SpongeBob SquarePants

Bumper to Bumper

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Episode Information
Season №: 9
Episode №: 182b
Airdate: November 17, 2012 (USA)
March 18, 2013 (Canada)
Sister episode(s): "Little Yellow Book"
Writer(s): Casey Alexander
Zeus Cervas
Mr. Lawrence
Supervising Producer: Paul Tibbitt
Storyboard: Casey Alexander
Zeus Cervas
Animation: Alan Smart
Creative: Vincent Waller
See all credits for this episode.
Previous: "Little Yellow Book"
Next: "Eek, an Urchin!"
List of episodes

"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.



One fish is doing the boating course perfectly with Mrs. Puff, and then it is SpongeBob's turn.

"No buts, SpongeBob! You fail this test over and over."

Mrs. Puff gets very angry at SpongeBob after he fails the test again. Soon, Mrs. Puff realizes SpongeBob is afraid of the course and has him drive on an abandoned road where he passes his test and gets a license. Mrs. Puff tells him to keep repeating "Focus on the road, there is nothing but the road" to get his confidence back. SpongeBob follows his instructions and imagines himself doing crazy driving tricks and poses as he proceeds to repeat the phrase. Mrs. Puff later 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 back on a road, but is on a highway and is he gripped with fear. And police had seen them and thought they were reckless drivers because Mrs. Puff crossed the county line which she shouldn't have done. At the end the police officer 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 it ends.



 ) Associated production music
 ) Original music
 ) SpongeBob music

  Horlepiep - Jan Rap [title card]
  Darting Around - Harry Bluestone [opening]
  Steel Sting (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]
  Steel Licks (c) - 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]
  Steel Sting - Jeremy Wakefield [Mrs. Puff inflates]
  Monocle and Pocket-Watch - Brian Douglas Gulland [Mrs. Puff at home]
  Befuddled Gent - Phillip Green [she gets an idea]
  Steel Licks (d) - Jeremy Wakefield [SpongeBob wallowing]
  A Jolly Jaunt (a) and (c) - Dick Stephen Walter [Mrs. Puff at SpongeBob's door/"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 - Phillip Green ["Out here, there's nothing but the road!"]
  ? ["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]
  ? [SpongeBob repeating the mantra]
  Movie Overture - Larry Hochman ["Only one more test!"]
  Creepy Sting 5 - W. Merrick Farran, Dick Stephen Walter [SpongeBob in a trance]
  Rescue - Cecil Milner ["What happened to the road?!"]
  Sponge Runaway - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [ten-lane intertidal seaway]
  History Fanfare - David Farnon [SpongeBob passes the test!]
  SpongeBob History Song - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [ending]


This episode was released on iTunes on March 2, 2013.


This episode has received negative reviews according to most SpongeBob fans because of SpongeBob almost passing (but officially failing) the test mainly due to the police officer's antagonism. Many viewers now criticize this episode due to having a negative ending. 


  • 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 returned 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 marks the seventh time Mrs. Puff has been jailed; her other arrests occurring in "Hall Monitor," "No Free Rides," "Doing Time," "Summer Job," "Ditchin," and "Oral Report."
  • 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 last Season 9 episode to air in 2012.
  • This is the third time SpongeBob almost knows how to drive. The others were "Boating School" and "The Hot Shot."
  • 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.

Cultural References

  • 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 policecar, she was wearing hand cuffs. When she appeared at the window threatening to get SpongeBob, her hand cuffs were suddenly gone.
  • When the policeman first yelled at SpongeBob, he had a megaphone. In the next shot after SpongeBob accidentally sped up, the policeman's megaphone was suddenly gone 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 miscolored black from their usual red throughout the episode.

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