"The Paper" is a SpongeBob SquarePants episode from season one. In this episode, SpongeBob plays with a bubble gum wrapper, and Squidward wants it.
Squidward comes outside to start his relaxing day. He begins it by chewing bubble gum while laying in his lawn chair and tosses the wrapper into SpongeBob's front yard. SpongeBob comes outside of his house as well, only to realize that Squidward has dropped his wrapper on SpongeBob's yard. As Squidward is about to leave at the sight of SpongeBob, the latter catches him on time to ask if he wants it back. Squidward thinks it's only garbage, but SpongeBob states that in the right hands, it can be a goldmine of entertainment. Squidward doesn't believe in SpongeBob and walks inside his house. SpongeBob asks him again if he wants it back, but he still refuses to keep it and tells SpongeBob he can have it.
With a sigh of relief, Squidward answers his ringing phone. When he answers it, it is actually SpongeBob asking if he's sure. Squidward angrily says that he is and that SpongeBob can keep it forever. Squidward hangs up the phone by slamming it and starts panting from exhaustion. SpongeBob pops up from under the table the phone was on and asks Squidward if he is really sure. Squidward tells him to get out of his house and finally pushes him out. SpongeBob says it's his last time to change his mind, and Squidward tells SpongeBob one last time that he can keep it no matter how much he begs, pleads, or cries to have it back. After Squidward is out of SpongeBob's sight, SpongeBob says to the paper that he is lucky to have a friend like Squidward.
Squidward is back inside his house to continue his planned, relaxing day. He hears SpongeBob's obnoxious laughter and begins to play his clarinet. He still hears SpongeBob's laughing and opens his window to ask SpongeBob what he is giggling about. SpongeBob apologizes and says that he is thinking about all the fun he is going to have with the paper. Squidward goes back to his clarinet, wondering how anyone can have fun with a piece of paper. He starts to play his clarinet again, but is interrupted by SpongeBob's laughing.
Squidward gets very angry and opens his window again to see SpongeBob frolicking with the paper and showing Gary what fun things he can do with it. He pretends he is SuperSponge and uses the paper as his cape. Then he pretends to be SpongeBob JunglePants and swings on vines while screaming with the paper covering his crotch area. He lands on his house, starts grunting, and says he will call his animal friends by making different animal noises. Gary meows and SpongeBob says that Gary is right and that he is not a jungle boy. Afterwards, SpongeBob jumps off of the roof of his house, saying that he is a box of army supplies, and uses the paper as a parachute. Next, he pretends to be a bull fighter with the paper being the blanket and having Gary as the bull.
SpongeBob then does impressions. He does a guy with a mustache, a pirate with an eye patch, and a regular guy with an eye patch. He then starts to suck the paper in through his holes and blow it back out repeatedly. Squidward wonders how he does this and SpongeBob is shown making origami by swishing the paper around in his mouth. He makes a bird, a snowflake, and paper dolls. Squidward says that the paper does look like fun, but then covers his mouth, asking himself what he is saying. He storms back inside and says that the paper isn't fun, but reading Boring Science digest is, and starts to read it. He is interrupted by SpongeBob laughing again. Squidward, while taking a bath, talking about how it is fun, but the paper then comes around the tub as an airplane with SpongeBob making the engine and gun noises. Then, Squidward is painting fruit and thinks that nothing is more fun than painting fruit. Squidward paints vigorously until he realizes he just painted himself playing with the paper and destroys the painting in rage. Squidward says to himself that he'll prove to SpongeBob that the paper is not fun.
Squidward walks fast outside of his house to play with a paddle ball. SpongeBob also uses the paper as a paddle ball, making Squidward feel dumb. He then gets SpongeBob's attention by playing with a Mini Squidward dummy. SpongeBob also does a dummy with the paper and everyone in Bikini Bottom laughs at the joke. Squidward rides in his shell car, saying that it's fun, and asks SpongeBob if the paper can do that. SpongeBob hovers above Squidward with the paper acting as a helicopter, replying "no." Squidward then asks SpongeBob if the paper can play music and starts to play his clarinet. He plays "Mary Had a Little Lamb" but with all of the wrong notes. SpongeBob says that he made it sound original, and corrects Squidward by playing a jazz version of it on the paper.
Squidward demands SpongeBob to give him back his paper, but SpongeBob reminds Squidward that he told him to never give it back to him, no matter how much he begs, pleads, or cries. Squidward suggests that he could trade for something and offers a rubber band. SpongeBob almost trades, but says that Squidward is just testing him and that he will never give the paper to him. He then trades every possession he has, even his house, for the paper. SpongeBob still tries to keep his promise, until Squidward offers his shirt. He accepts the trade and gives Squidward the paper. Squidward is happy at first, but when he starts to try to do the other things that SpongeBob was doing with it, he has no fun whatsoever with it. Squidward realizes that the paper wasn't fun, SpongeBob just made it look fun because of how creative and optimistic he is. And since Squidward, who only wanted the paper to be better than SpongeBob, isn't creative or optimistic, he can't do all the things with the paper that SpongeBob could.
The episode ends with Squidward lamenting that he gave away all his possessions for a useless piece of paper. Patrick, who is casually walking by, takes the paper from Squidward and uses it as a disposable wrapper for his gum, leaving Squidward with nothing.
‣ Hilo March
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
- Jan Rap [title card]
‣ Dancing the Hula - Kapono Beamer [opening]
‣ Mary Had a Little Lamb - Brad Carow [Squidward playing clarinet]
‣ Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["How can anyone have fun with just a piece of paper?"]
‣ Mary Had a Little Lamb - Brad Carow [Squidward playing clarinet]
‣ Marching to Honolulu - Kapono Beamer [Super Sponge]
‣ War Blowers - The Blue Hawaiians [SpongeBob JunglePants]
‣ Big Ed's March - Sam Spence [box of army supplies]
‣ Latinia - The Langhorns [bullfight]
‣ Twelfth Street Rag - Sage Guyton, Jeremy Wakefield [impressions]
‣ ? - Nicolas Carr [oral-gami]
‣ Vibe Link (b) - Richard Myhill ["Hey, that little paper does seem like fun."]
‣ Honolulu March - Hans Haider [Squidward taking a bath]
‣ Fault Line - The Mel-Tones [Squidward's shell cart]
‣ Mary Had a Little Lamb - Brad Carow [Squidward playing clarinet/Squidward playing clarinet again/SpongeBob playing with the paper]
‣ Dramatic Cue (d) - Ronald Hanmer [Squidward tries to take back the paper]
‣ Dancing the Hula - Kapono Beamer [flipbook]
‣ Orchestral Effect (f) - Dick Stephen Walter ["Pocket lint!"]
‣ Vibe Link (a) - Richard Myhill ["Do I dare?"]
‣ Shark Alert [#46] - David Farnon ["You are not going anywhere until we strike a deal!"]
‣ Hawaiian Cocktail - Richard Myhill [Squidward giving SpongeBob all his stuff]
‣ Whisper from the Past [#64.02] - Gregor F. Narholz ["Squidward's shirt!"]
‣ Hilo March - Jan Rap [Squidward takes the paper]
‣ ? - Nicolas Carr [drum roll]
‣ Big Ed's March - Sam Spence ["Gentlemen, start your engines!"]
‣ ? - Brad Carow [Gary playing clarinet]
‣ Sailor's Waltz - Heinz Matschurat ["Wait! More impressions!"]
‣ Aloha - Dick Stephen Walter ["A worthless piece of paper"]
- As of September 9, 2018, The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) gives this episode a rating of 8.6/10 based on 437 ratings by users. TV.com users give this episode a rating of 9.0/10 based on 203 votes.
- In fan-voted SpongeBob SquarePants marathons, "The Paper" was ranked #46 during the Best Day Ever event on November 9–10, 2006 and #7 during The Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash event on July 17–19, 2009.
- This is one of the few episodes that aren't related to the holiday it premiered on. This holiday was Valentine's Day.
- However, this episode's sister episode is a Valentine's Day-themed episode.
- This episode premiered in Canada on November 18, 2000.
- The science-related things Squidward mentions are on the cover of Boring Science: erosion on the back, mitosis on the front under the title. Erosion is when water or wind wears away rock and land, while mitosis is when one cell splits into two.
- Clips of this episode were seen on Late Night with Conan O'Brian on November 25, 2006.
- When SpongeBob plays the song Squidward played "the wrong notes" on, he claims to play in the key of "A Minor" when in fact, he actually plays in the key of C Major.
- List of impressions:
- A guy with a mustache
- A pirate with an eye patch
- A regular guy with an eye patch
- A guy with a piece of paper on his nose
- A guy throwing a piece of paper on the ground
- A guy stomping the piece of paper (follow up to the above)
- The list of origami that was made:
- a swan
- a snowflake
- a paper doll
- plus a failed one that turned out to appear as a crumbled ball of paper
- Here were the other uses:
- a flip book of Squidward
- a musical instrument to correct Squidward's music
- a loincloth
- a paper airplane armed with imaginary machine guns
- a puppet
- a helicopter
- a parachute
- a bullfighting cloth
- a cape
- a suck in and out trick
- paper paddle-ball
- SpongeBob rolled it on his head
- Sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, this episode aired, but was paired with "I Was a Teenage Gary." This is logical since "I Was a Teenage Gary" and "The Paper" were paired with holiday-related episodes, "Scaredy Pants" and "Valentine's Day" respectively.
- This episode and "Valentine's Day" only tend to air in reruns in the United States on or around Valentine's Day. Making this episode extremely rare and difficult to watch on TV, since they both aired on Valentine's Day, and are a Valentine's Day special. This also happens with the Halloween and Christmas episodes.
- The same goes with the British Nicktoons.
- However, other countries air both this episode and "Valentine's Day" regularly.
- On July 7, 2017, this episode and "Valentine's Day" aired on the American Nicktoons.
- According to the old Nickelodeon website, this episode is alternatively known as "Lemons Out of Lemonade."
- In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Komadić Papira," which translates to "The Piece of Paper."
- The title is based on the 1994 film of the same name.
- When SpongeBob plays the music on the piece of paper, it sounds like an advanced version of "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
- This episode has a similar plot to the Rugrats episode "No More Cookies," where Angelica tells Tommy to promise not to give her anymore cookies, due to her stomach ache, no matter if she begs, pleads, or cries, but she still wants cookies no matter what. SpongeBob and Squidward do the same with the paper.
- When SpongeBob's house moves to the paper, it's similar to a scene in Yellow Submarine when John Lennon opens the door and the train comes rushing out.
- The magazine that Squidward reads while trying to clear his mind from SpongeBob's paper is a parody of Popular Science.
- Neither sheet music that appears in the episode matches their respective songs that SpongeBob plays when making music with the paper.
- When Squidward is trying to take the paper from SpongeBob, Squidward's skin color is pale.
- When Squidward first shuts the door, it has a handle. Later, it's a doorknob.
- Despite a majority of this episode taking place on Conch Street, Patrick's house is not seen throughout until the end.