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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?"

Who makes viewers cry from under the sea? SpongeBob SquarePants!

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Season 1

    1a - Help Wanted 
  • A small moment. 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, prompting SpongeBob to cry, in a shaky, distraught voice, "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.

    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: (After the customer slams the door in SpongeBob's face, weakly) 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.
    • To anyone who has ever had a similar experience, regardless of age or situation, this scene is extremely personal.
    • Getting yelled at like that wasn't the only reason SpongeBob cried. There was also the fact that he just got full blame for something that likely wasn't entirely his own fault to begin with (especially with the possibility that the customer DID order a drink to go along with his pizza, and Mr. Krabs just hung up on him without even confirming his full order), and that SpongeBob never got the chance to explain and defuse the situation. Ouch.
      • 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. 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 Squirdward 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.

    5b - Home Sweet Pineapple 
  • SpongeBob quotes: "I can no longer hold onto you little pebble. (Buries the pebble and begins to shed a tear) You hold too many memories. (Cries as tear falls onto the pebble)"
  • There's also Patrick sobbing hysterically when SpongeBob's parents arrive. Also just seeing him cry while grabbing his parents' boat is heartwrenching.
  • SpongeBob 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 face. It makes sense considering how in life parents love to be around their children and spending time with them.
  • 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 
  • The moment where 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.
    SpongeBob: Oh, Mr. Krabs, I'm sorry, SORRY SORRY, I'm sorryyyyyyy...
    • SpongeBob even tries out the "magic oven mitts" on his feet, but, "They're Not The Same!"
    • Mr. Krabs expressing true genuine guilt afterwards.

    9a - Nature Pants 
  • The picnic scene where Patrick begs SpongeBob to come back.
  • 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. (snaps the jellyfish net in two and walks away, sobbing)
  • 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 
  • There's the bit where SpongeBob harshly tells Patrick that he doesn't want to meet him again.
    SpongeBob: Go away! I never wanna see you again!
    Patrick: [cries] SpongeBob doesn't like me anymore!
    • 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. 

    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.

    12a - The Chaperone 
  • When SpongeBob ruins Pearl's prom and he runs into the (girl's) bathroom sobbing. Poor guy.

    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 and 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.
    SpongeBob: No more Karate? How am I gonna tell Sandy?
    [SpongeBob is jumped by Sandy]
    SpongeBob: Sandy wait, I can't! Mr. Krabs said I have to give up karate!
    Sandy: Uh-huh, sure SpongeBob!
    SpongeBob: No, really Sandy, stop!
    Sandy: I'm not falling for it, SpongeBob!
    SpongeBob: No really! Please stop!
    [Mr. Krabs walks out to the window, and sees Sandy attacking SpongeBob]
    Mr. Krabs: What the?! SpongeBob!
    SpongeBob: AAAAAAAHHH!! Mr. Krabs!
    Mr. Krabs: What did I just get through telling ye, lad?
    SpongeBob: But, I, she—!
    Mr. Krabs: SpongeBob! You're FIRED!!
    Sandy: Huh?
    SpongeBob: [tiny voice] Fired? [face disappears like water in a drain]
    Mr. Krabs: [somewhat surprised] Eh?
    Sandy: ...SpongeBob?
    [SpongeBob bursts into tears and runs away bawling]
    • Mind you, SpongeBob cares for his job and the Krusty Krab itself a LOT, enough that he'd prioritize it even over one of his favorite hobbies, no matter how much he doesn't want to. SpongeBob fell apart 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.

    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; the tearful way Patrick says "Don't cry, Captain Krabs".

    18a - Texas 
  • Sandy becomes very homesick and even sings a song expressing her homesickness (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 tear jerker 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 Fool's 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.

    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. It's one of the few times when his sobbing isn't played up in a hammy, ridiculous way. 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, the poor guy starts to cry, saying he wants one too.

    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.
  • "You had to kill 'im. The boy cries you a sweater of tears, and you kill 'im."
  • 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 quietly sobbing)
  • 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 choking back tears while putting up a new "Help Wanted" sign.
  • The look on SpongeBob's face after Squidward disgustedly throws the handmade sweater at him.

    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 
  • 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. The rant in question serves as the quote for this page as seen above.
    • 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.
    "I have been publicly humiliated for the last time! *Runs off crying*"

    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? 
  • SpongeBob crying in, mainly because of the very sad face he makes while Squidward continues to torment him over Santa Claus not appearing, which is why SB's crying in the first place. He even manages to make Squidward feel sorry for him and dress up as Santa to make him happy after it's revealed that SpongeBob made Squidward a present so he wouldn't feel left out when Santa came..
    Squidward: What's this?
    SpongeBob: A present. I made it for you so you wouldn't be left out when... SANTA CAME!!!
    • The absolutely heartbreaking way he says "Santa Claus" after Squidward takes out a camera for a picture.

    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.

    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.

    14a - Welcome to the Chum Bucket 
  • Plankton wins SpongeBob's contract from Krabs, forcing SpongeBob to work for him. The song SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs sing while missing each other was just so sad, especially the part where they stare out the window at each other.
    SpongeBob: The sign says "Kitchen", but my heart says jail.

    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, with an echo of their laugh. 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...).

    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: [on the brink of tears] 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 some happy tears, 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.)
    • Look at SpongeBob's face during Squidward's "critique."
    • As SpongeBob is walking (or crawling) 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. Worse is that it's a thing that can happen in real life.

Season 3

    2b - My Pretty Seahorse 
  • After SpongeBob becomes attached to a wild seahorse, Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob how it's wrong to keep a wild animal from their natural habitat and lifestyle. SpongeBob understands and, with a heavy heart, releases the seahorse (which he named Mystery). The episode can hit harder for kids, considering that SpongeBob has a child-like mental state and many children tend to get attached to animals (toys and live, alike) fairly quickly.
  • When SpongeBob releases Mystery back into the wilds, he starts a sad diatribe trying to drive her away, "Just get out of here, you (sobbing) stupid, dumb animal..." It doesn't help that Mystery already ran off.
  • Mr. Krabs backstory in this episode is tear inducing as well. He tells the story that he, as a kid, had received a dollar from his father. They were both the best of friends, they did all the things together — but on a hot summer day, while at the beach, he was so thirsty that he spent his dollar on a soda. The way Krabs is telling the story to SB is working, too.

    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 heart wrenching.

    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!
  • Perhaps the worst part of the episode is that Flatts gets away with the psychological torment he brought down upon SpongeBob. Talking to Mrs. Puff about it is no good because Flatts 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 Flatts does collapse after failing to beat down the punch-resistant SpongeBob, Mrs. Puff mistakes the resulting scene for SpongeBob beating up Flatts 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.

    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. The way he sobs is absolutely heart-wrenching.

    7b - Squilliam Returns 
As funny as the episode is, Man does it have such a devastating ending. SpongeBob starts losing his mind while everything else keeps falling apart. Squidward is revealed to be a cashier to Squilliam. Squidward cries to Squilliam, telling him that all of it was just a lie to impress him.Squilliam then tells Squidward that he doesn't have a casino or a yacht and that he was just lying too. But it turns out that Squilliam was just joking and that he's "filthy rich". Then he leaves and gets all of his fans to come with him, while Squidward just sits down and sadly sighs. It doesn't even have a happy ending for Squidward, it just ends like that. It completely craps all over Band Geeks' ending.

    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). What a very clever jerkass.

    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: *starts to cry* Wait for you to get back!

    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 cheered 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' nosehair trimmer and uses it.
    SpongeBob: Squidward, you shouldn't be going through Mr. Krabs' belongings. *sobbing* HE WON'T LIKE IT!
  • Then after Squidward chews out Mr. Krabs for selling SpongeBob's soul to the Flying Dutchman for a measily 62 cents, Mr. Krabs realizes his mistake and breaks down sobbing.
    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? 
  • 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.

    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.
      "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.

    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.

    19a - The Pink Purloiner 
  • Patrick almost leaving Bikini Bottom.

    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

    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.

    7b - Breath of Fresh Squidward 
  • "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 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 heart wrenching. 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 town dejected.
  • 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 bellybutton, angrily throws him out and has a breakdown.

    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 face... It's not funny, 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.

    21b - Shell Shocked 
  • Shell Shocked: The scene when SpongeBob and Gary were crying because they couldn't find any more replacement shells for Gary. It's a heartbreaking scene.

     26 - The Clash of Triton 
  • The ending to "The Clash Of Triton" where Neptune accepts Triton as his son.

Season 7

    2a - Growth Spout 
  • A small example, but when Mrs. Puff was 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 behaviour 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.
    Fish: Your body is not the problem. It's your heart. You deserve what you've gotten!

    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, and all because she wasn't wearing her fur pelt.

    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.
  • In the same episode, a guy with a pet worm walks in and SpongeBob says pets aren't allowed and they walk away slowly; It's sad until Mr. Krabs allows them inside anyway.
  • The ending, as well. SpongeBob drags Gary to work against his will, and Mr. Krabs basically uses Gary as free labor.

     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 Mermaidman 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.
    Mermaidman: 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 later on 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. 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. Though 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 where he found him unconscious and thought he died. He then got vengeful at his own hand and ripped it off. Luckily thanks to being a sea star, he regenerates it.

    19b - Enchanted Tiki Dreams 
  • This screenshot defines Seasons 4 to 6 perfectly; it's Squidward curled up under a chair in a pool of tears. It's a strong image.
    • If you're wondering why Squidward is crying, it's from getting annoyed by SpongeBob and Patrick both at home and work. At the moment of the screenshot, 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 Squidward sounds genuinely sad to see his Tiki Dreamland destroyed, however the episode even has a satisfying ending for him.

    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 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.

    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.
  • 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 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 thinking that Sandy is dead near the end.

    11a - Mermaid Man Begins 
  • The episode is most likely a farewell to major Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy episodes, especially if you know about the death of Mermaidman'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".

    13b - Smoothe Jazz at Bikini Bottom 
  • Squidward's prefect 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 
  • Fuzzy Acorns harshly criticizing SpongeBob as a poor student and SpongeBob moping away.

    17a - Are You Happy Now? 

    19a - Karen 2. 0 
  • Karen expressing her sadness 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 
  • The ending, where SpongeBob is forced to cry mustard onto Krabby Patties by Mr. Krabs. You can't help but feel sorry for him in the preceding scene where Krabs expresses No Sympathy for his predicament.

    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). Migitated 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: Here, take my chum. It's the least I can do to help. (to himself) Poor guy.
  • 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 in (for extremely petty reasons; read: Mr. Krabs wanted to save a nickel) is actually portrayed very realistically. 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), 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 made food between two buns because that was how he had 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 pleaded 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.
  • 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.

    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 surprisingly brutal Downer Ending, 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, 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 can actually make a viewer feel sorry for Krabs, even when taking into account the terrible things he'd done seasons earlier.
    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 damn about what Mr. Krabs was feeling, and ESPECIALLY the fact that he surprisingly gets away scot-free. He just wanted the formula and some revenge for Mr. Krabs' previous actions.

    20b - CopyBob DittoPants 
  • SpongeBob's reaction to the disappearances of his 299 copies. He mentions how attached he was with them and cries as each of them starts vanishing. It doesn't help the fact that Plankton didn't even show any concern when he was crying, and instead only cared about the formula. Special mention to the surprisingly realistic crying preformed 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

    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 Tearjerker 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, 'cause that's where most accidents happen!

Season 12

    SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout 
  • 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.
  • Try not to tear up when Patchy finally meets his idol after 17 years of failure.


    The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
  • SpongeBob and Patrick's Disney Death. Near the end, as they're slowly drying out under the heat lamp, and SpongeBob has kind of a lengthy monologue about how they let everyone down, and how they failed (how broken he sounds at this point doesn't help either), and then they both realize that they at least got to Shell City (which turns out to be a gift shop, a lovely Brick Joke if you remember the first season episode "Hooky"), and they turn to one another, express their gratitude for having each other as friends, and with the last of their strength start singing the "Goofy Goober Song" together before they die, ending with their tears merging to form a heart shape. Even the pirates in the theater were bawling. You actually see SpongeBob, the literal definition of a Wide-Eyed Idealist cross the Despair Event Horizon before deciding to Go Out with a Smile and Face Death with Dignity with Patrick. Bonus points on making such a cheesy song so heartbreaking. Fortunately, they are restored back to life by their tears.
    SpongeBob: Pat... we did make it.
    Patrick: Yeah... I guess we did.
    SpongeBob: We did alright for a... couple of goofballs. (both of them shed a tear)

    The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water 
  • SpongeBob watching helplessly as Bikini Bottom becomes a post-apocalyptic wasteland and his friends try to hunt him down.
  • Karen being sacrificed to get Plankton's time machine working, especially when the latter sheds a tear.
  • SpongeBob volunteers to sacrifice himself if it means restoring Bikini Bottom to its glory and appeasing the sandwich gods.
  • A brief one at the beginning of the movie: During the montage of people enjoying Krabby Patties, we cut to a man enjoying a patty in a hospital bed as his wife mourns her loss while eating a Krabby Patty herself. Made worse by the doctor cheerfully telling her "He'll be gone in a week".
  • Plankton blowing up at SpongeBob, calling him the worst teammate ever. Poor SpongeBob is so horrified that he suffers a Heroic BSoD and starts screaming unintelligibly.



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