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  • Acceptable Targets: Geeks, as seen with the comic collectors in "No Weenies Allowed". Given that SpongeBob and Patrick are also geeks who collect superhero comic books, this could be an example of self-deprecation on part of the writers, many of whom also have careers as comic artists/writers.
  • Accidental Aesop:
    • "SpongeGuard On Duty": If someone is drowning, save diving into the water as a last resort, otherwise you'll risk drowning yourself.
    • SpongeBob likely being paid minimum wage or less since he works in fast food, yet he still has a decorated two-story house with a giant library and a healthy snail, which has been interpreted to mean that SpongeBob works hard to earn his money and is frugal when he spends it so that he can afford nice things.
    • Squidward being a terrible musician (at least Depending on the Writer) but enjoying playing music anyways. A saying among many a music teacher is that as long as you enjoy playing, that's all that matters, not your skill or popularity.
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • "Dude, put that thing away! There are, like, children here!" explanation: 
    • In "Artist Unknown", SpongeBob butchers Squidward's "If I'm lucky, some of Mr. Tentacles' talent will rub off on me" into "If I'm lucky, Mr. Talent will rub his tentacles on my art."
    • In "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", the strangler asks SpongeBob to take him to a quiet and secluded location. SpongeBob's response would take a whole different meaning if taken out of context: "We could go to my house and turn off all the lights!"
    • In "A Friendly Game", SpongeBob and Patrick hit their golf balls out the window and can't find them. SpongeBob yells "Oh, where did our balls go?!?"
    • Everyone remembers the dancing anemone clip from "Your Shoe's Untied". They reused that exact footage for "Rise and Shine", with Patrick seeing it while watching a morning show of all things.
  • Adaptation Displacement: It's a little known fact that the show, its setting, and the art style were largely based on an educational comic that Stephen Hillenburg used to write and draw called The Intertidal Zone. SpongeBob was shaped like an actual sea sponge and simply called "Bob the Sponge". This is forgivable, as the comic was mostly only distributed at the marine biology institute he used to teach at before becoming an animator, and to this day is unviewable to the general public.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Plankton a ruthless Card-Carrying Villain trying to cheat his way to success by stealing the Krabby Patty formula, or is he a Jerkass Woobie who has been driven to unscrupulous tactics due to Mr. Krabs' obsessive bullying?
    • SpongeBob:
      • Is he a sweet, clueless and innocent Manchild, a Stepford Smiler hiding a depressed and disturbed personality, or a sociopath using a childish facade to torment others? Or all three at the same time?
      • Does he just want to be friends with Squidward/sees him as a brother-figure, or does he have a legitimate crush on him?
      • Is SpongeBob naïve in his torment to Squidward or is he pretending to be naïve so that he can get away with tormenting Squidward?
      • When faced with a life-or-death situation, is he really just annoying, or does he act deliberately annoying so his captors will release him? "Plankton!", "Shanghaied", "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", "Born Again Krabs", "Welcome to the Chum Bucket", and "The Getaway" imply that this is one of SpongeBob's clever tactics to escape from danger.
      • Did SpongeBob betray Plankton at the end of "One Coarse Meal" out of loyalty to Mr. Krabs, or did he play both Krabs and Plankton to teach Mr. Krabs a lesson and get back in his boss' good books at the same time?
    • Squidward: A Jerkass who deserves his Butt-Monkey status, or the show's biggest woobie? Does he completely hate SpongeBob, or does he care about him deep down?
    • Mr. Krabs can be a decent boss who cares slightly about SpongeBob, or otherwise a greedy Jerkass. Does he have a Freudian Excuse for his actions?
      • His background brought up in "Friend or Foe" seems to indicate that Mr. Krabs came to view money as a sort of power, and the reason he is so obsessed is because he doesn't wish to be poor in any way possible like he was as a child.
    • It is highly possible that Patrick is suffering from low self-esteem and lack of confidence, if episodes "Big Pink Loser", "No Hat For Pat", and "Sing a Song of Patrick" are anything to go by. This might explain some of Patrick's behavior.
    • Is Patrick a sociopath who knowingly does dumb, stupid and often assholish things just because he knows his low intelligence (or facade of it) will keep him from punishment? Can the same be said for SpongeBob? There are throwaway lines in "Home Sweet Pineapple", "I Had An Accident", "Tentacle-Vision", and "The Card" that support this:
      Patrick: Is it time to ruin Squidward's day?! SpongeBob, don't start without me!

      Sandy: Don't you have to be stupid somewhere else?
      Patrick: Not until 4:00.

      Squidward: Just how stupid are you?
      Patrick: It varies.

      Patrick: SpongeBob, you can't always expect my usual brand of stupidity. I like to mix it up; keep you on your toes.
    • The townspeople of Bikini Bottom: Friendly and good-natured citizens, with occasional jerk moments, but nice people overall or group of callous and unpleasant individuals who bully each other and have sadistic tendencies and possibly hate Sandy because she is a land animal?
    • The policemen of Bikini Bottom: Honest and well-intentioned cops, but sometimes a bit gullible and with few shades of Good Is Not Nice or useless and corrupt assholes who do not help others or respond to any crimes and instead pick on innocent people and punish them for minor things?
    • Does Granny from "Have You Seen This Snail?" actually eat snails, or does she just overfeed them to death? If the latter, does she overfeed them intentionally to kill, or does she do so with affection, unaware of the consequences?
    • David Bowie's character, Lord Royal Highness in "Atlantis SquarePantis" is enraged when Patrick destroys the bubble for real, and leads an angry, armed mob of soldiers against the gang until Plankton tries (and fails) to kill them with a tank that shoots ice cream, and declares the "talking speck" as the new treasure. Considering how he puts up a new sign forbidding flash photography and gets rid of the amulet so SpongeBob and friends can't return, it could be said that he only picked Plankton as a treasure not because he's a Cloud Cuckoolander, but because he didn't want any violence, and got rid of Plankton by killing two birds with one stone.
    • The title character in "Bubble Buddy": Did he do nothing while Scooter was drowning because he didn't want to blow his cover as an inanimate object and only intervened when Squidward was about to kill him, or because he simply didn't care, or even enjoyed watching Scooter die?
    • The veterinarian from "I Was a Teenage Gary" that prescribes Gary Snail Plasma but refuses to administer it to him, claiming to be squeamish. Was he being sincere or was he afraid of accidentally injecting himself with the plasma, transforming him into a snail? The way he hastily leaves Squidward's house points to the latter.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: The show is disliked in Norway not only due to the decline in quality affecting the episodes of Seasons 4-9, but also because of the replacement of the titular character's voice actor with Trond Teigen (known for his role as Aladdin among other more action-oriented roles), whose attempts at mimicking the previous actor's performance come off as forced and unnecessary.
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Nobody had faith in this show about the talking sponge, let alone knew it would be such a cultural phenomenon, when it was first pitched. The executives dismissed it as too weird and gave it No Budget. Bill Fagerbakke, Patrick's voice actor, even referred to it as "inane pulp for preschoolers" when he was first hired.
  • Anvilicious: The educational short "The Endless Summer" (originally released during Season 4 as part of Earth to America).
  • Archive Panic: Having run for two decades, this series has over 200 episodes, 2 movies, several shorts, and no end in sight. Luckily, the show is more than well circulated.
  • Ass Pull:
    • The Patty Vault in "Just One Bite". Though this is likely Played for Laughs.
    • The tugboat at the end of "Nautical Novice". Status Quo Is God, and God is being a troll.
    • Snellie and Gary falling in love in "The Great Snail Race" comes out of nowhere.
    • The ending of "Not Normal" outright relies on one Ass Pull after another, with Patrick's treatment to cure SpongeBob of his "normality" seeming to work at first... until he suddenly goes right back to "normal" just when it seems like he's in the final stages of reverting back. Then Normal!Squidward drops by, and just looking at him ends up being what changes SpongeBob back, scaring the normal out of him.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • "Treats!" sort of feels like an apology letter for SpongeBob's behavior in "A Pal For Gary". The episode shows that SpongeBob will literally go around the world to make Gary happy.
    • Many fans see "Plankton's Pet" as a big Throw the Dog a Bone moment for Plankton after "Plankton's Regular" and "One Coarse Meal". Likewise, "Enchanted Tiki Dreams" is one for Squidward.
    • Season 9 in general is (mostly) considered an improvement over Seasons 6-8, mainly due to the fact that the writers have made the characters closer to their Season 1-3 selves.
    • Seasons 9B and 10, when Stephen Hillenburg returned, have also gotten fans back, considering many fans hold in account that the show was good when he was involved.
    • After suffering from They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character for about a decade, seasons 9B-11 have Bubble Bass as a more prominent supporting character. He gets minor roles in "Bulletin Board", "Larry the Floor Manager", "Krabby Patty Creature Feature", and major roles in "Squid Noir" and "Moving Bubble Bass".
    • Patrick becomes a true friend towards SpongeBob in Season 9 and onwards, like in Seasons 1-3 (with a few exceptions), while seasons 6-8 had fans asking for SpongeBob to just ditch Patrick.
    • After the immense fan backlash to "Summer Job" ignoring Mr. Krabs' and Mrs. Puff's romantic relationship in "Krusty Love", the Season 10 premiere "Whirly Brains" revealed the two have been dating for years, seemingly rendering "Summer Job" non-canon.
    • After fans expressed disappointment that Pearl didn't even get mentioned in "Girls' Night Out" despite the episode focusing on the other major female characters (Sandy, Mrs. Puff, and Karen), "A Cabin in the Kelp" has Pearl become a member of the Gal Pals.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Badass Decay: Sandy Cheeks, to a limited extent. In Seasons 1-3, she was the squirrel version of Chuck Norris, and did things such as lift buildings and throw them. Starting from Season 4, her Gadgeteer Genius side has been focused on more. Starting from Season 9, most episodes (such as "Squirrel Record" and "Surf N' Turf") involving Sandy include both aspects of her personality.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Patchy the Pirate. His appearances in two specials "Atlantis SquarePantis" and "Truth or Square" (which fans have found overhyped and subpar) have been criticized by many fans for being too long, too boring, and too out-of-place. However, these two episodes (both of which feature Patchy outside of his house) are really the main reason why he is disliked; some fans enjoy the campy feel of his older appearances, particularly because of his nostalgic house that has been discontinued. Others dislike the campiness altogether, even in the old specials.
    • Patrick Star gets a lot of hate due to his Flanderization into an insensitive Jerkass in seasons 6-8. However, there are still many Patrick fans who prefer to ignore the Patrick of these seasons and still think that pre-first movie Patrick is one of the funniest characters on the show. Other fans are willing to forgive his assholish moments for still being pretty funny at times.
    • SpongeBob himself, thanks to his stupidity being exaggerated in seasons 6-8 and his obsession with Squidward coming off as borderline stalking. While his negative traits have been considerably toned down by Season 9, there are still as many people who find him annoying as there are people who like and sympathize with him.
      • In general—counting his personality in both the pre-movie and post-movie eras—SpongeBob is either found as a kindhearted, Adorkable little sea sponge whose optimism, pureness, naivete, and childishness makes him unique and stand out from most fictional characters his age, or nothing but a ceaseless annoyance to the viewer, who wants him to suffer. It's no secret that SpongeBob is often regarded as one of Western Animation's most annoying protagonists; not helping is that he has a high-pitched, nasally voice and laugh that is emphasized on from time-to-time.
    • Squidward is either the show's voice of reason or a judgmental, selfish prick trying to sabotage SpongeBob and Patrick's fun in exchange for the world giving him attention.
    • Pearl can be relatable in that she has to put up with a greedy, neglectful, abusive dad who frequently embarrasses her in public, in addition to being ostracized by her peers and facing typical problems of a teenage girl. On the other hand, though, she is also seen as an annoying brat who complains about things not going her way and deserves all the bad luck she receives.
    • Some fans find Plankton as an entertaining and likeable villain whose schemes to obtain the formula are interesting and clever, while others wish that he would just drop his delusional obsession already and come to terms with his unpopularity. Luckily, season 9 has catered to the latter side by giving him a pet amoeba to show that the secret formula isn't the only thing he cares about.
    • Bubble Bass, who went from a minor character in season 1 to a recurring character by season 9, has been fairly well-received due to his delivery of memorable, funny quotes, but at the same time, there are fans who loathe his obnoxious Jerkass personality and think that his appearances are getting old.
    • Is Mrs. Puff a teacher who tries her hardest to cope with SpongeBob, or an insane criminal? Episodes like "Bumper to Bumper", where Mrs. Puff acknowledges what SpongeBob struggles with and tries to conform the course to help him, support the former. On the other hand, Mrs. Puff also has her share of violent moments, such as harming students ("Teacher's Pests", "The Bully", "Demolition Doofus") and mocking them outside of school ("Girls' Night Out"). Do her Designated Monkey moments ("Don't Feed the Clowns", "Move It or Lose It", "Patrick-Man!") and the fact that she has been sent to jail many times justify her behavior towards SpongeBob?
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The Davy Jones and Nosferatu cameos.
    • The live-action "old folk from a soda commercial" gag seen in "Sun Bleached", done in a similar style to a Family Guy Cutaway Gag.
    • The werewolf scene from "The Great Patty Caper". Came out of nowhere? Check! Added nothing to the plot? Check! Was never mentioned again? Check!
    • In-universe (or meta) example from "I Had an Accident" that involves a gorilla with no real build up to the gorilla, and the fact the gorilla and some zebra were up to something made it more of a BLAM. The meta example comes in at the end where the family is sitting there dumbfounded and they turn off the TV, though at least it was Lampshaded.
    • The perfume department scene in "Shanghaied".
    • During a scene in "The Chaperone" in which the prom is dancing (and injuring themselves) trying to do "The Sponge", one of the fish gets chased by a giant apple. The apple was never shown before or after the scene in question, and was most likely included for Rule of Funny.
    • The face on the hot sauce drop in "Karate Choppers".
    • "All That Glitters": Once SpongeBob becomes naked to pay for a high-class spatula, he stays naked for the rest of the episode. Aside from some disturbed reactions from passerby, it's not commented on or resolved, even at the end where he reunites with his old spatula.
    • The mailman scene from "Boating Buddies".
    • In "Sponge-Cano!" some garbage creatures come out of the trash can and start singing with SpongeBob.
    • The air from SpongeBob's inflatable muscles just randomly moving to different parts of his body near the end of "MuscleBob BuffPants". While it does show off that SpongeBob's muscles were fake, the scene is never commented on or acknowledged afterwards.
  • Bile Fascination: Many of the worst episodes of the show receive a lot of attention because of their bad reputation.
  • Bizarro Episode: Even by SpongeBob's loose and wacky usual standards, the infamous "Squidward in Clarinetland" is just out there. In it, while looking for his lost clarinet, Squidward accidentally uncovers a pocket dimension inside SpongeBob's locker and travels through a series of increasingly larger cabinets that cannot possibly fit in there, passes through multiple bizarre landscapes in pursuit of SpongeBob and (among other things) gets swallowed alive by a giant eagle head. None of it is really even Played for Laughs, either. A good number of fans consider this to be one of the creepiest episodes in the whole series, it's positively Lynchian.
  • Broken Base:
    • From the pre-movie era, is "I'm With Stupid" a solid episode on its own right or is it too mean to SpongeBob to be funny?
    • Over whether post-movie episodes are even worth watching. Some people refuse to watch anything from Season 4 onwards, while others assure that there's a decent amount of good episodes in the post-movie seasons. Some will also include Season 4 (and even Season 5 sometimes) as one of the good seasons, but bash the ones after that. Some will also say that Season 9 is a return to form, and even that season has some of the show's most hated episodes ("Squid Baby", "Little Yellow Book", and "SpongeBob, You're Fired").
    • The show's continued dominance in the animation category at the Kids Choice Awards. As of 2015, the show has won nine years in a row with other shows like Adventure Time and The Legend of Korra being snubbed.
    • Although most fans will agree Seasons 6 and 7 are the worst, there’s some debate over which of the two is worse: 6 for its excessive gross-out and shock humor, or 7 for its slower, lazier writing and more jerkish character moments?
    • Season 10 and 11 have received a much more divisive reception compared to Season 1-3 and 9. Depending on your stance on the show being "cartoony", it's either a breath of fresh air after nearly decades of the same techniques, or too bouncy, loud and over-reliant on goofy facial expressions to tell decent stories. They also debate whether callbacks to old episodes are a good way to remember the old days of the show, or they're just pandering to nostalgic viewers (although, they throw in references from newer episodes as well).
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Just try to watch any movie or show that has on-screen text denoting a passage of time ("Meanwhile...", "[Amount of time] later...") and not read it in Tom Kenny's Jacques Cousteau-esque narrator voice.
  • Cargo Ship: It's practically a Running Gag at this point.
    • Technically, Plankton and Karen could count as a canon example of this.
    • Mr. Krabs and his money, which eventually became the plot of "Married to Money".
    • Mama Krabs and Plankton's giant robot.
    • Squidward and a Krabby Patty (Played for Laughs).
    • SpongeBob and "Patty" (also Played for Laughs, but not as successful).
    • Squidward and his clarinet, arguably.
    • Squidward and a pickle, at least according to Patrick.
    • Patrick and the same pickle.
    • Patrick and a pole.
    • Thanks to the trailer for the second SpongeBob movie, there is now a Patrick/Neapolitan ice cream crack ship (lovingly dubbed "Patopolitan").
    • Then there's SpongeBob and his spatula in "All That Glitters" and, to some extent, "Evil Spatula". In the former episode, SpongeBob's even portrayed as a cheating husband for getting a new, apparently more efficient and glamorous spatula after his old one breaks. Also, the spatula is referred to with male pronouns.
  • Catharsis Factor: Any moment where Squidward gets a victory that isn't snatched away from him at the last moment, it's incredibly satisfying. Especially when it's against Squilliam, which is a huge part of why "Band Geeks" is so enduringly popular.
  • Character Rerailment: Season 9 has been doing a lot of this. SpongeBob is a Nice Guy again, Patrick's stupidity is less destructive and more genuine, Squidward suffers a lot less (and when he does, he usually brings it upon himself), and Mr. Krabs is a good guy despite his greed.
  • Creator Worship: Stephen Hillenburg is highly respected and beloved by not just fans of the show, but by other show creators due to how he was able to lead the show into being one of the most endearing cartoons of the generation simply because of its child-like but endearing protagonist, the well done humor, and especially the aquatic setting that's a reference to Hillenburg's history of knowing sea biology. Being a genuinely Nice Guy helped matters too, and to say people were devastated by his passing to ALS is an understatement.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • For some, the episodes made after the first movie can be hilarious because of how far their darker jokes get.
    • "Nasty Patty" involves SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs becoming convinced that they killed a health inspector and attempting to hide the body, including trying and failing to bury him before stuffing the guy in the Krusty Krab's freezer when the police arrive. The plot of this portion would sound like a typical crime drama if it weren't for the fact that A: it's framed in just the right way for it to come off as increasingly absurd as the ordeal progresses, and B: the health inspector is actually still alive and just keeps getting knocked out by SpongeBob's incompetence, with these two factors turning the episode into one of the show's most famous forays into Black Comedy.
    • Patrick merely writing a terrible song in "Sing a Song of Patrick" is not that funny. Patrick writing a song so bad it kills the people who record it is on a whole different level entirely.
    • From "Slide Whistle Stooges": "Go assault your own baby!"
    • The scene where Plankton roasts an entire family in "20,000 Patties Under The Sea" is this almost all the way through, but what really crosses the line is when the old lady speaks up.
    Old Lady: Hey! You can't talk to my grandson like that! Someone should put you in a mental hospital!
    Plankton: Someone should put you in a box floatin' down the river, Grandma!
    Old Lady: (Beat) You're probably right...
    • In "Graveyard Shift" (Season 2), Squidward tells SpongeBob a (false) story about a fry-cook who accidentally cuts his hand off while cutting patties:
    Squidward: And then, he got hit by a bus! And then, at his funeral, they FIRED him!
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy:
    • In "Little Yellow Book", none of the characters are even remotely likable, from Squidward being a massive Jerkass to SpongeBob by reading his diary and bragging it towards everyone, the citizens of Bikini Bottom giving Squidward a Disproportionate Retribution for reading it and being massive hypocrites throughout the episode, and SpongeBob being an idiot for leaving his own diary unguarded.
    • "Demolition Doofus" has Mrs. Puff trying to murder SpongeBob for rupturing her inflation sac and disabling her for life in an accident. While she is portrayed as too Ax-Crazy to sympathize with, SpongeBob makes light of crippling her by calling her "Ms. Pop", doesn't understand why she flew into a rage from this, and thinks that she looks better deflated.
      • Considering the show has implied several times that SpongeBob and Patrick aren't as oblivious as they act and do some things deliberately for their own amusement ("Home Sweet Pineapple", "SpongeBob Meets the Strangler", "The Card", "Choir Boys"), there's an even darker interpretation of this episode to be found here, involving Mrs. Puff finally losing her mind and becoming murderous after years of her student's casual cruelty and sociopathy towards her.
  • Designated Hero:
    • SpongeBob himself in the show's Seasonal Rot can be pretty unsympathetic at times. The most infamous instant would be in "A Pal for Gary", where he mistreats Gary for bothering Puffy Fluffy even though Puffy Fluffy was actively trying to kill Gary.
    • Patrick Star's idiocy has a bad tendency to make him do insensitive and selfish things in many of the show's Seasonal Rot episodes, like making SpongeBob's predicament worse in "Stuck in the Wringer" or abusing Gary in "Pet-Sitter Pat".
    • Mr. Krabs' flanderized greed in seasons 6-8 caused a lot of backlash, the most notorious case being in "One Coarse Meal", where he remorselessly uses Plankton's fear of whales to try and drive his rival to commit suicide.
  • Designated Monkey:
    • Squidward's Butt-Monkey role was justified more in the first few seasons of the show due to his Jerkass persona and treatment of others, his abuse has leaned more towards Comedic Sociopathy and Kafka Komedy in seasons 6-11, with a lot of the cast (and inanimate objects) just baring an instant hatred towards him. The people who do like him aren't much help either.
    • Plankton, to some extent.
    • Mrs. Puff just wants to be left alone by SpongeBob, and even compared to Squidward and Plankton, only a handful of circumstances does she take unscrupulous measures on him. Unlike the previous two, this was not a result of Flanderization either, as she was an undeserved victim of SpongeBob's inability to drive from her first appearance.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Squidward and Mrs. Puff, Depending on the Writer.
    • SpongeBob himself in the episode "Stuck in the Wringer", where he is chewed out by the townspeople for getting rightfully angry that Patrick glued him into a wringer and showed little sympathy towards SpongeBob's plight.
    • Plankton used to be an ordinary and fairly competent villain, but now that Mr. Krabs has been flanderized into a Jerkass and Plankton has suffered Villain Decay, one can't help but side with Plankton. A good example is in "Chum Fricassee", sure he was a bit quick to rub his competitive edge in Krabs' face, but it's hardly enough to make him a villain. Taking Krabs' employee can be said to be mean, but Squidward did leave out of his own free will. The only bad thing that can be said is that he maybe should have resisted more or outright refused when Squidward told him to undercook the chum, but it was still, ultimately Squidward's idea in the first place.
    • The mob in "Bubble Buddy". For context, it was a Real After All plot twist. But the Fridge Horror of this means that Bubble Buddy really did let a man drown and hold up the bathroom for a couple of hours. Granted, screwing over Mr. Krabs might not be too damning, but the crowd still had plenty of reason to be mad.
    • In "Shuffleboarding", Man Ray is among the hundreds of innocents to get arrested by SpongeBob and Patrick for no reason (their justification for arresting Man Ray is that he's a villain), even though it's clear that he's retired. They even go as far as to arrest another citizen simply for being friends with Man Ray.
  • Discredited Meme: The "Mocking SpongeBob" meme quickly got this treatment, due to its repetitive naturenote , the meme encouraging Jerkass behaviour, or simple annoyance at the meme using the wrong picturenote 
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Fans have noted that, the older they get, the more Squidward's Grumpy Bear disposition seems to resonate with them.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Plankton. It has been established that he's evil as he continued to try to take Krabs' secret formula in myriad ways. One episode even had him as a Jerk with a Heart of Jerk with him saying "Being evil is just too much fun!" He's also been shown to be a big Jerkass with all his screaming and being angry. In the first movie, he had definitely crossed the Moral Event Horizon. However, due to Flanderization and Took a Level in Jerkass on the parts of the main characters and Plankton becoming more a harmless Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain, most fans side with Plankton.
    • Squidward does have redeeming qualities... at times, but he mentally and sometimes physically abuses SpongeBob because it amuses him. His absolute worst behaviour was "Can You Spare a Dime?" where he takes advantage of generosity and gets no comeuppance for it. However, people who (understandably) feel sorry for him due to his endless abuse and Butt-Monkey status tend to ignore his Jerkass traits and think he's just an innocent martyr.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    Larry the Lobster: He called us fat!
    Mr. Krabs: He owes me money!
    Scooter: He made me experience high tide!
    Tom: He poisoned our water supply, burned our crops, and delivered a plague unto our houses!
    Crowd (astonished): He did?
    Tom: NO! But are we just gonna wait around until he does???
    • The fish in the cinema who screams after being exposed to SpongeBob's bad breath in "Something Smells": DEUUEAUGH!
    • Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen: He was number one!
    • Larry the Lobster is highly popular for his badass feats of absurd manliness.
    • Scooter. Especially in "Bubble Buddy".
    • Bubble Buddy himself.
    • DoodleBob is considered one of the more interesting antagonists, even appearing in a bunch of games. The writers seemed to agree, to the point of bringing him back in season 11's "Doodle Dimension".
    • The two Drill Sergeant Nasty characters from "Mrs Puff, You're Fired" and "The Inmates of Summer", played by Robin Sachs and R. Lee Ermey respectively.
    • Bubble Bass and Kevin C. Cucumber.
    • The extremely old fish from "Chocolate With Nuts".
    "What are they sellin'?"
    F-P 
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop:
    • "The Bully" shows that quite often, when you're faced with a bully and your very life is in danger, authority figures will be of absolutely no help, which is sadly sometimes a case of Truth in Television.
    • Intended to be Played for Laughs in "Stuck in the Wringer", where SpongeBob manages to walk away from the episode with the lesson that crying like a baby will get you out of your problems. However, after everything that happened, it becomes completely unfunny and unintentionally played straight.
    • "Choir Boys" demonstrates how talent can be more important than passion, with the passionate Squidward being upstaged in singing by the more talented SpongeBob.
    • "Chocolate with Nuts". Patrick put it best: "Hooray for lying!"
    • The season 1 episode "Pizza Delivery" has a genuinely serious one: working in the service industry is difficult for even the most cheerful person, and everyone has to deal with an extremely angry, ungrateful, and downright rude customer at least once in their lives. And when that happens, there's actually very little you can do about it.
  • Fandom Rivalry: There are two different rivalries towards the show: almost all of the Nick shows that premiered from 2005-present and the competitors for Kids Choice Awards' Best Cartoon Category. In case of the former, most of those shows (that often got screwed by Nickelodeon) will usually hate/blame on SpongeBob for not giving them a chance to shine (this can attribute to not getting enough ratings as SpongeBob usually gets). The latter applies to almost all the shows that compete with SpongeBob (especially Phineas and Ferb, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Gravity Falls, Steven Universe, and The Loud House), accusing Nickelodeon for rigging this category. It has been the winner for every year since 2002 except 2008 (when Avatar: The Last Airbender actually beat the sponge).
  • Fandom-Specific Plot: After the death of Ernest Borgnine in 2012, stories about Mermaid Man dying and SpongeBob learning to deal with it became very popular.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: For many fans, the seasons between the movie and its sequel (with the exception of 4 and 5 for more than a few, after they finished airing) don't exist. As for individual episodes, "A Pal for Gary" and "One Coarse Meal" get this the most.
  • Fanon: Although the movie is still widely beloved by the fanbase, some fans prefer to consider "Band Geeks" as the unofficial series finale, since it features the entire main cast coming together to help Squidward finally win, and placing it at the very end means all his misfortunes have passed and gives him a happy ending. It's widely considered the series' best episode and feels very climactic, so it's not surprising many fans would like to think of the show going out on a high note.
  • Fountain of Memes: Patrick is the best example here.
  • Franchise Original Sin: See here.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With fellow Nickelodeon hit, The Loud House. Many people have compared both Lincoln and Luan to SpongeBob, Lori to Squidward, both Leni and Lana to Patrick, and both Lynn and Lisa to Sandy. Unless it's the Kids Choice Awards, where Fandom Rivalry applies.
    • The Splatoon playerbase has a strong rapport with the SpongeBob community, in part due to the shared sealife theme, and in part due to the similarities in the setting (Splatoon is post-apocalyptic after an unspecified nuclear-powered Fifth World War, while SpongeBob takes place in Bikini Atoll post nuclear testing). Their friendliness got stronger after the SpongeBob Splatfest which was announced on a First of April, where the Squid Research Lab blog had to confirm that it was not an April Fools joke.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In one episode, SpongeBob shouts "Holy oil spill!" as Mermaid Man's rivals appear.
    • In "Life of Crime", SpongeBob and Patrick steal a balloon, it pops, and they panic. Patrick says this little gem right here:
    Patrick: "We're not talking about some dumb mail fraud scheme or a hijacking! WE STOLE A BALLOON!"
    (A few months after the episode aired, 9/11, the anthrax letters and hijacking of Flight 793 occurred. Coincidence or foreshadowing?)
    • The "Remembering SpongeBob" montage from "The Sponge Who Could Fly" is heartbreaking if you think about it as remembering pre-Seasonal Rot SpongeBob. Even more heartbreaking is viewing it after Stephen Hillenburg's passing in November 2018.
    • All the negative experience Squidward has had with police officers (from the ticket for littering in "Squid on Strike" to thinking he's under arrest for kicking a box in "Idiot Box") are uncomfortable to watch after his voice actor got arrested.
    • "Dying for Pie" has Squidward helping SpongeBob complete a bucket list when he thinks he's going to die. In 2017, Stephen Hillenburg was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal illness. Even more so since he had only recently gotten creative control of the show again, thus similarly leaving him limited time to work on one of his ambitions. Unfortunately, the disease took Hillenburg's life on November 26, 2018, at only 57 years old.
    • The gag of the sand castle shaped like Texas from the episode of the same name, along with it being washed away by a wave, is uncomfortably evocative of Hurricane Harvey devastating much of Texas in 2017.
    • Any scene where Squidward is referred to as a loser, such as "Help Wanted" or "Skill Crane", given how in The Spongebob Musical, the word is a painful reminder of having been bullied as a child.
    • The joke in "One Krab's Trash" where Mr. Krabs asks himself if he's really going to defile Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen's grave just so he can make money off of his soda drink hat before eagerly stating that of course he will becomes a lot less funny in light of Nickelodeon greenlighting a spinoff of the show titled Kamp Koral not too long after Stephen Hillenburg died when Hillenburg made it clear he didn't want any spinoffs of SpongeBob to be made while he was alive, an action which has resulted in serious backlash from fans accusing Nickelodeon of disrepecting Stephen Hillenburg's wishes just to line their pockets.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • SpongeBob is asexual and can reproduce by budding... because he's a sponge. Stephen Hillenburg did not waste his marine biology degree with this show.
    • SpongeBob lives in a pineapple, which seems out of place for an underwater setting until one realizes that there's a type of sponge known as the pineapple sponge.
    • In "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", when Squidward is deciding where he wants his "throne" to be laid down, he complains that some spots are "too hot", "too wet", and "Toulouse-Lautrec", and then cuts to a painting of his re-done with fish.
    • In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III", those familiar with psychology can recognize Man-Ray's "goodness lessons" as an example of operant conditioning, which is to apply an averse stimulus (tickling) when the subject exhibits undesirable behavior (being bad).
    • "Shell of a Man" has a character by the name of Iron Eye. It turns out his "iron eye" was really made of formica. Quite an obscure thing to slip into a kids' show.
    • Man Ray
    • In "The Bully", SpongeBob is on the constant threat of being beat up by Flatts the Flounder. In the ocean, adolescent flounder fish will feed on sponges as part of their prey.
    • Plankton is already enough of a Seldom-Seen Species, but Sheldon J. Plankton is of a very specific breed of plankton. Known as copepods, they are tiny crustaceans sporting a single eye at the center of their heads. This is lampshaded in "Lame and Fortune," where Plankton wears a shirt reading "KISS ME I'M A COPEPOD." Likewise, Plankton's cousins seem to be based on other types of plankton.
    • In "The Algae's Always Greener", it is revealed that Plankton eats holographic meatloaf (and possibly other holographic food) that Karen "cooks" for him by using light to generate the hologram. Real-life plankton use photosynthesis, the chemical process of turning light energy into chemical energy (sugar), to gain energy as food.
    • The Krusty Krab is in the shape of a crab trap.
    • The buildings in Bikini Bottom are car mufflers that fell into the ocean, contributing to the ocean’s pollution. This is confirmed in "High Sea Diving".
    • In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV", Squidward, while dawning the Captain Magma costume, unleashes a magma attack from his head by shouting "Krakatoa!" Not a lot of young kids will know what this means unless they have basic knowledge in history, geography, geology, or volcanology.
    • The giant worm that SpongeBob calls an "Alaskan Bull Worm" is likely a polychaete.
    • Many viewers have chalked Goo Lagoon, which SpongeBob could drown in, as Rule of Funny given it's a lagoon underwater. As explained in one of Nickelodeon's "Bikini Bottom Mysteries" videos, this actually has a basis in real life—there are places underwater where high salt concentration makes the water have a higher density than regular water, and fish can and do drown in it.
    • In "Library Cards", Gary reads a book titled "Cooking Without Salt". Salt causes snails to shrivel up.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
  • Growing the Beard:
    • Season 2 is when people really started paying attention to the series.
      • Alternatively the second "chunk" of Season 1 episodes, starting with "SB-129", as that was where the animation improved, the characters got more developed, and more people were brought on to work for the series.
    • Season 9 can be considered this to the post-movie seasons, for being an improvement over seasons 6-7 with episodes like "Plankton's Pet", which is considered one of the best post-movie SpongeBob episodes. This was taken another step further with the latter half of the season, which featured Stephen Hillenburg back in the show.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In "Patty Hype", Mr. Krabs panics when he mistakes SpongeBob's green "Pretty Patty" for a spoiled burger and immediately torches it, as a responsible restaurant owner might. In later episodes like "Born Again Krabs" and "The Krusty Sponge", Mr. Krabs is more than willing to sell tainted patties for a profit.
    • In "Hooky", Mr. Krabs warns SpongeBob that he could end up in a gift shop if he plays on the hooks. In The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, SpongeBob and Patrick die while being prepared to be sold in a gift shop.
    • Given how extreme bullying has become in the 2010s, "The Bully" can be more unsettling than funny. The scenes where Mrs. Puff believes Flats' lies and SpongeBob recoils in terror are especially cringeworthy.
    • There's a scene in "Band Geeks" where Squidward orders the flag twirlers to spin as fast as they can. Unfortunately, they go so fast they are propelled into the air and crash into a blimp, which then explodes, followed by a band member playing Taps. This episode aired four days before 9/11, which makes this matter worse.
    • Some of the most reviled episodes of the show even make it hard to watch previous episodes. Try watching "Friend or Foe" (which is about how Mr. Krabs and Plankton used to be friends before Krabs' success with the krabby patty tore them apart) and "Best Frenemies" (where Krabs and Plankton form an Enemy Mine to investigate the success of the new Kelp Shakes) after "One Coarse Meal" (which had Mr. Krabs remorselessly use Plankton's fear of whales to drive him into suicide), or try watching "Have You Seen This Snail?" (where SpongeBob spends a good deal of the episode missing his pet snail Gary and desperately trying to find him) and "A Pal for Gary" (where SpongeBob is completely oblivious of his new pet Puffy Fluffy's violent nature and is an Ungrateful Bastard when Gary saves his life from the creature) in succession.
    • Plankton's Catchphrase ("I went to college!") has been adopted by many millennials, who grew up watching this show, as a cynical bit of Gallows Humor referencing the declining worth of bachelor's degrees in The New '10s job market.
    • Any episode where Mr. Krabs shows that he deeply cares for SpongeBob, like in "Welcome to the Chum Bucket" when he sings "I'll trade it all away, if you come back to stay" (referring to SpongeBob) in the "This Grill Is Not A Home" song, are a lot harder to watch after "SpongeBob, You're Fired", where he is willing to (and does) fire SpongeBob just so he can save a nickel.
    • "Barnacle Boy, don't squash his enthusiasm. After all, he could be the superhero of tomorrow... or the villain."What? 
    • In "Fear of a Krabby Patty", SpongeBob gains a fear of Krabby Patties due to being overworked, specifically that giant patties are going to eat him. In "Krabby Patty Creature Feature", science-created Krabby Patties turn anyone who eats them into mutant Krabby Patty zombies, who spread the virus by making others eat them.
    • In "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One", the Flying Dutchman meets musician Davy Jones in Davy Jones' locker (which is a term for drowning under the sea). This makes this feel a bit more sad after he passed away in 2012.
    • The Fantastic Racism Sandy faces in episodes like "Squirrel Jokes" gains even more uncomfortable tones due to Sandy being cast as a black woman in the musical (in which she still faces racism for being a land mammal).
    • "Back to the Past" leads to SpongeBob and Patrick accidentally mess up Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy's past, creating a dystopian future ruled by Man-Ray, with Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy forced to work at the Krusty Krab. SpongeBob asks them where the younger Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are, Mermaid Man says he and Barnacle Boy are the younger ones, and points to the graves of present Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. This episode aired almost two years before Ernest Borgnine (the voice of Mermaid Man) passed away. It became even worse when Adam West (who played young Mermaid Man) died in 2017, and in 2019 Tim Conway (the voice of Barnacle Boy) died as well.
    • The very premise of a kitchen sponge living at the bottom of the ocean is awkward in a more environmentally conscious age, where disposable sponges are one of the most common forms of oceanic pollution.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve" was one of the most controversial episodes of the series due to (apparently) depicting SpongeBob and Patrick as gay parents. Over a decade later, another Nicktoon has a canon gay couple in the form of Clyde's dads, which attracted a lot less controversy due to society marching on.
    • At the end of the first movie, Mr. Krabs hugs SpongeBob and says "I'm sorry I ever doubted you." This may be a callback to "Help Wanted", the very first episode of the show, in which Mr. Krabs is hesitant about hiring SpongeBob in the first place and even makes fun of him behind his back. Really shows how much closer they've become over the series.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • This was the show that put Tom Kenny on the map as a, more-or-less, seriously regarded and acclaimed voice actor. Not only is his vocal range very impressive (high-pitched and giggly one minute, low and suave the next, impeccable French accent) but unlike a lot of voice actors, Tom Kenny can actually cry very convincingly. Any scene that involves SpongeBob crying is heartbreaking because of Tom Kenny's poignant voice acting. Kudos to him! The beloved Season 10 episode "Mimic Madness", in particular, even veers into The Cast Showoff by having him do all of SpongeBob's sometimes-uncanny impressions and show off his vocal range. It even earn him both Annie and Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Television.
    • A little credit should be given to Mr. Lawrence, too! The voice actor of Plankton was actually a writer and storyboard artist on the show before landing the role of Plankton - and what an impressive voice it is!
    • Like Tom Kenny, Rodger Bumpass displays superb emotional range when he lends his voice to the character Squidward. His voice acting in episodes like "Dying for Pie" really pack an emotional punch.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Has its own page.
  • Ho Yay: Take a look at this page.
  • I Am Not Shazam:
    • The villain in the episode "Frankendoodle" is named DoodleBob, not Frankendoodle.
    • The neighborhood Squidward moves to in "Squidville" is never referred to by that name. It's called "Tentacle Acres".
    • The episode featuring Pretty Patties is called "Patty Hype", not "Pretty Patties".
  • Idiot Plot: "Nasty Patty". It is even lampshaded at the end of the episode.
    Narrator: Well, that's our story. Yes, they are all idiots, aren't they?
    • Other notable examples include "Stuck in the Wringer" (SpongeBob uses a wringer instead of a towel, then gets glued in by Patrick in an incomprehensible display of stupidity) or "To SquarePants or Not to SquarePants" (SpongeBob is compelled to start a new life because Patrick doesn't recognize SpongeBob while he's wearing round pants). It's safe to say that most plots pushed forward by Patrick will end up like this.
    • "The Algae's Always Greener". Plankton's machine is a Story-Breaker Power that allows him to swap lives with Mr. Krabs. Rather than using it to learn the Krabby Patty formula, he takes a major level in dumbass and spends the entire episode literally making out with the burger. The episode ends with Plankton reverting to his former life, still unable to achieve his life-long goal even when it was right in front of him.
  • Memetic Mutation: Enough to warrant a page all of its own.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Bubble Buddy is usually regarded by the fanbase as a psychopathic murderer and sadist who takes great joy in the suffering of innocent people. (Given that he was fully sentient the whole time, meaning that he just stood by and watched Scooter drown, it's definitely a rather convincing argument.)
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Sandy Cheeks (a Texan squirrel) is particularly popular with people from Texas and southerners in general. It helps that she's a Southern-Fried Genius, and isn't portrayed negatively in spite of being a caricature of southern culture.
  • Mis-blamed: Many fans pin the blame of SpongeBob's UnCancellation in 2005 to the financial success of The Movie, which was originally intended to be the Series Finale. In actuality, Nickelodeon was fighting tooth and nail to revive the series between 2002-2004. Seeing how high the ratings and sales from the merchanding the show was getting in the first years, Nickelodeon was doing everything they could to revive production on the series from convincing creator Stephen Hillenburg to eventually getting writer Paul Tibbitt as showrunner, and eventually, they revived production the same year as the movie's release, and the first revival episodes started airing in 2005.
  • Moe:
    • SpongeBob frequently thanks to his big, sparkly blue eyes, long girly eyelashes, and adorable, fun-loving personality.
    • Patrick lapses into this sometimes, though not to the extent of Sponge.
    • Sponge and Pat as babies. ANY of the cast as babies from the episode "Goo Goo Gas". That episode was made to be as cute as possible.
    • Norton, the timid and friendly mailman from "Squid Plus One".
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Mr. Krabs is always a miserable cheapskate, but throughout the series he became much worse and has done many cruel actions. He crosses the MEH in "One Coarse Meal" when he starts exploiting Plankton's fear of whales by dressing up as Pearl and threatening to eat him. He harasses Plankton so much that he becomes suicidal afterwards; after he finds out that Plankton is ready to commit suicide, he simply laughs at Plankton's misery.
    • Granny crosses the line in the episode "Have You Seen This Snail?", when Gary discovers that she has killed other snails (most likely they died from sheer overeating and then Granny simply ate them herself, though it's not made clear), and then she tries to do the same with Gary. In fact, unlike the examples of Mr. Krabs, her Moral Event Horizon is not played for laughs and in the same episode, the things got very serious.
    • Plankton brainwashing and enslaving Bikini Bottom in The Movie. In addition, he was willing to kill SpongeBob and Patrick in some scenes by sending a bounty hunter after them.
    • Mrs. Puff entering SpongeBob in a demolition derby in hopes that he will die, and then later actively trying to kill him in "Demolition Doofus".
    • Bubble Bass reneges SpongeBob and Patrick's free meal promise of moving him out of his mom's house... by burping in their faces! No doubt he deserved that ending karma where her mom stuffs him in a box and drags him around town.
    • The comics give us the Big Bad of the Untidaled arc, an unnamed kraken, who is arguably the darkest villain in the comics. Why? Well, not only is he responsible for the draining of the water that kick started the arc in the first place, we later learn HE EATS FISH! That's right, the darkest villain ever in the comic series eats Bikini Bottomites, and he tries to force Mr. Krabs to make him a giant Krabby Patty that will attract MANY unfortunate citizens into his jaws.
  • Narm:
    • "This Grill is Not a Home" from the episode "Welcome to the Chum Bucket" is actually a really sad song, but it's broken by Mr. Krabs' bizarre Louis Armstrong singing voice.
    • In "The Krabby Kronicle", there's the scene near the end where Mr. Krabs is exposed for making fake stories for his newspaper. Considering how Krabs was acting throughout most of the episode, this scene should provide some satisfaction... except it's easy to get distracted by one female fish whose voice actress is delivering her lines in an extremely over-the-top manner.
      Female Fish: "HOW CAN YOU DO THAT TO SUCH AN INNOCENT CHILD?! IT IS SICK AND INHUMANE!!!"
    • If not handled tactfully, SpongeBob's crying tends to turn into this. Perhaps for this reason, it's Played for Laughs more often than not.
  • Narm Charm: Arguably, the entire show runs on Narm Charm. It's an extremely silly World of Ham populated by a cast of funny-looking characters with goofy voices, all topped off with an extremely quirky sense of humor. But the characters are written with such sincerity and charm that, when the show tries to carry itself in more heartwarming or serious moments, somehow it just works.
  • Nausea Fuel: Has its own page.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Mr. Krabs driving Plankton to suicide and poisoning people are this amongst the fandom.
    • Mrs. Puff trying to kill SpongeBob.
    • SpongeBob's behavior in the infamous "A Pal for Gary" episode.
    • "Breath of Fresh Squidward" could have been about SpongeBob receiving Laser-Guided Karma for his treatment of Squidward. Instead, it's eleven minutes of Protagonist-Centered Morality and massive hypocrisy on SpongeBob's part.
    • For the show itself, the toenail scene from "House Fancy". Whenever people are complaining about the show's declining quality, that scene is almost always brought up as the straw that broke the camel's back. Another candidate would be Plankton's attempted suicide in "One Coarse Meal". He lays down on the road to get run over, but the way fans talk about it, you'd think he slips a noose around his neck or slits his wrists.
    • In another meta example, post-movie writers Casey Alexander and Zeus Cervas still have yet to fully live down the reputation of the poorly-received episodes they wrote, even after moving on and proving themselves as capable writers on Uncle Grandpa (for Casey), Star vs. the Forces of Evil (for Zeus), and Harvey Beaks (also for Zeus).
    • While the show's been getting better from season 9 onwards, seasons 6 through 8 will most likely remain infamous for years to come, to the point that some fans will base the post-movie quality of the show only on those seasons without giving any episodes past them a chance.
    • Any of Patrick's worse deeds in seasons 6-8 are still not faded into oblivion amongst fans, even after his Character Rerailment. "The Card" gives him a ton of Ron the Death Eater treatments.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games:
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Heteronormative Crusader James Dobson's accusations of SpongeBob "promoting the gay agenda" actually made the show more popular, especially among actual queer audiences. It helps that the writers of the show never confirmed or denied it (save for Stephen Hillenburg saying that SpongeBob was asexual), though they later put a positive spin on Dobson's accusation by saying how wonderful it was that the show was reaching so many different groups.
  • Offending the Creator's Own: Some of the show's memetic faces (such as SpongeBob's reaction to being told he was using too much sauce in "The Algae's Always Greener") have been criticized by some for being racist caricatures of East Asians. The show is animated by Rough Draft Studios, which is located in South Korea, and thus many of the artists who animated those faces were Asian themselves and probably never found them offensive.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The "DEEEUUAGH" fish, who shows up for about five seconds in "Something Smells", has spawned a meme.
    • Probably one of the only shows to feature this for a location; Rock Bottom has only been visited in two episodes ("Rock Bottom" and "Out of the Picture"), but a level based on it appears in almost every video game based on the series and has a roller coaster themed around it in the Mall of America.
    • The Jerkass fish who falsely insisted that he had ordered a drink with his pizza in "Pizza Delivery" (who closely resembles recurring background character Tom) is very remembered for making SpongeBob cry and causing Squidward to shove the thing in his face. One of the most unpleasant people in the series, and only one major appearance.
    • The Drill Sergeant Nasty Threatening Shark that tries to teach SpongeBob in "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired".
    • The nameless eel lady in "Your Shoe's Untied" because of her single line and being a very adorable Woobie.
    • Bubble Bass was originally this, as he only appeared as a major character in a single episode before dropping off of the map entirely for years. Nevertheless, he's still one of the most iconic minor characters the show has ever had, and eventually grew out of this trope as the show began to employ him in a much more frequent capacity thanks to the fandom's love for him.
    • Rodger Bumpass's cameo in "Goons on the Moon" is greatly considered a highlight of the episode.
    • Red Mist Squidward from "SpongeBob in RandomLand", for being an unexpected nod to the infamous Squidward's Suicide creepypasta.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Most online reactions to Season 4 and beyond (mainly Season 6-8), which were done without the level of input from creator Stephen Hillenburg as the preceding 3 seasons. Hence the cheers from the fanbase when Stephen Hillenburg was announced to be returning for the second SpongeBob SquarePants movie, and the series after that.
  • Pandering to the Base: Episodes with fan-favorite characters in them like "Moving Bubble Bass" (Bubble Bass) and "My Leg!" (Fred, AKA the guy that always shouts "My leg!") are obviously made to appeal to said fans. However, these two episodes were done tastefully and had good plots. The same can be said for "Bottle Burglars", which references a bunch of previous episodes.
  • Periphery Demographic: College students, due to the teens/adults who grew up watching the show as kids. This led to SpongeBob and friends becoming prime memetic material.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: With a couple exceptions; see No Problem with Licensed Games above.
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    Q-W 
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Starting from the Season 9, many fandom-unlikeable characters (like Mr. Krabs and Patrick Star) got their own respective Character Rerailment, which brought many SpongeBob fans back.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Prior to becoming a film director, Tim Hill worked as a writer for SpongeBob up until 2006.
    • Phineas and Ferb co-creator Dan Povenmire was a writer and storyboard artist for SpongeBob in its first three seasons. "The Campfire Song Song" was also written by him.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • SpongeBob gets this sometimes. Although there are numerous post-season 3 episodes that portray him as an annoying, obnoxious man-child, he can still be a nice guy, depending on the episode, yet some fans demonize him even when he doesn’t cause trouble.
    • Squidward gets this and the Draco in Leather Pants treatment (even though he isn't a villain without any redeeming qualities). Some fans hate Squidward because of the way he treats SpongeBob and Patrick, ignoring the fact that SpongeBob and Patrick annoy him to no end and won’t let him have any breathing space, when all Squidward wants to do is relax. Plus, some of them think that he deserves his Butt-Monkey status simply because he doesn't like SpongeBob and Patrick. Other fans treat him like a saint because he is a Butt-Monkey and gets endless abuse, forgetting the fact that he acts like a jerk sometimes and does indeed deserve at least some of the abuse that is handed to him, depending on the episode.
    • Patrick especially is prone to this treatment. Particularly because of his infamous quote in "The Card", fans have been outright calling him a complete sociopath when he clearly means no harm (at least for the most part). Granted, he does act insensitive towards SpongeBob in episodes such as "Driven to Tears", "The Splinter", "Stuck in the Wringer", "Yours, Mine and Mine", "Oral Report", "Pet Sitter Pat" and "Little Yellow Book", but people tend to exaggerate Patrick's traits, with some even calling him one of the most evil characters in cartoon history, despite the fact that he still has his nice moments such as "Have You Seen This Snail?" and "The Pink Purloiner".
    • Plankton is also subjected to this and Draco in Leather Pants. While he has done some genuinely bad things, there are those who make it like he's always acting so terrible and ignore the episodes where he's hardly villainous, if at all. Sure, he does bad things sometimes, but it's okay to notice when he's doing things like, say, saving Karen's life, competing more legitimately with Krabs (albeit, often gloating over small victories), showing that he has standards, or treating Squidward like an actual, valued employee. He's not wholly on the side of good or anything, but far from the monster his detractors make him out to be.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • More fans would sympathize with Plankton because of Mr. Krabs' constant bullying towards his failures, and actively trying to make Plankton as miserable as possible ("Plankton's Regular").
    • To a more varied scenario, fans would root for Squidward ever since he's become more prone to Kafka Komedy; with SpongeBob and Patrick making his life a living hell.
    • A few viewers started rooting for Mrs. Puff trying to kill SpongeBob in "Demolition Doofus".
  • Sacred Cow: The first three seasons of SpongeBob have a legendary status among cartoon fans. While fans will accept any harsh criticism of succeeding seasons, no one dares say anything bad about the first three seasons.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Post-movie episode haters have multiple scapegoats: Casey Alexander, Zeus Cervas, Derek Iversen, Sean Charmatz, Richard Pursel, and Paul Tibbitt. However, some of these people have worked on the show from the beginning, and are considered better as artists than writers.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Mr. Krabs. While he was already something of a Base-Breaking Character in the pre-movie era due to his greed, his Flanderization in seasons 6-8 caused him to become this, to the point where many fans just want to see him suffer a truly horrible fate, like he almost did in the movie. Plenty of post-first-movie episodes have seen his rivalry with Plankton devolve into making his life hell just for fun, feeding poison or rotten food to his customers intentionally for the sake of an extra dollar, or extorting and abusing his employees. The fact that he gets away with these at least 80% of the time doesn't help. According to writers and the creator himself, Krabs is supposed to look as bad (if not worse) than Plankton himself. It's just the matter of letting him get away with it that they and the audience seem split over.
    • Sam, Patrick's sister from "Big Sister Sam", has little redeeming qualities and is even stupider and meaner than her brother. Another thing worth noting is that her existence contradicts Patrick's claim of not having a sister in "Something Smells". But if "Rule of Dumb" and "I'm With Stupid" are anything to go by, Patrick probably has a hard time remembering his family members.
  • Seasonal Rot: The series never was the same from Season 4 onwards.note  Once it started back up, the show became much more grotesque compared to the earlier seasons — the post-movie seasons have Vulgar Humor, massive flanderization of various cast members (with some being flanderized into ditzes and designated heroes), occasional dark humor, creepy Nausea Fuel, and overall less charm.
    • The general consensus is that Season 4 was when the rot kicked in (although that season has since been Vindicated by History to a number of fans), and Seasons 6 and 7 were the peak of the rot.note  Seasons 5 and 8 are... "mixed" among fans. The good episodes in them are generally better-received than the ones from Season 6 and 7, but the bad episodes in them include some of the most reviled episodes of the show.note 
    • In turn, many fans agree that Season 9 is a major improvement on Seasons 6-8, with most of the episodes being praised.note  Even moreso improved after Hillenburg's return later that season. Seasons 10 and 11 likewise continue to be pretty well-regarded by the fanbase as well and has a number of new fan favorite episodes such as "Mustard O' Mine", "Bottle Burglars", and "Mimic Madness", although the Art Shift to a more Denser and Wackier artstyle is somewhat divisive among viewers and there are still the occasional stinkers (such as the infamous "Ink Lemonade").
    • As many people have pointed out, there's no single reason for the show's Dork Age, just a number of reasons. It was mostly a combination of the change in staff after the show's revival, and its mid-to-late 2000s popularity causing Nick to have an overreliance on the show, leading to larger episode orders, which in turn would force the production crew to rush out episodes and turn off quality control to meet deadlines, all without the post-movie era staff trying to learn all about the show.
  • Self-Fanservice: The main male cast is normally transformed into attractive Bishounen guys in both shipping (usually Spandy/Squidbob, most people are oddly okay with non-humanized Patbob) and non-shippy fanart. Sandy herself is usually made much more curvaceous or feminine by Furry Fandom.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Spandy (SpongeBob and Sandy) fans and all of the SpongeBob slash-fans seem to constantly be at each other's throats whenever people start to discuss the pairings that they like and don't like (or at least the very militant ones are). The slash fans tend to ignore that Word of God said at one point that SpongeBob had a chaste crush on Sandy, the Spandy fans often ignore all of the Ho Yay, and everybody seems to ignore the fact that Word of God has also stated that SpongeBob's asexual.
  • Snark Bait: Its status as this is mainly due to its Seasonal Rot. Seasons 6 and 7 are prime targets. It got out of this trope when Hillenburg returned to the series.
    • Nickelodeon's plans of making a prequel to the series named "Kamp Koral" was met with skepsis at best and hostility at worst, due to the network ignoring the late Stephen Hillenburg's wishes. A petition to cancel the series before it was even released was signed by rounded 50.000 people as of this writing.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • "Pizza Delivery" shows with brutal honesty that some people are very ungrateful, won't forgive others for mistakes, and will nitpick over the tiniest detail, especially when it involves fast-food.
    • "Not Normal" shows that your quirks are what make you special and that "fitting in" really isn't worth it.
    • "Squirrel Jokes" shows that prejudiced jokes are lazy and can have harmful real-world effect, and if you really want to do politically incorrect humor, include everyone for the sake of fairness.
    • "Ripped Pants" shows that you shouldn't do stupid, humiliating things to yourself just to get attention and praise from other people — and faking serious injuries as a practical joke is not funny.
    • "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic" shows, quite painfully and honestly, that your idols aren't always the great people you assume them to be, and, as Patrick points out, hero worship is unhealthy.
    • "Can You Spare a Dime?" shows that sometimes, people will take advantage of your kindness — and when they do, do not allow them to walk all over you.
    • "Rock-a-Bye Bivalve" shows that a person selfishly neglecting their spouse and not doing their fair share of work around the house and parenting is very bad.
    • "Sun Bleached" shows that tanning is unattractive, dangerous, and just plain stupid.
  • Song Association: You're about as likely to find the Holy Grail in your backyard as you are to find a comment on a YouTube upload of David Glen Eisley's song "Sweet Victory" that doesn't in some way reference or mention SpongeBob. Some people weren't even aware it was a real song and thought it was created by the composers of SpongeBob's OST.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The Japanese version of the "Ripped Pants" song.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song:
    • The techno song from "Jellyfish Jam" is very similar to the NBA song "Get Ready For This". Here's a comparison of the two.
    • The opening song from "Krusty Krab Training Video" is a near ringer for "Eye of the Tiger".
    • Lampshaded in "Spy Buddies" by one Krusty Krab customer, who, upon hearing a Suspiciously Similar Song says, "I hated the REAL version of this song".
    • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episodes make extensive use of "The Lineman", which greatly resembles the original Batman theme.
    • The depressing song, Daytime Drama in the episode "Dumped" is in comparison with this more upbeat counterpart.
    • The song that Sandy sings in the episode "Texas" is very similar to the classic "Lovesick Blues".
    • The title card for "Hall Monitor" has similarities to the theme for the late '60s/early '70s action show The Mod Squad.
    • The chorus sections of "Best Day Ever" bear a resemblance to Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline".
    • The music that plays in the first episode when the Krusty Krab is attacked by hungry anchovies is similar to the theme of the Simpsons.
    • In the movie, there's "Goofy Goober Rock," a cover/Song Parody of Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock".
    • Squiddy G sounds suspiciously like Brickell's "Good Times, Bad Times".
    • Even the melody of the main theme song sounds suspiciously similar to another song. In this case, it sounds like it's based on the old sea shanty "Blow The Man Down". Said shanty's actual inclusion in a few episodes just makes it crazier.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The preview commercials before the show came out made it look INCREDIBLY stupid. Thankfully, that turned out not to be the case.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: In "Truth of Square", Patchy is dissed by Triumph, the Insult Dog.
    Patchy: This is Patchy the Pirate, President of The SpongeBob SquarePants fanclub!
    Triumph: Ooooh, your mother must be so proud! Maybe you should consider wearing two eyepatches. That way, you wouldn't be able to see what's become of your life!
    Patchy: What?!
  • Tear Jerker: Got its own page.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Many fans of the earlier seasons claim that seasons 6 and onwards are downright awful because the mood of the show changed considerably due to changes in the staff.
    • An in-universe example occurs in "Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture", where SpongeBob boycotts the Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy movie for not casting the elderly stars from the TV show he loves for the main roles.
    • This could apply to some post-movie fans for the post-sequel era (Seasons 9B-present), overlapping with the same pre-movie fans. Those people hate how ridiculously different it has become with the sudden Denser and Wackier tone and constant Off-Model drawings, alienating some of the viewers.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Bubble Bass could've been a good Arch-Enemy to SpongeBob, but he only appeared in the first season in "F.U.N." and "Pickles". He did have a minor appearance in "Plankton's Good Eye" seven seasons later. This trope has been averted starting with Season 9B, where he returned as a more prominent supporting character, thanks to his popularity with the fans.
    • Kevin. He could have been an interesting Evil Counterpart to SpongeBob, but he only appeared once.
    • Lord Royal Highness in "Atlantis SquarePantis". A lot of people point out that the character voiced by David Bowie of all people is the one character to never get a song in a Musical Episode.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • "Truth or Square" was nothing but this. SpongeBob and Sandy getting married? Yeah right, it's just a play. Plankton trying to steal the formula with everyone else trapped? Not a chance, he only appears for a few minutes and he doesn't even have a plan. Want to learn the Krabby Patty Formula after all these years? Too bad, they just cut it off before anything can be revealed. Everything that is not a wasted plot line is either an answer you wouldn't care about, a made-up fact about the show, or a waste of time (and talent, given that most of the celebrities who made cameos did nothing).
    • In "SpongeBob SquarePants vs. the Big One", the trailers advertise that "one of you [SpongeBob, Patrick, and Squidward] will not return." They all ended up returning safely. However, Jack Kahuna Laguna never said that someone would die nor did he say that nobody would make it back to the main land. Since he technically made it back to the main land with them, he's actually the one that "will not return" to his home, the island.
    • "Whatever Happened To SpongeBob?" had a decent plot of SpongeBob running away after people get angry and call him "Idiot Boy". Plus, it had a decent Easy Amnesia plot device in SpongeBob, but it was rushed and half-assed throughout the whole thing.
    • "Atlantis SquarePantis", according to some. It doesn't help that you have a Musical Episode where the character played by David Bowie doesn't even get to sing.
    • "Gramma's Secret Recipe" could have been Plankton sneaking into the Krusty Krab disguised as an old woman to steal the formula (he even has an Imagine Spot about it). But he makes the pointless decision of telling SpongeBob he's his great grammy-ma and winds up spending time with him for the majority of the episode.
    • "Fools in April" and "Christmas Who?" are this when you realize that both involve Squidward being a jerk to SpongeBob and making up for it only for the apology to be diminished somehow. In the former, everything from SpongeBob crying to the angry townspeople, was a bigger prank on SpongeBob's end, and more than a few viewers felt a little cheated out of a genuine, sweet ending with Sponge and Squid. In the latter, Squidward doesn't actually apologize to SpongeBob, but instead dresses as Santa Claus and brings Christmas to Bikini Bottom. SpongeBob thinks that he's Santa, and when Sponge sees Squidward out of the disguise, he's not hurt by how much of an asshole Squid was to him earlier.
    • As many have pointed out about the episode "SpongeBob, You're Fired", the plot involving SpongeBob making top notch snail food could have made for an interesting turn of events, but instead is immediately dropped for a plot that ends in a nonsensical battle between Burger Fool mascots instead.
    • This short, "Moldy Sponge", plays out more like a scene from an unreleased episode than a short, to the point where some fans actually mistook it for an episode promo.
  • True Art Is Incomprehensible: Parodied loads of times.
    "Now, you must acquire a taste for free-form jazz!" ("Pressure Point" plays)
  • Tough Act to Follow: Described by RebelTaxi as "the SpongeBob Syndrome", the show has become such a financial and pop-culture behemoth that any Nicktoon that succeeds it and isn't immediately as successful as SpongeBob currently is will be canceled before its widespread appeal even has a chance to grow.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Baby Squidward in "Goo Goo Gas", amongst many other things. His far-apart eyes make him look like a hei-tiki pendant.
    • Squidward, full stop. While he's not marketably cute like the rest of the cast, he has more range in facial expression than any other character on the show and a hugely appealing design. And being a Perpetual Frowner, When He Smiles, it helps.
    • Plankton. He's so small!
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • The "even more handsome" Squidward from the episode "The Two Faces of Squidward".
    • Moar Krabs.
    • "Who you callin' Pinhead?"
    • Intentionally invoked with "Normal" SpongeBob. Not necessarily because of his appearance, but because of his Creepy Monotone voice and mannerisms.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Plankton is meant to be the villain of the series, but many fans find him more likeable than Mr. Krabs and easy to sympathize with due to always suffering humiliating defeats.
    • Squidward Tentacles' role is usually to be the jerk who actively does everything he can to make things go sour for SpongeBob and Patrick, but often suffers mishaps when he doesn't deserve it.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Patrick is meant to be an adorkable ditz who acts as one of SpongeBob's best friends. However, his Jerkass acts to SpongeBob and the other citizens, and his selfishness make fans wonder why are they best friends, especially in seasons 6-7. Here are a couple of examples:
      • In "Stuck in the Wringer", SpongeBob lashing out at him is supposed to be some kind of horrible act, but considering Patrick was the cause of everything bad that happened in that episode many people would rather side with SpongeBob.
      • In "I'm With Stupid", after SpongeBob volunteers to act dumb to impress Patrick's parents, Patrick forgets the plan and makes many hurtful comments aimed at him. It goes to the point where — failing to explain his true intelligence — SpongeBob leaves in a huffing rage, Patrick's "parents" turn out to be total strangers, and Patrick gets away with his actions.
    • In "The Clash of Triton", King Neptune is supposed to be viewed as sympathetic due to his depression about his exiled son Triton. But then we find out that he gets enjoyment out of terrorizing normal citizens with his powers, and he imprisoned Triton in the first place because his son aspired to help normal citizens instead of bullying them. Not only does nobody call Neptune out on the fact that he's directly responsible for causing major Sanity Slippage to his own son, but he doesn't even accept Triton back until he sees how Triton trashed Bikini Bottom during his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. And to top it all off, Neptune also inadvertently sics an angry mob on SpongeBob and Patrick by declaring everything that happened that day was "all because of [SpongeBob]."
  • Unpopular Popular Character:
    • Squidward is often berated, loathed, and disrespected by most of the characters in the series, but many fans sympathize with his misfortunes and appreciate his Deadpan Snarker moments.
    • Plankton. He may be the most hated creature in Bikini Bottom, but many fans like him more than Krabs (especially in seasons 6-8).
    • To a lesser extent, even SpongeBob and Patrick. They tend to drive everyone mad with their annoying tendencies, to the point where there are holidays dedicated to getting away from them.
  • Values Dissonance: "That's No Lady" is about Patrick Disguised in Drag after thinking he's getting run out of town, and working at the Krusty Krab, where Squidward and Mr. Krabs — not recognizing Patrick — fall head-over-heels for "Patricia" and repeatedly make increasingly aggressive passes at the disguised Patrick despite his repeated and emphatic insistence that he's not interested. It's a little hard to laugh at an episode like this now that workplace sexual harassment has become such a hot-button issue.
  • Values Resonance: As very well put by this video, the moral of "Ripped Pants" rings very true in the era of meme culture of The New '10s. It teaches us that it is not a good idea to associate yourself with a single joke for the sake of attention, otherwise your "fame" will quickly fade.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Most fans have warmed up to Season 4 and 5, with some going as far as to put Season 4 as part of the show's Golden Age.
    • In general, the show's style of humor is much more highly regarded by animation fans than when it started. While most older viewers initially dismissed it as "just another kids' show", many people now see its unique brand of Surreal Humor as rather ahead of its time, anticipating the style of humor that would come to dominate pop culture (and animation in particular) in the following decade. Case in point: many jokes in its earliest episodes wouldn't seem out-of-place in an episode of Adventure Time.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The episode "Mooncation" has animation on par with that of The Movie.
  • Wangst:
    • When Mr. Krabs is cheap, Pearl tends to whine about it.
    • SpongeBob whining about getting one noodle star taken away by Mrs. Puff... when he still has the most stars out of his classmates. Probably meant to be Played for Laughs.
    • SpongeBob whining about his broken spatula in "All That Glitters".
    • Squidward slips into this quite a bit. Lampshaded by Mr. Krabs when he sees Squidward visiting a grave he had made for his hopes and dreams.
    Squidward: What a baby.
    • Mr. Krabs getting angry at SpongeBob over losing two dollars to Bubble Bass in "Pickles".
    Mr. Krabs: That's two dollars comin' out of your paycheck.
    • The scene before in the same episode has Mr. Krabs pathetically begging Bubble Bass to reconsider taking his two dollar refund. His cheap offers are pretty hilarious as well.
    Mr. Krabs: Can we talk about this?
    Bubble Bass: No.
    Mr. Krabs: How about a discount on restroom tokens?
    Bubble Bass: Afraid not.
    Mr. Krabs: How about a free glass of water? A dozen free glasses of water, I'll even put ice in it! No, come back two dollars... TWO DOLLARS! *breaks down crying* Nooooo!
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are much more well-known now than the 1960s Filmation Aquaman shorts they were an Affectionate Parody of.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: "Whale of a Birthday" first aired in 2006. It involves SpongeBob getting Pearl's favorite boy band "Boys Who Cry" for her sixteenth birthday. By the mid 2000s, boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC had gone out of fashion. But the episode became relevant again in the 2010s with new boy bands such as One Direction coming along and attaining massive popularity.
  • What an Idiot!: Has its own page.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?:
    • Where do we start? Not only is there a huge amount of gross violence and Nightmare Fuel, but there are all kinds of dirty references ("Patrick, your genius is showing!" "Where?"), and the show treats Suicide as Comedy.
    • The post movie episodes are the worst offenders. The show's idea of physical humor wouldn't be out of place on an [adult swim] cartoon, with plenty of graphic injuries and characters frequently getting flayed with extremely detailed muscular frames shown.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?:
    • Squidward's nightmare sequence "Squidward in Clarinetland" is completely weird and disturbing.
    • The White Void Room scene in "SB-129".
    • "Welcome to Squidward's Tiki Land..."
    • The Fly of Despair from "Shanghaied".
    • The show itself is about a sponge living in a pineapple under the sea.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Specific to Norway, but irritating nonetheless. SpongeBob's Norwegian actor, Tommy Karlsen (the same guy who played Ickis from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters and Meowth in Pokémon), recognized for his typecasting with "psycho"/"unstable" characters, was for reasons unknown replaced by Trond Teigen (famous for his role as Aladdin, among other action roles). Teigen's attempts at imitating Karlsen's psychotic performance come across as forced and shoehorned.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Season 8 had more well-received episodes compared to Seasons 6 and 7... though that didn't exempt it from criticism.note  The first half of Season 9 continues this trend, with the majority of its episodes (aside from "Squid Baby", "Little Yellow Book", and "SpongeBob, You're Fired") getting positive reception.
    • As of 2014, Stephen Hillenburg has returned to the show, and his presence is definitely felt. Fan reception to the second movie was quite positive, and many of the problems from previous seasons are addressed in the latter half of Season 9: The characters generally act like their old selves, and the Black Comedy has been greatly toned down.
  • Woolseyism:
    • In the German dub of "Born Again Krabs", the fake name Mr. Krabs gives the Flying Dutchman is chanced from "Harold Flower" to "Benjamin Blümchen"; not only does this still fit the Line-of-Sight Name nature of the English version's name (as "blümchen" means "blossom" in German), but it also doubles as an Actor Allusion, as Jürgen Kluckert, who voiced Mr. Krabs in the German dub, was also the second voice of Benjamin.
    • In the German dub, when SpongeBob speaks authentic German to Squidward who is disguising himself as a German immigrant and excuses not speaking German as wanting to practice English, Squidward instead disguised himself as a Bavarian immigrant and SpongeBob speaks to him in Bavarian. Squidward instead dumbfoundedly answers "Yodel?", referencing the stereotype about yodeling Bavarians.


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