"Bumper to Bumper" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season nine. In this episode, Mrs. Puff tries new methods on SpongeBob to help him pass his driving test.
The episode starts as one fish is doing the boating course perfectly with Mrs. Puff, and then it is SpongeBob's turn.
SpongeBob puts the boat to reverse and crashes it to the obstacles and then crashes into a house. Mrs. Puff gets very angry at SpongeBob after he fails the test again. At home, Mrs. Puff thinks about how SpongeBob could pass his driving test and then realizes SpongeBob is afraid of the course and if he took him to drive on a real road, he would pass. Mrs. Puff goes to SpongeBob's house and tells him to forget what she said earlier. Mrs. Puff takes SpongeBob to an abandoned road but SpongeBob was scared.
Mrs. Puff tells him to keep repeating "Focus on the road, there is nothing but the road" to get his confidence back. SpongeBob follows her instructions and imagines himself doing crazy driving tricks and poses as he proceeds to repeat the phrase. When SpongeBob has almost passed all the tests, Mrs. Puff tells him to safely dock the vessel as the last step, but due to constantly repeating the phrase, SpongeBob has mesmerized himself into a daze and cannot focus on what he is doing. He soon drives out of the road and freaks out. SpongeBob gets on a dangerous shortcut and gets back on a road, but he actually got on a 10 lane seaway and he is gripped with fear and cannot concentrate.
A police officer sees them speeding and thought they were reckless drivers because Mrs. Puff crossed the county line which she shouldn't have done. The police officer tells SpongeBob to pull over, but instead he accelerates. Then when Mrs. Puff tells to stop the vessel again, he finally parks the boat safely. Mrs. Puff gives SpongeBob his driver's license and screams: "I'm free!." But the police officer doesn't think so and arrests Mrs. Puff for violating the parole and rips up SpongeBob's license. As Mrs. Puff goes to jail she says "SpongeBob, I'll get you for this! I'll get you!" and the episode ends.
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Horlepiep - Jan Rap [title card]
‣ Darting Around - Harry Bluestone [opening]
• Hot Steel and Slide Licks (b) - Jeremy Wakefield ["Hello, Mrs. Puff!"]
‣ Grass Skirt Chase - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob's driving test]
‣ Jungle Baby - Hans Ehrlinger [Goin' Bananas 3 in 3-D]
‣ Pell-Mell - Sam Spence [start of movie]
• Hot Steel and Slide Licks (i) - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob crashes through the wall]
‣ Disastrous Event 2 - Harry Lubin [Mrs. Puff tells SpongeBob he's unteachable]
‣ Hawaiian Link (b) - Richard Myhill [SpongeBob cries]
• Hot Steel and Slide Licks (V) - Jeremy Wakefield [Mrs. Puff inflates]
‣ Monocle and Pocket-Watch - Brian Douglas Gulland [Mrs. Puff at home]
‣ Befuddled Gent - Phil Green [she gets an idea]
• Hot Steel and Slide Licks (j) - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob wallowing]
‣ A Jolly Jaunt (a) - Dick Stephen Walter [Mrs. Puff at SpongeBob's door]
‣ A Jolly Jaunt (c) - Dick Stephen Walter ["We have a long day of driving ahead of us."]
‣ Graveyard - Johnny Pearson [Mrs. Puff driving to an abandoned road]
‣ Tales from the Swamp (c) - Ron Goodwin ["Driving test?!"]
‣ Befuddled Gent - Phil Green ["Out here, there's nothing but the road!"]
‣ Unknown Track 58 - "Focus on the road."
‣ Stealth by Night - Jack Coles [SpongeBob nervously starts driving]
‣ V for Victory - Sam Fonteyn [Mrs. Puff checking things off her checklist]
‣ Harp Arpegg 59.3 Harp - Marcin Pospieszalski [SpongeBob repeating the mantra]
‣ Harp Arpegg 59.4 Harp - Marcin Pospieszalski [SpongeBob repeating the mantra]
‣ Wwind + Tremo 55 D#WW.St - Marcin Pospieszalski [SpongeBob comes out of a skull's mouth.]
‣ Wwind + Gliss 56 D#Maj - Marcin Pospieszalski [SpongeBob comes out of a skull's mouth.]
‣ Movie Overture - Larry Hochman ["Only one more test!"]
‣ Shock - Cornelus Joh Bolten [SpongeBob in a trance]
‣ Rescue - Cecil Milner ["What happened to the road?!"]
‣ Unknown Track 36 - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [Ten-lane intertidal seaway]
‣ Busy Finale 07 B Maj - Marcin Pospieszalski [SpongeBob passes the test]
‣ Glorious Fin 08 C Maj - Marcin Pospieszalski [Mrs. Puff gives SpongeBob his license]
‣ Fanfares 18 C Maj - Marcin Pospieszalski ["And I'm free!"]
‣ SpongeBob History Song - Nicolas Carr, Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [ending]
- As of September 26, 2017, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 5.8/10 based on 140 ratings by users. TV.com users give this episode a rating of 4.6/10 based on 22 votes.
- Running gag: SpongeBob saying "Focus on the road. There is nothing but the road."
- Nickelodeon featured SpongeBob's "Biggest Boating Blunders" which is a marathon with many boat-related episodes leading up to this episode, such as "Doing Time," "Boating Buddies," and "No Free Rides."
- When Mrs. Puff sat down on her couch, a small picture of her sitting down at the same shot can be seen next to her, making an infinite picture. This is a callback to another infinite picture in Mrs. Puff's house in "No Free Rides."
- Charles returns as a character in a show that two fish are watching.
- This episode was originally scheduled to air with "Little Yellow Book" on November 25, 2012, but was pulled at the last minute and moved to November 17, 2012.
- This is the second time SpongeBob's license got ripped up after he got it. The first time was in "Nautical Novice."
- This is the first use of the APM track "Jungle Baby" since "The Fry Cook Games."
- This is the last season 9 episode to air in 2012.
- This marks the first usage of the APM track "Horlepiep" for a title card since "Boat Smarts."
- During SpongeBob's episode of psychedelic scenes due to his hypnotic mantra, SpongeBob is shown to be driving on a mobius strip, a figure with only one side, and one boundary, though it can be easily made from one strip of paper.
- When Mrs. Puff muted SpongeBob, he mouthed the word "unteachable."
- When SpongeBob jumped the missing section of road, he put the boat in to "J" more than likely meaning "Jump," which isn't a real feature.
- This episode premiered six years after "Wigstruck" premiered and two years after the premiere of "The Abrasive Side" and "Earworm" in the UK.
- This episode premiered in Canada four years after "Pet or Pests" premiered.
- In the German dub, this episode is called "Denk ur an die Straße," which means "Just Think of the Road."
- This episode's title comes from the term bumper to bumper, which means that traffic is moving close together very slowly.
- When Mrs. Puff was thrown into the police car, she was wearing hand cuffs. When she appeared at the window threatening to get SpongeBob, her hand cuffs were suddenly gone.
- On the August 24, 2018 Nickelodeon airing, the episode was aired without letterboxing on Nickelodeon's standard-definition feed and aired with letterboxing on Nickelodeon's HD feed.
- When the policeman first yelled at SpongeBob, he had a megaphone. In the next shot after SpongeBob accidentally sped up, the policeman's megaphone had suddenly disappeared, though it was never shown when he put it away.
- When the policeman came up to Mrs. Puff, the security cuff on her ankle disappears (also mentioned missing during the exam), then when she looks down at her ankle, it reappears.
- Mrs. Puff's shoes are wrongfully colored black from their usual red throughout the episode.
- When Mrs. Puff tells SpongeBob to scoot over, he has a seatbelt on. Then it zooms in some and his seatbelt disappears.