob's reactions when Flats punches him in the gut.
  • Acting Unnatural: Hiding in a bathroom stall, SpongeBob hears someone coming and tries to act natural. When the stranger opens the stall, he finds a live-action sponge floating in the toilet.
    Fish: Oh, that's real nice.
  • Actor Allusion: Thomas F. Wilson plays another bully with a penchant for the word "butt." At one point, he even drives after SpongeBob in an attempt to ram him.
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  • Adults Are Useless: SpongeBob asks Mrs. Puff to intervene, but she stupidly misinterprets Flats as just wanting to befriend SpongeBob (though considering how much she's been shown to dislike SpongeBob herself this could be a case of Obfuscating Stupidity). Then he runs into Flats' dad and finds out that he's being bullied as well!
  • An Aesop:
    • Adults should be reliable sources to go to if you're having trouble with something/someone. If not, they are failing at their jobs at being there for you.
    • Defend yourself if you have to.
    • Sometimes (but not always), the best way to take care of a bully is ignore their attempts to get on your nerves.
  • Banana Peel: Flats drives his garbage truck over one, landing him in the hospital.
  • Bathroom Stall of Angst: SpongeBob hides in a bathroom stall to try to avoid getting beat up by Flats. Unfortunately, Flats soon finds him.
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  • Black Comedy: This episode would be terrifying if not played so absurdly.
  • Blah Blah Blah: When SpongeBob introduces himself to Flats, who threatens to kick SpongeBob's butt, we can hear Mrs. Puff going "blah blah blah" in the background.
  • Blatant Lies: Flats tells Mrs. Puff that he comes from a place where ''kicking someone's butt" is his way of saying "I want to be your friend." SpongeBob is not convinced.
  • The Bully: Flats, who threatens to beat up SpongeBob for seemingly no reason.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Flats eventually collapses from the exhaustion of trying to beat up SpongeBob. Mrs Puff (who did nothing to help SpongeBob when Flats was bullying him) then enters, sees Flats lying unconscious next to SpongeBob, whose fist was in the air during a heroic speech, and announces her intent to beat up SpongeBob (whether or not she ever did is never shown, not like she could've done much if Flats couldn't anyway).
  • Department of Redundancy Department: SpongeBob says Flats is a victim of "a society that's going down a violent road to nowhere, a road I call... Violence Road."
  • Dissonant Serenity: Apparently, the best way for an old person to react to townsfolk threatening Misplaced Retribution upon them is to smile cheerfully like they want to meet you.
    Harold: How many times do we have to TEACH YOU THIS LESSON, OLD MAN?!
    Old fish: I love the young people!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Flats telling Mrs. Puff that he comes from a place where "kicking someone's butt" means they want to be your friend sounds like an only slightly more absurd version of "he's only teasing you because he likes you."
  • Easily Forgiven: Implied and Played for Laughs with the elderly fish who got beaten up as a result of being mistaken for SpongeBob's bully. As the locals prepare to whoop him a second time ("How many times do we have to teach you this lesson, old man?!"), he simply compliments the "lovely young people" with a cheerful tone and smile as if they never laid a finger on him, with a complete lack of injuries to boot.
  • Evil Laugh: Flats has one when he's chasing SpongeBob with a garbage boat.
  • For the Evulz: Flats wants to kick SpongeBob's butt. Why? It's just what he does. Many fans believe he wanted revenge for the events of "Sandy's Rocket", though.
  • Garbage Hideout: SpongeBob hides in the trashcan to avoid Flats, who wants to kick his butt. Unfortunately, Flats finds him with his garbage truck.
  • Guest Star: Flats is played by the bully himself Thomas F. Wilson aka Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future films.
  • Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Mrs. Puff claiming that she's going to kick SpongeBob's butt.
  • Hope Spot: As Flats chases SpongeBob with a garbage boat, the garbage boat slips on a banana peel SpongeBob accidentally dropped. As Flats is recovering at the hospital, it turns out SpongeBob assisted him during recovery. Flats is touched. He'll have to remember that when he's kicking his butt.
  • Hate at First Sight: SpongeBob only needs to introduce himself to Flats to get the response, "Hi, SpongeBob. I'm gonna kick your butt."
  • Hypocrite: When SpongeBob tells Mrs. Puff about Flats' bullying, Mrs. Puff tells him that "there shall be no butt-kicking in any class of mine since this is an adult program." But when Mrs. Puff mistakenly thinks that SpongeBob assaulted Flats, she threatens to kick his butt in return.
  • Jerkass: Flats, natch. If his bullying and threats to SpongeBob isn't bad enough he even bullies his father and one scene has him briefly switch from kicking SpongeBob's butt to chasing him with a garbage boat clearly intending to run him over.
  • Jerkass Ball: Gary pulls out a camera when Flats arrives at the pineapple to assault SpongeBob.
  • Kafka Komedy: The first of many times in which the show would derive humor from terrible things happening to characters who don't deserve it.
  • Karma Houdini: Zig-zagged. Flats exhausts himself trying and failing to beat up SpongeBob, but he doesn't actually get in legal trouble. In fact, SpongeBob's many attempts to get him in trouble only serve to make the situation worse and by the end he gets in trouble instead.
  • Literal Asskicking: Inverted, as Flats spends the entire episode threatening to kick SpongeBob's butt (in those exact words), but instead punches him in the face when the time comes.
  • Made Out to Be a Jerkass: After Flats passes out from punching him, SpongeBob makes a speech denouncing violence, raising his fist for emphasis. Enter Mrs. Puff, who sees Flats passed out on the floor and SpongeBob with his fist raised and makes her own conclusion.
  • Lost in Translation: Spongebob hides in the bathroom after Flats threatens with kicking his butt. Spongebob says "I haven't said two words to the guy!", before reminding he said "Hi, I'm SpongeBob!". He then notices he said three words. In the Spanish dubs, Spongebob's name is changed to Bob Esponja, so he said four words. Admitedly, it's still a funny joke.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: SpongeBob "acting natural" as a live-action kitchen sponge.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The citizens of Bikini Bottom always attack an old man when SpongeBob freaked out about Flats kicking his butt. Granted, they did think SpongeBob was talking about him.
  • My God, You Are Serious: When Flats tells SpongeBob he's going to kick his butt, SpongeBob thinks he's kidding... that is, until he spells it out with his chest hair.
  • No-Sell: It turns out Flats' punches don't harm SpongeBob at all. He tires himself to exhaustion trying to knock him out for a full day.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Mrs. Puff comes into the Boating School at the end to find Flats collapsed on the floor before SpongeBob, who has a fist in the air from a heroic speech, making it look like he beat Flats up.
  • Oh, Crap!: Plenty. Especially from SpongeBob. The first comes with Flats convincing SpongeBob of his intent to pummel him by spelling it out with his chest hair.
    • SpongeBob especially has one when Flats still intends on kicking his butt, even after he saves his life.
    • Flats' father has one when his son sees him talking to SpongeBob.
    • Flats himself has one when he sees the banana peel fall in front of the path of his garbage boat.
    • SpongeBob has one last comical one when Mrs. Puff thinks he beat up Flats. Mrs. Puff has one earlier when she sees the misunderstanding.
  • Overly Long Gag: SpongeBob obsessing over his pencils at the start of class, much to the irritation of his classmates.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Just before he's about to get beaten up by Flats, SpongeBob tells Gary not to look as it will be ugly. In response, Gary whips out a camera.
  • Plot Hole: Flats is a new student in the same boating class as SpongeBob (whose boating skills leave much to be desired), yet he appears perfectly capable of driving a garbage boat. Then again, he did fail to notice the banana peel in his path that caused him to crash.
  • Pushover Parent: Flats' father is not exempt from Flats' bullying.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: SpongeBob ends up surviving Flats's onslaught of punches, while Flats collapses from exhaustion. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Mrs. Puff sees SpongeBob with his fist in the air (having just done a speech about the dangers of senseless violence) next to Flats's collapsed body, and decides to be the next one to threaten to kick SpongeBob's butt.
  • Rubber Man: SpongeBob is able to absorb all of Flats' hits due to his spongy structure.
  • Running Gag: SpongeBob trying to tell people about Flats' threats and the crowd assuming he's talking about an old man, whom they proceed to beat up.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: By way of a Hope Spot. Downplayed in that SpongeBob managed to survive his assailant, but that doesn't stop Mrs. Puff from thinking that he beat up Flats, who she thinks is innocent because Adults Are Useless in this story, resulting in her claiming that she's going to kick SpongeBob's butt. All the pain and suffering SpongeBob tried to avoid is still going to happen, if not even worse because adults are more seasoned than students.
  • Take That!: Mrs. Puff thinks that SpongeBob beat up Flats, likely referencing zero tolerance policy (both the assaulter and the victim are in trouble for being in a fight, despite the victim being the one who suffered or was forced to defend themselves).
  • Truth in Television: While the whole thing is played for Black Comedy, the bullying situation between SpongeBob and Flats isn't that inaccurate to bullying among children in schools. There's no real reason for it to happen and sometimes talking to authority figures does make it worse simply because their efforts to smooth everything out as fast as possible lead to the bully getting away with their actions.
  • Unexplained Recovery: After the first time the old man gets beaten up off-screen due to being mistaken for SpongeBob's bully, he's perfectly fine when SpongeBob runs back the other way, and acts as if the Misplaced Retribution against him never happened.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Flats, after SpongeBob performs CPR on him for three hours, still wants to beat him up.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The female student next to SpongeBob when Mrs. Puff sees him with his fist up does not even appear to acknowledge the teacher chewing him out over Flats, who is unconscious on the floor.
  • Very Special Episode: About bullying.
  • Victory by Endurance: SpongeBob manages to survive Flats' pounding by being straight up immune to his punches; Flats simply keeps punching him all day long until he finally collapses from exhaustion. Too bad SpongeBob ends up being Made Out to Be a Jerkass by Mrs. Puff.
  • Visual Pun: "Let's all put on a happy face..."
  • Wrong Restaurant: Patrick calls the boating school because he wanted to order a pizza and dialed the wrong number.

Original air date: 10/5/2001

After realizing that Squidward has never eaten a Krabby Patty, SpongeBob goes to ridiculous lengths to get him to try one. But when he does and finds to like them, he tries to hide it from SpongeBob, not wanting him to be right.

Just One Bite contains examples of (YMMV here):

  • Absentee Actor: This is the fourth time Mr. Krabs doesn't appear in a Krusty Krab themed episode. In addition, he isn't even mentioned. He was probably in his office counting money as usual, or on vacation.
  • All Just a Dream: The Falling-in-Love Montage with Squidward and a giant Krabby Patty. It was that point Squidward decided to stop at nothing to get his tentacles on a Krabby Patty.
  • An Aesop:
    • It's okay to admit you like something. It's also okay if you don't want to tell anyone about your hobbies and what you like.
    • Don't shame people for liking or disliking something.
    • A Weighty Aesop: Cheeseburgers (or in this case Krabby Patties) are addictive and can make you fat. Despite how good they taste, they should be eaten in moderation.
    • Don’t be afraid to try something new.
    • Don’t be too pushy at getting someone else to do something.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: See image quote above.
  • Big Eater: Squidward, after he develops an addiction to Krabby Patties, eats them until he explodes.
  • Bucket Booby-Trap: The "security system" in the deleted scene is this with a twist. It's a bucket alright but it's not water. It's a bucket of gas and a lit match to set it off. Mr. Krabs was smart enough to put in two.
  • Determinator: SpongeBob handcuffs himself to Squidward just to get him to eat a Krabby Patty.
  • Didn't Think This Through: SpongeBob seems to have neglected locking the Patty Vault to insure someone like Plankton doesn't break in.note 
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Squidward and his need to get a Krabby Patty, no matter what it takes.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The meaning of the title changes from SpongeBob trying to get Squidward to eat one bite of a Krabby Patty to Squidward secretly trying to get one bite of another Krabby Patty.
  • Downer Ending: Squidward gets hospitalized from eating too many Krabby Patties, might even have to go through "Krabby Patty rehab", and pay for all those Krabby Patties he's eaten. Even if he does get an employee discount on them, which is highly unlikely because Mr. Krabs is a penny-pinching cheapskate, it won't be easy paying them off with a minimum wage salary.
  • Epic Fail: When trying to eat a Krabby Patty out of the garbage, Squidward somehow eats all the trash except the Krabby Patty.
  • "Eureka!" Moment:
    SpongeBob: "Why are you acting so nervous? And why are you sweating so much? And why do you look so hungry? And—" (SpongeBob pauses and makes the face in the image.)
    Squidward: "No, No. It's not what you think! This is a big misunderstanding, you've got to believe me, I— Listen, I am telling you! You'd better listen to me, SpongeBob!"
    SpongeBob: "You like Krabby Patties, don't you Squidward?"
    Squidward: (Runs into the safe and slams the door.) YES! YES, I ADMIT IT, SPONGEBOB! I LOVE KRABBY PATTIES!
  • Exact Words: Squidward sarcastically asks SpongeBob if he's going to blow up after eating too many Krabby Patties. SpongeBob replies with no, adding that they will go right to his thighs... and then he'll blow up.
  • Furry Reminder: A subtle one at the end, where Squidward's limbs are in a bucket and he has an IV going into his head. All of a cephalopod's vital organs are in their mantle, what we would interpret as their head, while their limbs are often torn off but can regenerate with no ill effects. It's improbable for one to survive being entirely limbless long enough to grow its limbs back, but having civilization and access to medical care is a different story.
  • G-Rated Drug: Squidward becomes addicted to Krabby Patties after having tasted his first one and his behavior resembles that of a junkie.
  • Getting High on Their Own Supply: SpongeBob finds out that Squidward has never eaten a Krabby Patty, and spends most of the episode trying to get him to try one. When Squidward finally relents, he claims it's horrible... only to lock himself in the Krabby Patty vault and start devouring them. Once he's out and an ambulance is called to take him to the hospital from explosive overeating, the driver wistfully says he remembers his first Krabby Patty too. Apparently, people blowing up after eating too many Krabby Patties is commonplace.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: "Does this look 'unsure' to you?!"
  • Guilty Pleasures: Squidward and Krabby Patties.
  • Hartman Hips: Squidward, after he indulges in too many Krabby Patties.
  • I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham: Not unlike the Trope Namer, the first third of the episode is SpongeBob following Squidward around trying to get him to taste a Krabby Patty when he finds out that Squidward has never eaten one. The main difference here is Squidward is still too proud to admit that he was wrong when he finds out that he does like Krabby Patties.
  • Infernal Background: SpongeBob claims that Krabby Patties are "good for your soul", causing him to gain a halo, wings, and a Fluffy Cloud Heaven background as a Cherubic Choir plays in the background. Squidward retorts by saying he has no soul, causing a fiery background to appear, complete with an Evil Laugh, surprising Squidward.
  • Insane Troll Logic: "If I [Squidward] didn't want it [Krabby Patty] out there [in the dining room], what makes you [SpongeBob] think I'd find it more appealing in here [toilet stall]?"
  • Losing Your Head: After he blows up from eating too much, all that's left of Squidward is a head with an IV attached with his limbs in a bucket. Of course, he's perfectly fine in the next episode.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It's SpongeBob's fault for getting Squidward to blow up from eating too many Krabby Patties by spending the first half of the episode commercially advertising the sandwich to him, and failing to mention that Krabby Patties can be dangerously addictive like drugs.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: The Krabby Patty double-fried in batter which the customer orders at the beginning, complete with an entire bottle of mayo on the side. Is it any wonder Squidward has never eaten the food there?
  • Oh, Crap!: Once the smugness of being right passes SpongeBob panics upon realizing that Squidward is gorging himself on Krabby Patties, which will blow up his thighs before blowing him up entirely.
  • Patchwork Kids: Squidward imagines himself being in love with a giant Krabby Patty and having a child with it, a little Krabby Patty with octopus tentacles.
  • Plot Hole: So the Krusty Krab's front doors are hooked to a gas-and-match security system but the Patty Vault doesn't have a lock on it?
  • Series Continuity Error: Squidward has never tried a Krabby Patty, despite the fact he was force-fed a bunch of them back in "Your Shoe's Untied." Arguably, he never tasted any of those patties because they were launched down his throat (plus, this is a show that's more concerned with being funny than being consistent).
  • Straw Vegetarian: Squidward wasn't turning down the Krabby Patty to spite SpongeBob, he was just thinking about his health and (accurately) denigrated the sandwich to be greasy and fattening.
  • Tempting Fate: Twice. Squidward asks if he has to eat a Krabby Patty from the garbage, only for a customer to throw one in the trash can. Later, while gorging on Krabby Patties, Squidward sarcastically asks if he's gonna blow up, only for that to happen shortly after.
  • Temporary Bulk Change: Squidward gets massive thighs after he indulges in too many Krabby Patties. His thunderous thighs look like they're filled with cottage cheese.
  • What Have We Ear?: One of SpongeBob's attempts to get Squidward to try a Krabby Patty: "What's that in your ear?"
  • Wingding Eyes: SpongeBob has hearts in his eyes when Squidward tries his first Krabby Patty. When Squidward starts yelling, the hearts turn to mushroom clouds.

Harold: So, ya like browsin' tropes, do ya? WELL WE'LL SHOW YOU, OLD MAN!


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