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Tear Jerker / SpongeBob SquarePants

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"Gary, please come home." [sniffles]
SpongeBob's Despair Event Horizon from "Have You Seen This Snail?"

SpongeBob SquarePants, despite being on air for years, can still bring lots of tragedies to the screen.

The first two films have their own pages here:
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Season 1

    1a - Help Wanted 
  • Right before running to the Krusty Krab to apply for the job of his dreams, he suffers from cold feet and begins to run back home, saying "I can't do this!" Patrick shows up and questions SpongeBob's sudden squeamishness about the situation, ordering him to get the job. This ends up prompting SpongeBob to cry, "I can't! Don't you see?! I'm not good enough..." It does lead to the show's very first Heartwarming Moment when Patrick gives SpongeBob a Rousing Speech which re-motivates him to get his job.

    2b - Ripped Pants 
  • It can be depressing to the unpopular guys or to people who are stuck with the idea of being friend-zoned to watch this episode. SpongeBob loses Sandy's attention (someone that it was hinted that he had feelings for, by the way) to Larry, who is a physically fit and nice guy, overall. Many teenagers could identify themselves with SpongeBob by the time it was aired. The song by the end is just the nail in the coffin.
  • The sheer disappointment in Scooter's "Dude..." after watching SpongeBob fake drowning for attention. It does a very good job cementing just how thoroughly SpongeBob messed up, perhaps even more so than Sandy chewing him out over it.

    4a - Naughty Nautical Neighbors 
  • SpongeBob states that he can name 3 friends right off the bat and proceeds to draw faces on 3 of his fingers, declaring "the gang's all here", before breaking into tears. This can be relatable to those who don't have a lot of friends.
    • The episode’s plot itself, revolving around Spongebob and Patrick hating one another after Squidward made them believe they were saying mean things to each other, all because they were making noises outside while he was trying to enjoy a meal. It’s quite sad to see such a good pair of friends suddenly despise one another. Thankfully, they’re back to being pals by the end.

    5a - Pizza Delivery 
  • The end goes off as this until Squidward takes matters into his own hands. After spending all day (and night, presumably) lost in the wilderness, SpongeBob doggedly keeps the pizza through tornadoes and starvation so that the customer can get the order he wants. But when they get there, the customer believes he ordered a drink, and rejects his entire order in anger. The actual stinger comes when the guy who ordered it says this line, even though we know that Spongebob never lets any customer down:
    Recipient: [shoves the pizza in SpongeBob's face] Didn't you ever once think of the customer?! You call yourself a delivery boy?! WELL I AIN'T BUYING!!! (slams the door on SpongeBob)
    • And then after having the door slammed in his face, SpongeBob staggers to Squidward, who actually tries to comfort him before he finally breaks down sobbing. Even he knows this was just too far.
      Squidward: Sponge...? Sponge? I-It's okay. Sponge...? (SpongeBob collapses facefirst to the ground and sobs inconsolably) Sponge...? (SpongeBob keeps sobbing)
    • Fortunately, Squidward marches to the door, and slams the pizza in the asshole's face.
    • For those who work in food/retail industry, this scene can really hit close to home for anyone who has ever had a similar experience in the past.
    • It wasn't even SpongeBob's fault to begin with. Assuming the customer truly did order a drink to go along with his pizza, it was Mr. Krabs who took the order in the first place and didn't even bother to confirm it before hanging up; SpongeBob was just delivering it. Worse still, he never even got the chance to explain himself or diffuse the situation. If the customer had not lost his temper like that and allowed him, he would've told him that he'll compensate for his apparent failure by going back and returning with his drink as he asked for (especially since it turns out the customer's house was literally across the street from the Krusty Krab), and maybe even offer a discount on the final price as well for added measure. But no, he never got that chance.
      • What's even worse is, in real life, a customer could display even WORSE behavior than above, particularly one that even involves physical violence, yet you'll STILL be expected to take full responsibility for it anyway.
      • The customer from the get-go is foreshadowed to an Entitled Bastard, demanding a pizza delivered to his house from a restaurant that neither makes pizzas or delivers, AND he calls when the Krusty Krab is closed. SpongeBob nonetheless remains resilient and enthusiastic about serving this guy the entire arduous journey, assured the customer is always right, only to get torn apart with another ridiculous demand when he finally makes it.
      • From SpongeBob's perspective, he feels like he completely failed everyone, failing Mr. Krabs for not satisfying the customer, failing Squidward for dragging him all that way for nothing, failing the customer for not fulfilling his order, and himself for not succeeding. Being so loyal to his job, his breakdown can be seen as him blaming himself for messing things up.
      • Weirder still, it's possible the customer ordered the drink right when Mr. Krabs hung up the phone, as you can hear the phone's gibberish continue right before he hangs up.

    5b - Home Sweet Pineapple 
  • SpongeBob is genuinely devastated over his pineapple being destroyed. The fact that Squidward is overjoyed over the whole ordeal just makes things worse.
    • He then decides that he must move back with his parents, pictured with them smiling on a picture, but when Patrick replies that he doesn't have to, they are pictured with a sad look on their faces. It makes sense, considering parents love being and spending time with their kids in real life.
    • When it's time for him to go, he tearfully buries the pebble left over from the nematodes' attack...but then said pebble he buries turns out to be a seed, which regrows the pineapple.
      • And then there's Patrick. The poor guy just sobs when SpongeBob's parents arrive, and the moment where he hysterically and desperately grabs their boat to keep his best friend is so, so heartwrenching.
    • The entire episode is just saddening, as the prospect of SpongeBob moving out of his beloved pineapple can really hit home for some fans.

    6b - Pickles 
  • SpongeBob is so shook up from getting a Krabby Patty order wrong that his mind becomes completely dysfunctional. The poor guy can't even form sentences in the proper order and is nailing food to the wall when Mr. Krabs finds him.

    7a - Hall Monitor 
  • The mortified and remorseful look on SpongeBob's face and the way he slowly flinches when Ms. Puff angrily scolds him for causing chaos in the city.

    8b - Squeaky Boots 
  • Mr. Krabs gives SpongeBob the boots and then steals them back, leaving SpongeBob sobbing and telling Mr. Krabs that he let him down for "losing" them. It's always the characters crying over minor things that are the saddest.
    • When Mr. Krabs tries to comfort him saying that it's not the end of the world, SpongeBob replies, "Yes, it is!", and even tries out the "magic oven mitts" on his feet, but, "They're not the same!"
    • Mr. Krabs expressing true genuine guilt afterward.

    9a - Nature Pants 
  • The picnic scene where Patrick begs SpongeBob to come back. He even has to be dragged by Sandy when SpongeBob finalizes his decision and leaves.
  • Patrick going berserk and viciously chasing SpongeBob, especially when he admits defeat, is just heartbreaking.
    Patrick: Okay! So this is the way it's gonna be! I hope you're happy... (angrily snaps the jellyfish net in two before tearfully walking away)
  • SpongeBob realizes the error of living with the jellyfish and walks back to Bikini Bottom. He looks at the Krusty Krab, then at Sandy's tree dome, and then walks back to his house.
    SpongeBob: What have I done? I had a great life and friends, and I gave all of that up.

    9b - Opposite Day 
  • Patrick's reaction SpongeBob harshly tells him that he doesn't want to meet him again? He bursts into tears.
    Patrick: SpongeBob doesn't like me anymore!
    SpongeBob: (opening the door) That's right! You're my worst enemy!
    (Patrick flops on the ground in a sobbing tantrum.)
    • It turns out that it was Opposite Day and SpongeBob was just playing along with it, but imagine going to your best friend's house (one that you've known since you were a baby) and instantly being rejected for no good reason.

    10b - F.U.N. 
  • Plankton crying near the beginning of the episode. It's the first time we've ever seen his sympathetic side. And then Mr. Krabs, Squidward, and some Bikini Bottomites all show up to rub it in his face.
    Plankton: You don't know what it's like to be a loser.
  • SpongeBob finding out that Plankton stole the Krabby Patty Mr. Krabs had previously set him up with. As soon as he finds out, he breaks down sobbing and asks Plankton how long he had been planning this, realizing the friendship he had set up with the guy was all fake.
    • Even harsher is that midway through the episode, it seems like Plankton really was willing to change, until Karen talked him out of it. Plankton never tells SpongeBob this in his confession, perhaps if he had SpongeBob wouldn't have written Plankton off as a lost cause.

    11b - Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost 
  • Even though it's ultimately Played for Laughs, what with Squidward's confused reaction and being surrounded by seagulls, there's something oddly touching about the ending where Squidward is sent "up to the great beyond". It could be SpongeBob and Patrick's reassuringly calm voices, the bittersweet Background Music, the cinematography, or perhaps all three aspects at once.
  • After Stephen Hillenburg's passing, the ending of this episode can be rather touching, though bittersweet, with Spongebob and Patrick saying goodbye and wishing "happy trails" to their friend as he travels to the "great beyond". It can hit close to home if you grew up with this show, as it's if Spongebob and Patrick are seeing off their creator and wishing him well wherever he is now.
    SpongeBob: He's on the other side now...
    Patrick: Yeah, he's in a better place.

    12a - The Chaperone 

    12b - Employee of the Month 
  • The Downer Ending of the episode where the Krusty Krab is destroyed from SpongeBob and Squidward competing too hard. While this was partially brought on by Mr. Krabs himself, he couldn't have ever predicted it would get this bad. It's hard not to feel sorry for him when he's forced to watch as civilians take a way the Krabby Patties from the aftermath and he looks as well as sounds so miserable, yet his employees, being so hyper-focused on the award, ignore his plight. The fact that the episode just ends there makes it even worse.

    13b - I Was a Teenage Gary 
  • SpongeBob leaves Gary in Squidward's care as he goes to a jellyfish convention for the weekend. Squidward neglects Gary by forgetting about him, and by the time he remembers, Gary looks increasingly ill due to dehydration. When SpongeBob returns from his trip, he sees Gary in this state, bursts into tears and cradles Gary in his arms, begging Squidward to do something to help. It can really strike a chord with many pet owners.

    14a - SB- 129 
  • There's the scene where Squidward returns to the time machine, and breaks down sobbing how badly he wants to go home since he misses Bikini Bottom, his Easter Island head, and even SpongeBob.

    14b - Karate Choppers 
  • The following moment. The setup is that after SpongeBob acts so paranoid over Sandy jumping him that he attacks customers, Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob to never perform karate again, or else he'll be fired. Keep in mind SpongeBob's passion for his job and for the Krusty Krab. And when Sandy attacks him despite his pleas for her to stop, Mr. Krabs catches him and thinks he defied his orders despite him doing nothing about it:
    Mr. Krabs: SpongeBob... you're FIRED!!
    Sandy: (turns to SpongeBob) Huh?
    SpongeBob: (looks like he's about to cry; shrill voice) Fired? (face disappears like water in a drain)
    Mr. Krabs: (somewhat surprised) Eh?
    Sandy: ...SpongeBob?
    (SpongeBob's face suddenly reappears after a few seconds as bursts into tears and runs away.)
    • Mind you, SpongeBob cares for his job and the Krusty Krab itself a LOT. In fact, he'd prioritize it even over one of his favorite hobbies, no matter how much he doesn't want to. Thus, SpongeBob broke down not only from getting fired, but the fact that it took no more than 30 seconds for the very consequence he was determined to avoid at all costs to still happen anyway. And it wasn't even his fault to begin with. Sure, he gives him another chance and declares the dismissal null when Sandy clears the misunderstanding, but still, he really should have paid more attention to what was going on instead of jumping the conclusion that SpongeBob deliberately disobeyed him.

    17a - Arrgh! 
  • Oddly enough, the episode has one. When SpongeBob and Patrick complain about going on a wild goose chase of a treasure hunt led by Mr. Krabs, he mourns that without a loyal crew, a captain's nothing. This in itself is just a ploy on Krabs' part to get them to stick around, but it works.

    18a - Texas 
  • Sandy becomes homesick and even sings a song expressing it (everybody who hears it ends up crying). She then decides to actually return home. Thankfully, SpongeBob and Patrick manage to convince her otherwise (through hilarious means, however).

    19a - Fools in April 
  • The April Fools' Plot. It's pretty funny, up until the scene where Squidward viciously pranks SpongeBob, to everyone else's disgust. It goes straight into tearjerker territory as Squidward laughs during the prank, while SpongeBob is yelling in fear the whole time. It gets worse as SpongeBob runs away in tears, and everyone calls out Squidward for his jerkassery ("April Fools, jerk!"). Later, he gives a disheveled, depressed SpongeBob an insincere apology to ease his own conscience. After that, he flashes back to everyone else's reaction to the prank. "It must have been pretty good to make him CRY like that," Patrick says. Eventually, a hallucination of Squidward's own MOTHER appears to scold Squidward, "YOU STINK!" That leads to the kicker — Squidward collapses before SpongeBob's door and breaks down, apologizing for the prank, and says how much he actually LIKES SpongeBob despite how annoying he is, and how he appreciates everything about him. Happy tears ensue for the audience when SpongeBob opens the door, and is completely back to his old self, cheerfully smiling, haven completely forgiven Squidward.
    • And then the whole thing turns out to be an April Fools joke on SpongeBob's end...
  • A minor example would be at the beginning of the episode, where SpongeBob announces to Gary that they were going to move from home and live like peasants, even telling Gary he was going to feed him nothing but salted clam shells. This causes Gary to cry, which makes anyone feel for the poor snail. Thankfully, it turned out to be an April Fools joke from SpongeBob.

    19b - Neptune's Spatula 
  • Neptune constantly shaming SpongeBob for not being the person he expected to be his royal frycook.

    20a - Hooky 
  • Krabs is horrified when he discovers that SpongeBob and Patrick are playing on the fishing hooks. He rushes to stop them before they get hurt, but just before he arrives, SpongeBob and Patrick are carried away on the hooks. Krabs collapses onto the ground and cries, lamenting that he couldn't save them in time, even saying "If only I could hold them in me arms again..." It's little moments like this, especially in the first season, that show that Krabs really does have a heart under his gruff exterior and really does want to look out for SpongeBob and Patrick.
  • Later on in the episode, SpongeBob's sheer terror over being "hooked" (his clothing getting snagged on a fishing hook,) is kind of hard to watch. He sounds completely terrified and is sobbing due to the stress of the situation.

    20b - Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II 
  • A small example. SpongeBob abuses the power of the Conch Signal, running Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy ragged with several pointless, petty errands. Eventually, Barnacle Boy snaps at SpongeBob very angrily, chewing him out for being such a pain in the neck. SpongeBob's response is to well up with tears, and say, "I'm sorry... I just wanted to spend time with you... You guys are my HEROES!" and break down sobbing. But Barnacle Boy tells him it's too late, and proceeds to destroy the Conch Signal with his Sulfur Vision... or at least he tries because he's so old, so he decides to use something back at the Mermalair instead. Mermaid Man, however, while he agrees that SpongeBob is not mature enough to handle the Conch Signal, persuades Barnacle Boy to stop giving him a hard time and allows SpongeBob go "on patrol" with them for a day.

Season 2

    2a - Something Smells 
  • The scene in which SpongeBob breaks down in tears at the movie theater, (at one point curling up into a Troubled Fetal Position,) and says, "I can't do it, Patrick! I try, and I try, but... I'm not always as confident as I look! Maybe I should just go back home and hide!" It's Played for Laughs, but his sobbing sounds so broken that it's hard not to feel a pang of sympathy for him there.

    3a - Big Pink Loser 
  • When Patrick accidentally gets one of SpongeBob's awards, he's so excited he wants to go tell everyone, only to realize it's SpongeBob's. After seeing SpongeBob has a closet full of them, his reaction is heartbreaking.
    Patrick: I want an award!
    SpongeBob Aww, Patrick, don't cry. (Patrick proceeds to cry anyway.) You'll get an award one day.
    Patrick: I'm never gonna get an award (collapses on ground) 'cause I've never done anything!
  • Patrick's growing frustration as he fails to do the simplest tasks at the Krusty Krab is hilarious, but can also make you feel sorry for him, especially his reaction to when SpongeBob gets a whole heap of awards delivered to him, leading to Patrick losing it.
  • There's also his reaction to SpongeBob trying to imitate him in response to Patrick doing so to the sponge. Instead of acting comically offended or even think of going back to his normal self, Patrick calmly and annoyedly asks what's so great about being a big pink loser before solemnly noting he wasn't a step closer to an award the minute he started copying his best friend. Thankfully, he finally gets an award and returns back to his normal self shortly after.

    4a - Dying for Pie 
  • Imagine giving a gift to someone you love only to realize too late that the present you've given to him/her was actually dangerous. The worst thing is that same gift was consumable and you think that the same person you gave it, your loved one, consumed it. You then decide to give him/her, in his/her last moments, what he/she wishes for in his/her life before passing. That's what's Squidward feeling and the plot of this whole episode for ya. Pretty sad even if it's coming from a SpongeBob episode. Granted, Squidward hates the sponge, but it was demonstrated in the show before that he actually cares for him deep down inside.
  • The music playing in the scene just before Squidward says he's going to make SpongeBob's day meaningful might even bring a tear for sensitive viewers [1]
  • When SpongeBob and Squidward are watching the sunset:
    SpongeBob: You know, if I were to die right now in some fiery explosion due to the carelessness of a friend, well, that would just be okay. (cut to Squidward tearing up)
  • And then, near the end, there's Squidward bawling over how he killed SpongeBob, saying how he at least made his last day meaningful. It turns out that he never actually ate the pie-bomb in the first place, but still.
  • A little moment, when Krabs is audibly sobbing while putting up a new "Help Wanted" sign. With SpongeBob apparently eating the pie and knowing that he will die at sunset if he really did ate it, Mr. Krabs is really upset about what will happen to him. He then makes another appearance towards the end, in SpongeBob's thoughts, and runs off crying yet again.
  • The look on SpongeBob's face after Squidward disgustedly throws the handmade sweater at him. That's the reacting you too would have if someone rejects a gift that you were willing to give them after spending all this time making said gift. He even made a sweater out of his own tears, for crying out loud!

    4b - Imitation Krabs 
  • When a customer questions what the secret formula contains, SpongeBob literally rips his head off, revealing a smaller fish underneath (said head actually came from a "head-enhancement clinic") who runs away crying. That was a little harsh, wasn't it?

    5a - Wormy 

    5b - Patty Hype 
  • The very beginning shows the Krusty Krab interior covered in dust and spider webs with dreary music playing, with Squidward blowing dust off of himself, and SpongeBob dusting off spider webs. The most depressing part is when Mr. Krabs reveals the Krusty Krab had zero customers for 36 days.
  • A little one, when Mr. Krabs and Squidward make SpongeBob cry by mocking his idea of "Pretty Patties-" vibrantly colored Krabby Patties — along with other ideas SpongeBob has of drawing customers and making things interesting, believing they are all childish. Eventually, SpongeBob actually gets angry — something we don't see him do a lot — and says, in an uncharacteristically determined way, "I KNOW this is a good idea! YOU'LL SEE!" He runs out of the restaurant to embark on a solo entrepreneurship. A little later, having lost confidence, he starts crying again and says, "Maybe Mr. Krabs was right... maybe my idea is dumb!"

    6a - Grandma's Kisses 
  • SpongeBob's hysterical rant about how he doesn't want to grow up hits a very tender nerve. More specifically, he spends the entire episode trying to act more grown-up around his grandmother, but then he finally snaps and goes into a fit of tears, yelling how he wants to do everything he wanted to do as a kid again, and wants some of the moments back.
    SpongeBob: I don't wanna grow up! I want cookies! And milkie! I want a sweater with love in the stitches! I wanna wear diadies! I wanna ride in my wagon! I wanna cuddle-wuddle with Mister Stuffykins! I wanna rocky-rock on my seahorsey! And I want kissy-kissy on my boo-boo! (breaks down crying)
    • ESPECIALLY if you grew up with the show and happen upon the episode again once you're older.
    • Plus where SpongeBob is made fun of for the kissy mark on his forehead. The fact that his tormenters never get any comeuppance and even spy on him and his grandma at the end of the episode makes it worse.
      SpongeBob: I have been publicly humiliated for the last time! (runs off crying)

    7a - Prehibernation Week 
  • Sandy becomes even more distressed when SpongeBob points out that they only have 168 more hours of play time. The idea of not seeing SpongeBob until spring genuinely upsets her. No wonder the guy immediately offers to spend all his spare time with her.
  • Sandy's games become too much for SpongeBob, and because she's too obsessed with doing every single extreme sport before she starts hibernation, he runs away. Sandy then cuts her activities short and forces the whole town to help her find SpongeBob. At first, it's Played for Laughs, until everyone bails on Sandy and she tries to find SpongeBob alone. She's ripping buildings off their foundations, screaming for him, clearly getting more and more desperate. For all she knows, he's in terrible danger and she has to find him before winter.
  • After Sandy finds SpongeBob, she immediately tries to go back to their hazardous activities, pleading that there's no time to wait when he doesn't budge. SpongeBob decides to come clean about why he ran away, falling to pieces as he does so. The kicker is when he begs for Sandy to forgive him, believing that, since he agreed to be with her during her remaining days awake and backed out on the deal, she won't want to be his friend anymore.

    7b - Life of Crime 
  • This quote:
    SpongeBob: No more nice warm beds. No more Krabby Patties. No more getting mail. No more Gary. No more movies. No more Squidward. No more Sandy or Pearl or Mr. Krabs, NO MORE ANYTHING!
    Patrick: (crying) I WANT ICE CREAM!

     8 - Christmas Who? 

    9b - Dumped 
  • Gary becomes friends with Patrick and begins to play with him instead of SpongeBob. Throughout the episode, SpongeBob tries to get Gary to come back to him with toys and his favorite snacks. It ultimately ends up with SpongeBob trying one last time to get Gary to come back by offering things to Gary he wasn't allowed to do before. Gary goes back to SpongeBob, only because he wanted Patrick for the cookie in his pocket.
  • Patrick goes as far as to actually exploit SpongeBob's sadness for his sake, claiming Gary likes him now and there's no chance he'll be coming back.

    10b - I'm Your Biggest Fanatic 
  • The Jellyspotters viciously calling SpongeBob a loser and cruelly laughing about it. Even worse is SpongeBob's asking about his membership in the club just causes them to laugh even harder, and Kevin gleefully reveals they were never going to grant membership to someone like him. You can visibly see the heartbreak and betrayal on SpongeBob's face as he's left in tears, while the Jellyspotters continue to mock him.

    13a - Shanghaied 
  • The episode has three endings, one where each character (SpongeBob, Patrick, or Squidward) gets the final wish. Most fans who saw subsequent airings or home releases of the episode may remember the SpongeBob ending, which somehow manages to be hilarious since even though they didn't escape the Flying Dutchman's clutches, they at least weren't eaten. The other two endings, however, are quite different. Patrick and Squidward pretty much share the same ending, and we warn you it's not a happy one.
  • To make matters worse, neither of them, including SpongeBob, wished the Dutchman would not eat them.

    14a - Welcome to the Chum Bucket 
  • Plankton wins SpongeBob's contract from Krabs, forcing SpongeBob to work for him, much to their despair, and when Plankton shows up to make it clear that it's reality and not a cruel, sick joke, Mr. Krabs is helpless from his sadness, not even trying to fight back. But as SpongeBob breaks into tears, devastated that he won't be able to work at the Krusty Krab anymore, Mr. Krabs becomes even more miserable, feeling guilty for betting his best employee's work contract and losing due to (apparently) his overconfidence from all the consecutive card games he won against Plankton for 15 years, and they hug and cry in each other's arms. And Plankton doesn't feel ANY remorse whatsoever.
    SpongeBob: But Mr. Krabs! I don't wanna work for him! I wanna work for you, here at the Krusty Krab! (he hugs Mr. Krabs, crying)
    Mr. Krabs: I'm sorry, boy! (cries) It's all my fault! (continues to cry)
    Plankton: (feigning sadness) What kind of a cold, heartless would break apart such a loving relationship? I WOULD! (jumps on Mr. Krabs' nose and detaches SpongeBob off of him, with Krabs' arms still attached to SpongeBob)
    Mr. Krabs: SpongeBob!
    SpongeBob: Mr. Krabs! (lands inside a cage, with Mr Krabs' arms flying off from him)
    Plankton: This is your greatest blunder, Krabs. For fifteen years, I've been throwing those card games just waiting for you to slip-up. I may not have the precious Krabby Patty formula, but I've got the next best thing: the guy who makes 'em! I'm gonna run you out of business, Krabs! (reveals a propeller in the cage, which starts flying to the Chum Bucket with SpongeBob inside)
    SpongeBob: Mr. Krabs!
    Mr. Krabs: SpongeBob! (starts crying again)
  • "The sign says kitchen, but my heart says jail."
  • The Distant Duet SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs sing is just so sad, especially the part where they stare out the window at each other. They feel so far away from each other with no hope of reuniting, despite the short distance between the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket. So close and yet so far, indeed. To twist the knife even further, the song ends with SpongeBob collapsing on the floor, crying in despair.

    15a - The Secret Box 
  • The "friends forever" scene. Doubles as heartwarming. Basically, we see SpongeBob and Patrick's lives since they were born, up until they're dead, buried together, all set to them laughing through the years. Also, Patrick's reaction when he discovers SpongeBob's Best Friends Forever ring after he tried to steal the secret box really hurts, as he tearfully declares that their friendship is over (thankfully, he was just kidding, but still...).
  • Before that, a picture of SpongeBob and Patrick falls on SpongeBob's head and splits in half. This foreshadows the consequences of stealing the box when Patrick wakes up, a visual metaphor of the distrust he gives his best friend and the imminent end to their friendship.

    15b - Band Geeks 
  • The entire episode. Sure, it's hilarious, particularly the total lack of good things to say about Squidward, but his utter despair as the band starts... and then the look on his face as it's actually good.
  • And let's not forget this quote:
    Squidward: Well... you did it. You took my one chance at happiness... and crushed it. Crushed it into little tiny bite-size pieces! I really had expected better of you people—I guess I'm a loser for that, too! Don't bother showing up tomorrow... I'll just tell them you all DIED in a marching accident. (as he walks away in tears) So thanks... thanks for nothing!
    • This quote is significant in that it's among the rare moments of Squidward being the show's resident Butt-Monkey not being Played for Laughs.
  • "Sweet Victory" can invoke tears of joy, especially if you grew up on this show.

    18b - Artist Unknown 
  • SpongeBob breaking down in tears of humiliation after Squidward gives him an unnecessarily harsh critique of his artwork. Can hit a little close to home to many art students in similar situations (doesn't hurt that the episode was written by someone who attended an art school).
    • As SpongeBob is trudging away in sadness, Squidward watches him with a sad look on his face, almost as if he feels bad for him.
  • The latter half of the episode is sad in a pretty understated way, lost in the genuine comedy. Because of his harsh words, Squidward has successfully broken SpongeBob's artistic spirit so much that SpongeBob is unable to create any of the great things he once was (because they're "not in the book"). Worse is that it's a thing that can happen in real life.

Season 3

    2b - My Pretty Seahorse 

    3a - Just One Bite 
  • The sheer fact that Squidward actually realizes he LIKES Krabby Patties, but he made a big spiel about hating them to SpongeBob beforehand - despite never trying one. A lot of people have things they like they might secretly be ashamed of; especially when they try to save face by lying about hating that thing. Squidward's desperation to get a Patty behind everyone's back can oddly be heartwrenching.

    3b - The Bully 
  • SpongeBob talking to Patrick on the phone and begging him for help; by the end of it, he's actually crying. Anyone who's ever been bullied as a child or has ever comforted a bullied child would have a hard time not tearing up with the poor guy.
    SpongeBob: Please Patrick! I'm so scared it feels like I'm going to throw up!
  • The entire episode is a glaring example of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished for SpongeBob the All-Loving Hero. Despite attempting to befriend Flats from the get-go, gently informing Flats's father about his experiences to stop Flats's bullying tendencies but still being generous enough to call his tormentor a "fine boy," and even saving Flats' life literally right after the flounder was trying to run him over and then bringing him flowers in the hospital to comfort him, all of his compassionate acts are swept aside by Flats' insistence on "kicking his butt."
  • Perhaps the worst part of the episode is that Flats gets away with the psychological torment he brought down upon SpongeBob. Talking to Mrs. Puff about it is no good because Flats simply makes up the lie of "I'm gonna kick your butt!" being a friendly and misunderstood colloquialism and Mrs. Puff believes it, and while Flats does collapse after failing to beat down the punch-resistant SpongeBob, Mrs. Puff mistakes the resulting scene for SpongeBob beating up Flats and it's implied she punishes SpongeBob instead. Keep in mind, this is before Mrs. Puff became a psychopath in later episodes. And sadly, there are one too many cases of school bullying victims getting punished while the perpetrators get off scot-free, though in the modern day, teachers are much more wise to bullies trying to play the Wounded Gazelle Gambit.

    6b - One Krabs Trash 
  • It's very brief, but when SpongeBob declines to give Mr. Krabs his soda drinking hat after just calling him beautiful, Mr. Krabs leaves in frustration, but not before he quickly comes back to rudely tell him that he's not actually beautiful, and this clearly hurts SpongeBob's feelings. Good GOD, that was cruel!

    7b - Can You Spare a Dime? 
  • Seeing poor Squidward bawl like a broken man. The poor bastard having just lost his home, job, paintings—everything.

    7b - Squilliam Returns 

    8a - Krab Borg 
  • Spongebob and Squidward interrogating Mr. Krabs starts out funny, as they ask him a bunch of nonsensical questions while the latter has no idea what they're even talking about. Then they start smashing Mr. Krabs' possessions, which causes the poor guy to cry out in anguish, but it's still mostly played for laughs. Then Spongebob brings in the Krusty Krab's cash register, which finally causes Mr. Krabs to completely break down into heartbroken and incoherent sobs. It's seeing this very human emotion that causes Spongebob and Squidward to finally realize their mistake.

    9b - Rock-a-Bye-Bivalve 
  • The climax is pretty sad to watch. After Patrick and SpongeBob get in a heated argument over the former's poor performance as a parent, Junior jumps out of the window, (learning to fly for the first time). SpongeBob and Patrick race over to rescue him, but when they fail to catch him, they break down, crying, "WE'RE BAD PARENTS!" It can be especially saddening for parents who feel they aren't doing their job properly.

    12a - Chocolate with Nuts 
  • The part where the con artist pretends to be badly and shockingly injured (the way he describes it to SpongeBob and Patrick is enough of a Tear Jerker in itself), followed by him laughing about swindling money from the two yet again (while holding the money he had just stolen from them on top of it). What a very clever jerkass. Worse, Spongebob and Patrick never learn that it was a scam, meaning they left thinking they were genuinely helping someone in need, when that couldn't have been further from the truth.

    13a - New Student Starfish 
  • It's a small one, yet still heartbreaking.
    Patrick: Hey, SpongeBob, wanna go jellyfishing?
    SpongeBob: Sorry, Patrick, I can't. I have school today.
    Patrick: Well, what am I supposed to do all day while you're at school?
    SpongeBob: I don't know. What do you normally do while I'm gone?
    Patrick: (tearfully) Wait for you to get back.
  • Another small moment, but it's sad to see SpongeBob cry when Mrs. Puff removes one of his many stars from the Good Noodle chart. This line especially counts:
    SpongeBob: I'm a good noodle! I'm a good noodle!

    15a - The Great Snail Race 
  • The episode has SpongeBob become obsessed in winning a racing contest with Gary, turning into a coach for him and ultimately becoming rather abusive. When Gary is left exhausted by the time of the race, he struggles on as SpongeBob tears into him. Then as Gary starts to finally undergo a Heroic RRoD, things finally start to hit SpongeBob, and, in a very meek and remorseful sounding voice, he starts begging Gary to stop. Gary doesn't, though, and begins acting like an out-of-control race car, before crashing and exploding. The worst part? The spectators cheer at the crash because it looked cool (though they also could have been cheering because it was immediately clear that Gary was okay), and Squidward was mercilessly laughing at the situation, knowing he was right about a "mongrel mutt" not being able to win.

    15b - Mid-Life Crustacean 
  • The beginning of the episode can hit close to home for older audiences if they've ever suffered a midlife crisis.

    16a - Born Again Krabs 
  • After it looks like Mr. Krabs has died of food poisoning, Squidward finds Mr. Krabs' nose hair clippings and uses it, much to SpongeBob's objections.
    SpongeBob: (crying) Squidward, you shouldn't be going through Mr. Krabs' belongings. (sniffs) HE WON'T LIKE IT!
  • Then after Squidward chews out Mr. Krabs for selling SpongeBob's soul to the Flying Dutchman for a measly 62 cents, Mr. Krabs realizes his mistake and breaks down sobbing, to the point that he even throws the coins onto the floor. If he goes as far as being disgusted of his own money, then you know that the situation is anything but good, and he genuinely regrets giving to his weakness, which cost him SpongeBob.
    Mr. Krabs: Oh, what have I done? I want another chance! I didn't learn anything! I lost me best fry cook! I don't want this foul money! I want SpongeBob back!

     19 - The Sponge Who Could Fly 

Season 4

     3 - Have You Seen This Snail? 
  • Despite having a few genuinely funny moments (including the memetic "SpongeBob and Patrick drop by Squidward's house" scene), most of the episode touches nearly every emotional button of pet owners at the heartbreaking prospect of them running away and leaving them all alone. And there just had to be a montage of SpongeBob looking for Gary all over town and a song about how much he missed him. It's an easy competitor for one of, if not, the saddest SpongeBob episode, even by the show's standards.
  • The Grief Song, simply called "Gary's Song", doesn't help the matter either. If you ever lost a pet you loved so much, this song can especially be very hard to listen to.
    More than a pet, you're my best friend
    Too cool to forget
    Come back, 'cause we are family, and forgive me for making you wanna roam
    Now my heart is beating like the saddest metronome
    Somewhere, I hope you're reading my latest three-word poem:
    Gary, come home...

    4b - Good Neighbors 
  • Squidward chewing out SpongeBob and Patrick for completely ruining his Sunday and taking away his pedicure, to the point of calling them the worst neighbors ever. This causes the two to be reduced to total depression and realize they've been horrible to their neighbor, and thus, they leave in sadness.
    • SpongeBob and Patrick trying to apologize to Squidward, even offering him a cake in return, but he rejects it.

    8a - Patrick Smartpants 
  • The episode has Patrick going from his usual dumb self to a genius (because his head was accidentally replaced with brain coral), which eventually alienates SpongeBob so much they can't be friends. Then, there's the scene where they look at their old photo albums of each other.
    • It's also a point to mention that at the same time, Patrick (after it becomes apparent that his being smart is alienating him from his friends) does the same thing in his rock... and ends up being the one we see cry.
      Patrick: Oh, the Glory Days... Why have we grown apart?

    10b - Chimps Ahoy 
  • Sandy's sincerely beautiful, mournful song about how much she'll miss Bikini Bottom, especially all her friends. It even drives SpongeBob and Patrick to tears.

    11a - Whale of a Birthday 
  • Seeing Pearl cry when her Sweet Sixteen is ruined can hit close to home for people who have parents who don't care about their children. It gets better when SpongeBob buys all the presents she wanted with Mr. Krabs' credit card.
  • While there are moments across the series where Mr. Krabs' cheapness is played for laughs, this one was hit seriously when he always lets it get in the way of throwing Pearl a good birthday party. It made Pearl feel like he cares more about money than her.

    12a - All That Glitters 
  • SpongeBob's crying, while annoying and Played for Laughs given he's crying over a spatula, is still very understandable. He treated Spat like it's an actual person (proven true later on as it's shown to be alive) and was there for it when it broke in half and was sent to the hospital.
  • SpongeBob had to sell everything he has just to get a high tech replacement, Le Spatula, a French Jerk who just straight up runs away because the food he was bought to cook isn't what he expected it to be, leaving the poor sponge with no roof to sleep under nor anything to wear.
  • Finally, after all the trouble he went through, Spat recovers, but rejects SpongeBob in the infirmary, leaving the latter to cry once more all the way back to the Krusty Krab, showing that he went through all that pain just to have Spat reject him too. SpongeBob felt like he failed everyone:
    • Spat for breaking him and buying a replacement.
    • Le Spatula for misusing him.
    • Mr. Krabs for not having a spatula to flip patties.
    • The fat customer who ordered the Monster Krabby Patty in the first place.
    • Himself for going through all the pain and suffering and having to lose everything.

    13a - New Leaf 
  • Mr. Krabs first thinks Plankton is setting up a scheme to steal the formula by converting the Chum Bucket into a gift shop. In a fit of rage, he destroys it, leaving Plankton to yell "GEEEEET OOOOOOUT!" to him. When Mr. Krabs realizes that Plankton was telling the truth about his surrender, he calls him later that night to apologize:
    Mr Krabs: Uh, hey.
    Plankton: Hey.
    Mr Krabs: Listen, uh, I just wanted know...apologize for my behavior today. Wasn't right what I done. And I realized I hurt the feelings of, uh, someone I care about.
    • Considering this isn't something Mr. Krabs would normally do, it can really hit hard when people realize they went too far on even their enemies.
  • While predictable, the ending. Most of the premise focused on Mr. Krabs and Plankton spending a heartwarming day together like they used to, until Mr. Krabs gives him "the formula" (really a "gotcha!" note), causing Plankton to scream angrily as the episode ends. They both reveal everything they did was a setup, making everything that happened in the episode, including the aforementioned apology, entirely pointless.

    16b - Hocus Pocus 
  • Throughout the episode, SpongeBob really thinks that he turned Squidward into ice cream (who left unnoticed by him and was replaced with pistachio ice cream thrown by a spoiled child), and tries all he can to turn him back to normal. But after receiving no help from Mr. Magic, he bawls his eyes out thinking it's truly the end of Squidward's fate. A decent ending does happen, when the real Squidward shows up and throws it away.

    19a - The Pink Purloiner 
  • After making a new net, Patrick almost leaves Bikini Bottom because SpongeBob accused him of stealing Ol' Reliable. SpongeBob tearfully apologizes to him, and realizes that he simply left the net on the bus.

    20a - Best Day Ever 
  • Patrick crying over breaking his jellyfish net. SpongeBob gives him another one, and he ends up breaking that as well. SpongeBob then lets him use Ol' Reliable, but rather begrudgingly.

Season 5

     1 - Friend or Foe 
  • The plot of the episode explains how Mr. Krabs and Plankton used to be best friends as children. They were often seen as outcasts by the other children, making fun of Eugene for being poor (specifically for wearing rags, earning him the name "Rag Boy") and Plankton for being smart. Things would go to hell starting with Stinky Burgers, which inspired the duo to make their own recipe for patties. Their rivalry officially started after accidentally poisoning Old Man Jenkins, and the two would fight over fixing the recipe, which lead to Mr. Krabs to make the famous Krabby Patty and Plankton to make infamous chum that is known today.
    SpongeBob Why, Mr. Krabs? Why does he hate us so?!
    Mr Krabs: Well, you might as well blame me, SpongeBob. There was a time when Plankton and friends.
    * As Mr. Krabs and Plankton recall the story, they tearfully "apologize" to each other... until Plankton steals the formula once again, calling Krabs by his childhood nickname "Rag Boy".

    2a - The Original Fry Cook 
  • Jim, the fry cook who used to work at the Krusty Krab before SpongeBob was hired, comes to visit and impresses everyone with his Krabby Patties. He tries to teach SpongeBob how to make Krabby Patties as perfect as his, but no matter how hard SpongeBob tries, his patties are never as perfect as Jim's. This leads SpongeBob to believe that Jim is going to take his job, and he nearly resigns as a result.
    Mr Krabs: Three cheers for the world's greatest fry cook... SpongeBob!
    SpongeBob: (gasps) Me?
    Mr Krabs: Come here. Help us cheer for Jim.

     3c - Fungus Among Us 
  • When Squidward goes in the Krusty Krab's kitchen, he sees SpongeBob covered in ick, leading to the former to immediately call the SWAT team, who takes SpongeBob away in a cage attached to a helicopter. SpongeBob screams as the helicopter flies away.
  • SpongeBob and Gary look very sad and uncomfortable when they are quarantined inside their house, as they are trapped inside bubbles connected to pipes.
  • Soon after the ick-covered SpongeBob returns to the Krusty Krab in a mobile bubble, he gets physically attacked by the customers in the Krusty Krab and cries while it happens.

    7b - Breath of Fresh Squidward 
  • After catching New Squidward pogo-dancing with Patrick, SpongeBob snaps and yells at Squidward to get out. The idea is to have the viewers sympathize with SpongeBob, but New Squidward only ever wanted to be SpongeBob's friend, and his saddened reaction is utterly heartbreaking.

     18 - What Ever Happened to SpongeBob
  • This applies as one of the very few times SpongeBob can actually take a hint he's not wanted, and it's devastating to watch. After every single one of his friends and even his pet chew him out for making an ass of things, he decides they're better off without him and leaves Bikini Bottom, heartbroken.
  • Even more so is Sandy and Patrick's Tears of Remorse after they discover his farewell letter, with Squidward's Ungrateful Bastard attitude making it worse, especially when he intentionally sabotages the search for SpongeBob because he hated him that much, and even nearly quitting his job after Mr. Krabs threatened to fire him. Ultimately, Krabs has to bribe Squidward.
  • Sandy's reaction to SpongeBob not recognizing her (due to amnesia), which in her eyes looks like he's snubbing her for what she did. Although this doesn't last long and she realizes what's really going on with him.

Season 6

    7a - Giant Squidward 
  • The bit where he goes to sleep on a mountain, finds the troublesome duo, SpongeBob and Patrick, in his belly button, angrily throws him out and has a breakdown.
    Squidward: You two have ruined my life! (cries hysterically)

    7b - No Nose Knows 
  • After having his nose destroyed by the giant stinkball, Patrick laments that he just wanted to smell like his friends and runs away crying. We then cut to a funeral for his nose, with SpongeBob sadly stating that [him and his friends] punished Patrick for just wanting to be like them. Squidward, though, shows no sympathy, but then finds out Patrick has gotten ears and heard his insult.

    8b - Plankton's Regular 
  • The episode as a whole. Just to give Plankton one tiny victory and then have Mr. Krabs smash it in his's just sad.
  • Also, the fact that Plankton can't even have so much as one customer without Krabs trying to ruin him. ONE. Either Krabs is that petty, hellbent on maintaining what is practically a monopoly on Bikini Bottom's fast-food industry, hates Plankton that much, or all three.
  • Then there's the ending where it's revealed that Nat was only buying Plankton's chum because of a deal Nat made with Karen so Plankton can stop complaining.

    9b - The Krabby Kronicle 
  • It's quite sad to see the characters losing their reputations because of SpongeBob being forced to write lies about them in the titular newspaper, especially Larry's, Mrs. Puff's, and even Plankton's reactions to the news.
    • Plankton getting The Chum Bucket closed down by a health inspector because of Mr. Krabs' slander is especially heartbreaking:
      Plankton: Who's to blame for this? Who?!
      (SpongeBob watches from a distance, clearly saddened by what's happened.)

    16a - Squid's Visit 
  • When Squidward goes catatonic for having to stay at SpongeBob's while his house is being fixed, SpongeBob is actually worried for Squid when he does not respond, and you can hear the sheer concern in his voice in return.
    SpongeBob: Squidward, are you okay? Squidward? Squidward! (Squidward faints) SQUIIIIIIIIIDWAAAAAAAAAAARD!!!!!!!

    21b - Shell Shocked 
  • SpongeBob and Gary crying because they can't find any more replacement shells for Gary. It's a heartbreaking scene.
    SpongeBob: I know, Gary! I ruined your life! Do you have to rub it in?!?

    Truth or Square 
  • Plankton lamenting on how he failed to steal the Krabby Patty formula 1,003 times during his "celebration" on 50 years of failure. While this may sound unsympathetic at first, since he is the main antagonist, keep in mind that he and Mr. Krabs used to be best friends. In an earlier episode F.U.N., he even rejected the Krabby Patty and was saddened by the unsuccess of his restaurant, only wanting customers just like his business rival.

    25b - Chum Caverns 
  • Mr. Krabs and Plankton crying their eyes out over being trapped underground. It even causes the French Narrator to get all choked up.

     26 - The Clash of Triton 
  • Triton’s childhood. All he ever wanted to do was spend some loving father and son time by playing baseball or even studying chemistry. Unfortunately poor Neptune disowns Triton’s wishes and locks him in a cage on a floating island, leading Triton to shout “I hate you!” Not helping is that this turned him into his father, he Used to Be a Sweet Kid turned towards a Jerkass and that’s only how his father accepts him.
  • Despite showing that King Neptune had been an abusive father towards his son, Triton, he shows that he absolutely loves and misses his son, even making a whole movie about their relationship going downhill. After Triton uses his god powers for the first time, Neptune accepts Triton as his son.

Season 7

    2a - Growth Spout 
  • A small example, but when Mrs. Puff is sleeping, she mutters out that she must protect her garden, and that it's the only thing worth living for. This comes into effect when you remember that most of her life would be boat driving with SpongeBob and nearly getting killed by him.

    2b - Stuck in the Wringer 
  • A majority of "Stuck In The Wringer" because SpongeBob is suffering physical pain due to getting glued to his wringer by Patrick, getting kicked out of work because of it, Patrick not making things better by any means, and more.
  • And when SpongeBob calls out Patrick for his behavior and the latter runs off crying, the townspeople witnessing it proceed to give SpongeBob one last kick in the teeth to send him into depression.

    4a - Someone's in the Kitchen's with Sandy 
  • While it likely won't make you cry, you'll definitely feel very sorry for Sandy. The poor girl goes through absolute hell throughout most of the episode, and she gets unjustifiably punished at the end due to being arrested for indecency, all because she wasn't wearing her fur pelt, which Plankton stole and used for his plan.

    4b - Model Sponge 
  • The part where SpongeBob thinks he's been fired from his job. You don't have to be a long-time fan to know how much SpongeBob loves his job, so his reaction is pretty sad. Then, later when he goes to beg Mr. Krabs for his job back, he is in tears and crawling on his knees, promising he'll do better and he doesn't want to go. Of course, Krabs has no idea what he's talking about (remember, SpongeBob misinterpreted something Krabs had said earlier), but that makes it no less sad.
  • Mr. Krabs feels genuinely sad about having to set free his pet clam.

    5b - A Pal for Gary 
  • How SpongeBob treats Gary in this episode: even after saving his life from Puffy Fluffy, he still yells at the poor little snail, accusing him of being jealous of the so-called "pal" for him.
    • Matter of fact, SpongeBob wanted to prove to Mr. Krabs he was a responsible pet owner by getting a partner for Gary so he won't neglect him and leave him lonely, but instead, he becomes irresponsible for ignoring the old lady's warning about the creature, berating his poor snail for not being nice to his partner and letting him get tortured, and even refusing to listen to his cries for help and being completely oblivious that he's in danger, even after seeing the creature in its monster form right before him.
      • You might feel as bad for the little boy who also bought Puffy's species, saying he might have suffered the same consequences.
    • The old peddler who owned Puffy tried to even warn SpongeBob that he's not what he appears to be, but he didn't listen, and even stole the fish without paying. She even comments aside that nobody listens to her.
  • In the same episode, a guy with a pet worm walks in and SpongeBob says pets aren't allowed and they walk away sadly; It's sad until Mr. Krabs allows them inside anyway.
  • The ending, as well, at least on Gary's part. SpongeBob drags Gary to work against his will so he won't neglect him, and Mr. Krabs basically uses Gary as free labor.

    6a - Yours, Mine & Mine 

     8 - SpongeBob's Last Stand 
  • A small one, but SpongeBob fainting into Squidward's arms and Krabs crying due to the Krusty Krab's shutdown.

    9a - Back to the Past 
  • In the bad future where Man Ray has taken over the entire town — we see SpongeBob and Patrick go to the 'Krusty Krab' and he sees supposedly the Old Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy with their spirits broken... We get this tear-jerker reminder:
    SpongeBob: What about the younger Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy? Surely, they refused to surrender without a fight.
    Mermaid Man: You got spaghetti for brains, kid? We ARE the younger ones! The older ones, bless their souls... [sobs] have been immortalized in this very restaurant. [pan right to grave-site]
    SpongeBob: I am so sorry for your loss of... yourself.
    • The fact that, Man Ray had killed the original Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy and buried them under the Krusty Krab as a reminder of how MM & BB's younger versions failed.
    • Even worse is that the older MM's actor died later on, as did the younger one's, and even the old BB's actor.
    • It also doubles as Fridge Horror, as, if this episode is considered canon, the old MM&BB who SpongeBob and Patrick had built a trusting, friendly relationship with, had been betrayed by them, left to die in the past, while the existing ones that went back to the present now know them as "the heartless fiends who killed two elderly men", meaning that all of their original ties with each other have been destroyed. An awful day for everyone.

    10b - Summer Job 
  • Mrs. Puff just can't catch a break. In it, she's forced to work at the Krusty Krab to repair for accidental damages (that happened when she tried to outrun SpongeBob), with SpongeBob constantly taking her down a peg like a stereotypical teacher. It's not funny even, it just makes you wanna give Mrs. Puff a hug or reassurance.

    11a - One Coarse Meal 

    12b - Rodeo Daze 
  • The fact that everyone (minus SpongeBob) seemed to have forgotten Sandy's existence when SpongeBob asks for help in saving her from the rodeo. That, or they just don't care because they're racist against land animals. Imagine being in a world like that yourself (or not). No wonder the yellow guy kidnapped everyone.

    13a - Gramma's Secret Recipe 
  • Even if it is just Plankton in disguise as SpongeBob's great grandmother, you'll really feel bad for SpongeBob when the decoy of Plankton is shredded by the garbage disposal, causing him to bawl his eyes out under the assumption that a long-lost relative is dead.
    • "Long-lost" most likely implies she's dead, anyways, but he's probably unaware of that.

    13b - The Cent of Money 
  • Poor Gary being treated like a slave by Mr. Krabs by making him attract money. But the blow is softened when Mr. Krabs is forced to give up all the money to pay for his medical bills, since he's too cheap to get medical insurance.

    18b - Karate Star 
  • There's the part where Patrick, having learned karate, thinks he murdered his own best friend. No, not the table sponge one—the one who was found unconscious and was thought to be dead. He then gets vengeful at his own hand and rips it off. Luckily, thanks to being a sea star, he regenerates it.

    19b - Enchanted Tiki Dreams 
  • Squidward curled up under a chair in a pool of tears. It's a strong image, and the official German Website/Facebook account sums it up best:
    Someone must have had a bad day... (translated from German)
    • For context on this screenshot, it's from getting annoyed by SpongeBob and Patrick both at home and work. At the moment of the image, he asks the world why he can't have one day of relaxation... and SpongeBob pokes him with a stick on the grounds they were playing tag (after Patrick had just "tagged" him with an electric eel). It makes you realize that Jerkass as he is, Squidward's neighbors have put him through so much torture that he can't ever escape for even a little while, and for once doesn't even yell at them to get out of his house. Counts as in-universe Tear Jerker, because SpongeBob and Patrick feel so terrible seeing Squidward like this that they decide to do something nice for him.
  • The part where Squidward sees his Tiki Dreamland and thinks it's a mirage counts too. Even if happiness is right in front of him, he can't bring himself to believe it. But he soon finds himself relaxing.
  • It's a small scene, but you can't help but feel for Squidward upon seeing his Tiki Dreamland destroyed.
    Squidward: (utterly broken) destroyed my beautiful world!
    SpongeBob: Sorry we couldn't make it last forever, Squidward...
    Patrick: Yeah. We really tried to make it last.
    Squidward: Yeah... (sniffs) Make it last... (cries uncontrollably)

    21b - Shellback Shenanigans 
  • Plankton disguises himself as Gary as another plot to infiltrate SpongeBob, only for the yellow guy to think his snail is sick (seeing he's turning green and Suddenly Voiced) and bring him to the hospital, subsequently brought to tears believing "Gary" is dying. It can hit hard for people who have had to experience the loss of a beloved pet.

Season 8

    3b - Sentimental Sponge 
  • If you've ever been in a situation like SpongeBob's in this episode, you will feel his pain, especially because it is hard to let go of things cherished by yourself for so long and having to do so eventually.
    Squidward: You have to get rid of your junk right now!
    SpongeBob: I know... (tears up before eventually breaking down) I'M GONNA MISS THEM SO MUCH! (hugs Squidward as he continues crying)
    Squidward: You really miss them?
    SpongeBob: No. (sniffs) I'll be strong. (Beat, but then cries even harder)

    5a - Squidward's School for Grown-Ups 
  • The part where Squidward decides that he must separate SpongeBob and Patrick because SpongeBob is much less mature than Patrick.
    • It's then followed by SpongeBob's opera not much later. Thankfully, a CMOH follows when SpongeBob and Patrick hug at the end, as well as a CMOF when Squidward is pelted with fruit for bashing on SpongeBob's performance and SpongeBob and Patrick yell "Food fight!"

    6b - The Googly Artiste 
  • Squidward's unfair punishment at the end. Especially when he breaks down when Patrick says he'll probably not become an artist.

    8b - Walking the Plankton 
  • You'll definitely feel sorry for Karen when she finds out Plankton only took her on the cruise for the sake of the formula than a honeymoon. It does become funny after, thankfully.

    9a - Mooncation 
  • SpongeBob expressing remorse for ruining Sandy's vacation after he thinks that she's dead near the end.

    11a - Mermaid Man Begins 
  • The episode is most likely a farewell to major Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episodes, especially if you know about the death of Mermaid Man's voice actor. It may just seem like an origin episode, but currently the two heroes only get cameos as of now and many people report feeling misty eyed while watching this episode.

    12a - Barnacle Face 
  • Pearl crying in the bathroom due to her barnacle/acne issue getting out of hand and her father caring less.

    12b - Pet Sitter Pat 
  • The sheer amount of terror Gary goes through, courtesy of Patrick.
    • The poor snail looks practically unhealthy after being "bathed". Especially after Patrick blows a hot hair dryer on him.
    • It all gets better in the end though when Gary reads Patrick a bedtime story.
  • SpongeBob realizing something is wrong, forcing him to cut Grandma's birthday party short and head right home.
    • And when SpongeBob does head home, he has to see his house, completely destroyed.

    13b - Smoothe Jazz at Bikini Bottom 
  • Squidward's perfect evening at a Kelpy-G concert being ruined thanks to Patrick's meddling and SpongeBob's immaturity. Worst, Patrick gets off at the end, and receives no punishment, and SpongeBob is recognized by Kelpy G instead of Squidward.

    14b - The Way of the Sponge 

    16a - Restraining SpongeBob 
  • After Squidward files a restraining order, SpongeBob is completely reduced to a shocked and worrying Nervous Wreck, as he and Squidward are co-workers and because he cannot come within 15 feet of him, this means he cannot give him the orders.
    • It's come clear that SpongeBob misses Squidward, and he actually likes being around him even when he's grouchy.
    • Heck, the order even results in SpongeBob losing a star from his employee record! Like how Patrick caused him to lose a star in boating school!

    17a - Are You Happy Now? 

    19a - Karen 2. 0 
  • Karen's breakdown to Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob on how Plankton dumped her for an upgraded Karen 2. The scene where she and Plankton reunite at the end is more of a happy tearjerker though.

    19b - InSPONGEiac 

    20b - Glove World R.I.P. 
  • This episode is one for obvious reasons, especially for fans of the old series or anyone whose favorite place is now gone. When SpongeBob and Patrick realize it looks like that Glove World is "on its last fingers", they try and fail to save it (as the park is literally falling apart from poor maintenance). Mitigated by the fact that Glove Universe is opened in its stead, but that place hasn't been used at all yet.

    24b - Chum Fricassee 
  • Mr. Krabs crying because of Plankton and Squidward's new recipe ruining his business. Hell, even one of Plankton's customers feels sorry for him.
    Customer: Please... sir. Take my chum. It's the least I can do to help. (sighs) Poor guys...
  • While he did force Plankton to serve the chum when it wasn't finished, Squidward being berated by his grandmother and having everything he worked for get burned down and destroyed just goes to show that he simply isn't allowed to be successful or even just be happy.

    25b - Move It or Lose It 
  • Plankton saying his farewells to the Chum Bucket due to the possibility of it being bulldozed. SpongeBob expresses sympathy for him:
    SpongeBob: [tearfully] I can't help but think I somehow had a hand in your misery.

     26 - Hello Bikini Bottom! 

Season 9

     11 - SpongeBob, You're Fired! 
  • SpongeBob's reaction to getting fired (for extremely petty reasons; read: Mr. Krabs wanted to save a nickel) is actually portrayed very realistically. And it's very sad. And unlike in "Karate Choppers" where there's the comedy of SpongeBob's over the top reaction to help offset the Tear Jerker aspect (and the fact that SpongeBob gets his job back literally less than a minute later due to Krabs misunderstanding everything), there's not much of that here. He loses his job, it remains that way for the rest of the episode, and there is nothing he can do about it.
    • Not just from the Krusty Krab, but from his temporary jobs. He makes food between two buns since he's done it for many years. Upon seeing it, all his bosses (save for the Taco Man) fire SpongeBob on the spot without seeing if his food was any good. Then, when he pleads to keep his job, he impulsively acts as if he was fired from the Krusty Krab...
    • With each job he gets fired from, SpongeBob gets progressively angrier, first by snarking to himself, all the way to talking back angrily.
  • Mr. Krabs realizing his mistake at firing SpongeBob: the Krusty Krab immediately falls apart without the only one who knows how to cook the patties properly. All the food tastes horrible, and the customers are rioting. Mr. Krabs' words to SpongeBob after he comes back even sums it up.
    Mr. Krabs: Oh, laddie, I shoulda never let you go! The Krusty Krab has fallen apart without you! You're rehired, boy!
  • The book cover version of Squidward pushing SpongeBob out the door has some differences:
    • Squidward smiling as he's taking SpongeBob out the Krusty Krab.
    • Mr. Krabs yelling at SpongeBob.
    • SpongeBob's reaction, which can all make you feel sorry for the little guy; all he can do is cry as his job is unceremoniously ripped away from them, and soon he slips into a depression.

     13a - Squid Plus One 
  • The fact that Squidward doesn't have any friends is quite understandable.
  • Only SpongeBob was intent on being Squidward's plus one to the gala opening throughout the episode and every time he asks him if he would like to go to the gala, Squidward ignores him in favor of another thing that's on his mind. Whenever he gets rejected, SpongeBob is completely depressed and doesn't handle it well.
  • In the end, SpongeBob does get to go to the push around a mirror in a black suit with Squidward's sentient reflection. Not that he minds it, though, but Perch gives quite the comment.
    Perch Perkins: And here comes Squidward Tentacles and what must be either a bizarre piece of performance art, or the saddest display of loneliness it has ever been my displeasure to report. One is inclined to suspect the second thing I said. The thing about sadness.

    17b - Larry's Gym 
  • This is probably the first episode that places Larry in a sympathetic light. Due to large amounts of paperwork, Larry is unable to exercise in his own gym, soon becoming weak, flabby and depressed. Knowing what he is normally like, seeing him in this state would not sit well for Larry fans.

    18b - Married to Money 
  • The Downer Ending of this episode is brutal, especially considering the ridiculousness of the premise and most of the plot. Naturally, Krabs finds out that "Cashina" was really just a robot operated by Plankton, but his reaction is something else. Krabs becomes too distraught by the fact that the love of his life was a fake that he can't bring himself to crush Plankton like he usually does, caring less that his "wife" was yet another attempt to steal the secret formula and more that Plankton was playing with his emotions. He then proceeds to share with his arch-nemesis the loneliness he'd been suffering for years before meeting Cashina, as if the two of them were still friends honest with each other. Plankton, being Plankton,simply brushes off Krabs's genuine emotion as something crazy and insults him, not caring that he broke his heart and leaving the crustacean in tears. Sure, the idea of falling in love with a literal (albeit sentient, unlike the subject in "To Love a Patty") wad of cash is a bit absurd, but ignoring that fact and knowing that the woman he was in love with turned out to be a lie is truly heartbreaking. It's an ending that makes you feel sorry for poor Mr. Krabs, even when taking into account the terrible things he'd done seasons earlier, which caused him to have several detractors, but even they usually agree that what he got was too cruel.
    Krabs: Cashina may not have been real, but me feelings were, weren't they?!
    • It's even worse when you consider how Krabs realizes that Cashina was a fake. He's about to reveal the secret formula (unknowingly, at this point) to Plankton, only to become too overwhelmed with love for his "wife" that he begins to tear up, causing Plankton's robot to blow up.
    • What really doesn't help is that it's implied that Plankton didn't give a shrimp about what Mr. Krabs was feeling, and ESPECIALLY the fact that he surprisingly gets away with this with no consequences apart from not getting the formula. He just wanted the formula and some revenge for Mr. Krabs' previous actions.
    • Also, even if Plankton got his punishment off-screen after leaving the hotel room (possibly by SpongeBob), you may wonder how could SpongeBob help his boss move past all of this. You really crossed the line this time, Plankton. Tricking your former best friend and taking advantage of him with a fake low are you willing to sink to just to get what you've been obsessing over for so many years?

    19b - Two Thumbs Down 
  • The scene where Sandy finds SpongeBob depressed and ashamed is clearly supposed to be as melodramatic as possible. But despite the attempted Bathos, it still manages to be upsetting. SpongeBob disconsolately telling Sandy to leave and forget all about him, as well as Sandy practically pleading with him not to give up and find something to live for, can hit close to home for anyone who has suffered a debilitating condition and has just given up. Not to mention Sandy’s reaction being uncannily similar to a loved one who can only tell them not to give up.

    20b - CopyBob DittoPants 
  • SpongeBob crying over the disappearances of his 299 copies, especially considering how attached he is with them. It doesn't help the fact that Plankton didn't even show any concern when he's crying, and instead only cares about the formula. Special mention to the surprisingly realistic crying performed by Tom Kenny.

    26b - The Whole Tooth 
  • Patrick bidding farewell to his last baby tooth at the end.

Season 10

    3a - Mimic Madness 
  • After doing one too many impressions, SpongeBob begins to lose sight of who he really is and expresses this through song.

    4b - Krusty Katering 
  • After Mr Krabs disarms a kid of his fireworks and informing them that they are dangerous, the kid's eyes water, claiming that nobody bothered to tell him that his whole life and says he is like a real father to him, before asking for a hug. Mr Krabs lets him, and even looks like he might return it, before he is startled and forced to send him away down the laundry chute. The betrayal in the kid's voice really sells it.
    Kid: Why, Father!? WHYYYYYYY!?

Season 11

    11b - Don't Feed the Clowns 
  • Outside the show, one of the members, a small clown, was constantly neglected by the others. When all the clowns block him from getting any food, SpongeBob feels immediate remorse and attempts to feed him only for the ringmaster to catch him in the act. Later on, the Circus leaves the small clown behind.

    19b - ChefBob 
  • In an attempt to entertain guests at the Krusty Krab, SpongeBob puts on a paper bag over his hand and does a ventriloquist's act by drawing his own face on it. Unfortunately, the bag puppet starts heckling SpongeBob and his friends. Though what makes this a Tear Jerker moment is the insult directed towards SpongeBob himself. The look on Spongebob's face just shows how hurt he is.
    Puppet: He must've been born on a highway, because that's where most accidents happen!

Season 12

    1a - FarmerBob 
  • It's very brief, but Patrick kicks a baby sea hog away from the food supply.

    12a - Jolly Lodgers 
  • You can't help but feel sorry for Squidward when SpongeBob and Patrick deliberately refuse to leave him alone, to the point they corner him in the halls until he's reduced to a crying mess until they actively force him to enter Jelly-Con.
  • SpongeBob showing genuine concern for Squidward when everyone is evicted by pest control.

    26a - Krusty Koncessionaires 
  • When Squidward is distracting SpongeBob by confining him into serving only one side of the crowd while he sneaks backstage without him interfering, SpongeBob sounds understandably sad, as he was looking forward to spending the whole day with him. He's even close to tears by appearance, and you can hear the near-sobbing in his voice. It contrasts with the faux-sadness Squidward gives when distracting him.
  • And when the sponge finishes feeding his entire section, he sees the entire second half of the arena starving, and vows to serve them for their sake.

    SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout 
  • Try not to tear up when Patchy finally meets his idol after 17 years of failure.
  • The very end of the episode features a thank you message to Stephen Hillenburg, who sadly did not live to celebrate his creation turning 20 years old.

Season 13

    23b - Gary's Playhouse 
  • When SpongeBob tells Gary to come back inside, Gary rudely locks himself in. Since it was unclear at first as to what he was doing, it looked like he was just being ignorant.
  • The callback to the pilot where Gary and his friends roleplay the anchovies swarming the Krusty Krab can hit a feeling of nostalgia for older fans of the series.