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Recap / SpongeBob SquarePants S 1 E 14 "SB-129" / "Karate Choppers"

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United States airdate: December 31, 1999

Canada airdate: November 4, 2000

While trying to avoid SpongeBob and Patrick, Squidward accidentally locks himself in the Krusty Krab's walk-in freezer, only to be unthawed in the distant future. This leads to him using a time machine to try to get back to his own time.

Everything is tropes is in the future!

  • A Day in the Limelight: Squidward's first one. He's the main character of the episode, with SpongeBob in more of a supporting role.
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  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Squidward when he time-traveled to the past, judging by the Trilobites and dark sky, must have went into the Precambrian Era. However, the Primitive Sponge and Star exhibit behavior similar to Neanderthals such as wearing loin cloths which dates back to the Middle Paleolithic which occurred at least 500 million years after the Precambrian Era.
  • Animation Bump: The animation looks slightly more polished and thick compared to earlier season 1 episodes. The rest of the season goes with this art-style.
    • Also, the scene of Primtive Sponge and Starfish drooling was done with digital-inking.
  • Amusing Injuries: SpongeTron, one of SpongeBob's many futuristic descendants and exact genetic replicas tells Squidward that the Time Machine he needs to use is "Down the hall on the left." Squidward rushes into it, we hear a can opener and Squidward walks out cut to shreds with his body making a funny springing sound. SpongeTron apologizes and tells Squidward to try the room on the right.
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  • And I Must Scream: Squidward having been trapped in the locker and frozen for 2,000 years.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Everything in the future is chrome. When a flower pops up on the ground, someone comes and spray paints it chrome.
  • Blank White Void: Poor Squidward ends up in one after the time machine went haywire. He thankfully gets out of it though.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Squidward realizes this in the end.
  • Dreadful Musician: The narrator lampshades this about Squidward:
    Narrator: Ah, it is Sunday morning in Bikini Bottom, and it is about time for Squidward to practice his clarinet, so get your ear plugs ready...
  • Eternal English: Zig-zagged. SpongeTron claims that the alphabet has 486 letters in the future, but he still speaks contemporary English.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A quick glimpse at a calendar in the future reveals that Squidward was thawed in the year 4017.
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  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: When Squidward was doing the Madness Mantra mentioned below, SpongeTron snapped him out of his Freak Out by dropping a brick on his head.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: At first Squidward is relieved to be alone in the White Void Room. Not long after that he desperately wants to get back.
  • Here We Go Again!: After it's revealed that Squidward is now the inventor of jellyfishing after teaching prehistoric SpongeBob and Patrick how to jellyfish, he claims he's "going back" to rectify this.
  • Human Popsicle: Squidward after being in the freezer for thousands of years.
  • Irony: Possibly the only instance of this ever happening in the episode was when Squidward orders (present-day) SpongeBob and Patrick to stop bugging him with favors to join them in jellyfishing. But then when he travels to the Precambrian Era, Squidward gets annoyed with the Primitive Sponge and Star being Too Dumb to Live playing with a jellyfish stinging themselves over and over that he forces them to take up jellyfishing instead. It's more civil and less cacophonous.
  • Locked in a Freezer: How Squidward ends up in the future.
  • Malicious Misnaming: "Well, at least there's no sign of SpongeBrat."
  • Multiple Head Case: Future Patrick has two heads.
  • Overly Long Gag: Squidward opening the door revealing SpongeBob asking him if he's ready to go jellyfishing with him and Patrick.
  • Painting the Fourth Wall: SB-129 is actually the production code for the episode. It's the twenty-ninth (individual) episode of season one of SpongeBob.
  • Plot Hole: SpongeBob for some reason never opens the freezer, even though there were frozen Krabby Patties in there.
  • Scary Teeth: Patrick's Precambrian ancestor gives Squidward a big smile for no apparent reason.
  • Smash Cut: Two in quick succession when Squidward is frozen in the meat locker.
    Squidward: Oh, well, someone will realize I'm gone and come looking for me. I'll be out of here in no time.
    (cut to the following time card)
    Narrator: 2,000 years later...
    (cut to Squidward frozen alive)
  • Time Skip: The episode skips 2000 years into the future with Squidward frozen in the freezer.
  • Time-Travel Episode
  • Too Dumb to Live: SpongeBob and Patrick's Precambrian ancestors repeatedly attempt to play catch (or Hot Potato, or whatever it is) with a jellyfish, barehanded; Squidward intervenes to teach them how to jellyfish mostly because their agonized screams are disrupting his clarinet-playing. You COULD make the excuse that they were cavefish with undeveloped brains, so they don't know if it's wrong or right.
  • Troubled Fetal Position: Squidward after realizing he's stuck in the future with SpongeTron.
  • White Void Room: Where Squidward ends up after the time machine breaks down.

United States airdate: December 31, 1999

Canada airdate: November 4, 2000

SpongeBob loves practicing his karate with Sandy, but when Mr. Krabs forbids him from doing karate, he finds himself unable to resist.

Karate Tropers:

  • An Aesop:
    • It's okay to love doing something, but there's a time and place for everything.
    • It's not your business what other people do when they're doing something that has nothing to do with you.
    • It's great to tie in what you love doing into something you do regularly and sharing it with other people.
  • Berserker Tears: SpongeBob, after getting fired.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Sandy threatens SpongeBob with a bottle of hot sauce, which she later downs like water.
    Hot Sauce Drop: By the powers of naughtiness, I command this particular drop of hot sauce to be really, really hot!
  • Break the Cutie: SpongeBob does not handle getting fired with dignity.
  • Cannibal: A fish is fishing for OTHER fish?? (though in real life fish cannibalize their own species/babies or eat smaller, different species of fish but then that wouldn't be cannibalism)
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: SpongeBob was warned by Mr. Krabs not to do karate, but couldn't resist. As Mr. Krabs finds out in the end, just when SpongeBob thought he was going to fire him for real, Mr. Krabs decides that he can do karate with the Krabby Patties.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The hot sauce.
  • Did You Get a New Haircut?: Squidward getting Krabby Patties dumped onto his face is mistaken for a hairdo.
  • Evil Laugh: The drop of hot sauce has one, resemblant of that of Master Hand.
  • Friendly Rivalry: SpongeBob and Sandy in their Karate sparring.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Squidward admits this in the end.
    Squidward: I hate all of you.
  • It's Pronounced "Tro-PAY":
    SpongeBob: I'm practicing my karate, or ka-ra-tay, as some call it.
    Mr. Krabs: Ka-ra-tay? You should be making money-ay, with your spatu-lay.
  • Jerkass Ball: While it was fair of him to warn SpongeBob to stop doing karate in the Krusty Krab, when Mr. Krabs sees SpongeBob outside with Sandy who is attacking him karate-style, Mr. Krabs thinks that SpongeBob didn't take his warning and fires him, sending him into tears. After Sandy explains that it wasn't SpongeBob's fault, Mr. Krabs sternly tells SpongeBob he'll give him a "second chance", still believing that he was playing karate even though Sandy explained everything to him.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Sandy tauntingly calls SpongeBob "SpongeBrain" after his failed attempt to attack her through the phone lines.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: The hot sauce drop has a superimposed live-action face (Tom Kenny) declaring it to be "really, really hot!"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Sandy, when she realizes that she got SpongeBob fired from the Krusty Krab after Mr. Krabs saw her trying to provoke him into a Karate match and mistook it for SpongeBob breaking his promise not to do it anymore.
  • Negative Continuity: Sandy is never seen working at the Krusty Krab after this episode.
  • Reaching Between the Lines: SpongeBob tries to karate chop Sandy through the phone lines, but she ducks and redirects his hand back through the receiver so he karate chops himself.
  • Searching the Stalls: At one point, SpongeBob is told by Squidward to clean the stalls. Since he and Sandy are obsessed with karate, SpongeBob searches each stall for Sandy. When he finds what he thinks is her, it is revealed to be Mr. Krabs, who has had enough of SpongeBob's karate, and tells him that if he catches him doing it again, he will be fired.

Squidward: Who's the barnacle-head who invented TV Tropes anyway?!
SpongeBob and Patrick: [points at him] You are, Squidward! [laughs] (Squidward makes an embarrassed face)
Squidiward: Going back.


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