SpongeBob SquarePants is a franchise noted for having little continuity. Some of the listed continuity errors may have explanations, while others remain a mystery.
Please note that these are errors of continuity. Other errors or goofs must be listed in the episodes articles (depending on which episode).
Some episodes show that SpongeBob has bones, while in others he is boneless. Perhaps SpongeBob's species have soft or rubbery skeletons (like the cartilage skeletons of sharks), explaining why SpongeBob is still able to twist, expand, shrink, and change form of his body. In a similar case, some episodes show that SpongeBob is made entirely of sponge-like material. However, others show him being hollow, sometimes even having bones and internal organs. Some episodes include:
- Squirrel Jokes - SpongeBob can twist himself up, and even claims "I got no bones!"
- Plankton! - SpongeBob's brain is inside a spongy hollow area of his body.
- Scaredy Pants - Patrick shaves away all of the layers of "flesh" to SpongeBob's brain, suggesting he has no skull.
- The Chaperone - During the song "the Sponge," SpongeBob does a dance that takes advantage of his lack of bones, and can transform into a basketball. The other fish at the prom humorously break off their limbs and become tangled-up.
- Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV - When the citizens of Bikini Bottom go into SpongeBob, bones, organs, and even veins/arteries are visible.
- Prehibernation Week - SpongeBob's bones break through his head from the impact of a fall.
- Squid on Strike - SpongeBob and Squidward's skeletons are shown at the end of the episode.
- I Had an Accident - SpongeBob's x-rays reveal that he has bones.
- The Splinter - When SpongeBob was trying to remove the splinter, his skin rips, showing his skeleton.
- Rock-a-Bye Bivalve - When SpongeBob used the elastic band, he is squishy with no bones.
- Numerous episodes show SpongeBob growing extra limbs and fingers on a whim and even eating them, suggesting he is an invertebrate.
- No Weenies Allowed - When SpongeBob was trying to bend his fingers, his fingers break, showing that he has bones.
- Roller Cowards - SpongeBob (with Patrick) break their spines. This episode shows that the fish get their spines broken after the ride. On the ride, SpongeBob and Patrick's skeletons fly out of their bodies.
- The video game Creature from the Krusty Krab has skeleton "costumes" for SpongeBob and Patrick.
- The PC version of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie Game, SpongeBob states he doesn't have a spine.
There is fire underwater in several cases. Even Bikini Bottom has its own Fire Department. Some episode examples include:
- Ugh - The main plot of the episode is the discovery of fire.
- Life of Crime - Patrick questions the possibility of having a fire underwater.
- Scaredy Pants - Mr. Krabs brings in a fire while telling a scary story.
- Boating School - One of the obstacles in Mrs. Puff's Boating School is a ring made of fire.
- Snowball Effect - A snowball accidentally puts out Squidward's fire.
- Patty Hype and Pet Sitter Pat - A flamethrower is used.
- Party Pooper Pants - This is made fun of here, where the water dissolves Patchy the Pirate's note, and SpongeBob decides he doesn't understand some of the problems with living underwater. He then throws the note in the fire.
- To Love a Patty - SpongeBob cooks crepes, which catch on fire easily.
- Wormy - When Bikini Bottom is in chaos, some of the buildings are on fire.
- Funny Pants - When Patrick looks inside of SpongeBob's mouth, he claims it's too dark and lights a match.
- The Fry Cook Games - Harold holds an Olympic like Torch while running to a ceremonial braiser. When he is about to light it up, the fire on the ceremonial torch suddenly gets blown out. Harold, who is forced to run there again, catches on fire himself.
Several episodes either depict Patrick has having the ability to smell or not. In the episode "No Nose Knows," Patrick has desire to get a nose and have sense of smell. The Battle of Bikini Bottom revealed that Patrick has a nose.
- Something Smells - Patrick is unable to smell SpongeBob's sundae.
- Wet Painters - Patrick has a single nostril which is apparently full of nose hair.
- No Nose Knows - Patrick gets a nose and is able to smell.
- Related, in The Fry Cook Games, SpongeBob explicitly states that Patrick doesn't have ears; despite this, he can hear.
Location of Krusty Krab and Chum Bucket
In several episodes, the locations of the Krusty Krab and the Chum Bucket vary. In some episodes, they are on the left past Patrick's house, but in other episodes, they are on the right past SpongeBob's house. In other episodes, they appear to be on a different road. In several episodes, the Chum Bucket appears to have a straight street that connects to the Krusty Krab. However, in other episodes, the street either appears to be longer or does not appear there at all.
- There are several episodes and scenes in episodes where the Krusty Krab appears but the Chum Bucket does not.
Various bivalves have been featured in SpongeBob Squarepants. They usually take the place of birds or other animals. However, the way they are treated by the other characters varies between episodes, with no real explanation as to why.
- In Help Wanted, Suds, and Valentine's Day, the clams take the role of songbirds or roosters.
- In Tea at the Treedome, a giant clam attempts to eat SpongeBob, but is thwarted by Sandy.
- In Opposite Day, SpongeBob claims that there has "a wild man-eating clam in the backyard!" while impersonating Squidward.
- In Culture Shock, SpongeBob oddly suggests "Mouth-Full-of-Clams Day" as a way to bring customers to the Krustry Krab.
- In Rock-a-Bye Bivalve, SpongeBob and Patrick actually take care of and nurture a baby clam. Initially, Patrick was going to "squish" the clam. Interestingly, in a gag, the clam eats part of Patrick's face.
- SpongeBob had a pet clam in a cage in the pilot, similar to a pet bird.
- In The Smoking Peanut, Clamu, a parody of Shamu the whale, is treated as an animal in a zoo.
- A similar clam to Clamu appears in Clams as the lead antagonist, portrayed as similar to the shark from Jaws or the whale Moby Dick. He also eats a majority of Mr. Krabs body as part of a supposed arrangement. Here, interestingly, instead of being on "land" he lives in the water.
- In To Love a Patty, SpongeBob brutally destroys several clams, including snapping one in half. This could be a form of animal abuse when viewed in light of previous episodes.
Humans are shown in various episodes inconsistently.
- In "Hooky" and "Don't Look Now," it is revealed that the characters are aware of fishermen from the surface.
- The characters Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy are never questioned about their species, and have lived in Bikini Bottom for a long time.
- Cast members such as Tom Kenny and Doug Lawrence have made cameo appearances in the show.
- In Band Geeks, the main characters are brought to a football arena full of humans, and believe them to be "ugly fish."
- In The Smoking Peanut, the Bikini Bottom News somehow has footage of humans across the globe reacting to Clamu's crying.
- Hans, a disembodied human hand, appears in several episodes, including Suds and Imitation Krabs, as well as in the opening theme.
- In The Graveyard Shift, Nosferatu, a humanoid vampire, is shown to live at the Krusty Krab and is identified by the characters.
- The diver from The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is identified by the characters as a "Cyclops" rather than a human.
- In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, SpongeBob seams surprised and shocked when he sees humans on the surface world.
- Oddly, when David Hasselhoff identifies himself, SpongeBob and Patrick accept it.
- In Chimps Ahoy and I Had an Accident, the characters correctly identify other primates.
Mrs. Puffs Boating School Organization
- In New Student Starfish, There is a hallway with lots of rooms, and the front door leads to the hallway.
- In Ditchin', SpongeBob exits the door to Mrs. Puff's left which leads outside, as the front door.
- In The Bully, There is a door in the back right, even though there is no door there.
- SpongeBob and Patrick can be dumber or smarter in various episodes. This could be explainable because it depends on the activity.
- SpongeBob's strength fluctuates between episodes. In Home Sweet Rubble SpongeBob manages to lift the weight of a rotting room which had snapped two mops. While in MuscleBob BuffPants he couldn't even move a straw. This could be explained by SpongeBob getting stronger after completing Sandy's workout program.
- The Sinister Slug, Atomic Flounder, and Jumbo Shrimp look different in contrast to their appearances in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II" and The Bad Guy Club for Villains. The superheroes of the I.J.L.S.A. have also changed (the Elastic Waistband and Miss Appear look different, Professor Magma replaced Captain Magma, and the Pi-Right Ponderer replaced the Quickster). Although, The Bad Guy Club for Villains was a lost episode of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy; so these changes may have occurred sometime before or after the I.J.L.S.A. that appeared in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V," appeared.
- In "Patty Hype," Patrick says he can't see his forehead, much like how actual humans cannot see their own forehead from eyesight view unless they use a mirror. However, Patrick is able to communicate to and look up at his own forehead in "Chum Bucket Supreme" and "SpongeBob You're Fired."
- Most episodes depicting SpongeBob as a baby show him as a smaller version of his adult form. However, in Your Shoe's Untied, SpongeBob appears to have been inside an egg (with his legs poking out similar to Sheldon from US Acres). In Gramma's Secret Recipe, baby SpongeBob appears as a blob. It is possible that SpongeBob went through many stages of birth; however in Truth or Square, baby SpongeBob is already shown with his square shape inside his mother's womb. This could mean when SpongeBob was a baby, he could have been traveling to his mother's womb in his egg, and then when born, he had sometimes gone down to a blob.
- It is unknown how Scooter was brought back to life after his death in Bubble Buddy. Bubble Buddy took no action to save him. It is possible that Scooter has a twin who appears in future episodes and Bubble Buddy did not notice his death.
- In Home Sweet Rubble, his house was revealed as an actual fruit. However, in Opposite Day, it was shown as an elaborate building, complete with wood framework. This may be because the actual fruit is reinforced with the framework.
- SpongeBob's voice became higher-pitched in seasons 4 through 7.
- In Atlantis SquarePantis, Plankton was trapped in Atlantis and used for their most prized possession. However, in all of the later episodes, he is back in Bikini Bottom. The Atlanteans might have become bored with Plankton and looked for something else to exhibit as their most prized artifact. Plankton may also have found a way to escape.
- The Krusty Krab has two stories: before it became a restaurant in Krusty Krab Training Video, it was a retirement home, The Rusty Krab. However, in Grandpappy the Pirate it was a pirate ship. It is possible, though, that it was a pirate ship, and then sold before he bought the retirement home.
- In the episode, "Pets or Pests," Larry the Lobster acted as if he did not know SpongeBob, though in many episodes, such as "Ripped Pants" and "SpongeGuard on Duty,"" Larry knows SpongeBob well. This cannot be confirmed if Larry forgot about SpongeBob as Larry said to him "Do I know you?" and SpongeBob responded "Probably not." before offering Larry a pet baby worm.
- Something similar like this happens in the episode, "Ditchin'," where Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy acted as if they do not know SpongeBob and Patrick; they were most likely too busy to notice. In earlier episodes especially "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III", the two heroes knew SpongeBob and Patrick well enough to have the two watch over their lair. Even in the second Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy episode, after seeing SpongeBob again, Barnacle Boy responded, "It's that Sponge kid again".
- Sometimes in the series, characters who are injured are healed almost instantly. However, in Blackened Sponge, SpongeBob keeps his black eye throughout the episode because the plot was about his black eye.
- Some characters are not the same size as the actual animals such as Pearl, Kenny the Cat, Squidward, etc.
- Throughout the episodes, there is a discontinuity with the ghosts. Sometimes, it is even between scenes in an episode. In some episodes like Curse of Bikini Bottom, ghosts go through everything and are not able to hold things. In that episode when SpongeBob was a ghost, he was not able to hold his spatula for very long and fell through the ground when trying to sleep on his bed. In other episodes like Séance Shméance, ghosts are able to hold things as well as eat things. In that episode, Rusty Rickets was able to make "food" out of real objects and his ghost costumers were able to eat the "food". In a few episodes, there is somewhat of a combination of the other two types. For example, in Ghost Host, a ghost was able to drive a motorcycle through a wall. This means that he was able to stay in place and go through things.
- Even though the technology seems to be advancing as the series goes on, there are several examples where technology does not advance. The most notable is that the Krusty Krab seems to remain the same even though technology should have advanced to closer to the modern era. Another notable one is the video game devices. In I Had an Accident, Patrick is playing on a Game Boy like device. In The Great Patty Caper, when the episode goes forward 75 years, SpongeBob's grandson is playing on a similar device and not a device that is newer.
- For the Mr. Krabs case, it could be just that he is too cheap to upgrade to newer technology.
- In Pressure and Rodeo Daze, the characters are realistic looking versions of the animal they're based off of when they go on land. However, in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie and it's sequel, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, they remain their animated versions.
- In some episodes, there are insects that are not supposed to live underwater.
- There are several instances in which characters are not supposed to know about certain bugs, but do anyway.
- In Plankton's Army, Plankton turns into a cockroach and disguises himself as a cockroach.
- Mr. Krabs should not have known how to react to this, especially since he is afraid of sea urchins which are the cockroaches of the sea.
- Plankton should not have known about cockroaches to be able to turn himself into one.
- The makers of that costume should not have been able to make it since there is a lack of that information.
- In Home Sweet Pineapple, Patrick dreams about a spider and hits SpongeBob because he is afraid of spiders. He should not have known about spiders.
- In both of these last two cases, a possible explanation is that Sandy told them about the bugs, but this does not explain the bugs that are actually seen underwater.
- In Plankton's Army, Plankton turns into a cockroach and disguises himself as a cockroach.
- Characters' homes, other buildings, and/or all of Bikini Bottom are destroyed in numerous episodes, such as The Clash of Triton and Whelk Attack.
- In Texas, Sandy is homesick and had to take a bus back to Texas. Later it is revealed that she could just transport herself back and forth by rocket (as seen in Pranks a Lot and Rodeo Daze). This indicates that after Texas, she developed easier ways to return home.
- In Fiasco!, Squidward is arrested for no reason, yet this is never explained in the future, maybe it is because they let him go as he didn't do anything.
- In Little Yellow Book, Quincy takes Squidward's house away just because he read somebody else's diary (claiming that by reading it, he violated his loan). However, he had his house back in future episodes. This is probably because there is no rule against reading another's diary in a loan (really one of the only ways to violate it is to simply not pay it). Squidward might have taken action about this, and legally got it back. Or it is because cartoons have destruction revert to normal.
- Patrick says that he does not have a sister in Something Smells. Later he does in Big Sister Sam. Patrick most likely may have forgotten about her; considering his low intelligence and that he mentioned nobody knew about her because she was lost. In addition, in Rule of Dumb, the royal family tree did not include his sister anywhere.
- In Sandy, SpongeBob, and the Worm, Sandy ties her tail back together with rope after getting it back from the Alaskan Bull Worm (though this is hardly noticeable, so maybe her tail only seems to be in one piece in other episodes). It is also possible that Sandy had surgery to fix her wound.
- In I Was a Teenage Gary, SpongeBob and Squidward are turned into snail-like creatures because Snail Plasma was accidentally injected into them. It could be presumed that the Purple Doctorfish gave them an antidote.
- SpongeBob appears to be afraid of clowns in Rodeo Daze and Tunnel of Glove. In earlier episodes, he liked clowns. Maybe an incident (such as in Krabby Land) caused SpongeBob to hate clowns. It is also possible that these two episodes occurred before the others and he overcame his fear.
- The characters have abilities to regenerate body parts after an injury (such as Mr. Krabs' torso being eaten in Clams or Patrick in Karate Star). Many sea creatures can regenerate lost body parts.
- Squidward moves out in Stanley S. SquarePants, though he once again lives next door to SpongeBob and Patrick in future episodes. Squidward obviously moved back because he missed home or was unsatisfied with the location (like his previous move in Squidville).
- In various episodes, the grill on which SpongeBob cooks patties sometimes faces toward Squidward, but in other episodes, the grill faces away from Squidward. This could occur due to the Krusty Krab continuously being rebuilt, and thus the grill's location varies; or it could be for comedic effect. (Such as Your Shoe's Untied when SpongeBob shuffles slowly to Squidward)
- SpongeBob, Squidward, Sandy, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Pearl, Mrs. Puff, and Larry are merged in SquidBob TentaclePants; it is unknown how they were separated. It is assumed that they could be separated when the effect may have worn off.
- The whole town of Bikini Bottom is shrunken in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy IV, but is back to normal in later episodes. Perhaps the effect wore off and everyone returned to his or her normal sizes. Another explanation could be the Kelp Grow, seen in "Giant Squidward" to return Bikini Bottom to normal size. Also, it probably was that SpongeBob shrunk the whole town to have everything an even size.
- In Shuffleboarding, Man Ray's head is shrunken, but is back to normal in later episodes. It had either worn off or regrown by an anti-shrink device.
- In Growth Spout, Pearl grows larger, but appears to be back to her normal size in later episodes. Her size probably retracted.
- In Wishing You Well, Plankton grows to a huge size and Mr. Krabs is turned into a steamed dinner. However, it is assumed that SpongeBob wished those back to normal. (Breath of Fresh Squidward)
- In SpongeBob SquarePants vs. The Big One, The Flying Dutchman calls Mr. Krabs "some guy he's never seen before" despite seeing him multiple times before. There are a number of explanations for this.
- The Flying Dutchman, being centuries old, possibly does not have a good memory.
- Mr. Krabs grew a beard, so the Flying Dutchman may not have recognized him at first. This is notable because he later tells Mr. Krabs that he dated his aunt at high school.
- This episode may have taken place before those episodes.
- In The Curse of Bikini Bottom, the Flying Dutchman turns SpongeBob and Patrick into ghosts for shaving off his beard, telling them that the curse will wear off when his beard grows back, and that it takes a thousand years for his beard to grow back. However, several months later, the Flying Dutchman already has a fully-grown beard and SpongeBob and Patrick are back to normal. The curse was probably taken away.
- In some episodes, Mr. Krabs office door has a window, but in other episodes, there are no windows. Of course, the Krusty Krab is continually rebuilt due to destruction, so the placement of doors and windows will vary.
- In some episodes, Patrick's house has rooms and furniture. In others, it is just a hole under a rock. Sometimes, it is nothing more than the rock itself. Sometimes, Patrick has actual furniture, but in other episodes, his furniture is made of sand. However, Patrick can quickly renovate his home (as seen in I'm With Stupid).
- It is unknown how SpongeBob and friends were able to escape the void at the end of Ghoul Fools. It is most likely that the Flying Dutchman or another ghoul used their powers to get them out.
- Characters sometimes enter other character's homes. This may be because they leave their doors unlocked. This, however, makes them victims of thieves and robbers. In some episodes, people use keys (in Growth Spout, Mr. Krabs uses his nose to pick Squidward's lock) and have locked doors.
- In the episode Face Freeze!, it is unknown how the characters get back to their normal faces. It is possible that they were not permanent, as Mr. Krabs said.
- In The Camping Episode, Patrick is left handed, but in You Don't Know Sponge, he is right handed. It is possible he is ambidextrous.
- Patchy the Pirate lost his entire body in an explosion in Party Pooper Pants, leaving only his head. However, this is not the case in his future appearances. He was most likely stitched back together in the hospital.
- King Neptune's physical appearance in the show is different between his physical appearance in the movie. This could be because they are different people as Squidward did mention in Krusty Towers that there is a King Neptune XIV showing that they might be different people in the royal family.
- In the movie, Neptune's daughter Mindy was her father's heir to the throne. However, in The Clash of Triton, his son Triton is. It is most likely the explanation for this is that the King Neptune from the movie and Neptune from the series are different people, and henceforth Mindy and Triton are not siblings, and both are probably only children (hence they are the only ones who can take the throne after their fathers).
- In the video game SpongeBob SquarePants featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom, Mr. Krabs' mattress is seen even though he supposedly took it back home after The Lost Mattress. Although this could have been someone else's mattress, but it is unlikely because it had money in it and most people do not put their money in a mattress.
- In one episode, SpongeBob did not know how to say, "Cephalopod", but in a later episode, he did. He may have learned how to say it correctly.
- In Pest of the West, Jellyfish appear floating around a pooped on statue. This implies that they are the pigeons of the ocean, but other episodes show that scallops are the birds of the ocean. Therefore, scallops should have pooped on the statue, not jellyfish. Although, this it is not directly stated or implied that the jellyfish are supposed to be birds in this episode.
- In the earlier episodes, there is no back door in the Krusty Krab, but in the later episodes, there is. This could be explained by the destruction and rebuilding of the Krusty Krab.
- In Spy Buddies there were two Patrick's, which happened again in "Karate Star." It's possible that one of these Patrick Clones died off-screen.
- In some episodes, Mr. Krabs barely pays SpongeBob, such as in Big Pink Loser, he states that when he started working at the Krusty Krab, he had to pay Mr. Krabs $100 an hour. However, in some episodes such as Kracked Krabs, SpongeBob appears with large amounts of money.
- SpongeBob may have earned this money through a side job he works at that does not appear on TV.
- The sexuality of SpongeBob is complicated, leading to some fans speculating that he is homosexual due to the lack of romance between SpongeBob and someone of the opposite sex. In direct response, the creator of SpongeBob said sea sponges are asexual. Therefore, calling them homosexual does not apply. This is contradictory as there are many episodes that show sea sponges of different sex especially SpongeBob's family, concerning why he has two parents instead of one. In the episode Pressure, SpongeBob demonstrates to Sandy with the ability to reproduce by budding. In another episode regarding entrepreneurs, in the latter, SpongeBob and Patrick show romance to the opposite sex to Mary and her mother seen earlier in the episode Chocolate with Nuts.
- Even though the creators have said that sponges are asexual, in reality they can be either asexual or sexual; some are even both.
- The Dirty Bubble is popped in Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II and Patrick-Man!. However, he has somehow been reincarnated.
- The Dirty Bubble Bubble Wand, seen in Back to the Past, might explain this.
- In Chum Bucket Supreme, Plankton claims he has never met Patrick, even though in plenty of other episodes they have met. In one episode, Plankton hired Patrick to represent the Chum Bucket in a competition.
- It is possible that this episode takes place before those current episodes.
- In some episodes, character's doors open inward, and in other episodes, it opens outward.
- A possible explanation is when the buildings get reconstructed from damage.
- In Have You Seen This Snail?, there is a picture of SpongeBob as a kid with a younger Gary, implying that SpongeBob has had Gary since they were children. Additionally, in The Chaperone, Gary at least vaguely knows the details of SpongeBob's prom, implying he was there (although SpongeBob could have just told him). However, in Treats!, SpongeBob has a picture of SpongeBob getting Gary at the pound and SpongeBob is an adult.
- There is no proof that SpongeBob is an adult the "Treats!" photo. It is completely possible that SpongeBob got Gary when he was a kid and grew enough that Gary looked small.
- In earlier episodes, like Patty Hype and Pizza Delivery, the Krusty Krab has one drive-thru, but in Driven to Tears and Drive Thru, the drive-thrus are different.
- This can be explained by the destruction and repairing of the Krusty Krab.
- In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V," Mermaid Man calls Barnacle Boy Kyle, but in "Mermaid Man Begins," Mermaid Man calls Barnacle Boy Tim during the Origins Special.
- One explanation is that Mermaid Man is extremely old, has bad memory, and could have accidentally called Barnacle Boy the wrong name in "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V."
- In "Mermaid Man Begins," the Origins Special made so little sense that it may have just been dreamt up by the producers of The Adventures Of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy. In "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy II," Mermaid Man says about the producers that "They never tell us anything anymore!!!"
- It is notable that the voices of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway, share the same first names as Tim and Ernie from the Origins Special in "Mermaid Man Begins."
- In "Married to Money," Mr. Krabs mentions he has never told anyone the Krabby Patty formula before, even though he has told SpongeBob, as revealed in "Truth or Square" and the SpongeBob Copies in "CopyBob DittoPants." This could be a hint that "Married to Money" takes place before "Truth or Square" and "CopyBob DittoPants," or simply a continuity error.
- Jellyfish Hunter - When SpongeBob says, "It feels like someone wants to sell me something!!", the captions say "tell."
- Ugh - When SpongeGar, Patar or Squog speak caveman language, the captions say "(speaking gibberish)"