Note: There is an asterisk (*) icon for all of these characters, except Mrs. Puff and SpongeBob, because they only appear within Mrs. Puff's imagination.
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- Mrs. Puff
- King Neptune (mentioned)
- Officer Nancy O'Malley*
- Officer Slugfish*
- Incidental 2*
- Incidental 16*
- Incidental 69*
- Incidental 23*
- Incidental 14*
- Incidental 107*
- Incidental 27*
- Mayor* (debut)
- Shady Shoals caretaker*
- Incidental 92*
- Incidental 86*
- Incidental 6*
- Incidental 81*
- Phone solicitors (mentioned)
- Bikini Bottom prison guard* (debut)
- Orange guard* (debut)
- Patrick Star*
- Incidental 41*
- Incidental 48*
- Incidental 104*
- Incidental 118*
- Gary the Snail (indirectly mentioned)
- Old Man Walker*
The episode opens as SpongeBob is taking his driver's license exam yet again. He ends up leaving the driving course and wrecking the boating school and the city, before driving off an unfinished bridge the mayor just opened and falling into an abyss. The police follow the boat and end up driving off the bridge and into the abyss themselves. SpongeBob, Mrs. Puff, and the police all land on top of a truck full of fruit punch being delivered to Shady Shoals Rest Home, causing it to fall over and spill all the punch. The rest home gets flooded with it as a result. Although SpongeBob is responsible, the incident occurred under Mrs. Puff's supervision, and she is sent to prison for gross negligence. In prison, she realizes that she will not see SpongeBob again for a very long time, and starts to enjoy it.
Meanwhile, SpongeBob is depressed that Mrs. Puff is in jail and Patrick tells him that it is SpongeBob's fault. The duo sets out to free her from jail. First, they try to rob the "1st Nautical Bank" in order to get arrested themselves, but SpongeBob gets wrapped up in the bureaucratic niceties of banking and forgets they are trying to commit a crime. Next, they disguise themselves as rocks that the prisoners smash as labor. They try to communicate with Mrs. Puff, who calls the guards, but they dismiss her conversation with two rocks as a hallucination and move her to kitchen duty. SpongeBob and Patrick are then smashed by another inmate, costing them their deposit on the costumes. Then they hide in a vat of chili in the cafeteria and offer to help Mrs. Puff escape through it, but she explains to them that she likes it in prison, which SpongeBob refuses to believe. He worries that Mrs. Puff is completely institutionalized in prison and he needs to get her out. In an attempt to coax her, SpongeBob tells Mrs. Puff if she can escape, he will stay after school and decorate the entire classroom, but Mrs. Puff refuses. She calls for the prison guards again and is reassigned again after the prison guards believe that Mrs. Puff is going crazy.
SpongeBob and Patrick appear to her yet again on a coat hanger assembly line, and when she calls for a guard, he somehow perceives SpongeBob and Patrick as raw materials, stamps them, and sends Mrs. Puff to her cell, still convinced that she is going insane. SpongeBob and Patrick next appear in Mrs. Puff's toilet, which causes the guards to flush them. Then they appear on her bed, and when Mrs. Puff calls the guards, they turn out to be SpongeBob and Patrick in disguise. When she next sees the real guards as they ask Mrs. Puff what is going on, she rips off their faces thinking they are SpongeBob and Patrick still in disguise. She is finally put in solitary confinement after the guards believe that Mrs. Puff has completely lost her sanity. She is glad that she is finally safe from SpongeBob, but she actually begins hallucinating her completely yellow padded cell to be made of sponge, and is tormented by his laughter.
Mrs. Puff wakes up screaming in the car flying off the cliff and realizes that the juice truck incident and her prison sentence were products of her imagination. The car crashes into the juice truck again; however, this time, SpongeBob is arrested instead of Mrs. Puff. She is happy that she is not going to the jail, but a police officer tells her she already did her time, and Mrs. Puff sees herself wearing a prison outfit. She wakes up screaming in the car flying off the cliff again. When she is about to relax, she sees Donna, a prisoner with a masculine voice from her first hallucination who asked her what the prison's cafeteria was serving, driving the boat instead of SpongeBob. She wakes up screaming in the car flying off the cliff, yet again. This time SpongeBob's driving and there are no police cars chasing them. She panics for a moment, but after realizing she is just going to loop again, she stops screaming, says "Oh, forget it," and unenthusiastically sits in the boat, ending the episode from there.
|( ‣ ) Associated production music|
|( • ) Original music|
|( ◦ ) SpongeBob music|
‣ Epic Struggle - Fredric Bayco [Title card]
‣ Horlepiep - Jan Rap [opening]
‣ Chase That Car - Laurie Johnson [police chasing SpongeBob and Mrs. Puff]
‣ Hail to the Chief A - Will Schaefer [unfinished bridge opened]
‣ Chase That Car - Laurie Johnson [falling off cliff]
‣ Land Of Hope And Glory A - From Pomp And Circumstance No. 1 - Edward Elgar, John Fox [flashback to opening of boating school]
‣ Chase That Car - Laurie Johnson [truckload of fruit punch]
‣ Fisticuffs - Laurie Johnson ["Thank Neptune I'm still-"]
‣ Hawaiian Breeze - Jon Jelmer [opening windows]
‣ Surfin' Summer (a) - Richard Myhill [plays on janitor's headphones]
‣ O Primavera - Robert Foster ["A memoir of my life, written in red ink!"]
• Steel Licks 8 - Jeremy Wakefield ["Oh, barnacles!"]
‣ The Crime Busters - Ralph Dollimore ["Freeze! You're under arrest!"]
‣ Hawaiian Cocktail - Richard Myhill [Mrs. Puff imprisoned]
‣ Keel Row - Brian Peters [looking at the positives]
‣ Kamakani (b) - Kapono Beamer [empty classroom]
‣ Sugar Beat - Sid Phillips [montage of Mrs. Puff in jail]
• SpongeBob Closing Theme - Steve Belfer, Nicolas Carr [SpongeBob trying to rob a bank]
• Seaweed - Steve Belfer [SpongeBob, Patrick disguised as rocks]
‣ Unease - Dick Stephen Walter [SpongeBob inside pot of chili]
‣ Springtime for Lovers - Len Stevens ["These are my people!"]
‣ Danger Zone - Mike Sunderland [Mrs. Puff refuses to go with them]
‣ Hawaiian Link (a) - Richard Myhill [later]
‣ Mud - Ron Aspery [SpongeBob and Patrick appearing everywhere]
• Steel Licks 1 - Jeremy Wakefield [solitary confinement]
‣ Shock - Cornelus Joh Bolten [SpongeBob's face appearing on the walls]
‣ Chase That Car - Laurie Johnson [falling off the cliff again]
‣ Lonely Stranger - Laurie Johnson [SpongeBob arrested]
‣ Shock - Cornelus Joh Bolten [Mrs. Puff screams]
‣ Chase That Car - Laurie Johnson [ending]
- This episode is available on the SpongeGuard on Duty, Complete 3rd Season, Beach Bob, SpongeBob vs. The Big One (Greek only), First 100 Episodes, The Ultimate SpongeBob Box Set, SpongeBob SquarePants Vol. 4, Complete Third Season, From the Beginning, Part 1, The SpongeBob SquarePants Collection, Driving Bikini Bottom Crazy!, The SpongeBob SquarePants 8 Season DVD Collection, 2-Season TV Pack, The Third & Fourth Seasons, and The Best 200 Episodes Ever DVDs.
- This episode is also available on the UK version of the SpongeGuard on Duty VHS tape.
- "Doing Time" was ranked #52 during the SpongeBob's Top 100 event in the UK and Ireland from June 4-8, 2012.
- The episode aired on Martin Luther King Jr. Day during SpongeBob-A-Thon.
- It is revealed that Mrs. Puff's first student in her boating school was SpongeBob. As of her flashback, this explains the origin of her boating disaster.
- When Mrs. Puff gets thrown into "solitary confinement," there is a rubber ducky in the corner in the first scene.
- This episode is an example of recursion, a never-ending cycle.
- There was going to be a scene where Mrs. Puff's dad would appear, as his name is still listed in the credits of this episode, with Tom Kenny being credited for voicing him. His dialogue had already been recorded when he was cut from the episode. C.H. Greenblatt, who storyboarded and co-wrote "Doing Time," said that he did not remember anything about the episode when asked about Mrs. Puff's father in 2017.
- Originally, this episode ended with a scene similar to the beginning, but this time, it is SpongeBob who gets arrested instead of Mrs. Puff, much to her delight. This was instead used as part of the daydream sequence.
- In the Indonesian dub, the unseen fish did not say the same thing to Mrs. Puff.
- Instead, she says the same wrong words from Sandy with her voice. This is likely caused by the dubbing staff confusing the inmate and Sandy's southern accents.
- This marks the first time to feature Shady Shoals Rest Home without Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.
- This is also the only season 3 episode to feature Shady Shoals Rest Home.
- This is the second episode in which the majority of the runtime is a product of a character's imagination. The first was "Procrastination."
- This is the third episode where Mrs. Puff goes to jail (if only in a dream sequence). The first was "Hall Monitor," and the second was "No Free Rides."
- In the Polish dub, the episode's title is "Odsiadka," which translates to "The Detention."
- In the Croatian dub, the episode name is "Na Robiji," which translates to "In Prison."
- This likely takes place some time after "New Student Starfish," since Patrick's appearance and demeanor in her hallucination is fairly accurate.
- The French dub calls this episode "Mrs. Puff in prison."
- When Mrs. Puff is first in prison, if one listens closely, they can hear Sandy's voice saying "I belong here!" among the prisoners complaining.
- The bank shown in this episode is called the "First Nautical Bank," a parody of the real-life First National Bank.
- The song Fred was listening to when mopping the hall of the retirement home is "Surfin' Summer" by Richard Myhill.
- Mrs. Puff's hat changes colors throughout this episode.
- When Mrs. Puff goes to lunch duty, her hat turns from red to blue, and one second later, it changes back to red.
- When the police are leading Mrs. Puff into jail, her hat changes from blue to red to blue again.
- When Mrs. Puff drinks a cup of water, her hat turns black for about two seconds before turning back to red.
- When Mrs. Puff's jail cell is first shown, there is a single bed. Later, it is a bunk bed.
- When Fred is mopping the floor both before and after the fruit punch got in, his arm keeps going through the headphone wire.
- When SpongeBob crashes into the juice truck for the second time, the boat he was driving can be seen. In the next shot, it is gone.
- Incidental 6 has a female voice in this episode.
- During the bubble transition there is a blue screen that was made sometime in 2001 by Rough Draft Korea. This is possibly the result of a compositing error.
- While Billy Gus is looking at the window, it is supposed to be night but instead it takes place during the day but dark.
- The coals and the coat hangers do not move uniformly on the conveyor belt. When SpongeBob and Patrick appear on the conveyor belt, the coat hangers move faster than them and towards off-screen.
- When Mrs. Puff begins hallucinating her padded cell to be made of sponge, all SpongeBob's faces appearing on all sides of the wall that maniacally laugh should include the following: in each face, his eyebrows and his eyes should be on the upper part of his face, his nose should be in the middle of his face and his mouth should be in the lower part of his face. However, one of SpongeBob's faces on the upper side of the wall is rotated with the anticlockwise rotation of 90° at the center of his nose. His eyebrows and his eyes are on the right side of his face and his mouth is on the left side of his face. This error is considered to be a rotation error.
- When SpongeBob tells Mrs. Puff that Patrick came along because he likes chili, his eyes are yellow for a split second.
- On a traffic scene in "life on the outside" cutaway gag, the boat behind Incidental 107's boat is missing its driver.
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