help me out, spongebob fans
July 29, 2010 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Dumbest askme ever: Calling all SpongeBob and/or pop culture experts. There is an exchange between Spongebob and Patrick in the episode "A Day without Tears" that seems like a reference to something else, or an inside joke. I don't get it.

The exchange is this:

Patrick: Umm... sure. And did you remember to put that package outside where I told you?

SpongeBob: Yeah, but I left it in a different spot. Just ask Gary, he knows where it is.
(copied from here; more complete context at the link)

Here's the full episode. The full exchange starts at about 4:14. The line has nothing to do with anything else they are talking about, or anything else in the episode.

I've seen almost every SB episode many times, and it seems to me to fall outside the normal pattern of the show's humor (a complete throwaway line that isn't particularly funny in and of itself but isn't an obvious allusion to something). I feel like I'm missing something, and it drives me crazy every time I see it.

Does anybody know anything about it?
posted by peep to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's supposed to be funny because all Gary says is "Meow." It's absurdist humor.
posted by headspace at 4:00 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think the joke is that Spongebob didn't put the package where Patrick wanted him to, and Gary can't be asked because he's a snail. Thus, Patrick has no way of obtaining said package.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:00 PM on July 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Well, Spongebob is nothing if not absurd, but Spongebob can understand what Gary says/meows (as evidenced in many episodes anyway. not saying cartoons are required to be consistent).

My main question is the whole "package" thing in the first place. It just comes out of nowhere and is never explained. It kind of sounded to me like it could have been pulled from a crime or caper movie script or something. My husband thought it must be referencing something, too, so I don't think I'm totally crazy. And I find SB hilarious, so it's not like I don't "get" the silly humor in general.
posted by peep at 5:12 PM on July 29, 2010

Can Patrick understand Gary? That may've been the joke.
posted by biochemist at 6:37 PM on July 29, 2010

Gary has been shown on several occasions to be more responsible than Spongebob, so it stands to reason that he'd be asked to help out. And that Spongebob would then feel the comeuppance for trusting a cat.

The show tends to play fast and loose with the world. Sometimes, Gary is a mute roommate (who is urbane in his dreams), sometimes he is a cat who befriends Patrick only for the treats in the starfish's pocket. It's the same way with fire or gorillas - they exist until someone questions why they are underwater.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:13 PM on July 29, 2010

I watch way too much Spongebob, my kids love him.

Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if the creators put that little gem in just to mess with the grown-ups who are watching. Kind of a "let's see who's paying attention and how long it will take for them to post this on the internet" kind of thing.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:47 PM on July 29, 2010

It kind of reminded me from something that could have been on the Sopranos. Like, some mafiosos were coming to pick up that box from the specific place, and Patrick thought/hoped Spongebob was joking when he said he put it somewhere else, and Spongebob didn't realize the gravity of the situation, hence the awkward laughing. I could totally see that happening on the Sopranos or something like that.

It sounds like an injoke or a conversation that happened in the writers room or something of that nature so they decided to throw it in to an otherwise really dull episode.
posted by amethysts at 9:51 PM on July 29, 2010

There are no other references to this package, right? The first thing I thought was drugs, but I don't know how likely that is on Spongebob.
posted by wayland at 1:35 AM on July 30, 2010

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