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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 3 E 7 "As Seen on TV" / "Can You Spare a Dime?"

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United States airdate: March 8, 2002

Canada airdate: December 6, 2002

After SpongeBob receives a very small role in a commercial for the Krusty Krab, he goes from thinking people are recognizing him to believing he's a Hollywood superstar. Unfortunately, this has a negative effect on his job, which he gives up in order to pursue his "new career" as an entertainer.

As Seen on TV contains examples of (YMMV here):


  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Being in a commercial goes to SpongeBob's head, even though he barely appears in it at all.
  • An Aesop: Don't get caught up in stardom. Seeking attention distracts you from doing your job and living out your life.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Squidward and Pearl say their lines in a monotonous, robotic tone in the commercial.
  • Break the Haughty: Happens to SpongeBob when he slips and falls and the patties flip in the air which made him think that his "career" is over. That is until a patty lands on the grill which prompts him to continue "entertaining" the customers.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: A lot of trouble could’ve been avoided if Mr. Krabs should’ve just told SpongeBob he’s not supposed to be entertaining the customers and he’s a fry cook.
  • Comically Missing the Point: SpongeBob when being in a commercial gets into his head. In the ending, he never snaps out of it.
    Mr. Krabs: Well, SpongeBob, looks like you've finally found your calling.
    SpongeBob: I'll say. I'm so glad I gave up fry cooking for this.
  • Advertisement:
  • Dramatic Irony: The audience knows the customers want SpongeBob to cook for them, not entertain them, but he doesn't realize it.
  • Gone Horribly Right: SpongeBob's 10-second cameo in the commercial causes him to believe he's famous and think the customers want entertainment.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first quarter or so is Mr. Krabs getting the Krusty Krab ready for a commercial and giving SpongeBob only a brief cameo in such. The second half of the episode has SpongeBob believe he's became famous for such and eventually forgets his job.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • Squidward & Mr. Krabs were abrasive towards Spongebob, but they were right to be angry with him because Spongebob was getting big headed over being in the commercial, since he barely had any part in it.
    • Mr. Krabs' penny pinching is usually because he's a cheapskate. However in this case, Squidward clearly went over budget on what was supposed to be a 60 second restaurant commercial on a local television station.
  • Advertisement:
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: Mr. Krabs' ad for the Krusty Krab, done on No Budget and with Bad "Bad Acting".
  • Mistaken Identity: While walking to work the morning after the commercial airs, SpongeBob appears to be recognized by an old man, which inflates his ego further. In reality, the old man had mistaken SpongeBob for a box of cereal he saw on another ad.
  • Noodle Implements: All the props and actors Squidward was planning to use for the commercial before Mr. Krabs forced him to get smaller, including actual useless junk (for scene 28.) Some of the crew leaves the set carrying a giant leg in a fishnet stocking.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Squidward playing a blonde girl (Jan) in the commercial.
  • Prima Donna Director: Squidward spends way too much on the Krusty Krab commercial.
  • Rapid-Fire "But!": After Mr. Krabs tells Spongebob that he'll be on the commercial, Squidward protests with a repeated "but". Mr. Krabs retorts him to not throw his "but"s on him and announces that the commercial would be aired tonight.
  • The Slacker: Fred (the "My leg!") fish asks SpongeBob to get him a napkin rather than just be an adult and get it himself.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Mr. Krabs angry over how much people Squidward hired to get paid to work on the commercial fires all of them and rudely tells them to get out.... except for the clown, he stays.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Mr. Krabs' pet worm Mr. Doodles never shows up again after this episode.

United States airdate: March 8, 2002

Canada airdate: December 6, 2002

Mr. Krabs' first dime goes missing, and his first suspect is his cashier, Squidward. Outraged at his boss's first instinct to point fingers at him, Squidward quits and storms out of the building. After some time, SpongeBob finds him on the side of the road, living in a cardboard box. Being the gracious person he is, he decides to take him in, only for Squidward to take advantage of his hospitality.

Can You Spare a Dime contains examples of (YMMV here):

  • All Take and No Give: Squidward does not do anything in return for SpongeBob's generosity.
  • An Aesop:
    • SpongeBob: Don't let people take advantage of you and your hospitality, even if they are in need.
    • Squidward: People in a troubled stage of their life should be working to get out of it, not having other people do it for them.
    • Mr. Krabs: Don't be overly attached to your stuff.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: This episode is infamous because it shows that even a nice guy like Spongebob has his limits.
    SpongeBob: Listen, you crustaceous cheapskate! Squidward's been living in my house driving me crazy! AND YOU'RE NOT GONNA HIRE HIM BACK ALL BECAUSE OF A STUPID DIME!?
  • Body Horror: When Spongebob lifts up Squidward's shirt and both his and Squidward's hearts join together, beating.
    • In the German dub, Squidward gasps in horror at this because he's too shocked to scream.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs
    Squidward: I can be anything I set my mind to! I can be a football player! Or a king! Or a spaceman!
    SpongeBob: Or a football-playing king in space! ...With a mustache!
  • Break the Cutie: SpongeBob. After keeping Squidward for a period of time so long that the old narrator who reads the time cards actually quits, he finally breaks- a hole in the wall, that is, and screams while pushing his bed, with Squidward in it, all the way to the Krusty Krab and almost strangles his boss.
  • Broken Aesop: Spongebob puts back his maid outfit when he witnesses Squidward arguing with Krabs once more (this time, it’s about where Squidward put Mr. Krabs' dime), implying that he didn't learn his lesson to not allow people to take advantage of him.
  • Cardboard Box Home: Squidward ends up living in a box until it gets repossessed.
  • Comically Missing the Point: "What are you saying?"
  • Deadpan Snarker: SpongeBob, of all characters, once he gets fed up with Squidward treating him like a slave. He eventually becomes a screaming snarker when Squidward won't take obvious hints that he should stop being a Lazy Bum and find a job already.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Squidward quits his job without thinking of any backup plan regarding his income, which leads him to being homeless.
  • Dinner Deformation: Squidward is forced to eat his paintings after no one would buy them, and then we see the canvases stretching out his stomach.
  • Entitled Bastard: Squidward becomes incredibly demanding towards the episode's latter half, not only clearly overstepping his boundaries as a guest in Spongebob's house, but having the nerve to snap at him for little things such as not wearing a French Maid Outfit, or serving him a lemon with three seeds in it.
  • Feud Episode: Between Squidward and Mr. Krabs when the former quits after the latter accuses him of stealing his dime.
  • French Maid Outfit: Squidward forces SpongeBob to wear one.
  • Gilligan Cut: "The next time you see me, I'll have this town eating at the palm of my hand." Cut to Squidward begging for change on the sidewalk.
  • Good Feels Good: After his first day of taking care of Squidward, Spongebob acknowledges that while it was exhausting, that at the very least he could feel good about nourishing his broken spirit.
  • Hammer Space: Mr. Krabs' dime falls out of his pocket... and it's a giant stone wheel as big as he is.
    SpongeBob: This is a dime?
    Mr. Krabs: I've been in business a long time, boy.
  • Here We Go Again!: Mr. Krabs rehires Squidward... and forgives him for misplacing his dime. As he watches them argue again, Spongebob quietly slips into his French Maid Outfit again, knowing what to expect.
  • Inspector Javert: Mr. Krabs automatically assumes that Squidward stole his dime based purely on the fact that Squidward is the cashier; thus, as far as he's concerned, Squidward is the only one who could have stolen it. Even when all is said and done, Mr. Krabs assumes that Squidward simply misplaced the dime rather than realizing he had it in his back pocket the whole time on the grounds that "dimes just don't fly into people's pants."
  • Irony: Squidward's attitude towards Spongebob when he's initially taken in.
    Squidward: It's really nice of you to help me in my time of need. I'll try not to be a burden.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Squidward tells Spongebob that the town will be eating out the palm out of his hand. Cut to the next scene with Squidward being homeless, living in a box, and asking for spare change from people passing by.
  • Jerkass: Both Squidward and Mr. Krabs are at their worst here.
  • Jerkass Ball: After taking care of a spoiled Squidward for months, if not a year, Spongebob finally realizes what a jerk Squidward can be and snarks at him under his breath at every opportunity.
  • Karma Houdini: Squidward gets nothing in return for treating SpongeBob like a slave. Either that, or he's just that Easily Forgiven.
  • Lazy Bum: Being waited on hand-and-foot by Spongebob turns Squidward into one of these.
  • Mistaken for Thief: Mr. Krabs accuses Squidward of stealing his first dime, resulting in Squidward quitting his job. The dime is revealed to be in Mr. Krabs' pocket the whole time after SpongeBob explodes and subjects Mr. Krabs to a violent Neck Lift.
  • Naked Apron: SpongeBob's French maid outfit turns out to be backless, revealing his briefs.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Mr. Krabs refuses to consider the rather obvious truth that he simply misplaced the dime himself, and continually accuses Squidward for no other reason than that he needed somebody to blame for it.
    • YMMV, but SpongeBob if you think about it. While Squidward was a complete jerk for taking advantage of him, Spongebob forgets that he was in no obligation to keep Squidward around as long as he did. Even when Gary would try to tell Spongebob that Squidward was taking advantage of him, SpongeBob would make excuses rather than take Gary's concerns seriously. He doesn't even seem to learn from this mistake, as he puts back his maid outfit on at the end of the episode.
  • Nice Guy: SpongeBob definitely qualifies for the first half of the episode. He genuinely worries about Squidward when he quits his job at the Krusty Krab, and when he eventually finds Squidward living on the streets, he selflessly takes him into his home (even letting him sleep in his bed) until he can find work again, and treats the guy like royalty. That is until Squidward pushes him too far.
  • #1 Dime: A literal example with Mr. Krabs. He thinks Squidward stole his first dime, to which they have an argument and Squidward quits his job over it. As it turns out, the dime isn't even an ordinary dime, but a gigantic coin-shaped stone. Mr. Krabs explains the dime's shape by saying he's been in business for a long time.
  • Ocular Gushers: It's a given, but after getting evicted, Squidward cries so hard that SpongeBob soaks up his tears and squeezes them out of him.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: SpongeBob is normally enamored with Squidward and completely oblivious to how much he hates him. It's shocking enough to hear SpongeBob snarking at him under his breath, let alone get in his face and start screaming at him. Then, he storms into Mr. Krabs office and strangles him when he refuses to take Squidward back. Take note that SpongeBob always thinks Mr. Krabs as a benevolent boss and takes every abused but Mr. Krabs' selfishness in this episode has put even the yellow sponge to his breaking point.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Spongebob leaves several hints that Squidward should get a job before hitting his Rage Breaking Point.
  • Rage Breaking Point: When Squidward repeatedly refuses to take Spongebob's obvious hint that he should just get a job already, Spongebob hits his and drags Squidward, bed and all, back to the Krusty Krab to demand that Mr. Krabs rehire Squidward. When Mr. Krabs still refuses, Spongebob loses his temper completely, outright neck lifts Krabs, and shakes him while screaming at him over how stupid the situation is.
    Spongebob: Listen, you crustaceous cheapskate! Squidward's been living at my house, driving me crazy! And you're not gonna hire him back ALL BECAUSE OF A STUPID DIME?! (Cue the first dime falling out)
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Although everything is Played for Laughs, this episode is a realistic portrayal of someone having to deal with another person mooching off of them and the moocher refusing to find a job.
    • Similarly, when Squidward quits his job at the Krusty Krab, he assumes he'll be able to find a new job overnight. Naturally, securing a new job is a much more lengthy and difficult process than that, especially when your skill set is limited to minimum wage professions, and Squidward ends up homeless as a result.
  • Running Gag: Squidward being comically oblivious to whenever someone is accusing him of something.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Invoked. Squidward understands SpongeBob's sarcastic remarks, but he intentionally does this by ignoring the blindingly obvious hints to stop mooching off of SpongeBob and get a job already.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Squidward retaliates at Mr. Krabs wrongly accusing him of stealing just ONE dime by quitting his job as cashier and throwing away his hat. When SpongeBob asks him how he's going to get by without an income now, Squidward claims he has full confidence that he can find another job (an even better one at that), but expectations don't live up to reality and so Squidward goes homeless out on the streets before having to move in with SpongeBob.
    • An especially hilarious case of this occurs (Aside from Squidward) when SpongeBob has cared for Squidward for so long that the old narrator got tired of waiting, forcing them to hire a new one.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Mr Krabs' "stolen" dime was in his back pocket the whole time.
  • Shake Someone, Objects Fall: SpongeBob gets so upset at Mr. Krabs that he picks him up and shakes him, and that causes the dime to fall out of Krabs' back pocket.
  • Spoiled Brat: Squidward takes this Up to Eleven here. Here's one example:
    Squidward: "That lemon has 3 seeds in it. THAT'S AN ODD NUMBER! I can't eat anything odd-numbered!"
    SpongeBob: "Fine, I'll just take it out."
    Squidward: "No, NO! It's already contaminated by the bad lemon! It won't work!"
  • Starving Artist: Squidward is reduced to this after he quits his job as cashier for the Krusty Krab. It is implied that all his job applications faltered for whatever job he strived for (football, astronaut, king) and so he tried selling off his paintings but they flopped.
  • Stealth Pun: Spongebob tells Squidward that nobody will over him happiness off a silver platter... just as a passer-by offers Spongebob a cookie off a silver platter, then walks away before Squidward can take one. Turns out he meant it literally!
  • Taking Advantage of Generosity: What Squidward does to SpongeBob. He gets fed up with it.
  • Tempting Fate: Squidward tells Spongebob that he would try not to be a burden.
  • Time Passes Montage: The succession of time cards as SpongeBob comes downstairs to meet up with Gary.
  • This Loser Is You: Squidward for the viewers of the episode who are unemployed and struggling to find work.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: At first, Squidward is extremely grateful that Spongebob would take him in and promises not to be a burden. Unfortunately, all that doting turns him into a Lazy Bum and a Spoiled Brat who makes Spongebob his slave.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Squidward transitions from a Broken Bird that genuinely appreciates Spongebob's efforts to mend his spirit to a demanding and entitled Lazy Bum who treats SpongeBob as though he were the scum of the earth.
  • Wham Shot: The first dime falling out of Mr. Krabs' pocket when SpongeBob shook him.


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