Mr. Krabs rushes to the Krusty Krab shouting like a maniac, telling of the return of the hooks. The other fish ignore him, while SpongeBob is confused, and Mr. Krabs tells him that he has to be careful when near a hook, or he will be brought up to the surface and eaten or sold at a gift shop.
Patrick shows up, saying that the carnival has come to town and insisting that SpongeBob come with him but SpongeBob is yet to know Patrick is referring to the hooks as the Carnival. He agrees, assuming that he's not quitting work but just taking a break.
The two friends go to the carnival, but much to SpongeBob's horror, the "carnival" is really the site of the hooks that Mr. Krabs warned everyone about. Patrick deliberately hooks himself and shoots up towards the surface on it. SpongeBob panics, wails, and cries, until he sees Patrick again, who explains that he jumped off and floated down before he reached the surface of the sea. They both played hooky together.
Meanwhile, at the Krusty Krab, Squidward wasn't making the patties, and Mr. Krabs told him what happened. He said that SpongeBob took a break and he wasn't back yet. Mr. Krabs thought Squidward was playing around with him, and he asks Squidward to repeat what he said. After hearing this the second time, Mr. Krabs runs over to the hooks and runs to SpongeBob and Patrick to catch them, with Squidward being mauled by the angry mob. He misses the first time, but once SpongeBob and Patrick float down, Mr. Krabs catches them and makes them promise to never go near the hooks again. However, the next day, Patrick persuades SpongeBob to play "hooky" again. SpongeBob denies the request, but he goes to the hooks anyway. SpongeBob was walking to the KK, but when he gets near a hook he first looks very sneaky and almost touches the hook, but then realizes he is doing the wrong thing and walks away like nothing happened. However, SpongeBob comes back and plays on the hook, and then...
SpongeBob gets caught on the hook, and, terrified, runs to the Krusty Krab for help. Mr. Krabs tells SpongeBob that the only way to get the hook off is to take off his clothes right in front of Pearl and her friends. He first takes off his pants, revealing his underwear. SpongeBob doesn't want to take off his underwear, and Mr. Krabs told him he will find another fry cook. SpongeBob pulls on The Krusty Krab sign and the hook takes his underpants away. SpongeBob was relieved, but the sign flung him into the door. Pearl and her friends laugh at SpongeBob for being naked. He screams and runs out of the Krusty Krab into his house. SpongeBob was never seen ever since the siege of the Krusty Krab.
However, it's then revealed it was Squidward who hooked SpongeBob and got him naked, and that he did that just because SpongeBob needed to learn his lesson. When Squidward pulls the ripped underwear into the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs congratulates him and Squidward tells Mr. Krabs that he thinks that SpongeBob will remember this for a long time as he will. Both Squidward and Mr. Krabs laugh. The episode ends with Patrick, trapped in a tuna can was dropped off from the bus shortly after SpongeBob ran home embarrassed and he asks "Does somebody have a can opener?"
As of August 14, 2016, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.9/10 based on 277 ratings by users. TV.com users give this episode a 8.4/10 based on 195 votes.
"Hooky" was ranked #56 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006.
This episode is number 7 on Tom Kenny's Top 20 on iTunes. His description says: *"SpongeBob and Patrick as 'rebels without a cause' (or a brain), riding fishermen's hooks and jumping off just before being yanked ashore. This episode inspired the song 'Riding the Hook' on 'The Best Day Ever CD, with legendary punk rocker Tommy Ramone playing drums!"
Hooky is a term for skipping somewhere that you have to be at (usually used for school, but in this episode, it was used for work).
While promoting Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, the title character of that movie appeared in the lower-right-hand corner on the day of its premiere, and using one of his inventions temporarily transformed the cartoon into a puppet show during the scene where Mr. Krabs is making SpongeBob and Patrick recite an oath that he is giving.
There is a plug and play TV game of SpongeBob Games by Jakks Pacific and there is a game based on this episode. In the game, SpongeBob must protect everyone else, even an unusually large Plankton from the hooks. Many players are fooled by Plankton's appearance however, and let him get hooked, which causes a game over.
This is one of the very few occasions that SpongeBob acknowledges Patrick's stupidity. When Patrick asks "Are you gonna listen to a big dummy, or are you gonna listen to me?" SpongeBob weakly replies "Ummmm..."
Mr. Krabs says that nobody has taken a break at the Krusty Krab since the "Chum Famine of '59," but SpongeBob has taken a break in "F.U.N." and many future episodes, and Squidward even went on vacation in "Squeaky Boots" and "Summer Job."
In French version, this episode called La Pause which in English means Break. This translated title change refers to the part where Patrick says "It's just taking a break."
The music playing during one scene is actually from a short segment of Flubber.
This episode contains two references to "Help Wanted," the feature of the help wanted sign and Patrick's line, "Good morning, Krusty Crew!"
When SpongeBob fruit snacks first came out, an advertisement for them featured the snacks acting out a part of this episode along with scenes from episodes of other Nicktoons.
Though SpongeBob, when hooked by Squidward, was being dragged away from the Krusty Krab, Squidward was standing in the Krusty Krab.
Everyone in the Krusty Krab seems unaware and uncertain about hooks. It is similar to real-life fishes that don't care about the hook with a bait.
This episode was on The Fisher Price Interact TV DVD "Krusty Krab Adventures."
Independent film stars John Lurie and Jim Jarmush cameo as fishermen. The live-action footage for said cameo are excerpts from Lurie's Bravo serial, Fishing with John.
The scene where Patrick is shown being hooked and trapped in a can is omitted in Indonesia, due to time constraints.
Patrick mentions the episode title when he says "You're not going to work today. We're going to go play "Hooky."
The lines "My sandwich tastes like a fried boot" and "My sandwich is a fried boot" has became a popular internet meme.
It is unknown how Patrick got himself out of the tuna can by the time of the next episode ("Your Shoe's Untied"). It is possible that this episode took place after Your Shoe's Untied.
This episode premiered on Biz Markie's 36th birthday.
When Tom was at the register saying, "Can I get that to go?," he walks into the wall. Though he probably does this to avoid Mr. Krabs.
In the Filipino dub, after SpongeBob says "What can be worse than that?" Mr. Krabs says, "They will sell you." instead of "Gift shops."
When Mr. Krabs says "Squidward," Squidward moves his lips to what Mr Krabs said.
Underwater, there are lots of hooks that are very close together, but when SpongeBob and Patrick ride one of them like a horse and start getting reeled in, there is only one boat with one fishing line.
Squidward's fishing line was small in the end, and the end of the fishing pole is at the Krusty Krab. When SpongeBob was attached to it, the line was massively long, and the fishing pole ended to the top of the ocean.
SpongeBob says that he always goes to work the way leading to Squidward's and Patrick's houses. In some of the other episodes, he is seen going to work the other way.
Mr. Krabs states that no one has taken a break at the Krusty Krab since the famine of '59, which can be assumed to be 1959. However, Mr. Krabs was born in 1942, which would mean he owned the Krusty Krab when he was at 16 or 17, which is not possible since he spent some time in the Navy and as a pirate before he opened up the Krusty Krab.
The Help Wanted sign disappears after SpongeBob is flung to the door.